I remember where I was when Cardiolite was approved by the FDA in December, 1990.
It was a voicemail from Sue Nemetz while I was having lunch with a customer, and she said the Cardiolite approval would be the biggest thing in nuclear cardiology.
And it was.
To kick this puppy off, Ken Kasses announced that the next National Sales Meeting would be held at the Hyatt Regency on the island of Kona, Hawaii.
They spared no expense. It was incredible. The towels were so fluffy, I could hardly close my suitcase. 🙂
Back then, sales skits were in vogue, and they were both feared and loathed by salespeople.
If you didn’t know what you were talking about, it would sure as shit show up on that sound stage for everyone to see.
Surely, a career limiting move for someone like me.
Districts had to team up to perform challenging sales scenarios on stage at sales meetings.
Cringeworthy is a perfect description of this mostly embarrassing ritual.
Kona would turn to be different, as we will see.
Even though we hadn’t been selling Cardiolite yet, we were charged with presenting skits that would help us overcome initial reluctance to switching from Thallium 201.
The Western District, of which yours truly was a member, chose “Cardiolite On Trial.”
This was during the Clarence Thomas senate approval hearings.
All districts were assigned to large suites in the morning, and were expected to hit the stage with a skit that afternoon.
I wish I had a recording of what went on that room.
I took the team to a new level of raunch, and tears flowed freely down everyone’s face.
When we realized we wanted to fly home still employed, we decided to tone it down. A lot.
When me, Steve Epstein, Rick Graham, Mike Komosinsky, Gwenn Hays, George Glatcz and Mike Levesque, previewed our (toned down) presentation for the only sane person in the room, Debbie Elliot, she said without a scintilla of reluctance “You can’t do this. Are you crazy?”
But…it was too late.
We took the stage at 2:00 pm still buzzing from all that Kona coffee and the rest is history.
I was dressed as a judge and directed most of the dialogue. Any lines I forgot, I improvised. This has always gotten me into trouble.
The jokes went out like depth charges. The sequence was: Line, silence, gasp, roaring laughter. Line, silence, gasp, roaring laughter.
We were on a massive sound stage and were blinded by klieg lights, but we could hear the rolling thunder in the audience.
The loudest laughter came from our very high pitched president, Mr. Ken Kasses himself. Of all people.
The last line I remember saying would attest to how long Cardiolite would stay in the heart after injection, when I asked the audience, “Have you ever had a gamma camera go down on you?”
I thought Kenny Boy would never recover.
In spite of all that laughter, I remember leaving the stage with a feeling of impending doom.
Bob Sullivan looked like a stage mother on the verge of a nervous breakdown as Debbie Elliot was shaking her head in condolence.
Then George Jones solemnly took the stage and gave us a lecture on values and company conduct.
It seems some bible thumper from Georgia crawled all over George’s sense of decency.
And they didn’t come more decent than George.
He gave it to us good.
At this point, I am almost passing blood in the audience.
Now I’m worried about how I’m going to get home. I went back to my spacious room and crawled under my spacious bed and waited for the phone to ring.
There would be no consoling me. Me and my big mouth.
That night there was a huge luau on the beach with a band and food and torches and everyone wearing flowered shirts.
I was reluctant to go because I was considered the instigator behind that whole mess on the sound stage.
But I amped up my courage and after a few failed attempts, left the room.
As I was walking down on the beach crowded with hundreds of happy Duponters, crowds were parting like the Red Sea in avoidance.
Friends looked away for job security. Now I knew I had troubles.
I knew I was in sales because George was only placating Sully, and he told me so on March 12, 1990 as he symbolically washed his hands at my interview in his Billerica office.
George didn’t know how a chef, a musician and a comedian could sell a radiopharmaceutical.
Either did I.
Just as I was turning to go back to my room to await my fate, Peter Card, who is not know for his loquaciousness, sidled up to me and said out of the side of his mouth, “That was the funniest fucking thing I have ever seen.”
It was then that I decided to accept responsibility for my transgressions, and still do to this day.
And thanks to my lack of taste and judgement, there was never another skit performed on any Dupont sound stage of any kind, ever again.