Thursday, December 16, 2010

It's Beginning to Look A Lot Like (an Anheuser Busch-fueled) Christmas (party)

One of my  favorite events this time of year is our annual Office Christmas Holiday Party. It is an evening when co-workers gather ‘round the buffet table to eat lukewarm mashed potatoes, wilted green beans, and parsley-covered baked chicken in an Opaque Sauce of Unknown Origin. Oh, how I love that special night when you get to watch your fellow cube farmers repeatedly tug at their dusty neck ties, the same neck ties that haven’t seen sunshine in three-hundred and sixty-four days, while you cleverly analyze those mythical, rarely seen creatures – The Spouses.  (I guess money can buy love!) It is but a few magical hours filled with poorly executed line dancing, swilling of cheap (but free) wine, and gawking at ladies in their sparkly dresses who look like they just flew in from a Bedazzling convention.

And I can’t wait.

Our Christmas party is more subdued than the traditional office parties you often see portrayed in the media where drunken salesmen are given a pass for spewing their vodka-soaked Christmas cheer all over the Vice President's wife, or where cute, nearly-jailbait secretaries end up giggling and snuggling on the boss’ lap. Oh, no. There is absolutely no canoodling under the mistletoe at our shindig, and in an effort to keep inappropriate alcoholic revelry to a bare minimum, our company hosts their party after work on a weekday. This is a vain valiant attempt to have employees busy working all day and not getting liquored up in preparation for showcasing their Electric Slide talent. Plus, it's common knowledge that even slightly drunk pencil pushers always slow down the food line with their inability to figure out the mechanics of the sweet tea dispenser and their impaired sense of eye-hand-food-plate coordination, so I'm actually very glad the company is looking out for us that way. (A message to Mr. I-Have-Already-Had-Five-Budweisers in front of me at the bread table: Yes, the Five Second Rule may be invoked for those notoriously tricky and hard to handle dinner rolls.)

I once worked for a company whose Christmas party main event was the employee dance contest. I am not even kidding. What made this so delicious can be summed up in two words: Open Bar. The scene looked very much like "American Bandstand" if  "American Bandstand" was predominantly filled with tipsy middle-aged white people who have no rhythm. It was truly a boost to company morale (well, mine anyway) to see the lower level employees and upper level managers shaking their groove things to Kool and the Gang in unison.  However, our beloved dance contest took a somewhat sordid turn when a few of the liquid-courage-filled contestants decided to show off their dirty dancing prowess.  The dance floor looked more like the set of a porno flick and less like a corporate sanctioned holiday gathering. I was forced to avert my eyes on more than one occasion, and I still have flashbacks of the simulated sex acts I witnessed that year.

Thanks to a few over-zealous Solid Gold Dancer wannabes, the dance tournament was quickly abolished and never spoken of again in mixed company,  however they were kind enough to replace it with a karaoke contest.  It was a stroke of genius. This would offer more control for the Big Wigs as they could preview the list of songs available and ensure the selections were family friendly. Plus, who in their right mind would get up to sing in front of a crowd of people if they had no talent?  This would be entertainment of the highest caliber for sure!

The idea that only trained singers would get behind the microphone works well in theory, but they failed to take into consideration a well-known fact:  Plenty of tone deaf party goers need nothing more than a few drinks to believe they are the second coming of Celine Dion.  Our ears were brutally assaulted with classics such as "Wind Beneath My Wings" and "What's Love Got To Do With It".  We were even entertained with one of my all-time favorites, the "Sponge Bob Squarepants" theme song.  At the end of the evening's festivities, I could only say that I was so thankful these folks had day jobs. I staggered out the door with visions of off key co-workers singing "I Will Survive" dancing in my head.  The rules were changed after that year and only those who signed up to sing before any alcohol was consumed were allowed to perform. Bah Humbug!

Unfortunately, I'm not expecting any shenanigans at my party this year.  We will all smile politely, compliment the rice pilaf and wonder out loud who crafted our beautiful table centerpieces.  We'll be good little boys and girls, spreading the holiday spirit by professing our heart-felt affection for everyone in the room regardless of the fact that they don't return your e-mails and frequently make you question your choice of careers. We'll forgive and forget being passed up for that promotion, and maybe - just maybe - if Santa is watching, he will grant us all the one wish we are secretly hoping for this Christmas:  To see a timid, soft-spoken desk jockey throw off his sport coat and, in a beer-fueled frenzy, bust a move.


  1. LOL I now see what I am missing by not re-entering the work force!

  2. Great post and great blog! I am now following. Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  3. Awesome and thank you!! Merry Christmas to you!!!


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