Monday, October 24, 2011

More Email Fun

A Sunday school teacher was discussing the Ten Commandments with her five and six year olds. After explaining the commandment to 'honour' thy Father and thy Mother, she asked, "Is there a commandment that teaches us how to treat our brothers and sisters?"

From the back, one little boy answered, "Thou shall not kill."

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ta-tas Matter

Back in the early days, B.L.S. (Before Law School), I worked a clerical type job.

The other clerk (I'll call her Fannie, because that was not her name) had bodacious ta-tas; mine are merely adequate.

Fannie was incompetent. Blindingly, ragingly incompetent. Not just "couldn't do her job" incompetent, but "actively destroyed work done by others" incompetent. As an example, she was supposed to enter some data into a database one day. Not only could she not do that correctly, but she ended up accidentally deleting everything else that had been in the database. The computer repair guy spent hours and hours trying to recover everything. At least once a week she had some sort of problem with her computer. Every day, the boss had to spend at least an hour explaining some procedure or another to her. He didn't mind so much, though. It gave him a chance to stare at those bodacious ta-tas in the (always) very low-cut and tight shirt.

By contrast, I showed up, did my job well, got great compliments from everyone I spoke to on the telephone, and managed never to destroy work done by someone else, or to make the computer guy have to waste entire days trying to fix my errors. Whenever I did have a question (rarely), I'd ask one of my co-workers. I tried asking the boss once, but he glared at me and said I should figure it out for myself because it's "not rocket science."

Fannie was late -- often hours late -- at least three times per week, and would call or sometimes just show up hours late, with wild excuses every time.

Each excuse individually would have been a reasonable excuse for being late - flat tire, power went out and alarm clock didn't work, sink flooded, dog escaped, transmission quit, bus was late, locked her keys in the car, lost the keys to her car, her mother called to say her aunt Matilda died, her aunt Matilda died ("Again?" "Oh, no, that wasn't Aunt MAtilda last month, that was Aunt BAtilda! Isn't it funny how my Mom and Dad had sisters with similar names?") ... but honestly, nearly every day it was something. That woman had more "emergencies" than anyone else I've ever known. The boss would always say, "Oh, that's ok, I understand."

I had some sympathy for her tardiness, even though it annoyed everyone else. I have a tendency to be 5 minutes late everywhere I go, too -- I always think I can accomplish more in a given amount of time than is really possible, and I always think there shouldn't be any traffic, even though I know there will be. At that job, though, I carpooled with some folks who were very punctual, so I managed to arrive every day at least 15 minutes early.

Until one day we really did have car trouble -- something minor, I forget what it was, but we had to stop and one of the guys fixed the problem on the spot and we drove on -- and so instead of being 15 minutes early we arrived one minute early.

As I walked in the door, the boss called me over. He lectured me about how I really ought to try to arrive early and not be breezing in right at 8:00, because really I should be sitting down and working already, not hanging my jacket and stashing my purse.

I laughed because I literally thought he was joking. He glared at me and lectured me about how serious he was and how important it is to be on time, especially since part of my job involved answering the telephone and we open for business at 8:00 a.m. and on and on ... and on and on ... and then the kicker: I ought to take my job more seriously, like Fannie!

I searched his face for some sign that he was in fact kidding, so I could come back with a smart-ass remark like, "No problem, I'll be sure to show up by noon tomorrow." But no, he was seriously annoyed.

So I lost it. I told him I was one minute early, I wasn't late, that I would have been "actually working" by 8:00 a.m. after hanging my jacket and setting my purse down, BUT FOR THE FACT THAT HE JUST SPENT 5 MINUTES lecturing me because I was "only" one minute early. I explained that I'd have been 15 minutes early as usual but for the fact that we had car trouble -- WHICH WE TOOK CARE OF AND STILL MANAGED TO BE ON TIME TO WORK -- that my time prior to my scheduled 8:00 a.m. work time was my time and it was none of his business what I did with my time and that IF it ever happened that I was actually late, he could then feel free to lecture me, but UNTIL THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED, he really ought to save his lectures for Fannie the problem child and effing LEAVE ME ALONE.

I turned and walked away, set my purse down and answered the ringing telephone with an exceedingly pleasant, "Good morning, how may I help you?" and studiously avoided looking his direction at all.

I knew he was extremely peeved at me for "talking back," but I really didn't care at that point. I knew my time there would be short-lived. The next eval would not be pretty. I immediately began looking for another job, and left within a month.

So never let anyone tell you bodacious ta-tas don't make a difference in the workplace. They do. They definitely do.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Black Is Beautiful

When I was very young, in 1970 or so, my mom took me with her sometimes to the office where she was a student intern. The receptionist there was always friendly and would talk to me or offer me pencils and paper for coloring when I was bored waiting for my mom.

One day, the receptionist had a little sign on her desk that said "Black is Beautiful."

I said, "I don't like black. I like blue the best!"

The woman laughed. My mom was mortified and apologized to the woman and took me aside and explained that the sign meant that black *people* are beautiful, and that it was meant to counter the general and wrong view that black people were some how "less worthy" than white people.

I was confused because I hadn't realized she was a "black person." When I thought about her at all (which was very rarely, really, since I was a kid and didn’t think often about others), I just thought she had a nice smile and a kind personality and pretty brown skin. And I was embarrassed for saying I didn't like black, because that wasn't what I meant!

I think that was the first time I realized that some people considered different skin color "bad." It made me sad because the woman was really nice.

Sometimes people claim that kids don't "notice" skin color until we teach them to. That's not really true, though. It wasn't that I didn't "notice" her skin color. I did, just as one notices hair color, height, and the shape of a nose. It's just that until then, I had never thought it could be a bad thing or even a defining characteristic of a person. I noticed, but without judging.

I hope our society will one day stop teaching kids that anyone's physical characteristics are "bad" or make a person "unworthy" or "less" than others.

And I thank my parents heartily for not teaching me such awful lessons.

Friday, October 7, 2011

ZZ Top Still Rocks

I scored free tickets to see ZZ Top last Friday night at the Comerica Theatre (formerly the Dodge Theatre) in Phoenix.

ZZ Top -- who would have thought they were even still around, much less touring ... but they are, and they are ... and they ROCK!

The show was fantastic.

Well, a little odd, too, but fantastic. Odd how, you ask?

First, I'm not that much older than I was when I first rocked out to "I'm Bad, I'm Nationwide," "Cheap Sunglasses," and "Jesus Just Left Chicago" among other awesome ZZ Top hits. So why did everyone in the audience look so damned old?!?

(And act so old! The dude next to me was sitting, looking tired, and complaining to the people in front of him that they should sit down. WTF? You're at a concert -- stand up and dance, or at least bob your head a little! Really!)

The warm-up band (Philip Sayce) must have noticed this, too, because it opened with a song called "One Foot in the Grave." Oddly appropriate, I suppose...

Second, the video screen behind the band didn't add much to the show and sometimes seemed, well, just weird.... floating spark plugs (for "Got Me Under Pressure")? floating wrenches ("Jesus Just Left Chicago")? floating hubcaps ("Waiting For the Bus")? Was this an auto-parts store ad, or what?

But the show itself? Rocked. Ignore the lame video screen and focus on the act itself, and you'll be pleased. The band looks essentially the same as they did in the 1970s and 80s-- two dudes with suits, hats, sunglasses, and the trademark long (if a bit grayer) beards, and the un-bearded drummer, Frank Beard. Three "Beards," one way or another.

And they sounded great -- played all their classics with their best blues sound. And played a straight-up tribute to Jimi Hendrix ("Hey Joe") along with an explanation that they appreciated Hendrix's recognition of them when they were just starting out (in 1969!).

Here's a sample -- from a different show, for sure, but it'll give you an idea of it:

And they're good people, too, not narcissistic bastards like some aging stars can become. During the show, a fan waved a copy of their first album. Guitarist Gibbons waved the man up to the stage, chatted with him a minute or so, and then all three of the band members autographed it. Then he pretended to auction it off, talking fast and sounding for all the world like a real auctioneer -- "OK, the bidding starts at $1000, over here do I hear $1000, $1000 over here.... Nah, I'm just kiddin'!" And he gave the album back to the fellow, to loud applause.

Later in the show, a kid dressed in ZZ Top attire -- black suit, hat, sunglasses, fake beard -- was invited up on stage to share the spotlight for a few minutes. Gibbons teased him, saying he had stolen his Halloween costume.

All in all, a down-to-earth, fun performance.

Ya' just gotta love that great little "Beard band" from Texas!

* * * *

They have shows coming up in October in Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Kansas, Alabama, Texas, Illinois, Iowa, and West Virginia. Maybe you, too, can catch the awesomeness with a side of odd. For more info, click here.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Received in the Email Today...

The children had all been photographed, and the teacher was trying to persuade them each to buy a copy of the group picture:

"Just think how nice it will be to look at it when you are all grown up and say, 'There's Jennifer, she's a lawyer,' or 'That's Michael, He's a doctor.' "

A small voice at the back of the room rang out, "And there's the teacher, she's dead."