Monday, November 9, 2015

Youth Brigade – "It's Not My Fault" (1996)

I can't say who's fault it was 
But I'm sure that it's not me 

Mickey Rivers was the centerfielder and leadoff hitter for the “Bronx Zoo” Yankees teams that won the 1977 and 1978 World Series.  

Here’s a quote that’s attributed to Mickey, who was a real character:

Ain't no sense worrying.  If you have no control over something, ain't no sense worrying about it – you have no control over it anyway.  If you do have control, why worry?  So either way, there ain't no sense worrying."

That actually makes a lot of sense if you think about it . . . doesn't it?

Unlike Mickey Rivers, I worry a lot.  I worry mostly about things I have no control over.  That’s why I prefer to take care of things myself instead of relying on other people to take care of them.  

Just because something isn’t your fault is no guarantee that you won’t get blamed for it.  You often have to pay the price when someone else screws up.  I figure if I’m going to be held responsible for how something turns out, I’d rather do it myself than trust it to someone else.  

My daughter Sarah works as an event planner for a large company that puts on trade shows and technical conferences at convention centers or large hotels around the country.

I can’t imagine doing her job.  The amount of planning required to put on a successful trade show is mind-boggling.  No matter how good a job the event planner does, there are always last-minute snafus that have to be handled on the fly.  

Those snafus usually aren’t the event planner’s fault . . . but they are always the event planner’s responsibility.  The buck usually stops there.

The last show that Sarah handled took place at a large and well-known Las Vegas hotel – the kind of place that hosts dozens of big trade shows each year.

Sarah got up at the crack of dawn the day before the event opened to meet with a dozen or so of the hotel’s department heads and make sure that everything was good to go for the conference.

But in the middle of that meeting she got a panicked text from a young woman who worked for her.

I’ll let Sarah tell the story:

In case you were wondering what being a conference planner really is like, here is the adventure I had at my last conference.  

One of the biggest exhibits at that conference was housed in a 70-foot-long trailer.  It was basically an enormous mobile kitchen that could be used to put on cooking demonstrations at trade shows and outdoor events.  

I spent hours confirming the measurements of the truck with the exhibitor and with the hotel to make sure it would fit into the hotel’s exhibit hall.  

The truck had to be the first thing into our exhibition space on Sunday, so we scheduled it to move in at 6 A.M.  But it broke down on its way to the hotel, and arrived three hours late.  

When the truck finally showed up at the hotel, I got some very bad news . . . the truck would NOT fit through the exhibit hall entrance.  

I had confirmed the exact dimensions of the truck and trailer and the hotel doors several times, and we should have had plenty of space.  But the CAD (“computer-aided design”) drawings the hotel had provided were wrong – the door opening was six inches narrower than the drawings indicated.

Also, the truck dimensions I had been given were off – the trailer was actually seven inches wider than I had been told.  The bottom line was that it wouldn’t fit through the doors.

I had to tell the owner of the truck, who had spent $30,000 on a sponsorship plus thousands more to get the truck driven across the country, that we might not be able to get it into the exhibit space.  


He wasn’t the only one who was upset.  All of our other exhibitors were waiting to move in and set up, and they were getting unhappy, too. 

One of the hotel employees pulled out a laser measuring tape, and we started making measurement.  It looked like that if we removed the exhibit hall doors, we could get the truck in – with clearance of about half an inch on either side.

The doors weighed about 600 pounds each.  Because it was Sunday, none of the hotel staff who might have been able to take the doors off were working.  Finally, I called the general manager of the hotel, who was at his wife's 50th birthday party.  I insisted that he call in his people and get the doors taken off.  

After a lot of discussion, the hotel finally removed the doors and we got the truck in.  There was a large  crowd watching by that time, and they all clapped and cheered when the driver managed to squeeze through the opening.  

Don’t you just love a happy ending?

I'm in awe of the way Sarah was able to take care of this situation.  And I was struck by how cool, calm, and collected she was when she told me the story – she made it sound like it was all in a day's work.  (I'll never complain to her about my job again.)

Youth Brigade is a Los Angeles punk band that was formed by brothers Mark, Adam, and Shawn Stern in 1980.  (Don’t confuse that Youth Brigade with the Washington, DC Youth Brigade, a “harDCore” punk band that formed at about the same time.)  

“It’s Not My Fault” is the first track on their 1996 album, To Sell the Truth.

Click below to buy the song from Amazon:

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