DEAR AMY: I am a member of a 50-piece wind ensemble. We have a break for cookies and coffee on practice nights, once a week. I have made homemade cookies for our break for more than 25 years.
In May, we have an outdoor concert. I have brought cookies each year for after our performance. This year one of the newer band members asked me if I had “rat poison” in them!
I was shocked and asked him to repeat what he said to make sure I heard correctly! His response, “It was just a joke.” I don’t understand this type of humor.
Shall I continue to make cookies for our breaks in 2017?
Shocked on the West Coast
DEAR SHOCKED: People sometimes make awkward and, unfortunately, unkind comments, because another person’s generosity makes them uncomfortable.
This person immediately tried to reassure you that he was making a “joke.” This comment was not funny in any context, so it can’t be characterized as a joke, but I hope you will forgive his graceless reaction to you.
I raise a toast to all of the generous bakers who bring in treats to share with others. It is a very kind, sweet and generous impulse, and sharing these treats helps to bring others together.
DEAR AMY: Is there a polite way to respond when you are in a room with someone who has – or is getting over – a cold, who coughs or sneezes all over the place without bothering to cover up?
I’ve gotten sick twice this winter and both times it was a day or two after being around someone who is too inconsiderate to cover their mouth when they cough or sneeze. I know I can’t be sure that the colds came from these people, but I’m betting they were the cause.
DEAR WORRIED: If you are in a room with someone who appears to be sick and is not covering their mouth, you should simply respond, “I’m so sorry you seem sick. Would you mind covering your mouth when you cough or sneeze? I seem to catch everything, and I’d really appreciate it.”
Obviously, you should make sure you keep up with your own hand-washing hygiene. This will help to protect your clients.
Contact Amy Dickinson via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.