John Boston | National Slap a Co-Worker Day Is Coming Soon

John Boston

I’ve been completely in the dark about this. Just recently, I discovered that, every year, until the end of American Civilization, Oct. 23 is National Slap Your Co-Worker Day. Mark your calendars. In 2024? It falls on a Wednesday. 

The origins of this salute to pent-up cubicle aggression are as mysterious as a Joe Biden speech. One source cites the episode of “The Office” where the fetching Pam Beesly (my imaginary prom date) character slaps her boss, Michael Scott, for breaking up with her mom on her mom’s birthday. Actually, if memory serves, it wasn’t supposed to be a slap. It was supposed to be a full-fledged punch. But, the angel-hearted Pam ends up just slapping the uber-annoying Michael and issued a warning for him to never date a family member of hers ever again, a topic that frequently comes up at local city Planning Commission meetings. 

The problem with that theory is that “Office” episode appeared in 2009 and National Slap Your Co-Worker Day has been traced back as early as 2000. It’s meant as a humorous observance. There are rules. Like you can’t use a balled fist and you can’t like take a running start from three counties back. There’s also a “Slap Karma Clause.” That means, if you slap a desk mate, you can expect what the Pentagon calls, “… an appropriate response.” Some offices and muffler shops go as far to host Slap Your Co-Worker Costume Contests or Slap Your Co-Worker Conga Line dances. One is to slap the person in front — affectionately — on the shoulder in atta-boy/atta-girl/atta Gray Area Pronoun fashion and not on ze butt. 

That sound you just heard? It was from Human Resources where the body of a useless VP hit the floor. Hard. 

Supposedly, one is limited to one slap per hour, per co-worker. I’m self-employed. There’s just me in the office. I don’t see me going out and buying a 3-pound Porterhouse with the bone in and hitting myself upside the head. But, other, non-me and chronically annoying co-workers? I’ve never administered water-boarding. Who knows? Could be fun. 

I had a summer job out of high school steam-cleaning carpets. Quadruple-digit temperatures. Total humidity. My co-worker was a Baptist minister who kept saying, “Okey-dokey.” Oh frig. Slapping? I could have jumped up and down on his lifeless body with a sharpened pogo stick. Okey-dokey. Steam-cleaning carpets. In August. 

In my youth, I was the news director for a small NBC TV station. My boss? You know those little green doggie No. 2 bags they have in dispensers at parks? People would wear them before shaking hands with, ahem, “Mel.” Mel read the news daily on-air and never wrote any of his own copy. He’d take other people’s stories, fold over the top letterhead and photocopy the text onto his own letterhead, claim credit, then send memos about staff not writing enough copy and using words with more than four letters. 

I’ve had, in a non-Biblical sense, co-workers who will insert a pound of limburger cheese and tuna into the office microwave, set it for “Nuke, 45 minutes,” then disappear into the ladies’ room for the rest of the afternoon. I had a cubicle frequently invaded by a Spaz-Sandwich-Eating Rube With Ear Antenna From Another Planet who yearly won the Person With Whom You Wouldn’t Want To Be Stuck In An Elevator Award. It’s not simply that he’d stand, comatose and drooling, remote control in hand, watching ESPN on the TV atop my filing cabinet. It’s not that he’d loiter FOUR INCHES AWAY FROM ME while I’m typing. It was that my nose and his groin were a quarter inch apart while he’s staring comatose and drooling. Slap? No. Tie him by the ankles to my truck bumper and drag him? Ah. Sigh. A smile visits. 

Did ranch work for years with a guy who giggled. Out of context. Constantly. In the unforgiving Saugus sun. Wanted to insert him in the branch mulcher to see if it’d jam. 

Forget the old Three Stooges Why I Oughta slap. I have a dear newspaper pal who is the darn nicest guy on the planet. He once confessed to me that he’d really enjoy cold-heartedly beating, with a hockey stick, a certain son of the former owner of a certain particular mighty daily newspaper. Hm. What was the name of that owner’s son? It escapes me. Maybe — “Junior?” 

I heard that Junior came to town one day and cut in half the salary of another lovable employee while quadrupling his hours. (No editor’s comment about working 3 hours.) When the MVP of the work force gingerly pointed out he was losing both money and years off his life, the owner’s offspring, in a cavalier fashion, suggested that if the underling didn’t like it, he could, and I quote, “… shove it way up his …” (synonym for the mascot of the Democrat Party). 

Now. Fortunately for Junior, cowardly little slime bucket Junior was/is, Junior made the threat not in person but over the phone, long-distance, from the safety of one of those states on the losing end of the Civil War. Had Junior offered the placement instructions in person, forget slap. You’d still be hearing his faint, tortured screams from an abandoned mine in Acton today. In fact, I have it on good authority that the recipient of Junior’s idiotic directions is still considering taking a bus 3,000 miles, beating Junior with a rolled-up copy of one of those big Thomas Guide maps then showing up to the proper Southern Baptist funeral in flippers, diving mask and scuba outfit and pouring chum into the open casket. 



It’s a start in the proper direction. 

I must confess. I have an all-time favorite quote about National Slap Your Co-Worker Day. It was the droll and toothy observation from an anonymous desk monkey: “It’s not about the money …” 

John Boston walks among us, in Santa Clarita. Speaking of slapping, visit and pick up your copy of “The Unauthorized Autobiography of Joe Biden.” It’s darn slapstick funny. 

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