The clipboard theory

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donut displayI’m a people watcher. I like to sit back and take the scene in, and watch what people do. Yes, I’m the weirdo who was watching you touch the doughnuts with your bare hands in the Flying J last week, you doughnut-toucher, you. Stop it. The wax paper is there for a reason. People eat those doughnuts and don’t want your butter gobs all over them.

It’s off subject, but clearly needed to be said.

Anyway, in my people watching I’ve come up with a few theories about mannerisms and accoutrements, and because I’m not only a people watcher — I’m also nosy enough to eavesdrop whenever humanly possible — I’ve found I’m pretty dead on in my assessments.

For some strange reason, people who carry clipboards around seem to have some sort of magic “clipboard authority” that allows them to be full-on jerks to other people, usually while they’re watching them work.

Case in point. I was watching a harried bartender at one of the bars at the Omni this past weekend, during the truck show. He actually inspired me to write about the servers and support staff, because he was dealing with a completely packed bar at 1:45 am, full of a trucking convention, Vikings football and Dirks Bentley fans, and he was doing a jam-up job of it. This guy had two bar backs and a clipboard guy behind him, and while they rocked the bar, the clipboard guy made notes and stood in the way a lot. I sincerely hope the notes were saying things like, “bar is full of smiling, happy people throwing thousands of green American dollars at our bar,” because that’s what was happening around him, in spite of his being in the way.

I’ve tended bar before. I know the rules and regs and I know clipboard guy is necessary, so don’t get me wrong when I finish this story – we’ve all got a job to do. But when the last drink was served and the money went into the till, it was 2:03 – and that’s a no-no. Clipboard guy, who during the 15 minutes I’ve been standing back, watching the scene unfold, has stood in the way of the bar back or bartender for a full 5 minutes, if not more, leans in and says something to the bartender. The bartender throws his hands up and walks off, and I felt for the guy, I really did. It sucks to do your best and still have the clipboards of the world hack you off at the knees.

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The second, and possibly most important observation, is this: if you see a female talking to someone, making that mesmerizing, side to side cobra-neck movement, do not walk towards her for any reason whatsoever. I don’t care how calm she looks, I don’t care if she’s smiling like Gandhi — if she’s doing the neck thing, she’s getting ready to slap the snot out of someone, and you don’t want to be within arm’s length.

Again, lesson learned at the truck show. (It was a very informative and interesting time at the Omni bar this year – we met a cowboy named Zombiekiller who stood in the fountain and screamed, “three-dollar-a-mile freight,” while visiting with Tony and Misty Justice. Once more off subject, but bears to be noted.)

Anyway, I won’t mention names, but I was standing back watching one of my dear friends talk to someone else. She was completely composed, smiling, and being lovely, like she always is, but she had a very perceptible cobra-neck going on. When she finished her conversation, she motioned for me to come over, and against my better judgment and gut estimation, I walked towards her.

“You OK?”

She latched on to my arm like a starving viper and hissed, “Hell no I’m not OK, I’m going to slap the you-know-what out of that bee if she touches my husband again.”

Friendship rules dictate a lengthy talk-down session when one of your buds makes a statement like this. So we walked inside to sit down and get a drink from our favorite bartender of the weekend, and there was this guy with a clipboard…

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