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The Christmas party: as many shots as Saturday night in Medellin, and more drugs


Tam falls before the first hurdle after sneaking into the Glasgow stiletto sprint. Picture: PA
Tam falls before the first hurdle after sneaking into the Glasgow stiletto sprint. Picture: PA

Testing times, and the stress takes its toll. "I have erectile dysfunction," said my mate Tam. "How can you tell?" I inquire, obviously having no knowledge of the condition. "I cannae put up the Wendy House," he replies.

This form of erectile dysfunction is, of course, the real bane of the Scottish man at Christmas.

We may all be Jock Tamson's bairns but we are also Santa's helpers. The duty at Christmas is to be handy at building bikes, playhomes and, now, setting up computers.

This was not my forte. Indeed, I completed my annual DIY duties last week. I replaced the batteries in my telly remote control.

The advancing years of my children also means I am less likely to be required to construct some method of transportation or habitation in the garage.

My last soft play area was constructed last year. This comes as something of a relief as my youngest is now 28.

The intricacies of screwdriver, instructions (usually helpfully rendered in Mandarin, with the juice-making an awful mess), and precisely two bolts fewer than needed, all conspired to make Christmas Eve a night full of problems.

This was exacerbated by Santa's helper being full of XXXmas spirit. Sometimes this was all the fault of the Christmas Party.

This has become Britain's favourite indoor sport. Professional football players take it to the highest levels, meaning their events are covered in the tabloids and then dealt with in the courts. The rest of us play at a lower level but with undimmed enthusiasm and a wonderful fervour.

It is time, I feel, to make the Christmas Party a fully-fledged sport with a spot at the Olympic Games. The Scots would be the favourites for gold.

There should be five disciplines in what we will call the Modern Christmas Pentathlon.

The first is the outdoor section. This involves a race (colloquially known as a stagger) on a route along either Sauchiehall Street or through the Merchant City. It must be conducted in either rain or ice but, being Glasgow, both are usually provided. Girls should wear hair extensions and fake tan and not much else. Boys should wear a vacant grin and a shirt two sizes too small. Tattoos are mandatory.

The indoor section must follow certain rules. There should be feeding stations but these should be treated in the same way that marathon runners deal with re-fuelling. Some, but not all, of the food should be placed in the mouth. The rest can be thrown at colleagues on a lower pay grade.

On the completion of this second discipline, the third event can be fully focused upon. This is the drinking competition that runs like a burst sewer throughout the evening. There should be as many shots as on a Saturday night in downtown Medellin but with more drugs.

Drinks can be carried out on to the course but must be dropped in the middle of the street and the glass left to hamper other competitors.

The final stages of the Modern Christmas Party are gruelling, challenging. The major thrust is to transform the event from ladies and men's singles into mixed doubles. This involves an intricate series of manoeuvres that starts with the compulsory vocal section of: "I've always fancied you."

Extra points are awarded if this section is completed in the office and - gold medal standard - with a thrilling finish in the stationery cupboard.

The final discipline is the swim in the pool of remorse. This occurs after the four previous disciplines have been completed exhaustively. This game is all in the mind.

The most brilliant competitors become shrouded in a cloak of self-loathing. The event starts with a flashback for said competitor who sees himself (it is usually but not exclusively a male event) standing with the buxom woman from IT, his line manager and a bottle of beer with a lime and a fag stub in it.

The soundtrack is somewhat hazy but our competitor seems to be wanting to enlist the IT woman in a mixed doubles event of horizontal jogging while the manager, coincidentally her husband, seems to be flinching at being described as an anchor, probably for his ability to hold the team together.

The competitor deals with this remorse as he is on a home run that consists of attending to the weans, placating his partner and then facing up to the trials of construction.

All this creates the brewer's droop that leaves him bereft. And the Wendy House at a tilt.

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