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The Roasted Retirement

man being honored at a retirement roastRetirement roasts can be as simple (and funny!) or sophisticated as you like. Of course, it only works among close friends and colleagues who have worked together for years -- and who know the guest of honor well enough to dish out a good ribbing!

The following ideas serve only as a jumping-off point, and can be incorporated either into a casual get-together or a full blown Hollywood production.

Some suggestions may take some advance planning, while others can be off-the-cuff affairs, depending how comfortable guests are with the format.

The main objective: extending invitations to good friends who you know can give the guest of honor a good-natured retirement roast:

  • First, prepare a regal throne. A wheelchair, rocking chair, along with an old shawl to place gently on the 'frail' shoulders of the guest of honor.

  • Have each guest to suggest a post-retirement activity, like "Learn how to properly program that new digital camera, microwave, DVR, etc."

  • Get a picture of the retiree and have it blown up and mounted as a life-size cut out. Play a game of Pin-The-Tie On... or Pin the Corsage On... (You might want to have a camera ready for this one.)

  • Surprise them with a "This is Your Life" Party.

  • Depending on how well you know the guest of honor (and how much they will laugh) be inspired by some of the following famous quotes that are just right for a retirement roast:

"He has no enemies, but is intensely disliked by his friends." - Oscar Wilde

"There but for the grace of God, goes God." - Winston Churchill

"He had delusions of adequacy." - Walter Kerr

"I've had a perfectly wonderful evening, but... This wasn't it!" - Groucho Marx

  • If the retirement roast takes place in the office or conference room,, have someone skilled in PowerPoint create a forecast of what the retiree's life will be like post-retirement. Use pie charts with percentages of what the guest of honor will do with all that free time.

  • Or, ask each guest to write down a suggestion for a leisure-time activity, i.e., watch a lot of CNN, or catch up on those Bay Watch reruns.

  • Finally, don't forget the old standby of gag gifts like hemorrhoid creme, denture adhesive, or a gift subscription to Modern Maturity.

  • When all is said and done, have a oversized card (or you can cover an entire wall with a large sheet of paper) for guests to write down their final comments on their departure. By this time, hopefully they will be able to express something heartfelt.

    The result: a fond memory and a truly wonderful keepsake.

Have fun!

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