Wednesday, September 08, 2010

They Said

Picture this, a small(ish) cube in an average office, on an average day, our hero is sitting at his desk struggling to stay awake, err working as hard as possible, when his phone rings. Being a dedicated public servant he answers after about 10 rings, I mean immediately. The voice on the end of the line starts with these famous words "they said . . . . " Our hero hears no more than those three words, because of the suppressed rage ringing in his head has drowned out the rest of the sentence. Gripping the phone receiver very, very tightly, he mutters back through clenched teeth "and who, pray tell, are "they" exactly?" Of course the caller doesn't know who "they" are, all the caller knows is what "they" said, and "they" said that our hero was THE person who could help them. It doesn't matter what their problem is, what their complainant might concern, or what question they need an answer to, "they" said you were the man for the job.

This little mise en scene highlights one of my all time favourite pet peeves. I receive an inordinate number of these types of phone calls during any given week, and it drives me mad. I even get people coming up to me in person, and starting their sentences with 'they said'. It makes me want to hurt someone, anyone, everyone that I can lay my hands upon. Who the fuck are 'they' exactly, and did 'they' mention my name in particular, and why do you think 'they' knew what the sam fucking hill they were talking about? Why couldn't 'they' answer your question? Oh, could it be because 'they' are fucking retarded? Or, it is because 'they' are too bloody lazy to even attempt to answer your question? Or, is it that your question is so fucking stupid that 'they' wanted to pass you along to the next person in line so that person could laugh at your stupid fucking question after they were done talking to you.

Needless to say, but I am going to say it, 'they said' is a VERY unfortunate way to start a conversation with me. A great number of my conversations end badly as it is, starting one with 'they said' is a surefire way to get to a bad ending very quickly. My usual response is (while pounding the desk in front of me) is to shout "WHO! WHO IS THEY! I WANT NAMES GODDAMNIT"! I am like an old, hard line communist I want you to name names. I want to know WHO 'they' are so I can go to 'them' and ask them why in the blue fuck 'they' gave a blue ribbon winning jackass (the person asking the question) my name. Were 'they' having a larf at my expense? Did 'they' think it would be clever to send some village idiot in my direction, knowing that I do not suffer fools gladly?

Whomever 'they' are, 'they' certainly say a lot of shit, and most of it is wildly inaccurate. I am not the answer man, and only about 1 in 10 of the people 'they' send to me can I actually help. The other nine just have to try again, and move on to the next poor sucker in my office. However, I am not a cruel man (in spite of popular opinion), if it is at all possible (and it depends on the level of idiocy of the caller), I gently tell said caller who they need to talk to, and then tell the caller to make sure you give 'them" my name. No need to continue the 'they said' chain to the next bastard in line. After all there is a slim chance that I got it right, and directed the person to the fellow that could answer their question, and if that happens, I look like the genius that I clearly am.


Lindsay said...

they said this was your pet peeve...guess they were right!

tideliar said...

They said leaving a comment here was OK, right? Is it? They said it was so...