“The Night I Troughed as a City Troll”
Only this time, I was still an intern, and had much more at stake.
So, I was fortunate enough to start an internship at Boast within a month of graduating college. Hired to help out with marketing and public relations, I completely felt like I was thrown into the storm of what a start up (or “re-start”) company can be.
After my first three weeks, I had the opportunity to meet Brad Fox, our national sales manager. I heard a lot about this guy, and knew I needed to make a solid first impression. He was coming into town for the Capsule Trade show, and needed my help to set up. The trade show setup was on Sunday, but he said if I wanted to come to New York early, I could go have a few drinks with him and some of his buddies who were in the clothing industry.
Getting drinks with him seemed to me like a golden opportunity to loosen up and network with some people who are high up in a very cool industry.
So I take the train to New York from Philly on Saturday, I show up, meet Brad, and then we go to a bar for burgers and drinks. I’m a little shy at this point, being an intern and much younger and inexperienced than everyone else. I finished my first beer within two minutes to loosen up. The others commented on that, saying something like — whoa, slow down there, college kid. I laughed and said that I was really thirsty. That would have been a smart response if I didn’t sound so timid and soft.
As the next hour went on, things start to loosen up, as per usual when alcohol is involved. I am sitting there, waiting upon responses where I could chime in and tell them of my vast experience in heavily drinking, a small startup I worked on in college, and navigating my way through business school.
Then, as we finish up dinner, we all switch to drinking bourbon. Good bourbon. This is a big switch from my passion for Keith Stone and Natty Light. So, I’m drinking with our national sales manager who is in his early 40s, a director of Jack Spade who is in his thirties, and our buyer from Texas who was about 26. We decide to go to a bar. I’m excited. First time out with a co-worker, client, and some other guy.
We are at a bar in the East Village. Really cool vibe, almost French with a wine cellar look. I start hitting on older women, thinking that would impress my associates. It worked. If only they knew what we were talking about. “How tall are you?” Whenever someone asks me, I respond with the same question; followed by “Do you play basketball?” Regardless, it was working. Fairly quickly however, I’m starting to feel buzzed. All of a sudden, my experienced background in light beer is not supporting all this tasty bourbon. I’m now pretty wasted. Two more bourbon on the rocks and it’s basically game over for me. At about 11:30, Brad and his older friend announce that they are going to leave. Brad says to meet him at the office at 10am tomorrow, and have a good time tonight. Pretty easy, right? The 26-year-old buyer (client) turns to me, and says, “I’m trying to get wild tonight.”
I look at him, smile, and say,
“You don’t know who your messin’ with, bro.”
We go across the street and start ripping Fireball shots. The last thing I remember is getting in a taxi with this buyer, and saying to the driver “TAKE US TO THE GIRLS.”
Now, I have pulled that before. And let me tell you, DO NOT DO THAT IN NEW YORK CITY. You will be dropped in some very weird places.
The good news is that we were fortunately dropped off somewhere in the meatpacking district. The bad news, however, is that I do not remember being dropped off.
It was midnight, and I was blacked out.
I “black in” at 4:30AM. I have a girl standing next to me. I had been what I refer to as “trolling” for the past four and a half hours. This is when you walk around, wasted, fishing for girls aimlessly. Hence, “city troll” refers to when you are blacked out wandering through the city, with no clear direction and fishing for girls. I somehow caught a girl, but have no idea whom she was or how I met her.
I get scared, since I have no idea who this is and thought I had been drugged. I walk away from the girl. That was my first mistake. I find a cab and take the $60 hit that it is to get back to Hoboken. As I’m waiting for the cab, I pull out my phone. It is off. I keep my debit card (only source of currency) in a case that holds my phone. Gone. Along with my license.
This is a young girl’s worst nightmare, as well as parents. I now have no way to get home across the river and I need to be at my office in five hours. I have no money or ID. So I walk to the subway. I hop the subway fence and get on a train north. Seems like a good call at 5am, right? I somehow manage to get off at 34th street. I walk to my office on 36th.
So I am an intern two weeks into trying to get a job that I really want, and I decided to black out with the retail store buyer who controls all of our Texas accounts. And now I’m going to sleep in my office, where there are cameras everywhere. I get to my building and realize I don’t have the key. Now the Sun is almost up and I realize my next best option is sleep on a bench. I feel like if you live in New York in your early twenties, everybody should have that experience of just walking in a big, empty and eerily quiet city at 5am, with the light shining on top of buildings. Just once.
I come up with a new idea at this point. There was a Hyatt across the street. I walk in, and asked how much for a room. $150. For my own safety, I decided to do the unthinkable for a young adult in his early twenties, and call my parents at 5:30 am. I sat in the business office of the Hyatt, called my house phone, and my dad picked up to a very warming “Are You Serious?” He was waking up in a half hour to play golf. My mom, being the wonderful saint that she is, immediately gives me her credit card number, I plug it in, and I get a room. I get to the room, and at 5:30 am, I am tucked into this great hotel room right across the street from my office, and I go to sleep for four hours.
I wake up at 9:30, walk across the street and call Brad to get me into the office. He said “nice, in the same clothes as last night I see.”
I said, “You have no idea.” You know when you say something and you know they cannot comprehend the magnitude of the phrase you just put out because of the experience you just had? That was definitely one of those.
Brad then said he received a text message from the buyer directed to me “do you remember jumping the fence?”
I then spent the next six hours setting up with Brad for the Capsule trade show. When the day ended, I traced my payment history on a computer to track down my debit card and license. I found it at the Standard Hotel’s beer garden.
As I walked away from that situation and charged my phone, I gave my parents a call and thanked them. I knew I hit a low point (trough) and it is not something you want to put your parents through, but they actually responded with “well, that was dumb, but since you booked the hotel room at 5am, you actually have the room for tonight as well since it is technically one night.”
I posted in my last entry the song “Things can only get Better”. This was one of those times.
Now, how can I spin this and relate it to Boast? I can definitely say this is an example of what not to do when meeting coworkers for the first time. Great first impression, right?
I can also say that sometimes you need a turning point. After that, I got my shit together. I knew I was in the doghouse with Brad and had to earn my way back. Now, we are close friends and work extremely well together.
I remember Instagramming the next day. I took a picture of the city from the top of the Standard. That place tends to attract numerous fedora wearing – elitist people (like on many NYC rooftops), but it does have a beautiful view.
When you are the underdog, it’s not the shit that happens. It’s how you respond to it. Same with a small business. We have competitors left and right, ten times bigger and more powerful. The fashion industry is over-saturated with people making you think you need to buy something to convey a certain message. I don’t believe in fashion. I believe in the lifestyle behind the idea, and how it makes you feel when you wear it. Don’t black out, but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. We believe in creating your own path. If you cross the line, earn your way back and fight. Being in the small business world is a constant fight. When you are in the ring and you get hit, don’t be afraid to get up and knock someone out.
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