Big Daddy

Ask Big Daddy

Hey Big Daddy,
My chief of staff is getting married. I didn't get an invite to the wedding.
Would it be viewed askance if I didn't get a gift?
–Fuming
Dear Fuming,
Clearly, either you or the Capitol Weekly mail room have me confused with
Judith Martin. While questions of etiquette and which fork someone should
use during what particular course of a meal aren't exactly my forte, Big
Daddy has yet to turn away someone looking for help and he's not about to
start now.
First things first: What kind of a chief of staff gets married during the
final month of the legislative session? This is a time when hundreds of
bills are moving through the two houses in lightening-quick fashion, a time
when deals get brokered and fall apart a dozen times a day, and a time when
legends are made, yet your chief of staff is off spending his time
discussing whether to have chicken or fish at the reception? Clearly, the
two of you must be working for a termed-out member, or one who owes his seat
to the power of gerrymandering and having pictures of his primary opponent
with a donkey. Or Joe Lieberman.
I can't tell from your question if you're more upset about not being invited
to the wedding or about the fact that you're afraid the groom is expecting
you to buy something off the "$75 For What?" registry to celebrate an event
you weren't asked to be a part of.
If it makes you feel any better, I went to plenty of weddings in my time,
two of which were my own, and they're not all they're cracked up to be.
Sure, I love my five kids, but it's a helluva lot harder to date–and I use
that term loosely–in the Capitol when you've got a wife at home, even if she
is 400 miles away.
An important question: Is this a wedding reception with an open bar and a
large number of unencumbered bridesmaids? If so, then I share your pain and
I'm upset that neither one of us was invited. After all, would it really
have broken the bank to add the two of us to the guest list? If you figure
with that menu they're serving, it wouldn't cost them more than $15 a head
to have us there (not including the bar tab) and the going rate for a gift
is about $60 a person. That means even if we drank $44 worth of JWR apiece,
your penny-pinching chief of staff would still be $2 ahead. Hell, when you
look at the math that way, the more people he invites, the better off his
bottom line would be.
I'm presuming that you weren't the only one in your office left out in the
cold by your chief of staff, and that there are at least a handful of you
who have your Saturday afternoon free to begin walking precincts, but are
wondering whether you're "expected" to shell out for a gift.
Now, Big Daddy can't imagine a soul on this earth who would hold it against
you if you didn't provide a gift to your soon-to-be-formerly-single boss.
After all, he's the one who violated the unwritten "if you want a gift,
cough up an invite" rule and put you and your co-workers in this awkward
position. However, as a practical matter, it probably makes the most sense
to throw in with your officemates and buy a group gift that in two months,
you'll all forget about anyway. Think of it as going one better than your
chief of staff who, given his work ethic and judgment, is going to need all
the handouts he can get. Now, dear reader, do you think Ms. Manners could
have topped that? Where's the bar?


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