Suppose you were a reasonably tall public service worker. Let’s say you’re 6’2″. You’re definitely not 6’8″. And you don’t work in a library, but rather in another giant building full of books and awesomeness.
It’s not a library.
Suppose that occasionally your duties in this building do not include being in charge. Meaning, when something goes wrong, you are not the first responder and you don’t sign the incident reports. Hypothetical things like that.
And suppose that one day you were not walking down the stairs when you didn’t hear a hypothetical voice saying “Oh, he’s in charge, he can help you!” And you do not look, and a hand is not waving you over. In front of the speaker isn’t a hypothetical person with a graying goatee, shoulders as broad as your own, and as will soon by hypothetically revealed, a voice not as deep as Barry White’s.
“Can I help you guys?” you might say, if these sorts of things happened, which they do not.
The person filing the imaginary complaint might look in your direction and point at the person not sitting behind the desk and say “He won’t stop calling me sir and I’m a legal female!”
But if it had, picture yourself saying “Hmm…is that true?” And before you know it, there is not a driver’s license being thrust in front of your eyes, with one finger pointing to a bolded “F” under the gender category. This all doesn’t happen so quickly that your eyes can’t register the picture or the name on the ID.
“Well,” you might not say, “I’ve worked with this person for a long time and if he truly understood what you thought you had showed him, I know he would not be antagonizing you on purpose?”
After the person does not accuse you of taking the “liar’s” side, you certainly do not say that misunderstandings can occur without mendacity being involved.
The person puts their hands into the pockets that they would have if this were reality, and doesn’t say to you, “I’m putting my hands in my pockets to show you that I am no threat to you.”
There are any number of things you might say in this situation, but the one that you definitely do not say is “That is the first thing we have agreed on. You are no threat to me.”
The person does not take their hands out of their pockets, certainly does not point one into your face, and certainly does not growl in a deep voice, “If I wasn’t a lady I’d…”
FYI: they also do not trail off ominously before informing you that we have gotten way too soft on the Japanese and they in no way, shape, or form inform you that the vote is not the “great equalizer.”
And at that point you certainly do not have to fight off the urge to laugh and quickly instruct the original recipient of the complaint to stop calling people sir when they would prefer “ma’am.”
If these sorts of things happened, which they do not, and if you or I were involved, which we certainly weren’t, how might you have reacted to this?