Locus Stinkalium at Caesar's Palace

Stench and professionalism are never a happy couple. And let me tell you why.

Years ago, at a former job, our company was holding a user conference at Caesar’s Palace in Vegas.

As manager of the marketing department, I went to oversee the event. But mainly I wanted to give an extra hand to our event coordinator who was, and still is, a good friend of mine. We’ll call her Debbie. (Regular readers of this blog might remember Debbie as the one injured by a family of crazed Butt Scoochers in line at Epcot.)

Well, Debbie’s an amazing planner. So she'd lined up all sorts of excitement for the folks coming to the conference. There were two days of heavy-duty technical sessions filled with blah… and yawn… and blah some more…

The techies crowd would be in their GLORY.

But the big fun involved some client events in the evening. One of which, on the second night, was a special PG-rated Bacchanalia, featuring a multi-course dinner, wine bar, magic acts, and two enthusiastic belly-dancers.

Wine would flow like... well... wine.

As a teaser, and a way for the restaurant folks to distinguish members of our group from the rest of their guests, the hotel had given Debbie a bunch of these Roman coin pendants, and cords to tie them to. This ended up being just ONE of the last-minute things that needed to be assembled there at the hotel prior to the event.

So Debbie and I gathered in one of the conference rooms and, divvying the stack in two, we began assembling these pendants. We were pressed for time, and just plowed through it. Then went to our separate rooms to change before the first guests stepped through the threshold to two days of technology nerd-vana.

I should note that Debbie gave me MY pendant, just to have on hand.

So, I went back to my room, freshened up, put the pendant aside for the next evening's big bash, and headed back down for the client meet-and-greet.

But the one thing I began to notice as I was handing out agendas was that-- and there is just no polite way of saying it--

My hands reeked like Satan’s bottom.

I mean, I had showered. I had scrubbed, and I was absolutely mystified at what I could have gotten into.

I looked at the soles of my shoes—nothing.

I tried to covertly check my suit—nothing.

But a sniff of the hand and it was like I’d tried molding clay pottery from dog poo. And not any dog poo, mind you. Poo from a large mutant, four-stomached dog, with poor dietary habits. One who enjoyed beans, rancid cheeses, and the poo of other large, mutant, four-stomached dogs.

I just couldn’t fathom what had happened.

Worse was, washing my hands seemed to do very little to help the matter. I know, because I tried it several times. I was one step away from using sandpaper and an electric floor buffer, only I thought I might miss the skin.

In fact, I was beginning to think the stink was radiating from the inside out—through the pores, you know. Which was disturbing because part of my job was to orient the clients, and here I couldn’t even pinpoint the Origin of Stink.

Locus Stinkalium, I think the Romans would have called the process.

But that evening, it wasn't to be.

Now I don't perceive the clients noticed, or if they did, they were polite enough not to tell one of their hostesses her stench was comparable to that of a deceased, decomposing camel at high noon. So, the cocktail party went on as planned, and everyone retired to their rooms to prepare for the next day's sessions.

In the morning I rose, took another shower and greeted the day with renewed optimism and soap. Sequential hand-washings and a good, long hot shower seemed to have helped the stink say sayonara.

Now fast-forward to right before the big Bacchanalia event. The sessions concluded, and I had an hour to change, reconnoiter, and Pied Piper the clients to the proper room. I tossed on a saucy little number I'd saved for the occasion, accessorized with my pendant, and headed downstairs. There I met Debbie, and I just went to brush a lock of hair from my brow when---

Good gad! Satan's bottom again!

But nooo, I thought, it couldn't be!...

And such was my disbelief, I thought that if I could just subtley check and make sure...

Debbie saw me sniff my hand.

"You too!" she shouted, bouncing up and down on her heels like a spring lamb delighted at life. "You smell it, too! It's the medallions! The medallions! Thank God! I spent two days thinking it was me!" And she finished with a few steps of a jig.

Here, I admitted how I'd been sufficiently embarrassed by the smell that I'd been loathe to even mention it. I was, to be honest, beginning to think it was some fluctuating gland condition brought on by lengthy air travel.

Of course 60 pendants which reeked of mutant dog-poo had already been thoroughly distributed to our clan and were-- for the length of the evening-- going to be around the necks of our very best, most appreciated clients.

There was nothing, at this point, to be done. We'd only have caused a big stink about distributing necklaces that... cause a big stink.

But in retrospect, it is a testament to Debbie's fine hostessing, the hotel's fine food, and the power of gallons of fine wine, that the customers delighted in the wonders of Bacchus without so much as a whiff of the ill winds that surrounded us.

Hail Caesar!

A big thanks to Alice of Honey Pie and her smelly sneakers story for reminding me my own tale o' stench.

Humor-blogs are pine-scented.


Alice said...

Thanks for the shout out, but thanks even more for a great Vegas story. I LOVE that town!

Did you ever let Caesar's know that they had stinky coins? I have always had the BEST customer service at all the hotels I've ever stayed at out there (even being the extreme low roller that I am) and no doubt they would have fixed the situation.

Jenn Thorson said...

Alice- I'm sure they would have, and to be honest, I don't recall whether we told them anything about it or not. I'll have to ask Debbie and see if she remembers.

It took us so long to realize it was the coins that were what was amiss, it's really hard to say.

I still have mine somewhere as a funny, stinky souvenir.

Da Old Man said...

Did you ever find out what were composed of? Being in Vegas, they could have been imbued with the souls of the Legions of Beelzebub himself.

Jenn Thorson said...

Joe- I don't know if it was the metal of the disks, the coating ON the disks or the strings they were tied with. But ol' Beelzebub would have had a hearty laugh, no matter what the case. :)


Drowsey Monkey said...

Ahahaha... 'radiating from the inside out..' lol

omg...too funny :D

Gorilla Bananas said...

My initial thought was that some poo had somehow got underneath your fingernails. Those pendants need a good soaking in bleach!

Jenn Thorson said...

Drowsey- It's funny how past trauma somehow makes good posts years later. :)

Gorilla Bananas- I can see where a gorilla might think along those lines. :) But we do try really hard to practice proper hygiene here at "Of Cabbages and Kings." :)

And yep, bleach... Lysol... the whole she-bang! The more, the better.

Greg said...

"Satan's bottom"!!!!

Great goddess, I'm dying from laughter here...I hope you've got the dreaded filthy thing in a sealed in an airtight lucite case, otherwise the next time you think of them will be because of the stench gently wafting from your storage.

But hey, great way to help attendees of the conference find one another in a crowd...!!

Jenn Thorson said...

Greg- I actually think I have it in "The Side of the Jewelry Armoire I Don't Go Into."

I hadn't thought of them being effective as group homing devices, though... Now that would have been helpful!

Tiggy said...

One of those pendants would make a great Christmas gift for an unpleasant Aunt or despised work colleague.

Jenn Thorson said...

Tiggy-- Now THERE's another good idea! I will have to go home tonight and see the level of stink it's still perpetuating. :)

Sujatha said...


Now I see what I have been missing by not accompanying Sundar to the A-L conferences in Las Vegas. Grrrrrr... wait till I get my hands on him!!

Jenn Thorson said...

Sujatha- Ha, this might very well be the first Domestic Situation caused directly by "Of Cabbages and Kings." :)

Truthfully, the belly-dancer thing was very tame-- definitely G or PG rated. You don't need to worry about Sundar. :)

You might ask him, however, if he recalls any very strange smells as a result of those necklaces.