The “Wasserstein 2006 Reunion” was the kind of party you’d only want to attend if you were being paid to do so and lucky for me, I was. Cash bar, a bizarrely decorated alleyway type venue in midtown, and a Mariachi band: it had all the trappings of disaster. (Actually, that’s not fair; in the right setting, a Mariachi band can be a real crowd pleaser. Here, though, they just looked uncomfortable). A man who plunked down $26.5 million on an apartment, whose magazine (New York) is said to be losing money, who “should be embarrassed about his clumsy attempt to cash in on Carl Icahn’s failed take-over of Time Warner,” as reported by Vanity Fair, is in no position to be throwing a soiree, unless it’s the kind where guests are expected to bring canned goods and warm blankets from which the host can benefit. Unfortunately, I’d recently gone on strike regarding Graydon C.’s publication, after the assault on the senses that was Jane Sarkin’s “They’re Not Crazy, Everyone Else is Crazy, Sick, Even” Tom and “Kate” Cruise piece—truly, it’s a wonder I can still see, feel, smell, live—and having not read the elucidating sound bites beforehand, was unaware of what I was getting myself into.
Yes, I skipped out of work Thursday afternoon thinking happy thoughts like “open bar” and “nice décor” and “swing band,” only to be smacked in the face by heavy hand of reality upon my arrival at “Moda.” Oh how I thought about turning on my heels and saying “No, John, this is where I put my foot down. The balloon animals, the baby goats, the bookie named Snakes, all that I said yes to, but this is where I draw the line.” But I couldn’t, because I was being paid to go inside; and if I had to go inside, then damn it, I was going to take a friend in with me. But who? Such an event was only worthy of one kind of friend: the kind who still hadn’t been adequately punished for throwing up in his suitemate’s bed, say, two nights before graduation last May. Lucky for me, I had one such friend. So I made a call, waited outside kind of sketchily, and at 6:15, Pete and I braced ourselves for the worst, him more so, because he was doing this without compensation. But whatever the terms, we—me as the prostitute and he as the whore—were in this together for the long haul.
Peter Murphy: Bed-thrower-up-er and IB-fête-attending
extraordinaire (he was also kicked out of school for a
semester for accidentally shooting a fraternity brother
in the ankle with a BB gun sophomore year but that's
neither here nor there)
Hey, I am at this KICK ASS party, brosef. No, seriously, it makes
Soros's Square Dance look like child's play. I'm telling
you man, you don't want to miss this. Banking, Trading, Hi-Yield,
Equities-- they're all here! Even that chick from the 5th floor--
oh yeah, you know the one I'm talking about. Oh My God she's coming
this way, act like I'm saying something funny!
Him: So I say to him, someone didn't go to Wharton.
Her: Hahaha, oh my god, Jim, you are SO funny! You are
like the funniest guy I've ever met! Let's get married and
move to Greenwich and have three kids and name them
Sumner, Grayson and Cushing and I'll say good-bye to you
every morning dressed in my tennis clothes so it looks like
I'm about to go play tennis but really I'm just going to drive
to the club and then have sex with the tennis pro in the car
you bought me and then you'll come home and we'll drink
scotch and I won't ask about the extra-marital affair you're
having with your secretary and then we'll go to sleep and
do it all again the next day, what do you say, wouldn't that be
My buddy Rupert told me you'll take ten years off my life, what
do you have to say about that?
I just don't get it-- we worked on that big deal
together last month, why I can't call you brother?
FINALLY, someone we can relate to: this waitress
had no idea who the party was for.
This girl, on the other hand, knew exactly who
the party was for and did not take kindly to our
completely benign inquiry, "Who is this Wasserstein
fellow?" early in the evening. Twenty minutes later,
she tapped us on the shoulder and asked, "Don't I
know you from somewhere?" "Yes, we just met
twenty minutes ago, Barbara. Remember, we don't
know who Wasserstein is?" we reminded. "NO, NO,
NO, I know you from somewhere! Did we work
on a project together last month? We did, didn't we?!
We did, I know we did! Hey, take my picture! Wait,
let me make a funny face!" Twenty minutes after that,
we tapped her on the shoulder and asked if we knew
her from somewhere. She stared at us blankly and said
we'd never met.
I never realized this before but you two are kind of D-bags.
Look at me, I can't even disguise the digust on my face. Seriously,
you're repulsive. Although, actually, you do kind of look like
that guy from Rent, so that helps a little bit.
I've had a little training at this. Did some regional work
during B-school. I know, I know, looks effortless.
I don't know who I'm standing next to; these investment bankers
all look the same.
Bald Eagle: Hey, you there. Shh, shh, don't draw attention. Come closer.
Closer. Closer. Closer. Take me with you. I've got
gas money. I'm begging you. Please.
Sorry, buddy, no can do. It's time for me to clock out
and for Pete to go home and throw up-- in his own bed.