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Better Convert To A New Punchline

| Working | March 24, 2016

(I am working at the fabric counter with a couple of other coworkers during a fairly busy part of the day. We’re encouraged to ask people what their project is as we measure their fabric. Beside me, one of my coworkers is talking to a customer.)

Coworker: “So what’s your project today?”

Customer: “I’m using this fabric to convert a piano bench, and this one to convert a chair to a Victorian style.”

Coworker: *laughs* “Sounds like there’s a lot of conversion therapy going on.”

(Conversion therapy is a psychologically damaging “treatment” administered to “convert” gay people to straight. It’s illegal in many places and can lead directly to the recipient’s suicide.)

Me: “Whoa, [Coworker], that was awful!”

(I know my coworker doesn’t usually joke around about things like that, so I pull him aside when things slow down a little.)

Me: “You might want to look up what conversion therapy is. That was basically on the level of telling a Holocaust joke next to a Jewish person.”

Coworker: “Oh, I’m so sorry. I guess I don’t really know what it is! Thanks for telling me.”

(I figure this is the end of it, but the next day he pulls me aside.)

Coworker: “You were absolutely right about that conversion therapy joke. I’m so sorry!”

Me: *surprised* “You looked it up?”

Coworker: “Yes, and that’s some really horrible stuff. I didn’t know what it was, and I’m sorry I joked about it.”

Me: “Well, it’s never affected me personally, but some gay people might be pretty freaked out by hearing it mentioned. Thank you so much for taking the time to look it up. That means a lot.”

(My job isn’t always the most rewarding, but it’s great to know that I have such supportive, good people for coworkers. Thanks again, coworker! Your caring and understanding really made my day!)

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