During one of my stints as a respectable wage earner in Corporate America, I worked for a massive company that paid massive amounts of money for a luxury suite in a baseball stadium of some repute. The decision makers in my department, for whom I will always be grateful, thought it would be nice to reward employees with an evening in this suite. More importantly, they were willing to go through the necessary channels to make it happen. Human sacrifice may or may not have been involved.
At the appointed date and time, we arrived at the suite, which was fronted by a locked door and its accompanying security guard, who presumably spent most of his evenings protecting important executive types from folks like us. Tonight, however, we brandished tickets that proved we belonged, and so he simply smiled, stepped aside, and let us in.
A chorus of angels greeted us upon our entry into the suite, which was partitioned into several sections. Each had its own set of dishes to go with an extravagant food spread—shrimp cocktail, fancy meats and cheeses, stuffed olives, and anything you'd ever want to slap on a cracker—delivered by our very own catering crew.
Those who preferred to “slum it” could simply help themselves to a bottomless pit of hamburgers and hot dogs complete with all the fixings. Like Petrossian caviar, probably.
There were plush chairs and sofas that provided more comfort than my bed at home (I was tempted to hide in a closet as everyone was leaving so I could spend the night there), flat-screen TVs, and a refrigerator stocked with fine craft beer and lesser beverages (water, soda, macro brew).
The polished marble floor was emblazoned with a prominent logo of our company, a gentle reminder of who was paying the bills here.
There was a private restroom.
After their initial setup, the caterers left us alone with our food and beer. They periodically reappeared throughout the evening to make sure we had everything we needed, for values of “need” appropriate to people accustomed to living in opulence. I'm not sure, but the restroom may have had a shower where we could bathe ourselves in Dom Perignon.
At the other end of the suite, opposite the front door and its accompanying security guard, was an opening onto a private outdoor seating area, where those interested in watching the game could do so. As first pitch approached, my co-workers slowly filtered out into the seats.
Knowing that I write about baseball, they wanted to hear my thoughts on the game. My priorities were a little different.
“Who's good on our team?”
“Nobody. Hey, there's more beer in the fridge!”
I popped my head outside every once in a while to be sociable—I had the good fortune of working with some very cool people, so this required no great effort on my part—but mostly stayed inside and ignored the on-field action.
“Why aren't you watching the game?”
“Uh, there's still food left.”
“But you like baseball.”
“I also like this spread. Baseball will still be here tomorrow, this spread won't.”
My logic was unassailable. Living like a king for a night was a one-shot deal with no encore.
My recollection of the game runs roughly as follows: Two teams played, and one of them won. Other things probably happened, some perhaps even worth mentioning.
The evening's highlight came during the middle innings, when a dessert cart arrived. There were many fine choices, but the finest was chocolate molded into the shape of shot glasses and filled with one of four liqueurs. We were each allowed to take two. (Only two! Oh, the humanity!)
We literally had our shots and ate them, too.
Outside, baseball was taking place, as it tends to do at a ballpark. Every now and then a co-worker would look to me for insight.
“When that guy did that thing at second base, what was going on there?”
“Good question. My understanding is that I was eating prosciutto and Havarti.”
Probably not the insight they were looking for.
This was all many years ago. I still can't believe it: the private restroom, the food and beer, the fact that we only got to take two shot glasses. Don't they know who I am?
Maybe that was the problem. They did know who I was. I was king for a night, only playing at a dream life others live. Still, I have no regrets. Well, maybe one: I never got to bathe myself in Dom Perignon. That will haunt me the rest of my days.
Geoff Young is a writer who decided to stick to the bleachers. You should follow him on Twitter.