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This column reflects the opinion of the writer. Learn about the differences between a news story and an opinion column.

Opinion >  Column

The Slice: Signing up for someone’s send-off

If you have been around the block a few times, you undoubtedly are familiar with this scenario.

Someone who has worked at a business for many years is retiring or otherwise moving on. A modest office send-off is planned for his or her last day.

People will gather and say nice things. Sometimes there is cake. You know how it goes.

There is just one problem. Often, the person on the way out the door hardly knows any of the people who still work there. A high percentage of his or her longtime colleagues from the career in question are long gone.

That’s just the nature of work life.

But here’s a thought. Maybe the retiree has known me for a long time, at least to the extent you can know someone whose face you see in the newspaper.

So why not invite me to the send-off? I could stand quietly with people from the office and be a familiar face, even if Chuck or Barb can’t immediately place where they have seen me before.

I’m serious. Invite me and, assuming it can be arranged, I’ll come.

Now I fully understand that the focus of the workplace party needs to be on the person being honored. So my plan would be to not say a word.

Still, maybe it would be nice to add a familiar face to the lineup of those lifting a plastic cup of sparkling cider in a toast.

So, assuming Carl or Ellen read The Slice over the years, why not invite me to the ceremony?

As I said, my intention would be to stay in the background and keep quiet. But if someone insisted I speak – I would decline – here’s what I might say.

“I’m told that when Bill was the new kid in accounts receivable his co-workers mostly spoke in grumbles.”

“A lot of you here at the Spokane Valley warehouse might not realize this but Joan was ahead of her time when it came to having a relaxed attitude about marijuana.”

“The rumors about Donna supplementing her income by selling stolen office supplies were never proven, so let’s try to remember she is technically innocent.”

“Some of you who have been assigned to the Coeur d’Alene office for only a short time might not realize it, but Norm didn’t always look like a tired old man.”

“Here’s to the good times.”

Today’s Slice question: What do you remember about your last day at work?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Coming Thursday: Place name pronunciation tips and how readers peruse the comics.

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