Monday, December 15, 2014

Beware The Figgy Pudding

It's that time of yer again, with candy canes and silver lanes aglow. This is the time of year that drove Ebenezer Scrooge absolutely batty: Holiday Party Time. Whether you are Christian, Muslim or Jew, Hindu, Satanist or Pastafarian, there will be a gathering at your place of work in the next week or so. Maybe that blessed moment has already come and gone for you. The powers that be may have decided that in order to maximize what limited productivity there might be in the rank and file before the file cabinets are closed and the lunch room gets converted into a Karaoke palace, schedule that preemptive fest that has all the Egg and not so much Nog. These last few weeks of the calendar year are a time for reflection, tying up loose ends, and trying not to do or say something in front of your co-workers that will be remembered long enough to show up on somebody's Facebook page.
Aside from that particular ignominious fate, you might also try to avoid a trip to the emergency room. Most of us are clever enough to avoid the more frightening moments at these holiday revels, but navigating the buffet may be the trickiest part. Pot lucks are a good thing, since you can generally count on those meatballs that you brought being both edible and non-threatening. Jello? This could be a riskier proposition. Better to stick with those freshly opened relish trays and little buckets of Ranch Dressing. Unless they've been sitting out under the lights for the past four hours while everyone looks for a place to put their coats. Or maybe it's best if you have the whole thing catered so you don't have to worry about that.
Or maybe not.
Last Wednesday, dozens of people attending an office holiday party in central Florida fell violently ill from apparent food poisoning. Food samples were being tested to determine the cause of the outbreak at a catered event, when guests began complaining of illness within two hours of the party's start. Emergency responders evaluated two hundred people, treating fifty-five at the scene and sending twenty-five to hospitals. Other guests drove themselves to emergency rooms, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was called as a precaution. Last time I checked, bringing tainted salmon mousse wasn't a treasonable offense, but these are interesting times in which we live. Perhaps we're all better off skipping the appetizers and going straight to the bar. Happy Holidays!

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