I remember walking into the office for the first time in January, 1990, for my first interview, and knowing immediately that it would be a fun place to work because there was a beaver statue in the lobby wearing a tiny green velvet sombrero. How eccentric, how absurd! Exactly the sort of thing that appealed to me then - and continues to appeal to me now. That temp job changed my life. I ended up having such a good time I stayed on for the next ten years, and then came back after four years elsewhere.
Over the years the beaver acquired a couple more hats - a human-head-sized baseball cap, a little girl's Easter bonnet - but they were none of them as appropriate as the sombrero because they were all too big. But why a sombrero, and how? Eventually I was told that someone had brought it back from the Club of Mexico's annual fiesta. Once a staple of the annual office calendar, it had largely faded from memory by the time I arrived on the scene. But the tiny dark green velvet sombrero kept its memory alive.
When the office moved in 2007, the beaver's hats all disappeared - oversight, perhaps, or the fine Italian hand of someone with less appreciation - and I have always missed it. But what has been lost with an appreciation of wackiness has been more than regained in a sense of polish and production values - stage management, if you will - and I am truly proud of what my colleagues and I have been able to achieve and improve in the last 15 years.
A couple weeks ago I was telling the story of the little sombrero to a colleague en route to Mexico for an office event. Imagine my delight when she returned with a tiny dark green velvet sombrero! Almost immediately I created this photo op - but I am keeping the sombrero in my office so that it can't be removed by someone with no appreciation. :-)