open thread – December 9-10, 2022 — Ask a Manager
Hello! I am the OP who wrote the story Alison featured on Wednesday (my bullet-pointed write-up of the worst company holiday party I ever attended, which was hosted by me).
I was unable to respond to comments, but I want to thank Alison and all who read it and were so kind to give me feedback. Have you ever had God or the universe or whatever your higher power is, give you what you need – exactly when you need it? That’s what happened to me when Alison featured my story. My life has been difficult the last few years, to the point it’s been hard to beat back the depression. When Alison requested holiday stories last week, I was very ill, trying to WFH, and for the millionth time this year alone, hoping to find something to lift my spirits. Humor has always been my crutch and writing my catharsis. (To be honest, I have had a hard life, much of it from my own ill-advised and frequent forays into “What’s the worst that could happen?!”. You’ve heard do-gooders say, “If I can save just one person, this all was worth it?” I say, “If I can make someone laugh-snort, I may save on therapy.”)
I wrote my submission in one draft, flying on DayQuil with a Tylenol chaser. I read it now and cringe over an inferior word choice or wish I had polished a paragraph. But so many of you said I made you happy for a moment, and I can’t describe how that made me feel. I am so grateful to Alison and you all, for that lifeline you tossed me this week. It meant more than I can explain, though I just spent a few hundred words trying.
Now, answers to your questions:
* My grandmother’s vintage china teacups lived to see more Christmases, mostly because I developed kleptomania that night, swiping them from the hands of my boozing coworkers every chance I had. One co-worker asked me to hold her cup while she used the bathroom; when she returned, both the cup and I had disappeared. I told our burly body shop manager (who was spinning his cup around his little finger) that his shoe was untied and kindly offered to hold his cup; when he stood up, the cup was gone, but one of my breasts had suddenly become quite misshapen (the fact I forgot it was stuffed it in my bra and not a single person noticed was highly insulting).
* I found my toaster in the drawer of a bookcase in my living room, but not sure I would have, if my dogs hadn’t been obsessively sniffing around it. Little Sherlocks…
* SHEILA never apologized for misunderstanding the concept of co-hosting, but I felt she punished herself enough by sleeping with GLENN (two N’s, please – I should have named and shamed him, too). Her marriage didn’t last, his did.
* For the MN readers, nope – the business owner was not Denny Hecker, the notorious and felonious car salesman. I worked for Melvin, of the just-as-questionable ethics, and not-nearly-as-handsome visage (Denny’s mugshot is one to see; go check, I’ll wait here).
* Yes, I did clean the house until morning. Confession: I weirdly love to clean and to have my house go from a Lifetime holiday movie set (at the corner of Impoverished and Hovel) to a crime scene and then back to cozy in 15 hours took some epic cleaning skills. (And far more than $20 – damn you, Melvin!)
* Yes, I did speak to my dogs, but not about the pee ring. I begged their forgiveness, and vowed if I was ever that dumb again, we would swap their Alpo for my dinner for a whole month. (One year to the day later, I intercepted their “2nd Annual Stella70’s Holiday Extravaganza” invites, moments before they sent them out. Little jerks…)
* Finally, another confession: I must admit it did hurt my feelings a tiny bit that two commenters felt my story was invented. It was not. Every word was true. The only detail I am a bit fuzzy on is that the bread may not have been Wonder bread – I can’t be sure of that, since back then, I could only afford what was on sale. (Which is why bread was the only other food in the house – I blew my budget on appetizer fix-ins.) Since this party was over 25 years ago, I had to guess about the brand. I totally understand the cynicism; you all have no idea who I am.
But real or invented, I made a lot of you laugh this Christmas, and no gift will top that (apologies to my husband). I am an Office Manager these days and while I love my job, in my heart, I wish I had given writing a chance. Zero confidence, but lots of stories to tell. (I was born under the sign of Murphy – with me, if anything can go wrong, it probably just did.) This party was but a moment in ‘My Life of Why Me?’ [trademark pending] and my mom’s advice for years has been “put it in your book!”. (Have you ever heard of someone’s mom begging them to quit their job and write full-time? At 83, my mom still does.) I’ve not written a book, but this was an equivalent thrill for me. I printed my story and every one of your comments for my mom to read, so the joy you gave me this week, Alison and readers, will be shared with her.
Thank you, and I wish you all have the most wonderful of holidays.