But ask me why, and I’ll spit in your eye
Oh, ask me why, and I’ll spit in your eye
The Smiths – Still Ill
Why? Is there a more heinous word uttered in the workplace than why? Why? Well for starters the person uttering this seemingly innocent three letter word can be best described by use of a four letter word, there’s plenty of them, both users of ‘why’ and said four letter words, so take your pick. But why my pickiness with ‘why’? Why is a fine word that can be used for good. Unfortunately the power of why is instead deployed for the purposes of evil by those responsible for all of the ills in this world: people.
Think about when you tend to hear the word ‘why’ at work. Normally there has been a colossal fuck up (colossal fuck ups are also caused by those very same bastards that exploited ‘why’ – people) and you are the sacrificial lamb charged with breaking this news to your superiors. How do the great and the good respond? Do they give you a cuddle and tell you everything is going to be OK? Do they pour you a glass of hard liquor to soothe your frayed nerves? Do they pledge to help you un-fuck things up? Do they heek! No, they respond with that damn three letter word: why? More specifically “why has this happened” or other similarly weasely words to that effect.
In times of excrement being flung at fans this is the least helpful thing that can be said. If your house was on fire would the fire men or women first put out the fire or just start asking you why your house is on fire whilst all your worldly possessions are cooked Cajun style? If you had a stab wound would the paramedics stitch you up or ask you why you’ve been stabbed as you slowly lie there dying in a pool of blood? If you find yourself struggling at sea would the Coast Guard ask you why you were out swimming in choppy conditions, waiting for your gurgled response before springing into red swim suited action, or just pluck you out first and call you a twat latter?
So you now see ‘why’ does not help. Not only does it not help, why has been directly responsible for a number of great tragedies throughout the ages (note: artistic license applied):
Pompeii – Mount Vesuvius starts smoking. Ruler of Pompeii ignores pleas to flee and instead demands to know why the volcano is erupting. Entire population of the town are given a molten lava bath whilst in the midst of pondering the King’s request.
Atlantis – Kingdom starts sinking. King of Atlantis rejects plans to build escape boats and sets up an enquiry panel to find out why a big mass placed in the sea doesn’t float. Panel present findings of enquiry to the King from within the confines of Davey Jones Locker.
Dinosaurs – Velociraptors want to build a giant laser to blast potentially life threatening comet out of the sky. T-Rex’s overrule them and commission an investigation into why the dinosaurs live on a planet that can be struck by comets. Outcome unknown. Dinosaurs conspicuous by their 65 million year absence from earth.
So why ‘why’? Probably because the people uttering why either can’t help you or don’t want to help you. Or more likely both. So next time you hear ‘why’ don’t mutter four letter words under your breath whilst forcing a grin. Perhaps you should instead challenge the great and the good to use another three letter word: how. As in ‘how can we help you sort this out?’. Let the inquisition follow later. That way we all won’t end up in molten lava or destroyed by a comet. If that doesn’t work you could always follow the sage advice of Morrissey and spit in their eye (disclaimer – I take no responsibility for if you are fired for spitting at your boss!). It’s your choice. Just don’t ask why!