Monday, March 23, 2009

Memory Monday: Brought to you by Coffee

Ah, Memory Monday: The day of the week when I reminisce about an old job.

Today, we're going back to a time when I was fresh out of college. A time when I decided to try living without coffee. A time when, no longer living with my formerly ER-obsessed college roommate, I hadn't seen ER in a while. That time was day ten of my first real job, 9:30am.

The back story:
Over instant messaging, a coworker of mine (who was also my superior on certain projects) asked me to help him with a small task. He and I got along very well and were fast friends from day one. He was a native of Venezuela, though it is important to note that his English was better than my Spanish (or any other language) will ever be.

The conversation that followed on IM:
Awesome coworker: Hey Pam, I need you to {insert small task here} within the next half hour. I know it's short notice, but do you think you can do it?
Me: Oh yeah, I'll have it to you stat!
AC: Great!
I start on the project and am half way through, when AC asks...
AC: So, what does "stat" mean?
Feeling the awesome social responsibility to tell him the correct meaning of a somewhat commonly used English language colloquialism, I began to panic. "Why oh why did I use that word," I thought, "and more importantly, why oh why can't I remember what it means?!" So I made it up to buy myself some time...
Me: Stat means "ok," I think...
AC: Oh. Ok!
AC: I mean, stat!
Ohhhh that doesn't sound right! I could feel him latching on to the incorrect definition and trying it out. "Wait!" I wanted to scream. "Give me a minute!" That was when I heard my college roommate in my head, saying, "You idiot! Stat means 'immediately,' like Sooner Than Already Here - not 'ok'!" I typed hastily...
Me: No, wait! It means "immediately!" Sorry about that!
AC: Oh, alright! Thanks!
Phew! I had saved him! Our IM conversation ended and I felt helpful.
But I hadn't saved him. The "ok" definition stuck with him and every time he meant to say "ok" henceforth, he said stat. I corrected him the first couple times, and we laughed about it. But when I heard him doing it in conversations down the hall, I knew I had lost the battle...the battle with my own stupidity. Now every time I hear "stat" I think "I'm an idiot!" and turn bright red.

What's the lesson? Contrary to what you might think, it's not "watch more ER." The lesson I learned from this experience is to never swear off coffee again.

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