It’s that time of the year again, when workplaces across Australia put down their pens — not in protest, not in memory, but in our grand tradition of crowding around a small screen to watch something important happen somewhere else.
Melbourne Cup is like Cinderella’s ball: a chance for Australians to pretend we’re fancy at work, for one day only.
And nothing is fancier than an office kitchen party with a $6 bottle of sparkling wine, sound-tracked by a hyper-maniacal sports commentator.
So, don your sweatshop frock and pop some prosecco — which Melbourne Cup office type are you?
The One-Day Champion
“Ahh, that Burlington Bertie missed the kick!” he announced to no-one in particular. (ABC News: Alistair Kroie)
It’s the one day a year for this fleeting expert to dress up their possible gambling addiction as a thorough grasp of the Australian racing industry.
For one day, they swap their mid-level manager job that no-one understands for a collection of racing phrases no-one understands.
“Crikey, that cockle is moving slower than a nudist through a barb wire fence,” the One-Day Champion cackles with a knowing wink.
“Aw totally mate, totally,” their new friends at the bar nod along, unsure how to input these pearls of wisdom into a betting ap.
Who said an exhaustive knowledge of racing odds can’t stand in for a personality?
The Office Housekeeper
Melbourne Cup is the glorious day the Office Housekeeper gets to remind everyone they’re the stitching holding the social fabric of this place together.
In their mind, they’re the hostess with the mostess, going the extra mile to source the plastic goblets that don’t detach from their base every five seconds.
To everyone else, they’re a glorified secretary to outsource the menial labour of “adulting” to — the flower buyer, the cake orderer, the kaiser of Kris Kringle, managing the office’s roster of not-real-work commitments.
They hoped to show off their spreadsheet skills with the sweep, but instead they’re drowning in paperwork, while that ungrateful jerk from accounts harangues them to set up another $1 sweep so he can enter his kids.
After a jam-packed morning tweeting photos of trampled horses, the Spoilsport — as John from accounts called him last year — has joined the office party.
He was boycotting it, but after realising no-one was missing him, the Spoilsport has pivoted to a “destroy from within” approach.
Now, he’s set up by the water-cooler, aiming to educate his colleagues until they start avoiding that side of the office. It’s hard to cut get the message about cruelty across when they are free chips and dips on offer.
Later this afternoon, The Spoilsport will dabble in some classism, retweeting a non-consensual snap of a bogan passed out in a shrub with her undies showing with the recycled hashtag, #whostheanimal?
The Clothes Horse
What could be more fascinating than some pipe cleaners and feathers sprouting from your hair? (ABC News: Alistair Kroie)
Melbourne Cup is the one day a year the Clothes Horse can project a vision of who they’d be if they weren’t an office drone with a mortgage and three screaming kids.
By simply pinning a refashioned Christmas decoration to their head, the Clothes Horse’s perceived net worth has jumped by at least 40 per cent.
You wouldn’t guess the Clothes Horse is hundreds of kilometres from the action thanks to the fake cycads they’ve co-opted for their selfie station in the office kitchen.
In their mind, they look like Daisy or Jay from The Great Gatsby. To everyone else, they’re more like footballers and their WAGs at a third-division end-of-season awards night.
The Party Pony
For the Party Pony, Melbourne Cup is a warm-up for the festive season — a chance to shake their liver out of its winter hibernation with the excitement of a toxic meltdown.
Before the race even begins, the Party Pony’s had a busy morning skulking around the office declaring, “Well, there’s not much point in working this morning, is there?”
Tomorrow morning will be a write-off too, making The Race That Stops The Office a full 48-hour commitment. (Luckily their desk is an apocalypse-ready stockpile of Berocca and codeine).
After a few glasses of Yellowglen, the Party Pony will bowl up to the boss to deliver their annual sermon on the “vibe of this joint you run”, then spend the next 364 days wondering why they never got that pay rise.
As everyone else dribbles off to pick up their kids, the Party Pony marshals stragglers to the pub, aka the HR danger-zone, but they’ll pass out in an Uber way before the long-threatened karaoke, much to their colleagues’ delight
For the Bet-Hedger, Melbourne Cup is another problematic festivity to apply their Jekyll-and-Hyde moral compass to.
On the one hand, they know flagellating a sentient being is probably not okay. And yes, gambling has eclipsed smashed avo as Australia’s national crisis.
But when that envelope comes around, the FOMO kicks in. They’ll toss in their two bucks, then retire to the loo to clear their conscience by angry-reacting to a few photos of cheering bogans and bruised horses (#nationalshame).
There’s little overlap in the Venn diagram of their social followers and work colleagues. Besides, their horse lost anyway.