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My Firm Holiday Party is a Teaching Moment For What Not to Do at a Firm Holiday Party

One year at my firm, we had a Christmas party at the nicest hotel in the city. I live in Detroit, so you know the hotel is nice because it has yet to be burned from the inside out by a band of petty arsonists. The firm paid for valet parking as a “Thanks-for-driving-into-Detroit-at-night!-We-don’t-want-anyone-to-stab-you-with-a-dull-and-poorly fashioned-shiv-in-the-parking-garage-out-back-because-we-need-you-to-work-this-weekend-and-we-know-your-health-insurance-sucks” gift. The fourth story party room had plate glass windows with a view of a tire fire and abandoned nine story office building(s) across the street. Very chic, these professional events.

Girls talked for weeks about the dresses and the hair, and the guys debated the “tie or no tie” thing. Mostly, they talked about the open bar because – accounting.

For weeks, these idiots fought over which types of liquor to supply and whether or not they’d pregame prior to the firm-provided open bar. They decided to pregame because – accounting. The Outlook Invites went out. “Meet in Room 424 at 3:30, and we’re doing shots of Fireball.” You can see where this was going.

By the time the party started at 7, my manager, two senior managers, a partner, six associates, and five interns were blasted. They stumbled into the mixer, arms akimbo.

I was staked out near one of the windows watching two bums wrestle over a discarded steak in the alley below when the DJ started blasting tunes. If it were up to me, that DJ would have dropped the bass a ’la Lil Jon circa 2003 just like DJ Franky, the part-time small town law clerk who spun the tracks at my wedding, but hey – this was a CLASSY affair. Instead of Lil Jon, the DJ bumped Mariah Carey’s greatest Christmas classic of all time: “All I Want for Christmas is You.”

“I don’t want a lot for Christmas…”

My Fireball-blasted coworker – the very same who, earlier in the year, narrowly avoided choking to death on a Jimmy John’s Gargantuan™ (nothing sexual) – climbed onto a table to stand and sing along to Mariah Carey’s cult classic.

“There is just one thing I need…”

The drunken frat boys accountants who somehow managed to graduate their accounting programs and find suitable employment within the confines of their court-ordered sobriety program (LOL) picked the table up by the base as Gargantuan™ champ opened his jaws, stood tall, and belted some Mariah.

“I don’t care about the presents…”

By the grace of God, Gargantuan™ managed to keep on his feet despite the Fireball, and despite being hoisted seven feet in the air atop the shoulders of a band of merry auditors.

“Underneath the Christmas tree…”

The firm managing partner was standing next to me as the song began. He was sipping at a whiskey sour until he saw the table Gargantuan™ stood on fly up over the crowd and into the air upon the backs of the auditors. He polished off the last of his drink, muttered, “Oh Jesus – I never saw this” and slipped off into the crowd.

“All I want for Christmas is youuuuuuuuu bayyyyby”

As the tambourine back beat started to play, the table bounced back and forth to the beat. Mr. Gargantuan™ was still on his feet, singing Mariah. Preach!

“I don’t need to hang my stocking…”

The pregame Fireball hit one of the weaker interns who was holding up the table. The intern tripped. The table lurched toward the plate glass window overlooking the beautiful urban decay of the city. The table tipped. The table toppled. Mr. Gargantuan™ flew toward the plate glass window and hit it.

Thank God we live in Detroit where bullet proof glass is a thing. Mr. Gargantuan™ bounced off the glass and hit the floor.

The idiots scattered like cockroaches – several to a tech company’s open bar next door. Rent-a-cop security officers flooded the party room, closed off the open bar, kicked everybody out, and forbade us from ever holding a Christmas party in the venue ever again. I’ve never been kicked out of a classier place. It’s just as well – who knows how much longer that bullet proof glass would have held because… Detroit.

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