Celebrating East African Writing!
Written by Zack Omoro
It is Christmas and end year , it is the season of merry making and making fun, a season of good cheer and laughter, a season of soul searching for the spiritually inclined and also a season for many of us -of steady binge drinking and of crazy hangovers.
While there may be private parties, most corporate firms like yours truly Asheena publishers also hold communal end year and Christmas office parties for the hard working staff.
An end year party should not dare call itself a party unless the reverberations caused during the party last well into the following year. I mean, it is no party unless the consequences of the party fade well into the fourth month of the following year!
My office –Asheena publishers- annual party is normally held two or three days before the Christmas party and ends –well- two or three months later… or even much, much later in the year depending on how long it takes the boss to remember who indeed made that practical joke on him during the party.
Usually the merry making begins in a modest way normally at about 3 o’clock in the afternoon in the company’s board room converted for partying. It begins with a first round of drinks with the different groups of peers or averaging 5 persons engaged in small talk with the occasional and quickly subdued bursts of laughter.
Precisely at about 4 o’clock, the CEO Mr Aput emerges from an inner sanctum where he had ensconced himself much earlier with our best customers and where also he was fortifying himself with a few tots of whisky to get him into the best party mood. Don’t be too judgmental too soon about my CEO…You see the CEO needs this privacy and several tots before meeting his staff is one way of eradicating that nervous tick on the left eye when he has to bring himself to the standards of lesser mortals. Let me be fair to Mr. Aput, It’s not that he doesn’t care for us…He on the contrary loves humanity in the mass –but feels rather uncomfortable with individual members of the human race…Indeed he has been heard to mutter in an unguarded moment.
“I love humanity…but I hate people!”
It’s hard to define and understand Our CEO, for example, he is so secretive that he puts his married life and private life well… separate.
Like Churchill, He is also an expert of one liner gems. For example, he is often quoted as saying
“Watch my lips! I am about to say something brilliant any moment now!-
I have been watching those lips for the last 4 years…
So as the party mood builds up, the CEO marches in, He is in a jovial smile that fools no one. Mr Aput is a great believer in cementing employer staff relationships, and his conduct is an example of cooperation between brass and the underlings; For example for this year’s party, he has not only supplied refreshments for the occasion but has also deducted a whooping 2000 shillings from our salary to cover the cost so that “They will all feel this is their party too”.
After a few opening remarks, in which the CEO puts everybody in the proper holiday mood by explaining that production has slumped so badly that he is seriously thinking of downsizing,- A great one to set people in a party mood is our CEO. This our beloved CEO explains is the truth and adds not unnecessarily “Nobody said that the truth will make you happy-only free!” After this one liner he bursts into a mirth whisky fuelled laugh which we hurriedly join in, I mean nobody wants to be downsized!
The next hour or so is devoted to shaking hands and getting acquainted. After all the main idea of an office party is for the different branches of the organization is to get to know each other better, “because Asheena publishers is one great big happy family and the sooner we all forget our restraint and get on a first name basis with each other the better time we will all have” .
The only visible problem though is that each branch of the organization has the private conviction all the other branches are manned by imbeciles and crooks, so conversation is rather limited to and tilted to such expressions as:
“Have you heard that some Mps are involved in drug deals?
Or better still for the get drunk quick:
.” The pope has allowed the use of Condoms…” or “I have heard that heads are bound to roll in the marketing department early next year”.
A conversation stopper of world cup proportions …
To make matters worse, nobody is quite sure who anybody else is, and that stranger to whom you have just confided to that the CEO is the organizations weak link will probably turn out to be none other than the company’s morale officer and the brother in law of the CEO!
If you are guilty of this misdemeanour, the only thing to do under these circumstances is to get good and loaded as fast as possible; or to use a kitchen synonym- Get well done!
After sufficient beer and the spirits have been copiously taken, the ice will have been shattered and people start not calling each other by their first names but are also adding certain endearing epithets which have been kept bottled up all through the year. For example that mild , retiring and soft spoken Mr. Simiti of the accounting department has just backed up his immediate superior into a corner and is telling him in a loud voice that he ought to know for his own good what people are saying about him, They (he says in a stage whisper) think that he is nothing but a stuffed shirt and why doesn’t he try and act as a human being for a change or at least act like one?( Mr Simiti will awaken in a cold sweat the following morning and try and fail to remember what he had said).
Delicate Little Miss Wanjiru, Computer savvy and recently recruited in suspicious circumstances personally by the CEO is contributing to the general merriment by regurgitating the expensive whisky in the artificial flowers in rather un-ladylike manner. Mr Juma of sales ( Pocket full of beer bottles tops on account of an ongoing promotion) having pursued his secretary around the rearranged desks has cornered her behind the filing cabinet and is assuring her in his best accented language that his wife doesn’t understand him.
Mr. Mramba, the conscientious office administrator, is wandering from room to room with a harried expression, retrieving a cigarette butts here and there, while rearranging the glasses and generally correcting any emerging wrongdoings .Mr Mramba greets the annual Christmas party with the enthusiasm he would display toward a return attack of sciatica.
By early evening the party is in shambles, the earlier smartly dressed and conservative officers are now in shirt sleeves. Paper cups, broken glasses now litter the floor. Ever Quite Mr Mwamburi is now loudly singing in an off-key voice. Kuna Dawa! kuna dawa!
By the time, the affairs break up, long toward midnight-so much ill will has been generated among the Asheena publishers staff that it will take at least twelve months for the organization to get back to normal and that will be time for the next years office party.
Welcome to our annual end year office party!
© Zack Omoro
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