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Author Topic: "Could you have been less extreme?" (warning: cake mentioned)  (Read 14899 times)

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TootsNYC

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"Could you have been less extreme?" (warning: cake mentioned)
« on: September 24, 2010, 07:45:45 PM »
So, today is National Punctuation Day. I'm a copyeditor at core, so I decided to celebrate, with an eye toward morale building, and I brought in cake. Cakes, actually. A question mark, and two quotation marks, one for each side. They made a display like this:

' ? '

(Yes, I know that it should be double quotes, but this was display type--much larger than 72 points--and it's common to use single quotes in display type bcs double are simply too busy.)


I mentioned my plans yesterday, and one staffer said, "Oh, I'm so glad I'm here for Nat'l Punct. Day, bcs I heard about last year's semicolon cake."

And Snarky Coworker said, "What kind of holiday is that. Is that really a holiday? I prefer Christmas." Then she says, "You know I'm teasing you."

(Look, I know that NPD was made up by a couple who earn their living making instructional videos for elementary school kids to teach them about punctuations; it's a PR stunt and not an "official" holiday; but I don't care, frankly. It's an excuse to make punctuation-mark-shaped cakes and indulge in a little geek-dom.)


So today, I bring them in, and set them up. She makes another comment about whether it's a real holiday.

I put a piece of paper in front of the question mark and write a question (Hey, everybody--who'll celebrate NPD with me) to "fill in the blank." And say, "Other people can write a question to go inside the punctuation marks."

Snarky says, "Oh, cool, I'll do that!" and jumps up. Then she says, "What should I write?" I said, "You could put, 'what kind of bogus holiday is this anyway' "

But she writes:

"Does anybody else hate this holiday as much as I do?"

I was surprised at how much it hurt, and how p.o.'d I was. I almost took the piece of paper and tossed it.

It's bad enough that she'd being a downer on the actual paper itself, but to try to solicit other people into expressing the negativity felt really hostile.

Then, of course, when it was cake-cutting time, she made sure to have a piece of cake. I tried to sort of lightly and jokingly  ask, "If you hate the holiday, are you allowed to have the cake?"

I feel like, if you think someone is doing something geeky and stupid, you should just not play. Don't write on the paper if you're not going to be in on the joke. Getting negative is just not nice; just avoid the whole thing, and don't poop on other people's parties.

I was going to ask if she was rude, but I've decided that she was.  It was just too harsh, and too many times. I felt a little attacked. Maybe she just was trying to be funny and didn't realize how harsh the wording was.

I went down the hall to some fellow word geeks to remind them of the upcoming cake. I told them about adding to the paper and said I'd like someone to counter that comment, with "How can you hate a holiday it means cake?" or something. And when I told them what had been written, they all said, "WHO wrote that?" It was pretty clear they didn't think it was particularly funny or at all nice.

In thinking about it, I've realized that maybe her objection was that it was disruptive. It wasn't THAT disruptive, but I'll cede that it was a bit; all of us in our row spent about 20 mins chatting during set-up, a couple of people dropped by to talk to me for 4 sentences worth, and the cake cutting later in the day took about 25 minutes. All of this not terribly far from her desk--but not right at her elbow, either. Similar events have been sanctioned by the company before, though this was independent.

But I also feel that if she thought it was going to be disruptive, she should have said something about THAT, so I could shift the whole party to a conference room or something, or she'd have been more generally irritated about the people or something. It just felt more like "I think this is stupid, so I'm going to be sure everyone knows." (I had a big brother who did that, so I've seen it before.)

So, I guess here are my questions:

-am I weird in finding her choice of words extra hostile?
(I'll grant that maybe she didn't meant them that way, but she certainly thought before she wrote)

-is there any value in saying anything? Not that I'd say, "Hey, that hurt my feelings," but maybe I should say, "Hey, did your hostility toward the 'holiday' spring from an objection to the bustle, disruption, etc.? It would help me to know."

And I've decided that this is it. I'm not going to do anything like this again.
« Last Edit: September 24, 2010, 10:24:57 PM by TootsNYC »

Animala

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Re: "Could you have been less extreme?" (warning: cake mentioned)
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2010, 07:54:24 PM »
No you are not weird for finding it hostile.  It sounds like that is what she intended.

I wouldn't say anything because it sounds like it would be feeding the drama llama.  Can you put her on ignore?

This sounds totally like something I would do and would enjoy despite her.

When did we get a cake warning?

shhh its me

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Re: "Could you have been less extreme?" (warning: cake mentioned)
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2010, 07:54:39 PM »
  Me I would of run with it........

Preachy voice


points at snarky "Blasphemy ! Only true believers in the Great Punctuation may partake in the question cake. Heretics be gone!"

TootsNYC

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Re: "Could you have been less extreme?" (warning: cake mentioned)
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2010, 07:56:16 PM »
(Animala, there was a big cake kerfuffle on another forum--Life in General, I think. Someone thought us E-Hellers are weird about cake. So, I thought I'd warn people)

KimberlyRose

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Re: "Could you have been less extreme?" (warning: cake mentioned)
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2010, 08:01:54 PM »
-am I weird in finding her choice of words extra hostile?

Nope.  I think she's got her own issues to deal with--she's openly hostile about the holiday, but she wasn't in any hurry to turn down free cake.

(BTW, I'd love to see a photo of the cakes, if you have any.)

DistantStar

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Re: "Could you have been less extreme?" (warning: cake mentioned)
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2010, 08:25:49 PM »
I adore the idea of the holiday.  And I am lost as to why anybody would have a problem with any occasion that involved cake.  I will eat cake at almost any time for any reason!

Animala

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Re: "Could you have been less extreme?" (warning: cake mentioned)
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2010, 08:29:37 PM »
Ohhh, sorry!

MrsJWine

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Re: "Could you have been less extreme?" (warning: cake mentioned)
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2010, 09:10:25 PM »
I have a pretty snarky (not actually snarky, just a little biting--and I only use it around people who are like me) sense of humor, and even I find that hostile.

Don't stop making your cake if you enjoy doing it.  Debbie Downer is just one person.


I have a blog.  I hate that word.


Utah

TootsNYC

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Re: "Could you have been less extreme?" (warning: cake mentioned)
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2010, 10:11:51 PM »
There are other reasons; I've discovered that I'm too emotionally invested in my job; I tend to treat it (emotionally, especially) as though it's "home."

And this "'sting" made me realize that this sort of "treat" is actually feeding into it a little bit.

This woman's sense of humor is a little snarky in general, and I can cope. I even appreciate it. It's just, I think, that it was so persistent, and the "hate" thing really bugged me. If she'd put something like my suggestion ("is this really a holiday" or "who cares about punctuation") it would have bugged me a lot less.

Kaymyth

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Re: "Could you have been less extreme?" (warning: cake mentioned)
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2010, 10:28:52 PM »
Geeky holidays are awesome; I enjoy making pi-shaped cookies on Pi Day (as I am not kitchen-worthy enough to attempt a pi-shaped pie).  People go, "Eee! Cookies!" and have varying amounts of amusement learning about pi.

Of course there are people who think I'm weird for celebrating Pi Day, but nobody ever whines about getting cookies, and I'm plenty geeky enough to take their odd looks as a badge of honor.  Heck, I wore one of my Pi By Numbers* t-shirts to work today for casual Friday; I had a security guard think it was a Chinese character at first, and then be impressed with my geek-brilliance when I explained it to him.  Then later, one of my more geeky co-workers looked at me mock-sternly and said, "I hope you brought enough Pi for everyone."

It wasn't till I got home that DF gave me the perfect response that I had totally missed:  "Of course!  Pi is infinite!"

*Yes, I have more than one. Shush. At least they're in different colors.

Balletmom

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Re: "Could you have been less extreme?" (warning: cake mentioned)
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2010, 11:14:08 PM »
She wasn't just being passive aggressive, she crossed the line into hostility.

Personally, I think it's cute, and relevant to your line of business, so what's her beef?

I would really be tempted to say, "Stop being a hater."

It's my understanding that she did eat the cake, so I'd probably phrase it middle school style, "Oh no, you did NOT just eat the cake while being a hater. You did NOT just do that."

She was rude and unprofessional, so she actually deserves a much more intense and serious response than any lightly toned redirection.

CakeEater

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Re: "Could you have been less extreme?" (warning: cake mentioned)
« Reply #11 on: September 25, 2010, 01:36:04 AM »
Maybe celebrating Punctuation Day makes her feel bad because she doesn't know how to use it.

Silly woman. If I knew about Punctuation Day when I was teaching, I would have made apostrophe cake for my kids, for sure!

CherryRipe

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Re: "Could you have been less extreme?" (warning: cake mentioned)
« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2010, 02:25:26 AM »
(Animala, there was a big cake kerfuffle on another forum--Life in General, I think. Someone thought us E-Hellers are weird about cake. So, I thought I'd warn people)

Really?  Now I've heard everything......CAKE?!?!?  I've heard about people fighting over sex, politics, religion, and sports, but why desserts?  What have they ever done to us?

mbbored

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Re: "Could you have been less extreme?" (warning: cake mentioned)
« Reply #13 on: September 25, 2010, 03:06:35 AM »
I am also a snarky geek. If something is not to my taste, I simply leave it alone.  Otherwise, I throw myself in whole heartedly, partly for the sheer fun of being a geek, and partly in appreciation of somebody taking time out of their life to provide me with something awesome, especially cake.

Two Ravens

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Re: "Could you have been less extreme?" (warning: cake mentioned)
« Reply #14 on: September 25, 2010, 06:22:28 AM »
She was totally rude.  I really don't know why people get some worked up about stuff like this...I mean, cake!

I had a similar experience on Talk Like A Pirate Day.  I would always bring in cupcakes and decorations and stuff (even though no one would ever talk like a pirate!  They still ate my food though  ;D)

One year a co-worker pulled me aside and confided that he thought the whole thing was "silly."  I responded that that was kind of the point.  He never said anything else about it to me, though.