Celebrate Christmas with Jack.
A company I once worked for had an Office Christmas party one year. The party took place back in the 1970s so I am guessing the statute of limitations has expired just in case something reported here ran afoul of the laws at the time. The factory wasn’t the most pleasant place to work, but it paid a salary and we were young and that’s about all we were looking for back then. Even though we were treated relatively poorly and we once held a meeting to strike in order to force a better wage, it was still a pretty laid back environment. We did the usual joking around, teasing, etc, but we earned our pay. There was that one blemish where someone stole all of the inventory, but that is not what this tale is about. This story is about a Christmas miracle, of sorts.
As I said some time around 1979 the company held a Christmas party. My misdemeanoring and bad behavoring days are over now, so I’ll go ahead and tell the story without fear of self incrimination. The Christmas party went off without a hitch and a good time was had by all. Everyone arrived safely back home that night with cheeks aglow from good booze and great food.
The next Monday following the party, an announcement was made over the PA system that alcohol consumption had not been as heavy as anticipated and that there was a great deal of liquor left over. The person on the PA system went on to say that if anyone wanted to come up to the office, they could purchase some of the left over spirits at a reduced price. At that, several people went up and made purchases. The bulk of the liquor had been purchased in half gallon bottles, some had been opened at the party, some were still sealed. The opened bottles were being sold for next to nothing. After several people returned bragging about the great deal they had gotten, because management wanted to get rid of the stuff as quickly as possible, I decided to go up and take a look see for myself.
There was booze as far as the eye could see.
I shut down my milling machine, cleaned up a bit and went up to the front office and stood speechless, for in the middle of the floor, there were alcohol bottles as far as the eye could see. The booze had been placed on a table in front of the secretary’s desk. All of the usual suspects were lined up there: Jack Daniels, Jim Bean, Cutty Sark, Mr. Bicardi, Gins, Vodkas, plus an assortment of other brown and clear spirits. In other words, there was lots and lots of alcohol. I saw a half gallon of Jack with the seal broken on the table and asked how much they wanted for it. “Five dollars and you can have it”, came the answer. I looked it over again and said, “But it’s already been opened” to which they responded, “Five dollars take it or leave”. I told them to wait there a minute and left to go to the break room. A few seconds later I returned with a Dixie cup in hand. I said, “For all I know, that bottle could have been half empty and someone filled it up with water, I have to make sure that’s not the case”.
I had a taste of Jack and went back to work on my milling machine.
I opened the bottle, poured just a nip to get a taste. It tasted fine to me. Nope, it hadn’t been watered down at all. I paid the five dollars, took the bottle and put it in the trunk of my car then went back to my milling machine. I had been working at my machine for a good 2 minutes when who do you think walked up to me? That’s right, the plant manager himself. “Stan”, he said, “can I smell your breath? I was told you’ve been drinking on the job”, he appeared shocked at the idea that I would do such a thing right there in broad daylight. I would never drink on the job, of course. He took a sniff, shock and dismay spread across his face,
“Why, you HAVE been drinking! How do you explain this?”, he was definitely in management mode now.
I responded, “I needed to make sure that what I was buying hadn’t been watered down”.
“Stan this is serious, you can’t drink on the job! We have to do something about this, why would you do such a thing?”.
I quickly replied “I haven’t been drinking on the job, I took a taste ‘on the job’ and I wouldn’t have taken a taste on the job if you hadn’t been selling boot leg liquor on the job!”.
He knew I had him, he stood speechless. He promptly pivoted on his heels and beat a quick retreat back to his office. The boss hadn’t realized what they were doing was illegal, they were running a bootleg liquor operation out of their factory. They were selling liquor without a license.The incident was never mentioned again. That marked the end of what has come to be known as “The Great Whiskey Rebellion of ’79”. No more selling left-over Christmas party liquor at work. I’m sure I would have been fired right there on the spot had I not been able to thinking quickly on my feet. That incident was both a Christmas miracle and a lesson well learned.
Growing Up Colored
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