Does anyone know Shaft?!

Once again, I have embarrassed myself in front of a client.

After this incident and this incident, I am now starting to think that I should not be allowed to talk to clients anymore.

Anyways, on with the story…

For the past 2 months I have been working closely with a client who goes by the name of Shaf. I know his name is short for something, I have no idea what though.

Shaf and I have a similar sense of humour. Dry, yet goofy. Most of our email exchanges end up with us sending silly creations on Microsoft Paint back and forth. When we speak on the phone, if I ever ask him if he needs anything else he will always dryly say “Well Jay I can’t decide whether or not to leave my wife for my mistress. What do you think?”.

Basically this guy is as odd as me and we have fun with it.

After months of working together Shaf finally came on down to our offices earlier in the week. He wanted to meet with our directors, see me in action, discuss future projects and grab a spot of lunch.

I am quickly going to jump in here and let you all know that the instant I heard the name ‘Shaf’, I thought of ‘Shaft’ the private detective played by Richard Rowntree and, later, Samuel L. Jackson. Whenever I hear his name my thoughts instantly turn to the famous ‘Theme from Shaft’ by Isaac Hayes.

...right on!

…right on!


So Shaf comes into the office. I go down to meet him, let him in and introduce him to everyone.

For some reason, that I still have no explanation for, I decided to use the Theme from Shaft as my way of introducing him to my bosses and colleagues.

Since Shaf has announced that he will be coming down, I have played out this scenario in my head a million times. It always went like this:

Colleagues: Who is this?

Jay: (*singing*) He’s a complicated man and no –one understands him but his woman…

Shaf: (*points at himself*) SHAF!

Jay: You damn right!

(*then all my colleagues and Shaf all fall around the floor laughing, before composing themselves and giving me hearty round of applause*)


However, it didn’t actually go that way.  In reality, it went a little like this…

Colleagues: Who is this?

Jay: (*singing*) He’s a complicated man and no –one understands him but his woman…

(*Shaf and everyone else in the office all stand perfectly still and in total silence. They look confused*)

Shaf: ..ummm….

Jay: Really? Not one of you?…Come on…Who’s the cat that wont cop out when there’s danger all about?…

(*people start to look uncomfortable. I notice that all of them are avoiding eye contact with me*)

Jay: …yeah…so…moving on. This is my client Shaf.

Shaf: Hi everyone.

Colleagues: Hi Shaf.


I then had to spend the next 10 minutes explaining to everyone why I had burst into song, that I hadn’t gone mental and that I was simply making a play on words because Shaf sounds like Shaft.

None of them knew what I was talking about.

They did not understand and reference and therefore, did not find my wordplay funny.

This was in equal parts awkward and frustrating for me. Even more so as I had genuinely imagined a round of applause for this.

Luckily I handled this whole situation like an adult and spent the remainder of the day sulking at my desk.

I went home and explained this story to C, and then to R. I got the same reaction from them. Nothing. They did call me a loser, a nerd and a dork though (in that exact order!).

Upon arriving at the office this morning I saw that I had an email. It was from Shaf. He had sent me a picture of my head on Isaac Hayes’ body.

He still claims not to know who Shaft is though.

I hate my job sometimes!


About Project Southsea

I blog mostly about my adventures in awkwardness.
This entry was posted in Humour/Awkwardness and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Does anyone know Shaft?!

  1. I know who Shaft is! He is one bad mutha! That was kinda risky though…lol!

  2. hermitageno8 says:

    shame! I went straight to the theme song too!! Mind you, sounds like you shouldn’t be allowed to talk to anyone until you have carefully reviewed what you are planning to say! I think your client is lying about not knowing who Shaft is, by the way.

    • I think you may be right hermitage…on all counts!

      He definitely knows how Shaft is! I also should really try and filter things before I say them. I assumed everyone would understand this reference though.

  3. jacqelynn says:

    this story just gave me life. how could they not know who shaft is?! thats almost criminal lol

  4. Lori Wise says:

    I went there, too, so you’re not alone in your loser-, nerd-, dorkness.

  5. Ryan Naylor says:

    Is everyone under 25? That’s the only explanation I can think of? Never saw the movies/show, but I know the character.

    • I am the youngest in the office Ryan. It gets worse as at least 2 of my co-workers would have old enough to have seen Shaft when the original came out!

      As we are in England I can only assume that they did not ever get a chance to watch it!

  6. jennypugh says:

    Yet another post of yours where I am literally cringing for you. Blimey. It happens in my office too: I start talking about a TV show/band/actor/film from the 80s or 90s, and a young ‘un will be like, “who?”, “what?” etc etc…

    • This happens a lot to me, although it is either the older guys not understanding me or them talking about people from the 60’s/70’s and it going over my head. I try to nod along and quickly look at wikipedia in order to join in the conversation.

      There is not much more frustrating than when people do not understand a pop culture reference or quote that you make! I feel your pain sister.

  7. I would have been right there with you! I get that song stuck in my head at completely random times, and it’s always sad when someone doesn’t get it. Their loss, really.

    • I think I was mostly disappointed because I expected everyone to laugh and celebrate my supposed wit. Instead I got silence and confusion.

      Glad you knew what I was talking about and would have been there with me. This gives me hope. 🙂

  8. Yup, know who Shaft is! Funny post – had a good chuckle, Southsea. 🙂

  9. rockmystar says:

    You Are so Dickens in your head! .)
    – –

  10. awkwardcharm says:

    “I handled this whole situation like an adult and spent the remainder of the day sulking at my desk” – hahaha. I bet they did understand the reference but didn’t want to join in song b/c they were too shy. You were brave! A little dorky… but mostly brave 🙂

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