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Travels With An Airhead

The Annual Banquet

— by Notch Miyake

The Finger Lakes BMW Club Annual Banquet is held in February. In the past, it has been an opportunity for our members to drink excessively and engage in drunken revelry such as making farting noises during the president's speech.

Recently, in the interest of public safety and human dignity, cocktails have been served for only one hour prior to the banquet. And members now have to buy their own drinks, further reducing consumption.

This means that most of the members go into the banquet hall almost sober. This has definitely reduced the incidence of food fights, which is a good thing since we don't like to waste food.

However, when sober, people tend to be much more critical, saying things at the buffet table like, "What? We paid $20 for this stuff? It's only worth $8.50."

Few people understand that healthy food, low in saturated fat and with lots of fiber, is not necessarily cheaper than roast beef, French fries and gravy. And that desserts (also missing from the meal) have excessive amounts of empty calories.

The club anticipated this reaction and subsidized the meal. Members only paid $8.50. That works out to be a 58% discount from the regular price.

Married couples both paid the member price even if only one of them rides a BMW motorcycle. Single members were allowed to bring one guest at the member price. I'm not sure how divorced members were treated. However, I am sure it was with sensitivity and understanding.

Since sober members tend to become bored rather easily, the club has recently relied heavily on door prizes to maintain everyone's interest.

I could feel the anticipation when the number was called for the winner of the can of helmet cleaner. Everyone but the lucky winner sighed in disappointment after the announcement. She cried.

We can probably get several more years out of the case of helmet cleaner we bought on sale a few years ago. So don't be discouraged. Everyone will get another chance.

Another highly anticipated event is the president's speech. In prior years, the presidents have used the "bully pulpit" to present a "State of the Club" address. This has ranged from, "It's cool, man," to hour-long recitations of the past year's activities. This year the speech was mercifully brief. He said, "O.K., let's do door prizes."

It was a great banquet. I saw a lot of people I haven't seen since the rally. That's what makes the banquet special. Not the door prizes or the food, but the people. And that's why we should drink less and eat healthier meals. So we can continue to ride together longer.

— Copyright © 2002 by Notch Miyake.

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