Working for CKS:  The Brown Room

Directions to Colorado Kayak Supply

I started working for Colorado Kayak Supply Friday, the commencement of CKS PaddleFest, as the “Content Media Specialist.” It’s been a flurry of interviews, socializing, working, and introductions in the midst of a company wide “Get’r done weekend.” As of yesterday morning I had a total of 3 CKS workdays. Like any good employee I’m excited to do a great job and hopefully with my pen articulate compelling kayak stories repping the company.
Amongst the spree of employee introductions was one with Dave Kloberdanz. Dave is chief of the e-commerce and (BOH) Back of House aka Warehouse and offices. Bobby Kuepper had already told me Dave, “Gets the job done.” It was easy to assert that Dave was a take no-shit kind of guy. If I only knew how true that statement would be. So, when Dave called a Monday morning BOH meeting I knew I’d better be there. Let’s rewind to the day before when BOH employee Gordon Klco and I were gearing up for a mid-workday Pine Creek Numbers run. It was cool. That is to get invited during the workday on runs with the locals. Gordon joked with a friend, “I browned in your boat…” I wondered how long it would be before the boys felt comfortable enough to joke about browning something of mine. Or would I be “that guy?” That guy that no one included in those delightfully tacky Demshitzler linguistics.

Cap’n Dave’s Post-PaddleFest BOH Meeting

As the rookie I knew better than to say a word. Don’t ask anything stupid. Just be quiet. Do your job. And maybe if you’re lucky Dave will notice a photo or story you wrote praising, “That was stout” or “I browned when I read that…” But not really his style to use words like “Stout” or “Brown.” Dave began the meeting and instructed his team what had to be done. My mind drifted. Would the team ever include me in the cool reindeer games? How long would it take? Mother of Garcia, what do I have to do to break through? I had seen on Dave’s meeting agenda list, “Welcome David Hughes.” This was the clue that told me to be at the meeting. The meeting finished not a minute too soon. Not that Dave was boring or anything. No, not at all… his meetings are short and too the point. Even well timed and inclusive of BOH laughing at FOH to break up the, “we need to move these boats.” But I had to exit that meeting. You see I’m a coffee lover. That means my body is a morning clock. It’s true every morning I have to brown twice and at times (remember the clock)… Well let’s just say Dave’s meeting was pushing the hold limits on Brown #2. But I’d be damned. Damned to Back of House Hell if I was going to leave that meeting early. After the meeting there was nothing to consider in my mind just as normal as any morning I went to the toilet. The office toilet… How could I have known? Bobby… Damn it Bobby you didn’t train me for what was about to be unleashed.

Squeaky Clean Office Toilet is not for Brown

I’d noted the Bathroom as shiny and perfect. Clean. Surprisingly clean for a bunch of male kayakers. I sat there mind racing thinking of the great article I was going to write, “G’Bye Tiff (Simpson).” There were no sounds. No squeaks. No explosions. Would this be the piece that Dave recognized in next week’s meeting with a pat on the back? I finished business. And you can imagine that I was especially relaxed and ready to take on the day’s tasks.
I exited the toilet ready to be CKS’s finest employee. Dave was still sitting at the head of the office in his typical meeting position. Like a seasoned hawk perched watching an innocent mouse scuttle off to his morning work he patiently awaited his moment to pounce. Claude asked “Hey, did that TPS memo go out?” The sligh memo comment didn’t register. My superior mind must’ve sensed to block out the dialogue. The room was mysteriously silent. No typical five minutes of laughter or story telling before the usual, “Get your Asses to work.” Something was a miss… my keen senses… what was this danger I felt? I’d almost made it to my desk when Dave said, “Uuuhhhmm. Uhhh. Yeahhh. David you get one Brown pass.” It took a second for me to realize Dave was talking to me. I was really relaxed, “huh?” Dave as if Captaining a crew of pirates who’d sailed and plundered the world poised to command his crew, they watching to see the faltering crewman inevitably have to walk the plank. Cap’n stoically stated, “We don’t Brown in there. Yea. That’s the Yellow Room.” “Ohhh… shit!” I thought and knew not the “Brown Storm” that would be slung for the next ten minutes.
Gordon and Claude DeMoss may have been inwardly embarrassed for me and felt my pain. Outwardly, they took turns. They who’d earlier acted as allies took turns slinging verbal brown after brown comment. It was the only time I’d seen the ragged group bond. Why now? They’d been waiting for this moment. Almost as if they’d rehearsed “Brown Banter.” It was endless. Smiles stretching their faces that I hope hurt and later would cause wrinkles. Merciless.
“Did you just Brown the Yellow Room?” “We’ve all browned in there once. Once!” laughing at my expense. “Yeah. That’s the Yellow Room.” Each nodding in agreement. Laughing Donkeys they were. “David there’s no easy way to say this, but there’s a reason we call it the Yellow Room.” “Report to the Brown Room immediately.” “I browned it once late at night, when no one was here.” “OK… you’ve officially used your brown pass.” The jackals laughed endlessly all I could do was bow my head in shame.
The Brown Walk of Shame It continued until Cap’n Dave led me like a child who’d pottied his pants to the official “Brown Room.”

"How could I have known CKS was such a sophisticated organization with multiple toilets separating excretion? Where were the “Brown Signs?” For God’s sake… what kind of place is this?"

Would they have a potty seat for my final humiliation? Dave opened the “Brown Room” door pointing to the porcelain. I knew the two jackals Claude and Gordon were peaking around the corner taking some sort of dysfunctional enjoyment out of the experience. I returned to the office, they were silent not looking up at me. But I knew the smirks were there. I dared not look anyone in the eyes as I walked to to my desk with my proverbial “Tail between my legs.”

Did you enjoy this blog? You might also enjoy, "Who is Johnnie Kayaker?"

When you need the best equipment... Choose CKS.

By David Hughes
CKS Content Media Specialist Owner- Pucon Kayak Hostel, your economical Chile destination with beds, kayak rentals, and beginner to advanced rivers. "Keep Kayaking." Director- Huge Experiences' New River Academy, "And that has made all the difference."

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