Office morale in a Lawyerly Place can sometimes be touch and go. But with a constant influx of alcohol and cheese on toothpicks, the grumbles can be kept to a minimum. Because attorneys? They heart vodka. My current Place of Lawyerly Things has realized this and engages in preventive mood boosting. Around the end of each quarter, there is a highly recommended if you value your job mid-day social hour. It’s generally themed, painful, and light on munchies but heavy on wine. This experience is not to be confused with the annual Holiday Party, which is Thursday, or other required socializing like client events, woe-is-me-meals with the fresh meat new associate lunches and sucker summer associate events. Anyhoodles, today is one of those special social hour days.
Since I like a regular paycheck, and because year-end bonuses loom, I figured it would be good to make an appearance at this afternoon’s event. Plus, give me few drinks and I’d be doing some afternoon drunk lawyering. What’s not to love about that? Dutifully, I went to the office atrium, grabbed some cubed cheddar and a plastic wine glass.
It is also important to know that I am wearing my Sweet-Baby-Jesus-you’re-really-bloated-and-possibly-gestating-a-whale-pants. These slacks are about a size and a half too big. I bought them after a night of debauchery, when my dignity required I go to work in a different outfit but I didn’t have enough time to go home and grab clothes. This was the only option Ann Taylor had that was short enough and well, wide enough, to not raise every workplace eyebrow. I generally only break these pants out after the holidays but before I reintroduce myself to the elliptical machine. When I wear them, I constantly walk around with one hand holding up the extra fabric and when I stand, if I take a hand off my hip, I must ensure I’m in a low gravity zone or else they gently slide down to my ankles. And that’s on fat days. These pants are only seeing daylight today because I really, really need to pick up from the dry cleaners and everything else is past the point of a good Febreezing.
OK, so back to today’s social hour: I had sampled the Harris Teeter hors d’oeuvres, had my attendance noted by Big Boss and was gossiping discussing pressing client matters with Pregnant Colleague. My hands were full. Literally. One was hitching up my oversized pants. The other was in charge of maintaining sanity, which meant grabbing at all nearby bottles of wine and transporting them directly to my mouth. That’s when Pregnant Colleague dropped a napkin and without thinking, without recalling why I’ve had one hand anchored at my waist all day, I let go of my pants and reached down to get it. It took about two seconds for my pants to reach my ankles and my Wonder Woman undies to be seen by half the Lawyerly Litigation Team.
As I was bent over, ass up, I thought maybe just this one time, in the spirit of the holiday season, the Universe would spare me total public humiliation. I prayed my Lawyerly Colleagues would be so deep into their plastic cups they wouldn’t notice. Or that my ass would be blocked by seven months of preggers belly and that my mortification would be kept between Pregnant Colleague and me. But no such luck. Half the Lawyerly Place Personnel saw my adult Underoos and seconds later, the other half got an email about it thanks to the wonders of the Crackberry. Walking to the elevator bank was arguably the most embarrassing professional moment of my life. And for me, that’s saying a lot.
I’ve spent the last two hours hunkered down in my office, trying to compose a mature and sensible resignation letter that does not include phrases like “sorry for flashing the Managing Partner with my lard ass.” Except just now, there was a knock on my door and Wonder Admin brought in a bottle of Settle Ponti Toscano Oreno wine. Google says this is stuff. But the best part was the note attached:
If you didn’t work so hard, we’d keep you around just for the laughs.
My year-end bonus? Totally going to be spent on grown up underwear.