THE WEEK in news:
Item No. 1: Actor Jim Nabors died.
Admit it: You saw Gomer Pyle’s picture flash up on the TV news and automatically assumed he was the latest celeb outed for sexual impropriety. That’s how common it has become to see trusted public figures accused of predatory behaviour. And the nicer they seemed, the worse it feels when they’re exposed (as it were). Feet of clay, and all that.
Britons are now treating Trump’s planned trip to the U.K. as the greatest invasion threat since Dunkirk. Don’t worry, if he can’t locate the right Theresa May (let alone Puerto Rico) what are his chances of finding Britain?
Item No. 3: Trump threatened retaliation after North Korea tested another ballistic missile.
Given Trump’s grasp of geography, North Dakota, North Carolina and North Saanich should all be worried.
Item No. 4: It rained all but two days in November. That’s a new record for Greater Victoria.
This place sucks.
Item No. 5: Greater Victoria has the lowest unemployment rate in Canada, just 3.3 per cent.
This place is awesome.
Item No. 6: A poll of Canadian office workers found fewer than 30 per cent find company Christmas parties to be fun.
The good news: More than 70 per cent of Canadian office workers are quite bright.
The bad news: You’re going anyway because, just like jury duty or family funerals, people will get all fussy if you don’t show up.
Some employees actually go eagerly, not to get crazy but to get ahead: They see the office party as an opportunity to impress the brass. “Like it or not, bosses can use Christmas parties to do an informal evaluation of whether you’re future advancement material or not,” the Vancouver Province once wrote.
Suit-and-tied publications offer tips on how to tiptoe through the social minefield. “Your attire needs to be suitable for a business event, not a nightclub,” Business Insider quoted etiquette expert Barbara Pachter as saying. “Don’t wear anything that is too short, too tight, too low, or too anything.”
Business News Daily chimed in with: “Be sure to thank your boss and/or owner of the company for the party. Expressing gratitude is a great way to make one last positive impression.”
And, of course, watch the booze. “One drink, maybe two, is probably more than enough,” advised Forbes magazine. “You want to relax and have a good time, not end up on YouTube with a lampshade on your head.”
But that brings us to another truth: You might not want to go viral on social media, but your co-workers have other ideas. They would be thrilled to see you on Trump’s Twitter feed.
That is, office parties are like hockey games. No one would go if there wasn’t a pretty good chance of seeing a few good scoring attempts, some tripping, some action in the corners and at least one fist fight. Jeez, your colleagues see you all the time. Why would they waste another evening with you unless they were pretty sure of getting to watch you do something inappropriate, like barf on your supervisor while trying to pull his underpants over his head?
With that in mind, I’d like to drag out my own Rules of Office Party Etiquette:
• Dance like nobody’s taping you.
• Don’t spend too much on alcohol. Steal it from other guests.
• Compliment your boss: “Your spouse is totally hot. No, I mean it, I even posted pictures.”
• Drop your drink on the dance floor. And your pants.
• Climb over the bar and show the bartender how to make a real Old Fashioned.
• Climb up on the stage and help the singer with the lyrics. The drummer could use some assistance, too.
• Be the last to leave. It shows you have stamina.
• Why pay for a taxi when the police will drive you for free?
This is what your co-workers — at least the 30 per cent who find Christmas parties fun — will be talking about on Monday, or whenever they call up Facebook.
Jack Knox is a born-and-raised Kamloops lad who once worked at the Kamloops Daily News. He is now a columnist with the Victoria Times Colonist. Since joining the Times Colonist in 1988, Jack has worked as a copy editor, city editor, editorial writer and editorial page editor. Prior to that he was an editor and reporter at newspapers in Campbell River, Regina and Kamloops. He won the Jack Webster Foundation’s City Mike Award for Commentator of the Year in 2015.