Awhile back an auctioneer friend, his son, and I worked an auction for a private school where wealthy parents paid $27,000 per year to send a child to school. I guess no one ever told them they could send the same child to public schools for free.
The sale was at a fancy resort hotel and we eventually found the gaudy ballroom where we were stopped from entering by an underdressed, plastic surgery augmented, clothes policewoman whose abundant wherewithalls were on display for all the world to see. “You can’t come in here,” said Silicone Sally, “this is a private party and you appear to be c-c-c-cowboys.”
“We are. We’re the auction crew,” my auctioneer friend proudly replied.
“Well, you aren’t coming in here. This isn’t some rodeo, it’s a black tie affair.”
“Ma’am, I only have three ties and none of them are black,” I replied.
“Over my dead body are you coming in here wearing your coveralls.”
“Ma’am, they aren’t coveralls, they’re Wranglers. This here,” I said, pointing to my hat, “is a Stetson and I’d be willing to bet it cost more than that ugly purse you’re carrying. My polished boots are Luccheses and they cost more than those high heels you’re having a hard time staying upright on. And this belt buckle that is doing a better job holding all my body parts in place than your girdle is, well, it’s an old buckle my Grandpa gave me and is worth way more than those pajamas you’re wearing.”
She was fixing to give me a real dressing down when the lady who hired us saved us from the clothes policewoman by leading us to a broom closet where they wanted us to wait, out of sight, until it was time for the sale. Clearly they didn’t want us mingling amongst them, as if we were infectious and would give them a bovine disease.
It was going to be a long wait so I left our holding cell to fetch the three of us a soft drink but after wandering around like a lost foal I couldn’t find a vending machine anywhere. Finally, I went into the hotel saloon where everyone there looked at me like they’d never seen a cowboy before. I think they thought I was there to rob the place, ala Jesse James. I ignored the stares, bellied up to the bar and ordered three colas and in the time I could have walked to a 7-11 and back, the barkeep finally put three small glasses on the bar in which the ice cubes looked like they’d broken off some glacier, leaving little room for liquid content. I swear, the total of those three glasses wouldn’t have filled a 12 ounce can. I brought a $20 bill out of my wallet, laid it on the bar and apologized to the bartender for not having a smaller denomination bill. He gazed at me with a look of disgust and said, “That will be 24 dollars!”
“I’m afraid you don’t understand,” I replied, “I don’t want to rent a room, I just want to buy three colas.”
“That will be 24 dollars,” he smugly repeated. So I put the $20 back in my wallet, paid with a credit card, as I do with all my big purchases, and made a mental note that if we got rehired on this gig to bring my own refreshments next year. Surprisingly, the eight dollar Cokes tasted just like the ones at the grocery store.
After what seemed like forever we finally were allowed to enter the same room as our hosts and proceeded to give them a good show, and the highest grossing auction they’d ever had by a factor of two! On our way out the door we were accosted again by Silicone Sally who ran over to give us another 10 cc’s of her venom. This time it was about not removing our hats in their presence.
At this point I’d had just about enough of Silicone Sal. “Ma’am, with all due respect there’s only a few times that I lift my lid in public. For example, a prayer, the National Anthem at a ball game, when our flag passes by in a parade, or whenever I’m in the presence of a lady,” I said, with my Stetson still firmly in place atop my head. ❖