Your Office Coach: How to stop your boss's annoying jokes

My boss keeps cracking jokes that make me sound like a terrorist. A couple of years ago, a friend and I got into trouble for setting off fireworks inappropriately.

When my current manager learned about this incident, he began to make wisecracks about my being a bomber. Any time a terrorist event is on the news, he asks me where I was that day. Do you have any suggestions?

Since your boss is obviously an idiot, the only remaining question is whether he's malicious or simply clueless. If these inane comments are delivered as good-natured ribbing, they may just be an example of the teasing insults which seem to be an inherent part of "guy culture." In that case, you could explain your concerns and request a cease-fire.

On the other hand, if his goal is to upset you, you should meet his lame remarks with a practiced neutral response. Upon hearing the word "bomb," for example, you might roll your eyes and calmly state "It was fireworks, Bob," then drop the subject. Once his "jokes" fail to produce a reaction, provoking you will no longer be any fun.

Marie G. McIntyre, a workplace coach, is the author of "Secrets to Winning at Office Politics."