The Man Who Knew Too Much

too muchIf I had to describe my life as a Hitchcock flick, Modern Philosophers, Psycho would obviously be the first one to come to mind.

Today, however, the Hitchcock title that worked perfectly was The Man Who Knew Too Much.

I enjoy filling my head with knowledge, and I’m very good at retaining information.

It might all come in handy someday if I ever end up on a game show, or really want to impress someone at a game of Trivial Pursuit.

Because my head is so crammed with knowledge, I try to be a little more selective about what I absorb these days.

On this troublesome Monday, though, all bets were off.  I was overhearing way too much as I sat at my desk, just trying to mind my own business.

Can you hear me now, Austin???

Can you hear me now, Austin???

The amount of oversharing that goes on in my office is both ridiculous and overwhelming.  There are times when the only way I can concentrate on my work is to put in my ear buds, crank up the music, and just pray that Foo Fighters are louder than coworkers.

Information that should remain private and personal and locked away in a dark, dreadful, impenetrable vault, flows freely across the office.

What’s a little chat about bodily functions between people forced to sit within earshot of each other for forty hours a week?

Why shouldn’t I know every last detail about your recent surgical procedure?

How can I call myself a good coworker if I don’t know all your family’s dirty little secrets?

top secretI should not have, and do not want, access to any Top Secret information.

I classify something as Top Secret if it has to do with bodily functions, sex (be it the act itself or your decadent desires and longings), people I have never met, information shared with your doctor, a story you’ve already told two dozen times over the past six months, your thoughts on certain “steamy” books, what you wear under your work clothes, the color of anything that exits your body in any manner…

The list is too long.  Can we just say that I’m not cleared for any information and simply work in silence?

I bet the workplace would be much more productive that way!

speak no evilDon’t get me wrong, Modern Philosophers, I’m not a closet fascist mime.

I enjoy a friendly workplace, the sound of laughter, and a little innocent chitchat.  Those things are great for morale.

I draw the line, however, when my ears process data about activities that are best left behind closed doors or inside a bathroom stall.

I have an excellent memory, and I really don’t want to remember most of the things I overhear when I’m just trying to mind my own business.

gas maskIs it possible for everyday conversation to be toxic?  Is there a link between oversharing and being under the weather?  That could very well explain why so many of my coworkers weren’t feeling well today.

Do you experience this kind of oversharing in the workplace, Modern Philosophers?  If so, how do you block it out?  Do you feel like you become the bad guy if you politely ask coworkers to keep certain things to themselves?

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
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20 Responses to The Man Who Knew Too Much

  1. Josh Wrenn says:

    The last place I worked was so over dramatic. I knew who was sleeping with who, I knew who hated who, I knew who pretended to be friends with people who they actually despised, I knew who had valid reasons for their FMLA and who had admitted to others they were abusing it. I knew way too much! And unfortunately, in that job, I could not plug in Mr. Grohl and company to drown out the noise, because I had to be ready to take calls for assistance from the technicians.

    • Austin says:

      I take calls, too. I just pop out the music and answer the phone.

      • Josh Wrenn says:

        I started losing my hearing in one ear, so that became less of an option for me. Now, if my immune system should recover enough to return, I will have to figure something else out because I have no hearing in my left ear at all.

      • Austin says:

        Yikes. I’m sorry to hear that.

      • Josh Wrenn says:

        It’s okay, I’m getting better all the time, and still can hear okay out of one ear. Just couldn’t have the hearing ear in use all the time, or else I wouldn’t hear anything else.

  2. markbialczak says:

    You need to reproduce a poster of the see-no, hear-no, speak-no monkees with three very large letters written on top, Austin. In red. Capital. TMI! Hold it up at your desk whenever Too Much Information starts infiltiltrating your ear space. Yeesh. You shouldn’t have to hear that stuff. It should be whispered between, ahem, intimates.

  3. jan says:

    Earphones. I worked in cube city so it was just about impossible not to hear everyone’s business so I just wore-block-the-noise earphones.

  4. I envy your retaining abilities. I imagine it’s a double-edged sword, though — you retain nonsense everyone else thinks important. Maybe earphones plugged into an IPod during the day would save you and your day.

  5. If people start talking too loudly about inappropriate stuff, I usually just politely remind them that if anyone who hears them gets offended, they can complain to HR and get them in trouble. It’s usually enough to get them to at least change their topic of conversation. And since I’m a supervisor, I’m just doing my job, and not being a brown nosing little snot.

  6. donedreaming says:

    If you were the office pervert they would avoid you but that’s a bit drastic. Tell them you are writing an expose (can’t find the little thing to go over the e) piece – or using it as material for the tv show and names will not be protected. Mind you, they may want their 15 minutes of fame which could open you up to more rather than less!

    • Austin says:

      I bet if I were talking about my sex life or bodily functions, the women would get offended. It seems like a very sexist set up to me. As the only guy, I am a troubled minority. 🙂

      • donedreaming says:

        You have a sex life? Hey when did that happen?!! Yes you are right, you would be hauled up in front of HR and slapped soundly for upsetting the girlies – they would be jealous that you hadn’t picked them and some other lucky girl had you all to herself 🙂

      • Austin says:

        You amuse me with that British wit. 🙂

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