Drunk Pinata Coach

E. Louise

So our state made national headlines this week (again). If you're not familiar with the story, just Google Nikki Haley, pinata, and "Whatever happened to just buying cake and balloons and making out with your coworkers?" and you should find what you're looking for. On the off chance you don't, you can find the story here. And everywhere else. It's making the rounds all over the 'net.


In a nutshell, the outgoing president of the South Carolina AFL-CIO (The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations), a gal named Donna Dewitt, celebrated her retirement by bludgeoning a party pinata with our/her governor's face plastered on it. 


In the aftermath, Dewitt offers no apologies, (correctly) pointing out that "it's just a pinata." Haley took it on the chin—and Twitter—and (correctly) pondered whether unions think this will make people take them seriously. The AFL-CIO guys in Washington said the party trick "was not an appropriate joke." Which was hilarious because I suspect they thought it was absolutely an appropriate joke. They tried to put their straight faces on (the way you do when you can't stop laughing), giggled a while longer, hastily stashed their own Haley, Scott Walker, and Chris Christie pinatas in a closet, wiped the tears from their eyes, calmed a last round of chuckles, cleared their throats, then issued the "this is not an appropriate joke" statement.


Here's my take: I think it was rather absurd and childish. But so are public reprimands and political statements issued to voice disgust, solidarity, etc. None of that means anything in real life. No one was hurt, it's a free country, let the AFL-CIO beat the crap out of things in effigy at an afternoon picnic if they want to.


Here's the far more interesting part of the story that the national media has missed: the apparently shitfaced lady off camera who took it upon herself to choreograph the beating. The first-ever real-deal Pinata Coach if I ever heard one. A pioneer in her field. And if you listen close, you can almost hear the clink of the ice in her Jack and Coke sloshing out of her Solo cup every time she has another outburst. Which is often.


"Whack her harder.... Wait 'til her face comes around, and whack her harder.... Give her another whack, give her another whack.... Hit her again, whack her again... THAT ONE'S FOR ME! GIVE IT TO HER!"


And so on. I half expected Batter Dewitt to abruptly stop the assault and say, "Do you mind? This is MY beating..." 


I'm guessing a groundskeeper found our fair Pinata Coach hours later, passed out under a nearby tree.


Back to my constructive criticism. Instead of issuing statements or launching social media campaigns or calling anyone to the woodshed, here's what I would have done. Let me rephrase: here's what I would have done if I could have replaced the Drunk Pinata Coach as a guest at the party. A few seconds into the clubbing, I might've edged my way closer to the party girl. Dodged a few swings in the process, until I'm close enough to tap her on the shoulder. When Dewitt turns, I'd lean in and say quietly.... "Okay, you know this is weird, right? Truly odd behavior for a grown adult. Also, not really helpful...."


Then she'd probably say something like, "But it's a joke."


And I'd say, "Okay, but next time could you pick one that doesn't make us look borderline insane?"


I'm just kidding. Nobody could ever replace that Drunk Pinata Coach.