Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Office Funny Guy

There is an associate a couple doors down from me who thinks the office is actually the set of his own Tom Green show. I admit he's got a good sense of humor. And he's a really nice guy. But sometimes he takes his jests too far. How far? To The Social Awkardness of No Return. When I see him coming my way, I always brace myself because I never know what he is going to say but I know it will be off the wall.

There are two problems. 1) In order to stave off the awkward echoing silence of his jokes' aftermath, I need to quickly fireback a witty response. But I'm not witty. At least not on the spot anyway. 2) Even coming up with a response can be problematic because it only fuels his fire and keeps him going. What's a girl to do?

This is what he did to me the first day of work.

Him: "Hi. I'm Jim."
Me: "Jim? Nice to meet you."
I proceed the rest of the morning to talk to the legal secretary about the assignment Jim has me working on. Later on my Boss strolls into my office. Boss comes sees me talking to Jim and says, "I see you already met this guy. Come on, I'll introduce you to our other new associate."
Me: "Bye Jim."
Boss: "Jim? His name isn't Jim. You have a hard time with names?"
Me: [exasperated sigh] I guess...
All the while "Him" is cracking up.

Some clipping from today's conversations:

Him saunters by my office and exclaims: "Hey, remember our agreement in which you promised to buy me a mocha?"
Me: "Ha ha."
Him: "Seriously. You don't remember? I remember it perfectly. I like mine with whip cream."
Me: .......
[five full seconds of awkward silence]
Me: "Oh yeah. I remember! This was the same agreement where you agreed to a full night of free babysitting." (saved by the delayed, yet witty response).
Him: "There you go. Yup, me and the little guy. I'll take him out on the town."

Later in the day:

Him, as he pops his head into my office: "Hey, Alex just came back from the bathroom. He says its really gross in there. Before you leave today you have to clean it."
Me: "ha ha, sure."
Him: "I'm serious. It smells god awful. Get in there and scrub it."
Him: "Well, if you want to go home you know what you have to do."
[awkward silence and the Moment That Could Not Be Salvaged]
He stands there for the longest time while I cannot come up with anything to say in reply. He finally laughs and walks away.

Even later:

Him: "I'm also a member of the bar in X state. You don't have to take a bar exam there. You just have to pay your dues."
Me: "Oh wow. That's nice. You can return anytime you want to practice."
Him: "Yeah Cee. I'm actually planning on going back." [smiling enthusiastically]
Me: "Really?"
Him: "Yeah. I'm looking for a place there now."
Me: "Oh wow. I thought you just started working here. You're already going back?"
Him: "Hell no. Unemployment is like 17% there. What's wrong with you? Do you think I'm crazy?"
Me: "Um. Oh you were being sarcastic?"
More awkward silence.

I need to beef up on quick wit before this becomes the longest summer of my life or at least the summer filled with the most awkward silences.


Trannyhead said...

That guy needs a quick kick in the 'nads.

suzy said...

Wow - that would drive me crazy. Maybe he'll lose interest after a few days. I'd go the awkward silence route, but if he's the kind of person who's encouraged by making other people feel uncomfortable, then working on witty retorts is probably the better option...

Butterflyfish said...

I would change your thinking about it -- it's not an awkward silence, it's you mentally kicking him in the 'nads. He's feeding on your NOT beleiving him. So, go the other way. Totally believe him. Don't worry about witty retorts. Pretend to take everything he says completely seriously, and then totally ignore him.

Re: mocha. Ok, I'll be sure to get on that tomorrow. (Then don't)

re: bathroom. Thanks for letting me know. (Then don't move.) When he looks at you expectantly, smile and "mentally kick" him in the nuts. The "awkward" silence will be his problem.

re: moving. Wow. You'll be missed.


John said...

I like Butterflyfish's move. I would go one further and start to carry stuff out. Like in the bathroom cleaning situation, go and find Alex. "Hey, [Guy who's name is not Jim] said I have to clean the men's room, where is the supply closet?"

Or go buy him like nine mochas. "I didn't know if you like small, medium, or large, decaf or regular, or whole, skim or soy milk, so I got each combination."

Or just continue to call him Jim and refuse to believe otherwise.

I gotta disagree about the good sense of humor though, I would find this infuriating. You're a better person than me, since I would probably have been fired for punching this guy already.

gudnuff said...

That is some serious bullshit that no one should have to tolerate, and he totally deserves a kick in the nads.

Y'all are the lawyers here, so what do I know, but to me, this verges on harrassment. No, not sexual. Just harrassment. It's a form of bullying, imo. Does he do this with everyone? Has he suggested to a male colleague that he must clean the toilet before being allowed to leave for the day? He's an asshole, in any case.

As to how to deal with it? First, I like the fact that you're documenting it. Keep that up, as much as possible. Just in case. Because you might have to go to HR with this. Eventually. And documentation would go a long way.

Second, awkward silence is a polite way of indicating that he's being, at the very least, distasteful and disrespectful. The awkward silence is not a judgment on YOUR inability to be witty. It's a judgment against HIM, against his poor people skills, against his abusive behavior towards you.

But you may have to actually tell him you don't appreciate his way of "joking" around.

I know I sound like some hoity-toity biotch with her panties in a knot, and maybe I am, but to me, this WREAKS of sexism and age-ism (I never am sure how to spell that...agism? looks wrong).

gudnuff said...

send me an email when you have a minute: Thanks!

Jean said...

What I PITA. I agree that it doesn't sound the least bit funny.

PT-LawMom said...

What Gudnuff said. Hostile work environment. That guy is a real shithead. I like John's approach. And Trannyhead's. ;-)