A common theme in TV shows and movies is a bunch of relatives or friends that appear out of nowhere, completely uninvited, and crash your home or holiday, and basically ruining things for everyone. Hollywood feel-good endings would have it that the sensible group and the outrageous group eventually settle their differences and become good friends, but in the really real world, things don’t work out like that.
Of course, in the really real world, cousin Eddie and his in-bred family don’t really appear out of nowhere to ruin your day either, but what you tend to get are annoying colleagues or classmates that will tag along when you go for lunch.
This stuff happens all the time at school, because school is just about the clique-iest place you can find. You’re trying to hang with the cool kids or your cooler friends, but there will be this one idiot that tags along and instantly reduces your median coolness with his/her presence.
You’d think that by the time we leave school, we’d have matured enough to also leave these lunchtime antics behind. Sadly, I think this is rarely the case, because there will still be someone that you and your fellow colleagues will try to avoid. But it’s not about trying to be cool or cultivating an image anymore: your lunch-break is your one time of the day to relax and chill out, and the last thing you want is to babysit the office asshole.
The cousin Eddie of the workplace is not the kid who is uncool, or collects Pokemon or anything like that. He/she is the irritating know-it-all who has to hijack every conversation, and try brag and boast as much as possible to force themselves into the center of attention. He/she is the type that scams food from everyone, without ever offering some of their own food to the communal pot. He/she will basically drive everyone mad, restrict your lunchtime conversations (after all, you can’t bitch about the office asshole when he/she is right there), and make lunch a terrible ordeal for everybody.
But the worst trait of the workplace cousin Eddie is still the same as the schoolyard variant: he/she will have their head so far up their own asses that they will not realize that you do not want them to eat with you.
Try to sneak off without them, give them shit, don’t initiate conversation with them… do what you want, but like a terminator, they will keep coming back and they will always find you.
For the past two years, I’ve had the benefit of working in places where I’ve adored everyone and not have to deal with this crap. I guess the great balance of life has come to bite me in the ass, because in my current workplace, I don’t have just one but two cousin Eddies that always tag along uninvited for lunch.
These two are like carbon copies of one another: obnoxious know-it-all nerds who brag and brag all the time, even when it’s not really their shit to brag about. I mean, do I really care if your dad knew Steve Jobs and was invited to his funeral? It’s not like you knew him yourself. Do I really want to hear about what your erroneous opinions on what stereoscopy is? No, and I’ll give you a clue, asshole… it’s got nothing to do with motion capture! And do I really want your condescending criticisms of my work when quite frankly, my work gets approved more often than yours?
I remembered fun lunchtimes at my previous workplaces when my colleagues and I would bitch about movies, relationship issues and so forth. This is what my lunch times are like these days:
Int. cafeteria – day
There is an awkward silence as a group of colleagues eat their lunch quietly. Some of them exchange uncomfortable glances at each other.
Cousin Eddie #1: “You know, this soup would taste better if they’d used lettuce instead of cabbage. I make good soup.”
Cousin Eddie #2: “I make good soup too. I’ve been told I’m the soup master.”
More awkward silence.
Having lunch with these guys is such an ordeal. When they get started, it becomes like two nerds comparing cock sizes. And believe me, there’s nothing more unappealing than two overweight nerds comparing their cock sizes.
We had an impromptu meeting the other day to figure out how we’re going to avoid them. Today, we’ll try sneaking out of the office one by one, without the usual gathering at someone’s desk to head out together. I hope it works!
If it doesn’t, do you guys have any suggestions on how to avoid our cousin Eddies?
PS One of my colleagues pointed me to a song that sums up how we feel about them. It’s Sarah Bareilles (who also did that song that wife loves to sing on our Xbox karaoke game), and it’s called King of Anything.