When I was 20, back in 2000, the man I would marry (let’s call him Shmanny) worked for a tech company in Tucson. Now, for all those boys and girls who don’t know, 2000 was the height of the tech bubble. And even those of you familiar with tech bros, and have seen many a Teva wearing, cargo short sporting dude high five another dude while playing shoot-em-up games, would be appalled at the state of these men. The hair situations alone. But I digress.
So, money was flowing like IPAs at a backyard barbecue in these days. And people spent money on stupid stuff. Like entire chairs that had joysticks and shook when you played Halo or Goldeneye. Or wine they could not begin to appreciate. Or BMWs with an extra coat of paint. Or a fucking cannon that had to be kept at the National Guard armory. And, of course, strippers and blow.
I remember this time when I met Schmanny in NYC when he was in town for an Apple convention at the Javits Center. I was dressed like Eurotrash. I had blue hair, a blue shirt, blue silk cargo capris with elastic cables all over them and blue space Sketchers. Schmanny was wearing his usual black T-shirt and jean shorts. His boss Ralph had a creepy ponytail that they intellectual bad guy in every tech movie sports. And then there was this IT guy who we’ll just describe as Horatio Sanz. We looked like extras for the cantina scene on Tatooine. It was not pretty. And we were in a taxi on our way to Peter Luger…without a reservation.
We were summarily turned away of course. I knew it would happen. One look at the many black Suburbans with drivers outside and I knew there was no way in Hell that we were getting in there looking the way we did. We ended up eating at Smith and Wolensky, spending $600 just to throw money around on subpar steaks and fucking merlot that these uneducated idiots drank just because merlot was fashionable at the time.
But here’s what I really wanted to talk about. And that is singing telegrams. Because someone ordered one to a party at Ralph’s house. It was incredibly awkward. A giant cow. Or rather, a human being who needed to work and thus chose an gig as a singing cow. It was awful.
So, of course, next party at Ralph’s, someone ordered the cow again. Money just thrown at a human being to make things awkward and perpetuate and unfunny inside joke. Because, when you have money, people can be bought and sold like chattel, or in this case, cattle.
The bubble burst, as bubbles are wont to do. And all of them lost their money and all their little goodies. Even the cannon. That guy, who came from old money (and by that I mean AOL stock before it was a thing), ending up working at the bowling alley the company used to rent out (basically). Jobs disappeared. Credit scores plummeted. Reputations tarnished. Those were rough times.
I never found out who the guy in the cow suit was. But I bet he never fell from so high a place as these dudes in cargo shorts and Tevas. So whenever I am amongst the rich and powerful, I think of those guys, throwing money at some poor schlub in a costume. They are only high and mighty today. Tomorrow, the shoe might be on the foot. Or hoof, as it were.