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Farewell roast: Best to remember employees get the last word

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A smile costs you nothing (Andrea Piacquadio | Pexels)

Bazza and Mick quaff a few quiet ones as the union delegate farewells Mick's bastard-of-a-boss.

“Shhhh... Mick… your schooner is there. I want to listen to Beryl’s speech farewelling old Bob. She told me to listen for the good dig at the end.”

Mick seated himself at the bar table, took a sip and scanned the gathering.

“That miserable old bastard. Crikey Bazza, they had to dig deep if Beryl is farewelling him. She’s the union delegate and hates his guts. I doubt if anyone is going to miss him.”

As always, Bob stood perfectly upright. His tightly knotted tie noosed his throat and his pursed lips buttonholed a face chiselled from Moruya granite.

Beryl tapped the microphone a couple of times for silence.

“As you know, we are all gathered to wish our boss a happy retirement. Well, I’m not going to wish him a happy retirement.”

Beryl paused and Mick screwed his eyes and put his hand over his mouth.

“No… I’m not going to wish him a happy retirement because I know he will have a very happy retirement.”

Mick let out a sigh of relief as Beryl continued.

“I know Bob will have a happier retirement than me because he has saved for this moment.”

Mick leaned into Bazza.

“I reckon he will too, Bazza. He’s a bloody tight arse as well as the crankiest bloke I know. The young ones call him LOL Bob.”

“In fact, I would say Bob will have a happier retirement than anyone in this room.”

There were odd nods of agreement amongst the gathered throng and the granite head tilted slightly.

“She’s got that right, Bazza. He wouldn’t give you the dribbles off his nose… even if he had a cold!”

Now Bob, your serious approach to life is… aahhh… admired by all and I might even say exemplary. We remember the time you mistakenly brought your five-year-old’s lunch to work, and we thought it was hilarious. You sat there in your suit and tie and ate the fairy bread, the Freddo Frogs and the Musk Sticks. You even sipped the raspberry cordial from the Spider-Man drink bottle. All without a smile.

There was a slight chuckle among the audience and Bob almost unknotted an eyebrow.

Beryl continued on with a few more anecdotes that were funny to the audience but Bob remained unmoved... like a Sydney Harbour Bridge pylon.

“I truly believe that it is this discipline that ensures you will have a happy retirement, Bob. In fact, many of you probably don’t know that Bob will have a happier retirement than the richest person in the whole of the Eurobodalla Shire.”

“Geez, Bazza. I knew he had a quid, but even I’m a bit surprised.”

“In fact, I would safely say Bob will have a happier retirement than James Packer, Twiggy Forrest or even Gina Rhinehart.”

There were a couple of coughs and one eyebrow moved on the granite face.

“She’s gone a bit far now, Bazza. Beryl must be after a promotion.”

So Bob, where all of us humble souls have been saving our superannuation and the rich amongst our population building casinos or digging stuff out of the ground for a happy retirement, you have been focused on saving up your smiles.


I don’t think you have spent one since working with us. We can only assume you are now going to spend them. It should well and truly guarantee a happy retirement.

John Longhurst is a former industrial advocate and political adviser. He currently works as an English and History teacher on the South Coast of NSW.

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