Is there a gum-chewing etiquette?

Posted by on Sep 25, 2002 in General | 758 Comments

I have this problem and I need your help. A coworker of mine, who shall remain nameless, likes to chew her gum like a cow chews it’s cud. It’s loud, obnoxious, disgusting, and goes on for several hours – each and every day. There’s no doubt in my mind that our entire office can hear her incessant gum smacking, especially when the crescendo of bubble bursting begins. I’m losing my mind. I can’t get any work done unless my headphones are jammed deep into my ear canals, blasting music loud enough to drown-out the sounds of her mouth. I’m going deaf in order to earn a paycheque. (@#$%!, the blood curdling symphony of gum smaking fills my ears as I type this!) I desperately want need to say something (privately, of course), but I’m worried that:

  1. my relationship with this person will suffer as a result, and working with her will become strained and awkward,
  2. she will quickly return to smacking and popping her gum, because that’s the way she’s always chewed her gum, and bad habits rarely die young,
  3. I’m being overly sensitive (I’m easily agitated by anyone that makes mouth noises, be it eating food, or in this case: chewing gum), because nobody else in my office seems to have any problem with her noisy gum chewing habit.

So, I put this out to all of you:

  • Would you be annoyed in a similar situation?
  • Should I confront my co-worker?
  • Would you agree that, annoying or not, the gum-smacking is highly inappropriate behavior in a professional environment?
  • Am I some sort of overly sensitive control freak that needs to be more tolerant of others’ annoying habits?

I will await the good counsel of my readers before embarking on a plan to end my misery.

UPDATE (12/18/2004): What started as a spontaneous venting of rage, caused by my office-worker’s former disgusting habit of popping and smacking her gum (yes, she stopped… hallelujah!), seems to have resonated with many, many people, and has ultimately inspired the creation of a community-based Web site (softsoundsensitivity.org), devoted to those who suffer from the same, or similar sound sensitivities as I.

Kudos to Rob, one of our commentors, for putting together this great site.

Idiotarian Checklist

Posted by on Sep 4, 2002 in General | No Comments

LGF reader E. Nough‘s brilliant checklist is a great tool for diagnosing Idiotarianism:

If you’ve ever come to a protest without your clothes…

If you spell America with K’s while writing in English…

If you think the United Nations is a bona fide governing body…

If you believe that the U.S. deserved to be attacked on 9/11 for its policies around the globe…

If you believe that Zionism is a form of racism…

If your main form of protest is destruction of property…

If you actually used the phrase “coming home to roost” in the past year…

If you think that a “global corporation” is evil by definition…

If you believe that “all property is theft”…

If you refer to Noam Chomsky as a “dissident”…

If you think that the proper response to terrorism is to “understand” the “root causes” of “Muslim discontent”…

If you think that the U.S. is a terrorist state…

If you think that Israel is a colonial power…

If you think that “world peace” will be accomplished by happy songs and “anti-war resolutions”…

If you honestly think that there is no connnection whatsoever between Islam and terrorism…

If you are a member of any organization with “Socialist,” “Communist,” “Marxist,” “Leninist,” “Aryan,” or “Revolutionary Council” in its title…

If you seriously believe that there is a “corporate ruling class”…

If you think all cultures are equivalent, and there is no moral difference between the U.S. and Saudi Arabia…

If you are convinced that some six million J-E-W-S are in control of the United States, a nation of 280 million people…

If your primary form of protest involves large puppets…

If you would rather watch people starve than let them eat genetically modified “Frankenfoods”…

If you have ever harmed people in order to protest testing on animals…

If you believe that the post-9/11 appearance of American flags is a sign of “jingoism”…

If you have ever worn sheets in public, and it wasn’t Halloween…

If you have ever held up a “People’s Republic” as an example for the West to follow.

If you equate strong criticism or public disgust with censorship and “McCarthyism”…

If your main form of protest involves stupid slogans that were old by 1969…

If you really think that the 9/11 attacks were God’s punishment for our “deviant ways”…

If you refer to terrorists strictly as “militants” or “activists”…

…You might be an idiotarian.

Check out my recently added list of links to some folks who are definitely not idiotarians.

»?see also: The Idiotarian Dictionary