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Mr. Goranson - The Cover Story
October 2013
Wed, Mar. 6th, 2002 10:14 pm
Mr. Goranson

Today was simply a day at the 'board. The only interesting thing to happen was Steve Goranson confronted me. I've already summarized the entire episode in an email to Lonna, so I'll just post that.

From jbrewer@wpi.edu Wed Mar 6 17:31:33 2002 -0500
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2002 17:31:33 -0500 (EST)
From: John C Brewer
To: Lonna Lagasse
Subject: In Reference To Your IM
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII

Hey Lonna I noticed your away message told me to "let you know I love you", so I decided to drop a line. It beats another five minutes of beating my head against my console. That's a whole lot of no fun. I'm sure you'll hear about it later, but Steve finally told me exactly what he thought about me. Funny situation, actually. He was talking with Brian, and they were yakking about some pretty mundane things like Brian's interviews with NSA and the girls at U Maryland. So, Steve brings up that my mother is starting here at Checkerboard soon (which is true), but of course, as soon as him and Brian (who have been ripping on people in the third person for the better part of an hour now), bring up my mother, up go the shields. So I say I don't want to talk about it, and they ask me why, and I forget exactly what I said in reply, but it was something to the effect of not trusting Steve with any information, for fear he would use it against me. Steve took exception to that, and I made some unkind remark about his programming skills, he told me I was a "condescending dipshit" and that he hated me, of course in the same tone he says everything else, so I throw off a few retorts and return to my coding. I was under the impression he was just barbing me. A few minutes later he turns on me and asks me not to be a dipshit anymore. I was a bit taken back and bothered at being pulled from my work by having an insult thrown in my face, but I said fine, not willing to be drawn into another round of verbal exchanges. As I'm about to return to my work, he says "Do you promise?". It was about this time it first occurred to me he might be serious. So I said "What?", as my mind reeled to determine what was going on. Mind you, of course, I was being confronted in front of both Tom and Brian, and within earshot of Mitch. Steve says something to the effect of he never wants to hear his name out of my mouth again, and now I'm really confused. It was becoming increasingly apparent that he was serious, and I was ill-prepared to deal with the situation I was presented with. Of course, I thought, the proposition that I should never use his name is ridiculous, for we work in the same office. However, he made an exception to his demand for work-related conversation, and once again asked that I "never make those dipshit comments again". It seemed from his use of the word that "dipshit" had a specific meaning here, but it escaped me, and when I asked him to define what he meant, his exterior became a tad more perturbed, and he reiterated his initial demand. By this time, I was concerned only with disentangling myself from the situation I had gotten into, and thus summarily agreed to cut the "dipshit" comments. I felt bad about the whole incident because of the amount of time that the anger in Steve must have been building. I find it utterly impossible to distinguish his serious tones from his joking tones, and therefore I cannot tell when I've offended him. I wanted to talk to him about it, but a few minutes after our exchange he left the office, then returned some time later only to log off and leave for the day. I suspect I'll have to talk to him about it tomorrow. I've never really liked Steve, but its just recently that I realized why I never really had any respect for him. I think the first strike against him was the way he spoke; the insistence on obscenities seemingly every other word. His mode of speech just makes me think of some of the guys who made my life miserable as a little kid, the schoolyard bullies that stay with you for life. I can handle swears used as explicitives and what not, but when words like "shit" and "fuck" become just another noun and verb, to be spewwed at random and used whereever possible, I do start to take offense. I know its prudish and somewhat intolerant, but it does bother me. I suppose I thought that because he was speaking that way, that he could handle my par-for-the-course comments at him. After all, I was commenting on his abilities in skills he had never been trained for, not questioning his heritage or making off-color comments about his sexual preferences. Apparently in that aspect, we are diametrically opposed as to what we are offended by and what we are not. I would personally be offended by his calling me homosexual or that I had sex with goats, so he was offended when I stated that teaching him to run Visual Basic had been a mistake. He was correct, I was condescending toward him, and, knowing what I know now, not a little attacking. Its all very well and good to try to justify mysef in retrospect, but the fact remains that I did knowingly insult him, even if I did not mean to hurt him, I did. The "hit him before he can hit me" reflex once again. To his credit, I have to say Steve never raised his voice or otherwise changed his tone at any point in our discussion (which was partly involved in my confusion). Tomorrow I'll have to apologize to him to try to avoid this conflict becoming long-term. In any event, I suspect you'll be hearing about this from the other end sooner or later, so I thought I'd tell you what went down if for no other reason than to give me an excuse to email you. I'd be most impressed and flattered if you have actually read through my entire text thus far, for I know you have enough problems of your own without hearing about mine, but I thought you'd be interested anyways.

Talk to you later.

JC Brewer
Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The trouble with computers is that they do what you tell them, not what you want. -- D. Cohen

Well, that's about it. Nothing else really happened today.