So there I was, in the thick of my own infertility angst & funk, when I had to endure a flood of baby showers at work. Obviously I was in no mood. Even if I hadn't had my own issues, baby showers are boring at best, torture at worst. Is there a reason they couldn’t have one big party and get them all over with at the same time? It was idiotic. Every Friday as the sun set on another work week, it was the dawn of another lame event. And each one…get this… was a surprise. The shenanigans would start on Monday morning when, upon arrival, we would discover a cutesy pink or blue envelope on our desks.
We never knew who distributed them, which makes sense. What moron would admit to arriving to work extra early every Monday morning to play post office-(and not the fun kind)?
Then we’d all open the homemade, computer-generated cards which would have one lone word on the front: Shhhhhhhhhhhh!!!
I remember the first week thinking: “How unique. This card is shouting a whisper at the top of its lungs at me.” The second week I still got as far as: “Interesting, it’s the same invitation as last week’s.” By the third week I was over it.
I wondered what was going through the minds of the impregnatas. By shower #4, did they begin to sense a trend? Or was the next in line frantically turning over everything on her desk that Monday, searching for the invitation and mumbling to herself: It must be here somewhere! I can’t believe I’m not invited!”
So there we were having a surprise baby shower every Friday at 5:15 for seven consecutive Fridays like clockwork. By the fifth one, I thought: “You know, this would be a great cover for a mob hit.”
At 5:08 that Friday evening, all the supervisor would have to do was perform her usual tedious ritual: “Karen, when you have a minute, I need to see you in my office.” At which time the giggling girl would be led into the kitchen/den of doom where a hit man would turn on the lights, jump up and yell: “Surprise!”
That’s why the invitations were always delivered anonymously under a cloak of darkness. The first four baby showers were just a front to set up the eventual kitchen hit.
Besides the fact that due to my fertility issues I had my own personal vendetta against baby showers, I didn’t appreciate having to stay late on a Friday free of charge. I guess I didn’t have to stay. In fact, a couple of times I had my jacket on and was heading for the door when the word “cupcakes” casually passed by my ear and back in I went.
So at 5:05 each week, (wouldn’t want to be late for the much-anticipated “surprise” portion of the gala event) I sauntered into the kitchen, like there was a noose awaiting me, and planted myself in a chair near the desserts.
True, we were supposed to hide, but there was no chance I was going to perpetuate this ludicrousness by crouching next to the microwave. So as the lights came on, there would be sixteen idiots sharing cupboard space with coffee filters and Tupperware, looking like a game of Twister gone terribly awry, and me sitting in a chair in the middle of the room next to the cake table with a face full of frosting.
Then the fun would really start. Every shower followed the same ten dreaded steps:
Step 1: Force the Impregnata of Honor to sit in chair decorated in tissue paper.
Step 2: Make her wear funny paper hat. (Can I go now?)
Step 3: Open gifts. It’s a bib. It’s a rattle. It’s a toaster. It’s a bagpipe. It’s a who gives a….
Step 4: Break into my fireworks/baby shower/sex lingo: “Ooooh, ahhhhh, Wow, is that something new?” (Around shower numero 5, in a state of utter disinterest, my thoughts momentarily reverted back to the invitation. She opened a gift and I exclaimed: “Shhhhhhhhhhhh!”)
Step 5: Add my own shtick. The same joke at every shindig: Ask where they bought the little potty because “I want to get one for my desk.”
Step 6: Take bows from gifts and affix to funny hat.
Step 7: Clean up wrapping paper: Try to discern the crap that gets thrown out now from the crap she’ll be returning tomorrow. (Although I must say, the re-gifting possibilities were endless. “Oh I love this layette! Wait, didn’t I give this to you last Friday?”)
Step 8: Wash down cake.
Step 9: Pocket leftovers.
Step 10: Head for the parking lot before anyone had the audacity to thank me for coming...or presence of mind to realize none of the gifts was from me.