Fifteen Minutes to Holiday Party Infamy


We received our first official Holiday Party invite late last night. This moment is always a huge relief, since I’ve given any number of perfectly legitimate reasons to party hosts not to extend me such invitations throughout the past year. And every year, for that matter. 

I imagine these smiling hosts quickly scrolling down through past guest lists, freezing on my email address printed right there and getting caught on it like a hand knit holiday sweater catching a shard of errant fingernail. “Hon, do we really want to invite that jackass to our party again this year?” Hon sighs aloud, but ultimately gives in to his or her sense of holiday empathy, and my email address squeaks its way on to the “to” list. 

Phew. 

So, in light of the fact that I am painfully aware of this kitchen table dynamic playing out across a half-dozen Bay Area households this time of year, one would think I would have learned my lesson by now. If one thought that, I think that thought makes a lot of sense. Really, I do. Alas, I am me. And me’s gonna me. Hon sighs again. 

The most virtuous holiday party invite must be of the digital variety. Saves trees and thereby the planet, too. Demonstrates technological savvy. Allows one (could even be the same “one” from earlier) to scratch a graphic design itch. And very easy for the invite’s recipient to integrate the invited-to event onto the invitee’s digital life. Forwarding said invite to his or her spouse, for example. And adding the party to his or her digital calendar with the flick of a finger on iPhone screen. 

But this last intended-to-be-friction-free feature, it turns out, is fraught with danger. 

You see, last night’s Paperless Post populated my iPhone’s calendar as only 15-minute event. A 15 minute party, if you will. 

Sweet Jesus, that’s a lot of pressure. I will need to think carefully through my party strategy. 

Let’s see. I will begin the evening by kicking down the front door at precisely 7pm. Storm straight past my hosts posing for reasonably expected hugs, and beeline it straight for the punch bowl. Skip the formality of ladling into a crystal cup. No time to waste valuable seconds with that sort of time-sucking propriety. The ladle goes straight into my mouth. Then again. And again. By now, other guests and our gracious hosts have taken notice. Making a mental note not to invite me to the next one. Scrub my email address from any digital or analog guest lists of any kind. Immediately, if not sooner. Probably also making a mental note to subtly inquire about the guest list at other parties to which they are invited in the future. So I feign an appropriate level of “I don’t know what got into me” self-consciousness, wipe the nog from my chin on my red sweater’s inner forearm, and stutterstep fiendishly along to the next objective. 

Finger food. The bigger and heavier the better. I completely skip the Crudités. I mean, honestly, who would invest time in Crudités under these circumstances? Let’s face it, Crudités is for suckers. I spin around the passed tray of Crudités and launch headlong for the nutrient-dense stuff. Both to help absorb the Captain Morgan’s sloshing in my belly and to provide me adequate sustenance to survive the inevitable chilly night on the living room couch tonight. 

You see, I saw that familiar look in my wife’s eye as I pushed to the head of the front door queue at 6:55 pm. So I am under no illusions as to where I will be sleeping this evening. It’s me and the hodgepodge of afghans, my ice cold feet sticking out for the long haul. And I’m fine with that. I’m certainly not going to dedicate precious minutes in the here and now in a likely vain attempt to argue my way back into my own bedroom. The waning minutes are better spent fattening myself up with these Swedish meatballs. And now that I’m caught in a vicious cycle — every additional handful tossed into my mouth is roughly equivalent to 1.5 nights spent sleeping on the aforementioned couch with the aforementioned poorly-designed afghans — I just keep shoveling. I’m in survival mode now, people. 

And I’m not above jamming a few fistfuls into jacket pockets and other hiding places. My jacket pockets. My wife’s clutch that she likes to bring to parties like this (maybe her proper party behavior will dilute my antics?). And while she’s distractedly cursing at me and trying to clean out her clutch from my meatballs, I stuff 8 more of those bad boys right into her overcoat’s low-hanging pockets. Note to self: Remember to recover the meatballs within the next 12 to 24 hours or else they will be of no use to me. 

Like I said, I have no idea why I don’t get invited to more Holiday parties.

Thanks for reading. 

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