There were few laugh lines in U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner's Thursday morning address to Baltimore's business community.
But one of the biggest resulted from a bizarre off-script non sequitur Geithner made early in his speech.
Setting: Fourth-floor conference room at the Marriott Waterfront Hotel in Harbor East.
Three hundred of Baltimore's most influential business and political leaders are seated at round, white-clothed tables.
The tables are filled with plates, which are laden with food from a breakfast buffet.
The Hon. Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore's mayor, is seated directly in front of the lectern.
Don Fry, the head of the Greater Baltimore Committee, concludes a brief introduction. Fry relinquishes the mic to Geithner, who begins to speak to the silent crowd.
Geithner: “Thanks, Don. Nice to see you all here. Should be a good breakfast. You look carefully at the mayor over there she’s got a nice plate of bacon and two big cups of coffee."
Undeserved laughter erupts. Beat.
Geithner: "But I admire what she’s doing for the city and, again, it’s nice to see you all here.”
Geithner begins talking about economic policy.
This wasn't the first time Rawlings-Blake's porcine proclivities have been publicly acknowledged.
About a month after she was sworn into office in 2010, the mayor ended up in the hospital following an evening encounter with a Corks pork chop.
After her 11-hour stay at Sinai, brought on by nighttime chest pains, doctors determined Rawlings-Blake was merely suffering from gastrointestinal difficulties.
"I just need to slow down on the caffeine," Rawlings-Blake said when she was returned to City Hall.
If Geithner's description of Rawlings-Blake's place setting was accurate, it seems she's forgotten her own advice.