A few years back I was the copywriter on a team that was working on an ad campaign for a huge national organization. We were in a meeting one day with one of the higher-ups in the organization—the Director of Marketing, I think it was. In any case, he was high enough up to fire us if he wanted to, and he was talking like he wanted to. He was chewing us up one side and down the other.

He took a quick bathroom break, leaving us at the table to give each other significant, raised-eyebrow looks.

When he came back to the table, the tirade picked up where it had left off. But from where I was sitting, I could see the man’s shoes. Black wingtips, glistening with drops of overspray from his peeing.

I felt ever so much better. Nothing he could say could hurt me. I wasn’t the one who had peed on my shoes.

Jonathan Rogers is the author of The Terrible Speed of Mercy, one of the finest biographies of Flannery O’Connor we've ever read. His other books include the Wilderking Trilogy–The Bark of the Bog Owl, The Secret of the Swamp King, and The Way of the Wilderking–as well as The World According to Narnia and a biography of Saint Patrick. He has spent most of his adult life in Nashville, Tennessee, where he and his wife Lou Alice are raising a houseful of robustious children.


  1. Tony Heringer

    Too funny! Blowhards like this usually give us all a reason to smile at some point.

  2. Matthew Benefiel

    Jonathan Rogers sat in the quiet conference room. The Director of Marketing had just left to relieve himself and the impact he had made on the room was looming. He might as well had looked each one of them in the eye and said: “Your Fired!” Everyone was tired, irritable, and no one had the energy to even talk. Jonathan barely got a sigh out when the Director returned.
    On and on went the talk, but the mind couldn’t comprehend anymore. Suddenly Jonathan noticed the Director’s shoes, all spit and polish, yet drops marred the surface of those rich man’s wingtips. A big grin spread across Jonathan’s face as he realized all this fretting was for naught, because no matter what this man did to him, Jonathan was not the one with pee on his shoes. Life was good once again.
    “Mr. Rogers! Would you care to share with the group why you have that dumb grin on your face?”
    “Why yes sir! I just couldn’t help but notice your shoes were wet…

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