Yesterday, I read a post by my long-time blog buddy Ruth. Her post is a fun read, you might want to give it a look. You can go, I’ll wait here.
At the end of Ruth’s post, she mentioned the Monty Python Movie “The Meaning of Life.” The scene she mentioned might be a little too gross if you’re reading early, or late for that matter – I’ll summarize. A character in the movie, Mr. Creosote is an extremely large man. He enters a restaurant and eats everything on the menu. When asked if he wants dessert, he declines, humorously suggesting that if he ate another bite, he would explode. The waiter responds, “perhaps one thin mint?” Mr. Creosote accepts the mint, eats it, and explodes. And, no, that wasn’t the part that was too gross.
What does this have to do with one-liner Wednesday?
In 1987, when I was a consultant with Coopers and Lybrand, currently PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the firm was engaged (that’s what they called it) to provide expert testimony in a civil suit alleging damages caused by a minicomputer. The business that supplied the minicomputer was owned by our office’s largest client. Unlike the expert witnesses you see on TV shows, I got to visit Orlando, Florida for two or three days every week between April and October. Those are the months when people who have winter homes in Florida return to places like Main and Wisconsin.
I spent my time in Florida interrogating a Data General Nova Eclipse minicomputer. Every other week, I reported my findings to the attorney representing our common client. I didn’t know it at the time, but in early October, I was to be deposed. The attorney, Don W. was making notes of things I found that he thought would be important. I’ll spare you the fascinating results of my six months of digital digging, and fast-forward to October.
The night before my deposition, during dinner, Don asked me if I was familiar with “The Meaning of Life.” I told him I was. Before we left the restaurant, Don gave me my final instructions. The one-liner is in here.
“During the deposition, when the other attorney or their expert is asking you questions, I am not allowed to talk to you. You, however, are allowed to request a break. If I want to talk to you, I’m going to tap your leg with the eraser of this pencil, and you will immediately request a break.” He tapped my thigh to demonstrate.
“If you do not request a break after I tap your leg with the eraser, I’m going to turn the pencil over and jam it into your thigh.”
When we were about two hours into the deposition, the plaintiff’s expert, a professor from Louisiana State University (LSU) who looked like Mr. Creosote, started asking me a line of questions and then twisting my words as I answered. I was getting frustrated. Don tapped my leg. I kept talking. Don turned the pencil over. I requested a break. Don leaned over and told me to look at the opposing expert. I turned and looked. He whispered, “one thin mint.” The image of the man in the movie exploding was just what I needed to calm down. I doubt my laughter was welcome, but…
This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you would like to join in on the fun, you can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participants.