DEAR MISS MANNERS: I’m in my late 20s, and an alumna of an out-of-state university. On Sundays, I sing and play an instrument at my church’s Mass (which is now being streamed online for remote attendees).
One of the other church volunteers, a gentleman of around 60 years of age, noticed my alma mater’s emblem on the back of my car. He is apparently either a fan or a graduate of the rival university.
Anytime he sees me, he comments on this fact. This usually entails something like, “I see you still haven’t removed that logo,” “Why don’t I take that off your car for you?,” or calling out his school’s traditional game day battle cry.
I’m used to the occasional interaction like this with strangers, and my go-to reply is to smile and say, “Hey, at least we’re from the same state!”
However, after multiple interactions, I’ve started ignoring his greeting and simply replying with “Good morning” or, in parting, “Have a nice week.” He still won’t take the hint that I’m not interested in taking jabs at each other’s schools, and the remarks continue.
I’m not sure if this is his best attempt at friendly conversation (it’s the only thing he ever says to me) or if the rivalry, for him, really runs that deep. Either way, I’d like for this to stop.
GENTLE READER: He means it as a running joke. Can you run when you see him coming?
Miss Manners supposes not. The way to kill a joke is to take it seriously. What you can say the next time is, “You know, I’m so sorry that you are upset by this. I really have a great deal of respect for your school. I don’t think of us as rivals, but as colleagues in the pursuit of knowledge.”
There is nothing like boring a bore to chase him away.