Bazooka Joe and his GANG (No, ME), a Christmas party

I was at company’s Christmas party this past Thursday – yeah, they make it a Thursday thing to tamper us from globetrotting, as if it was ever a deterrent for excessive intake of the good stuff – when I saw one of the newbie’s and his wife having a grand o’l time. For a person who has only been in the company for three months, he handled it well. He did not miss a beat including dressing up for the occasion. I went as me.

Super Heroes, was the theme of this year’s shindig. There were customs of every types, shapes and forms for the world to see. It was mostly capes and masks but the one that captivated me the most was this dude dressed up as Wonder Woman. He looked gorgeous; well his make up was to die for but since he was an average size guy, he came across like a beautiful grapefruit drag queen but a very shy drag queen.

After cruising around the hall with other colleague dudes, I found the Wonder Woman tucked in a corner with his legs wide open (where are your manners lady!) begging for mercy out of that well tailored suit and high hills pump. I could tell he was hurting. It ain’t easy being a woman. We are used to not breathing. So, I am thinking he was probably a guest of one of the employee’s, otherwise, he would have been jumping around like one true honest to God Super Hero or on his way out up to one of the offices – couches, that’s what we don’t lack. There is one in almost every office in the building.

As I made conversation with him – we only made small talks beforehand; I called him Nacho Libre foosball dude because really, I don’t recall his name, even though we work in the same department three doors down and for the same boss but in different sides of the corridor. (Ok, I don’t really get to mingle a lot with my coworkers other then IMing them, so there. We are too busy producing).

The party was held at the office. It is a huge building with enough space to hold a football game. Come afternoon, they tacked away all the superfluous furniture and installed one majestic ambulatory event with dancers hanging from the ceiling – last year we had a lion, off course he was in a cage, I swear – lights, camera and a nightclub was born. Last year’s was big; this year’s half of the budget went to worthwhile causes which I am totally for.  It did not matter, great time we had.

I detected that Nacho Libre foosball dude was overly ecstatic, dancing his ass off while proudly shooting off his work stories to his wife and me. He came across like he was experiencing his very first company bash as questions begun to flow. Lovely! I have been to millions and have stories.

We were instructed to take all the gadgets and personal belongings home and not to venture off the venue during the festivities. For all sense and purpose, they were not looking for things to wonder away. (shuhh, the main objective was to stop unauthorized “gift exchanges” of the third kind; do you know what I mean?!).

I noticed the joy in his eyes and could not help but add more to his enthusiasm. I told him to wait for the gift. “What do you mean, the gift?”, he asked.  I replied, “the gift, the one’s that they give you at the end of the year and you grin eternally, well at least for six months until something interesting replaces it and you stop talking about it kind of thing”. “Oh that one” (no, not the John McCain type). “Yes that one”, I replied. He grabbed his wife, pulled her off the high chair – we were sitting on these high bar chairs and tables – and run to the dance floor. They danced their feet off and by the time they came back to the table, he only asked for one thing: when. I had no idea but I believed it to be right before Christmas and since the day is just upon us, I am thinking it had to be somewhere before the week was over.

I must confess that the foosball dude was not the only one counting on the “gift”. C’mon, I was salivating; my tongue stretched out to the max all they way to the North Pole. I was counting on it to be my miracle busboy; I was looking for to put it in my refrigerator, my safe and my receipts. I was undeniably counting on it. I was not only counting on it but I was planning to marry it. I planned to swim with it, sketch it, rubber stamped it and make a soup out of it. I had it all mapped out, all lined up, all dreamed up. I knew where it was moving to and where it was going, who was going to drive it and how it was going to be put to service. I just knew it and smelled it, and reached my hand to grab it.

The news was out and the jumping foosball dude was ecstatic. If you must know, the reason for his nacho libre moniker is because he dressed up as Jack Black’s character in the movie.

That was Thursday. Came Friday morning, the emails begun to roll. I saw them, one by one, one after another. They summed us by our last names and in alphabetical order. ‘If your last name starts with so through so, please come grab your gift right now. We are across the street in the red brick building number, second floor. Follow the Holiday signs.’

They kept rolling every 20 minutes or so and around 2:00PM, it came to a halt; the very last email was received. All was not lost however. There was a semi colon to the episode. If you failed to pick it on Friday, no worries, you can still do it on Monday. Ok, I could still do it on Monday so, I breathe. I could still do it on Monday. Santa Claus was still going to deliver.

Right away, my hands quivering, I began to work my magic. I became Libre Nacho ecstatic; fireworks euphoric. I jetted an email to the dudetes at the office to schedule time to pick up the memento on Monday. I even attached a LOL Internet slang thinking that they would be amused. The handkerchief was being handed to me and I could not wait.

Laugh on me it was however; handkerchief, I would need.

Another email arrived and it wasn’t cute! Apparently, the girls were still at the office and responded to me pronto. I opened it pronto too and jubilant about the pronto response.

I thought all were roses but surprise, surprise; it was not to be, at least not this time. All came to a squelching halt as one very potent simple liner was delivered. I am sorry but this year’s holiday gift was for employees only. Just like that blunt. Poof on my face! No gift this year; I was not going to be vaccinated this year! I was not going to drink the Kool-Aid this year because I am not part of the franchise but a borrowed server. Hint, hint freelancer.

I had the marriage certificate taken out already and was on my way to the courthouse but the judge put a break on it. He claimed it to be due to current fever ravaging the country. I swallowed the seed and waited for the tree to grow up through my head.

I was saddened and mumbled my way all through Saturday afternoon as I could not contain my disappointment. The knot was so constricted that I was blowing bubbles.

I was driving out of the mall and still faltering about the tragic episode of the year when I popped one of the bubble gums I had picked from the party in my mouth. Bazooka bubble gums, they used to be so hard since when they became so malleable?

I don’t know what potion the gum possessed, if you ever had Bazooka gums you know that they always roll up mini comic strip stories. Coincidence or not and at point I realized, the only thing I know is that the little piece of paper literately put the whole “bazooka” ordeal into perspective and spoke to me. It literarily, spelled in diminutive red letters, told me to get a grip, to get a life, to not cry over spilled milk. Honesty, I am not bluffing. It reads, ‘Visit To collect cool stuff. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Better yet, don’t sweat at all.’

I know the gift was not mine to begin with so, why was I even attempting to bed it? The answer lies with the Freudian theory (Classical conditioning: learning that involves the association or substitution of a new behaviour or response with a stimulus. Present a hungry dog with food and it will salivate. Classical conditioning occurs if you ring a bell each time you present the food; eventually, the ringing of the bell will be enough to produce salivation. The dog has been conditioned to salivate at the sound of the bell.) I had been given the pill and was looking for it again, that’s simple. I have not spoken neither sent an email, remember I don’t know his name, to Nacho Libre foosball dude so, I have no idea what his thoughts are since he is also another borrowed freelancer.  From what I heard, it was one awesome gift.



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