Sunday, November 26, 2006

When Barry met Larry

I used to work for a large firm with offices in many cities. The namesakes of the firm and the head office were in New York. The namesakes would come around to the other offices from time to time and it was a fairly big deal. In addition to being namesakes of the firm, they were as close to being celebrities as you can get in our line of work. I'm sure if you watched a week of the Discovery Channel, you'd be sure to see one of them at least once on a show as an expert. Although they had reached this "status", they remained some of the most personable people you could work for (as you shall soon learn). Although their company employed hundreds of people, they were not hesitant to talked to those unknown to them. Their approachability also took the edge off any hesitation to approach them because of their celebrity.

The firm grew fast in the time I was there. In our office we increased from 35 to over 100 in three years. It was quite dynamic to have so many new people and there were some very interesting characters among them. Larry Green was one of those characters. Larry was a happy fellow and he was very friendly. So friendly that it got annoying at times. He was someone always interested in what was going on, but at times going too far or hanging on your arm too much. He meant well and had a good heart, so for many of us that was enough to overlook the less than positive points.

So one day I went to the bathroom. As I was using one of the urinals, I heard a cellphone go off in one of the stalls. As was habit among the busy higher-ups, the phone was answered. A few words into his short phone conversation, I realized it was Barry Hansen, one of the namesakes. He finished his call and moments later I hear from the adjacent stall "Hello, Mr Hansen. We haven't met, but my name is Larry Green and I work here for you." Barry replied quite happily without a hint of annoyance "Well I'm glad to meet you Larry, I'm Barry Hansen." To which Larry came back with "I'd shake your hand but..." Barry had an equally playful reply that I can't remember because I was so stunned. There was a bit more back and forth, but I hurriedly washed my hands to escape this bizarre lovefest. I walked out the door but held it open enough to see them both exit their stalls and cheerfully shake hands before washing them.

It was definitely the oddest moment of my 9 to 5 career.

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