How Vendors Celebrated XMAS• Since it’s the holiday season, let’s take a break from all this hightech & business stuff to look at the human side of HIS vendors.• How various HIS vendors celebrate Xmas through –•PARTIES!• Yes, despite the bottom-line profit motivation and 90-dayearnings-per-share pressures, vendors are extremely old-fashioned when it comes to Xmas, and their parties reflect theirculture. The vendor Xmas parties I remember most fondly were:• McAuto – an office “open house” where you took the kids.• HIS Inc. – families too, where my son first played videogames!• But there is one vendor in particular where no one would darethink of bringing their kids to the wildest Xmas parties of all!
SMS’ First Xmas Bash• Way back in 1969, SMS’ first year, the firm was still pretty small(under 50 FTEs), and there was no Xmas “tradition” yet…• We were all based in King of Prussia (only 1 regional office in LA),so when a Xmas party was announced, it drew everyone!• It was held at the Valley Forge Tavern (which later blew up whena boiler exploded!) in KOP, our favorite watering hole for lunch,and in late Dec., SMS rented out the whole joint for the party.Pictured on the left are two young IDscouples decked out in their finest:- Me & my unfortunate wife Judy- Virgil Scott & his lovely wife CarolynThese were actual period clothes, notcostumes! 3-piece suits were justcoming into fashion back then…
You had to be there…• VP John Marshall picked up the mike and gave outXmas presents/awards to our two founders:– Jim Macaleer, our President, was given agift for the “Longest Hair Award” – a littleodd as you can see by his distinctly non-hirsute appearance! He proceeded tounwrap the package only to find a combinside. Silence reigned in the hall…– Harvey Wilson, Sr. VP and sharp dresser, next got agift for the “Loudest Tie Award” – a pair of scissors,which John removed from the box and then usedto cut Harvey’s tie in half! Everyone roared…• We all expected the worst, but Jim & Harvey justjoined in the laughter, enjoying the jokes & banter.• John’s daring sense of humor started me thinking…
My Turn Next!My Turn Next!• One of the most popular TV shows back then was the DeanMartin “Roast” series, in which a bunch of stars & comics satbehind a long table and took turns giving mock tributes to one oftheir peers, who became the object of the insults & nasty jokes.• After being soundly “roasted,” the poor target was then given themike, and he/she lashed back at the roasters, usually giving asmany mean/funny insults as they received, many even nastier…
XMAS Party Idea!?• So my warped brain dreamed up a theme for a later Xmas partyin K of P, a few years later, after SMS had grown to over 100 FTEs.• One day, I approached Big Jim with the idea of a group of usmimicking Deano, and roasting him at our upcoming Xmas party…– (remember, I was very young and even dumber at the time...)• Knowing that Big Jim would probably be the recipientof some pretty barbed wise-cracks (especially fromhis younger brother Terry who I had on the dais),• I tried to salvage what might be left of my career bygiving Jim a book I had found chock full of insults.• I even gave him a list of the “Top 10” to use on us…• I don’t know how many of today’s image-conscious CEOs wouldhave acquiesced to being roasted in front of their entire firm, butBig Jim was never one to shy from a fight, and to my amazement,he agreed! He kept the “Little Book of Insults” & my top 10 list…
The Big Night• So as the night of the Xmas party rolled around, I assembled a daisof fellow King-Of-Prussians who also has sufficient chutzpah ( andlack of intelligence) to dare to insult “the man” – our president(from lefty to right on the photo on the following page):• Jack Gontarz – Admin. Mgr., in charge of keeping the lights on• John Marshall – VP of Marketing and our Master of Ceremonies• Yours Truly – looking every bit the weird hippie freak I was…• Big Jim – smiling in advance of his chance to play tit for tat!• Bill Bardwell – a super-smart programming manager• Terry Macaleer – Jim’s younger brother, famous for being hiswise-cracking ways even in supposedly formal settings…• It may not look as posh as Dean Martin’s roast, but we sure hadthe audience’s attention as one after another, we started to diginto our poor President with some of the nastiest insults
Big Jim’s Revenge• One after another, we ripped into Jim big-time, assailing his:– “Consideration” for calling meetings at 6PM on Fridays…– Wide variety of shirts (white), ties (blue) and shoes (wing-tip)– Willingness to hear the other side (before saying “Hell no!”)• Terry Macaleer was absolutely the nastiest, digging up stories fromtheir childhood that would have made their mother cringe!• Through it all, Jim joined in the laughter as we all shot our wads,and then he took the rostrum and proceeded to give even betterthan he got! Apparently, he got the names of our “roasters”beforehand, and did some through homework on our foibles.• Surprisingly, he didn’t use any of the insults from the little book Ihad given him, but instead hit each one hard with his own digs.• Until he got to me: then, he unleashed the very nastiest insultsfrom the very book that I had given him to use on the others!
Baddest of the Bad• No one else in the company knew the inside joke, as Jim hit mewith the very “Top 10” list of insults I had given him to use oneveryone else. Some of the best (or is it worst?):– A demitasse would fit your head like a sombrero.– A guy with your IQ should have a low voice too!– A half-wit gave you a piece of his mind, and you held on to it.– A sharp tongue is no indication of a keen mind.• He saved this nastiest one for last.– (By way of background, I was the Education Manager at thetime, responsible for training new IDs (Installation Directors)& clients in the minutia of the SHAS system; add that to myobnoxious know-it-all personality and you’ll get the point)– “Vince Ciotti: there but for the grace of God, goes God!”• The audience roared, while I shrunk very low in my chair…