Christine Sneed

Date:   January 3rd

To:      All Quest Industries Employees

From: President Bryan Stokerly, Esq. 

Subj:   Welcome Back/In-Office Birthday Celebrations  

It’s good to see everyone back in the office again, but it’s obvious very few of us got any better looking in the months we were working from home. Be that as it may, let us hope the year ahead will be an improvement on the last one, which was probably the worst year of my life, but I won’t go into that right now.

Always get the last word.

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Today seems an optimal moment to share with you a few preferences regarding in-office birthday celebrations.

As some of you know, the fiftieth anniversary of my arrival on this planet is only a few weeks away, and in no particular order, below are a number tips to keep in mind for planning future birthday parties, my fiftieth in particular: 

I prefer chocolate to vanilla.  I am also partial to raspberries.  Thank you.

I am not a fan of the song “Come on, Eileen.” Why this song, made famous by what in my view was a group of morons equipped with subpar musical instruments, i.e. Dexy’s Midnight Runners, is often trotted out at Quest Industries parties continues to elude me. Please do not play this song in these offices again, ever. FYI, no known British family member of mine has ever actively participated in the government campaign against the IRA—my animosity toward this Irish pop group is not political. It is instead spiritual, artistic, and irrational in origin.

I am a fan of broiled salmon and roasted red potatoes marinated in rosemary and olive oil. They are delicious.

I am not a fan of piñatas. Please refrain from bringing any exemplars of this party favor to the office, suspending it from one of the hooks in the ceiling of Conference Room B and subsequently blindfolding and spinning around members of the Quest Industries workforce while simultaneously equipping them with a large aluminum bat that they will then swing wildly, rarely ever making meaningful contact with the dangling papier-mâché object that has been fashioned into a shape that resembles a donkey or a smiling cartoon character, e.g. Squarepants SpongePong. 

These piñata sprees, frankly, are interminable, and the resulting avalanche of candy that spews from the annihilated dangling object is an extreme nuisance: without exception, stray bits secret themselves into the crevices and corners of Conference Room B, only to be rediscovered, inevitably it seems to me, when visiting dignitaries are on site for meetings and one of them promptly steps upon a plasticine rectangle of Laffy Taffy or a naked Hershey’s Kiss that has long been lying in wait, very pleased to leap forward when its golden opportunity for creating embarrassment and possible injury finally arrives. As I’m sure you can imagine, I do not enjoy trying to explain to our visiting dignitaries why these lost candies are now glued to the soles of their handcrafted spectator pumps or beautifully made Florentine leather wingtips.

I am a fan of speaking softly and carrying a big stick.  I do not use my stick to hit piñatas, however, and if you do not know the historical figure I’m quoting here, you’re fired. 

Not really. But a little irony never hurt anyone, from what I can tell. It is sorely lacking in this country, from what I have observed over the dozen or so years since I washed up on these shores.

Welcome back.

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