Mortification Week: the cat race car driver, the terrible headline, and more

It’s Mortification Week at Ask a Manager and all week long we’ll be revisiting ways we’ve mortified ourselves at work. Here are 13 more mortifying stories.

1. The typo, part 1

I used to hire for call center-type work and got an applicant once who, when talking about their previous experience, said that at an old job “I would answer the phone throughout my shits” (meaning “shifts”). I was in tears reading that. (They did, in fact, get the job.)

2. The cat race car driver

I was trying to email my resume to a manager for a job I REALLY wanted, but accidentally attached a different file containing a poorly photoshopped image of my cat driving a Mario Kart race car. Didn’t realize it until she replied saying she hadn’t received my resume, and I checked my sent mail. Shockingly, I did not get an interview.

3. The misunderstanding

About 10 years ago, my best friend used to work for a well known company that dealt with a certain part of the government. At that time, she had NO idea what DTF meant – she thought saying “I’m DTF” was just a colloquial way to say “I’m in!” or “I’m can do this!”. Well given her particular area, she often had long phone calls with various important international folks where these calls were recorded and transcribed. One particular call, someone asked her “Lucinda, what do you think?” to which my friend replied “Yes, that sounds great, I’m DTF.” Cue a silence so deafening – until the Director awkwardly steered the conversation. But my friend had no idea what she said until after when the Director had to explain to her what DTF actually meant. So somewhere in the belly of the archives of the federal government is an official transcript with my friend’s name on it, with her saying she is DTF.

4. The exposure

My husband’s cover letter said, “I can not wait to expose myself to the work done by your firm.”

5. The missed detail

I was organizing a conference and floundering with the volume of tasks on my plate, so I asked during a planning call if someone else on the planning committee could take on some of the graphic design work.

After a certain amount of throat clearing, one of my fellow planners reminded me that I was the only sighted person on the committee. Everyone else was blind.

6. The resume entry

I have soooo been loving your mortifying moments posts!! It brings me back to the days when my cousin and I would spend all summer together making up submissions for the “mortifying moment of the month” in YM or some other teen girl magazine. We were pretty creative and got published a few times. (Our stories always involved being seen by your crush and ended with the crush giving you an embarrassing nickname).

So, back when I first graduated college, in an effort to flesh out my resume and fueled by some misguided advice from my dad to add some personality to my resume, I cited my favorite story (it involved a leaky tampon, a scuba diving trip, and the crush nicknamed me Shark Bait) in perfect APA format and added it under the “publications” section. I’ve only changed jobs twice since then, and each time I’ve just updated my resume by adding the most recent information.

Well, the mortifying moments posts got me thinking about that, and I went back to check the most recent version of my resume that I would have used a year and a half ago when I applied for my current job, and lo and behold, it’s still on there!!! I just asked my nurse manager if she noticed it when I applied and she said she usually stops reading once it’s clear that an applicant has relevant experience (I’m an ICU nurse in a very niche specialty that very few hospitals offer, so a candidate with experience is kind of like a polka dotted unicorn) if she did she would have just thought it was a morbidity & mortality review published in a journal she had never heard of. (I do have other, professional publications in actual journals since then!) We both got a great laugh out of this and now she’s following your blog too :) Moral of the story: always update your *entire* resume and cull the stuff that’s no longer relevant.

7. The bug

If you lived in New England during 2020, you were not only dealing with the pandemic but also a large amount of stink bugs. During a Zoom call, a bug flew into my hair while I was on camera. My colleagues got to see me scream, flail, and proceed to fall out of my chair. The recording of this moment still makes the rounds once or twice a year, though I have learned to laugh along with it.

8. The typo, part 2

I am an executive assistant. My leader had just come back from a three week around the business world trip, visiting customers/partners in 5 or 6 cities. We had a friendly, casual relationship so his first Monday back I pinged him on chat, intending to say “Your wife must have been happy when you got home on Friday.” Only I mistyped “home.” Instead I typed “some.”

9. The toilet paper

My husband Adam and I are professors. Pretty much every year we run a short-term study abroad course in Europe for two weeks, with about a dozen students. A few years back, I had this run of luck during our travels where I kept using the bathroom in restaurants and failing to notice that they were out of toilet paper. Adam kept reminding me to either check or keep tissues in my purse, I kept forgetting, it kept happening.

On the day we were checking out from one of our hotels, I went to use the lobby bathroom, and once again found myself without toilet paper. Since it was a single room, not in a row of stalls, I knew I couldn’t just wait for another woman to wander in and help me, as I had at a few restaurants. And I was in a hurry–the group was waiting to check out and head to our next city.

So I got out my phone and frantically texted my husband. Here is my message, verbatim: “Good God, it happened again. I am alone and have no toilet paper. Can you help me??? You’re my only hope.” Followed by instructions for where to find the specific bathroom I was in.

Except I didn’t send it to my husband. I sent it to the last person I’d texted, who happened to be one of the students, a kid named Tom. When I realized what I had done (before he had the chance to respond), I screamed “nooooooooo!” aloud and nearly fell off the toilet, laughing and horrified at once.

My next message (verbatim): “Oh my GOD. I thought I was texting Adam. I’m dying right now. I thought you were Adam!!!”

Tom apparently conveyed the message to my husband, who did indeed rescue me. When I emerged from the bathroom, the entire group of students was laughing hysterically. They kept saying “You’re my only hope!” for the remainder of the trip.

10. The crawl

I was sitting with a colleague in our lounge/break room. I started coughing, which resulted in farting. Loudly. I tried to stop farting, somehow making it worse. So naturally, I got on the floor and crawled on all fours out of the break room to the closest bathroom. The closest bathroom was locked. Instead of STANDING UP, I CONTINUED CRAWLING to the next bathroom as the head of human resources was coming out of her office. They asked if I was okay to which I squealed… something. I made it to the bathroom, crawled inside, and locked the door. It was brought up several weeks later and I completely denied having done it. I will continue denying that I did that until I die.

11. The auto-correct

Friend’s story: On a Zoom call she told the (female) presenter in the chat “I’m fangirling you so hard right now!” and autocorrect changed it to “I’m fingering you so hard right now!”

12. The ink

Not me, but a colleague: back in the era of flip charts, whilst making a Very Important presentation with outside agencies, colleague absentmindedly put the uncapped end of a dark purple marking pen in her mouth. The ink stained her lips, teeth, and mouth and was impossible to hide.

13. The headline

As a student in the 80s, I worked as a reporter for my small town newspaper. I was assigned a story about the Elderobic Moonwalk, a week-long fitness activity where seniors took daily walks and combined their results in an attempt to cover the distance between the earth and the moon. I decided to add what I thought was a hilarious joke about seniors in the headline to make my editor laugh. I was terrible at writing headlines, and I expected her to replace it as she did with all my other stories. Reader, she did not. She was swamped that week, she trusted my work, and she sent it to printer without reading it. When I arrived the next morning, the receptionist glared at me and held up the paper so I see my headline: “Raisins walk to the moon.” I was and I still am mortified. I didn’t lose my job (thank you Canadian federal government for student employment grants), but I believe my small town’s Golden Age club passed a formal motion that I am never allowed to join.

{ 263 comments… read them below }

  1. Brain the Brian*

    Where I work, we run a lot of donor-funded afterschool extracurricular activities for kids and teenagers. We have to submit reports to donors about the programs their funding supports, and a lot our field staff write about how the programs “exposed students to Topics A, B, and C [usually things like job-shadowing, fun cross-cultural holiday celebrations, historical topics, and so on] this reporting period.”

    I am *constantly* rewording that phrasing before reports go to donors, and yet no one else here ever seems to pick up on the fact that it’s a very unfortunate double- entendre and — HELLO — we work with kids. Bottom line, as one of the LWs here discovered: just don’t use the word “expose” and its derivatives if you can avoid it.

    1. Frickityfrack*

      I honestly think you might be overthinking this one. I don’t know anyone who would blink at that phrasing. I mean, sure no one should say, “I exposed myself to topics A/B/C” but the way your coworkers are using it is pretty different.

      1. PinaColada*

        Agreed, I’ve seen/heard lots of people say “we want to expose students to (space exploration/stem roles/international travel)” and never batted an eyelash.

        But when I saw “I cannot wait to expose myself…” I just about died laughing!

        1. Brain the Brian*

          It’s not as bad, for sure. But “the students learned about Topics A, B, and C” is simpler and clearer.

        2. E. Chauvelin*

          That is when you say “Please, there are ladies present” in the exact cadence of Colonel Mustard in Clue.

      2. Spencer Hastings*

        Yeah, I think the problem with the example in the post is that “I cannot wait to expose myself” is a complete sentence, which has an off-color meaning, that’s contained as a subset of the sentence as written. Technically I guess it’s not a garden-path sentence, but it distracts you in what feels like a similar way. A sentence like “This program will expose students to cultural traditions from around the world” doesn’t have that problem.

      3. nonprofit writer*

        As someone who works in nonprofit and specialized in HIV for a long time, I think it can really really depend on precise syntax–so Brain may not be overthinking this.

        One example of something I would have needed to rewrite was a sentence that referred to key populations including “…men who have sex with men and children…” Eek! Obviously what they intended was “…children, and men who have sex with men….”

    2. Putting the Dys in Dysfunction*

      Back in the day there was a poster you could buy with the title “Expose Yourself to Art”, and a picture of someone in a trenchcoat doing just that.

          1. Portlander*

            Update: The photo predated his mayoral tenure, which means he ran for mayor with that photo in his history :D :D :D Not quite as good as it being a project between the Portland Art Museum and the mayor’s office.

    3. Elsewise*

      Oh god, this reminds me of another one I never shared.

      Many years ago when I was a teenager, I attended a sleepaway camp at a university, and we were housed by age and gender. Every night after dinner, one floor would be assigned to do a performance, usually a song and dance, for everyone else. A donor was coming and would be having dinner with the director, so he carefully asked the counselors to make sure that that night was the most mature group, the oldest girls.

      Well, we argued for a long time about what to perform, but someone had a CD of her favorite movie musical, Sweet Charity. Which has a song called Big Spender. Perfect for a donor!

      If you’re unfamiliar, the song is very… flirtatious. It includes lines like “I don’t pop my cork for every guy I see” and “I can show you a good time”. We were fourteen and fifteen. I just looked it up on youtube to see if maybe I’m misremembering and it’s not as bad as I thought it was, and it turns out it’s worse!! It’s staged as a group of (heavily implied) sex workers clamoring for the attention of a wealthy john. Again: 14-15 year olds!

      I have no idea if they got the donation or not, but between that and the boys of our age group rewriting an Avenue Q song and doing “The Internet is for Camp”, they changed the rules to require staff approval for any performances.

      The funniest part? I’m now a professional fundraiser.

      1. E. Chauvelin*

        If I had been in that situation and Avenue Q had been out at the time, I’d definitely have been campaigning for “The Money Song” for the donor.

    4. Laika*

      I write in a construction industry. We talk a LOT about erecting buildings, and this often translates to write-ups about “steel erection”, the “erection timeline” etc. It’s always totally in context with nothing silly about it…it ALWAYS makes me giggle.

    5. Ellis Bell*

      This reminds me of a mentor PE teacher advising a trainee PE teacher: “It’s always ‘ball’ never ‘balls’; today you asked them to hold their balls, look at their balls and squeeze their balls”.

  2. Juicebox Hero*

    Dear #9: “You’re my only hope!” Now I’ve got visions of Obi-wan and Darth Vader hucking rolls of toilet paper at each other instead of dueling with lightsabers.

    1. Petty Betty*

      Toilet paper lightsabers! The light gets full rolls. The dark side gets empty tubes.

      1. Not Jane*

        And instead of the usual lightsaber sounds you get the “boink” noise of hitting something with an empty tube!

  3. miss_chevious*

    I am HYSTERICAL at “Raisins Walk To The Moon.” Literally cannot stop laughing and crying at the same time. My stomach hurts.

    1. Hannah Lee*

      I completely lost it laughing at that one so hard I cried … and then tried to hide that fact from my cubicle neighbors by pretending I was having a coughing fit, including digging a hard candy out of my purse lol.

    2. Catgirl*

      Reminded me of when someone inserted “Heil Hitler” into a draft article for the school newspaper to see if the editor would catch it. They did not. The paper apologized profusely & reprinted the correct article.

    3. Rai*

      I have no idea why “Raisins Walk To The Moon” is making me laugh so hard, but I’m crying. Maybe part of it is because in the ’80s, the California Raisins were a thing, and I’m imagining them walking to the moon in some kind of ad. Or maybe because it’s hilarious. OMG!

        1. Seven hobbits are highly effective, people*

          Fun fact: The Claymation Christmas Celebration features, among other things, The California Raisins singing “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and that particular musical number ends with an ET homage where they’re dancing while they pull a sleigh in front of the moon.

          Anyway, if that’s living in my head it needs to also be living in the heads of other interested parties.

          1. Students*

            I was thinking of exactly that scene while reading this one, too.

            Glad people still appreciate the classics.

    4. Proud to be a Raisin (who can still 'robic)*

      My husband just told me that in the late 70s when he was teaching 5th grade, he had the kids run to the zoo (about 40 miles away) and the other zoo property (about 30 miles away) in the same way the Elderobic Moonwalk folks walked to the moon. 45 or so later, a former student in that class has facebooked him reminding him of that and remembering how impressed all their families were with the accomplishment. What a funny thing to remember from when he was 10. Go Elderobic Moonwalkers!

    5. Non-American*

      I am so confused. What is the joke? Is there a pun I’m missing? Is it just calling elderly folks “raisins”?

      1. Juicebox Hero*

        Yes, the person was comparing the elderly to raisins because both of them are wrinkled. The joke was on the author because their headline wasn’t replaced by their editor and they learned their lesson the hard way.

      2. Mademoiselle Sugar Lump*

        Thanks for asking. I’m American and I didn’t get it either, and have never heard old people referred to as “raisins”.

        1. Laika*

          I’m also team “can’t stop laughing at this” and I can’t figure out why either. I don’t think it’s a common thing to call old people raisins (I’ve never heard it), but it immediately triggered a giggling fit as soon as I read it.

          I think it’s something about raisins = wrinkly = old (ok, 2/10 funny) that gets compounded with the mental image of actual raisins walking towards the moon (absurd, hilarious, incredible, 12/10 funny)

          1. Non-American*

            Upon further reflection I think the difference is whether (general) you anthropomorphize the raisins or not in your head. Plain ordinary bunch of raisins – eh. A smiling bunch of raisins with stick-figure arms and legs, wearing headbands and sneakers and saying “We’re going to the moon!”- that is worth a laugh.

        2. Jack Russell Terrier*

          Wrinklies is another good one, although not very much used. As in ‘I’m going to have dinner with the wrinkles tonight’.

    6. Jelizabug*

      Extra funny to me – my brother (when he was very young) once patted my great-aunt’s cheeks and lovingly told her that her face looked like a raisin. I wonder if she ever participated in an Elderobic walk to the moon!

    7. Bunny*

      As a former reporter who often slipped snarky references into her copy, I salute you. It’s the only way to survive boring features.

  4. De Minimis*

    I sent some checks out at work for consulting services but wrote “consluting” in the memo. Team members at least thought it was funny. Once the checks came out, the memo record couldn’t be changed in our system so it’s immortalized.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      If it’s any consolation, I’d likely either not notice at all, or mentally pronounce it “con-SLOO-ting” and forget about it 3 seconds later. And I’ve usually got a dirty mind.

    2. Jelizabug*

      Oh, I hate that combo of letters! I deal with test results, and I check and double-check that I’m not sending out test resluts!

    3. ZugTheMegasaurus*

      I was once IMing with my boss; her office was maybe 25 feet from my cube so we pretty much always had an ongoing conversation that was half in IM and half in person. She asked me to send something and I attempted to say, “Sure, just a sec.”

      What I typed was:
      “Sure, just a sex.”

      At that point, I got up from my chair, walked over to her office and, for reasons I still cannot understand, said, “Ignore me, I’m just Porky-Piggin’.”

    1. Charlotte Lucas*

      Not only would a former manager interview that person, but she herself once thought she was in a test environment, & in an online survey informed the federal agency our work was funded through that our website needed “more kitty pictures.” (Luckily, the response was anonymous, but our survey person told us it was brought up in a meeting with the government & all contractors. Our work was not related to animals.)

      1. BubbleTea*

        I mean, she wasn’t wrong. I’ve never seen the website in question but I can tell from here that more kitty pictures would be an improvement.

    2. Steve Frasz*

      Me too. That’s hilarious and I have that kind of sense of humor so I’d want to chat with them, heh.

  5. Juicebox Hero*

    #7: I remember the plague of stink bugs. My four cats were about a year old at the time and managed some incredible acrobatic feats chasing and catching them, but they wouldn’t kill them because STINK bugs. So I was constantly on the lookout for wounded, erratic stink bugs and flying cats.

        1. Turtlewings*

          It’s been 15 minutes and I am still laughing myself to tears over the Squealing Fart Crawlers, send help

          1. Lizzie*

            I laughed so hard I cried. Esp. since I suffer from some digestive issues, and am frequently gassy. My biggest fear now is farting at the gym, which I have done, but thankfully between the music and yelling trainers, no one has heard it. yet.

      1. Relentlessly Socratic*

        Yeah, my cat said “Absolutely not, no thank you.”
        The little freeloader.

    1. wounded, erratic stink bugs*

      May I steal that phrase as a commenter name?
      – the commenter formerly known as SometimesALurker

      1. Juicebox Hero*

        Absolutely! The stink bugs and I are flattered :D

        And I think the cats just chased after the bugs because they (the cats) were young and peppy. These days they’d just be all like “Whatever, human. Where’s my treats?”

        1. MsM*

          Reminds me of the Twitter thread that became a Post article where the author accidentally let a bunch of crickets loose in the house and the cats “lost their tiny minds with joy.”

    2. Warrior Princess Xena*

      We had them last year. My cats got sick of chasing them, and I got sick of seeing them. *shudder*

    3. Heals*

      We always have stink bugs in DC – my cat tried to eat one once and has never made that mistake again (she’s fine; she was just extremely drooly for a while).

  6. Marna Nightingale*

    I was the editor who caught this, not the writer, but “2023’s shitting economic situation” is the best typo I’ve seen this year …

      1. ceiswyn*

        Gotta be. I’ve made the ‘t for f’ typo myself a few times.

        I wonder if my successor at my previous job ever noticed that the technical documents consistently referred to ‘buttered video streams’? (It was initially a typo, but I liked it so much I left it in. And it beat the ‘g for f’ typo that still haunts my dreams)

  7. Forrest Gumption*

    The “crawling on the floor while farting” one definitely wins first prize in my book.

    1. fine tipped pen aficionado*

      I am laughing so hard I too will soon be crawling on the floor while farting.

    2. acmx*

      This was such a bizarre response! I can’t imagine it. I guess because I have an aversion to touching the floor with my bare hands?

      1. Juicebox Hero*

        Sometimes, your brain just punts and you do something you’d never normally do in a million years.

        1. Petty Betty*

          Sometimes the brain backfires when the rest of the body does too. I consider that a full system retoot!

          1. Just Another Cog*

            I must constantly channel my inner kid because stories (and comments!) like this make me giggle until I snort.

      2. Caliente Papillon*

        My immediate first thought- I’d definitely rather be revealed to fart than touch a public floor *horrors* Hilarious tho lol

        1. allathian*

          Yeah, absolutely! Especially now that my sore knees couldn’t take my weight anyway…

    3. goddessoftransitory*

      Like, their commitment to that bit made it performance art. As those who were in the audience the first time the Stones or Beatles played some little club, her coworkers witnessed history.

  8. RachelTW*

    Okay, LW #10, we all do strange things in a mortification-induced panic, but why was crawling to the bathroom the natural response? Was that sarcasm?

    1. Expelliarmus*

      I’m pretty sure it was sarcasm; poking fun at what her mind thought was reasonable at the time.

  9. The Meat Embezzler*

    Haha holy smokes on #5. I’d be looking for a way to crawl into the earth after that!

  10. Heart&Vine*

    I had a friend who worked some grueling hours and was also tasked with hiring a new role on her team. After several exhausting days of work, she was set to meet with an applicant first thing the next morning. She hadn’t had her coffee, was sleep deprived, and to make things worse the applicant was very, very dull. She said it might have been her sleep-deprived brain but they sounded like they were taking as long as possible to answer her questions and droned on and on about unrelated things until she could steer them back to the question. At one point, she said she zoned out. When she snapped back she realized she had been drooling on herself.

    1. thatoneoverthere*

      This can happen to me in training sessions and certain meetings. It used to be worse in the days before everyone brought their laptops to meetings. I try everything I can but my eyes start fluttering closed and my eyes rolling back. It only ever happens at work. Its very weird!

      1. flora_poste*

        This happens to me too, even when it’s something interesting/relevant that I actually WANT to pay attention to! I have heard it can be an ADHD-related symptom, which does somewhat track in my case… I havent found a good solution to it, though :/

    2. TGMC*

      I might be able to top that?
      I feel asleep DURING MY INTERVIEW FOR GRAD SCHOOL. Travel, volunteer research work outside in 40s and rain, stress, you name it… sat down to talk with my future PI about the work and project I’d be doing… and I just couldn’t keep it together.
      But I DID get the job! My PI hated making eye contact and was a bit long winded, so he had his gaze focused somewhere else and didn’t notice. How do I know that? Well I guess I don’t know for absolute sure, but talking to others in the lab, IT HAD HAPPENED BEFORE TO OTHER STUDENTS. I still cringe thinking about it, but also chuckle…

  11. DTF*

    I used to work at an organization that was big on swag. T-shirts for everything! I was a member of the Digitization Task Force, and another member (much older and not hip to the slang of the younger generation) was really excited to order us T-shirts with the org’s logo on the front and DTF in big, varsity-style letters on the back. The rest of us were pretty evenly split between just rolling with it (some men just want to watch the world burn…) and with letting her know that this why the rest of the task force was either giggling or looking uncomfortable every time she brought it up. Our better angels prevailed and we explained what how Kids These Days were using DFT. She was initially horrified, but then fortunately came around to finding it as hilarious as we did. By the time I left, she was really leaning into it, an any time someone wanted to admit to a workplace gaff they had made, she would cheerfully bring up the time she wanted to order us DTF shirts!

    1. Bob-White of the Glen*

      I had no idea what it meant, so I had to look it up. Probably shouldn’t have done that at work!

    2. Also DTF Apparently*

      A building at my old company was named the Digital Technology Facility. Made me laugh every time.

    3. General von Klinkerhoffen*

      There’s a funeral service business in my area that’s a family business, the family name starting with F.

      I am always delighted to see funeral cars labelled FFS. Spouse knows I’ll haunt him if he uses anyone else.

      1. Juicebox Hero*

        Now I want to know where you live so I can have them do my funeral arrangements XD

    4. Blue Roses*

      I went to a college that had a pretentious name for what was essentially their career and internship center – The Liberal Arts in Practice Center, or The LAPC (pronounced lap-see). The rumor around campus when I was there was that the center had originally been called The Center for Liberal Arts in Practice, or The CLAP. No one realized the error until they printed a bunch of swag for “The CLAP” to give out to students to promote the new resource.

      1. Slow Gin Lizz*

        Is that a college in western Massachusetts, perchance? My friend went to a school with a CLAP building and also a Hooker Hall.

        1. BubbleTea*

          The University of Cambridge is very careful to have a University of Cambridge Women’s Netball Club, rather than a Cambridge University Netball Team.

      2. Lily Rowan*

        Ah, this just reminded me to confirm that George Mason U did revise the name of the Antonin Scalia School of Law (ASSOL) after the fact.

      3. Irish Teacher*

        There was a time when a number of colleges in Ireland were known as ITs or Institutes of Technology. So you had CIT (Cork Institute of Technology), LIT (Limerick Institute of Technology) ITT (Institute of Technology, Tralee).

        One time my college was playing ITT at some sport (possibly hurling) and there was a comment in our newsletter about how we couldn’t lose to a college that had to change its name around because they were embarrassed.

        1. Janne*

          There was a similar thing in the Netherlands where we had Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen (KUN), but not Katholieke Universiteit Tilburg because “kut” means “c*nt” in Dutch. That university has had a lot of names because they couldn’t agree on an alternative. At the moment those two universities are called Radboud University and Tilburg University because they want everything English and not so catholic :)

      4. Portlander*

        Seattle built a light rail serving the south of Lake Union. The city tries VERY hard to get everyone to call it the South Lake Union Streetcar, or SLU. Colloquially, it’s the South Lake Union Trolley, or….

        (I’m actually not sure how often people actually call it the SLUT nowadays. Any locals know better?)

        1. Utahn*

          A popular tourist item from where are live are things that say SL,UT, even though the city uses the acronym SLC.

        2. goddessoftransitory*

          I do recall tee shirts saying “RIDE THE SLUT” loud and proud at the time it opened…

          1. Portlander*

            Those would go great with a sweatshirt from Tacoma Screw! (Who, alas, does not have merch.)

        3. Canadien*

          I’ve remembered another one. I recall a story, possibly an urban legend, that the students of one of the British Columbia universities were campaigning to rename the university Juan de Fuca University, because it was located on the Juan de Fuca Strait. It went quite far until people realised that the real motivation was so the the university would be called Juan de Fuca U.

          I would buy that sweatshirt.

        4. Not Your Sweetheart*

          I’m convinced that city council knew what it was doing, and named it that on purpose. All that free publicity, and they just had to act surprised about the acronym.

      5. Canadien*

        When two right wing parties in Canada, the Conservative Party and the Reform Party, decided to merge in 2000, their new name, for a brief moment, was the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party. I do not know how that got past every single person who should have been vetting it, but it did. It was changed pretty quickly after it was announced to the public, though.

        1. tamarack etc.*

          There is a French pro-EU center-right party, founded in 2007, that goes by MoDem (movement démocrate). I still think the cringy short name limits their electoral prospects.

        2. Nicolas*

          Parti Québécois or PQ always gets me as that is slang for toilet paper (as Q is pronounced same as “cul” meaning “ass”) in French (France).

      6. Lizzie*

        I went to school in Maryland, and there were a bunch of colleges in the area. Most notable was the “College of Notre Dame of Maryland” otherwise known as “Condom”.

    5. Daisy-dog*

      On a family beach trip, my husband found an abandoned cup from a bachelorette party. It said “DTF: Down To Fiesta! Chelsea’s Bachelorette 2018” – clearly tongue-in-cheek. My husband and some of the rest of us were laughing at their silly joke, but there were others who did not know and thought it was cute.

    6. Ama*

      About a decade ago, the NYC subway system got rid of the V line and replaced it with the M (which was already running on about 75% of the same stops). They changed all the signs by having little M circle stickers to paste over the V stickers. Only no one thought about what would happen when they got to the station where some of the signs directed you to the F, V, and L lines in that order.

      After about a week of viral “FML” subway sign photos on social media, they rearranged the stickers (I believe to FLM).

      1. Goldfeesh*

        In South Omaha there is a bridge across the Missouri. Never really thought about its name until I saw a headline in the Omaha World-Herald referring to the S.O.B. However, they’ve since renamed it the South Omaha Veterans Memorial Bridge for some reason. ;)

  12. Dovasary Balitang*

    #3 — So, she never questioned what the acronym actually stood for? Down to…? I quickly checked participate at thesaurus-dot-com and none of the synonyms start with F, so now I’m going to be obsessing about the genesis of this for the next twenty years, or the next five minutes; whichever is quicker.

      1. Snell*

        Just an illustration of how delicate these kind of situations are: my brain was already primed to think NSFW by the DTF-discussion, so “felp” (I assume this is a nonsense word for the joke) brought to mind the word “felch,” (not a nonsense word, NOT SFW).

        Seriously do not go looking for the meaning of that one if you’re not cleared to see NSFW.

        But also, yeah to Dovasary, I wouldn’t start using an acronym (such as DTF) without at least finding out what it means/where it came from.

      1. Dovasary Balitang*

        Oh, I know what the F stands for! I’m just surprised that the subject of the letter didn’t really think about it.

    1. SaffyTaffy*

      Down to fiesta?
      Or maybe she wasn’t thinking it was “down to” anything.
      I’m Dippin’, Trippin’, and Flippin’!
      I’m Delighted, True Fact!
      … that’s all I got.

      1. Hlao-roo*

        I’m Delighted, True Fact!

        I love this one, and I hope that’s what the friend was thinking every time she said “I’m DTF!”

    2. Sandi*

      A friend had a WTF? t-shirt and whenever he got a dirty look he’d respond “Wily turquoise frogs?”

    3. Office Chinchilla*

      I worked once in an office where my boss’ kids had just watched American Pie and thought it was the funniest thing in the world to say “One time, at band camp…” Boss didn’t know what the joke was, just that anyone at home would say that phrase and everyone would immediately fall down laughing. He’d use it in the office sometimes and get polite chuckles and uncomfortable looks, until the exact context happened where he said it and if anyone from another department who didn’t know the backstory had been there, it could have constituted sexual harassment. So then we had to explain to him EXACTLY what he had been letting his kids watch and it was uncomfortable for everyone. I learned that day that some people just don’t question why the joke is funny.

    4. Elsewise*

      Sometimes we just don’t think through acronyms. I grew up with a Republican president and thought GOP stood for Government In Power until I was like 14. I was convinced that if a Democrat got elected, now they would be the GOP! Which could be a wise political commentary, but really is just me not knowing how to spell the word “in”.

      1. Bunny*

        Boston has a college program, where every kid got $50 dollars in a college savings program. The name was changed after the launch news conference where a confused and blushing Mayor Marty Walsh was photographed lording over a room of women and dozens of children before a banner that read


        It was downright obscene, please google

    5. YesImTheAskewPolice*

      “Defending This Forever” ? Or, in the voice of Spock, “definitely thoroughly fascinated”

  13. Whoops*

    #10 I feel your pain!! It reminds me of that time some years ago I fondly recall as the The Fart Storm.

    So I had some lentil soup for lunch, which made me pretty gassy in the late afternoon. Not a big deal, they weren’t smelly, but there were, let’s say, more than typical. It gets to be the end of the day, just me and another colleague were still in our open office (she was across the room from me). Now I am typically pretty adept at either letting farts go silently or suppressing them while sitting, so I wasn’t concerned. However, I didn’t factor in I was wearing a pretty tight, thick jean skirt that day. SOMEHOW — and to this day I don’t understand how — the farts I thought I was silently letting go were getting stuck and just waiting until I moved positions. I stood up to go to the bathroom, and the farts began to audibly escape!! I had absolutely zero control over it. I just stood there frozen for a minute until it stopped. Eventually I did start walking out to the bathroom, but a new, audible fart escaped with every step. I squeaked all the way out without making eye contact with my coworker, who never said a word to me about it. There’s NO WAY she didn’t hear the Fart Storm in our empty, silent office!!

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      That’s Miss Manners’ advice for embarrassing bodily functions you can’t suppress like farts and tummy grumbles: pretend it didn’t happen.

      1. goddessoftransitory*

        I heard once about a yoga instructor who called it “body music,” to let her classes know that yeah, you’re moving around, you’re gonna toot, it’s nature’s trombone and it’s fine.

    2. thatoneoverthere*

      I used to work in a big open room with 5 other colleagues. I reached for something on a high shelf and all the gas in my body shifted down and I let out a huge fart. Thankfully everyone found it hilarious.

      1. Lizzie*

        As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found certain movements will make me fart. Like bending over, laughing, and so on. Thankfully it hasn’t really been a problem, and my BF isn’t disgusted by it.

    3. Large Pink Rabbit*

      One day at work, my lunch didn’t agree with me. Really didn’t agree with me. I have never been so gassy in all my life, no exaggeration. Politely excusing myself to the bathroom was not a solution bc they were non-stop, and working from a conference room was also not an option bc I had to work in the lab. There was no smell, but omg, so loud, and unrelenting. All afternoon.

      The gods smiled on me that day, bc that was the day that for some mysterious reason, the fan on one of the nearby computers set itself on helicopter take-off speed. The noise from the fan completely covered the noise from me.

      Never again did I have the buffalo chicken wrap.

    4. birch*

      That’s amazing and I really appreciate all these fart stories, it’s great to know it’s not just me. This is why I’m 100% against sharing rooms with coworkers on trips. Last year I had to share a room on a conference trip. I’m a sleep farter (which gets worse with stress!) and one night in the wee hours I woke myself up with a loud volley of “POWPOWPOWPOWPOW!” In the confused moment between sleeping and waking, I realized my colleague was awake and had at that exact moment been heading to the bathroom. Of course I pretended to be asleep and I still hope they’re one of those people who don’t remember anything they do in the middle of the night. The worst thing is, this isn’t the first time that’s happened! When I was in university I went to a summer course and shared a room with another student who got up earlier than I did. One morning I thought they had left the room, so I sat up and let it rip. They hadn’t yet left. We made awkward eye contact, I flopped back down and inexplicably pretended to still be asleep.

      1. Lizzie*

        that is my worst fear, as I am a sleep farter too, but I also snore like a warthog and drool. Thankfully I don’t travel for business, nor does my company make anynoe share a room, so if I did, it wouldn’t be an issue.

  14. urguncle*

    #2 I was new at a job and had a brand new customer. I took a screenshot of a report for my contact and I never label my screenshots, so I just sent what I thought was my latest screenshot. It was, in fact, a screenshot of a picture of a Virginia opossum named Mushroom (rest in power) wearing a party hat. Luckily he was cool with it and said it was the best surprise of his day.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      That’s awesome and I want to see the picture as much as I want to see Mario Kart Kitty!

  15. Johannes Bols*

    My 1999 annual performance review i.e. everything we can find wrong with you and lots of crap that never happened, was so full of mis-spellings and generally looked like it was composed by somebody with a fourth grade education. To top it off, in the meeting where it was read to me, the supervisor had to remind me that THIS IS A GOOD REVIEW.
    I would’ve returned it to them corrected but the lead who wrote it was somebody I was friends with. Just thinking about it now triggers the anger at the injustice of Corporate America, where the lunatics run the asylum. And I thank Heavens I walked away from (literally) it eleven years ago.

  16. YouKnowWho*

    I work in a industry that is known for its unfriendly timelines and friendly drinking culture. I was in a role where I would typically oversee a more junior team, but because of the scale and investment this particular project had, I was a lot more hands on. This meant my relationship with this junior team was more jovial and laid back than usual.

    The whole project was brutal, and once we hit a key-milestone we were using slack to plan going to a bar and celebrate. I meant to type ‘Mama needs some cocktails’ but pressed enter too soon and just wrote ‘Mama needs some cock’ instead. That’s a screenshot that haunted me until I left that company.

    1. I Died I'm Dead*

      DEAD. I just had to clap BOTH hands over my mouth so that I could wheeze silently.

    2. Corrigan*


      I just switched jobs and this computer is locked down right compared to what I’m used to. We can’t even edit Teams messages and I’m terrified I will say something like this and be unable to edit it

  17. ChaoticNeutral*

    Idk why but “I can not wait to expose myself to the work done by your firm.” has truly sent me. I laughed for a good five minutes at that one.

  18. Raisin On Way To Moon*

    #13, if there is an ounce of follow-through left in me I am going to make an embroidery sampler of two California raisins in 1980s sweatbands hiking through space, and I’m heartbroken that I have no way to make sure you see it.

    1. Mike*

      that sounds absolutely delightful, you’ve inspired me to figure out a cross-stitch version

  19. The Wizard Rincewind*

    #13 got me laughing out loud. I’m in journalism and I’ve definitely submitted joke headlines that I didn’t expect anyone to take seriously and thankfully, no one has yet, but I’m sure that this is on the horizon for me at some point.


    1. Morning Coffee*

      Long time ago I had a bad habit of making placeholder headlines and made better ones after article was written and I had better idea what would work. I didn’t always remember to fix it and two of those went to print because editor thought it was close enough. Except that one of them was sarcastic comment about how pretentious the person was during the interview!

    2. Critical Rolls*

      As a high school copy editor, one of my constant battles was getting a proof of the WHOLE PAGE THANK YOU, not just the text of the article, before going to press. Sometimes I lost the fight… which is how we published a story about a “Greman” exchange student.

  20. clem*

    #6 – I think I’ve read the Shark Bait story or something /very/ similar to it – could the magazine have been Discovery Girls?

  21. Elizabeth West*

    I’m trying (and failing because I can’t stop laughing) to eat a Boston creme donut.. These are all hysterical, y’all. :’D

  22. Katherine*

    These ones seem way more mortifying than the last 2 days – I’m not sure I’m going to make it to the end of mortification week!

    1. Breaking Dishes*

      You’re not alone. I learn so much on AAM.

      I had to Google DTF. I also learned about fluffers, and other assorted terms. Helps me keep up the the evolution of language and acronyms.

  23. PieAdmin*

    For #5, I’m wondering if there’s missed context where OP should have realized everyone else on this committee would be blind. Was this an organization for the blind or was she living in that post-apocalyptic world from the show with Jason Momoa?

    1. Hlao-roo*

      Because everyone else on the committee was blind, I think it was an organization for the blind. But even if it wasn’t, they were in the thick of planning a conference and had presumably met each other and worked together for at least a few weeks when the OP made that comment.

    2. AngelicGamer*

      You’d be surprised how many people forget who is blind and who isn’t. Especially when stressed. Signed, a legally blind person. :)

      1. Lenora Rose*

        Having met artists who were legally blind, I might not assume that a person I had not worked with who is legally blind could not do any graphic design. My coworkers, however…

        1. Sandi*

          My legally blind friend is a graphic designer! Given that she trips over herself when she’s without the help of a cane or guide dog, I assume she zooms in a lot :)

      2. Camolita*

        My blind friend once asked me to help him find his ID in his wallet, and as I was looking, I stupidly asked where he normally kept his driver’s license. Thankfully, he took it with good grace.

  24. Middle Aged IT Guy*

    I am, like everyone else, cackling at the Raisins Walk to the Moon story. It reminds me of an infamous newspaper headline from the 1970s about a President Carter speech: “Mush From the Wimp” (put in as a joke, intended to be removed but instead went to print).

    My favorite auto-correct moment was when I was delivering 2 new Dell monitors for a client, and I texted them saying “I’m here with my two monitors” only my iPhone decided to auto-correct it to “minotaurs.”

      1. noncommittal pseudonym*

        My favorite typo/search-and-replace story:

        An emeritus professor was convinced that he didn’t need anyone to edit his papers before publication. He wrote a paper on the ecology of feral pigs. You guessed it, he accidentally did a search and replace for feral, replacing it with fetal throughout. Including the title of the paper. So, yes, there is a published paper out there on the ecology of fetal pigs.

  25. Dust Bunny*

    When I interviewed for my current job the rest of the department was comprised of Cat Ladies of a Certain Age. I was coming off of a job as a veterinary assistant and I am 95% sure I got the job because I went in there and regaled them with cat stories. No race car driving cats, though.

    1. Juicebox Hero*

      As a Cat Lady of a Certain Age (don’t use the acronym; it’s “CLoaCA”!) I approve =^-.-^=

    1. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

      I am a bit disappointed that the elders weren’t, in fact, learning how to moonwalk. In the 80s, no less! Talk about a missed opportunity.

      1. Dust Bunny*

        Honestly, I was, too.

        I hope there were T-shirts. Can you imagine the epic graphic design?

  26. Jamjari*

    LW1: This reminded me of one of my first jobs, back before the days of context aware grammar/spell checkers. I worked in a job where we had to use the word “public” all the time. You have no idea how many times that L was dropped – I always did a find and replace though I may not have caught them all.
    LW2: Obviously she was a dog person. I would totally have given you a second chance for making my day.
    LW3: Nowhere near the same level, but this reminds me of the benefit of not assuming someone knows your idioms. I had a manager once from a region in the US, who always said “I need to get with Person A”. Where I grew up in Canada, the phrase “get with someone” meant you were intending to set that canoe a-rockin’.

    1. Ali + Nino*

      Ah, my version is my dad saying he wants to hook up, or has hooked up, with so-and-so. (grimace)

      1. Elsewise*

        My mom used to ask me all the time what I was doing this weekend and if I was going to hook up with any of my girlfriends. She insisted I was the only person who thought there was an alternate meaning, but strangely stopped doing that when I came out…

    2. Bookmark*

      The public/pubic typo is infamous in my field as well. The copy editors at places I’ve worked set up custom dictionaries to make sure that nothing that goes through their hands has this issue, but it’s still utterly inevitable that some will slip through. The only good news is that most readers of the types of documents that contain lots of references to public policy/public engagement/etc are quickly skimming whatever you wrote and don’t catch it either!

      1. Anon in a Large State*

        Several years ago the School of Public Affairs at a local university didn’t adequately proofread their commencement program until after it was printed. I still regret that I didn’t grab a copy.

    3. virago*

      Beck apparently got the “get with” memo. (See the lyrics for his 1999 R&B pastiche “Debra”; also, as a Hyundai owner, this tune makes me happy because it envisions the deeply boring brand as a canoe that could be a-rocked.)

    4. Mrs. Krabappel*

      Teacher here- always double check the spellings of “public” and “peninsula” when making worksheets for middle school.

    5. BlueNoser*

      Wait, “get with” doesn’t mean that everywhere? Wannabe (Spice Girls) just got a whole lot tamer!

  27. Midwest Manager*

    Re: typos
    During my time as managing editor for a specialty medical journal, I caught at the absolutely last second, a typo on the front cover, touting an article which examined incision failure pressures in RABBIS. (Missing the “t”). Once I was sure the error had been corrected before being sent to press, I remember commenting to a colleague, “God, you wouldn’t think an IRB would approve that, huh?”

      1. Juicebox Hero*

        No, the mangling editor supervised the people who did all those horrible experiments on the rabbis.

        1. Juicebox Hero*

          Oh, no, I just realized how bad that sounds. My sincere apologies! I promise to think first, type later from now on!

          1. Silver Robin*

            I (Jewish) laughed, then thought about it, realized the dark undertones, and still laughed. Which, like, sure one person laughing does not make the darker version okay but I definitely read it originally in the rabbits/rabbis typo context!

            1. SnappinTerrapin*

              Human brains make weird connections. My mind jumped from “mangling editor” to “supervised” to the typo, and put the despicable doctor’s name in the sentence.

              That was jarring enough to make me slow down and reread the sentence.


      1. BubbleTea*

        Oh nooooooo I initially read it as “incisor pressure” and this is not a mental image I’m enjoying.

    1. Jessica Ganschen*

      I remember seeing a post on Tumblr where someone intended to ask for advice regarding head tilt in rabbits, but made the “rabbi” typo, and the person answering the question jokingly took it at face value and talked about how head tilt in rabbis is caused by too much studying and you have to treat it by making them take breaks and getting them ergonomic chairs and desks.

    2. WellRed*

      I’m a managing editor and my byline once got listed as managed editor. When shown I announced “oh, I’m managed all right” cheerfully and loudly so my boss could hear me. Running acknowledgment of her tendency to micromanage a bit.

    3. Corrigan*

      lol I work for an IRB and I’d definitely need strong justification for your inclusion criteria

  28. Juicebox Hero*

    Some typos from my retail days:

    I worked in the children’s department. One time my manager made a sign reading “Girl’s T-Shits $5.99” but thankfully caught it before she put it up.

    One sign in the housewares department was advertising “Pasta Bowels”. Another was for plant stands shaped like exotic animals, but the sign called them “Animal Stools”.

    And in the furniture department there was one for a living room set that included “Camisole Table” instead of “Console Table”. (For those who don’t know, a console table is a long narrow table that goes behind a sofa and a camisole is an item of lingerie.)

    1. Rob aka Mediancat*

      The highlight at a previous workplace, made before I got there, was an advertisement sent out advertising toilet paper in assorted flavors.

      At my current workplace, we have to check the word “claim” carefully. Any number of times we’ve sent letters out advising people that we need more information to process their clam.

    2. Twice Bitten*

      Work typos: In the late 70s, I worked for a government department and had the task of preparing reports on occupations in demand (ie, needing workers)
      In those days, no personal computers, nor typewriters for everybody, so hand-written notes were sent to the typing pool.

      My notes on the mining industry included a section on underground drillers and surface drillers. My handwriting wasn’t all that bad, but my report came back with great detail on how “fur face frillers” were needed.

      And yes as a govt department, we had to watch every instance of “public” very carefully.

  29. I Wrote This in the Bathroom*

    I have one that Raisins Walk to the Moon reminded me of. It was the mid-00s and my last day at my job before leaving for a shiny new job. I had already turned in my Blackberry, which was supposed to be given to a teammate that was to take my place in the on-call rotation. After lunch, I crafted and sent off an address change email to my group of friends that I was on an email list for. (It being the 00s, everyone on the list used their work emails. It was a year before Facebook and I don’t know how many years before group chats.) In the email were the words “and my phone was just handed over to a guy on my team, so unless you want him to get your email, don’t send me anything at this address anymore.” Sure enough a woman in the group replied “Is he hot?” and in a momentary but complete loss of judgment, I wrote back: “He looks like an IT guy. Which as we all know is the opposite of hot.” I hit Send. One minute later, Mr. IT Guy walked into my cube holding my Blackberry and saying “I keep getting email notifications, but can’t read the emails because I don’t know the password, can you log me in?”

    I said “follow me” and together we walked to the infrastructure support area, where I had a close friend. I said to the close friend “I need a favor. If you wipe IT Guy’s blackberry and change it to get his emails instead of mine, but also please please make sure none of mine are on it when he gets in, and if you do it LIKE, RIGHT NOW, I’ll buy you dinner and will explain later.” Dinner was bought and the crisis averted, and from that day on I was a lot more careful about who and how I called “the opposite of hot”. (Also he looked alright. I was being a smarta$$.)

  30. The Rise and Fall of Sanctuary Moon*

    To be fair DTF DOES mean “I’m in” for certain values of “in”.

    I’ll see myself out.

  31. Dawn*

    “Raisins walk to the moon” provoked actual tears of laughter in the middle of my workday, thank you.

  32. Captain Vegetable ( Crunch Crunch Crunch)*

    Not that it would make any sense, but I kinda want “Raisins Walk to the Moon” on my gravestone.

  33. Moonstone*

    “So somewhere in the belly of the archives of the federal government is an official transcript with my friend’s name on it, with her saying she is DTF.”

    This. Is. Tremendous.

  34. DD*

    I worked for automotive parts supplier in marketing back in early Y2K. We were working on brochures and creating “glamour” shots for the various practical engine components. One of those components was a fuel injector, which has a somewhat phallic shape with a tip that sprays fuel. We were meeting with graphic and photography team looking at the brochure photography and artwork and we come to the beautifully imaged fuel injector. It was at just the right angle, bathed in a copper and tan light (the brochure color scheme) emitting a fine spray to showcase its main objective of spraying fuel into the engine.

    I had a pretty straight-laced middle aged male boss who I never heard swear, make an innuendo, or off-color joke in the almost 10 years I worked for him. As we were going through the discussion on the fuel injector, talking about the lighting, the spray droplets, the angle of the tip it was all very professional. But at some point I could feel unprofessional giggles building up inside of me. I tried to distract myself but tears started in my eyes, I kept getting pulled back into the conversation. At some point I decided maybe I could pull this off as an allergy attack and cover my rising giggles with coughing? I tried to wrap up the discussion and get to the next part on the list that had zero innuendo associated with it but my efforts were in vain, the discussion seemed to spend a long time talking about the tip.

    When we got back to the office I blamed my “allergy” on one of the participants cologne, sorry Brian for throwing you under the bus.

  35. Tangerina Warbleworth*

    First, someone needs to keep a list of all the great band and album names this column makes happen (Stink Bug and The Flying Cats debut album “Raisins Walk to the Moon”, for example).

    Second, while this is pretty tame, I just remembered a story of my own! Back when I was working with international faculty, I provided their ID documents. Documents included a lot of information, including the faculty member’s field of study, and the reason they needed the document (conference, visa application, etc.) One day I had to fill in document fields for a faculty member in “Reproductive Biology” for “Vacation Purposes”. The document printer was on the fritz and kept mis-printing characters; and every time I had to print a new document, I had to fill in the fields again. After three or four printings, I was quite frustrated and typed a little too quickly, hurrying to finish the task.

    Yes. I actually typed, printed out, and signed a document that said the faculty member was in “Vacation Biology” and needed the document for “Reproductive Purposes”. THANK GOD a student worker saw it and gave it back to me before the faculty member came to pick it up.

  36. anoncat*

    Okay, this one is famous among my friends and old co-workers, so if you recognize this one just walk on by…

    While living in Japan and working as an ALT, I lost my hanko, which is an important stamp you use in lieu of a signature. Necessary for bank paperwork and receiving mail and various other things. I don’t speak Japanese well, so I opened up an email to the friendly coordinator who did speak Japanese to ask for his help getting a new one. I started the email with the subject line “Missing Hanko” but somehow managed to delete the O and hit enter on the ancient keyboard I was using. So I emailed the subject “Missing Hank” and nothing else.

    I quickly followed up apologizing for the email and explaining the actual situation, and he responded fairly soon. He opened the email with “We all miss Hank, [Name], he was a good man.” He then proceeded to actually answer my question, but I had to take a minute after I nearly died of laughter but also embarrassment.

  37. Pam Adams*

    The only one of those Young Miss stories I remember is the one where the younger sister sets the table with sanitary napkins, causing great embarassment to our narrator, because of course. the crush was there for dinner.

    I hope you wrote it.

  38. Legalien*

    #6, I remember reading your shark bait story in YM years ago! I never forgot about it, but haven’t thought about that in YEARS! Thanks for the smile and memory!

  39. SG*

    OMG the cat-driving-the-Mario-Kart photo brought to mind the old SNL skit Toonces the Driving Cat. Anyone else recall that one? It was ridiculous and also hilarious.
    It also made me think of the cat who walked across a keyboard and in the process answered a Zoom chat (or similar) on behalf of its owner, describing a training as “poop,” then promptly logging off. AAM Mortification hall of fame.

    1. Rafflesia Reaper*

      Hey, that’s me! (Well, my cat.) She’s been gone for four years now, but I’m glad the AAM community will keep her alive forever.

  40. MassChick*

    Each better than the other, but #13 (Headline) gave me the giggles. I’m sure the oldies were consoling each other “she’s a grape now, but her time in the sun will happen”.

  41. Satan's Panties*

    Okay, not at work, but a grave misunderstanding. My husband’s friend “Max” spent a couple of summers caddying at a golf course when we were all teenagers. He was assigned, or however that works, to one Mr. Gotbux, and Mr. Gotbux was not the silent type. This was near a city, and during this time, the city was building a museum, situated between the Arty District and the Business District.

    One day Max comes home and tells his parents, with some enthusiasm, “Mr. Gotbux wants to clean up Arty District! Now that the museum is opening up, it’s important to attract tourists.”

    Aghast looks from his parents, then, “What. Exactly. Do you mean by ‘clean up Arty District’?

    Max, bewildered, “Power wash the storefronts, or repaint them, or both. Smooth out the sidewalks so there are no bricks sticking up to trip people. Put in more trash cans, maybe, stuff like that…Is that okay? What did you think I meant?”

    Parents explain how “cleaning up” an area can mean *people* being removed; you know, Those People.

    Max: “That would leave about ten people. Anyway, Mr. G doesn’t want that. He says he’d be lost without Specialty Deli and Artisan Bakery, and his wife does half her Christmas shopping there.”

    In retrospect, Max says that his parents were leery all along about his caddying, thinking he’d get Big Ideas about social climbing, or just plain snobbery. So I can see how “clean up Arty District” would have landed with them!

  42. Never The Twain*

    re. #9 and other misdirected communications, wiki has:

    An Ohnosecond (alternatively Onosecond) is the fraction of time before one realizes that they have made a crucial mistake after the mistake was made.

    For me, it’s roughly the time between committing to a ‘Send’ click and the click actually happening.
    It’s a strangely elastic unit of time: it’s too short for your brain to override the impulse, but long enough to play out all the horrendous real and hypothetical effects this is going to have over the next 30 years of your life.

    1. SarahKay*

      I have a 60 second delay built into all my outgoing email (it’s a rule set up in Outlook) and I swear it has saved me from many Onoseconds.

      I think I read about it as an option in one of the comment sections here, and I implemented it after a co-worker sent an email with the subject “To all shit workers” that was missing a vital f! His Onosecond involved a physical clawing motion at the screen in a desperate but ultimately-doomed-to-fail attempt to stop the email leaving his computer.

      (Also after reading today’s column I went and set my Word/Outlook autocorrect so that typing shit will automatically correct to shift.)

  43. Anon for this*

    I was working and going to grad school and had just finished my demanding master’s program. The Monday after graduation my boss called me into his office, presumably to give me a raise and congratulate me. He was a very dignified older gentleman, and in the congratulations conversation he put his hand up and I high fived him. He looked shocked and dead pan said to me “I don’t do high fives”. I turned so red and have no idea what possessed me to high five my boss.

  44. City Mouse*

    #4 reminds me of one of students from several years ago. I taught a professional communication course to adult EAL students, and one week they had to do presentations on the workplace culture from their home countries. One of my Filipino students was trying to say that in his country it’s common to for coworkers to be open with each other, and share intimate details about their lives. What he said was, “In the Philippines, we like to expose ourselves at work.” I had to stop my self from laughing and after he finished his presentation, I took a moment to explain to the class that expose is one of those English words where context is very important. The class got a good chuckle out of it once they understood.

  45. Rob aka Mediancat*

    Warning: icky.

    The stinkbug one reminded me of my own mortifying moment. After lunch one day, I went to check the leftovers from a morning meeting; there was plenty, including a handful of mini-danishes. I took two for dessert.

    Right as I started to bite into one, a stinkbug flew down and landed on it. No points if you guess what happened next. I yelped, spat out the bug, the danish, and spent most of the rest of the day trying to get the taste out of my mouth — this involved cough drops, gum, mouthwash, toothpaste, and jalapeno poppers. Nothing worked. (I admit, the stink did its work: I was cured of the desire to ever bite another stinkbug. Not that I had that desire in the first place, but you get the idea.)

    My Facebook status for the next day was: “Today was a good day. Today I did not eat a bug.”

    1. Tiny clay insects*

      I’m the one who lived through #9. I am glad it’s being enjoyed. :-) I’d thought about changing some identifying details, like my husband’s name or the nature of the travel, but decided, why? I have nothing to hide. It’s one of my favorite stories! (now that it is in the past, anyway.) And luckily Tom was an outgoing, nice student who found it hilarious, not someone quiet or awkward where it would have been worse.

  46. Llama face!*

    Okay but are we really sure #1 was a typo? After all, based on people’s stories about call centres, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was one that expected you to keep working even *through* their bathroom breaks. Lol

  47. Clewgarnet*

    OP13, that reminds me of my time as a reporter on a local newspaper! We’d just got a new editor and, in my teenaged arrogance, I decided to ‘test’ her. We’d just had a St Patrick’s Day parade, and I captioned a picture of a young boy with something about him, “enjoying the crack.” (Craic, pronounced crack, is an Irish term for fun/gossip/atmosphere.) I assumed that, if the editor didn’t catch it, our proofreader (a formidable woman with a passionate devotion to detail) would.

    Neither of them caught it. Somewhere out there is a young boy who was labelled a drug user before he was even in high school. If you’re reading this, I’m so sorry!

Comments are closed.