Each year for work, my office plans and hosts an annual convention. It's gigantic, not when you consider the size of the attendee list, but when you take into account that we use very few paid workers, there are only seven full time people working in the office, and we each have committee chairs, presentations, and politicking business as part of our everyday jobs to accomplish while we are there - which is a very full workload until itself, not to mention the stuff we have to do to keep the conference running.

To deal with the pressure, we use humor - because apparently someone decided it was not appropriate to lie on the floor kicking and screaming in front of the registration desk. Each year there is a list of phrases and events that will go down in infamy and be told and retold. This year, we started the list even before we traveled to the conference location. Not all of these are my direct experiences; some of my colleagues contributed to this list. I will, however, withhold the names to protect the innocent.

You know it's conference time when...
  • You've awakened at 3:00 am every day for a week, but you still haven't seen a sunrise.
  • You pack your two year old's baby toothbrush instead of an adult one and have been using it for four days. But you only realize this after the fourth day.
  • You look through the program to see if they have mislabled your credentials because so many barely-more-than-strangers have come to you for marital and psychological advice.
  • You are so brain dead that the most witty and cerebral thing you can add to a conversation is "That's da bomb.com" ...yet your colleagues are so similarly affected that they think it's hilarious.
  • You walk around with a $20,000.00 check in your pocket all day because you're afraid if you put it "somewhere safe," you'll forget where that "somewhere safe" is.
  • You subsist on free granola bars and hotel mints because you spent all your per diem on clothes before you got here.
  • You come into your hotel room to find your freshly made bed with a letter bearing your name on the front. It turns out to be from the transportation manager explaining your departure plans and ride to the airport, but before you open it, all you can think of is "CRAP. WHAT AM I IN TROUBLE FOR NOW?"
  • You drop two Alka-Seltzer in a glass, promptly forget that fact and then think you're hearing things because you can't figure out where that bubbling noise is coming from.
  • You travel a bit too much & never put away your quart ziplock bag of airplane/travel compliant liquids or your roller bag suitcase from the trip you made last month.
  • You never put away your ziploc thingies from last year's conference travel bag.
  • You not only put your undies on wrong but you put on two different colored socks.
  • You would rather drink the margarita fixins prepared for the silent auction basket rather than actually deliver the basket to the donation location.
  • When you hear the accompanist for the soloist at the opening night concert has to cancel, you suggest kitchen band accompaniment instead.
  • You miss your husband and children, sure, but what you're really longing to see again is a televsion channel that doesn't have constant Roseann reruns on it.
  • You consider writing a book of conference tips and tip #1 is: to avoid embarrassment at a professional conference, when you register yourself on-line, don't put "studmuffin" in the nickname or first name as you would like it to appear on your name badge field.
  • Tip #2: when trying to motivate volunteers, avoid phrases like, "If you're just standing around, you can leave." Try instead what you really mean, which is, "If you've completed all the tasks I assigned you, I don't have anything more for you to do. So you can go and enjoy some of the conference now. Thank you for your willingness to help." (at least I hope that was the intended message)
  • In a discussion about technology and the profession, when your colleage asks, "Does anyone have a Wii?" you think she said, "Does anyone have any weed?" and you aren't the least bit surprised or concerned.