surprises, stripper, silliness: just another day at work

What's a birthday surprise party without a stripper?

Evidently the wife of my boss wondered the same. Then supplied one.

Yesterday my boss, the son of the other boss who died last week, turned 30. His mom, the office manager, and I secretly arranged this party prior to her husband's death, after which I assumed the party was off.

Not the case. Two days following the tragedy, when she and I connected up, she insisted it take place. (The family, I've learned, is about grieving, then celebrating life.) It was agreed that each of us would give him a small gift and card wtih positive sentiments — not hard when ya love your employer!

I made of course a cake … two Bundt cakes sufficient to feed a crowd and decorated for his sense of humor. Mom provided the pizzas. Others the liquor. And the wife, the stripper. Who arrived at the office, the site of the shindig, posing as a building inspector. I doubt it took long for the boss, with his intelligence, wit and astute perceptiveness, to figure out she hadn't a clue about drywall.

As she danced and gyrated her way down to her black skivvies of G-string, garter belt, fishnets and heels and a fashion accessory of canned whipped cream, his wife in the background enjoying the show and me in a roomful of guys making the usual cracks about being unable to leave their chairs, I recognized for the thousandth time what the rare, special and eccentric group with whom I work.

Despite the sounds of it, there was nothing in the situation that was bad sleazy. It was good, old-fashioned lowbrow humor, gag gifts and cards delivered with dirty witticism, hilarity and dignity.

The cake, its 30 candles blazing, was set before him amid a rousing rendition of the birthday song; "spicy tamale" was espresso spicy gingerbread, dark 'n' naughty was tunnel of fudge.

And at the end of the day, our boss was welcomed into his third decade of life with a celebration on the heels of his father's death, the crew dispatched happy, well fed and probably tipsy, and the immediate family was off to Las Vegas anon for the nuptials of the daughter.

Life does go on … and no better have I seen that philosophy embraced and embodied than by this family. While the birthday boy went home with a bagful of gifts, I too went home with one: the pleasure of helping birth a surprise bash for not just any birthday but the 30th for the best boss we all agree we've ever had, hands down. Or, in the case of the stripper, up and all over; photos will not be forthcoming {smile}.

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