Captain’s Log, Stardate 11.24.2017 ... (Chris Williams/Haida Gwaii Observer)

The Drive Home: Pudding Breath thinks he’s The Captain

Changing the way people address you at work is difficult

By Chris Williams

I’ve been calling myself “The Captain” at work for about a month now with unsatisfactory results — my co-workers still call me “Pudding Breath.” Changing the way people address you at work is difficult (especially if you have inadvertently nicknamed yourself for life by demonstrating how much tapioca pudding you can put in your mouth while whistling the Korean national anthem). It is also important in establishing your perceived rank in the office environment (hence The Captain).

But sometimes, as is the case with me, you need to go above and beyond holding the office equipment ransom until everyone starts referring to you by your desired nickname. Sometimes, being more direct or even subliminal can go a long way in getting people to stop calling you (mean) nicknames. And using force and coercion is still the best way to get them to call you by the name you were born to think up later in life.

Here are some tips for losing the loser epithet and gaining the winning sobriquet (those word don’t rhyme by the way even though I know you tried rhyming them in your mind in a much deeper voice than your own).

Tip #1

Stop responding to your old, boring name. As an example, when someone says to me, “Pudding Breath, you’re 45 minutes late again,” I just ignore them, as should you. Walk with your eyes pointed towards the floor and your hands deep in your pockets, heading straight for your office, or cubicle, or upside-down garbage can in the corner – whatever your workstation happens to be.

Tip #2

Throw stuff. By this I mean when someone calls you a name you don’t like, pick up something and gently throw it as hard as you can at his or her face. Be careful with heavier objects like bricks or full suitcases as you can easily dislocate a shoulder or pull a muscle. Perhaps, if you have a strong friend, they could throw the object for you… at your bidding, of course.

Tip #3

Pay people to visit your place of work and call you the name you are trying establish. I do this all the time. I don’t have any money left to spend on things like travel, food, rent or soap, but I do, for a few brief minutes a week, get to delight in the ecstasy of hearing someone call me “The Captain.”

Tip #4

Subliminal phone calls. This tip is all about the subliminal aspect. Basically, you want to pretend to be on the phone with someone having a conversation about super-important things (ideas for super-important things could be particle physics, Donald Trump tweets and flat-earth theories) while subtly referencing your preferred new name.

The trick here is to speak loudly enough so that everyone can hear you.

Here are a couple of example conversations:

Example 1:

Me: Hey Todd! Great to hear from you! How’s your family?… (Very, very loudly) YES, I AM THE CAPTAIN. THANKS FOR CALLING ME BY THE NAME I CHOOSE AND NOT THE NAME FATE CHOSE FOR ME! (It’s always a good idea to glare at everyone when doing this.)

Example 2:

Me (answering planted phone call): YES! THIS IS THE CAPTAIN! THAT IS CORRECT, I AM THE CAPTAIN! (don’t forget to glare at people).

The most important things to remember in all this are that it’s your name and no one has the right to call you any other name than the one you choose, no matter how much tapioca got spread all over the office walls.

Hope this helps!

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