When we had our Christmas party for 60 Minutes II, I was really looking forward to having a chance to get to know some of the people here better. It was at a restaurant in Manhattan. The invitation said drinks, dinner and dancing.
As I checked my coat, I realized there would be no meaningful relationships formed tonight. There was a rock band, and the music was overwhelming.
The place was crowded, and people were screaming at each other to be heard. I tried to move away from the band to the farthest corner of the room. Sound really travels.
I shouted into Morley Safer's ear and asked him if he felt the music was on the loud side. He nodded that it was, but then grinned from ear to ear as if to say no big problem. Morley Safer is clearly more adaptable than I am.
I went over to some fellow 60 Minutes II people, and after some back and forth screaming, got them to acknowledge that, of course, continuous exposure to loud noise can actually cause you to lose your hearing.
I sought out Mike Wallace, who was sitting as far away from the band as you could get and screamed at him, "Does the music seem too loud to you?" Mike made a face and nodded in agreement. I then went to someone in authority and screamed, "I think the music is going to give Mike Wallace a headache."
Although I was really glad to see everybody, I was the first to leave. That probably makes me a lot of things, but one of them isn't deaf.
I've been trying to figure out why the folks who planned this party, all very nice people, would want music so loud people can't talk to each other.
The only answer I can come up with is they think the best party is not one where people talk, but where they dance. The invitation did say dancing, but the dancing you'd have to do to a loud rock band is the kind where you throw your arms around and shake your body. 60 Minutes II is production of CBS News! CBS News! That's Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite Mike Wallace, Dan Rather.
Who working for CBS News is going to dance like that in front of the executives and appear very un-CBS News like? Not me. You're certainly not going to look at the dance floor and see Dan Rather out there gyrating.
Actually a few people did dance, but most just got hoarse from screaming at each other.
The good news is that even though I'm new here, no one said you can't attack the broadcast's party on the air.
Everyone seems just fine with it. Of course, who knows how they really feel, but that could be a subject for another piece a year from now.
I'll call it: Why I Wasn't Invited to This Year's Christmas Party.
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