The only thing more pathetic than kissing ass is trying to kiss ass and not succeeding.
A few years ago, I bumped into my boss at a popular LA restaurant. We said our hellos, slapped each others’ backs, then retreated to opposite sides of the bar. Worried my latest script was sub-par, or possibly just looking to kiss some Hollywood ass, I told the barkeep to send a round of drinks to Head Writer and his party of four. On me, of course. Well, the drinks were delivered, but the bartender never told the target of my obsequiousness where they came from. A few moments later, I overheard my boss thanking the sycophantic owner-greeter for the free drinks. The owner, of course, cracked a wide smile, uttered a few words in Italian, kissed the boss’s wife on both cheeks, then walked away. And that was that. What could I do? Interrupt the owner and say, “Wait, wait, I bought the drinks. Cost me 45 bucks too. I can even show you the receipt if you want.”
Bottom line is: When something like this happens, you’re screwed. You just have to shut up, accept defeat and move on. But it’s not that easy. There’s something maddening about the inherent unfairness of someone else getting credit—and accepting credit—for your generosity. It’s even more complicated when your generosity isn’t really generosity at all, but a thinly-veiled attempt at self-promotion. Which is why I thought it would be a perfect no-win situation for a politically unsavvy dude like Nick Conley to navigate. Or attempt to navigate anyway.