Men In Shorts

I worked, briefly, for a large corporation, writing press releases, speeches for mid-level executives, and stories for the company newspaper.

Shortly after I started, the annual mid-year executive retreat convened for four days at a New England resort. Top management, excepting the top two or three, attended. It had to be covered by the company newspaper. I got the assignment.

Mornings and early afternoons, strategy sessions and marketing proposals; I sat in and listened. Late afternoons, golf and martinis; I sat aside and made notes. Evenings, hilarity and high-jinks; I went to my room and wrote.

I came back with feature stories and sidebars. My boss, editor of the paper, approved. He sent them to his boss, who approved, and sent them to his boss. And so on up the line.

Because my copy mentioned top-floor functionaries, it had to be approved in top-floor offices. And so it was, except for one. The Almost Top Of The Top Executive, highest ranking of those who showed up at the retreat, objected.

I had written that several men wore shorts, for comfort on warm summer afternoons.

The Almost Top Of The Top Executive was shocked. He returned my copy with a personally-by-himself-handwritten note.

“I did not see anyone wearing shorts. None of the personnel in attendance at the meeting wore shorts.”

He had flown in the first day, made a speech, and flown back that afternoon. Possibly he did not see shorts, but everyone else did. No use to point out that I had been there all four days, or to include pictures showing men wearing shorts. The Man had not seen it, therefore it did not happen.

Moral: Corporate executives do not wear shorts on company time.

I left the corporation a few weeks later.


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