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Rules for Dealing with a Coworker Who Plays Guitar

As more and more people return to the office they are having to deal with the unhinged coworker that thought it was a good idea to bring their guitar to work and play during their lunch break. You might think this is anarchy, but there are rules. Follow them and you will make it out alive.

1. Admit Powerlessness

Surrender to the fact that at some point in your tenure here, you’re going to have to listen to him play guitar. This, for many, is the hardest step.

2. Enter His Lair

He’s called you in, after all, and if he’s bringing a guitar to the office every day, he probably has some serious rank in this company.

3. Don’t Stare at the Pearl Jam Poster

This will only lead to the following: “Wait, you like Pearl Jam?” and (picking up the guitar): “Okay, check this out.” (It won’t even be “good” Pearl Jam. He’s into, like, “Binaural.”)

4. Try Changing the Subject

When he asks who your musical influences are, it’s a clear “baiting” tactic to get you to ask him about his. Don’t go for it. Before you know it, you’ll be looking at an empty guitar holder—like the scene in “Jurassic Park” where the goat is missing and its chain is swinging back and forth. CUT TO: Your colleague is holding the guitar.

5. Don’t Say You Want to Talk About “the Project”

He’ll just pick up the guitar and say, “This IS the project.”

6. Fake an Emergency

Tip back in the chair and give yourself a concussion. When you throw up, try to do it on the guitar. This might not sit well with your coworker at first, but he’ll understand eventually, and it will buy you—and your colleagues—some much-needed time.

7. Deny the Existence of “Music”

When he gets the guitar back from the shop, he’ll want to show it to you. Appear confused. Say you don’t know what “that” is. Imply that the concussion has maybe erased part of your memory. When he says the guitar plays “music,” shake your head. This will lead him to “teaching” you, which in turn will lead to . . . Fuck. Too late.

8. Listen to Him Play Guitar

Realize it’s not about you anymore: You’re taking one for the team. Your other colleagues have kids, mortgages, real problems. You can tough this out for the next thirty to forty-five minutes. Could be an hour and a half. You might want to think about other things. Don’t. There will be a quiz at the end.

9. Be Sure to Bring Up the “Guitar” Incident in Your Next Performance Review

This could indeed be your biggest contribution to the company.

10. Ask for a Raise

You earned it.