We at State of the Union work really hard to put on the best Sunday morning talk show each week. We think through program topics, book guests, do research, pull together sound, write scripts, as well as attend to dozens of other tasks. Even with our busy work week, we never miss a chance to celebrate. Weddings, newborns, show anniversaries, intern sendoffs and birthdays are always feted with treats (usually cake).
You wouldn't believe how seriously team SOTU takes birthdays. There is no escaping a celebration. It doesn't matter if you happen to be off on the actual day of your birth, the occasion will be acknowledged come hell or high water. The whole affair is actually quite a production.
First, our birthday coordinator, who also happens to be our great tapes producer Ellen Van de Mark, sends out an e-mail reminding everyone that a colleague's birthday is coming up. Then one of us volunteers to get a card, while another volunteers to bring in a cake. Then, an odd ritual follows. The card is slipped inside a magazine and passed around for everyone to sign. At the appointed hour, one staff member volunteers to lure the birthday boy or girl away from our work area, while the celebration equipment is set up. Everyone gathers as birthday boy or girl is brought back to the work area and greeted with the most awful, off-key singing of "Happy Birthday" that you've ever heard. Here's the other thing: It's supposed to be a secret for the person whose birthday we are celebrating, but it's really not. Every member of team SOTU has experienced this, we know in the back of our minds that this is coming.
It's one of the things I love and appreciate about State of the Union – working with great colleagues who want to celebrate you, even if you don't.