Streamers. We forgot streamers. Maybe that was it.
It's sad how some people always have to ruin everything. I mean, I thought everyone was having a nice time on Tuesday afternoon. Out of the kindness of their heart, our bosses at Advanced Insertion Technologies, Inc. threw a delightful retirement party for Ned, the sweet man from down in Fold Checking. I hadn't said much to him over the years, but after all, though he worked for A.I.T. for forty-eight years, I've only been there six months! Anyway, everyone seemed to agree that Ned was a very good fold checker and hadn't caused any problems at all, ever. Mr. Tibbits went to the front of the room after the balloon animal guy did his thing and he congratulated Ned on forty-eight years of fold checking, and then he pushed Play on the VCR he'd set up, and there was a little video someone had assembled from the surveillance tapes over the years, footage of Ned going all the way back to the late fifties showing him checking folds on outgoing tagboard before putting the pieces into a Brown Container D, again and again, probably hundreds of thousands of times as time marched on and he matured before our very eyes! I thought it was certainly a nice gesture to make that tape. Then Mr. Tibbits gave Ned one last fold to check there at the front of the room, and Ned took it and checked it and put it into a Brown Container D, and then Mr. Tibbits asked him to say a few words, and there was a strange couple of seconds of silence, and then Ned very unpleasantly (and ungratefully) opened his mouth, cocked his head to the ceiling, and let out a piercing, agonized scream of all-encompassing regret and failure that went on and on and on into horrible infinity, him just standing there and screaming like a crazy man in loss and abject sadness for what might have been as he stared into the depths of the Brown Container D and realized his life had been a total waste of time, a cruel joke that would finally and mercifully end only with his unnoticed death sometime in the near future, a death marked only by memories of strangers who would note that he was pretty good with the folds and then move sluggishly on through their own days of quiet desperation. This happened right in the middle of the retirement party! How rude! We all started to file out of the kitchenette, embarrassed, and Ned kept going and going, and the last anyone saw of him he was still standing beside the coffee machine as his howls leapt up from the depths of his soul. When Barry opened the office on Wednesday, he said he could still hear Ned yelling, even through the ceiling, so we all decided to just not go into the kitchenette for a while. Now you tell me, how is Ned's behavior a good way to thank the bosses for throwing such a swell shindig with cake and a balloon animal guy and at least six people, not including myself, invited from down the hallway? Can you believe that guy?