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Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thanks... I hadn't thought of that [glare]

As I was leaving the office this afternoon, a coworker asked conversationally where I was off to so early. I explained that I had an evening flight to Mumbai to catch, and had some errands to run before my taxi picked me up.

Without missing a beat, this guys says, "Wow, you must be brave; flying on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 ... to Mumbai!"

I honestly hadn't made either of those mental connections before he mentioned them, and it was all I could do to keep from saying something truly inappropriate. I mean seriously, how does he know I'm not terrified of flying on normal days... to destinations that have never experienced a terror attack?

After an awkward pause I simply replied, "kfotz li" [rough translation: 'bite me!'] and walked away.

Stupid should hurt!

Posted by David Bogner on September 11, 2011 | Permalink

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Red Sox fans are resilient.

Posted by: Jack@TheJackB | Sep 11, 2011 9:03:28 PM

I agree that it was incredibly insensitive, but try not to be too hard on the guy. That's totally the type of thing that I would say without thinking/realizing the ramifications, and then I would be horrified about it. Then again, if this guy pulls this stuff on a regular basis, then yeah, he is just dumb.
Have a safe trip!

Posted by: Caro | Sep 12, 2011 12:28:43 AM

For heavens sake!!
What a classless, crude, comment on your part.
Even my teenage sons wouldn't say something so vulgar and crass....and then write a blog post about it. Why not walk away from an insensitive quip offered by a co-worker, or better yet, turn it into a teachable moment? As Jews, the "People of the Book", let's bring back civility to our daily discourse---and a word to the wise...if you chose to utter a vulgar phrase, save yourself from embarassment and don't blog about it!

Posted by: Shira | Sep 12, 2011 5:17:08 AM

Shira... I don't know which I found more disturbing; the jarring comment offered by a coworker I know well enough to tell him off (half jokingly), or being lectured publicly on my own blog by a complete stranger. It's close... but you win.

Posted by: Treppenwitz | Sep 12, 2011 7:27:02 AM

My new in-laws flew home on the 11th. The date caught my attention, but as they are not American, it probably didn't occur to them or really register with my wife. That's a good thing. Besides, any terrorist with a brain wouldn't try to take down an airliner on 9/11. That's when the defenses are most alert.

Posted by: Karl Newman | Sep 12, 2011 2:11:15 PM

Karl - Terrorists have brains?

Posted by: psachya | Sep 12, 2011 6:50:29 PM

Ouch! I've been on both sides of that conversation... neither one is good. Hope you had a safe flight!

Posted by: Chantal | Sep 12, 2011 7:23:17 PM

For some reason I am reminded of the type of insulting comment that both Dutch and Yiddish share, namely wishing a disease on someone. Almost exactly the same in both languages is "kreig a kolere" (in Dutch "kryg de k'lere" - get cholera). Many other curses are quite similar.
Pox, measles, vd, gastric problems, various itches and rashes, plus burials, bubuos, and the black death.
One which has no Yiddish equivalent however is "kryg de Rambam" - get the Rambam.

So, next time don't use Ivrit, lest you be accused of un-Jewish behaviour, but wish them ill in Yiddish instead.
They should get a Rabbi Moishe ben Maimon.

Posted by: At The Back of the Hill | Sep 12, 2011 10:47:33 PM

Trep: I'm not sure if somebody p***ed in your cornflakes, but here's a non-stranger throwing his lot in with Shira. I don't know anything about the relationship you and your co-worker have, but that response seems to me to be a bit much for the thoughtless blurting out of an idea that many people might have.

As for being "lectured by a stranger on your own blog" - you've done this long enough to know that by posting and allowing comments, you open yourself up to criticism. You might disagree with Shira, but I don't see anything disturbing in what she did.

Posted by: efrex | Sep 12, 2011 10:48:34 PM

psachya - Yes, the leadership does. The 9/11 attacks were well planned and executed by a group that knew how to locate weaknesses in the defenses and exploit them. When it comes to the upper levels of al-Queda or other terrorist groups, the leadership often consists of educated men who are often from well-to-do families. Evil does not mean stupid.

Posted by: Karl Newman | Sep 13, 2011 1:21:15 AM

efrex... Offense, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Posted by: Treppenwitz | Sep 13, 2011 5:24:57 AM

Another stranger (isn't that what blogs are generally about: strangers, sharing & exchanging opinions?) weighing in:

Yes, you vastly overreacted---both to the original comment, which hardly even rates on the offensive/tactless scale, (unless he knew you to be directly connected to a terror victim)---and to the commenter who dared to "lecture" you, i.e. express a dissenting opinion on your [usually intelligent, opinionated] blog.

Are we now to refrain from making any reference to any disease, misfortune, affiliation or skin condition for fear the person we're addressing might have a brother/parent/stockbroker/pen-pal with that condition?

Posted by: jrs | Sep 13, 2011 4:58:11 PM

It sometimes seems as if half the time we're bristling at insensitive comments and the other half we're making them!

Posted by: Bob Miller | Sep 13, 2011 8:58:58 PM

I found the co-worker's comment, David's response, Shira's criticism and David reply to all be appropriate and fair.

After all, each of you has a valid point... you just disagree on who's right!

Diversity makes the world much more interesting, don't you think?

Posted by: ProphetJoe | Sep 15, 2011 6:04:54 PM

I found the co-worker's comment, David's response, Shira's criticism and David reply to all be appropriate and fair.

After all, each of you has a valid point... you just disagree on who's right!

Diversity makes the world much more interesting, don't you think?

Posted by: ProphetJoe | Sep 15, 2011 6:04:54 PM

I flew to Chicago on the 11th and came back the day before yesterday. I got stopped and flagged for "special screening" no fewer than FIVE times. Why yes, that IS more times than I should have had to go through security--I actually got pulled out of the passport line when I arrived to get frisked AGAIN. Because I just look, y'know, so very scary. Somehow it did not make me feel even a little bit safer.

Posted by: uberimma | Sep 17, 2011 9:31:18 PM

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