It’s just an open spigot of specious tribute, this so called Staff Appreciation Day. An entire Monday spent showcasing the managerial calisthenics of patting one’s own back while simultaneously inflicting on defenseless staff the humblebrag.*
Is there no limit to the amount of obsequious thank-you-ing and face-cramping smiles staff members are required to deliver in a single workday?
It all began one week ago, when four roses each, encased in large plastic cones (picture a collared dog with an ear infection), were placed on desks in early morning by the helicoptering middle manager, The Mother of All Hens.
Inside the cones, the flowers’ stems were wrapped in a garish pink design imprinted with a superficially undefined sentiment Thank you for all you do, which was rolled out on The Mother of All Hens’ home computer.
In the interest of sucking up, Sneaky-Paranoid-Hoarder promptly flattened out hers and put it on display.
Later that morning, The Mother of All Hens paid a visit to The Cave, our cubicle neighborhood, to bask in the adulation she knew would be lavished on her by Sneaky-Paranoid-Hoarder and Cackling Devourer of Potato Chips.
They did not disappoint. An effusive avalanche of praise over her Pepto-Bismol-icky hued assault on the eyes was unleashed. Cackling Devourer of Potato Chips squeezed out a series of ear-splitting, air-out-of-a-balloon hah-hah-hah-hahs, which loosed several ceiling tiles.
Sated, for the time being, The Mother of All Hens departed The Cave to lay her eggs elsewhere.
At 2:20 PM, the she was back to let everyone know just how much the roses had cost her (a bargain) and where she bought them (CostCo).
Then she invoked the name of her ex-cop-live-in-couch-slouch-man-friend, he who never lifts a finger, whom she had met a decade ago at the roller rink.
As if we were on a need-to-know basis, she revealed what a big help he was with the roses because it was such a lot of work. He had procured for her every single plastic cone simply by picking up the phone and calling in a favor from a guy who owed him.
On Tuesday morning of the following day, The Mother of All Hens was back in The Cave. She noted the roses were turning brown at the edges.
“You shouldda seen me carrying all the flowers on the ferry,” she soliloquized. “I was balancing them he-ah. I was balancing them the-ah…it was sooo FUS-trating!”
There it was again. That word! Constantly used and reliably mispronounced.
Hopping to it, Cackling Devourer of Potato Chips, with a jerk of her recently replaced knee, kicked open the floodgates and the rushing waters of feigned empathy washed over The Mother of All Hens.
“Oh, I was happy to do it,” she said, with a sigh.
*(humblebrag: an opportunity for the attention-starved to stake a claim on our sympathy)