There Are Better Ways to Make a First Impression…

This most recent bout of stomach flu has set me to thinking.

Some people meet their boss during an interview. Others meet their boss during employee orientation.

I once met mine by throwing up on her.


Let me explain.

I had been doing computer contracting work at a rather large corporation near my home. This was a typical corporate campus with numerous large buildings and a cafeteria arranged where the buildings met.

The food was normally pretty good at the cafeteria and was managed by one of those large catering giants who I will not mention if I do not want a lawyer knocking on my door tomorrow. It has your typical hot bar, cold bar and grill for those with a special taste.  This particular cafeteria even had sushi made on site and a very large salad bar.

I am not a huge salad person. Growing up, the veggies were what you were forced to wade through before you got to the actual food. That said, this salad bar was normally pretty good.

I had been informed that my supervisor was being transferred to another project and that I was going to be assigned to Mindy’s team. I had only seen her before and had never actually talked at length to her. As we would be working together rather closely for several months, she wanted to have a “getting to know you session”.

I don’t know about the rest of you but when I first meet someone, their breath always makes an impression on me.

Fresh and minty?  They cared enough to chew gum before the meeting.

Sour?  Come on, man! We are professionals after all.

I was hungry but not famished so decided to get something light off the salad bar. Nothing with onions. No to the chili. Passing the potato salad and the cole slaw, I settled on the caprese salad.

There is something that just always hits home about a good caprese. Sliced tomatoes mixed with medallions of mozzarella and topped with vinegraitte. Yum.  It actually is one of my comfort foods.

Or, should I say WAS.

I gobbled down my lunch and then went immediately into an hour long meeting on our budget. Those meetings are long at the best of times but this one was almost excruciatingly slow.  Yes…man hours…yes…benefits…yes…snooooooooooore!

I actually caught myself nodding off.

About halfway through the meeting, my stomach started to gurgle. Sour juices were sloshing around.  Urrrrp!

Whew! My innards did not feel right but I could not just leave the meeting. And I had to meet with Mindy directly afterwards.

About three quarters of the way through the meeting, I couldn’t hold it anymore. I farted. It was a enormous eruption of methane gas and went on forever!

And was completely silent.

No one in the room knew who had let loose but everyone certainly knew SOMEONE had. Discretely held tissues and mouth breathing became the norm as the room was bathed in global warming glory. Eyes began to tear up and everyone was glad to be able to breath a sigh of relief as the meeting ended.

I thought that would be the end of the situation as I stood up to go to my next meeting but my stomach was having none of it. Gurgling and rumbling move through my innards like a slow moving train wreck and I was trapped.

Mindy had one of those cubicle offices that companies are so fond of nowadays. Everyone could hear our business but needed to pretend otherwise. Quiet conversations and the tapping of keyboards surrounded us as we made our way to her desk.

The first questions were easy to answer and took my mind off of the tsunami slowly building in my nether regions.

Budget? “Oh, yes. Spread of three years.”

Manpower?  “Currently staffing levels should hold us.”

Scheduling? “Currently, we are on track for an on-time completion.”

Then, it happen.

Old Faithful had determined that I was about to blow the largest fart ever right in front of my new boss.  Smiling, I clamped down as hard as I could to keep from gassing the both of us. And, it worked.


Not satisfied with admitting defeat, Hurricane Katrina of the Lower Bowels decided that the dikes would burst one way or the other.

Without warning, a frothing mass of mozzarella decided that enough was enough and i bent over and began to puke into Mindy’s trash can.

Wide-eyed she started to hand me tissues and holding back my hair.  People began to look over the cubicle walls and run for the exits. That is when I noticed a dollop of puke on her sensible shoes.

“I’m so sorry- ” I started as I reached out and tried to wipe it off when another spasm of vomiting took hold.

And she started to laugh.

“You must really care about this job if you are more concerned with getting puke off my shoe than in throwing up.”

True that.

Needless to say, the cafeteria removed that item from the salad bar indefinitely.


Now Let’s Do It Right!

Salad Caprese

Cherry Tomatoes, 1 lb.

Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, 2 lbs.

Fresh Basil, 3 ounces

Balsamic Vinegar

This is a deceivingly simple dish to make but one to get wrong so easily.

Start by slicing the mozzarella into 1/4″ thick 2″ round medallions.  Most fresh mozzarella already comes in balls or tubes so this should not be difficult.

Place the cheese medallions on a large shallow plate.

Wash and cut the cherries tomatoes in half lengthwise. Arrange them in a pattern on the Mozzarella medallions.

Rinse and finely chop the basil. Sprinkle lightly over the top of the medallions

Now, here is the secret:

The balsamic vinegar makes this dish.  I prefer a good Modena balsamic vinegar for the lack of bitterness and depth of flavor.

LIGHTLY, sprinkle the medallions with the vinegar and serve. Too much vinegar will overpower the other flavors and DO NOT toss this as a salad in a bowl. Doing so mutes all of the other flavors but the vinegar.

This should serve ten as a side dish. Enjoy!



COPYRIGHT 2016 Micheal J. Hobbs


One Comment Add yours

  1. Holy crap, Mindy sounds like a keeper. Anybody who can look at vomit spittle on their shoe and see company loyalty is a rare individual.


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