Jewish Journal


Irritable Week Syndrome

by Elliot Steingart

January 18, 2012 | 11:50 am


Life is hard sometimes, especially when you have irritabile bowel syndrome. As a long-time survivor, I’ve learned to cope. Though this past week my irritibilty went straight from my bowels to my head.

It started at 9am when my co-worker Greg popped into my neighbor Matt’s cubicle to analyze the play “Clybourne Park,” which I was hoping to see at the Mark Taper Theater.

“I really appreciated the metaphors about gentrification,” Greg began.

“Yea, it’s one of those plays that really makes you think.”

“I like how the play shifts from the 50’s to present day.”

“Yea, you realize not much changes in terms of class struggle.”

“Do you mind not giving away the ending?” I interjected.

“Wo! Elliot, the grouch.”

“Sorry, I want to see the play and you are giving a scene by scene synoposis. At least give me a spoiler alert!”

Then my company hired another Elliot without consulting me first. A slap in the face if there ever was one.  He’s a sports writer and also a Steeler fan and to his credit, seems like a really nice guy, but every time I heard my name I turned around and found the team shaking Elliot’s hand and patting him on the back. What did he do? He’s only been here a day.

“How are we going to tell the Elliots apart?”

“It’s kind of obvious. He’s the black Elliot.”

That isn’t p.c. so he’s Elliot S, the Steeler fan. That’s also me!

For our company meeting we ordered chinese food – Mongolian Beef, Orange Chicken, Shrimp with Walnuts, lo mein, string beens. There were three giant trays left over. My plan was to eat the leftovers for lunch. Since my cubicle is closest to the kitchen I know the shelves. I know who the Almond milk belongs to, I see Kimi’s Pomegrenate juice. There is an unmarked chicken pot pie in the freezer. If that was mine I wouldn’t put my name on it either. For all intents and purposes the company’s chinese food was mine, that is until Tracey noticed the Chinese food in the refrigerator. On her way back to her cubicle she announced, “I’m going to eat leftover Chinese for lunch. There is a lot left!”

Way to steal my idea! “Jesus! If you tell the whole office, there will be nothing left over.”

I calmed down until the morning of “Bagel Thursday.”  The office rushes into the kitchen spreading their flavored cream cheese and sharing their plans for the weekend. I’m trying to cut down on carbs so I pretend I’m not temped by the nearby sesames. It’s hard to to focus and harder making a phone call when co-workers are yelling, laughing, and singing during bagel mania and then leaving one of the poppies to burn in the toaster.

“Jesus, Christopher! Who left the toaster on?”

“Elliot the grouch is back.”

“Yea, I’m the bad guy!”

My buddy Richard came over to pound me up. “How are you, sir?”

“Yo, not great. I know I’m supposed to be in a great mood because I work in an office, but I’m a human being. Sometimes I’m not in a good mood. ”

“Like today?” Matt yelled.


Fortunately, I had a date that night. I picked up Jessica en route to an indie rock show at the Echo. I drove a block past the Echo, the biggest mistake of my life.

“Wo!! Is that a space??” She yelled. “How about that?? How far are you driving?? You can park on a side street you know!”

“Yea, you may need to relax.”

Jessica complained about walking three blocks, the weather, waiting in line, the crowded bar and being tired. Was she also suffering from Irritible Week Syndrome? Worse, was this how I sounded all week? She downed the $13 “Old Fashioned” I paid for in three gulps.

“I’m tired. Do you mind taking me home?”

“It’s safe to walk.It’s not like Echo Park is a sketchy part of town.”

I went home, did a few pull ups, and checked my Facebook and saw a status update from Richard. 

“Two years ago my life was taken advantage of in the worst possible way,” It read. “Since then, although life has thrown some curve balls my way, I can’t be happier at the fact that no matter what happened in the past has only made me a stronger, more resilient person.”

Thanks to Richard for putting my own struggles in perspective. Next time I will plug my ears when co-workers reveal important plot points, and accept that other people in the office are entitled to the same Chinese food that was not even mine to begin with. I appreciate that there is now another Elliot in the office and the fact that he is black is awesome. And any female who would complain as much as Jessica will make it easier for me to ask Jdate for a full refund. 

I’m happy to share the irritability has returned back to my bowels. It’s nice to be back to normal.

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“Like today?” Matt yelled.
oh to work in an office- privacy??

Comment by Michele on 1/18/12 at 12:43 pm

also Black Elliott has two TTs which is the most obvious way to tell you two apart. two t Elliot…

Comment by m on 1/18/12 at 12:49 pm

Is that why it always smells funny over there?

Comment by Tommy on 1/18/12 at 12:51 pm




Elliot Steingart is a Los Angeles based comedian and writer who hosts a monthly comedy show, “Melgard Mondays” at Melgard Public House. Steingart has written jokes for...

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