I have a coworker who causes my eyes to roll just upon seeing him, in preparation for the next dumb-shit thing he’s going to say. Half of the stuff is the type of jokes that were funny 13 years ago when I first got the internet. He will deliver lines such as “Why do we park on a driveway?” and “If you can be disgruntled, what does it mean to be gruntled?” as though these are serious questions and his own original thoughts.
The other half of it is being the Mr. Punctilious Pedant from Literalist, Pompousassville by pointing out “errors” that have no bearing in casual conversation.Take this real life conversation from today as an example:
Boss: We can move the allegation summary to this new box, saving us room in our investigation summary.
Me: Then you shouldn’t have taken out my line that you can’t take someone to the ground because they’re hitting their head on the floor when their head isn’t on the floor until you take them to the ground.
PP: Actually, you can’t take someone to the ground unless you’re outside…
B (to PP): You’re such a smartass. (To me): I think that sentence explained something that was implied.
Me: Well, we don’t know that “Backwater” County DA is going to realize that.
PP (still carrying on): And then you take them to the grass or the pavement. And you already said floor twice, so I know it wasn’t outside.
B: Dude, she’s already ignoring you.
Me: Yes, can I get something to extend my cubicle wall, please? (I’m so glad I actually said this out loud, rather than just thinking it, though I’m sure PP didn’t get it.)
Now, I certainly have some literalist tendencies myself, but I only point out these problems when I actually cannot understand your meaning because you’re not saying what you mean. Also, I don’t tell people that they’re wrong and carry on like a condescending douchebag; I ask for clarification.
This sort of conversation happens with Adam about three times a week. Here’s an example:
Adam: Because our schedule has changed, I need to recoup the groceries.
Me: So you’re going shopping because we don’t have enough food?
A: Wait, no, I meant reapportion. I’m going to make different recipes than what the schedule says.
M: Oh, okay.
See how I actually misunderstood his meaning? If I wanted to be a giant dickhole like PP, I could have carried on after his explanation, “Well, actually the schedule doesn’t ‘say’ anything, because it is an inanimate object.”
That kind of precision is not necessary for casual conversation. That’s what makes it casual. By the way, the actual sentence from my report, which is much more formal being a court document and all, was more along the lines of: ”Accused” reported that he felt justified in performing a takedown on “Alleged Victim” because AV was hitting his own head against the floor; however, based on A’s own account of the scenario, AV could not have exhibited this behavior prior to the takedown.
If I talked like that “in real life,” I wouldn’t have any friends, which explains a lot about PP, actually. This exchange further frustrates the hell out of me because I wasn’t talking to him in the first place; I was talking to my boss. I try to talk with PP as little as possible, because just looking at him makes me want to stab him in the neck with a pen. I mean “writing implement,” because you know, it could be a pencil I pick up off my desk instead.