Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

[Bogies] The Plank In Your Eye

Posted by Lex Fear on March 4, 2006

Or “First Remove The Snot From Your Own Nose”…

Yesterday me and the IT Gimp were both in the office kitchen making our first morning coffee when in came Jason the Auditor, for his own morning caffeine hit. Jason is one of those guys who is always able to strike up a conversation about a lively upbeat topic, be it houses, cars or what the latest news is. It’s quite a good characteristic in moderation. This time Jason seemed very upbeat, more than usual, he grabbed some kitchen roll and honked his nose, hard, then he struck up one of his usual topical chats with IT Gimp.

I finished washing the cups and poured the coffee and then came round to the other side of the kitchen in front of Jason, who was now in full conversational swing with IT Gimp. The conversation had started at the weather, then moved on to trains, to traveling with other people, and now to strange people you meet on public transport.

Now, as I said, Jason was in full swing, I had made the coffee and really was just wanting to get back to my desk, IT Gimp was thinking the same thing. It was at this point I noticed the shaving rash on the side of Jasons face. But this was not just a shaving rash.. This was a shaving gash. It was so big it looked like Jason hadn’t just had a shave, he’d been given a shave by Jack the Ripper. The blood wasn’t quite dripping yet there was certainly a small amount beginning to clot.

When you notice something like this on the person you are speaking to, you feel slightly embarrassed for them. There is no doubt you genuinely want them to know and be able to clean up the offending spot or blemish. The trouble is the embarrassment and level of offence is directly related to the length of time from first facing the person. Simply put, the longer you continue to face the person and notice the blemish but not say anything, the more the embarrassment is transferred from the blemishee to yourself. Therefore you go through a type of decision making process. The process includes a sort of unwritten subconscious cut-off point, whereby it is automatically decided that you are not going to point out the blemish. If you pass this point then the one with the blemish will exclaim something like “I had that on my face all this time and you didn’t even tell me? Thanks a lot!” – embarrassment transferred, you’re a jerk. Even if you come back with something like “I thought it was funny” there’s no recovery from being a jerk.

So I was at the “Should I say something” stage of the process, waiting for Jason to stop talking so I could point it out before reaching the cut-off point. The problem was Jason was on a roll and there was no break (all this time we’re standing there with our coffees, we just want to leave). Then Jasons head moved slightly more towards me and I spotted something worse than the gash. A big round bogey hanging on to the corner of his nose. All this time, still talking no break.

I guess it was a strange moment, one which I actually found difficulty in keeping a straight face as I switched my eyes towards IT Gimp. Here was this guy with a huge red gash on the side of his face, a bogey clinging on to one nostril, talking about the strange people you meet on the train who may smell or look funny.

Incidentally we didn’t tell him in the end. He talked for over 15 minutes till a break, way past the cut-off point.

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