Tuesday, May 31, 2005

hyperventilating... must breathe... count to 10...

So knucklehead finally responds to the urgent email I sent four hours ago for information... only get this, she was really responding to another email that I sent early this morning on something else entirely!

And her response to email number one which I needed the answer on this morning was "can I meet with you first thing tomorrow morning?" Mind you the project is DUE first thing tomorrow morning-- so when exactly do I work on it if I don't get what I need till it's already too late?!!!

Fortunately, I had guessed her answer correctly on email number 2... and had started working on it... but the information is incomplete and she seamed totally unconcerned about it because she's going to "change alot of it again in the next few days." But golly that project is due TODAY!


But now I've been waiting for her so long I'm going to miss my chiropractor appointment which means I get to carry idiot-induced stress for an extra day. Oh JOY!!!

Ad Writer Kills Co-Worker Over Missed Deadlines
Look for that headline in the San Diego Union Tribune Online before the week is over. The picture of the black woman in handcuffs with a manic grin on her face will be me!

I'm going to go home and sharpen my kitchen knives.


You know, people who seriously don't know how do their freakin' jobs are far more frustrating than the people who are just to lazy to do them.

I have a newish co-worker who clearly has no friggin' clue! She is driving me nuts. Because of her I am now more than a week behind on two very important projects. I will be working a shit load of unpaid (cause I'm salaried) overtime because of her. And my team is going to be behind because I can't deliver what they need in time. So within my team that makes me responsible if we miss these deadlines.

I usually try to cut new people some slack and reserve judgement until they are up to speed. But this chick was talked up by our CEO when he hired her like she was the second coming or something. That just burns me. Was the rest of the field so bad or did she just interview really well?

On the bright side. I think the CEO is figuring out she might have been a mistake. In a meeting on Friday he called her out (albeit nicely) in front of everyone on a couple of really stupid decisions that she had no answer for -- or logical reasoning for that matter. So maybe she won't be here much longer.

I hate to sound mean because I don't dislike her. I just don't think she's qualified. She's like fish out of water around here. She's got that perpetual "deer in the headlights stare" that she tries to cover up by making decisions that she hasn't thought out yet. And she says it as if she was having an epiphany or something. I mean... why do people take jobs they're not qualified for? If it was a low level job I could understand it... you know "learn as you go" ... but her position is responsible for driving 30% or more of our revenue and she's setting us up to end the year in the red.

I feel like crying.

If you guys don't hear much from me in the next two weeks blame her... uh not that I post this stuff while I'm supposed to be working or anything.

As an homage to Unseen Blogger...

...here are the top ten things I learned this weekend.

  1. It is infinitely better to see Jazz live than to listen to it on the radio or on CD. I went to the Annual Jazz Festival this weekend and saw some of the most amazing artists. The music was utterly transcendent and puts recorded jazz to shame.
  2. Jazz is the official music of interracial couples (or else San Diego is the most mixed city in the country) I think at least a third of the couples at the Jazz Festival were mixed… I’m not kidding… I thought I was in a bi-racial twilight zone.
  3. You cannot trust those automated "credit card only" parking structures… the sign clearly said $6.00 daily rate but the damn thing charged me $15.00
  4. It is fairly easy to get a movie date with a total stranger online.
  5. Avoid getting in the line of the old, toothless cashier at the movie theater, she is also the slowest.
  6. Although a Jedi knight can do amazing backflips from unnatural heights and levitate things and people with his mind he is unable to save himself when tossed out of a window… something about losing an arm breaks his concentration I guess.
  7. All fast food Hot Wing restaurants suck… ALL of them without exception.
  8. The best way to end a day is watching the sunset, drinking red wine, eating chocolate and smoking a cigar.
  9. Unless you are a regular cigar smoker, never smoke one on a “school night” you will feel like total crap the next day.
  10. “Cat repellent” which is intended to keep your cats from pooping in the house plants is also “People repellant”

    I’ve recently been tagged by Dada in the Ceasar’s Bath meme… I’m trying to think of a fifth thing that my friends are into that I just don’t get. So I’ll have that posted soon.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Who Should Take My Nudie Pics?

So I’m looking for a photographer for the wedding. A friend at work suggests that I ask our two Image Producers for referrals since they work with photographers. They both give me two great references. But one of ‘em tells me that the photographer he recommends does great semi-nude shots of brides that they can give to their grooms. I ask the other photographer and he does them too.

I think that this is a great idea and I’m fairly certain my man’s gonna love it. But here’s the thing. One of the photographers is male the other is female. Overall I love the style of the guy’s pictures infinitely better than I do the woman’s. I mean she’s good too, but it’s kind of standard portrait stuff… real workman-like.

But they guy is awesome… his pictures are far more striking. Even the regular wedding shots are better… they have that candid not-too-posed feel. Like you’re capturing a real moment in time and really seeing the heart and soul of the person.

Now I’m definitely gonna use him for the wedding (he’s a better value price wise for that too) but I don’t know about the semi-nude pics. I’m thinking Michael might freak if he knows I took my clothes off in front of some other guy (or even that I was thinking about it) not that I’m gonna have my coochie or my boobs hanging out, but you know how guys can get. However, I just have more confidence that I’ll get something classy and truly beautiful from the guy as opposed to the woman. Also I’d be paying more for the guy's work (twice the price actually) although I’ll probably be happier.

So what do you think? Should I just go with the photographer I like and get shots that I know will really knock Michael’s socks off. Or go with the woman for ½ price and get something I may not like as much.

Other points to consider…
1. I would be doing this for myself as much as for Michael because let’s face it, once we start having kids, my body’s never gonna be the same, I’d like to have a record of my good looks to remember them. :)
2. The male photographer is HOT! Which Michael will realize when the guy shows up to shoot the wedding.

I await your advice.

BTW: before anyone asks, no I will not post the pics.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

While the Cat's Away the Mouse Will Work Her Ass Off.

Aw man! Can you believe I’ve actually had to work this past week? Jeez! Seriously though I’m happy because I hate when it’s slow. Right now it's wickedly busy. I’m just taking a lil’ break since I had to work through lunch today and will probably be here late tonight.

Michael left this morning for his month-long business trip. Damn. And it’s in Hawaii. Double-damn. Of course you’d think he’s being sent to prison for 30 days rather than paradise. He hates to travel. He really hates to be away from me. I already miss him.

Well at least he finally got my engagement ring for me. Yeah!!! I’m very impressed because even though he promised, I figured he wouldn’t have time before he left. It makes me feel great that he remembered. So this morning I’m driving to work with majorly stupid grin on my face. And I’m using my left hand for everything so people will notice.

Sure we’re already legally married but we’re still doing our church wedding this fall. And most people don’t know we eloped last year so as far as our friends and family knows we’re just engaged. Only our parents and a few close friends (and blogging mass of strangers who happen to stumble on this blog) actually know.

Well break time over. Must get back to the grind. Will probably be here til 7 or 8. Yuck.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Sing Us A Song...

There is something so sad and haunting about this story. It just sends my imagination in a hundred directions at once. Maybe it's just that I'm feeling melancholy anyway, but it breaks my heart to look at his lonely frightened eyes.

I hope they find out who he is.
(Hopefully not an unemployed actor looking for a gig - cause that would just piss me off.)

Interesting Post From The Wooden Head

Very interesting post on the materialist world view from Dada. I think I will have to ponder it some more. And Matt's comment about Buddhism is wonderfully on point too.

Also I took the World view quiz. I guess that's me. But why do I feel cheated that my world view has been summed up so easily?

You scored as Cultural Creative. Cultural Creatives are probably the newest group to enter this realm. You are a modern thinker who tends to shy away from organized religion but still feels as if there is something greater than ourselves. You are very spiritual, even if you are not religious. Life has a meaning outside of the rational.

Cultural Creative
















What is Your World View? (corrected...hopefully)
created with QuizFarm.com

Monday, May 16, 2005

15 Things to do at Wal-Mart

- I actually went to Wal-Mart, land-o-mediocrity, today
- Somebody emailed me this and I laughed my butt off
- And I have nothing original of my own to say for today.

15 Things to do at Wal-Mart while your spouse/partner is taking their sweet time

  1. Get 24 boxes of condoms and randomly put them in peoples' carts when they aren't looking.
  2. Set all the alarm clocks in Housewares to go off at 5-minute intervals.
  3. Make a trail of tomato juice on the floor leading to the rest rooms.
  4. Walk up to an employee and tell him/her in an official tone, 'Code 3' in housewares and see what happens.
  5. Go the Service Desk and ask to put a bag of M&M's on lay away.
  6. Move a 'CAUTION - WET FLOOR' sign to a carpeted area.
  7. Set up a tent in the camping department and tell other shoppers you'll invite them in if they'll bring in pillows from the bedding department.
  8. When a clerk asks if they can help you, begin to cry and ask 'Why can't you people just leave me alone?'
  9. Look right into the security camera; use it as a mirror, & and pick your nose.
  10. While handling guns in the hunting department, ask the clerk if he knows where the anti- depressants are.
  11. Dart around the store suspiciously loudly humming the Mission Impossible theme.
  12. In the auto department, practice your Madonna look using different size funnels.
  13. Hide in a clothing rack; when people browse through, say PICK ME!
  14. When an announcement comes over the loudspeaker, assume the fetal position and scream "NO! NO! It's those voices again!!!!
  15. Go into a fitting room and shut the door and wait a while; and then yell, very loudly, "There is no toilet paper in here!"

Friday, May 13, 2005


I got this one from Sara who got it from Jessie's blog. Here's the rules...
"If you read this then you have to do it. No exceptions.That is the deal.
1. Copy this whole list into your journal / blog.
2. Bold the things that are true about you.
3. Whatever you don't bold is false."

Here goes...
01. I've had sex in the past five minutes.
02. I enjoy giving oral sex more than receiving.
03. I scream loudly in sex. (but only when it's called for.)
04. I love sleeping with more than one person
05. I own at least three books about sex
06. I leave the house without underwear sometimes
07. I have accepted financial renumeration of some kind for sexual pleasures
08. I've had sex while under the influence of some drug. (I'm counting alcohol as a drug here.)
09. There is a tape floating around of me--ala Paris Hilton
10. I have been the odd person in a threesome
11. I have published the sexual exploits of a past relationship without telling my ex
12. I have lied to a lover about having an affair (long long ago in a university far far away.)
13. I have more than four tattoos (whew! just missed that one, I only have 3)
14. I like and respect Jenna Jameson (who?)
15. I like slow sex
16. I have learned a lot sexually over the past year
17. I have a sexual fantasy about another blogger
18. I've been told I give the best **insert sexual act** (I'm not telling, either, but I HAVE been told.)
19. I carry a condom at all times.
20. I have considered sex with a female blogger
21. I've broken a bone while having sex
22. I have a wet dream that I am ashamed to reveal
23. I have had sex in the rain
24. I have had sex while somebody else watched (FYI never have sex on public beach in France, the French will only mock you and the sand...well ...visualize a sandpaper condom. NOT fun!)
25. I would get plastic surgery if it would improve my sex life
26. I want to have sex right now
27. Food play annoys me in sex
28. I like sex that's hard and fast
29. I always brush my teeth after sex
30. I trim my pubic regions
31. I have travelled out of town for sex
32. I have fantasized about having sex with my brother-/sister-in-law.
33. I have had sex with at least five different nationalities (whew, just missed that one too!)
34. I dress to look sexy every day.
35. I have had sex with twins
36. I have had sex with somebody I have met over the internet
37. I have more than ten sex toys
38. I like the way I look naked (well, I don't scare myself or anything.)
39. I have lied so a person would sleep with me
40. I change from one sex position to another in a specific order each time
41. I saw my parents having sex
42. I get cable just for the soft porn
43. I think legalized prostitution can reduce some crime (never really thought about it.)
44. I have a list of people I would like to see naked
45. I have slept with my boss/superior
46. I wish my sexual organs looked different. (that's why I'm doing the Laser hair removal)
47. I have wet dreams often
48. I enjoy phone sex
49. I have been arrested for being naked in public
50. I flirt online daily

FYI, this all secret so if you read this I will have to hunt you down and kill you


Michael gave Bugsy his pill last night. And the little wise-ass cheeked it on him. As soon as Michael let him go, he spit it out and ran. So he had to catch him and do it all over again.

Ya gotta love cats!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Why Do I Have To Be The Bad Cop?

So last night I get home and Bugsy’s cone is lying on the bed, with no cat in it. It turns out Michael took it off yesterday because it looked to him like Bugsy’s ears were okay. I wanted to wait at least until today, because I thought they looked a little too pink still.

Now as it turns out, the cat’s ears do look okay and Michael said he didn’t see him scratching. But the thing is I’ve been the one, taking the cone off, cleaning the ears, shoving pills down his throat, putting the cone back on and listening to the crying and whining the whole time. I’m the bad guy. I do the shitty work, and Michael gets to be the hero. What the hell?

So I get home and Bugsy hides under the bed cause he thinks I’m gonna re-cone him. But I’m not. So I tell Michael, “okay but you give him his pill tonight.” He says sure but then he decides he needs to go out to the grocery store at 9:30pm. But we have to give the cat his pill by 10pm. So of course, I have to struggles with a crying, pissed off cat yet again. Trying to pry his little jaws open without breaking them, while I hold his little body in a leg lock. No sooner do I get the pill down his throat, Michael is back. (How convenient.)

So he’s bringing the groceries in and Bugsy decides to get back at me by pooping on the carpet in the living room. Not big, just two little nuggets placed right where he knows I’ll see ‘em. So I clean it up and I fuss at him. And 2 minutes later I catch him in the act depositing another little nugget in the same spot. This time I really yell at him. He just sits there with this “so what” look on his face. That pisses me off cause he’s not even cowering before my rage.

So I pick him up, carry his squirming body to the litter box and put him in it, yelling the whole way. As soon as my back is turned he steps out of the litter box and deposits another nugget outside of the litter box…just four inches away!! – I didn’t discover it until later. He comes back in the living room and starts making like he’s gonna drop a few more nuggets. I’m standing over him yelling “don’t even think about it mister! You go to your litter box. You know better! I will not tolerate this sort of behavior!!” But he’s still posturing like “screw you, you pill-nazi-cone-fascist, I’ll poop wherever I please, and you’ll clean it up!”

Then Michael comes in and I’m yelling at the cat. I tell him what Bugsy’s doing. He sees him getting ready to drop a nugget, grabs him, carries him back to the litter box, yelling at him the whole way. Of course, this time the little creep, gets in the box and poops and then runs away (without covering the poop so the smell hits you).

God! This is it, isn’t it? This is a foretaste of parenthood. I’ll be the one playing bad cop and Dad will let them off the hook. Then they’ll take it out on me and I’ll have to rely on Michael to fix it. Jeez! I’m gonna sign myself up for a parenting class. I need skills to handle this without becoming an abusive parent. Or an abusive pet owner for that matter.

I told Michael he is DEFINITELY giving Bugsy his pill tonight cause I’m not cleaning up any more carpet poops. Michael said if Bugsy tries a repeat performance of last night he’s gonna be the only flying cat in the neighborhood.

Well at least Otis did not jump on my stomach last night. Since his brother is on my bad side he knows he doesn't need to vie for my attention for a while.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Otis, Trampoline Jumper

After I posted that last story about Bugsy, it dawned on me that the recent increase in nightly trampoline activity by my cat Otis, might be a case of cone-envy. Otis has always enjoyed jumping from the headboard of our bed onto the bed in the middle of the night. Just his way of reminding us that we’re sleeping (after all, when you’re asleep, you’re not fully aware of that fact so you can’t really appreciate it.)

Well a few months ago, Otis started personalizing that experience for me by jumping onto my stomach. This of course offers me a heightened awareness of my sleep state. But for the most part he would only do it on occasion.

For the last week and a half however, he has taken to doing this just about every night. Sometimes twice a night! I’m about ready to kill him. But now I realize that the extra attention I’ve been giving to Bugsy may be leading to a bit of jealousy. Afterall, Otis is pretty much a Momma’s boy while Bugsy is more of a Daddy’s boy.

So maybe it’s just his way of getting my attention back. I think I will have to make more of an effort to give him attention. When I get home I’m going to grab him ups and give him hugs and kisses - they both hate that! Hopefully he will be asleep when I do it.

I keep reminding myself every time they do these things, “GWAA, multiply this behavior by 1000, add opposable thumbs and the ability to talk back and I’ll get human children. And if my kids are anything like me I’m in deep poo.”

Conesy, (my little drama queen)

I have renamed one of my cats. His name is now Conesy (formerly known as Bugsy.) That is because he’s been wearing a cone on his head for about a week. We really had no choice. He apparently (according to the vet) had some vague allergic reaction to something that made his ears itch. Which caused him to scratch both ears until they bled. Which led to a secondary infection, for which we now have to give him antibiotics for the next 10 days.

If you’ve ever had to give a cat a pill you know that doing this when he’s got a cone on his head practically impossible. So that means for 10 minutes a day I take the cone off his head, clean his ears, apply an ointment, pry open his jaw, toss a pill down his throat, clamp his jaw shut and then stroke his throat till he swallows. Oh boy, the fun I have! Then I let him bath himself until he tries to sneak in an ear scratching, at which point the cone goes back on.

The thing is Bugsy, I mean Conesy, is very different from his little brother Otis. Otis is a bit of a space cadet. He had to wear the cone once too; after an encounter with the neighbor’s dog led to an abscess on his thigh (which I spent my Christmas vacation draining and cleaning twice a day until the wound closed on it’s own… ho-ho-ho… such fun!) But Otis got used to the cone and I think he kinda liked it. He realized that the cone was getting him a whole lot of love and attention that he wasn’t really used to (his former owner was a bit abusive – so he’d always been a bit skittish with shows of affection), once he got used to the pampering, the light dawned on my little marble head and he pretty much just went with it.

Bugsy on the other hand is milking the old sympathy cow for all it’s worth. You see Bugsy is very vain. He knows he looks funny. He probably remembers how his little brother looked when he had to wear it. He’s figured out that we’re making fun of him when we call him Conehead and he’s refusing to get used to it. He’s been wearing the cone for about a week and yet he still feigns a loss of balance, he still pretends to have trouble eating, he still acts like his head weighs a ton. Of course, that’s only when we’re looking. If he thinks we’re out of the room and can’t see him, he walks stone cold sober, eats like a fiend and tosses his little head around no problem. But walk into a room and suddenly there he is, in the middle of your path with his little head flat on the floor and his butt in the air. God, what a drama queen!!

So last night I give him his pill, put the anti itch ointment on, and give him a few minutes to clean himself. But within seconds he’s trying to scratch his ears which are still a little tender. I grab his hind leg (the one he’s scratching with) repeatedly to make him stop. He runs, I run after him. He scratches, I stop him. Repeat. Repeat again. Then he has the nerve to hiss at me. That’s it! They both know better than to hiss at MOMMY! Back on goes the cone!

The poor baby was crying and wimpering as I put it on. I felt like such a jerk. I know it’s not his fault. It’s just an impulse. You get an itch. You scratch. Somebody annoys you, you hiss. But it’s for his own good. I don’t want him to get it infected again. Of course the little head really does weigh a ton now, because he’s so sad. So he lays there on the bed looking so forlorn. All I could do was talk softly to him, apologize and rub his head. He forgave me pretty quickly, he knows I’m doing it for his own good. Before long he was purring and stretching his little paws across my arm in that possessive way he does when he wants you to stay put with him. Damn, he’s a cutie! Still a drama queen, but a cute one.

I’ll post a picture later of his melodramatics. It’s just too funny.

Monday, May 09, 2005

In Case You Were Wondering...

...whether the interview process for becoming Pope is harder or easier than the interview process for becoming Donald Trump's Apprentice.

The Papal Interview is definitely harder.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

The Little White Boy In The Picture

There is a very old photograph of my mother. She is about 19 or 20 and she is holding an infant. A little white boy with slick black hair. She keeps that photo in her special photo album, the one with important pictures, of people, places and moments she never wants to forget.

For years I hated that baby. I just burned every time I saw that picture. Why? Because of the look on my mom’s face. She looks at him with this look of utter adoration and love – like he’s the freakin’ baby Jesus or something. So whenever I would see that picture as a kid I’d look at it with scorn and turn the page as quickly as possible to get to pictures of me.

It actually burned me a bit that this one little picture of him came before my pictures. But I reasoned that he must have pre-dated me so that was why. Only I never saw her look at anybody else in any other picture with such a powerful love that it practically smacks you in the face coming off the page. Once I almost took it out of the album, cause I wanted to rip it up and throw it away, but something told me she’d miss it. And I think her missing the picture would have hurt me more than having to look at her adoring expression captured on film.

Now I always loved my mom. She is awesome and certainly my best friend above all others hand’s down. I never had the “I hate my mother” phase that my friends went through. But it just hurt me that she loved that boy so much. Still she never mentioned him. So about 10 years ago we were looking through that photo album together and we came inevitably to “that picture.” I stopped and being once again overcome by it I took a deep breath and asked, “hey Mom, whose baby is that?”

She gave me the oddest look and said, “What do you mean? It’s mine. That’s YOU!”

It was apparently the photo of her holding me for the first time. Now putting aside that I thought I was a boy, and disregarding that I was so very light-skinned when I was born that I mistook my own ethnicity. I found a sense of profound relief in realizing that all this time I’d been seething with jealousy over MYSELF. I was so relieved I almost started to cry. When I told my mother this all she could do was laugh. Which of course made me laugh too, so I said, “well even though I was jealous, I always did think the kid was really cute. And now that I look closer, I was downright adorable!”

It's actually quite common for black babies to come out much lighter than their eventual skin tone. In fact in my family on more than one occasion a newborn cousin has been born so lightskinned that someone jokes "are you sure he's yours?" "Who you been sleeping with?" or "I think the hospital did a switcheroo." It never occured to me that that might have been the case for little infant me too. Fortunately my color came in a few weeks later. And of course now when I look at the picture I don't think I looked all THAT white and I was certainly QUITE feminine. It's just that picture looked nothing like all my other baby pictures where I had darkened up quite nicely and grown lots of curly locks.

But mistaken identity aside, there is something wonderful about realizing that on the day you came into the world somebody loved you beyond measure. I’ve never doubted that my mother loves me but it’s amazing to look at that photo and witness that love being introduced to the rest of the world. I guess I am thinking of it now because mother’s day is coming up and because I’m getting to the point where I am really truly ready to have a baby, (even though I am totally scared to death of it.)

I think I will go call my mom now.

Friday, May 06, 2005

A Lengthy Discourse on Stereotypes, Racists, Bigots, & Ordinary Decent Folk

Stereotyping is basically a function of categorizing. Categorizing is a function of learning and perception. It’s how we learn the difference between an apple and an orange, a car and a plane, a man and a woman. But stereotyping is when we pass a value judgment on a defined category. If you put me in a room with a bunch of other black folks and one white person, you’re gonna realize that “one of these things is not like others.” It’s Sesame Street 101. But if you let the white person leave and you lock the rest of us in because we might be criminals then you haven’t just categorized us, you’ve stereotyped. If we could just stop at Sesame Street we’d all be okay. But it doesn’t work that way, or we don’t seam to let it.

I consider myself an ordinary decent person. But I tell you something, sometimes when I’m the only black person in a store and I get skipped over or ignored by an all white staff I start grumbling to myself about how those prejudiced bastards are discriminating against me. And then I do the reality check…

I don’t always assert myself, I’m not always quick to react when a cashier opens a new lane. I have a habit of browsing incessantly. I like to read every detail on packaging and compare every little feature of different products. And if I am in a bad mood, I’m not always the most approachable. Sometimes, I miss the fact that I was supposed to take a number, duh! Oh, and here’s an ironic one, I often let more than one sales person pass by without saying anything to them because they “look” like they are too busy, they “look” like they wouldn’t want to help me, or they “look” like they probably wouldn’t know the answer to my question anyway.

90% of the time when I go through that reality check, I can almost directly attribute my inability to get the proper service to one of those things. And when I do alter my behavior I almost always get some kind of service.

Now there are rare occasions where I’ve been treated outright despicably by sales people and I feel quite certain I was the victim of discrimination. An occasion comes to mind when I was trying to buy supplies at a hardware store and was rudely dismissed by an employee who refused to cut a piece of wood trim, claiming they didn’t provide that service, when I knew for a fact that they did. In fact not 10 minutes before he was providing a similar service to an older white male. Now I am not sure whether it was because I’m black, a woman or because I was dressed like a bum that day. But he clearly decided not to help me the moment he laid eyes on me. Honestly, I could see the disgust on his face. I actually went home and cried. Then I got pissed off and called the store manager to complain. Apparently the manager had gotten other complaints about this guy and he was fired shortly thereafter. I don’t know what I might have had in common with the other people who complained about him but I’ll bet that if you put the people he did help in a room with those he refused you’ll start singing “some of these things are not like the others. “ But I digress.

It is the identifiable commonalities in those that we stereotype that trip us all up. It’s what we think we see. Not what is really there. It’s categorizing gone awry. Your perceptions will lie to you if you’re not on your guard. Just because I’m in a store with all white sales people and I’m not being helped how I want, when I want, doesn’t mean I’m being discriminated against. Sometimes it does, but most of the time it’s just me not taking the appropriate actions. In other words, I saw something that wasn't there because I got lazy and I relied on a stereotype rather than insight. And lazy is the line that Ordinarily Decent Folk walk.

We all have stereotypes in our minds. We’re conditioned by our culture, families, friends, the media and even our personal experiences (usually the bad ones stick). The difference between Ordinary Decent Folks and the and Racists and Bigots of the world is that ordinary folks just tend to get lazy about their stereotypes. They don’t stop to think about it right away. But when they do, they say, “oh shit, that’s not me. That’s wrong. I know better than that.”

Even decent folks, in a fit of frustration, will make comments about “those illegal Mexicans” (when they don’t even know if the person is illegal) OR “why don’t blacks ever want to work for anything” (when there’s a whole class of people called “losers” who never want to work and they are a regular rainbow, believe me.) OR “why are all Republicans rich white people who are trying to screw the little guy” (when there are a lot of poor white/black/brown/yellow Republicans who are getting screwed by the guys they voted for.) Yes, decent folks will do all these things but they are not racists because when they do this they will have this pang of conscience in their stomachs (that’s where hits me anyway) and this little voice inside that says “you are being a jackass. Stop it now.” And then they will personally kick themselves in the ass. And if they say shit like that in front of their kids and the kid repeats it, then the decent fellow is going to reevaluate himself and then sit his kid down and say “I was wrong to say/do that and I want you to understand why.”

Basically, DECENT PEOPLE DO AND SAY DUMB SHIT. That is a fact of life. But what makes them decent is that they will kick themselves in the ass over it and do everything they can to change their behavior. Even if they can’t change the stereotype right away they are smart enough and DECENT enough to police their own behavior. And when they do that, they make the world a better, safer, friendlier and fairer place.

Now this is important… Ordinary Decent Folks are the GOOD Guys. Just cause they have stereotypes doesn’t mean they are closet bigots. As long as they don’t allow a stereotype to become so rigid and inflexible that it dictates their behavior then, in my opinion, they are the Good Guys.

Sure there are people who seam to have left all stereotypes behind and look only at the individual for who he or she is, but they are few and far between. I think maybe the Dahli Lama is one. And one would certainly hope the Pope is one or that he’s on the path. More than likely Mother Theresa qualified, but I haven’t read much about her beyond her press. I truly believe that Jesus is the epitome of this (he’d better be or his Dad’s gonna be pissed). But Son of God is a lofty target and one most of us won’t hit. We’ve got too many distractions. No, the best we can hope for is to be Ordinary Decent Folk who overcome our inertia, take our stereotypes head on and try to eliminate them or at least neuter them so we don’t pass them along to our kids.

Now true racists and bigots are not in the least bit lazy. They know damn well that they are lumping one big group together and they could care less. In fact they really don’t see what the whole big moral dilemma is. They are not going to question the stereotypes they’ve built up in their minds because to them stereotype=fact. But I don’t think a Racist and a Bigot necessarily have to be the same thing.

Now my personal definition of the different between a bigot and a racist is this.
Bigots think you are inferior and stupid. They don’t want you polluting their gene pool by marrying their kid. They don’t want you running their company. They get infuriated when you get all upidity and don’t know your place. They are frustrated by your claims for equality because you are an annoyance… like a flea that wants to wear their socks and drink out of their coffee cup. It’s quite obvious that you are not equal so demanding equality is ridiculous. They will vote to cut social programs that will help anybody who looks like you or lives like they assume you live. They do this because you are a loser and they don’t help losers. But if you do get a job and manage to get by they still will not respect you, so deal with it. They will not try to kill you, but if you get killed they will not be all broken up about it.

Racists also think you are inferior and stupid. They also don’t want you interbreeding with them; or working with or supervising them. They think you are big fat whiner and the direct cause of every evil in society, every disease and all of their own personal problems too. In fact you are the reason their dog ran away when they were a kid, and you caused their father to lose his job, become an alcoholic, sodomize their sister, flush their hamster and shoot their mother in the head. You are a crackhead and a gangbanger and a prostitute and a rapist. They may be all these things too, but it’s your fault if they are. They are certain that you are God’s only mistake and that the Almighty hates you like an unwanted child that He should have aborted when He had the chance. They feel sorry for God that He has to be reminded of His blunder every time He looks at you. They hate you with a passion and will do anything they can to put you down, and keep you down. They would really love it if you would just cease to exist. If you’re resistant to that suggestion they’d be happy to help facilitate the process. If any of their own people happens to decide that you really aren’t that bad, then that traitor can just burn in hell.

Racists and Bigots come in all flavors. Trust me. I’ve met bigots of every color and creed.

Racists scare me because they are more likely to kill me if they think they can get away with it. But Bigots really terrify me because they are smart. They know how to be politically correct and they know how to be political. They hide in plain site. They get voted into office and libraries get named after them. They could be your boss, your butcher, your lawyer, your doctor and sometimes even your clergyman. They fit in well with society and they are great influencers. They can with the proper advertising campaign corrupt Ordinary Decent Folk into joining their ranks. For example they can appeal to the faith of Ordinary Folk to deny homosexuals the same rights as heterosexuals under the law. They focus on the stereotype of immorality and magnify it under the glass of religious scrutiny and family values until the offenders burst into flames. Ordinarily Decent Folk don’t have a problem with gays. In fact they know one who’s very nice, they have an uncle who is gay, they just nominated their son to be made over by the Fab 5 and they’d never trust a straight hairstylist with their highlights anyway. But their latent stereotypes, that for the most part would never cause them to deny another person their inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, can be twisted by Bigots with an agenda.

And that’s where we Decent Folk need to police our laziness. We need to really ask ourselves are we following the Golden Rule? Or reacting out of fear and lack of compassion? Only we can pull ourselves back from the brink. Only we Decent Folk can make a decision not to give in to the darkness within ourselves. And part of that means not overreacting when we perceive a slight. It means opening a discourse with those who can be won over by reason. It means being honest about our own stereotypes and being vigilant in trying to eliminate them (no matter how long it takes.) It also means we need to learn to take a little criticism (man do I have trouble with that) and listen to people that we hurt so we can understand where they’re coming from. We need to learn to apologize to each other and work together to make it right. At the same time we have to forgive without expecting restitution or heads to roll for every blasted little thing. I stumble on the forgiveness part personally, but I’m getting better.

I don’t know where I’m going with this but I think… maybe I’m tired of people telling me what a victim I am. Especially when one of those people is me. And I’m tired of being made to feel like a whiner when my rights and the rights of others are being eroded by closet bigots who don’t think we’re good enough to have them. Also I’m exhausted by racists who honestly don’t get that they are idiots no matter how you try to explain it to them. And really I’d love to see us Ordinary Decent Folk band together in a bit more solidarity rather than letting ourselves become the pawns of Bigots who are way too manipulative for their, and our, own good.

After I posted this I recalled a story my Aunt told me about a Sociology class she took at Rutgers. The professor asked a rather evenly mixed class of students to help him list common stereotypes first of blacks and then of whites.

For the first list terms like “big lips, big butts, lazy, criminal, welfare, sense of rhythm, large penises, and promiscuous” were shouted out. And all by the black students themselves, many of whom did so with gleeful amusement. The white students kept their mouths shut.

When it came time to do the “white” list terms like “flat ass, thin lips, no rhythm, small penises, etc.” were again shouted out gleefully and get this… for the most part by the black students again. Except for a few white students who felt a safer talking about their own people than another race, most of the white students just sat in stunned silence.

Now you can imagine that white students probably thought that their black classmates would think they were racists had they thrown out a few black stereotypes. That’s way we are in society too. Many blacks use the “n” word about each other all the time almost as a term of endearment; but will chafe when a white person attempts to use it in same “friendly” manner. Personally, I detest the word and never use it myself for any reason other than if I’m writing a character in a story and I deem it true to that character’s identity to use it.

But then why were the white students not more willing to perk up and offer obnoxious stereotypes about themselves? Maybe the “black list” hit a few nerves and they were still in shock that their fellows might be “on to” them. Maybe they were upset that their black classmates were enjoying this whole thing so much. Maybe they didn’t like that the black students where flaunting the “white stereotypes” so freely while they felt socially muzzled. I don’t know but I'd guess the last one.

The thing that’s revealing about that exercise is that the sensitive nature of discrimination in our society has the ability to silence whole groups of people unfairly… and not just minorities. We should feel free to discover our misconceptions and grow away from our weakness without fear of reprisal. But that’s not our world. It’s sad really. I’m not apologizing for people who act on a negative stereotype, I just don’t want to get in the way of them apologizing for themselves and to themselves for not rising above their weaknesses. Personally I love it when the people around me grow and become more enlightened. It inspires me to do the same. And it gives me hope for the future.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Weekly Words of Wisdom

From Unseen Blogger

"When you feel the hatred of mankind starting to creep into your being, just repeat the following:

'Some day, I shall bathe the earth in nuclear fire.'

That usually hepls me feel better."

Monday, May 02, 2005

But What Did He Say?

I came across this article about the Sooner’s coach Larry Cochell and the mysterious racial slur that he used in an interview, and I have to say I’m a bit confused. The only quote the article mentions is that he called a player “a good black kid.” So I’m reading the article going, okaaaayy… aaand? I mean was there something else? I get the feeling there was something else the way the article was worded but that’s all they mention. I mean they don’t even throw you a bone like he used the “n” word to help solidify your outrage. So what the hell did he say? Did he use the “n” word? Or some other “n-ish” like word?

Don’t get me wrong. The statement “he’s a good black kid” is disgustingly backhanded and carries with it a rather obvious condescension. It can easily be read as saying “he’s a good black kid, which is rare cause most black kids are criminally inclined/lazy/stupid/insert negative stereotype.” That’s if you are being especially sensitive and you think the speaker is an ass. But at best you think “well if he’s a good kid/player why can’t you just say that? What does his race have to do with anything?” so it feels condescending.

However, if that’s the ONLY thing this coach (who I never heard of, and could otherwise really care less about) said then, why is he losing his job over this? I mean come on! I have very little tolerance for out and out racists. But you have to allow for people’s natural ignorance. I mean some people just weren’t raised right. So sometimes they say dumb things, but you know, you can talk to them. If somebody makes an ignorant comment because they are too comfortable with their own way of thinking and they say something that can be taken as an insult. Or if they have ingrained stereotypes that they’ve just never stopped to evaluate, you know, you could try to get them to look at things differently. Educate them about behaviors that you find offensive, or about what’s acceptable and what’s not. Maybe they'll change and maybe they won't but at least give them a shot. Jeez! After all if you slam people on every little thing you pretty much shut them out of the growth process and polarize your community even more. Let the punishment fit the crime, so to speak. That’s my thinking anyway.

Now if he was going off on some kind of rant about “darkies, jungle bunnies and neeegras” then I say fire his ass, cause he clearly lacks common sense in addition to being a bigot. But seriously if he all he did was call a black kid a black kid, I’m sorry but as a black woman, I’m at a loss.

Personally I refrain from using “African American” if I can. Whenever possible, I say "black." And when I hear other people (of any color) use "African American" I either feel sorry for them because they seam so overburdened by all the syllables or I stifle a giggle because they sound so formal and stiff.

So please, anybody! Tell me what he said! I tried to find another article with more details. The most I found was a reference to slurs he made against both blacks and whites, but nothing verbatim. Did he just say “black kids” and “white kids”? Did he declare one group physically superior and the other intellectually superior? What did he say to justify his firing? Tell me. I really want to know. My curiosity is killing me.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Something Creative

When my friend Anne got married, I wrote this cool poem for her wedding. And when Michael's friends got married they had some sort of poem/vows or something they read. So of course when we do our ceremony in October (we're already married legally) it comes down to me (cause I'm the writer) to write something that has to be better than what our friends had. Oy! The pressure!

So I figured I'd start writing some things now and just bounce 'em off you guys see what you think. So here is wedding poem number one. It doesn't rhyme but I don't care.
I like the Orange blossom image because it's very traditional and I do plan to put them in my hair. It also reflects our beach theme for the reception.

With Orange Blossoms

It’s in the air today.
Scented breeze and love all opened up and free

He is holding his breath
She braids her hair with orange blossoms for him

They watch and they witness
Something strange and beautiful is now beginning

She is in the sunlight
Coming to him from the heather and the thistle

He stands by the ocean
Letting the world in on God’s secret about them

It’s in the air today
Vows sweet as orange blossoms and deep as the sea