Secret Santa may be a popular tradition around the holidays, but for me, it’s one that has caused my co-worker, Tad, to have a lot of animosity towards me.
It all began a year ago, I had drawn Tad’s name out of a hat.
“Has anyone seen my name card?” Tad started asking around. “I left it in my hat.”
I barely had time to hear what he was saying, however, because I’ve heard that Tad can be tough to shop for, or at least I picked that up from the conversations I overheard between he and his girlfriend.
“He got you a diamond ring, I hope that helps,” I informed her when he put the phone on hold and stepped away from his desk for a moment.
The next day I heard that Tad had gotten engaged, but Tad didn’t seem happy.
“Someone told my girlfriend that I bought her an engagement ring,” Tad said in his typically accusatory fashion. “She got really upset when I told her I only got her earrings so I had to calm her down.”
Tad seemed concerned, so I thought I would cheer him up with a spirited coffee mug cheers.
“Congratulations!” I boomed, only I may have been a little too enthusiastic or Tad had a really junky mug because whatever the case Tad’s mug shattered, splattering hot coffee all over his shirt.
“Ahhh!” he screamed. “What the hell?!”
Then it all clicked. I could get Tad a new mug for Secret Santa. I smiled in relief.
“Tad, you magnificent bastard!” I patted him on the shoulder.
“Are you serious right now?” he still seemed steamed.
I hopped in my car and sped over to the mug store. So many mugs, how could I find the perfect one to match a person as complex as Tad?
“He’s your coworker?” the mug store salesman asked. “How about this?”
He held up a mug that read “#1 Employee.”
“Well,” I pondered. “I don’t know if I would say he’s the number one employee… Maybe draw another 1 so it says #11?”
The salesman obliged and I made my purchase.
“Number 11 employee?” Tad seemed a bit put off.
“Glad to see you finally got that open,” I remarked, mind you just prodding him jokingly.
“Well you wrapped the damn thing in duct tape!” Tad must have been having a really bad day. He shouldn’t have gotten engaged if he didn’t feel right, that’s all I’m saying.
“Hey guys, the Gleeson account just opened up for us,” my boss walked up. “I would love to see someone close this.”
“The Gleeson account?!” Tad’s tone changed from angry to excited. “I’ve been waiting for that account to open up for a long time. This is my chance to show you what I can do. Please, put me on this.”
“No, no I can’t put my number 11 employee on this, it’s too important,” my boss remarked. “Tim, I need you on this.”
“Will do, sir!” I said excited.
The boss patted me on the back and walked away.
“Hey, look at me,” I smiled and tried to cheers Tad’s new mug, only I must have misjudged my aim because I missed the ceramic cup and ended up hitting Tad’s wrist, sending hot coffee sloshing all over his shirt.
“Damn it, Tim!” he yelled. “You going to pay for this?”
“Coffee’s free,” I thought to myself, but oh well.
“Sure,” I said, “I guess with my new account I can afford it.”
Tad seemed to be grinding his teeth at the meeting where the boss honored me for closing the Gleeson account, so, when I was called up to the front to make a few remarks, I decided to give Tad some recognition.
“Listen, I know this account is going to be very, very good for this office,” I began. “But I want to talk about something else that’s good for this office. Comradery. I’d like to recognize my coworker Tad, for while I definitely could have done this without him, his non-disruptive ways should be an inspiration for us all.”
“Here, here!” my boss boomed. The rest of my coworkers began to applause.
I walked over to Tad. I stood there for a second, then, making sure my aim was perfect, I cocked my mug back and went in for a celebratory cheers, only Tad kind of freaked out and yanked his mug back, sending hot coffee sloshing over his shoulder onto the two rows behind him.
“Tad!!!!” My boss yelled. “That stunning display of whatever the opposite of teamwork is, is unacceptable. Consider yourself on probation!”
Then, it dawned on me. Tad didn’t need a new mug. He needed some sort of protection from spills.
I decided to pick up a rubber mug protector and because Tad seems to have trouble with wrapping paper, I simply installed the mug bumper onto his cup just moments before he walked in the door.
“Tad!” I began excited, but he cut me off, grabbing me by the shirt collar.
“Listen you,” he said in a threatening manner. “I know sabotage when I see it and…”
Tad didn’t get a chance to complete that sentence, because in walked in our company’s CEO.
“Which one of you is Tad Johnson?” he asked.
“I am sir,” Tad replied, eagerly.
“Son, let me just say, I’m proud of you,” The CEO smiled. “Your sales are through the roof! I can see big things for you one day here.”
“Thank you sir!” Tad said, excited. “I hope to one day work my way up the ladder.”
“Well,” the CEO replied, “barring any unforeseen circumstances, it should be a swift incline. Now, let’s cheers to that.”
The CEO cocked back his arm and brought in his mug for a hearty cheers, only the rubber bumper I installed on Tad’s mug must have had a little too much bounce, because the CEO’s mug went flying back at him when it collided with Tad’s mug, spilling scalding hot coffee all over the CEO’s suit.
“Ahhhh!” he screamed, then noticed Tad’s mug. “What is this?”
Tad looked down and noticed the rubber bumper. “You!” he said pointing at me. It was too late, however, because the CEO told him to get out.
It was too bad, because Tad really was a good worker. I mean, he was okay I guess, but he just seemed to bring in a lot of baggage to work with him which, again, I’m going to say is likely due to the fact that he went ahead and got engaged to a woman he had no intention of marrying.