Guac is Extra and Other Stupid $@*% People Say

Guac is Extra and Other Stupid $@*% People Say

On any given day at a popular Mexican themed fast food joint you will hear one of the servers proclaim, “Guacamole is extra.” in a seemingly condescending, less than polite tone.  The customer responses can range from blank stares, subtle head nods, follow up questions of “How much extra?”, or some colorful way to say “I know and I can afford it!”.  Having been on the receiving end and/or witnessed this exchange on countless occasions, I began to wonder if the cause of this dialogue is less offense and more a thoughtless adherence to some corporate script.  I reflected on the fact that in an office setting there are similar snarky remarks that can be construed as passive-aggressive venom when the intention is mindless small talk.

Excluding the language wrapped in racial, gender specific, religious, cultural, and political themes that can be offensive, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite “bad words” broadcasted in break-rooms and common areas every day.

  1. “You look nice today. Do you have a job interview?” Coupled, this statement and question are almost always received as an implication that your coworker is normally a slovenly, disgruntled mess. As far as the tacky question is concerned, unless you ask this in private and have the power to influence the situation that has him/her seeking outside employment, refrain from asking. In cases where you are genuinely trying to build your coworker’s self-esteem, give the compliment and keep it moving.
  2.  “You/they are MY employee(s)!” The context in which this is said is the reason why some people liken the workplace to a plantation. You don’t own employees. (This is debatable if your name is on the building and you sign the pay checks). They are paid a wage to do a job individually or as part of team and you supervise those efforts.  Try using words that are inclusive and won’t lead to your being categorized as a whip-cracker.
  3. “I’m a {insert compensation based job title, grade level, etc.}.” Actually, you are Bob or Annie and you’re using a “this is beneath me” excuse for not doing whatever it is you don’t feel like doing.  Jobs are graded, not people. Trust me when I tell you that if you left the company today they would replace you with another Level 6-Senior Excuse Maker.
  4. “I didn’t know you were here today.” This declaration is normally attributed to a no-life busy body or used by a slacker as a means to deflect from their less than stellar attendance record. Sadly, you would be in the wrong to retort with something equally jerky.
  5. “Some of us are trying to work. You must not have enough to do.” Another busy body handbook precipitated by two or more coworkers being jovial without them. You would get a much better response if you simply asked them to hold it down.  It would also help if you didn’t say this twenty minutes after you were just engaged in a similar display of enjoyment.

Like others who have a PhD in profanity, I consciously refrain from haphazardly stringing together melodious choruses of f-bombs, sugar-honey-ice-teas, and/or {insert adjective} another word for donkeys in certain settings. So, I wonder why the aforementioned assaults are not given the same consideration. While it isn’t socially or professionally acceptable to weave a “monsterfeather” into the conversation no matter how natural if feels; I accept that, “Wow! I didn’t know you could speak so well.” is preferred to, “You’re presentation was f’ing awesome!”, despite the fact that the latter is rather flattering. If you feel you are leaning toward a comment or question that you know has double meaning or is intended to get a negative reaction, try applying what I like to call The Morgan Freeman Rule.  Picture him saying what you have queued up and if it doesn’t sound cool in Morgan Freeman’s voice…imagine what it sounds like in yours.

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M Puglise

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