Isn't it ironic?

Irony. It's a complicated concept that is often misunderstood. Want to prove how smart you are? Count how many times I use it wrong in this post.

Yesterday was the annual Halloween party at work. Each department picks a theme and decorates their work area and then all the parents bring in their adorably-costumed kids and they have a parade and the employees give them candy. People really go all out--and this year there were some impressive costumes, including 50s housewives (wearing some really scary-looking wigs), the entire cast of Shrek (complete with swamp) and this one dude who was wearing an old-man hat, black glasses held together with a piece of tape, shorts with knee-high athletic socks, and suspenders. Ironically, he wasn't even wearing a costume.

The groups also decorate their areas -- one department was made up like a barn, with apple-bobbing and bales of hay all over the place and, based on the smell, some live animals in there somewhere. I had a meeting in the morning, and I had to move an inflatable skeleton out of the way in order to sit down. Ironically, there were more plastic inflatable skeletons at the meeting than there were people.

Our group started brainstorming our theme a few weeks ago, but we were having a hard time agreeing on anything. I wasn't being any help. I like Halloween, it's just that I have a hard time coming up with great ideas and even when I do have a half-decent idea, I have a hard time with the execution. Plus there was that one Halloween when I got invited to this party and dressed up like a playboy bunny but ended up sitting around my apartment all night after my date stood me up. That kind of soured me on Halloween, to tell you the truth.

Anyway, everyone in the group vetoed my idea, which was things that you think would be good for you but can actually kill you. "Someone could go as spinich," I said, "And someone could go a bottle of Tylenol." I had everyone on board up until the point that I started talking about going as an apple with a giant razor blade sticking out of my head. (It's an urban myth, people. It never actually happened.) Anyway, we spent an entire hour at a restaurant trying to come up with a great idea, and by the end of the meal the only theme we had come up with was condiments. Which, ironically enough, isn't really a theme at all.

A week or so later we had finally narrowed the choices down to either 80s rockers or things that are ironic. I was feeling ambivalent, but ended up being the tiebreaker.

I chose things that are ironic.

Why? Because I knew it was going to be really difficult to pull off, I knew that most of them don't even know what ironic means, and I kind of wanted to see what kind of a train wreck the end result would be. Seriously, I never once thought in my life I would have the opportunity to use the word schadenfreude, but, ironically, there it is.

Ironically, I thought of the perfect ironic idea right away. I went to CafePress and did a search for "irony." I decided against this tee-shirt and instead chose one that says "i'm really excited to be here." With a lower-case i. Now that's ironic.

I ordered my tee-shirt and sat back to watch the fun as the rest of the group figured out what they were going to wear. If you were a fly on the wall, you would have heard some great lines. Like, "I could go dressed up as a glass of chardonnay, and wear a bug on my head!" Or, "Do you have anything at home that I could borrow for my Oedipus costume?" And, "I'm pretty sure 'I'm really excited to be here' is an example of sarcasm, not irony, you b----."

By Wednesday, ironically, I was actually looking forward to the Halloween party. But when I got home that night I realized that, even though I had paid extra for expedited shipping, my sarcastic/ironic tee-shirt wasn't going to be delivered until Thursday, the day of the event. Which meant I was going to have to run home at lunch, change into the shirt, and come back to work. On Thursday I left for work early, so I'd be able to get everything done. I also left my candy at home, figuring I'd pick it up later. You see where this is going, right? Ironically, as soon as I had gotten kind of excited about the damn work Halloween party, eight billion things dropped on my desk that were due immediately. I never had time to go home and get my costume or the candy. I spent most of the Halloween parade hiding in my office like a big loser.

Ironically, it turned out that only three people from our group got dressed up. One was a blind referee. One was a goth nun. And the other was, ironically, a skateboarder.

When I got home, the tee-shirt was waiting for me. I thought it might be funny to wear it into work the next day, at least get my $30 out of it, but it didn't even fit me. So to cheer myself up, I made myself some fat free popcorn and accidentally sprayed the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter directly into my eye. Like my grandmother always said, "Here's I Can't Believe It's Not Butter in your eye!*"

Now that's ironic.

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