Tell us about yourself

“Okay everyone, let’s go around the room and introduce ourselves, which department we are working in and an interesting fact about ourselves.“

Everyone’s stomach drops. Eyes roll around the room like a pissed off Mexican wave.
Why do people still put others through this torture?
It has been universally known for years that this ‘icebreaker’ only achieves one thing – it makes all the people in the room hate the person who is conducting the session.
I don’t care what Simon in Accounts can ‘bring to the business’.
From what I can see he is bringing a collection of well-worn shirts and a nervous disposition.
I can’t imagine what it is like for introverts. Luckily I teeter more towards the extrovert side of the fence, so usually I volunteer to go first to get it out the way. I’m an inny and an outy at the same time.

“And what is your interesting fact Sarah?”

I’m stopped in my tracks. By volunteering to go first I have inadvertently put more pressure on myself to think of something off the cuff. I can see everyone else around the room frantically searching their memory banks for anything that makes them sound like a well-rounded, cultured, bi-lingual creative.

I can literally think of nothing interesting about myself.

OPTIONS;

Can’t lie and pretend to be able to speak a language and then just say “Salu!” when asked to demonstrate.
Can’t say I adore Shakespeare and then not be able to name a favourite sonnet.
Can’t lie and say I have an exotic pet without having photos to prove how cute ‘Iggy the Iguana’ actually is.

Before I know it words begin escaping my mouth, apparently not going through my internal filter. I am producing an interesting fact, not about myself. Oh god where is this going.

“Erm… well …did you know that cockroaches poo everywhere they go so that other cockroaches can smell and detect if they are related to avoid incest!”

Jesus Christ.

Jesus.

Christ.

What the hell have I said? Damn you impulsive random fact generator that is somewhere in my tiny brain!!!
I vaguely remember reading about this somewhere on a news website a few years ago but why this has crawled to the forefront of my mind I will never know.

Twenty five sets of eyes look back at me, debating whether I have cockroaches as pets or if the flat where I live on my own is infested with them. (I don’t live alone but these lot definitely think I do).
This comical response has backfired massively. I quickly recover to break the silence which seems to have lasted a lifetime (human not cockroach).

“I’m joking! Erm ……..well I know loads of sets of twins. Like twenty sets of twins. So..yeah! That’s my fact!”

I know they’re questioning if these ‘twins’ are cockroaches.
They’re imagining me watching two of my ‘pet cockroaches’ and squealing “Oh look! another set of twins! Be nice to your brother!”

They think I’m a lunatic.

I’m fairly sure that the cockroaches can’t detect which relative it is by the smell.
They don’t see another cockroach, feel an attraction , sniff the trail to check if they have the green light to approach and say  “Blimey Uncle James you’ve changed!” and scurry off under the skirting board.

I am never volunteering to go first ever again.
Ever.
Or if I do, I need to have a back-up fact pre-loaded and ready to shoot.
Suggestions welcome in the comment box.

Sarah

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