Monday, February 02, 2004


Our agency is putting on an event tomorrow in Midtown Manhattan that will involve three clients. We have gone over every detail, drawn diagrams, made signage, ordered food, checked and rechecked registration, written and revised a script, etc. Nothing can go wrong, right? Ha!

Tomorrow night, of course, is the multi-state primary in which Presidential candidate John Kerry will take a big lead over Howard Dean -- or he won't. Tomorrow night in Manhattan, we are supposed to have combinations of rain, ice, sleet and snow. Tomorrow night or before, we might find our speakers cannot get in from places like Boston and Atlanta because airports are shut down. In other words, there is plenty of room for nerves until the affair is over.

Strangely, I have been calm. (A colleague won't agree with this observation. I'm sure he thinks I've asked the same questions too many times.) But really, I've been calm. I haven't had a sleepless night. The affair has come together thanks to the work of this colleague. I've been on the periphery and a kibitzer.

So why should I care? I've seen what can happen: It has happened to me.

There was the time we were to introduce a new racing car on behalf of a client only to find the freight elevator that was to lift the car to the hotel ballroom was broken. The car was at the loading dock and the hotel hands were going to leave it there. There was a time we had an outdoor event in Chicago in the Spring (A fatal combination.) The day was so cold and foggy, the event was disaster. There was another event when I discovered no one on a dining room staff spoke English and could not take directions from the client. (Fortunately, my Spanish was passable then.) And there was an event in which a client flew a concept car to New York to appear on the NBC-TV Today Show while the CEO of the company explained the wonderful things the car could do. Unfortunately, the CEO showed up, and told me he knew nothing about the car. I leapt into the driver's seat, figured out knobs and dials and trained the CEO five minutes before he went on national television.

Murphy's Law applies to events. There is always a reason to get nervous because things can -- and will -- go wrong. You just hope they are not fatal mistakes.


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