Talking about my firm's mystery event and the comments a few of you left got me thinking about prior events over the years. I'll have been with the firm for 20 years in October, and when I began, it had been in existence for about three and a half years. Before I started, I was working a temp job at another law firm and I remember transcribing dictation summarizing the deposition testimony of a local legal secretary who had been at a social gathering with her office when the hot air balloon she was riding in came down and got tangled in some power lines before releasing and crashing down onto a fence. As a result, she injured her knee when she was thrown against the propane tank.
Yep, that was one of my firm's mystery events, and a few months later, I was working there.
At another event before I started with the firm, everyone was picked up by helicopters and whisked away to a winery.
For whatever reason, the events seemed to become a bit more tame after I came to work there. (Seriously, though, I'm really not at all disappointed to have missed out on the hot air balloon ride and the helicopter ride since I don't like to fly much.) Probably the coolest event was a couple years after I started when we all stayed at a small Art Deco hotel on the delta with a nine-hole golf course. When we arrived that Saturday, we had a few drinks and continued drinking on the golf course, playing golf in teams of four. Each team was given only one club. Did we care? Heck no! We were having too much fun! Later we changed into formal attire for dinner, ballroom dancing, and photographs. The next morning we gathered for brunch and then said goodbye before going home.
There were several years when I didn't attend due to other commitments. Quite often the events were scheduled for the same weekend as my guild's quilt show, and I'd already agreed to work at the shows. One of those years they had a safari-style drive through a wild animal preserve and then had lunch, games, and glider rides. Another time there was a trip to San Francisco for a scavenger hunt and a dinner cruise on the Bay. In fact, scavenger hunts have been the main activity a couple times--there was another one a few years ago in a historic foothill gold town about an hour outside of Sacramento. Then there was one year when they all did white water rafting.
Now that I think about it, although it seems like the events have become more and more tame each year, I guess that's not really true. Fairly recently, two employees got into a brawl and the firm had to let both of them go. Sometimes there's a very fine line between drinking and having fun and drinking and not having fun.
But aside from what's happened at the annual mystery events, there have been other noteworthy occurrences. Early on, one of our attorneys had chartered a small plane for an out of town legal appearance and the plane went down in a field. Luckily no one was badly hurt, and someone snapped a photo of our attorney walking out of the field, carrying his briefcase. Now we can laugh at that photo, but how frightening it must have been!
On another occasion, one of the attorneys I worked for, during his first month with the firm, had to drive to San Francisco for a legal appearance. About half way into his two-hour drive, a crane being used to repair a freeway overpass swung around the wrong way and crashed through the attorney's windshield. I still have a copy of the photo that appeared in a local newspaper of him strapped onto a gurney and being carried away from his car--you can clearly see the large hole in the shattered windshield.
Then there was the time we were having a problem with feral cats. We put out humane traps, and when we came to work the next morning, we found we'd caught two of them. Except they weren't cats--they were skunks! And we'd placed the traps right near the building's air intake vents. Boy, the office, us, and everything IN the office smelled bad for days!
I guess over the course of nearly 25 years, there are bound to be things that happen at any company, right? I fully expect that this Saturday's mystery event will be tons of fun and not overly dramatic. Tomorrow we'll get our T-shirts and possibly find out what we'll be doing this year--and I'll let you know, of course.