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Partying with your co-workers

BY Sonny Orr Jan 3, 2020

Office parties are a lot of fun. Especially when it’s a regional event and you have to travel to go meet with your co-workers who are spread out across Eeyou Istchee. This year, an incredibly large Christmas party was held in Gatineau for our regional government. I guess it’s a good thing as, at some point, you get a chance to talk to the bosses. I remember one regional bash when a brash young man dared to bare his feelings to the boss and awoke the following day with a raging hangover and no job. Ahhh, the impetuous youth, standing up for their rights and showing who is boss at the Christmas party, it’s a brave thing to do.

Sometimes it’s not just the drunken staff member who feels the same way. I have faced a lot of that over four decades of office parties. I’ve seen a lot of trees come down in wrestling matches back when eggnog was still in style. It was kind of fun, watching co-workers go for it and clawing it out on the boardroom floor. When it boils down to it, it’s those fierce hockey loyalties that bring out the competitive call of duty. No use losing a tough fight to the underdog team.

Other than the disputes, there’s often something else going on, like the office romance, or the office bromance. I won’t dwell on that topic too long, but I will wait until September to see what the kids look like, is it the boss or the office agent? Who knows, only Santa does. But these events are actually useful to bring everyone together and share some fun and not have to talk about budgets, other politicians, elections, money woes and all that other boring day-to-day office stuff. Nope, it’s the time for staff to have some fun and some good will. I don’t have anything against office parties at Christmas time, I could get a gift. But these days, it’s about a little friendly competition, like balloon busting and ticket draws. 

About the only thing everyone agrees on is the food served in hefty portions. For those who had their party down south, the practice of saving your leftovers and getting extra plates to hand out to your family is pretty hard to do. How will the food stay fresh long enough to last a few days of winter storms and rotting while you wait to get home? Well, you eat your food while you wait at an airport for days or else you might suffer the loss of a few kilos of hard-earned fat. That’s the part that gets me about the southern parties, I wouldn’t mind taking a large chunk of that roast beef home to make hot sandwiches, you know what I mean? But no, there are rules and laws that prohibit food vendors from handing out leftovers and scrapings from the roast pans, just in case someone has an allergy or reaction to E. coli or some bacteria that can wipe out an entire floor of workers in one fell swoop.

As I write this, I am happy to say that I survived the first staff party hosted by our very own social club, which served over 200 people and partied in a civilized manner. It was a good party, with winners from the loyal members who played a game of chance and won big-ticket items, like a large-screen TV. I was thinking about helping carry the large device, but it turned out that TVs aren’t made out of heavy metals anymore and can be carried around by toddlers. In this case, it was a teetotaler, but nevertheless, it was a good party. 

The fun thing is, it’s the first one, and I have at least four more to attend. I’m hoping that my belt won’t give up on me and spill my guts at the wrong moment, like when I’m competing in the limbo contest. Oh well, happy partying people, and stay safe and don’t bust your belts or any supporting buttons this year.

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Sonny Orr is Cree from Chisasibi, and has been a columnist for the Nation for over 20 years. He regularly pens Rez Notes from the cozy social club in Whapmagoostui where he resides.