Saturday, December 16, 2006

Commitment to Lower the Bar of Decency

You know those articles you see on MSN or in Ladies' Home Journal with headlines like "10 Top Ten Things Not to Do at the Office Christmas Party?" My company's party is the place where all of those ten things happen and then some. As Tom, Amy's husband, said, "The thing I like about your company party is that everyone seems committed to lowering the bar of decency." That's quite a fair assessment, and I gotta say it, I wouldn't want it any other way.

Our party is held at our boss's house. For years it was called the "Antech/Anderson Christmas Party", but thanks to an event a couple of years ago, it's now called just the "Anderson Christmas Party," lest the company get sued for unsavory behavior. I have the dubious honor of being responsible for that change, and I now have to finish all my karaoke performances with the disclaimer "No Antech employees were harmed during this performance." I'll tell that story another time.

Our boss's goal is to liquor us all up as much as he can, stir us up, and see where the chips fall. I love that his motto seems to be "work hard, play hard." We definitely play hard at this party..until after 2am. I directed a performance art piece that included 4 new employees reenacting the "birth of Antechians" and proceeded to make fun of a few choice co-workers. Fortunately, I've worked with these people for 10 years, so we've turned into this odd, functional family where we know which jokes are fair game for public consumption and which aren't. The newbies wore black capes and danced like idiots and chanted in whispers repeating key phrases, while Enigma's "Sadeness" played. If only I'd had a smoke machine, it would have been perfect.

The crowning moment of our show was when "the Angel of Antech came down and performed a Christmas miracle." The angel of Antech consisted of my boss's head with wings attached, dangling from a tree branch by rubberbands. Totally ridiculous.. Fortunately my boss has a great sense of humor. Our show was a hit, despite my efforts to just do something so weird that people just didn't know what to make of it.

The performance art piece was the opening act for the next show that can only be dubbed "Naughty Nurses." The admin staff came out in short nurses' outfits with thigh high fish net stockings and did a dance routine to "Dr. Dr., Give me the news..." It was oddly uncomfortable, but that's pretty much what's to be expected from that group.

Tom did a stunning rendition of "Y.M.C.A" during karaoke with another one of the male spouses of a co-worker. As they were conspiring about what they were going to do, there was a lull in the conversations around the room and we just heard Tom say, "Are you going to be comfortable with that?" So, we knew we were in for a show. Yes, Tom and a very good sport, Joe, ended up dancing together and actually rubbed each other's nipples at some point. Good clean, fun!

So while other people at other companies may go to work the Monday after the Christmas party covered in shame, we all hold our heads high and just thank god we work for such a cool company that lets us act like idiots and still get paid.

Merry Xmas!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Dinner over Dead Bird

A friend asked me the other day in an email how my Thanksgiving was, and instead of giving the usual answer of 'Good. How was yours?" I really thought about my answer. I felt my experience was best summed up with a short little play full of actual dialog that occured over my table. I present to you "Dinner over Dead Bird"

Scene: Kitchen table of my mother-in-law’s house.
Cast: My husband, mother-in-law, my mother, father, father-in-law, friend of the family, and her 16 year old daughter, me

Scene 1:
My Husband: Sue, are you growing your hair out?
My Mother: Yes, I am. I don’t look like a poodle any more.
My Husband: It looks great. I really like it longer.
Mother-In-Law: No….no, I really don’t like it. You should keep it short.

Scene 2:
My Mother: My mom didn’t have any more kids because she had RH negative blood. They would have had birth defects.
Friend of Family: I have RH negative blood too. So does Kaitlin.
Me: What is RH negative blood? I don’t know what that means.
Friend of Family: It has something to do with a racist monkey.
Me: What? A racist monkey…I’m thoroughly confused.
Friend of Family: No, a rhe, a ree, not sure how to say it.
Me: Oh, a rhesus monkey…. I still don’t get it.

Note: I never got a good explanation.

Scene 3:
Me: So, what do 16 year olds do? Do you have a MySpace page?
Kaitlin: Yes.
Me: How many friends do you have?
Kaitlin: 200 and something
Me: Are any of them predators?
Kaitlin: No!
Me: How do you know? Don’t you watch Dateline? Watch out for yourself out there.
Kaitlin: I only talk to my friends on there.
Me: What kind of music do you like?
Kaitlin: Breaking Benjamin.
Me: I have no idea who they are. God, when did I get old?
My Husband: On the way over here. It happened at this one intersection. It was sad actually.

Scene 4:
My Mother: Yeah, I have a living will set up. I won’t be on life support for more than 3 days. I watched my mother on that ventilator for five and a half months. It was horrible. That’s why my brother hated my step-father, keeping her alive like that…
My Husband: Can you set up your living will for a specific number of days?
My Mother: I think after 3 days they just take you off the life support.
Friend of the Family: Well what if you stay alive after that?
My Mother: More than likely I’d just suffocate to death. That’s what happened to my mother.
Me: You’re such an optimist, Mom. Can we change the subject?

Scene 5:
Me: Do people your age still consider Johnny Depp hot?
Kaitlin: Yeah. He’s older, but still cute.
My Mother: He has such great bone structure. You know who also has great bone structure?
All of us: No. Who?
My Mother: Billy Idol.
Me: Wow. I didn’t see that one coming.
My Husband: Me either.