American Consequences - December 2018

If you’re on your way up on Wall Street, you can’t not go to the holiday party. A no-show gets labeled “not a team player,” “elitist,” or “apathetic.” I was talking with a group of back office guys when I felt it coming up. To my left was a group of managing directors. To my right, there were several female partygoers. So I bent down like I was tying my shoes. And then it happened, all over the circle of shoes standing around me. I bounced back up and smiled. How could I pass this off? “ Did you just puke ?” I had to think fast. If this got out, I was done. “I’ll buy you all lunch tomorrow if you don’t say anything,” I said. At this point, the five guys were looking at me in disgust and reaching for napkins to wipe off their shoes. I begged. I told them they could order from any place they wanted, even Stage Deli – home to oversized and expensive triple-decker sandwiches. But if I heard one whisper about me puking, no one would get a free lunch. It worked. But as it happened, I didn’t need to swear them to silence. this was a perfect opportunity to show off my smooth-talking abilities. It started well. But I should have passed on the last shot of tequila...

Instead, the only thing anyone could talk about for the rest of the night... the next morning... and the following week was a young analyst from Yale named Phil. Phil thought it was a bright idea to grab a managing director’s breasts. Through the next year, Phil would come up in conversation. And even at the next holiday party, it was like it just happened. Every time I heard it, I knew that the story could have been me puking on five coworker’s shoes. It was close... A little later that night, I was at the bar talking to a girl named Michelle. She was the assistant to one of the managing directors on the floor. She was sweet, honest, and had no business working on Wall Street. She looked at me curiously, then wiped off my tie. “You got bean dip there,” she said. She grabbed a napkin from the bar and wiped her wet hands from the bean dip. I smiled. She smiled back. “I love bean dip too,” she said. Of course, if you’re on your way up on Wall Street, you can’t not go to the holiday party. A no-show gets labeled “not a team player,” “elitist,” or “apathetic.” To make the night easier, I’ve come up with a list of “don’ts”... 1. Don’t wear a Santa hat or bring mistletoe. 2.  Don’t be the guy who suggests doing shots If you feel the need to do shots, find the “drunk guy” and plant the seed into his head... “Wow can you believe 50 Cent got shot eight times,” and “You know my


December 2018

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