722. Imbibing a little too much

722drink

Twice in the past year there had been an office party to celebrate excellent business successes. Twice the big head sherang* had driven all the way from New York for the occasion. Twice Ivor had enjoyed the celebration drinks, and twice he had embarrassed himself by drinking too much whiskey. It wasn’t that he was a drunk; it’s simply that he enjoyed the occasion, for he was responsible by and large for the business successes they were celebrating.

But embarrassing! My goodness! If they ever had another celebration he would stick to lemonade.

And now the big boss from New York had phoned to make an appointment. Would Ivor mind driving to New York as there was a relatively serious matter that needed to be discussed. It was a personal matter. Ivor knew it was about his drinking. He just did.

All the way to New York in the car Ivor practised what he’d say. Yes, he could not deny it. Yes, he had imbibed too heartedly. Yes, it was his fault. Yes, it wouldn’t happen again. Yes, he was prepared to get help if needed, although he didn’t regard himself as an alcoholic as such. No, he didn’t believe he was in denial. Yes, sir, I agree with whatever you say.

The time had come for the interview. Ivor’s hands were sweaty. He’d forgotten everything he’d rehearsed in the car.

They were opening new offices in Baltimore, said the boss. Would he be interested in being in charge? It would mean uprooting to another city. It would mean a $70,000 annual pay increase.
Ivor went weak in the knees. Yes, he said. Yes, sir. Whatever you say.

Great, said the head sherang* reaching below his desk and pulling out a bottle of whiskey. Shall we celebrate?

* Since writing this I’ve learnt that the phrase “head sherang” is not well-known outside New Zealand and Australia. It simply means boss – the one way at the top. One probably wouldn’t usually refer to the manager of a local K-Mart store as the “head sherang”; K-Mart’s head sherang would be the person overall in charge of the entire chain.

52 thoughts on “722. Imbibing a little too much

  1. thecontentedcrafter

    Do you know Bruce I have never heard that expression before either………. it must be peculiar to particular areas of the country!

    I think your head sherang is testing him and Ivor would do well to remember his promise to himself – of course he won’t and it will all end in tears…… 🙂

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    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Gosh – I was going to say it might not be a South Island word, but you grew up in the North Island. I don’t know why I should know it! You’ll probably hear it everywhere now.

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            1. Bruce Goodman Post author

              Cynthia cottoned onto “shebang” as well! (Which just goes to show how world-wide one finds intelligence)! I see where “shebang” is a word of possible North American origin which in turn stems from French.

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  2. Oscar Alejandro Plascencia

    This reminds me of the TV show “Mad Men” about an advertising firm in 1960’s New York. Everybody drinks at the office, just to celebrate that everybody’s drinking at the office! And smoking and womanizing anything to climb the corporate ladder. So I’m certain Ivor accepts that whiskey. What I’m not certain about is that sherang. Definitely a made up word down under. Up here we say “exec” or “archon”.

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    1. Bruce Goodman Post author

      Sounds like “Mad Men” was definitely a true-to-life 1960s thing. Don’t know how Sherang would’ve made it here as apparently it’s derived from an Anglo-Indian word for boatswain. Then again, we are riddled with towns with Indian names – Miramar, Khandallah, Coromandel, Cashmere, Coonoor, Kirwee, Bombay; even Napier, Hastings and Clive are towns named after military people in India – so I guess sherang crept in that way!

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      1. Oscar Alejandro Plascencia

        You can definitely get addicted to Mad Men on Netflix. The series is over now so you can binge watch entire seasons at a time.

        Sherang’s origin sounds plausible. Probably a boatswain on a military ship got stranded many moons ago and started the whole thing.

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        1. Bruce Goodman Post author

          They THINK a Spanish ship may have wrecked on the shore many centuries ago (long before the arrival of the chronicled Europeans) as they possess a Spanish ship’s bell from a very long way back, and the black-skinned people of the area have red hair! So we might be related – presuming you have some Spanish blood!

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