Do you ever wonder if people really spend any time thinking about what they say before words come tumbling out of their mouths? I’ve known the woman sitting next to me for a grand total of 20-odd days and have already been treated to the complete and unabridged version of her medical history… and her father’s… and her mother’s… and at least one sister. Not only do I not want to hear about your colonoscopy, or your sister’s varicose veins, or your father’s chronic halitosis, but I want you to not want to tell me those things. As much as I appreciate you wanting me to feel like part of the group, there’s a level of sharing with coworkers that I’m just not going to go beyond – and you shouldn’t either. Being realistic, you’ve told me details about your family that I wouldn’t be comfortable telling people I’ve known for 20 years, let alone 20 days.
If someone could stop by and install a cone of silence on my cubicle, that would be perfect. I think it would save us all from a lot of trouble in the long run, because all that’s really going to happen is you’re going to keep telling me things that I don’t want to hear and then I’m going to be forced to post those things on the internet. And that doesn’t seem fair to either of us, really.
Editorial Note: This part of a continuing series of posts previously available on a now defunct website. They are appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.