don’t do it. just don’t.

I’m a sinner. I make mistakes. I flub up and wreck things and say stuff I shouldn’t and hurt people.

And a few months ago, I screwed up big time.

I insulted a chef.

It started out innocently. Marching through the line in the cafeteria at work, my colleague and I were deep in conversation. When the chef asked what I’d like for lunch, I pointed at one of the dishes and said, “I’ll have that . . . uh . . . situation, please.”

{Lesson 1: Maybe don’t call a chef’s dish by anything other than its proper name, just, you know, for the sake of world peace and all that.}

“Excuse me?” he said.

It seemed the room suddenly grew very quiet . . . and very cold. “Did you just call my food ‘a situation’?”

“Yes, but . . . I mean, it’s not a bad . . . I . . . no . . . it’s . . .”

{Lesson 2: Stop talking. You’re making it worse.}

He handed me my food and turned back to the next person. I exited the lunch line, my head hung low, shamed and suddenly not so hungry.

He teased me about it for weeks.

Well, he was half-teasing and half-disgruntled. And a third annoyed. And maybe a quarter frustrated. With an imperceptible percentage of incredulity over my poor choice of words tossed in for good measure.

Every time I saw him in the cafeteria or bought a lunch, it was the same: “Oh. It’s YOU.” or “Are you here to get more ‘situation’?” or “Sure you can stomach that sandwich I just made for you?”

{Lesson 3: See Lesson 1.}

I needed to make amends. The feuding needed to stop. If it kept up, the Hatfields and McCoys would look like child’s play. Books would be written about us. Wars would break out. Civilizations would crumble.

So I finally did the only thing I knew to do: I brought him a coffee mug.

IMG_4321

If you look to the left of the sign, you’ll see it. It reads: “I heart the Situation.”

Never mind that I got it as a gag gift first from a friend. Or that it’s referring to the Situation from Jersey Shore. It was a peace offering of the most perfect kind. An olive branch of desperation, if you will.

And he loved it! And now it’s a proud part of his kitchen display. Heck, some days we can even joke about it.

Right after I ask if he’s going to spit in my food.

I’m a sinner. I screw up a lot. But I will never, ever, neverever order something off a menu using anything other than its exact name.

And unless you keep a steady supply of apropos coffee mugs stashed away in your kitchen, I’d encourage you to do the same.

Hey, I’m only here to help.

 

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