Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Faux Pas and Morals: Anindita

Ani, a friend, a room mate, a dog lover...and a fabulous writer, is my next guest for this series. Thanks so much Ani, for doing this.

I received an email from the Scribbler one morning in the not so distant past. She wanted to do a series of blog posts on Faux Pas and Morals, and she wanted to know if I'd be interested in writing a guest post. Oh goodie! I jumped at it. Because I love that blog, and that blog owner. I mean, what's not to love? She even sent me an example to use as a cue for my guest post!

So I agreed, and have remained in agreement for a long time before starting that guest post today. I hope I am not too late and that the Scribbler is still "thinking about tit".

Yes, I can feel her pain there. I lived through the typo-lifecycle myself a couple of days back when I signed off an email to an important client with my "Warn Regards". She hasn't written back yet, leaving me to wonder whether she took the warning seriously. Everyone else copied in that email - the PMs, and the sales people - have been looking at me shiftily ever since. One of them even smiled at me and said, "That was a nice email you wrote to Wendy".

Meh, sarcasm! You can't really appreciate it when your ears are all red and hot, and you're wondering whether others can see it.

From slip of the finger, to a slip of the tongue. I remember one particular incident where a friend, who had walked over to a colleague's cubicle, picked up a coffee mug from her table and commented: "My, what an ugly mug!". To which the colleague pointed to her neighbor and said, "It's a gift from S." My friend, trying to salvage the situation, then went on to say, "Oh S! Please don't mind. I am sure it looked this ugly only because it was upside down. Once we look at it from the proper angle, it won't look so bad." Dear foot, meet mouth.

And then there are the gems that are conceived out of our inability to remember a particular word... I had once overheard a conversation about an elderly mother-in-law who kept asking her mortified son-in-law in front of a room full of guests, why he wasn't wearing an underwear. It took some time for everyone to figure out that she could not recall the word "pullover". It happened. Really.

Which leads me to wonder how much people laughed when during a presentation where I was pitching our strategy to a client, I proudly said, "... and we have designed this activity in such a way that it will lead to a lot of apprehension in the learner's mind about what follows next." The client, with all seriousness, asked me: "Why would I give my business to you if you make my people apprehensive?" Then as I stood there all flustered, and beet red (so I've been told), he smiled and said... "Now, if you can make them anticipate it, then I can give your proposal a think." Cheeky. And utterly utterly mortifying.

We did get that business though. The nice gentleman had a sense of humor.

Moral of the story: No matter how careful you are, nothing is foolproof. Spell checks will sometimes throw up false positives, and your memory will occasionally fail you. You will, every now and then, speak without thinking, because God gave you "impulse" for a reason. It could be because he wanted us to learn from our mistakes. Or because said mistakes really make life that much more interesting and funny. So live it up, because that's the only way you can play it down.

1 comment:

misti said...

OMG! i recognise two of these. one, of course, spearheaded by madame faux pas herself - a certain ms. sarkar :D