A few years ago, I was honored by McGill University with one of its annual Management Achievement Awards. It's quite the prestigious accolade, with previous winners the likes of Charles Bronfman (Seagram's), Laurent Beaudoin (Bombardier), Gerry Schwartz (Onyx Corp.) and Paul Desmarais (Power Corp), so I make it a point of pride to attend the annual awards luncheon as an alumnus of both the school and the prize.
The way the luncheon itself works is a "mixer" between some of the faculty's keenest students, its profs and we alumni. We're interwoven at a table together, and students are urged to cough up a query or two to the worldly, elder statesmen and stateswomen sitting amongst them.
Here's where the story gets good.
Sitting next to me on Friday was a young man, about 20, resplendent in suit and tie. A bright financial intern at Ernst & Young, he had little in common with flamboyant, "comedy guy" me. Yet, garnering an "A for Effort," he turned to me in between lunch and dessert and said:
"You're the President of Just For Laughs, so what would you say is the best part of your job?"
I looked at him for a few seconds, and didn't want to reply with the usual, standard-operating-bullshitty answer. So I turned my attention to the bread basket, picked up a roll, and replied:
"See this roll?"
Then I threw it straight into his crotch.
Yes, you read right. Crotch.
As the blog says, Pow! and right between the testes, too.
He was, reasonably, stunned for a few seconds, but then broke out into laughter. So, much to my relief, did others at the table who witnessed my act of temporary insanity. Then I made my point by saying:
"The fact that I can get away with doing that...THAT's the best part of my job."
Then I explained that the fact that I run a comedy company gives me permission to do such things with impunity. I pointed to another tablemate, a high-ranking professional at the RSM Richter accounting firm, saying that had he tried the same roll shtick, he'd be looked upon with fear and contempt, kicked out of the place...and probably arrested.
But with me? Everybody laughed. Why?
Well, James Bond, had 007--The License to Kill.
I have 008--The License to Getting Away With Murder.
We talked about it some more, and I told him that one of the problems in business is that most people won't take these kinds of risks. Throwing bread may not be for everybody, but everybody does have a license to get away with more than they currently do...they just don't use it.
So what's the end result?
Well, the young man sure has a better story to tell than had I answered with something cliched like "The fact that I love what I do means I've never worked a day in my life"...or something equally as hackneyed.
Me? Well, I've added to my "legacy"...if you wanna call it that.
And, like Dexter, the fact that I got away with the last one makes me look forward to getting away with murder again and again and again.
Luckily, I'm in the right job.
So...uh, wanna do lunch sometime soon?
P.S. I ain't the only guy throwing things. Said the culprit with a smile: "I want to be different." Da da, Alex!