Coworkers Eddie M. and Ollie G. are going to lunch. They're standing in line to get some soup and talking about their day.

Eddie: ...long story short, we had to dig up the metadata from some obscure log files. And then figure out which of the hexadecimal error codes corresponded to the one we were looking for. Of course, nobody had bothered to document them anywhere.
Ollie: That's ridiculous. They've had months to get the documentation up to snuff. You guys shouldn't have to deal with that when it's time to fix something urgently.
Eddie: Not to mention that if we want anything changed, we have to go through half a dozen levels of bureaucracy. It's unbelievable. The whole organization is completely dysfunctional. But then again, I hear their competitors are just as bad or worse. That's the automobile industry for you.
Ollie: The whole ordeal sounds like a bad joke. Don't be surprised if someone jumps out from the closet and tells you that you've been on candid camera the whole time.
Eddie: Haha, yeah. They'll tell us that it's been a sociology experiment all along. We'll be on television and everything.

They finally reach the start of the line.

Eddie: Beet soup with carrots? That's just unnatural. I'm not going to eat this.
Ollie: Come on, man. Just get the soup. It looks fine.
Eddie: I just hate... You know. We've talked about this.
Ollie: I know what you mean, but it's completely normal. You've done it multiple times yourself.
Eddie: Huh, what? When?

What does Eddie not like doing? How many times has he done it?

up vote 10 down vote accepted

The soup ...

... mixes two different root vegetables. There are wordplay and language tags.

Ollie reminds Eddie that ...

... he has used hybrid words, compound words that are composed of roots from two different languages, usually Latin and Greek.

Eddie has used metadata, hexadecimal, bureaucracy, dysfunctional, automobile, sociology and television. The last one is probably the most prominent example. (The purely Greek version, telescope, was already used for something else.)

So Eddie doesn't like ...

... mixing roots.

(There's even a word for this aversion: polyradixphobia. Or was it multiradixphobia?)

Many thanks to Bass, whose comment helped me to make radical changes to this answer.

  • 5
    Here's some veggies to go with your tasty answer. – Bass Nov 16 at 12:03
  • 2
    Oh, thanks, that's rad. (Didn't sopt that, really. Will upate, but I'm busy right now.) – M Oehm Nov 16 at 12:24
  • B...Y qualifies as well. – feelinferrety Nov 16 at 20:30
  • And did you catch the wink & nod toward the subject matter with the coworkers' names? – feelinferrety Nov 16 at 20:35
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    @feelinferrety: Thanks for catching that one. It breaks the nice L+G pattern though. I hadn't seen what's going on with the names. Now I see it and I must say it's more of a groaner than a useful hint. (But it's probably why there is a wordplay tag.) – M Oehm Nov 16 at 20:49

Probably way off the mark, but...

Does he hate compound nouns/attributive nouns, like "beet soup"?

He has used them during the conversation: "log files", "error codes", "automobile industry" (although Merriam Webster says "automobile" can be an adjective), and "sociology experiment" (maybe "dozen levels" too).

Deference to above

Things with "two roots" are common. The soup is made from two root vegetables. Not only are the words common enough (hexadecimal, to borrow from another answer). Furthermore, beets and carrots, in turn, are also hybrids. Not only are problems themselves are two-part (find the log + do the lookup, propose the change + navigate bureaucracy), but the problems are substantially man-made (lack of documentation along w/ corporate internal structures). It only seems fitting that a hybrid problem using hybrid words would be a good counter-example to multiple objections that Eddie might bring.

Also, I'm guessing…

It's not uncommon for someone to believe that pulling food out of the dirt is unnatural. Ollie may be referring to digging through metadata. Also, the color of the soup is red. He's spent the duration of this project "digging through red tape."

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