The conversation continued like this:
coworker: you have way too much time on your hands
nathan: jeje. don’t worry. i have the same amount you do. 24 hours a day
nathan: people tend to link creativity and art with wastefulness and lack of productivity. it works to my disadvantage
coworker: jajaja – sorry that was art? dude you have spent too much time at the modern art museums
nathan: i’ll take it as a compliment
And the fact is that in a way it WAS a compliment. I work hard at my job and I try to do it with humor and in a way that brings something nice to the office. My coworker was trying to be funny. He is a really nice guy, no two ways about it. His comments, however, taken at face value show how needlessly negative we are as a culture in how we joke.