In Australia, the first Tuesday of November is a holiday for a lot of people. It's the Melbourne Cup, which has often been called "the Race that Stops the Nation". It's a little like the Kentucky Derby in the US, but it's even more popular. People who live in Melbourne get a public holiday, and many others around the country take the day- or a couple of hours- off from work.
Last year, for example, I worked in an accounting firm with about 150 people. Almost all of the partners or "senior" people fizzled out of the office by noon and went straight to the pubs. For the rest of us that were unlucky enough to be at work, we were forced to go into the social lounge to eat ice cream sundaes and drink champagne for almost an hour . It was rough working there.
While the race only lasts something like one minute in total, there is so much more that goes into the culture of the Melbourne Cup. The fashion is spectacular. The women who go to the races are decked out from head to toe in designer gowns and the most amazing oversized hats you will ever see. All of the men wear suits and ties. I love looking through the pictures the day after the event.
Betting is also one of the biggest parts of the Cup, of course. I'm not a big "gambling" person, but I did participate in the office sweep this year.
The rest of the afternoon was bliss. The phones were quiet, because most people know to not call around the time of the Cup. It's just silly, really. It's the Race the Stops the Nation, right?
My boys didn't place, as I expected. Americain won first, followed by Maluckyday, followed by So You Think. Our first place winner in the office got about $27, and the third place winner got $4.60. They weren't huge winnings, but it was fun nonetheless.
Whew, what a great day! Here is Funny Commercial Wednesday.