I slunk into my tastefully appointed cubicle in the wastelands of county Dublin, ill prepared for another day in the coalface of office administration. I huddled over my computer cradling my first cup of coffee of the day. I heard a voice. Who was it only my colleague from the North. He’s a pleasant person despite his booming voice, and I get on quite well with him. We don’t that much in common – he is married with a child, and big into football. I am none of those things. He runs something called a ‘Fantasy Football League’ at work that seems popular among the middle-aged married men. I support his endeavours. It is good to have a hobby. I haven’t the faintest idea of the meaning of a Fantasy Football League.
A small group of us were chatting about mundane things – what the lunch in the canteen would be that day; the weather; weekend plans. The type of stuff you’d babble about to break the silence with people you spend a lot of time with, but wouldn’t regard as friends. Conversations with colleagues in other words.
He looked at me.
He said, ‘Murphy, in the spirit of diversity and inclusion, would you like to join the Fantasy Football League?’
I was triggered let me tell you. Yet again I was being openly targeted for inclusion. Why did he assume that he was celebrating diversity by asking me to get involved in the football? Maybe I am already on a team? Did he ever consider that I wonder? Doesn’t he know about my anti-social tendencies?
Anyone who knows me can tell you that I have zero interest in football. It is true that I can bullshit my way around a conversation on the subject though. An artfully placed comment like ‘In Mo we trust’ can go a long way towards convincing people that I have the faintest clue what I am talking about.
It is best to be honest however. If I agreed to join said Fantasy Football League, would I have to watch matches. Even worse would I have to play? What is the ‘fantasy’ element I wondered. Is it a blend of football and science fiction. Gary Lineker in outer space? I haven’t the foggiest but didn’t want to run the risk of finding out.
I looked at him and replied ‘Oh absolutely not.’
Maybe it was the tone of pursed lip, vinegary disapproval in which I replied but my other three colleagues all burst out laughing at my response.
‘That was quite a definite response’ said the woman to my left.
‘Oh I didn’t think you would, I just wanted to make sure,’ said the guy who asked the original question.
Am I really that obvious? Answers on a postcard please.