The Office Birthday Party

Aren’t office birthday parties fun?

As you approach your cubicle you can’t help but notice the twisted pink and blue nightmare that is cascading from the ceiling and flowing directly down into your cubicle.  Sighing you think to yourself, “which moron stayed late last night to put this up?”.  You are then expected to work throughout the day draped under a canopy of cheap dollar store crinkle paper knowing that you will later be honored with the daunting task of ripping it all down.  Hopefully by the end of the day half of it would have fallen down anyway.  Good, less for you to clean up later.

Ah, the proverbial birthday cake.  The one purchased from the corner grocer the day before, during someone’s lunch hour.   A yellow sponge like substance covered with white frothy icing and a rainbow of sugary roses adorning each side.  A sweet treat guaranteed to produce sugar crash in the most productive of workers. “Happy Birthday” is scribbled across the middle as if it were written by the hand of a child.  Lucky for you the fire codes prevent the use of open flame so there won’t be any candles (not that they would all fit on the cake anyway).   “I’ll just have a tiny sliver, thank you very much.”

Suddenly the office erupts into song as the Corporate Tabernacle Choir recites the lyrics to “Happy Birthday To You” (albeit in the key of b flat).  Was that a dog howling in the background?

Then there is the group birthday card.  The one that reads “Happy Birthday, from the whole gang!” and is littered throughout with cute little animals where each person signs their name to the creature that they think resembles them the most.  The card that is given to the boss for his signature last so that he has no other option but to sign his name to the jackass.  You would think that he would get the hint by now.  Looks identical to the card you received last year, doesn’t it?

As the day drags on you will be visited by various coworkers (some of which you have never even seen before) all asking the same ridiculous question, “Oh, is it your birthday?” Gee what could have possibly given it away?  Could it be the hideous streamers purchased off the clearance rack?  The half-eaten birthday cake sitting on the edge of the desk?  Or maybe it is the big bright metallic “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” banner plastered across the overhead bins?  Yeah, that is definitely the culprit.  You choke back the desire to respond with a sarcastic “No I just felt like decorating today” and instead you smile and nod as you offer them a piece of birthday cake (becoming stale by the minute, mind you) because there is no way that you want to take home any of the leftovers.

5 o’clock already?  Brushing away the last few crumbs of birthday cake from your desk you scour your surroundings making sure you have left no scotch tape behind on the prefabricated office furniture.  Securing the lid on the last few pieces of birthday cake you rush off to find the first associate with children so you can pawn off the leftovers.  The single mother of three thanks you now but will curse your name later when Junior decides to paint his little sister’s face with red and purple roses.   As you are leaving the office you glance back to your now naked cubicle smiling softly as you reflect on the day’s events.  Maybe next year it will be a chocolate cake.

The pomp and ceremony of the office birthday party may be a silly little tradition but still it is a kind gesture from coworkers and it is nice to be remembered on your special day.