I promised to post a video in my next post but will put it off because a long hidden funny Christmastime memory rose to the surface of my brain today which I’d like to share.
Many years ago I was a division director at a one of my agency’s regional offices. Each year, a few days before Christmas, our Regional Commissioner, who I will refer to as ‘Mr. Big’, purchased a giant four or five pound box of chocolate candies, donned a thoroughly ugly Christmas themed necktie, and, accompanied by his Secretary, made the rounds of all the offices in the Regional Headquarters to wish each employee a Merry Christmas and to offer each employee to select one piece of chocolate.
This occasion, for reasons I will reveal was eagerly anticipated and the subject of much hilarity as employees subsequent discussed the event.
You see, Mr. Big was a manager who eschewed contact with the ‘little people’. In fact, he never left his fancy executive office except to attend monthly staff meetings with regional managers, so at least he knew our names. I doubt he would have even recognized any of the non-managerial staff. Thus the need for the accompaniment of his secretary. He would approach the desk of each employee, proffer the box of chocolates, exclaiming: “Merry Christmas Ms. (or Mr.) ……” followed by a pregnant pause, during which his secretary would conspicuously whisper the person’s last name into his ear…. “……. Jones. Have a piece of candy.” Whereupon, the employee would select a piece of candy and respond: “Thank You, Mr. Big. Merry Christmas to you.”
I must mention here that Mr. Big did not purchase expensive good quality candy. He bought the giant boxes carried by drug store during the Christmas season – extremely cheap in both quality and price. I doubt that they were even chocolate – most likely imitation. At least they were brown!
It was hilarious. The word would rapidly start spreading the moment he left his office to begin his rounds, his progress being duly reported via telephone by the secretaries of each division – – – “Mr. Big just left Personnel headed for Logistics!” —- “Mr. Big just left Internal Audit headed for Classification and Value!”, etc. So all the employees knew when to expect Mr. Big and Secretary to make their entrance.
One year, though, was especially memorable. In my division there were two heavy-set black women accounting clerks. Other than their skin color and their physical size, however, they had nothing in common. They dressed differently and their personalities were almost polar opposites – one very serious, the other almost bubbly. But, most of all, they didn’t look a bit alike.
Well, when Mr. Big arrived in our office one of the women was at her desk and the other was out of the office, probably in the ladies room. Mr. Big stopped at the one lady’s desk and performed his ritual, and, after greeting everyone there, headed out – just as the other lady entered the office. She approached him, exclaiming: “Merry Christmas, Mr. Big.” and reached or a chocolate. Whereupon, Mr. Big pulled the box back out of her reach remarking: “You already had one!”