#5: Company Christmas party on Christmas Eve

holiday matrix

Or, 10 excuses to get you out of the annual office holiday party.

When I wrote my satirical holiday series last year, I never imagined there were actually employers cruel enough to schedule the annual office party on Christmas Eve. However, the blighted individual behind today’s sad and desperate search term seems to work for Ebenezer Scrooge himself.

While I may be too late to save this poor soul, here are a few excuses to get you out of that lousy, last-minute need to feign office goodwill.

I’m sorry, I can’t attend this year because…

  1. I have a delivery to pick up in Whoville.
  2. It takes me hours to position my elf on the shelf.
  3. I think I’m coming down with the flu, and wouldn’t dream of disrupting the blessed holiday events of my beloved coworkers.
  4. I have to assemble a 1000-piece wooden, Victorian dollhouse, and a bicycle this evening.
  5. I still have Christmas shopping to do.
  6. I’m trying to make the last post office pick-up time before the holidays.
  7. If I don’t get to the grocery store, we’ll be having spaghetti and meatballs for Christmas dinner.
  8. I have to thaw a turkey.
  9. I hit the Christmas prune strudel a little early and must stay near the facilities.
  10. I need to pick up my items for Valentine’s Day before the stores are sold out.

I hope one of these will suit you. If not, and you’re in the holiday spirit, please share your no-fail excuse for skipping the office party in the comments. Consider it your selfless gift to mankind.

Read the holiday series

Read the original series

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.

#4: Bad gifts

holiday matrix

Today’s sad and desperate search term, bad gifts, has me wondering – was the searcher purposely trying to identify a bad gift for someone? Or trying to avoid giving a bad gift? I’m going to go with the less-cynical option today, and assume it is the latter.

To help this person out, here is a list of items you should never “gift”:

  • Any small appliance, unless the recipient has specifically asked for it.
  • A craft, unless you are absolutely, positively sure it is a) cute; b) useful; and c) not offensive in any way (think Kleenex box cover in the shape of Pocahontas’ head. Yup.)
  • Any noisy child’s toy without an off switch.
  • Any item of clothing with a company logo. Believe me, it happens.
  • Anything alive, especially if it requires an inordinate amount of care and feeding such as, oh, I don’t know, a retired sled dog team.
  • A project, like that useful make-your-own garden stepping stones concrete and concrete mold kit I so unfortunately selected one year. (Sorry, Mom.)
  • Any book, item, or program that could be interpreted as a message that the recipient should lose weight, get in shape, improve their marriage, or change their lifestyle. Christmas is not a time to point out what you view as someone’s personal deficiency. We will take care of that ourselves when it’s time for New Year’s resolutions, at least for a couple of days.
  • Anything you secretly want yourself. The recipient might notice you staring wistfully at it as you unwrap your Pocahontas Kleenex box cover.

And my best advice – adhere to the Golden Rule of Gift Giving: Always provide a gift receipt as you would have others do unto you.

That is, unless the sled dog retirement bureau has a no-return policy.

Read the holiday series

Read the original series

P.S. If you’re looking for a treat for yourself, check out the recent offer from author Barb Taub. Pick up some good reading, and help out an animal shelter – all at the same time!

#3: Holiday task planning for kids

holiday matrixHa, ha, ha! Oh, you were serious? Clearly the writer of today’s sad and desperate search term is not a regular reader. I can’t even get my kids to set the table or empty the dishwasher on a normal day. What makes you think I can get them to deck the halls?

But in the spirit of shared desperation, I’ll offer these simple tasks children and teens can help with in the run-up to the holidays.

  1. Wrap gifts. Make sure they use an obscene amount of gift wrap and an entire roll of tape. Corners need not be square, the pattern on the paper need not be straight. Just tell them to go for it. That paper will get ripped to shreds when it’s opened anyway.
  2. Make bourbon balls. Oh, wait – is it OK for kids to handle bourbon in a cooking setting, or can I get into some kind of trouble for that? Not that I think they would actually drink the bourbon, but they might spill it and we do have some cats with poor judgment so I could end up on the wrong side of the ASPCA.
  3. String holiday lights. Never mind that your children are merely 4 feet tall, they can hang them at shrub height. If it disturbs you, and you want to view the lights from below, just lie down in the yard. You’ll probably feel like doing this anyway as the holidays approach.
  4. Put together that *@!#$* fake tree. Right, it looks almost real. If you stand 25 feet away and squint. Once it’s up, have them tear recklessly through boxes of carefully packed ornaments looking for the most fragile. Make sure they fight over who gets to hang them.
  5. Sweep up broken ornaments. See above.
  6. Have them learn carols to perform for your guests. They can sing in unison or, if they are over-achievers, in harmony. Not only will you be able to listen in rapt attention as they learn their parts, you can trot them out like the Von Trapps (matching outfits optional). This task is so wonderful because it is something they can do together. It will be even more fun than getting a single child to practice the piano.

Oh, the blessed holidays. I can feel my spirits rising already. Now, where is that bourbon?

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.

Read the holiday series

Read the original series

#2: Why do some people dislike dressing in costumes?

holiday matrixWell, Halloween has come and gone, as has the pressure to be something you’re not, specifically, someone who loves to dress in a costume. Some of us abhor this custom, but clearly, we are only one side of the equation. In this post, we’ll try to answer the writer of the sad and desperate search term Why do some people dislike dressing in costumes?

Well, dear reader, it comes down to this: Some of us are just not creative and fun. For those of us who spend an average day staring at our wardrobes with loathing and disgust, the need to select a costume just ratchets up the pressure.

And for those of us who spend an inordinate amount of time on our grooming with the only goal being to get in the range of acceptable, the idea of assuming an appearance that is worse than we usually look is daunting. We’re spending a lot of time to avoid discolored teeth, straggly hair, wrinkles and pallid skin. Why, dear reader, would we want to throw that all away by accentuating our natural flaws?

And, because I cannot stay silent on this subject, let me point out that dressing in a costume for a party or to trick-or-treat with your kids is one thing. Being asked to don one for a day at the office, or a professional event, is downright cruel.

Clearly, I am more aligned with the writer of the search term I hate Halloween costumes for work. I’m with you, pal. I’m with you.

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.

 
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#1: Why I hate Halloween

holiday matrixIt’s not hard to figure out why this particular Sad and Desperate search term hit my site since I wrote a post titled Why I hate Halloween. That post, however, dealt with the specific and heinous practice of employees wearing costumes to work, a “tradition” I abhor. Dear reader, there are plenty of other reasons to dislike Halloween!

It destroys perfectly good linens. I don’t know about you, but I prefer not to lay my head on a pillowcase that has been dragged through every lawn in our neighborhood.

It’s heck on those costly braces. Chewy candy is bad. Bad, bad, bad. But how can one resist a whole pillowcase full of it?

It kicks off the holiday eating season, that depressing time of year when you watch the numbers on the scale go up while your energy and enthusiasm go down. (Although in my family, the holiday eating season kicks off even earlier with the celebration of Canadian Thanksgiving, not because we are Canadian, but to accommodate other family commitments, iffy November weather, and one family’s annual November 1 departure to Florida.)

The acceptable age to “trick-or-treat” seems to be going up, and the older the trick-or-treater, the less effort goes into the costume. I expect any year now to be opening the door to a bunch of college students dressed as, well, college students.

Over the years, I have found only one thing to like about Halloween – the neighbor one block over who hands out beer to the adults in the party. Thank you, dear friend.

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.

Search Terms of the Sad and Desperate: Holiday edition

holiday matrixIt’s on its way, that moment you’ve all been waiting for – the continuation of Search Terms of the Sad and Desperate, the series in which I offer advice to the searchers whose terms hit my blog.

The series has been on hiatus since Andre and his friends hijacked my traffic, but since they seem to have moved on to other b-grade content, I’m picking it up again with a holiday series. Sort of like the second half of the final season of Mad Men, and the Downton Abbey holiday episode all rolled into one!

Stay tuned over the next few weeks while I answer questions and respond to musings like:

Why I hate Halloween

Why do some people dislike dressing in costumes

Holiday task planning for kids

Bad gifts

Company Christmas party on Christmas Eve, and a particularly sad entry:

Finally the day is over

Not a holiday post, you say? I beg to differ. Stay tuned…

#8: I wish I’ve never worked too hard

desert

Today’s Search Term of the Sad and Desperate is “I wish I’ve never worked too hard,” and its companion term, “I wish I’ve paid more attention to those grammar lessons on past tense.”

OK, I made up that second one. I crack myself up.

Dear person who has worked too hard,

Buck up! This is America! We are all about working too hard. If you’re not working too hard you are probably dead.

(An aside: I realize this could be someone from a country other than the U.S., but I’ve chosen to believe this is a person who is instead contributing to the gradual erosion of the English language. Besides, most of my international visitors these days are looking for porn videos.)

Where was I? Oh, yes…Dear person, this is the home of the free and the land of the over-scheduled. Maintaining a ridiculous level of activity is how we validate our existence. Haven’t you ever heard of productivity? Let me run it down for you. When you perform work you are an input. What you produce is output. The goal is for output to exceed input at a steadily increasing rate throughout all time. Otherwise, productivity goes down and we all suffer the consequences of a dismal economy.

I am a firm believer in productivity. That is why my to-do list always gets longer, not shorter. Oh, wait a minute…technically it should get shorter as my productivity goes up. Or the list should get longer first and then shorter. Or…

OK, let me try this another way. If you don’t have enough to do, it will eventually impact your self-esteem. You will see others rushing by you, too busy to pause and it will dawn on you that you are unnecessary to…to…

Huh. Thing is, I don’t want to rush around. Maybe ever-increasing productivity is not my goal! I want time to contemplate nature, think great thoughts and take a shower.

I think I’ve talked myself out of this. Go ahead and take the day off.

Read the series:

Anxiety dreams involving my kids 

How do I talk to my surly teen? 

I have only one child but laundry and housework never end

Life is not a competition

How to relax and enjoy your children

Gym class was never like this

Your husband’s fashion sense

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.

#7: Your husband’s fashion sense

desert

My husband’s fashion sense? Now, why would the initiator of this sad and desperate search term want to know about that?

If you are one of my readers, you may already be convinced that my husband has no fashion sense based on the clothing he buys me. But he actually dresses himself quite well when the occasion calls for it.

He wears nice suits and shirts. He’s often the only one in a meeting with a tie on. And he has a collection of antique cuff links that’s really quite impressive.

But like many of his species, he’s inconsistent. He went through a short-sleeved Oxford shirt phase that was truly unfortunate (I accidentally donated these shirts at one point.) He often has to consult me to see if something matches (he bats about 500 on this count.)

And, of course, the garb he wears at home is composed primarily of early-90’s novelty t-shirts, rugby logo-wear, and baggy sweatpants. But my yoga pants-wearing self can’t argue much with that.

So while I’ll give him “has a tailor with a good eye” I don’t think I’d credit him with the fashion sense necessary to address this individual’s needs.

Fortunately, he doesn’t read my blog so there’s little chance his feelings will be hurt.

By the way, I conducted minimal (that is to say no) due diligence to make sure the aforementioned search term was not the title of a porn video. But I think I can pretty safely say that no porn videos were harmed in the writing of this post.

Read the series:

Anxiety dreams involving my kids 

How do I talk to my surly teen? 

I have only one child but laundry and housework never end

Life is not a competition

How to relax and enjoy your children

Gym class was never like this

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.

Silly me, I don’t know from desperate

emoticonWhen I wrote my latest installment of Search Terms of the Sad and Desperate, I was unaware that the phrase “gym class was never like this” referred to the title of a porn video. Silly me. I didn’t know just how much desperation there was out there.

I noticed this after a suspicious bump in traffic, much of it generated BY THAT EXACT SAME SEARCH PHRASE. Despite my naivety, even I have the powers of deductive reasoning to figure that one out.

(OK, I know about half of you reading are now in the process of searching “gym class was never like this.” I hope you’ll come back to finish the post when you’re done, and are not lost to me forever.)

I was slightly panicked, until I sought the counsel of my husband, who suggested that from now on the titles of all my posts ought to be the titles of porn videos, and the sage advice of my blogging tribe who suggested I relax and enjoy the extra traffic (even though….ewwww!)

But I still felt an explanation was due. Whew, got that off my chest.

I briefly considered searching the titles of all my posts from now on to make sure this doesn’t happen again, but I think that could seriously constrain my creative process. (Ha, ha, my creative process, snort!) Or at least send me into a paralysis from which it will be hard to recover.

Ignorance is bliss, folks.

Read the series:

Anxiety dreams involving my kids

How do I talk to my surly teen?

I have only one child but laundry and housework never end

Life is not a competition

How to relax and enjoy your children

And of course, the infamous Gym class was never like this

#6: Gym class was never like this

desertUsually, in my installments of Search Terms of the Sad and Desperate I offer advice to visitors whose search terms hit my blog. But I’m not sure the originator of today’s topic, “Gym class was never like this” is seeking advice. I think he or she is just making a statement to the world.

But I’m intrigued. Is this someone who loved gym class and wishes that all life was like gym class? Or is this someone who huddled in a corner of the gym hoping no one would notice? In my experience, there is no in-between.

I’m picturing someone in a cube at the office, feeling either hateful or joyful, making a comparison to a past in the gym.

Here’s what I think might have been going through this person’s head if they hated gym class and love their job:

Gym class was never like this because…

  • …we didn’t get to eat during it.
  • …it made us sweat while right now I am basking in a frigid blast from the AC.
  • …I never get picked last here.
  • …at work we don’t have to swim and then go directly to a meeting.
  • …I can sit in the same chair all day if I want to.
  • …my boss is not a sadist.

But if this person loved gym class and hates their job, they might be thinking:

Gym class was never like this because…

  • …we don’t get to “accidentally” hit each other with field hockey sticks here.
  • …humiliation of others was tolerated, and sometimes openly encouraged.
  • …I was always picked first.
  • …those who violated the rules got a foul or better yet, got kicked out of class.
  • …now, I have to sit in the same chair all day.
  • …the gym teacher was not a sadist.

How about you? Did you hate gym class? Love it? How would you finish this sentence? I am dying to know.

Read the series:

Anxiety dreams involving my kids 

How do I talk to my surly teen? 

I have only one child but laundry and housework never end

Life is not a competition

How to relax and enjoy your children

 

A disclaimer: While it perhaps shouldn’t need saying, let me remind you that I have no credentials, training or certifications of any kind that would qualify me to mete out advice to anyone. This is a humor blog. If you don’t find it funny, well, that’s another issue.