Idiot of the Week: How Does that Foot Taste in Your Mouth?

This week’s IOTW comes to us all the way from the West Coast, where my friend Brooke just wrapped up a summer internship. On one of her final days, a full-time colleague at her firm walks up to her and greets her by saying, “So you are the only one of the interns who didn’t get hired on, huh?” This isn’t the most tactfully stated observation. It’s also not a great way to start a conversation. Most people open with a “hi, hello, how are you” before they jump right in to their inappropriate questions. Now, this colleague had no ill intention and did not wish to imply that Brooke was the last kid picked in gym class, or the sad, pathetic, unemployable leftovers. Brooke is a stellar candidate for any job, and had in fact already been offered one in another area of the firm. In IOTW’s mind, he was simply making an observation. “The grass is green. The sky is blue. Everyone got hired, except for you!” And this is the problem with tactless people – they don’t even realize they are doing something wrong. But that doesn’t make it any less offensive. The rules still apply. There are certain things you just can’t go around saying to people.

Photo Credit: fanfarefoodie.wordpress.com

Photo Credit: fanfarefoodie.wordpress.com

And if I have to follow the rules, so should everybody else! If you have a social or neurological disorder that prevents you from reading situations and applying social sensitivity, I understand that is beyond your control. But otherwise, you don’t get a free pass to be rude just because you are fucking clueless. That’s your fault.

Do you think I like being tactful? Hell no! It is tedious. Do you know how much time I waste thinking of the polite way to phrase things? It’s basically all people do at work. Hmm, what is the polite way of saying, “I just told you that yesterday,” or “The answer to your question is in the email you just replied to. Learn how to fucking read.” How do I explain, “That is in no way my job so I really can’t imagine why you are asking me this.” How do I interrupt this person to say, “My keys are still in the ignition, so please wait until I am at my desk, or at least out of my car, to start asking me these questions.”

And don’t you think I’d like to blurt out my observations? I’d fucking love it! I went to the zoo last week and the most fascinating exhibit I saw was a homo sapien wearing a shredded t-shirt, in the shape of a cross, that showed right through to her bra and enormous gut. I wanted to gawk and ask her what in the world led her to that wardrobe decision. But instead I looked away like I had seen nothing out of the ordinary, as if she were the 100th topless obese woman I had seen that day. Been there, seen that, got the (shredded) t-shirt. Being tactful is everyone’s cross to bear. Sometimes it means bearing the bare skin behind a cross, but usually it means keeping your damn mouth shut!

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23 thoughts on “Idiot of the Week: How Does that Foot Taste in Your Mouth?

  1. Pingback: Making new friends? a.k.a putting my foot in my mouth – Socially Connected

  2. I can’t believe that guy. And I think many of us have worked with one of these idiots. And I can’t wait to get old so I can start saying what I really think.

  3. This: Do you think I like being tactful? Hell no! It is tedious.
    YES. I spend an inordinate amount of time at work figuring out ways to not be a snatch. It’s work, people! But if we can do it—you can do it. Good one! 🙂

  4. Hey that woman you saw at the zoo sounds about like what most of our Myrtle Beach tourists look like.
    You should try watching the new TV show “The Bridge” I think it’s on FX. The female detective has social skills issues and often makes inappropriate comments. Good show too.

  5. Oh dear. I confess, I have been an IOTW. I once asked someone if she had “lost a ton of weight.” It was meant to be a compliment, but as the words left my lips and I saw the expression on her face change from being pleasant to horrified, I realized what I had said. My foot tasted awful.

  6. Oh yes, I can so relate. I sit on a fairly long aisle (with 22 cubicals) and by the time I get to my desk each morning I have usually been stopped 3-4 times by people wanting to talk to me (ie. dump their work on my lap). My boss is one of the worse and I’ve gotten to where I bypass her desk by doing down another aisle. At least that way I can put up my purse and lunch before everyone dumping their work on me.

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