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Clubbing seals is funny

November 24, 2010

So get this…

At work one day, I tried my bestest to be “social” by not sequestering myself in my office during the lunch hour and opting instead for unadulterated social exposure in the lounge. I was surrounded by other colleagues, all pretty new to me, none too comfortable with my presence, but none really caring one way or the other if I piped in a conversation with an over-enthusiastic approval of a mundane comment: “Yeah, like I know, right?!” When I finally learned that shutting up is often more social than excessive head bobbing and grinning at the chattiest Cathy in the room, the conversation took an ugly turn to nothing other than clubbing seals in Canada on the East coast. Much to my shock, this is the type of lunch room topic that is considered by my colleagues as humourous and anecdotal, whereas for me, it’s a conversation that calls all brethren to arms to fight against the man! What is so funny about clubbing a helpless seal to a miserable and tortured death in the name of fashion? Don’t ask me, ask my colleagues, who think that seal slaughter is more hilarious than the TGIF comedy line-up of the 90s (the latter being super funny, as we all know). Anyway, when the knots of social awkwardness in my stomach started to be replaced by the Fort Knox of my anger and disgust for my fellow man, I knew that it was time for me to politely excuse myself, lest I blurt out something along the lines of “I DON’T FIND ANIMAL CRUELTY FUNNY, YOU MURDERERS!” Two of them knew I was vegan and I could sense some discomfort at least from one of them when the jokes were being laughed–nay, snorted–at. Her discomfort increased apparently when I decided to leave.

I guess I don’t know what I should have done. I doubt I acted in the best of my/their interests. It doesn’t seem like I acted in such a way to prevent a similar scenario from playing itself out again in the future. If I had said something, I would once again be that crazy hippie vegan who has zero sense of humour. If I chimed in with an equally inappropriate joke about how clubbing seals is funny, I would hate myself indefinitely afterward for being a spineless hypocrite. I was in a catch 22 and it wasn’t fun. So I left.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of ironic humour and would be fine with making fun of clubbing seals sarcastically or satirically. But the key is being ironic and making sure you’re among friends. When it seems like the jokes lack the irony, that’s when things start getting offensive.

Seal Hunt

Canadian Seal Hunt

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Elah permalink
    November 25, 2010 9:33 am

    Amazing post! And funny this time because you mention clubbing seals! I have the same problem often enough. I’ve tried mentally shutting out, saying “that’s funny” while giving the death glare, and leaving, like you did. None of them make me or anyone else feel great, but I’m hoping that having a hot body and an awesome sense of humour makes people a) love me anyway and b) want to adopt my attitudes with respect to all things. It hasn’t been working, so my other hope is that if enough people like you & me express dissenting attitudes (even if through silence), it’ll help change the norm. Is that too hopeful?

  2. November 25, 2010 7:22 pm

    Eew. Nontheless inappropriate in a governmental institute. They’re skating on thin ice, I hope they fall through. We both know that the seals won’t be coming to THEIR rescue :(

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