That Guy

14Jul06

Every year at my company’s boat cruise, That Guy shows up. You know That Guy. He’s the one who gets way too drunk and makes a shameful mess of himself by throwing up all over the place, by accusing someone of being a racist and making death threats, by grabbing the buttocks of the new guy who just emigrated from New Zealand and started work a couple of weeks before, or by having sex in a washroom with That Girl (not to be confused with Marlo Thomas). These are all things that my fellow employees have done in the past, but the legend of That Guy was truly secured last year.


Last July, one of my co-workers was obsessed with the question of who was going to be That Guy. For the entire week before the boat cruise, he went around asking everyone, “Who’s gonna be That Guy?” On the night of the actual cruise, he found out the answer for himself: He was. Near the end of the night, I saw him swaying on his feet in a standing eight count with a glassy-eyed look and a drink spilling from each hand. I led him to a booth, and when he moored, a group of guys hauled him into a waiting taxi. He was a little guy, maybe 5’3″, but thick and heavy with muscle, and a friend of mine later told me about getting him halfway into the back seat and having to stop to rest, huffing and puffing for breath while That Guy’s head lay dragging in the gravel. The cab took him back to work, and while the cab driver was being paid an extra hundred bucks to cover the costs of cleaning the vomit out of the back seat, he was dragged into the Wellness Room (where the previous That Guy had spent the night after the previous boat cruise, actually). Around 4:00 a.m., he woke up, cleaned up all the vomit that was now in the Wellness Room (and who knew he’d had any left?), and drove himself home to Guelph, although he probably shouldn’t have. Fortunately for him, he’d scheduled the next week as vacation time, so he didn’t take nearly the ribbing that we originally had planned for him, but his surname did become a new slang verb meaning “to overindulge so grossly as so become That Guy.”

He’s no longer with the company (for unrelated reasons as far as I know, but who knows? It might have been a factor.) But like the sacrificial king of an annual pagan festival, there would be a That Guy again. Someone new would fill the role. This week, I made a lot of jokes about how I was planning to be That Guy. I had a laundry list of ideas for how I could drunkenly bring shame upon myself, including throwing up on the CEO, punching out my supervisor, telling off the new girl about the scores I’ve wanted to settle with her for a long time, groping the women and French kissing the men, throwing all the life preservers overboard, jumping up onstage and attemping to jam with the band, making a snow angel in the food on the buffet table, and commandeering the helm and crashing the boat into Centre Island, where we would all be marooned and doomed to an existence of foraging for roots and riding the roller coasters at the local amusement park.

But I’m all talk. I behaved, actually. Everybody did, really, but I didn’t even dance. My co-worker Chris has still been going on about how I was a dancing machine at the cruise last year, and I haven’t figured out if it’s legitimate enthusiasm or extremely deadpan sarcasm, but I decided to err on the side of caution and not give anyone anything to talk about. I didn’t even drink that much. Hell, I’ve been drunker after lunch at work than I was by the time we got off the boat and headed for the afterparty at a local lounge.

When we got there, I stayed true to form and didn’t do much dancing. Instead, I joined the new girl in my department, who was being a wallflower all by herself on a little couch in the VIP lounge. It was a weird couch. It was really a loveseat, and half of it had a back and the other half didn’t. I mentioned how odd it was that the side I was on was backless. She said, “I know. I moved over here because I sat down on that side and laid back, and there was nothing there.”

“Like this?” I asked, lying back heavily. Only, there was in fact something there: a ledge immediately behind the couch, on the edge of which I cracked my head full-force.

“Ow, fuck!” I yelled, lights exploding in front of my eyes. I sat back up. I put my hand on the back of my head to feel it. I looked at my hand. It was red.

I walked across the dance floor to the bathroom to clean myself up, feeling the blood trickle down the back of my neck, down the back of my T-shirt, which was fortunately black. As I weaved through the crowd, I thought about clearing a path by simply extending my bloody hand to make all the girls in white recoil out of the way. I got to the bathroom and looked in the mirror. The back of my head looked like the goddamn Kennedy assassination. And not only was I juicing hardway, gushing blood out of my cranium like Dusty Rhodes at Starrcade ’84, but the bathroom was also out of paper towels.

Someone rolled up a bandage of toilet paper for me to press to my skull, and my company’s facilities manager rushed in, having been alerted by a message on his Blackberry that the back of my head had apparently been blown clean off and his CPR certification might be necessary. He had a look. Although the mess registered at least 0.8 on the Muta scale, he assured me that the actual wound wasn’t too big, and if I just pressed down on the gore for a few minutes, the flow would eventually stop and I’d probably just be left with a big goose egg.

So I pressed, and while I pressed, the Master T lookalike I work with snapped off a couple of shots with his camera for the company’s post-cruise slideshow. “People are saying you’re That Guy this year,” he said, holding up his camera.

“Well, since nobody else really did anything this year, I guess I am That Guy by default,” I said. “Hey, wait—is that thing a video camera?” He snickered. Technology moves so fast these days; I can’t keep up with it. I can’t even work out how to use a couch right. At least I kept my language clean during my impromptu interview.

And at least things got better later, which is to mean that they got significantly worse as the night wore on. One of the newer girls, who had started drunkenly grinding with me during my brief time on the dance floor despite our scarcely being on more than a first-name basis, later threw up all over the VIP lounge, which made her That Girl. And I heard that another guy pissed his pants right there in the bar, which would definitely make him That Guy. Either one of them is welcome to the title. Believe me, it’s one I don’t mind giving up.



8 Responses to “That Guy”

  1. 1 Scott

    When you said “Like this?”, leaned back, and hit your head I expect it was a lot like when this kid skidded on the ice, said “Holy cow, I’m totally going so fast!” and hit his head.

  2. Hey, sorry to hear about the head injury. Hope the noggin’s healed.

  3. glad that someone worse off was able to secure the illustrious title from you before the night was over … hope your head is feeling better!

  4. The head’s fine now. But I did get a terrible start reading the comments just now. Our head of Human Resources, who was out at the club playing mother hen when I conked my melon, is named Deborah. So for a second, I thought she’d found my blog, which would probably have dire consequences.

  5. Peter – so sorry to have given you a start. Akin to you not being That Guy, fortunately I am not That Deborah!
    Cheers 🙂

  6. How many people at your company know about your blog? It seems like enough that it’s odd word hasn’t made it back to HR.

  7. I hate to imagine. Frighteningly enough, I know the address to the old blog was once freely swapped around among managers when they were thinking of having our spokesathletes write blogs and were thinking about who to get to show them how to use Blogger.

    But I have dirt on HR, anyway. For two years running, one of the HR girls has been trying to convince me to leap over the side of the boat and drown at the boat cruise. I don’t know why. Last year at the boat cruise was the first time I’d even met her.

  8. 8 hilly

    She probably wanted you to drown in order to cut down on the massive amount of ligitation-related paperwork you create for her. I mean, the entire blog is almost like discovery for a really awesome class-action suit.


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