Friday, December 7, 2007

Open the Holiday Feedbag--Part 1

So, as Christmas (or whatever denominational celebration you chose to recognize) is upon us, there is one delightful constant that we can all look forward to. Awwwww yeah. I'm talking about Christmas parties. Or holiday parties. I don't care what you call them, just don't call me late! (How 'bout that old chestnut? --"You can call me anything you want, just don't call me late to dinner.") Wow. Anyway, the season has begun. A consistent part of life has definitely been holiday parties of whatever type. I remember Christmas parties in grammar school, where there would be food and cupcakes and sickly sweet Hi-C in a can and we'd bring in gifts for the teacher (who else used to bring their teacher wine? We did.). College took another level of partying because now the various departments provided us with food AND booze! What could be better? And as a dual major with a minor, I had plenty of departments to visit. And there would always be the invites from other departments, so after all was said and done you could end up hitting at least 5 shindigs. The English department was one of my favorites because they always made a traditional wassail bowl. Good stuff. Then of course as I got older there were the work parties. Even when I was in high school, there would always be a little hooch at the butcher market I worked at. We'd have some nog and rum. Or just rum. Something to warm the cockles.

Of course with Christmas parties you'd get the usual bah humbugs who gripe about having to attend. Why wouldn't you want to attend? A good party generally includes eats, an open bar, and some kind of door prize. A great party usually culminates in some managerial or executive type getting completely boffo and making an ass of himself. Perhaps a puke episode. Yep. I've seen those happen. One of my first experiences of the absurdity of the Christmas party was many years ago when I had moved back home to my parent's house in Buffalo to figure out my life. Not being able to find work I signed up with a temp agency. I ended up scoring a data entry assignment at the Federal Reserve. It was brainless work, but the gist is that I remember the day of the Christmas party. Everyone gathered down in the lobby around a giant Christmas tree in the morning and some executive gave a talk about who knows what. Then, and I shit you not, he led us in Christmas carols. The tempo was akin to the birthday scene in "Office Space" where everyone kind of just mumbles the word, while a few people really belted it out. I just laughed and awaited the food. It was a breakfast buffet they were providing and I needed it because I was hungover. A worker from the kitchen rolled in a cart with a giant punch bowl of eggnog and as he removed it from the cart the entire bowl shattered in his hands and gallons of nog splashed all over the floor. Everybody gasped and nobody knew what to do. A manager lady in a sweater with a holiday applique came over to see if he was OK (he was) and proceeded to call the janitors to clean it up. That's where the absurdity really hit hard. Shortly afterwards they brought out the buffet, which was really necessary at this point. And I ate heartily and then returned to my seat with the rest of the monkeys to enter the data for the remaining hours.

Sorry. My mind just went off. Back to the matter at hand. No matter where I've worked there's always been some kind of to do where you get some treats. Yesterday, the property management folks at my office had a little function for the tenants of our building. I didn't even know there was going to be a buffet because they never advertised it, but I was lucky to have not brought my lunch with me. Score! A couple co-workers happened upon the buffet and returned to tell us about it. They said the line was long, so I grabbed my paper and headed down. The line was looping around the lobby, but I waited patiently. Oddly, I was behind some lady with a hairnet, which I found really odd because we don't have restaurants in our building. Oh well.

The spread
--pear and walnut salad with cheese on greens
--green beans almandine
--mashed potatoes
--roast beef with au jus.
--roasted turkey with gravy
--Christmas cookies and petit fours
--fresh fruit

All in all it was a very solid nosh. I filled my plate and made my way back to my desk. One note that struck me: If you've ever worked for the government you know that nobody enjoys a free meal more than federal employees. They'll run down their first born to get to the food. I have now discovered an entity that bests the federal employees--soldiers. Holy shit! Those folks like the chow. The majority of my office building is occupied by the Army, so there are a lot of soldiers. I was impressed by their drive to hit the buffet. Good for them, I say.

So anyway. Tis the season. Stay tuned for the next installment of Holiday Feedbag.

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