You and your coworkers went too far and now you’re all in the hospital emergency room, waiting to get stitched up. A policeman is asking you questions.
“We were just bored so we decided to have some fun,” you tell the policeman.
“Fun,” the policeman repeats.
“Our boss was looking for his staple remover,” Mary adds, holding a napkin to the bloody gash in her forehead. “So Louis found it and he shouted, ‘Keep away!’”
Louis says, “I didn’t expect it to go the way it did.” Louis’s arm is definitely broken. He’s constantly sucking in air from the pain and can barely speak.
“How did it go?” the policeman asks.
Louis threw the staple remover to Mary. Mary threw it to you. You threw it to Louis. Then repeat that a few times, with your boss chasing the staple remover from person to person.
“Then he kind of lost it,” you say.
Your boss first punched you in the stomach. Then he grabbed Mary by her hair and slammed her head into a desk. Then he grabbed Louis’s arm and twisted it up behind his back and dropped him to the floor.
“He was crying the whole time,” Mary says. “Yelling, ‘No fair!’ And just sobbing uncontrollably.”
“Over a game of Keep Away!” Louis exclaims.
The policeman shoots Louis a look. “Keep Away is not a joke,” he says. “Keep Away among adults is lethal. It’s the leading cause of non-alcohol related violent assaults. You can’t dredge up that kind of childhood feeling of exclusion and expect to walk away unscathed.”
“We’re sorry,” you all three say.
“Tell that to him,” the policeman says, pointing to your boss, still crying in the examination room. You can’t hear him through the glass, but you can see he’s telling the other officer, “No fair! They were playing Keep Away.”
The three of you go inside to apologize to your boss for playing Keep Away. He says he accepts your apology, but he doesn’t stop crying. He never stops. In the years to come, when you’ve all left for different jobs, you’ll stay in touch, making sure at least one of you visits your boss in the hospital every week where he continues to cry and repeat, “No fair.” You just sit by his bed and tell him he’s right, it’s no fair. It was no fair at all.
Happy Keep Away Day!