How I Wrecked a Famous Comedian’s Car
I was the worst assistant in the history of Hollywood. Others may think they can claim that title. Others are wrong.
My boss was the real deal in TV. He was an Emmy winner, Directors Guild Award winner, Peabody winner–and forty years later, he still holds the record for the highest rated documentary ever broadcast on network television.
My duties were simple: answer the phone, type letters, fax and file things, and when I had time, read the scripts literary agencies sent over and write reports on them.
While I was good at the report writing stuff, I was bad at everything else. Take the phone. Please. The one on my desk was from the future. It’s the only explanation. No one, even the resident know-it-all (whom I’ll call Stan, since that was his name), had ever seen a phone like this before, and no one knew how to use it, everyone just poking at it, the way I imagine Australopithecus might have poked at some shiny jetsam dropped to Earth from an alien spacecraft.
I’m only exaggerating a little to say that the phone had two-hundred buttons to choose from, and judging by all the weird symbols on a lot of those buttons (something that looked like a lightning bolt; a nearly completed circle with antennae legs; something that looked like a discreet unit of a seismograph readout), it’s possible that the phone not only came from the future, but from future aliens.
There were no instructions found. So by trial and a LOT of error I learned how to:
a) answer this phone;
b) put someone on hold;
c) hang the phone up.
I never learned how to
d) forward a call;
e) conference someone in;
f) check for messages from a remote location.
Only because my boss also couldn’t figure out how to use the phone was it okay that I usually had to shout for him to come to my phone so he could speak to whoever was (successfully) on hold.
Meantime, this boss of mine had very few hard and fast rules, which let even an ignoramus like me know that if that were the case, it must mean that the rules he did have were very big deals for him.
And maybe the biggest rule–and so we get to the story proper–is that when he was in a closed-door meeting, I was not to be away from my desk, so that the phone could be answered.
Fine. Got it. And all went well until the day Mr. Famous Comedian came to our offices to discuss his hosting a pilot we were producing.
End of Part One