Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Ode to Darrin Stevens and Becky Conner

Part of my day job now entails planning virtual employee engagement events. Turns out, many of our technical IT folks are fun and creative, so it's always exciting to let them use a different side of their brains in our seasonal contests. 

For instance, last year we hosted our first-ever virtual gingerbread contest around the holidays and it had great participation.

Chasing that high, I suggested our next engagement activity should be a springtime Peeps diorama contest, being as I’m a little partial to these.

However, I made the mistake of running this idea by HR (tagline: "where fun comes to die"), who determined that it may offend folks who don’t celebrate Easter, and suggested we instead call it a “Spring Candy Diorama Contest.” 

Having been down this road many times, I knew better than to argue and simply replied, “We will definitely promote it as the Spring Candy Diorama Contest. But just out of curiosity – are there any 'spring candies' that are not associated with Easter?” 

I did not receive a reply.

This month, we hosted the gingerbread contest for the second year. (Which is in NO WAY associated with Christmas, and which I suggested promoting as a "December timeframe baked residential structure contest.")

And again, we had great participation and recently announced the top four winners via email - including the overall winner who won by a huge margin. 

So it was slightly disheartening to learn from the winner's manager a few days later that he had STOLEN THE IMAGE OFF THE INTERNET and ENTERED IT INTO OUR LITTLE GINGERBREAD CONTEST! On a hunch, she had searched Google images and found the entry, which won a gingerbread contest somewhere in the Midwest in 2016. 

In the interest of not causing #gingerbreadgate2021, we are planning to quietly insert the list of winners into the next company newsletter – with that guy’s name and the picture of 'his' gingerbread house redacted, and the fifth place finisher now taking a spot on the winners list. Hoping, of course, that our employees are children of ‘70s and ‘80s television who learned to blindly accept when a main character was quietly replaced with an entirely different person and will apply that same suspension of disbelief to the holiday gingerbread contest.

(Ring gels, fruit slices, macaroons, almond kisses, chocolate-covered marshmallows, and chocolate-covered matzo are all spring candies affiliated with Passover. I stand corrected, which is what always happens when I get indignant about something.)

Happy Holidays! Stay healthy! Get vaccinated! Don't steal images from 2016 midwestern gingerbread contests!