*Tom Lehrer rules. No ifs, ands, or buts, he is the reigning king of novelty songs. Accept no other.
First off, I want to thank Miles McClangan of Jungs Programme Notes for giving me the idea to write about Christmas parties at work. He is without a doubt, the most cerebral blogger it has ever been my pleasure to come across.
Now, onto the topic at hand: Staff Christmas parties.
Thursday will be the first staff/office Christmas party that I'm going to appear at since 2001. That one was my most memorable because our agency party was held at the State history museum's main lobby area, while a large tour group was visiting at the same time.
The main reason why I haven't attended one since then, is that every year afterwards, something has gone completely wrong in my life during that particular time frame.
Here is the complete rundown, starting with 2002 (perhaps a harbinger of things to come, if you've been following the deteriorating economic news).
1} 2002: First week of December 2002, then current Governor John Rowland announced that due to the lack of concessions by the state labor unions, layoffs would commence on January 1, 2003. 2,800 people were laid off, of which I was one. Overall, my agency lost about 1/3 of it's staff. I didn't go to the party, and my supervisor wound up mailing me my present. She got the boot two weeks later and left in late January 2003.
2} 2003: I had just came back to work in July of that year, and I wasn't in any kind of a mood to attend either Christmas party that was going on, one at my location in Rocky Hill or at the main branch in Hartford.
3} 2004: Keeping with what was going to be a new holiday tradition, I declined to attend the staff party at my new agency (Corrections) and instead took a half day and went Christmas shopping. Interesting tidbit as earlier that week, the entire building had one, where all the floors had food set up. I happened to wander down to take a sample, and got yelled at by some simpleton who said that no one could touch the food until the precious commissioner had hers first.
4} 2005: I declined to attend the staff party, and instead went Christmas shopping. At this point, I was starting to have a few personal problems take hold, so I thought it would be better not to show up.
5} 2006: With my personal problems still in effect, and having been raked over the coals in November do to a work related problem, I was very much in an anti-social mood. So instead of attending, I held down the fort and got a ton of work done.
6} 2007: With my personal problems having been long resolved, I was in the mind frame of not wanting to socialize much with my co-workers. I already was dealing with them on a day to day basis, and the last thing I wanted to do was socialize with them even further. I got chastised a little by a few friends for being anti-social, but I stuck to my guns.
7} 2008: A new batch of co-workers, and was back in the mind frame of not wanting to socialize again. However, my dept. had a team development day while I was on vacation this past August, made me reconsider going. Another co-worker of mine, who I respect very much, basically talked me into going. With the very real possibility of layoffs happening in 2009, I might as well acquire some good vibes going into the new year.
Which brings us to the fact that this party is going to be potluck. My donation to the party will be one of the two things I make extremely well: deviled eggs.
Because I don't do anything normal, especially cooking, I will be tweaking the recipe. The normal recipe for deviled eggs, besides the eggs, calls for mayo, pepper, mustard and paprika (for garnishment).
So, my deviled eggs will contain the following ingredients:
1} Cains mayo: I like Cains, as it has a very distinctive and natural flavor. Runner up would be Hellmans. Anything else just bites.
2} Hot sauce: I enjoy using hot sauce as a substitute for pepper. I have a few sitting in my fridge that I'll have to give careful consideration to: Goya, McIlhenny (garlic flavored) and Pickapeppa (Jamaican).
3} Gourmet mustard: Last time I made it I used Jack Daniels old #7. Because of the price, I'm going with Inglehoffers stone ground mustard. Will give it a good punch.
4} McCormicks seasoning: Substitute that for the paprika.
We're also having a Yankee swap as a grab bag. A Yankee swap is simply this: all the grab bag gifts are put into a pile and everyone is given a number. The first one draws his/her gift and opens it. The second person draws their gift and opens it. If they don't like the gift the got, the swap with first person, who takes another gift from the pile. And so on, and so on, until everyone has a gift.
When all is said and done, I will have (hopefully) rejoined the human race at work.
(12/17/08): I actually shocked a close friend of mine today, by stating that I would go to this little shindig. She has been trying for the past two years to get me to go to these things, so when I finally told her that I was going, she was floored. She's also going to get even with me at an upcoming b-day party this weekend, but that's for another time.