“You didn’t come with anybody, Adam?” I heard this question a thousand times at last year’s Christmas party. “No, I came alone,” was my answer every time. It got to the point where I could have substituted my pitiful self for a parrot and he could have answered this annoying question every time. I felt like a leper, a pariah, being cast off to the corner of the ballroom, slumping over my shrimp salad looking sad and forlorn. Please tell me I’m not going to have to go through this again.

Yes if it’s the second week of December it must mean it’s time for the annual Christmas party at my work. As usual, it will be held at one of the glittering casinos downtown, and barring a miracle I am going to have to answer the same soul-destroying question, “You didn’t come with anybody, Adam?” It’s the same old shit every year: I find a girl I am interested in, I infuse my body with twelve ounces of confidence, I ask her out and then I watch her detonate my heart with twelve pieces of dynamite. Somewhere in this great big world there has to be a girl who does not have a boyfriend, but I am batting a thousand when it comes to finding women who are with somebody. Shoot, even on the dating sites, you know, where there’s supposed to be nothing but men and women looking for love, I get rejected because they “claim” they’re with somebody. It’s as simple as this; the world has ordained me to a life of solitary confinement.

Unfortunately, my employer does not care about my isolated existence and they are demanding that everybody attend the Christmas party. “It’s good for company moral,” they told us in our quarterly meeting last week, but what about my morale. I am going to be lower than a flea affixed to the carcass of a possum on Highway 395. It will take several weeks for me to recover from the embarrassment of going there alone… again. I can’t do it, but I also need my job… so what do I do?