Old enough to know better

This morning as my shift was ending, I upset one of my coworkers. He seemed genuinely offended. I want to tell you the story, but of course I want to protect his anonymity, so I’ll just call him “Delicate Flower”.

It began as a conversation between Delicate Flower, and a regular guy on the day shift. I’ll call him “Regular Guy”.

Delicate Flower: I’m taking vacation tonight and tomorrow,  so I’ll have 5 days off.
Regular Guy: Where are you going?
Delicate Flower: I’m not going anywhere, I’m just going to be off two extra days.
Pollyanna: you’re going to what two extra days?
[I didn’t think anything else was necessary at this point, but no one was laughing so maybe I was too subtle]
Delicate Flower: I’m going to BE OFF two extra days.
Pollyanna: Ohhh, BE off.
[Regular Guy laughs]
[Pollyanna laughs]

Now, Delicate Flower likes to joke as much as anyone. His favorite joke is of the “gotcha” variety. He pretends something is true, then when you believe him, he laughs. Not what I call high comedy, but I’ve gotten used to it. So when he seemed to be angry with me over my little joke, naturally I thought he was faking. So I laughed more. Looking back, I don’t think he was faking, after all. I tried to apologize, but it probably would have sounded more sincere if I could have had a few minutes to compose myself first. I’ll be honest… I’m still giggling.

So now, living in the kinder, gentler times that we do, I can’t help thinking there’s a real possibility that one day next week I will find myself sitting in a private conference room in Human Resources. And there, with my matronly boss beside me, I’ll have to retell my little masturbation joke. And while I haven’t had any experience with this sort of thing, I’m guessing they expect you not to laugh in those meetings… and that, I fear, will be too much to ask of me.

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