Why are we even using letter-based logic in these arguments? That’s not how words work.

One of my Facebook friends posted a status saying “There’s no I in TEAM!” and I was like:

I still don’t understand this quote.  I can’t manage to get my shit together even when I do have help from a whole team.  Who is purposely turning down the help of a team so they can do everything alone?  I can’t even go to the post office successfully by myself.  Or is this your vague way of telling someone that you are quitting their team? Because that’s sort of brilliant.  I think if I was asked to be part of the PTA I’d probably also say “There’s no I in TEAM!” because that way they’d think I was being helpful and saying yes, but really I was just saying, “No, I am not in the team.  There is no I in your team.  Sorry.  I thought I was quite clear.”  I mean, people never pick me to be on their team anyway because I can’t get my shit together but frankly it still seems a bit vague. What if we changed “There’s no I in TEAM” to “You can’t spell FAILURE without U and I”?  Because that seems more accurate.

I don’t think she’s my friend anymore.


And now, the weekly wrap-up…



Shit I made in my shop (Named “EIGHT POUNDS OF UNCUT COCAINE” so that your credit card bill will be more interesting.):


Shit you should buy or steal because it’s awesome:  

  • It was a rough week and when I’m depressed (much better today) I cling to the couch and watch a lot of TV.  Two of my new favorites: AN HONEST LIAR (fascinating documentary) and A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (A bizarrely beautiful Iranian Vampire Western).  If you have Netflix they’re free right now.

This week’s wrap-up is brought to you by The Chronicles of Ara: Creation, which looks like a pretty darn good book.  Here’s the summary:  When J.R.R. Tolkien is summoned to authenticate a recently-discovered “lost” book of Beowulf, events are set in motion that years later will unveil an imminent tragedy: The entirety of the world’s art and invention has been inspired by a corrupted muse, who has implanted a series of codes within the works of history’s most influential authors, warning of humanity’s end and a new dawn of time.  You should check it out here.

116 thoughts on “Why are we even using letter-based logic in these arguments? That’s not how words work.

Read comments below or add one.

  1. Iranian Vampire Western? Yes, please!

    Once on Facebook a friend’s husband said how wonderful she did during giving a natural birth and she didn’t scream or yell once. We aren’t friends anymore.

  2. One of my cats has feline herpes, and when my husband types up catsitting instructions he almost always spells it “herpies,” which lets me exclaim (gleefully) “there’s no “I” in herpes!”

  3. Can I hire you to write replies to all the stupid friends and family on my Facebook? I’ll pay you in cookies! Or something else if you want.

  4. I found a card for a fellow sarcastic coworker who is often on the same work teams I am that says “there is no ‘i’ in ‘team’ but there is a ‘u’ in ‘fuck you’ 🙂 love you Jenny!

  5. For years, I’ve abbreviated “follow-up” as f-up. Rude coworkers reading my notes over my shoulder often think it stands for something else. I often don’t correct them because, stop being nosy you f-up!

  6. There’s no “I” in team, but there is a “me” in it. Now I don’t know what to think.

    There’s also “meat” in team, but that’s just weird (and possibly sexually inappropriate).

    Or you could just fall back on saying there may be no “I” in team, but there is an “eat me!”

  7. That expression is usually espoused by people who want robots for team members and not individuals. I value stupid expressions like that because they are indicators of people to avoid in life.

  8. I’m so glad you enjoyed A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. I loved that movie. A quick correction: it was actually filmed in California, so not technically an Iranian film. I think “Persian American” describes it beautifully.

  9. If anyone ever says to me, “There’s no I in team” I think I’ll reply with my own phrase, “There’s no ‘U’ in asshole either and yet “… And I’ll let my voice trail off so the other person can make their own assumption. Because it makes about as much sense. Shortly afterwards I’ll get a call from HR requesting to meet with me but it will be totally worth it.

  10. You could say there is no “ME” in team although M and E are in team. It’s how the letters are put together that’s important lol 😀

  11. You can’t spell failure without U and I makes me smile. A lot. Brilliant. Now get out there and FAIL! P.S Just finished your book and loved it. Looking forward to the new one.

  12. I love that you spelled “failure” wrong on the shirt but left it, because that’s so totally you and it just makes the shirt about a billion times better. Love it, love you

  13. I’ve been known to punch people in the dick that say that. Well in my head at least.
    I’m not a very good team player.

  14. Writers are not supposed to be team players. We suck at teams. And sharing. (except of course for every little thought that has ever passed through our little heads….. we excel at sharing that.)

  15. You made two very good picks from netflix, Jenny! And there IS an “I” in “WIN.” But there’s no “WE” in “WIN.” There’s a “WE” in “WEENIE” though. Just, you know, saying.

  16. My former boss used to say, “there’s no I in team. But there are three u’s in shut the fuck up. So…

  17. I only say “There’s no I in TEAM” when I’m being purposefully obnoxious. I always follow it up with, “Have you taken your vitamins today? It sounds like somebody needs some B POSITIVE!”

    You rock, and all of us may feel broken sometimes, or like failures sometimes, but I want to remind myself, you and everyone else that we’re broken AND magical. We’re here, right? So we can do anything.

  19. You’ve caused me to rethink all past phrases and how I can possibly use them in completely different contexts.

  20. I always hated group work as a kid. ALWAYS. First, there was the humiliation of being picked last…or not at all. And the teacher forcing another group to take you. Then there was the actual work, that never seemed to get done by the group. One or 2 kids did it, the rest were rejected as ‘not good enough’, and that was that.

    I need cheesecake now.

  21. There may be no I in “team”, but there’s one in “vacation” and two in “martini”.

  22. It takes a whole lot of little “i”s to make a big team. It’s okay to be an “i” and also be part of a team. Unless you’re one of The Rockettes. Or a Stepford Wife.

  23. There’s no u in team, either. Does that mean if I’m reading it, I’m out? Or if you’re reading it, you’re out? This is all very confusing.

  24. Oh my god. Someone did ask me to be on the PTA and I almost had a mild heart attack. I like this idea of reversing the letter-based logic. But, bright side, I must be passing for a reasonably organized and well-adjusted individual that is capable of whatever the hell it is a PTA does (sell shit? Meet when prime time TV is at its best? I don’t know. )

  25. At first I was all “OMG WEASEL WANT WANT WANT ONE RIGHT NOW” but after about a minute and a half of that I was like “Jesus Christ, I’m EXHAUSTED. Weasels are THE WORST.”

  26. I’ve seen A Girl Who Walks Home Alone At Night and it was fantastic. The scene in the bedroom where it takes them forever to touch – she’s turned away, he approaches her slowly – UGH. SO well shot and the minimal dialogue approach was perfect.

  27. PTA moms? Soccer moms? Run. like. hell. I don’t have my shit together, either, and I should have “doesn’t play well with others” tatooed on my forehead, but once I attempted to join the PTA (I was young, naive and, well, …nevermind) and I did sit on a school advisory team committee. MOST people (and mostly women) who join these things are merely interested in the sound of their own hollow voices and the strut of their own empty steps.

  28. My husband is fond of saying, “There’s no I in team, but there is a U in suck.” That usually sets things straight.

  29. Ozzy the weasel is da bomb. There’s no “r” in exist, either, but I’m not going to stop…

  30. Are you like me? You are fine watching tv but the minute you stop you’re back to being depressed, a failure,worthless and exhausted? No, just me.

  31. there’s no “i” in countless words, but like that is never going to stop myself from maddeningly projecting. i could go upanishadic on this subject-matter and say there’s no i in anything- only reflection of light. next time perhaps they could type “i” in lower-case to clarify whatever they’re passive-aggressively referring to is an egoic deal? : /
    all the best, ps. xoxoxo,

  32. We should think about others sometimes . I know its a competitive world being mean doesnt help always

    (Agreed. Unless you’re avoiding being on a PTA committee. But even then being mean doesn’t help because they just assign you to fund-raising. I’m not sure we’re talking about the same thing. ~ Jenny)

  33. My 12 year old and his friends were discussing the ridiculousness of this phrase in class last week. His response to there is no I in team is there is no U in cool. I laughed.

  34. Everyone must watch Sense8 on Netflix. Seriously.
    And that book sounds awesome, added it to my must read on Goodreads.

  35. Everyone must watch Sense8 on Netflix. Seriously, go watch.
    Also, that book sounds awesome!
    @The Imp….I feel you. I like to do my own thing, joining PTA or other groups is my idea of hell.

  36. nothing in the world could still make me care about “I” in team or whatever Ra-Ra nonsense we are using to motive= guilt people into pretending they care. I can’t even think or feel beyond a few hours . my dr. is having eye surgery. the person who had known me longest says she’s never seen me this bad , that’s a big to say for us. I’m 47. I know I need to get back on medicine but there’s pups and cats and kids to raise . it’s easier to lie down and hope it will all go away…

  37. Your comment section is a gold mine today and comments #9, 12 and 29 are clever enough to be used in your store and made into cards, shirts, magnets or something else creative. I especially liked #9 and think it should be shown exactly as depicted in the comment by TriGirl. Very clever commenters and I can’t wait to see what you design using these variations. Very happy to read that you are doing better today. You are an inspiration to me and many others.

  38. I have no witty comment about the spelling of “team”, but that weasel video was adorable.

    I can’t believe I now want a weasel…….

  39. I don’t know why that person has a weasel for a pet but after watching that video three times, I think everyone on the planet could use an adorable, furiously happy weasel in our lives!

  40. The weasel is so cute but my husband has no sense of humor. “Won’t be happening”, he says. I really need that t-shirt. Maybe people will quit asking me to do stuff I don’t want to do but I have no backbone and hate disappointing anyone. I’m a wimp.

  41. I’m glad I got here early enough to be able to read through all the comments in a reasonable amount of time. And there is an “i” in “time” but not in “reasonable”, but you can’t spell “reasonable” without “able”. I can’t believe I’m babbling like this with my jaw resting on my desk from all the jaw-dropping hilarity.

  42. And only one of four of 28 to have the cover shown on the recommended books list!

  43. I’ve always hated “motivational” expressions. I’ve always liked the expressions making fun of the motivational expressions though. 🙂

  44. I hate that motivational nonsense here too! And have always thought that it’s more fun to work alone as you can pretend to be a grown-up whenever you feel like it, or just go back to being you when it everything gets too much.

  45. Thanks for the Netflix advice! My husband and I watched Housebound this weekend at your suggestion – OMG, you’re right, it was amazing!!

  46. “As Mr. Sloan always says, there is no ‘I’ in team, but there is an ‘I’ in pie. And there’s an ‘I’ in meat pie. Anagram of meat is team… I don’t know what he’s talking about.”

    Simon Pegg, SHAUN OF THE DEAD

  47. I too spend an inordinate amount of time on the sofa while depressed. But I watch re-runs of Emergency and Adam-12. Have you ever seen a TV show with one of your childhood idols (Randy Mantooth) and think, “WHAT WAS I THINKING?”

  48. Tell your friend there’s also no “u” in team.

    But there is a “mate”.

    Which I believe means you’re supposed to let your spouse/significant other take care of that shit; that way, if it doesn’t work or doesn’t get finished, you can blame her/him.

  49. There is no I in Team, but there’s a ME. So, no excuses skipping out of PTA meetings. 😉

  50. I’m imagining how this conversation might have run in voice instead of over text.
    “There’s no i in team”
    “No eye?! No wonder teams never accomplish much of anything. They can’t see!”

  51. Hi Jenny. I love you and your blog. I have never commented before. I have a whole team, therapist, Dr, group therapy, but right now I am failing. My anxiety and depression is really bad. I can’t do anything alone. Please keep posting, if you can because you are part of my team and I need you so very much. Thank you.

    (I’ve been there and I’ll be there again. But it gets better. And you’re not alone even when you are. We’re here with you. ~ Jenny)

  52. My sister had a clever comeback for that quote…
    Mom (when my sister was being argumentative about working together with folks): “There’s no ‘I’ in ‘team’!”
    Sister: “Yeah, but there’s a ‘me’!”
    ‘Cause, you know… the ‘e’ and the ‘m’…

  53. I was mesmerized by the weasel.

    And anyone who doesn’t take care of themselves in a team makes for a bad teammate. So more power to you, Jenny L.

  54. I think I’ve put off watching the Iranian vampires long enough, now I should watch it. I agree with everyone else that the weasel should have a netflix show or at least run for President.

  55. For Lisa , comment number 80….we really are here for you. Please don’t ever forget that.

  56. I am going to use your PTA bit. Brilliant. You really should copyright or patent or something so you get a commission every time it is used. You’ll be playing cards with Bill Gates & co.in no time:).

  57. OK, I thought I had a funny one, but TriGirl wins the trophy. It’s in the a-hole. I’m still laughing!

  58. Georgia in comment 49 and Lisa in comment 80…. You aren’t alone and it isn’t ever “just you”. We all have our bad days, our really bad days and even terrible horrible no good very bad days but they do end. Until then, we’re here for you when you can pick up your head long enough to take a look. We’re here even when you can’t.

  59. For those struggling with depression, I thought this might be nice to see:


    Jared Padalecki also struggles with depression, and he started a campaign “Always Keep Fighting” to support the organization To Write Love on Her Arms (a non-profit dedicated to helping people dealing with depression and more: http://twloha.com). At Comic-Con this year, 7,000 people lit candles to show some love and support for him and everyone else dealing with this horrible illness. If you’re struggling, just know you’re not alone – and people do care.

  60. I wish I had had the brains to say “there is no “I” in team when I was asked to join PTA. I will never get those wasted hours of my life back.

  61. There is no “I” in team? I don’t get it.” said the analytical left brained man one day. 🙂

  62. Jenny,
    I know you are having a “less than stellar” time. I am too. I also battle depression, anxiety and chronic pain. Your words help me:) Also, your new book comes out on my birthday, so I’m thinking that clearly that will be a turn for the best. Hugs, Kate. I seem to be commenting on my husband’s account and i don’t know how to fix that, sorry.

  63. The team thing is a worthy laugh. Got that.
    But mainly just want to say a teary Thank YOU for all your raw honesty and especially today for the link to Wil’s video. That was the proverbial nail that got hit. Its my life. But hopefully not for long.
    Today is the totally cliched first day of the rest of my life…. I started on a med last night. Part of me feels like a total failure for having to do so (shut the f@#k up Mother you’re dead now) but the rest of me knows I and my loved ones are worth it and I am actually giddily looking forward to just “being a person”. You were a part of getting me to this point. Blessings.
    Now if you could just send some rain to Seattle that would be awesome sauce because the trees are freaking THIRSTY. A drought in Seattle is some eery stuff.

  64. I hate that saying…and I love your answer! How about: There’s no U in ‘I work alone’ ?!

  65. Ohmygod. Letter-based logic. I have a colleague who loves pointing out that the same letters that make the word ‘listen’ also form the word ‘silent’. So what. Also related: pseudo-etymology. When I was a college student, I heard a preacher try to tie excellence to faith by telling us that ex in Latin means ‘out of’ and el in Hebrew is ‘God’, so therefore all excellence must come from God. It inspired me to start a tongue-in-cheek petition that Christmas to boycott The First Noel. Because, after all, no in English+ el in Hebrew makes that a heretical Christmas carol, right?

  66. This was a favourite of my old boss. One day I pointed out to him that no, there isn’t an I in team but there is a U in cunt. I no longer work for that company.

  67. Oh my. That weasel is forever. I want one. That cats won’t eat. Or dogs.

  68. I don’t expect but I know. You are good people wherever you are. Not enough of them. Too bad. They could help. And, Dammit I can help too if I weren’t so…flawed…broken…I need to get back that hope…already have the scars. I can’t do it. Man I hate Microsoft! Assailed… d it!

  69. Love this post and especially the comments, (even the ones like TriGirl who stole my clever retort) but the prize for making me snort Dr Pepper out my nose goes to HogsAteMySister. God bless this tribe that Jenny has gathered – I love y’all to the moon and back!

  70. I can’t wait to steal that failure bit the next time my husband and I have unsuccessful interviews that land within the same week.

  71. I’ve never wanted a weasel until now, and also that failure quote you just made up sounds like the perfect valentines card.

  72. OMG, I just read the sponsors book description as”all art and creativity were made by a MOUSE” (not muse)! Imagine what THAT book would be like! I was so wtf I clicked on the link to check it out. Maybe they should use that in their marketing plan, “mistakenly” say that a mouse was behind it all, and have all the people thinking WHAT?? click to their website.

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