Thursday 25 Aug 2016

Christmas Party Antics
Matt Seinberg

The Grubstreet editor said, “If you want to do a holiday column, this week is your last chance.” As pedestrian and pedantic as he is, I think it was a way of prodding me to write a holiday column. I usually don't do a holiday column, as I'm kind of the Grinch around the holidays. This year, I indulge his sense of humour with some stories.


A large Holiday party for the staff was once common.

Every company usually or almost always has some sort of holiday party in December. It's a great time for people from other stores, branches, affiliates or vendors to get together; have some fun and meet for the first time or the millionth time.

I used to work for a large optical company in New York, which had both wholesale and retail divisions, ranging from Boston down to Virginia. I talked with men and women working in many of those stores, in the course of my job.

There was one young woman, working in Washington, DC, that I talked with every day. Her name was Caroline. We got along very well over the phone.

We exchanged pictures. We both liked what we saw in the photographs. At least that half the introduction went well.

Caroline and I planned to meet at the company holiday party, held on Long Island, in a large, well-known venue. Caroline explained that she and her coworkers were going to rent a van and drive down that day. Now, the question was if we would have any privacy. We did talk about having some fun together, but nothing specific.

Being the young, single and resourceful fellow that I was, I kept coming up with different ways to get her alone. After a while, I just figured it would work out. Wow, was I right.

Finally, I met Caroline. Did she look good? Her blonde hair was all done up, her body was draped by a lovely blue dress. I was ready to drink, dance and do whatever I could with her.


We did drink. We did dance. We headed out to the van by mutual idea and consent.

When you're twenty-two and ready for action, it doesn't make a difference where you are. Anywhere will do. Cold vans do when nothing else is available.

Although it was cold in the van, we heated it up quickly.

Further details aren’t necessary. We did have fun. We talked for a while afterward. Alas, Caroline left the company and that was the end of that

The next year, I took the niece of a co-worker, from a New York City store, but was I fooled. Her plan the entire time was to meet up with an optometrist I knew and ditch me at the party. Being the young, single, stupid young man I felt like, I drank.

I drank some more. That caught the attention of another girl I had spoken to many times over the phone, Karen. She worked in another New York City store. She decided to what out what was going on and tried to console me..


I told Karen my tale of woe.

Karen took pity on me. She asked me to take her home when the party was over; it was almost over. . We hung out a little while longer, dancing as close as we could, without ending up as one person and stealing light kisses as we danced.

How I drove to Karen place was beyond me. She was teasing and touching me the entire time. As soon as we got to her apartment building and I shut the engine off, she was all over me or I was all over her. Either way, I had a good time with Karen.

Another holiday season, I was working for a major independent department store on Long Island. Party time rolled around. We had to pay our own way, but at $30 a head, it wasn't bad. All I really remember was drinking Jack Daniels and Coke and meeting a young woman, Debbie, I had never met before. She worked in Customer Service and, as it turned out, she was very good at it. Service that is.

The next day, at work, I was holding on to the Service Desk for dear life. The building was spinning. People kept coming up to me, telling me I had a good time. Debbie from Customer Service confirmed that for me later that day how good a time I had.

Fast forward many years. I'm older, married and wiser. Holiday parties are not nearly as much fun as before. The parties are much smaller and, as I got older, I drank less and less. After I experienced my first hangover, I never, ever over drank or blitzed, again.

I went to a few parties with my wife when they were smaller events held in a restaurant. My wife knew everyone I worked with and she didn't like bigger parties, where she didn't know that many people.


My current job doesn't pay for a party.

At my current job, the company doesn't want to be responsible for anyone doing anything stupid, like drinking and driving. At this year's party, I had two mild rum and Coke's, specifically telling the bartender to go light on the rum. The food was good and it's nice to see everybody from of work. Some people that used to work with us came by to say hello as well. The party ended at 12 pm, but I left early, as I had a chiropractor appointment the next day before work.

You know, I really miss being young, single and stupid at times.

Have a wonderful holiday season!

Matt Seinberg lives on Long Island, a few minutes east of New York City. He looks at everything around him and notices much. Somewhat less cynical than dyed in the wool New Yorkers, Seinberg believes those who don't see what he does like reading about what he sees and what it means to him. Seinberg columns revel in the silly little things of life and laughter as well as much well-directed anger at inept, foolish public officials. Mostly, Seinberg writes for those who laugh easily at their own foibles as well as those of others.

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1 September 2016 through 4 September 2016

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