by Kelly Cordes
[Parking lot Limbo. Photo: Kelly Cordes]
"It's gonna be a bloodbath!"
The words rocked me back to my mullet years in the 80s, back in high school, central Pennsylvania. "Oh my," Mean Gene would usually add. I'm talking about Mean Gene Okerlund, the rounded, balding, deadpan serious WWF announcer. As you know, WWF would later become WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment, rather than Federation), and things would never be the same. It's when rasslin' lost its soul, became all about the money and show instead of love of the sport. As a former diehard professional wrestling fan (today I can no longer bear witness to the charade it has become), I feel qualified in my assessment, and not just because of my mullet – I attended multiple events live. Like Mean Gene, I kept it real. I once shook the massive hand of Andre the Giant (RIP), got the Junkyard Dog's autograph in a bar, got spit on by one of the Samoans, and chased by George the Animal Steele (at the shows in Altoona, Pennsylvania, they sometimes eschewed fan restraints, unthinkable as it seems given the IQ and behavioral tendencies of most [emphasis mine] 'rasslin fans). Anyway, when Mean Gene talked bloodbaths, he usually spoke of an upcoming steel cage match, as in, "This Saturday night, at the West Virginia state fairgrounds, Superfly Snuka and Rowdy Roddy Piper, in the steel cage! It's gonna be a bloodbath, ladies and gentlemen!" Oops, almost forgot: "Oh my."
"Dude, there's gonna be Gremlins swinging from the rafters," Josh said next, snapping me out of my 1986 nostalgia. Josh Nielsen, who manages Patagonia's ambassador team (not unlike herding cats), was telling me about the upcoming all-company Halloween party.
And though he dropped the bloodbath line, I have no idea where he got it, because, he insisted with a condescending snort when I asked, he has never been a devotee of bigtime rasslin'. Weird. Anyway, this was last week and I was in town for Patagonia's global sales meeting, which is when I see the new products (some of which I tested or had input on), which I then write about, since I'm one of the cheeseballs professionals who writes the beautiful, put the reader there, catalog copy. (Except for the bad copy blocks – somebody else wrote those.)
I mostly work from home, or wherever I am with my laptop, so I don’t know much about company meetings. But here's what I remember from the Halloween party:
• It started with a nice social gathering in the Patagonia parking lot, with incredible gourmet food. The music began at dusk, followed soon by the limbo stick. Sound like a scene from The Office? Oh, I forgot to mention: open bar. With only one brand of tequila: Patron. Patagonia and me, we were meant to be.
[Real or fake? Photo: Kelly Cordes]
Anyway, in my book the 80s never died, Mean Gene forever lives, and Patron never goes out of style. Have a great Halloween weekend, be smart, and beware the gremlins. Oh my.
[Random, obligatory climbing photo. Photo: Kelly Cordes]