I arrived at the morning session with a bottle of apple juice I’d taken from the breakfast buffet. As I poured it during the opening remarks, the foam started to build, I realized despite the apple on the bottle label, I was having beer for breakfast. That was when they first asked me if I actually attended BYU.
I explained the mistake (honestly, do you know any beer labels with apples on them?) and deflected their questions. But when they opened the meeting with the school fight song and I was obviously making up the words, I was really busted.
I was asked to stay after the session to talk to the event directions, and once they confirmed that I never even attended BYU, I was told I’d have to reimburse the group for my hotel room and my airfare.
Through a series of protests, they realized it was their fault for not doing a background check and decided to pay for me anyway Although they were really disturbed to see my hotel bill included several movies (which I accidentally ordered because I couldn’t read the German instructions on the ordering menu).
The topper was when the perch I ate for lunch came back to haunt me during the evening session and I threw up in the middle of the keynote address causing the row in front of me and behind me to evacuate and listen to the rest of the session standing on the far side of the room. And everyone knew it was the Utah Ute who ruined the meeting.
Here’s what actually happened: I sat in a room for eight hours watching PowerPoint presentations.
I think I was hoping for an uncomfortable, but memorable David Sedaris-type experience. Instead, I learned that one-third of the BYU Management Society are not BYU alumni. And the keynote speaker from P&G not only announced himself as a “proud runnin’ Ute” who graduated from the University of Utah, but addressed the roomful of 120 attendees as “zoobies” (a derogatory term for BYU students that actually didn’t make sense to most of the European-educated crowd anyway).
So, great experience. And now I’m a full-on member of the BYU Management Society.
Never saw that one coming.