“Belong to you does he?” asks the security guard. “Bit hard to say from this angle,” replies Amanda Eyre, head of human resources at law firm Hull, Lewsey and Pearce, “but I imagine he is an employee, yes.” The two of them are standing in the Great Hall of the Natural History Museum peering up at the body of a man curled up asleep inside the ribcage of the diplodocus skeleton. The company has hired out the museum for their Christmas party at great expense. And now it seems, great embarrassment. With a murmur the mystery sleeper shifts, dislodging the festive gold paper hat from his head, which falls to the floor like an autumnal leaf. The dinosaur creaks. “Well he can’t stay there, luv. It’s a good job the diplodocus isn’t alive to see this, that’s all I can say.” Amanda Eyre gives the security guard a sideways look. “Vegetarian weren’t they.” offers the security guard by way of explanation.
Oh yes, the office Christmas party season is upon us. Ho-ho-ho. Or rather, hic-hic-hic. Festive Rudolf ties will be worn around heads, mistletoe will be hung from trouser flies and countless middle management types will tipsily stumble into mid-life crisis with an inappropriate grope. Company credit cards will splash out on rivers of alcohol; let it flow, let it flow, let flow. Karaoke will be sung, tables will double as dance floors and testosterone pumped team leaders will get all competitive over who can moonwalk the best. Lager-loosened lips will say something they shouldn’t to someone they really, really shouldn’t. Predatory alpha males doused in aftershave will slip off their wedding rings. Mince pies will be thrown and there will be projectile vomiting. Ah, the joys of yuletide. Well, this year will be a bit different for me. I won’t be, how can I put it, ‘going for it’ with quite the same gusto as in previous years. Thanks to the ulcerative colitis I’m going to have to get into the Christmas spirit without the spirits. And I don’t think I mind all that much. Though it will be an odd experience to observe the post-Christmas party casualties jabbering and dribbling on the Tube, and for once not be one of them. Yup, December is shaping up to be a sober, hangover free one for me. Now that probably is something worth celebrating.