Being the Definitive Collection of Works by Allison Holt


(Much like the author)

Adult Content

Posted in on August 20, 2009

After a year-and-a-half at Harmonix, I finally had my first real tiff with a co-worker today — worse, one I actually like quite a bit.[1] Well, even the fairly mild “tiff” may be too strong a word; basically, I unknowingly acted kind of like a schmuck, and my friend/co-worker took the “unknowingly” part of that situation away from me.

I don’t like ever feeling like anyone’s upset with me ever. It’s one of my least favorite things in the world. I know it happens, of course: I’m human, I fuck up, I piss people off or hurt their feelings or what have you. But I try very very hard to make sure that happens as infrequently as I can, both because I genuinely don’t want others to feel upset because of something I’ve done and because it makes me feel all icky inside, like my guts have been coated in a spicy self-recrimination salsa and heavily breaded with angst crumbs.

I have to say, though, that I feel like I handled today’s not-quite-a-tiff like an actual, honest-to-Jebus adult. You might think to yourself: “Well, Allen, you’re 38 years old, so you totally should be handling these sorts of things like an adult.” And you’d be right to think I should, yet incredibly wrong to think that I do.

Today, however, I listened to what my friend had to say, and I apologized (even as he said an apology wasn’t necessary — to me, it was: I’d acted like a douche and should, therefore, apologize). I told him I’d try to be better about this sort of thing in the future and asked him to call me on it if I do it again.

Then I made him hug it out with me, because that’s what secure, adult men do after spats.

Now I have to figure out how to apply that same level of calm, coherent listening-and-discussing-without-letting-it-destroy-my-fragile-self-esteem thing to my more personal interactions. Even after twelve years of spending every day together, I still let the tiniest argument with Terry (or most anyone close to me) send me into a flaming spiral of depression and self-flagellation. When Terry’s upset with me — which doesn’t happen incredibly often, but still more often that I’d like, as I seem to be a fairly infuriating person to live with (sorry, Terry!) — I take it as if my entire being is at fault. When I piss her off, it’s as if I’m the universe’s lowest form of bottom-of-sneaker scum. I have exactly one feeling which even remotely compares to that awfulness, and that’s the feeling that I’ve disappointed my daughters. I’m honestly not sure which is worse.

Maybe now that I have more proof that I can handle the disapproval of others and know that it won’t kill me, that I can look it in the face and not shrink from it (at least to some limited degree with people I like and respect), I can put that same be-a-damn-grownup principle to work the next time I make Terry want to chuck a shoe at my head.

I have a feeling I won’t have to wait long to give it a try.

[1] OK, I like 95%+ of my co-workers, so that’s not a surprise.

Allison Holt spends her days wrestling with code and her nights wrestling with her amazing wife, three fantastic children and her big goofy rescue dog. You can find her at any of the social media links below, or you can email her at

All wrestling referred to in the previous paragraph is metaphorical.