December 22, 2017
OUR WICKED, WICKED PAST
I’m not a person who spends wistful hours longing for the good old days But sometimes, the good old days begin to sound better and better.
Back in the good old days, men and women not only liked and respected one another, but they lusted after one another as well. It wasn’t as though they were bad people. Most of them wanted to be good people, but the lustful devils inside them kept wanting to get out and play.
Fooling around during working hours is frowned upon, even if temptation abounds, so people would get together and let down their hair on special occasions – occasions such as the annual office Christmas party. In order to lower the threshold for the evil spirits to emerge, these parties often featured alcohol.
During these parties, people would behave badly, make fools of themselves, sometimes do things that they would later regret, and hopefully – but not always – learn from the experience. The Christmas party wasn’t exactly a sinful bacchanal, but it was a place where people could relax, get better acquainted, and be themselves. And after the celebration, the people in the workplace knew each other a little better, and appreciated each other as flawed and often silly human beings.
Sometimes all the alcohol not only brought out the playful side of people but on occasion the ugly side as well. And people remembered that too.
If somebody didn’t want to participate in the celebration, they usually left before the booze kicked in and the fun-loving devils emerged. And that was fine.
Getting together, drinking, and everybody letting down their hair, was not exactly a new idea among folks.
People in the old days and even in the old, old days, recognized this and set aside special times for it. Like Carnival or Mardi Gras, both wisely timed just before everybody had to give up something for Lent. For the unaware, Lent is a six-week-long religious observance during which Christians give up some pleasurable thing in repentance for their sins and in observance of Jesus’ 40 days fasting in the desert. It ends at the Easter holiday.
The Mardi Gras tradition began with pagan religion as a rite of Spring and fertility, but was folded into Christianity when the pagans converted. Since they already were going to spend six weeks repenting their sins, folks liked the idea off kicking up their heels a little before they had to ask for forgiveness.
So having a party and getting to know one another better is a long-standing human tradition.
Then the lawyers got involved, as they always do, and the politically correct began lamenting that some people were taking advantage of other people. They were not mistaken. People taking advantage of each other is something that human beings do. Some people are really good at it.
Shame on those people. We should ostracize them from polite company. In the meantime, that certainly doesn’t mean the rest of us should stop enjoying each other’s company, drunk or sober.
So now, the office Christmas parties – long-since renamed “Holiday” parties – are downright boring. One place we recently visited had a Holiday party so dreadful, that employees got together and held their own secret underground parties away from the prying eyes of senior management. We attended one of those parties and it was great fun.
In fact, it kind of reminded us of the good old days.
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