2006-06-29 / Sam Bari

The International Society for the Advancement of Aardvark Awareness

You can't beat a system you can't understand

Today we are going to explore a peculiar phenomenon that has been rampant throughout the echelons of polite society in nearly every civilization in recorded history. It has been particularly noticeable in those cultures with a penchant for celebration and excess. We are talking about the quest for the elusive "successful party."

Have you ever wondered how people known for throwing great parties always manage to get important guests to attend? If most of us threw, let's say, a birthday party for ourselves and invited all the movers and shakers we know or know of, and told them that gifts were not required, just come and enjoy themselves, would they actually show up? Let's be honest now - probably not. Our birthday parties more than likely wouldn't rate a place on the marquee at Chuck E. Cheese even if we ordered the super-deluxe-party-package complete with clown and live circus animals. However, this can change - it is possible if you follow these simple instructions.

The difference between party success and failure is in the theme. Every good party must have the right theme. Years ago, all it took was free food and drinks and the world would beat down your door. Then the themes started creeping in. You had to dream up an inventive theme before anyone would attend. Some didn't make sense. People in the Midwest threw shipwreck parties where there wasn't a lake, let alone an ocean. The idea was to pretend that you were on a ship that ran aground on a desert island and you couldn't leave for three days. That way the party could last all weekend. Not a bad idea if you don't mind enthusiastic strangers destroying your house for three days. The southern coastal states were famous for hurricane parties. Celebrity guests mingling with tourists at hotels made national news. Unfortunately, the severity of today's storms is prohibitive for a truly festive atmosphere.

Then, party themes took a strange turn; throwing a party just for the sake of having a good time became much too crass. Parties had to have a purpose before the beautiful people would attend. They needed to support a cause.

Before the turn of the 21st century, diseases were popular. If you threw a benefit for a rare disease that nobody, including doctors, ever heard of but sounded really scary - that could be the event of the year. The diseases had to have names like "nosayuckaphobia" or "subdermalhyperhalitosis," or something else so disgusting and strange that anyone stricken with the illness couldn't possibly describe the symptoms in mixed company. That trend, however, has changed. Today's popular charitable causes support extraordinarily weird animals and environmental issues. Nonetheless, your chances of festive success still rely on how compelling and newsworthy your cause of choice may be. Today's partygoer is concerned to the extreme about being associated with charities that matter.

To assist our faithful readers in attaining social notoriety, our crack team of researchers clandestinely penetrated the closelyguarded world of party planners. The reconnaissance mission revealed the consummate organization that supports the ideal animal to fulfill the needs of those with a desire to experience celebratory achievement.

If you hold a benefit for the International Society for the Advancement of Aardvark Awareness, the chances of finding yourself on the next social register will increase tenfold. Should you be confronted with a concerned philanthropist at your gala affair, you will be able to support the aardvark issue on either side of the argument with ease. If said do-gooder tells you that he has never even seen an aardvark in the area, you can say, "All the more reason why we should double our efforts. They are on the brink of the endangered species list in these parts." If the argument questions the need for aardvarks because we have neither a termite nor an ant problem, you can say, "That's why we must continue giving them our undying

support. Look at the marvelous job they're doing." Unlike their counterpart, the South American Anteater, aardvarks are cute, unobtrusive, and are not known for carrying objectionable diseases. They would be assets to any community if we encouraged them to establish a nearby habitat.

Why a silly theme like this will work is beyond my realm of comprehension. It must be part of that system I can't understand. Anyway, if you are successful, and are in need of a subsequent party to keep the social calendar rolling, informed sources claim that the platypus is slated for top billing in the very near future.

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