Saturday, April 03, 2010

Vernal Poultry? *

Today's blog entry is provided by Mr Actonbell, who, at the behest of Acton, has a agreed to share a story from his workplace with you, her faithful readers.

Apropos of the story that follows, I must first mention that the company for which I work plans to offer, in the near future, a course entitled “Dealing with Difficult People.” I will allow you to decide whether such an offering is merited.

Recently, I was sitting at my desk when a former coworker, to whom I shall assign the nom de blog, Autumnal Chicken, passed by. Apparently feeling the need to engage in clever repartee, she remarked, “You're still here!” In response, I observed, “So are you.” Feeling, with come justification, that she had failed to make her point, AC added, “But you're older than I am.” Now, I have known (of) AC for all of the 26 years I have worked the company, having started there immediately after graduating from college. Even at the time of my first acquaintance with AC, she had long since passed from her vernal poultry phase. Indeed, I knew that AC was considerably older than I.

Somewhat offended, I stated, “I'm 47. How old, may I ask, are you, AC?” To this, AC, her face contorted in disbelief, mumbled, “I'm going to be 60 shortly.” At this point I expected that, once she regained her composure, AC would offer some form of apology. She could, for example, have blamed my prematurely gray hair for her mistake. Instead, she explained, “You just have such an old face.”

By this time, all of my coworkers within a certain radius were listening attentively. With, I thought, a fairly successful attempt at humor, my nearest neighbor added, “And he's crotchety, too.” (My estimation of success owing to the feeling that he was laughing at AC, rather than with her.) For some reason, this remark caused AC to reflect on her own burden of patient forbearance as she replied, “Tell me about it. Sometimes I think that 'Dealing with Difficult People' class is just for me.”

In some future retelling of this story, I will relate that I replied with the following observation: “AC, your tact is surpassed only by your keen sense of irony.” I must confess, unfortuately, that I was actually rendered speechless.

Thanks, Ekim!
* title supplied by Actonbell


TLP said...

Oh. MY. GOD!!!
What a character this woman is!!!!
First off, there is no way Ekim looks 60ish. NO WAY.

His prematurely gray hair may have made him look older when he was 30, but now, he looks his age.

Second, this woman is strange to the max to even mention a person's age to him, and then dig a deeper hole for herself, all the time not even REALIZING that she was in the darn hole!

Just amazing. Fun (but wild) post.

Nessa said...

Love the title although I was expecting something on the Easter Bunny for some reason.

This story is so hysterical and so true to life.

The difficult part of dealing with difficult people is the huge HUGE lack of any self awareness.

Logophile said...


You made me think of a woman who worked with my mom. My mom was wearing a rose brooch my dad purchased for her in Hong Kong back in the 60s. This woman, also the very soul of tact, came over and said, "Ooooh I have a brooch just like that!"
Then she cocked her head to one side appraised more closely and added, "Mine is larger and more intricate."

Saying someone has a larger and more intricate brooch has become code in our family.

Doug said...

Great to have Ekim join us. I can say you didn't look a day over 47 to me. Of course, that was a few years back.

Nessa said...

Hoppy Easter!