What your shitty birthday was like in 2020

UNSURE if it matters that Johnson’s July 2020 birthday party broke the rules? Compare it to the shitty celebration you had that year: 

Location: home

Unless your birthday fell before lockdown or in the weird summer reprieve nobody trusted, it took place in the same spot as everything else in 2020: on the sofa in a post-midday wank stupor.

Guests: none

Nobody attended your birthday party in person because popping round, getting trashed and eating Party Rings didn’t count as state-approved daily exercise. After months indoors you would have given anything to celebrate with your mates. Even just 10 minutes would’ve cheered you up, but the police made it very clear that was illegal.

Presents: not many

Did you get any? Were they any good? Hard to tell; you had so many Amazon parcels of unnecessary tat delivered in 2020 that you lost track. Did your auntie break her habit of giving you generic, impersonal gifts, or did you buy that N64 game you always wanted as a kid for yourself at 2am while blind drunk? You’ll never know.

Cake: self-purchased

After quickly exhausting the joy of baking during the lockdown’s banana bread phase, you bought your own cake from the shops. Panic-buyers had already snapped up all the Colin the Caterpillars, leaving you with a stale, marked-down cupcake that only lasted for a couple of bites. You didn’t bother with candles. They wouldn’t have survived the tears.

Singing happy birthday: strictly forbidden

Scientists believed singing propelled coronavirus particles through the air and banned it. So your birthday was a dreary, tuneless affair, but at least you were obeying the rules not metaphorically giving the NHS the middle finger. Unless you ignored all the guidance as Tory MPs are now saying everyone did, in which case f**k you.

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The unwritten rules of office life that you will be exiled forever for breaking

EVERY office job carries the threat of being a pariah for life if you dare violate their unwritten and unspoken rules. Watch out for these: 

Never attempt genuine communication

When someone asks on Monday how your weekend was, they’re just being polite. No one gives a tiny flying f**k that you ran a 5k, babysat your nephew or went for a woodland walk. They only know your name because they have to. The single acceptable reply is ‘Fine, how was yours?’ after which you don’t listen to the answer.

Never clean the mould mug

There’s a mug in the office kitchen with an inch of blue mould in it. Do not clean it. Do not attempt to find out whose it is. It’s been there for years and is now unofficially a holy relic that delivers strong Q4 results. Its owner is probably dead.

Never organise the tea rota

Being the boss of a FTSE 100 company means working 14-hour days seven days a week. But it’s nothing compared to organising a tea rota for 16 people. Who hasn’t paid their £1 a week? Who’s petty for asking? Who lied about buying the milk? Who’s moaning about the biscuits even though they’re Hob-Nobs?

Accept that whoever sits by the printer is the printer engineer

‘The paper’s jammed,’ bleats Taylor from accounts, like a lost goat. If you’re nearest? It’s your problem. By proximity alone you have become the only person who can change paper, replace toner or restart the f**king thing. You are the printer engineer, with the minor difference that you’re not paid £16.50 an hour like a professional.

When sending an email, walk over to the recipient’s desk to tell them

‘I’ve just pinged you an email’, says Emma, while hovering over your shoulder waiting for you to open the email and then discuss it with her. That’s not how emails work, Emma. You send an email, then you f**king sit tight and the reply comes when all proper work is finished.

The days you need to finish on time are the days you work late

Theatre tickets? Date night? Need to get away at 5pm sharp? Your boss has other ideas. He needs that report finishing. The one that could be done any time in the next two weeks, except he needs it tonight. Because the whole point of offices is to extract a blood price and break you. Welcome back.