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...over-educated and under-experienced, or so they say...

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Piles Of ...Hoolio?

I was sitting in a business meeting with one of the cities the other day and the city engineer, who was frustrated about a particular project said, "Well... this whole thing got goober snatched."  When someone at the table responded, "Goober snatched?" she said, "Yes, goober snatched.  It's a very important technical term."  At which point I looked at the admin and said, "Please put that in the minutes.  We need to write that down for sure."

She had a couple other good ones like, "take that nubbin and do something with it!" and "I just don't know what people thought they were doing with all this hoolio!"

She was truly frustrated while talking to us, and she was trying to get her frustration out on the table, but ultimately we all spent more time laughing at her "cuss words" than we did taking her frustration seriously.  So, instead of returning to my desk and immediately diving into the problem on a quest for a solution, I sat there for a while thinking about goober snatched items and nubbins and piles of hoolio.  I decided that it may be better, at least in certain circles, not to substitute cuss words with things like hoolio at all.  I'm not saying drop the F-Bomb at the business meeting (that would just be rude and get you sent to HR for some sort of Awareness Training), but I am saying that the word hoolio in a dead serious frustrated tone is hilarious and I don't think hilarity is the point you're wanting to drive home right there.  It's probably best to say, "You guys really messed this project up for us and you need to understand that we're very displeased with your performance," and then give us all the eyeball that makes us think you're about to call our moms and we'll be so grounded when we get home.  (At least, that works for me.  That probably would've sent me straight into Type A Mode, because I HATE to disappoint, and I would've had the issue resolved within the next hour because... my mom is scary when she's angry.  Trust me.)

I thought about it the rest of the day.  I remembered a time when I said, "Well jeepers!" when working at the mortgage company and everyone in my general vicinity turned around and said, "Jeepers?"

And there was the time I was sitting at the table with my parents playing Yahtzee and I said "dagnabit" after rolling nothing of worth and had to take a zero on my score sheet.  A few minutes later I noticed that my dad, in a moment of intense thought and doodling, wrote DAG NAB-IT in all caps on the top of his score sheet.  When I asked what he was doing he said, "Well... I was just trying to figure out the right way to spell that word."  (Had I said "damn it," mind you, I would have evoked a completely different response from him, as well as a horrified gasp from my mother.)

So when I got home that night, at some point I walked into my daughter's room while she was doing her homework and I said, in my most serious mom voice, "Your room is horrible!  What's with all this hoolio?!"  She stopped, a bit confused, looked at me as though she knew she was supposed to be in some sort of trouble but she couldn't help but crack a smile and say, "...um... hoolio?"  Without missing a beat I said, "I'm not kidding.  This is some serious goober snatch!  Get this nubbin cleaned up!"  At that point she dropped her pencil and practically fell out of her chair laughing and gasping as she asked, "What are you saying?!"  Now maybe this is because she knows me too well, but I would like to think that I was running an experiment here on whether or not I could successfully get the same intensity while employing goofball word substitutes.

I confess, and you already know this from some of my blog posts, I can throw down well enough to include "sailed the seven seas" on my resume, but... anyone that has worked with me in the corporate world also knows that I can scare more people and get excellent results through the use of complex sentences and five syllable words than I ever could through an F-Bomb.  I once had to apologize to a guy at the office because I apparently made him cry, and there was not a single profane word that passed my lips or fingertips that day.  His boss simply said I hurt the guy's ego because he had to use the dictionary to figure out what I was saying... hence, my point...

It is better not to "cuss" at all than to substitute some hullabaloo for an F-Bomb when trying to get people to move.  Otherwise... go ahead.  I've sailed alongside SinBad a time or two -- tell it like it is.

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