I'm lucky enough to work at an educational institution where the president cares about what I - and everyone else who works here - is doing.
That manifests itself in a number of ways for RRC staff, the best being that you are automatically entered into a draw every month to have Breakfast with the President - an opportunity to join Jeff Zabudsky for breakfast at the college during the school year.
As it says on the college's website:
"The breakfasts let staff informally talk to the president and share ideas about the college with their fellow employees. Participants are selected randomly by Human Resource Services so eventually every employee at the college will receive an invitation."Hey, I love breakfast. And I like talking with presidents. That's me, they're talking about. Sign me up!
The waiting is the hardest part
Knowing that it would only be a matter of time until I was selected, I put on my fanciest shirt, tie, and jacket and waited. And waited. And watched as every person I work with got invited. And watched as every person I don't work with got invited.
I eventually removed the jacket. And the shirt. But I still kept waiting. Shirtless and shirked.
"Surely, my time will come," I said to no one as I sat in my cubicle at 6 p.m. on a Friday, hitting "refresh" on my email, hoping that an invitation would suddenly appear. Nothing.
Last year, I attended a speech by Zabudsky at an IABC luncheon at the Winnipeg Convention Centre. As always, Jeff gave a great presentation about the college's "people plan," but I could feel myself getting a little warm as he came to the part of the speech where he spoke about Breakfast with the President.
"Kenton, have you been to Breakfast with the President?" he asked in front of everyone.
"I've never been invited (long pause) for some reason," I said, to the delight of everyone around me, who seemed well aware of why I might not be invited to something called "Breakfast with the President."
I am Susan Lucci
After the luncheon, I waited some more. I put my shirt back on. Still no invite.
And that's when I started defining myself as "the guy who will never be invited to Breakfast with the President," much like Susan Lucci once did with the Daytime Emmy.
Lucci was nominated 21 times for playing Erica Kane on All My Children, and parlayed it into a publicity campaign that lasted for 21 years, until she finally won an Emmy and everyone stopped caring about her.
So whenever one of my colleagues got invited to Breakfast with the President, and they'd ask me if I'd ever been, and I'd just say, "No, I'm...the guy who never gets invited to Breakfast with the President!" They seemed to get a kick out of it, so I kept up the shtick.
People started to know me by my moniker. Statues were erected in my honor. Children took a day off of school once a month to honor my plight. Grown men wept at my tale of woe.
I was happy in my misery. Until I noticed that my colleagues were starting to go for Breakfast with the President - for a SECOND time.
"Nooooooo!" my voiceover yelled over a long shot of planet Earth.
Enough with the ironic detachment. I knew it was time to appeal to the one higher authority who could do something about my problem, and that was the president himself.
So, a couple of weeks ago, after an unrelated meeting (NOT breakfast), I couldn't hold it in any longer: "Yeah, about this so-called Breakfast with the President..."
And the president himself listened politely and chuckled as I explained my hard-luck story to him and subtly insinuated that I would be a delightful addition to an upcoming breakfast.
"I would be a delightful addition," I sobbed.
His response: "I look forward to seeing you at Breakfast with the President (long pause) someday."
So, we had a laugh, I went home for the weekend, rested my head upon my pillow, and enjoyed the sweet sleep of the just.
After getting all of that sweet sleep, I felt much better. Until I found out that another couple of my colleagues had just been called up for a second Breakfast with the President - one of whom was at the meeting where I complained about not being invited to Breakfast with the President.
"This is beyond the pale!" I shouted at her smiling face.
So I hatched my plan. I would go to Breakfast with the President anyway, uninvited. I would crash that party today in W411 at 8 a.m., and no one could stop me.
I figured I'd walk in and say something clever, like, "So, this is what Breakfast with the President looks like." Then, I would surely be invited to sit down, eat a bagel, and shut up. Luxury!
Everything was going to plan until I got this mysterious note on my desk:
"It's cute how you think I'm listening to you," says the letterhead, next to a cartoon rabbit listening to an iPod. How does a rabbit afford an iPod anyway?
"You might find this ironic," it continues. "The president's breakfast is cancelled for Thursday. Jeff "injured his ankle last night."
A legitimate injury, or a clever ruse to throw me off of the scent of bacon, eggs, hash browns, and coffee? And what did those quotation marks around "injured his ankle" mean? Hmmmmm.
I'm afraid that I may never find out. But that won't stop me from continuing to search for that elusive invitation in my junk folder, sent items, drop box, mail box, inbox, farmhouse, warehouse, hen house, outhouse, and dog house.
Until that day comes, I'll be the guy at Tim Hortons, staring forlornly out the window as I eat my bagel, imagining what it would taste like at the Breakfast with the President. I don't know for sure, but I imagine it would taste something like...victory!
Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club