Coffee Break [18/4/22]

Your mid-morning pick me up

Office birthday parties are often awkward at best and uncomfortable for people who do not enjoy the spotlight. For one poor employee of Gravity Diagnostics medical lab, it was devastating. Kevin Berling, who suffers from an anxiety disorder, told his manager that he didn’t want a celebration. Being the center of attention could trigger a panic attack. Instead of understanding and honoring his request, they threw him a surprise party which caused him so much stress he had to rush to his car, where he spent the remainder of his lunch break composing himself. The next day his bosses berated him for his reaction, accusing him of stealing his coworkers’ joy. Four days later they fired him on the grounds that they feared he might become violent. He sued and this week was awarded $450,000 for lost wages and emotional distress. Gravity Diagnostics is appealing, Julie Brazil, the founder, and chief operating officer of Gravity Diagnostics, claims it was the other employees who were victimized. I guess they really, REALLY like office parties.

If your Monday is giving you agita, feel free to vent. I promise we won’t have security escort you from the Deadsplinter house.



  1. Day 1 of puppy watching.  She was super hyper when I got her.  After 10 Mins of zoomies around the yard, she is sleeping on my lap making it hard to type.

  2. This is why I hate work birthday parties. I’m not nervous about them but I don’t want or need them. That’s what my family is for. I don’t need co-workers acknowledging or even commenting on my age. I’m fortunate that I look younger than my years, but I’ve still been discriminated against as an old too often. My age is nobody’s business.

    • I don’t believe they forgot he didn’t want a party. In a company that is so committed to cake culture that not having a party steals the other employees joy a request for no party would seem unusual and therefore memorable. Or if so many people ask for no party that you can’t remember stop having them altogether! The CEO sounds like a nightmare.

  3. The next day his bosses berated him for his reaction, accusing him of stealing his coworkers’ joy. 

    you ruined your birthday for everyone else! you asshole!

    theres something wrong with that…there really is

    its why i dont tell people at work my birthday…..the office recently ruined my efforts by making an app that fucking notifies everyone of coworkers birthdays….

    anyways…c’mon…coworkers joy?….who gives a fuck…its not their birthday

  4. I worry that the way this story has been headlined and passed around social media that it’s going to be the modern version of “Can you believe some lady spilled coffee on herself and sued McDonald’s?! So greedy, and lawyers are out of control!” when the reality is that he was fired for a medical condition at what must be a nightmare workplace.

    • Good point. We’re gonna see shit on Fox News about how “woke culture” or some crap is responsible for the death of birthdays. Then they’ll segue into the War on Christmas.

      • Yep!!!


        This tweet thread got into that a good deal.

        It’s 100% about Disability Rights, and business compliance with the ADA, but it’s going to get played up like dude who sued is just a whiny fun-stealer.

        Eta-forgot the link!


    • I’m sure you’re right that a lot of people will glom on to this, although I think there’s a wedge issue for everyone sick of the damn sheetcake and signing “Have a Good One!” on the card for the 10,000th time.

  5. I’ve worked for companies like this, which seem to think that legislated fun is actual fun.  There was one place that did an annual, mandatory, party at 7 in the fucking morning on a Saturday because they didn’t want to encroach on actual money making.  You basically had to be bleeding out your eyes in order to get a pass on attending.  It was fucking bullshit.

    Fortunately, not only does my current office not celebrate birthdays, but we all work from home 90% of the time.  Nobody cares and it is glorious.

    Also:  I’m off today.  Suckers!

  6. The AppleTV series Severance is supposed to deal with a lot of this office mentality. I have been avoiding reviews, but the little I’ve seen is that it’s supposed to be really good.

  7. A friend of mine was forced to go to a team building exercise (paintball) against his wishes (he’s not the most athletic guy).

    He hated every minute of it.

    The only good thing that happened was that the manager found out how well he was liked due to the fragging that went on.

  8. One perhaps good thing for today…

    JD Vance is fiiiiiiinally getting caught out for the double-talking & both-sides-playing sort of human-trash that he’s always been😉😁🤗;

    As someone who also grew up poor & rural, Vance’s “Poor White Folk who just don’t know any better!” shtick has allllways rubbed me the wrong way.

    Especially after he got his law degree & once he was out there selling his theory with Hillbilly Elegy… that book–and Vance’s book tour–was so about him making money off the white grievance narrative, with a good deal of “we should take pity on addicts when they’re the *good* addicts!” thrown in there, too.

    As someone who grew up white, poor, & rural?

    He was even more transparent than the plastic window-covering kits ya use to create a bit of an air-gap over your trailer-house windows for the winter…

    Complete & TOTAL douchecanoe, and I honestly do hope this gets trumpty-dumpty’s knickers in a twist & that MangoMussolini does revoke his endorsement of Vance!😈😈😈


    • JD Vance didn’t even grow up poor. His mother was an addict but he was raised by his father and grandparents. His father was an educated professional. I forget what he did, engineer maybe. Vance never had to pull himself up by his boot straps. He’s a total fraud.

      • I didn’t realize all that, because I refused to get the book.

        He just seemed waaaay too smarmy/know-it-all ish in most of the interviews I heard him in, and he reminded me much too much of too many of the jerkish dudes I knew growing up who were “poor” (or claimed to be poor anyway!), then who turn right around stomp on any hands they can see of folks trying to pull themselves up, kick down the ladders they can find, and then also try to pass all the saftey-net cutting policies they can, “Because i pulled myself up & got mine, fuuuuuck you!”

        And, you know, I *hate* those sorts of jerks.😒😠😡🤬🤬🤬🤬


        Vance has been disgustingly transparent, and imo, a wanna-be carpetbagging grifter from the jump.

        It was always obvious, as someone else who grew up in & around poverty & desperation, and who had opportunities & help to try & get out of it. (We recognize/smell our own, when we grew up poor/poor adjacent & learn how to “pass” on the outside as “middle class”😉)

        Thing is, he was always transparent as being the “I got mine, F.U.!!!” sort, rather than the type to reach back & keep on pulling others up behind him, since that earliest book tour.

        When you’ve lived in poverty, you can tell when folks intend to use “poor white folk!” as a shtick to grift dollars from the classes both above and below themselves, and carpetbag their way on up & out….

        And ‘ol JD, with his “They’re just like YOU!” message was goooood at that particular type of Good Old Boy/”Feel Good” grift.🤢

        • I didn’t read it either. There’s a podcast  called The Trillbilly workers Union. It’s done by a group of socialists in eastern Kentucky, one of their first episodes was about him. They had all the receipts before he was even running.

  9. We had cake fairly often at work pre-pandemic, but that was because I work in tech and the standard rule was that when a new contractor started, the contracting firm had to bring a cake for the floor. Also, most months someone expensed a cake for “all the April birthdays” etc etc each month.

      • Ngl, I used to LOVE what one of my old companies did for our birthdays, and if I’m ever in a position of power at work, with a “birthday budget” or “treats” budget, I’d love to do something similar.

        They did the typical “pass around the card to sign” for folks who were ok with their birthdays being celebrated, but you could also have a “birthday on the down low.”

        Basically, everyone got asked if they were ok celebrating their birthday first. If they were, thd card was passed…

        But we were also asked if we’d like flowers, a plant, or a small gift (something I loved, as a person who adores flowers but typically doesn’t buy them for our house😉, and who LOVED that we could choose a plant for our house or yard!😁).

        And the other thing you got asked was, “Where is your favorite bakery, and what is your favorite sort of treat from there?

        Because the company owner had an inveterate & insatiable sweet-tooth… soooo it was partly for him to keep tabs on where the current, new, & best bakeries around the Metro were (😉😁🤣), but it also meant folks were able to get their favorite type of dessert, treats, ice cream, or even fresh fruits & veggies!

        And it was *TRULY* great, because–thanks to the boss’s sweet tooth?

        We pretty regularly had “treat days,” and since there was the “ask about celebration” policy, it meant that the folks who don’t like being celebrated could *have* treats, and still fly 100% under the “ZOMG it’s your Birthday!!!” radar😉😁🤗

        Because for those folks, our boss would just play it off alone of his, “I had a craving because of my sweet tooth, and I’m sharing the bounty so I don’t look like a 4-year old with an unlimited budget when I go to the shop!” 😄😆🤣🤣🤣


        It was awesome, and being able to choose, by being asked quietly & away from everyone else, by the company’s secretary, made it a great option for everyone–the folks who liked being celebrated, the introverts, and even/especially the folks who had health-related (physical health and mental health) dietary stuff.

  10. Also – regarding the whole “omg this employee seemed scary with their panic attacks” and their fucking excuses.

    About 4 years ago a dude who worked at my company (not on my team and on a different floor), just the nicest guy apparently, turned out to have murdered his ex and dumped her body in the Mississippi. Nicest guy, apparently.

    • Yikes!
      Around five years ago my daughter got a FB message from a guy she’d known in HS. He was a friend of a friend, a nice guy. He told her he was newly single and wanted to know if she wanted to get together for coffee sometime. She was going to text the friend who knew him better to see if maybe she should accept, then got busy and forgot. A few days later he was in the news. He was newly single because he’d murdered his pregnant girlfriend and chopped her body up to dispose of it!

      • @Hannibal, I remember you talking about that incident back then, and being so relieved for your daughter (and you!) that she’d forgotten to reach out…

        And I am STILL incredibly grateful for her sake, that it all shook out like that, before she could get back to him!


        And i’ma be honest, I hope he lives a long, incredibly healthy life, and is in prison for the rest of MANY decades.

        Because in cases like his, I feel like the death penalty is getting off MUCH too light, and those asshats should have to spend decades** resenting the fact that they’ve lost their freedom.

        • Forgot the **!😉


          **I finally (and recently!) managed to get my Boy-roommie to understand why I’m 100% against the death penalty, when we were talking about Trump, Bannon, Stone, etc. al….

          Boy-roommie was 100 for “the traditional methods of dealing with folks accused of treason–a Rosenbergs’s style end–fast & over–if you will…

          But he’s starting to come around to my side, after I got through to him what my preference for Trumpty-dumpty is, should the DOJ fiiiiinally charge him with Sedition, treason, Conspiracy against the US, Wire Fraud, Tax Fraud, RICO, FinCEN, and/or Mail Fraud…

          Lock him up in ADX Florence, hope that he lives a long and relatively healthy life, then perhaps cremate him and bury him at sea.

          Boy-roommie thought I was being “too nice” by not wanting a “traditional” outcome/sentence for someone found guilty of treason, and insisted that because so many folks in various branches of Law Enforcement were into things like the III%’ers, Molon Labe, and white-nationalist/white supremacist groups, if he had a long sentence behind bars, Trump’s messages would get out.

          Then I asked Boy-roommie how long it’s been, since he’s heard from or thought of Ted Kaczynski, Ramzi Yourself, or Zaccarias Moussaui…. and how many messages those guys have sent out of Florence.

          I also asked him, “When’s the last time you heard about anything spouted by “The Blind Sheikh?” (al-Masri)…

          I reminded him of the fact that everyone working at ADX Florence has to have extensive background checks, because of the international-level criminals being detained there, that most of the units are broken down into individual cells, with no outside contact that hasn’t been extensively monitored, that the inmates are in their cells 23 hours a day.

          And then I laid down the reminder that for someone like Trump–who does fit the criteria for being screened for Narcissism, Anti Social Personality Disorder, and a few of the other “Cluster” personality disorders, taking away his freedom, audience, and fame, and then leaving him *by himself with only his OWN thoughts for company for 23 of 24 hours a day?*

          That would be torture.

          On a level, and at a scale, that no outsider could ever commit. Trump’s ego, cowardice, & narcissism mean that being left on his own, with his own thoughts (and self-loathing!), and zero outside feedback, toady-ing, or adulation, would be the worst form of torture the man could ever endure.

          Pure, Psychological torture, simply by withdrawing his power & audience.

          Boy-roommie looked at me with a bit of horror, I will freely admit!😉😁😆🤣

          And said, “Oh my fucking GOD!!! That is genius and pure EVIL!!!“🤣🤣🤣

          And I cackled, because Boy-roommie finally understands why I alllllways say I want to see Trump’s vision of “Those Beautiful Thick Border Walls in Colorado!” fiiiiinally happen (I’d love the necessity of a shower new Wing being built, to house the whole TrumpCrimeFamily out at ADX Florence, ngl!😉).

          Boy-roommie had evidently thought *before* that conversation, that I’m Anti Death Penalty, because of having grown up Catholic.

          He fiiiiinally understood, that it’s NOT that I don’t think the most rotten & evil criminals don’t deserve to die… it’s that–for the worst of the worst, I feel like death is TOO EASY.

          They should have to LIVE with their crimes, AND live with the knowledge that–for the rest of their LONG, Healthy life, someone ELSE will call *every single shot,* they will NEVER AGAIN make a decision on their own, and they will have to *LIVE* with the knowledge that they will never have a scintilla of true freedom in their life, EVER again.

          literal TORTURE for an egotistical asshat like Dolt-45.

          And the other advantage to a long life behind bars & w/o a death penalty, is that–in the INCREDIBLY RARE instances that someone WAS locked up innocently, they can be released & restitution & remuneration made–unlike any possibilities after someone was found innocent after their execution. (Like the dad from Texas, who was executed for the deaths of his three little girls–when later investigations showed it was highly likely the fire he was convicted & executed for was not, in fact, arson.)

        • I did tell the story on GT when it happened! How can someone do something so awful then just go about their life? I’m grateful too that she was busy with grad school because she remembered him as nice and that he was nice looking.😬

Leave a Reply