June 30, 2005

Desperately Seeking Epsom Salts

One of my employees is either completely socially inept, or more totally self-involved than most teenagers. To wit: Wednesday morning I whacked my pinkie toe on a table leg and broke it (the toe, not the table leg). All I had time to do before heading into work was tape it to the next toe, swallow a couple of Tylenol, and rummage through the closet for my oldest (and therefore loosest) loafers. It hurt like the dickens, and I limped through most of my 12 hour workday, swearing inaudibly (unless I was in the projection booth, where my audible swearing was mantra-like in its regular cadence as I threaded projectors and started films).

Now, in normal social intercourse, if one inquires as to the wellbeing of another, and the reply is "Not so great, I broke my toe," one ordinarily responds with sympathy such as "Ouch! That's gotta hurt," or perhaps "I'm sorry--is there anything I can do for you?" or even "Oh, man, what happened?" This is what is known as common courtesy.

When one of my clerks breezed in to work with a "Hi, Susan! How are you?" I happened to be in mid-wince from pain and stated "Not so great, I broke my toe."
Her immediate response: "My mom broke four toes." She then proceeded to launch into a long story of how that came about.

I'm not sure why she seemed to think we were playing "Can you top this?" *

I do know that her reaction has negatively colored my opinion of her, and I'm not sure whether to say anything to her about it or not. Teenagers are notoriously self-absorbed, after all. I would even have understood if she had said she had once broken a toe and elaborated on how painful it was--at least in that case I could have assumed her sympathy. As it is, I really have to wonder if, deep down, there's something of a sociopath there, since this is not the first occasion I have noticed that she is completely lacking in empathy. (After one of my cashiers had a seizure and was taken off in an ambulance, she opined to the rest of that staff that she wished she'd had a seizure!)

Maybe the next time she starts her "Nobody likes me!" whine, I'll take her aside and explain to her why exactly that is....

* My family plays a game called "You think that's bad..." where we try to top the other person's horror stories; but we do it for the humor because we are firm believers that laughter is the best medicine.

Posted by Susie at June 30, 2005 08:33 PM | TrackBack

Your RSS feed was broken. :(

I've fixed it for you. :)

Hope your toe gets better. It hurts like hell when you do that. :(

You need Pocky! :)

Posted by: Pixy Misa at July 1, 2005 04:33 AM

If it makes you feel any better (which it won't, sorry), about all they'd do at StatCare is tape it to the next toe, so you just saved yourself $50.

Of course, you might have gotten a decent painkiller prescription out of it...

Posted by: Chris of Dangerous Logic at July 1, 2005 12:13 PM

You realize, of course, Harvey will see the words, "social intercourse" and get really excited. You know that, don't you?

Posted by: Victor at July 1, 2005 12:55 PM

Hi! I'm really excited!

Anyway, try breaking some of her toes as a lesson in empathy :-)

Posted by: Harvey at July 2, 2005 02:27 PM