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Creating a Hostile Work Environment

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I used to work in an extremely uptight government office. My one saving grace was my friend, Karen, who was the only normal person there.

We ate lunch together every single day and went out together after work. One day we were talking about how everything men say leads to some sexual innuendo. So I told her about one of my favorite Lynda Barry cartoons where the men only speak in phallic symbols.

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She asked me to copy the cartoon for her. So a few days later I brought a copy to work and stuck it in Karen’s mailbox. I decided against writing a note and including my name in case it was accidentally found by someone who wasn't in on the joke...

The next time I came into work, the office was in an uproar. I went to Karen and asked her what was going on. “Oh, you wouldn’t believe what someone put in my mailbox!” She fretted. "It was completely obscene. Why would someone want to do that to me?”

“Oh, you mean like a cartoon with guys talking dirty?”

“Yes!” she exclaimed, surprised I already knew.

“You mean like the cartoon of guys talking dirty that you ASKED me to make you a copy of two days ago?”

“Oh my God. I’m so stupid.”

We had a panicked discussion about what we should do. There was a heavy formal investigation going on for nothing. We decided that if we told the story, “ahahahah, isn’t that funny everybody?” we would be the only ones laughing. All the way to the unemployment line. So we kept our mouths shut while people were questioned and memos like this flew all over the office:


Cartoon from Lynda Barry's "Girls and Boys"