Tuesday, February 24, 2009

How to get fired - from the South Pole!

It is to laugh . . . According to the Denver Westword:

Jell-O wrestling isn't all that unusual. A staple of biker bars and fraternity parties everywhere, it typically involves wiggling, jiggling and giggling. But at the bottom of the world, on the McMurdo ice station, Jell-O wrestling recently became a firing offense — at least for one employee of Centennial-based Raytheon Polar Services Company, which holds the ten-year contract to staff the United States Antarctic Program.

Last week, the unnamed man was dismissed after employees of the U.S. Inspector General's office, conducting an audit of Antarctica's McMurdo Station, discovered the aftermath of a Jell-O wrestling party. According to news reports, the employee defended himself, saying "No one was injured...no equipment was abused or damaged, no one complained to HR, there was no inappropriate behavior, clothing or nudity."

Raytheon Polar Services spokeswoman Valerie Carroll wouldn't confirm the details but said the incident was only "part of the reason" the employee lost his job.

The story is just one of a series of odd tales to float up from Antarctica over the years: many involve binge drinking in what is a very isolated place, especially during the long, dark months of March through October, when only about 150-200 people live at McMurdo. And last June, a story hit the wires about a shipment of 16,500 condoms that was delivered to McMurdo just before the dark winter began.

"All kinds of people work there. All kinds of activities take place. There are lots of traditions, lots of fun things," Carroll says. Many of them are unusual, but she wishes the scandalous ones hadn't overshadowed some of the others. For instance, there's an art festival, a music festival (called IceStock), and the "Race Around the World," in which people run around the South Pole (every way you look is north). There's also a big bash every Halloween at which people dress in costumes they've brought along.

There's more at the link.

McMurdo sounds more and more interesting! I reported about its condom shipment last year, as some of you may recall. Now, Jell-O wrestling? What next? Frozen pajama parties?


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