the baby grand piano, the legend of Buddy, and other tales of holiday woes

All this week I’ve been sharing holiday stories from years past. Here are eight more.

1. The piano

“I work for a nonprofit that currently gets almost all of our funding from one donor, which means if she gets a bee in her bonnet about the way things should be done, we generally try to satisfy that wish. Two years ago, she walked into our holiday party (which my coworker annually nearly kills herself arranging during one of her busiest normal work periods) and looks at the beautiful table of food and wine and all the happy people and says ‘no music?’

So last year, my coworker spent a bunch of extra time working with our IT staff to make sure we can get speakers set up and pipe holiday music into the party. Our donor decides what we *really* need is live music. On a piano. Which we do not have. So she spent much of this fall trying to arrange the loan of a piano (not an upright, mind you, but a baby grand) from another institution to which she donates a bunch of money, which would have required us to completely rearrange that room (and also take up much of the space that made that room great for parties in the first place). Thankfully it appears that the logistic complications of that have finally overwhelmed her desire and the plan has been dropped, but I expect this year’s party will probably remind her again.”

2. The mystery

“Our Christmas party was a catered lunch affair in the biggest conference room with the whole department invited. We were sipping and mingling before the meal when a woman I hadn’t met came up to me and started talking to me about how someone had been unfaithful to her. As she went on she got more tearful and louder and louder until all the talk in the room died down and everyone was staring at the two of us. I had no idea what to do. It took awhile before someone else finally spoke and I gradually realized that the reason I didn’t know this coworker was because she wasn’t a coworker at all but a hired actress who was starting up one of those murder mystery games. I still shudder to remember it.”

3. The toilet brushes

“We do one of those gift exchanges at the party where people draw numbers and can steal each other’s wrapped gifts, and then we all unwrap en masse when the numbers have all been drawn. It’s usually quite raucous with people yelling out suggestions and shaking the packages.

One year it had a surreal element added by the fact that, unknown to us, the hotel had put decorative wrapped “gifts” under the tree in the room we’d rented. Of course people chose them because they were big and pretty. So there was huge confusion at the end when people a) found there were gifts left over and b) started opening to find empty boxes that said TOILET BRUSHES: PACK OF 6 and similar.

We still laugh about it every year, and specify no decorative gifts, please, to the hotel.”

4. The lady on the side

“In the Good Old Days (over 10 years ago by now), my employer used to host a Christmas party at a very popular local dining hall that was well known for throwing spectacular parties and the fabulous, much loved food. All of the employees and one guest were invited so it was probably over 200 people. There were limo rides that drove around town to see the Christmas lights. It was epic and wonderful.

The final year this party was held, there was a comedian as the entertainment. He was typical, snarky observational humor, I remember the act being entertaining. He was nearing the end of his act and he was highlighting members of the audience and finally settled on teasing the plant director (top leader for the location) and was joking about romantic relationships. Somehow he asked if his date, who also worked at the plant, if she was his ‘lady on the side’ and she actually was! It was a very open secret. They both about sunk into the floor and many coworkers about died from the joke.

I miss those parties!”

5. The Christmas countdown

“I once had a coworker who lodged a complaint with her manager’s manager that her manager was making her take her hours to Christmas countdown (yes hours, not days) off a whiteboard that was needed for something else. Wasn’t even like it was the week before Christmas at that point, pretty sure it was at least a month before. She was getting up and changing it a few times a day.”

6. The legend of Buddy

“I don’t normally participate in the office Xmas party. It’s not that I’m a scrooge, but I don’t drink, so being surrounded by my work peers and work supervisors getting progressively inebriated has never really been my idea of fun. To save costs, the Xmas party was always held on a Thursday evening – although exactly what cost savings there actually were given how unproductive everyone was on Friday after is debatable. To partially offset this, even though we didn’t have flex-time, at your manager’s discretion, you could come in any time up to 10 am on the Friday morning.

There’s a wonderful story-telling technique known as Rashomon-style which I got to experience every year, as people came in at staggered start times (and sometimes staggering themselves) with tales of what had happened the previous evening. Being the only one not attending, this meant I got to hear the same story from multiple points of view and able to piece together some truly eventful… uh… events.

My favourite involved a young man who was known for being so quiet and conscientious at work he flew under the radar of most people. Few people outside of his immediate team knew much about him. After one Xmas party, everyone knew his name. We’ll call him Buddy.

Like many of the stories already listed, the office Xmas party featured a limited drinks voucher scheme and a set table seating layout. Buddy was put on a table with a coworker who didn’t drink anyway and a woman who was about four months pregnant. So they gifted Buddy their vouchers. Apparently, a few others did the same.

He let his hair down and had a very good time, including revealing that he had a subtle and sharp sense of humor. The vouchers kept coming, and so did the stories.

Shortly before 10 pm (the party having started at 7 pm) one of the managers realised Buddy should probably go home since he was lying *under* his table. So he was poured into a taxi — and promptly got straight out the other side and back into the party before the manager could finish giving the driver the address. This happened twice.

The fresh air had apparently given Buddy his second wind because instead of going back to sleep under the table, he was now attempting to dance on *top* of the table.

He was eventually taken home at 1 am by the first manager’s wife (doesn’t work at the same company and had arrived to pick up her husband).

So, that, I thought was the end of the adventure. This was the last Friday before Xmas itself, and nobody really expected to see Buddy again until the New Year. When 10am rolled around and there was no sign of him, no one was surprised. Then 10:15 am ticks by and the door opens. A clean, freshly-shaven, ironed-shirted Buddy walks into the office. It’s an open-plan floor, so he made it to the second bank of desks in stunned silence. He didn’t quite make it to his own desk before the entire floor erupted in a standing ovation! A legend was born.”

7. The cranberry usurper

“In the pre-Covid days we had a Thanksgiving potluck. I signed up to bring pumpkin pie bars.

Well, I was doing my potluck cooking while also doing my Friendsgiving cooking, making my pie and some cranberry sauce at the same time. In a moment where I forgot how measurements worked I ended up making an absurd amount of cranberry sauce – just over 2 gallons. Friendsgiving was small (6 people) and my family is small (5 people) so I figured I’d pack up half the sauce and bring it to the work potluck since I had it.

This was the wrong decision.

Our office manager had apparently signed up for cranberry sauce and HOW DARE I try to take over her item. She gave the expected greeting to the potluck lunch, burst into tears and then called me out for ‘being disrespectful’ and ‘humiliating her’ and asked me to please come up and throw away my ‘usurper cranberries.’

I did go put them at my desk because WTF but also people still talk about this.”

8. The overindulgence

“Young coworker overindulges in alcohol, and somehow manages to miss that the company was offering a car service to help folks get home safely. Proceeds to wander drunkenly through the city trying to make it home, but ends up running into some bad sorts trying to accost him. In trying to escape, gets completely banged up — cuts, bruises, blood, and filthy torn clothing. At this point coworker is so disoriented that he’s not sure how to get home, so he decides to lay down in back of pickup truck parked on the street (this is December, so probably 40 degrees outside). An hour or two later the truck owner spots him, and thinks its a homeless guy so he chases him off. He forgets his bag which has his MetroCard, so he decides to go back to work and sleep it off under his desk.

Meanwhile, truck owner sees the nice bag left behind and thinks it was stolen so he calls the cops, who then go to the address … where young coworker lives with a now panic-stricken mother. The panic doesn’t abate when no one at work has seen him for hours … until he stumbles out from his desk around 11 am. The second coworker this happened to didn’t have the pickup truck incident, but managed to unwittingly leave a trail of blood throughout the office. And yep, everyone was freaking out about him as well for a few hours until he woke up. Needless to say, they both earned corporate reputations that I wouldn’t want to have!”

{ 127 comments… read them below }

  1. Gerry Keay*

    It’s always seems like such a dice roll whether “overindulging” leads to becoming an absolute legend or having your destroyed reputation. I imagine it has to do with how one comports themselves having overindulged, combined with your company’s overall culture?

    1. Mid*

      I think you nailed it. It’s a combo of how you act (starting a fist fight vs gushing about how much you love everyone while your date plays piano at you), and the general company culture (buttoned up conservative bank that has a full prayer before the meal is served vs financial firm with a culture of work hard party hard). Some behavior will get you a bad reputation regardless of culture (getting arrested for assault) while some will just earn you a bad reputation in some places and be amusing at others (getting boobs stuck to a railing after flashing people) and some would probably be seen as funny regardless of the company (petting a dog in the corner for most of the evening.)

      1. Lirael*

        gushing about how much you love everyone while your date plays piano at you

        Will always be one of my faves :)

        1. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

          The dog story doesn’t get enough love. (The dog did get enough love, fortunately.)

          1. MigraineMonth*

            The dog one accurately describes my behavior at most parties, though I will also brush any cat that allows it.

        2. Evan Þ*

          The dog!

          My sister had a similar story about one evening in grad school. She doesn’t like drinking, so while her friends drank, she spent most of the evening petting the dog perfectly sober.

      2. Tiger Snake*

        And whether or not you’re still able to do your job the next morning.
        One night of fun drinks is worthy of rumor, but if you have to take care of his morning meeting the next day all those indulgent feelings go away real quick.

  2. JTP*

    OMG, #2. Why do people insist on springing surprise “murder mystery” events on their guests? My cousin did this to the guests are wedding reception! Worst reception I’ve ever been to.

    1. Richard Hershberger*

      Yup. That was the story that jumped out at me as not merely an amusing anecdote, but an intentional act of awfulness. Whoever arranged it undoubtedly finds these things delightful, and lacks the capacity for abstract thought to wonder if perhaps this delight is not universal.

      1. Gerry Keay*

        lol this is so ridiculously harsh!!! organizing an event that you don’t realize other people won’t enjoy as much as you does not make a person awful or stupid.

        1. Spencer Hastings*

          I’m just baffled that they would do this as a surprise. I haven’t done one of these murder mystery things myself, but my impression is that usually, people are told in advance that that’s going to be the activity.

          1. UKDancer*

            Yes this so much. I’ve been to murder mysteries a couple of times, and you always know ahead of time it’s happening and some of the people in the room may be actors and what’s going to happen. I can’t think why you’d spring it on people as a surprise, that’s just strange.

          2. whingedrinking*

            Yes, for many reasons. I’ve been to a couple and had buttloads of fun. Everyone in the small, handpicked group had a background in role playing games or theatre, we all got to choose our roles, and everyone rocked up in costume and in character. It’s the kind of thing that everybody has to be yes-anding pretty vigourously throughout or it’s just awkward.
            And, obviously, there was no one in the room who was going to freak out at my friend bursting through the door and shouting, “Mr. Boddy has been murdered!”, much less an unknown person at a non-consensual LARP. I don’t think you would need to have C-PTSD to find that alarming.

        2. Irish Teacher*

          I think it’s more the not informing people in advance that comes across as a bit mean-spirited. Maybe they thought it would be a wonderful surprise, but it’s also possible they thought it would be very funny to laugh at people’s reaction when they suddenly find themselves in a bizarre situation and if it’s the latter, it’s a bit mean.

          I’d actually really like to attend a murder mystery thing, but…I don’t think I’d like it to be sprung on me unexpectedly. If I thought I was going to just have an easygoing evening chatting with my colleagues, I’d be in a very different frame of mind than if I were planning an evening solving a murder mystery. And it would be awkward to be in a situation like the LW’s and I might wonder if the reason for not telling was because the organiser thought embarrassing people like that would be hilarious. Like one of those hidden camera shows. Whether I would wonder this or not would probably depend on the organiser and whether I thought them the type to enjoy humour at others’ expense.

          1. Covered in Bees*

            Same. I’d love to do one of these but having it sprung on me would make things awkward. Also, I can see myself taking it more seriously than my colleagues, which can also be less fun for everyone.

      1. JTP*

        I guess it was something my cousin and her new husband both enjoyed (I’m not close with her), but why they decided to incorporate it into the reception, I don’t know.

        I was at a table with my husband, my parents, and my brother and sister-in-law and NONE of us were into it. The murder mystery coordinator came around toward the end of the reception with comment/feedback cards, and my husband didn’t realize someone was going to be collecting and reading them AT the reception, and he … did not hold back in his comments that he didn’t enjoy it.

        1. Just Dance*

          That’s just wild to me. I was at a wedding last month where the bride and groom literally MET at a murder-mystery event (she was the murderer, in fact!) and I can’t imagine that it ever even crossed her mind to incorporate that into their reception. I’ll have to ask her.

        2. Anonymous because people know this story*

          I unwillingly went to a murder mystery dinner once on a family vacation. Not the “everybody at the party plays a role” kind, the interactive dinner theatre kind. The dinner was not delicious and the acting was not good. My cousin and I spent the entire show filling out all the comment cards at our table under false identities. I truly cannot imagine what would have happened if someone came to our table to collect and look at those cards. :D

        3. Ellis Bell*

          That’s hysterically funny that they thought they were going to get a bunch of gushing comments. And to read them out at the reception itself is just oddness! That’s usually when people are thanked for their role in your life or for helping plan the wedding, not when the bride and groom start in on what was essentially wedding reviews.

      2. PastaLover*

        I’m probably an outlier but I would LOVE to go to a Murder Mystery Wedding Reception (or have one, but I don’t think my friends and family would be into it). Advanced notice would be preferred, of course, but there are few social events I detest more than a dance at a wedding. I just don’t understand what people enjoy about it at all, I’ve never been to one that wasn’t cringy, awkward and boring all at once.

        1. UKDancer*

          Can confirm, I’ve been the corpse (when I worked in a stately home and they were running one for the weekend and didn’t want to pay for an actor just to show up and die) They needed someone to have a loud argument with a main character and then be found dead in the summer house with a large bottle of “poison” next to me.

          I’ve also attended a couple of murder mysteries (one over dinner and one for the weekend) and it’s pretty obvious when someone dies that it’s a play.

          Also everyone there knows what’s happening, because they’ve paid good money to be there.

        2. Baker's dozen*

          You say that bit you’d be surprised how ridiculous people can be. When I was a student we were doing first aid training scenarios around campus. Someone called 999 because they saw people performing CPR on a plastic dummy without arms or legs or clothing.

          1. MigraineMonth*

            I once freaked out over a child-sized water-rescue dummy. In my defense, it was unmoving and face-down near a pool.

    2. Calliope*

      It sounds like the coworker who answered knew what was going on so the OP might just have missed an email or something. (Which happens, just makes it a funny story).

      1. Lirael*

        Sounds like the person OP2 thought was a coworker but it turned out to be an actress, and that by the time anyone else spoke it was clear what was going on? Or at least that’s how I read it

    3. Ash*

      I’m having a murder mystery party for my birthday this year. I specifically let everyone know ahead of time that I was thinking of this and only invited people who I knew would enjoy it.

      I couldn’t imagine doing this to people without them knowing. I LOVE them and the idea of someone surprising me with one honestly made me anxious. Especially at work, like I love my coworkers but that’s just a bit more than I’m willing to do with them.

    4. goddessoftransitory*

      Right? My jaw was on the floor.

      Attention party givers: the difference between an actual murder and a murder MYSTERY is that with the latter, people have to know what the hell is going on!

    5. Lisa*

      We also went to a “murder mystery wedding reception,” but the couple explicitly stated that there was going to be a murder mystery theatre thing in the wedding invitation.

      Putting it in the invitation was actually one of the terms in their contract with the theatre group, since the group had done another “surprise murder mystery wedding” and nobody enjoyed it, which made things terrible for the actors too.

      I would have preferred dancing instead of a murder mystery theatre, but because I knew what the entertainment would be, I was able to “psych myself up” for it and partipate politely.

      Springing non-standard entertainment on people is not very courteous though, no matter what the event is.

    6. AnElfForHire*

      I used to work as an actor for a company that specialized in Murder Mystery Events and can concur that the WORST ONES were when the guests weren’t informed of what they were getting into.
      Awkward conversations, refusing to play along, straight up ignoring or talking over us, and just trying to ruin the fun for any guests who *did* try to get into it were all the norm. The worst one that comes to mind *was* a Christmas one. Cringing thinking about it, even all these years later. The boss was super pleased with himself, LOVED these type of things. But his employees were super rude and weird to us because they were there to let loose and have fun.. not to solve a mystery.

      Our best shows/events were always ticketed ahead of time, or events where guests knew we’d be there. One event wasn’t a murder mystery at all.. we were just hired to be gods and goddesses at a themed company party and to mingle with the guests. It was a lush event and we were just kind of part of the scenery/ambiance, but if guests wanted to talk we would greet them and chat in character.

  3. Bunny Girl*

    Maybe number 2 explains my weird holiday flight a couple years ago. I’ll preface this by saying I have a massive phobia of flying and when I do have to fly, I am on sedatives. Like a lot of them, so I’m not very talkative. We had just taken off and the woman in the window seat starts talking to myself and the woman in the middle. Within minutes she is absolutely weeping and because I was so drugged I could not react at all. It was so awkward. I’m so happy I fell asleep.

    1. DogTrainer*

      I do this too! Although the most interesting part is not that the drugs give you the personality of a cardboard box, but they also almost completely erase your short-term memories.

      I once flew to a conference and apparently chatted with my seatmate the whole way there (or, more likely, they chatted at me while I was drugged). They must have attended the same conference, because they were also on my flight back and were SO EXCITED to see me… except I had no idea who they were.

  4. HannahS*

    OP2, when I was a kid, I went to a party that had a mystery plot, and it was pretty clear to me early on who was the guilty party in the fake mystery, so I said it. Then I said it again a few more times, louder, because no one seemed to be acknowledging that I’d solved the mystery! It wasn’t until one of the actors gave me a death glare that I caught on that a) it’s a performance that we’re supposed play out and b) the honour of solving goes to the birthday child, not whoever figures it out first. Whoops.

    1. Beth*

      Isn’t it just grand when the surprise unannounced activity at an event also has surprise unspecified rules?

    2. ThursdaysGeek*

      You were much more advanced as a kid than I was. I would not have noticed the death glare, nor ever realize that somehow the birthday kid should get the honors. An adult would have had to pull me aside and explain it to me.

      1. UKDancer*

        Yeah I wouldn’t have noticed the death glares either, I’m not very good at working out rules unless someone tells me what they are. I’ve only done murder mysteries as an adult and you’re told what the rules are at the beginning.

      2. goddessoftransitory*

        I was a very literal child and would have done EXACTLY this–it’s a murder mystery! I solved it! What’s the dang problem here?

  5. Calla Lily*

    I know this LW will hate this, but I kind of want to know how those ducks are doing (first linked article under You May Also Like). I have no idea what the lifespan of a charismatic waterfowl is. Is the original flock still alive? Were there baby ducks? Inquiring minds want to know.

    1. Irish Teacher*

      I’m actually disappointed that the question has context that makes it reasonable. When I saw the link, I was imagining coworkers with some kind of obsession with ducks who randomly went up to the LW and started asking things like, “do you know how many breeds of duck there are?” or “what age do ducks live to?” even though ducks had nothing at all to do with the LW’s work.

  6. Trina*

    Usurper cranberries! Goes very nicely with cheap-ass rolls, I’d imagine. Do we have any other bitterly-named potluck dishes?

    1. Librarian of SHIELD*

      I maintain my opinion that Usurper Cranberries should be the name of a Cranberries cover band.

      1. The Prettiest Curse*

        If the Usurper Cranberries could cut the several minutes of unnecessary yodelling out of that Cranberries song that was a big hit in the 90s, they will have more than justified their existence.

        1. Mrs. Pommeroy*

          The unnecessary yodeling is reminiscent of the ancient Irish tradition of laments sung at funerals, called keening. And seeing how the song was written in response to the Warrington bombings that killed two children, I think it’s a fitting, if unusual, choice.

    2. Juicebox Hero*

      The damn beans, AKA the Beans from Hell, after my sister hit the brakes too hard while transporting an unsecured and loosely covered casserole of baked beans to a party. She beanspackled the whole backseat of her car and she was raging.

      1. Juicebox Hero*

        (sorry, hit submit too soon)

        To this day, baked beans are still called Beans from Hell or damn beans in our family, when my sister’s not in earshot, of course.

    3. I drink staff tears : )*

      Yaaaas!!! I was scrolling specifically to see who else immediately got a flashback to cheap ass rolls from the usurper cranberries

      1. Grizabella the Glamour Cat*

        “Would you like some cheap ass rolls to go with your usurper cranberries?”

        I just typed that to see what those things would look like in the same sentence, and now that I have, I can’t stop giggling. We need to come up with some more items and create a complete menu!

  7. allornone*

    As a grant writer for a local affiliate of a national nonprofit, the very first sentence in the very first post made my heart clench.


    Okay, now to read the rest in the spirit it was intended.

    1. Hen in a Windstorm*

      I want some other rich person who’s not self-centered to be like, lady, this is a hobby for you, but a job for them. Stooooooop iiit.

    2. Jackalope*

      This was totally my thought too. Having only one major funder is a recipe for DISASTER if anything goes wrong.

      1. Artemesia*

        I worked for an organization with a very significant funder and when he died he made a large bequest to the organization; the hospital development deep convinced his widow to rescind that bequest and give it to the hospital ‘who was attentive when he was dying.’

    3. Mid*

      Or, at minimum, get the donation as an endowment/trust/something that’s less subject to one person’s whims. There are ways that funding can be secured at least a little more. Also diversify funding sources.

      (That said, while the piano is somewhat ridiculous, it seems that the lady was the one doing the logistics of that herself, and I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want music in the background of a party. It tends to make things feel less awkward if there’s a lull in conversation.)

  8. Juicebox Hero*

    Buddy needs to team up with the CEO and VP who tried to do a drunken Dirty Dancing leap and catch from today’s other article.

  9. RJ*

    OP7, so you were the Queen Jane Grey to her Queen Mary I in the cranberry queendom?

    OMFG, but some people get dramatic AND territorial about potlucks.

    1. Not All Hares Are Quick*

      I’m dreaming of Cheapass Rolls, Usurper Cranberries and the Cancelled Potluck Chilli Meltdown all somehow coming within the orbit of the Communion Queen and her Ten Commandments of Potluck.
      I’d pay someone else to go to that one and report back here.

    1. online millenial*

      Right?!?!?! I had to read through it a few times to parse it out fully, but there were TWO separate incidents of coworkers getting drunk, mugged, lost in the city, and coming back to sleep it off under their desks?

    2. Gerry Keay*

      “Wow, if I had a nickel for every time that happened, I’d have two nickels – which isn’t a lot, but it’s weird that it happened twice.”

    3. I Wish My Job Was Tables*

      Yeah, that’s frankly frightening! I’m stunned that they stuck around at that job long enough to even HAVE a chance to do that twice!

      1. Minimal Pear*

        I’m having a little trouble parsing that story but I think it was two separate people who did the same thing.

        1. MigraineMonth*

          It sounds like the first one fell asleep in a truck after getting mugged, then wandered back to the office.

          Whereas the second just went straight back to the office after getting mugged, but left a blood trail through the office.

          Was this company located in a particularly dangerous part of town or something?

          1. NYWeasel*

            It was in NYC so plenty of areas where it gets a little dicey at 2am. The truck thing was (I believe) on the lower east side, the other one happened all the way out in Newark. (He was heading to Penn Station to catch the LIRR, but ended up at Newark Penn Station in his drunkenness)

    4. NYWeasel*

      Lol, the last entry is from me, and for a half second I thought the “Legend of Buddy” may have been from a past coworker.

      Yes it happened TWO separate times to two different young men, and yes this was a hard partying entertainment company in NYC who’s parties were legendary. My coworkers told me that at one event they even had set up these sorts of tents/cabanas that the execs commandeered for their illicit partying needs. (Even our town hall meetings used to feature free booze until there were actual fist fights at more than one of them.)

      The second young man also missed that there was taxi service, and jumped onto the PATH trains and ended up in some random section of Newark at 2am where he proceeded to get chased by some would-be muggers. I don’t think they hurt him, but he fell a couple of times, hence the blood drops everywhere bc he didn’t realize how much the cuts were bleeding.

      Like the Buddy poster, I also preferred hearing all the tales of excess the next day, and this second guy was a direct coworker so I also got his side of the tale too hahaha. I always was amazed at how many people rolled in looking fresh as a daisy when I knew how hard they were going at it the night before!

  10. Baby Yoda*

    #4– This happened to my hubby’s friend decades ago at a live comedy show. The comedian started talking to the friend and the woman he was with, who was in fact not his wife, and it was just so funny as comedian realized he was right and kept teasing them. They just kind of sunk under the table.

  11. MigraineMonth*

    #4 reminds me of an awful story about someone I used to do improv with.

    He was hired to do comedy at a sci-fi convention that was graced with the presence of Sir Terry Pratchett (a greatly admired comedic writer). For some reason, this man decided to do a comedic bit about suicidal writers. This was met with zero laughs and awkward shuffling from the audience. After reading the room, he decides to *double down* and make even more jokes about how all writers are suicidal. Zero laughs. Everyone was looking over at Terry Pratchett.

    What the tone-deaf comedian didn’t know is that earlier that day, Terry Pratchett had announced that he had early dementia and had chosen assisted suicide rather than live out the full decline.

    I don’t do comedic improv with that man any more.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      Yeowch. As soon as you mentioned Sir Pterry, I could see where things were headed, and cringed really hard.

    2. ladyhouseoflove*

      Dare I ask how the rest of the session went? I feel that my worst nightmare would be an author with biting wit like Pratchett look down on you. I’d be nothing but ashes on shoes if I ever felt his disgust.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        He claims that one of the organizers found him afterwards to tell him Pratchett thought his bit was funny.

        Then the organizer explained about Pratchett’s announcement.

    3. Librarian of SHIELD*

      This feels very like Terry Goodkind showing up to a fantasy con and bragging about how he was so much younger and healthier than Robert Jordan, who had recently been diagnosed with a terminal illness. I have a friend who loves fantasy books who only ever refers to him as Terry BadMean because of it.

      1. Bread Crimes*

        *horrified gasping noise* He WHAT. I wasn’t a fan of Goodkind’s writing for several perfectly neutral reasons–tastes do vary–but I didn’t know he was… like that.

  12. SallyForth*

    #8 My husband had a fabulous over the top company Christmas party at our house every year for his small company. In our town, the university was famous for their co-op program and the company had several science students. One got really drunk and managed to pass out in our rather small powder room. His immediate manager tried to rouse him by banging on the door and couldn’t, so we got worried. He had fallen forward so even picking the lock didn’t work. The door had to be smashed off its hinges and removed.
    All was eventually forgiven and he was hired when he graduated, but never lived it down.

    Same party… we had one of those Yankee Christmas exchanges but it was for un unwanted and ugly gift you had in your cupboard. Someone pulled out a candle snuffer and everyone laughed until they realized we had the same one on our mantle.

    I opened a plastic wind up carousel, very pretty but suitable for a six year old. The person who brought it said she got it from her wealthy aunt/godmother for graduation. Her family had flown the aunt over from Hong Kong, treated her royally, and this was the gift. I thought that was a little harsh, as it WAS kind of pretty. Then the person’s partner said “You forgot to tell them it was your med school grad!”

    Other than the broken down door, it was a really fun party and people often mention it,

  13. Storm in a teacup*

    I want to party with buddy :p
    A true legend.

    Reminds me of a boss I had – known for being very sensible, fun on a night out but definitely never overdoing it. One year left our work Christmas party just before midnight. About an hour later I get a frantic phone call from his wife. Apparently he’d made it to Kings Cross but missed the last train and so called her to tell her not to worry, he’d found a nice corner to nap for the night. She’d driven into London (at 8 months pregnant) but he wasn’t answering his phone. Finally located in the nearby Golden Arches with a phone with a dead battery.

    1. Reluctant Mezzo*

      We had a party with open bar and the first DUII was at 8:30 pm, and that was with taxis laid on to take people home. We did not have an open bar next time…

  14. KR*

    I went to a community 80s night dinner and dance that advertised special surprise entertainment. Come to find out it was a murder mystery type thing much like this. All my husband and I wanted to do was dance and they would randomly turn the music off for long amounts of time for the “entertainment”. So disappointing. I think some people may really like that stuff and I get that the surprise aspect is part of the fun, but it was not fun for us and we would not have gone if we knew about it. It’s downright weird at a work function to be honest.

  15. Xaraja*

    Ooh alcohol and coworkers, such a dangerous combination. I used to work for a small company and once we went out for one lady’s birthday. There were about 6 of us including our boss, all but one were women, but the lady whose birthday it was was the only one who was a mother (everyone was in their 20s or early 30s, except for me, I was about 5-10 years older than everyone).

    We were at a restaurant that really tries for a club vibe – they have normal tables and wait staff but it’s completely dark and the music is so loud you can’t hear anything without screaming at each other. Somehow (I probably didn’t hear how it started) the idea that having a baby “stretches out” uh, one’s downstairs came up, and before I knew it, the last whose birthday it was and who was the only mother present was yelling “my v_____ is fine!” She wasn’t angry, she was drunk and being insistent in the way drunk people get sometimes, but it still sticks out in my memory as funny, awkward, and maybe a reason you shouldn’t get that drunk with coworkers (and your boss, who was also there) that you aren’t personally close to.

  16. Snoozing not schmoozing*

    #1 is why I transferred out of event planning. We has an identical rich witch who insisted on a grand piano for the annual top donors’ dinner. Which I rented, because we were not allowed to say no to that waste of oxygen. The dinner was in a basement event room. With no elevator. When I mentioned in a call to the locally famous pianist that there’d be a grand piano for him, he immediately said, “Was that *Madame X’s* idea? God, what an idiot!” Same woman screamed at me for inadequate centerpieces, and made me get enormous ones, for the round tables, that could only be seen over with a periscope. Her husband, who was the one with the money, was cool, though, and spent some time at the event hanging with the housekeeping staff, who he knew from coming to board meetings for years. God, I effing loathe gala queens.

      1. Snoozing not schmoozing*

        He usually wasn’t around when she acted like that. She was all sweetness and graciousness around him and their friends.

  17. Mrs. Hawiggins*

    Usurper Cranberries isn’t that a punk band? Let me know after I’m done heating up the cheap ass rolls.

  18. Rebecca1*

    Re baby grand piano: depending on the room’s acoustics, sometimes a harpist will suffice instead. They bring their own instruments and take up slightly less space.

  19. CommanderBanana*

    Aahhh yes, who can forget that winter when the Potluck Throne was taken by Cranberries the Usurper.

  20. Slow Gin Lizz*

    I especially love #3 because it is both hilarious and harmless. Like, the faces on those people opening the toilet brushes, etc., must have been fantastic. (“Uh, thanks, I guess?”)

  21. yala*

    #3 Wait, you steal them BEFORE they’re unwrapped? But I thought the whole point was you could either get a definite thing or pick a Mystery Box.

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