Sunday, November 7, 2010

Was it the hat or the head?

One of the sharpest and funniest guys I ever met worked at McCann. We worked and traveled together many times. He was an International co-coordinator as well as regional director, a big shot. He was an old time ad guy in the good sense. He loved martinis, and claimed he still had the first bottle of vermouth he ever bought, opening the bottle in the other room was enough vermouth for his martinis he said. He really liked them dry.

One his many talents was his presentation skill, he always had the appropriate opening, sometimes a great relevant joke or a pertinent story.

At an international coordinators meeting in Madrid he told what I thought was a great joke.
We were at a famous flamenco restaurant, and after a great meal and traditional flamenco music and dancing, he opened the evening session, not really work, but prizes and welcomes to the new guys. We had the restaurant to ourselves, about a hundred people, from the New York office and all our European offices.

He took the stage, in the flamenco position, hands ready to clap, head back looking over his shoulder, and said
“Why is an international coordinator like a flamenco dancer?
He is stamping out a fire while he applauds himself, as he watches his ass.”

One of his great stories took place in New York in the 50’s, Madmen era.
They all wore hats in those days. These three guys and their paranoiac boss had lunch pretty much every day.
The boss decided he needed a new hat and they stopped at Brooks Brothers on the way to the restaurant, where he bought a new fedora, perfect fit.
As they continued to the restaurant, one of them lingered behind and bought two more exact hats, but one was one size bigger and the other was one size smaller.

They go to the restaurant, check in their hats and coats but they replace the boss’s hat with the one slightly larger.
After the traditional two martini lunch they head back to the office, the boss gets his hat and it is a little large on him, not a great deal but noticeably larger. Has his head shrunk after his meal? They get back to the office and replace his hat with the correct one. That evening he goes home, hat fits fine.

Next day they get ready for lunch and they slip him the smaller one, he puts it on and starts to get agitated, his head seems bigger when he is hungry. They continue this for about three days, his head seemingly bigger when he is hungry and smaller after he eats.

He takes some sick days off and checks with his doctor about this bizarre illness. Head expands when hungry, shrinks after he eats.

He also did something to somebody in our Italian office, the deputy general manager hated garlic, can you believe that? He stuffed his phone receiver with garlic, every phone call was slammed down with a disgusted comment about the guy that was calling and his breath.

There are many Stu stories, he was funny, smart and he was a good friend.


  1. How well I remember that evening. We all looked forward to Stu's stories, his delivery was always so good. That evening as he spoke to us all there was an air of anticipation, we knew we would be entertained after all and he was a brilliant presenter,a talent in itself.

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  3. This guy was hilarious. Really funny stuff. The business with the hats was a stroke of genius. You guys must have been laughing continuosly. Sounds like an amazing man.