November 11, 2005

The Joys of Multiculturalism

This happened over a week ago, but since everyone found this story funny when I told them in person, it has now officially been relegated to an Irrelevant Opinion. Generally, I'll try to keep work-related stuff out of here, but this is an exception.

I was working on the integration of a third party tool into the system we were developing for the federal government. We had been waiting for months for the company to deliver this product, and finally last week, they told us that it was ready to be tested. We scheduled a conference call between a few of us from our company, with the third party vendor joining us from locations in Toronto and Arizona. I had not met any of these people previously, and didn't know most of their names either.

So after everyone introduced themselves on the call, someone asked: "Do we have a jew on the line?" I gasped, perplexed by the question. "Not yet," another replied.

Later, after our test failed, I was told to "touch base with a Jew" before I continue with my testing. I was confused, but didn't inquire further.

Finally, someone else joined the call. He had a heavy Indian accent, and introduced himself to the rest of us on the conference call.

"Hey everyone, this is Aju."

Finally, it all made sense. A few hours later, I was explaining to others within our company how to conduct the tests I had just run. When I told them to "get in touch with a Jew before you move forward," I was greeted with lots of furrowed brows - their confusion was probably amplified since this was being explained to them by a devout Muslim with a thick beard.

Ah, multiculturalism at work! It's a beautiful thing.


  1. And I thought the way people pronounced my name was bad...

    By the way, I've come to the conclusion that Calvin has ADD.

  2. The funny thing was that his name wasn't being pronounced incorrectly; it was just a matter of interpretation. Had I known beforehand that there would be someone named Aju on the call, there would have been no problem.

    If we want to get into the psychology of Calvin, we can attribute lots of mental illnesses to him; he clearly suffers from ADD, MPD, and mild schizophrenia. But the comics remain brilliant, especially the later years. I might review my "Complete Calvin and Hobbes" collection sometime here, a massive and beautiful collection of every strip ever published, released last month.