Monday, March 28, 2011

Uglified Utterances

Over the weekend the office was reconfigured and desks were reassigned. The goal was to modify the seating arrangements to make for a more efficient use of space.

This morning one colleague sitting near me asked if I was going to be able to tolerate working among so many foul-mouthed people. She described herself as a "potty-mouth" (her term) and rattled off the names of a few other people in the vicinity who are known for using earthy language.

The irony here is that this was a response to my reputation for not using obscenities. Abstaining from naughtiness is my crime; not once have I been involved in an ugly exchange where I put a finger in the face of these particular individuals for their scurrility. The potty-mouth phenomenon is common even in professional places of employment these days, so I stand out by virtue of never indulging. I work with people who earn their living as consultants whose job it is to be aware of what others want and need, and they've generally picked up on the fact that I don't share their language or laugh at their ribald jokes; as a rule they usually refrain when I am present. It helps that I have a reputation for doing good work and being a team player. They normally like my jokes too.

This isn't to say that I've never corrected anyone. I was the chap who said that the use of certain repugnant word is comparable to the use of a certain racial epithet. I'm even prepared to back up the comparison if put to the test. A few more harassing remarks like the one I received this morning, in fact, and that might just come to pass.

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