Friday, September 18, 2009

I See Your Card and I Raise It

Ironically, it is Hollywood that gave us, "You can't handle the truth."

I hate the race card. In my opinion, it is 1 of the easiest cards to play. It is just like me playing the, "It's because I am a woman/glass ceiling card." Except that "The Man" wastes no time in telling it to me straight, "If you believe in the glass ceiling, it becomes a self fulfilling prophecy." Thanks a lot Mr. Man for that piece of sage career advice. :)

I recognize that right now "The Man" is a little bit scared. He is scared of losing the "Man's World." I recently told one of His representatives not to worry because it is still a Man's World, and it will ALWAYS BE THAT WAY. It is funny that You tell us that we have the power, yet we keep selling short. Apparently YOU are a GOOD Negotiator. You SOB.

Now that this is out of my hormonal system, let me express my gratitude. I graduated College WITHOUT my MRS degree. I was trained to do NOTHING. Yet You were interested about how many words I could type and how that might help you. I took typing in 7th grade and I glossed over the numbers and symbols; I could manage and I could add stuff on the calculator. You were intrigued. You gave me chances. There was a side of You that thought (admit it) it was a bit cool that I had actually graduated college. (BTW, my Daddy paid for it.) I could live on my own. I could pay my bills. I was grateful to even be a player.

So that puts me in the ring with opportunity both equal and unequal. Yet I always tell my boss that you cannot have it both ways. So how does this help me get along in this world?

Well I think it makes me able to raise the stakes at this point. I accept judgement on my exterior appearance and on who I am everyday. For example, your hair is blond so you must be dumb. You are a woman, so you must be good at menial tasks. You graduated from that college, you must be smart. You like nice clothing, you must be costing your husband a lot of money. We're paying you that much, but you are not worth it. You are an over-educated bitch, how can you possibly help us with the workload? You are of German descent, you are loud and hard to get along with. You have gained weight, you are no longer attractive. Your hair is turning gray, you are a hag. You are so aggressive with the men at work, you must not be getting any. Your boobs are big, that's why you get the attention.

You know what? Thank you for taking the time to offend my sensibilities. That means you are not treating me differently because of who I am. Maybe that means you think I can play with the hand I was dealt and perhaps win a few rounds based on what I have to offer. You are seeing me when I play my cards. You are calling my bluff. You are taking me at face value. You are making me stronger.

If we all want to operate in the diverse hood of life, we must accept that we will be challenged. We must accept that we are not entitled because of who we are. We must accept that not everyone will agree with what we feel we deserve or what we want. We must be prepared to handle the truth about the world and our places in it. We must accept that some negotiations need to be conducted and some dialogue exchanged or things will remain as they are. Can we handle the truth?

Or are we just playing our trump cards in hopes of winning something, anything that won't help us or that we have not earned? Frankly, I don't want "The Man" to give it up in this way.

Friday, September 4, 2009

If I Can Forgive Michael, Then I Must Forgive Teddy

I am for Michael Vick's second chance. He is a flawed man who made a mistake, but I hear that The Hood, which is something that I don't understand, is partly to blame. They have convinced me that The Hood is a force that is bigger than the will of a man. In The Hood, as I understand it, if someone achieves success, the rest are extremely jealous and they make the successful person feel very guilty about it. Out of guilt and a strong sense of allegiance to the others in The Hood, the successful person gladly shares his wealth with his neighbors. Apparently then distracted with his successful NFL Football career and not paying close attention to what his neighbors are doing with the money, he finds himself to be a part-time Dog Fighting Crime Boss.

When the Cops inevitably find the bad boys, they are just as inevitably led to the source of the crime which can also be the deep pocket. Maybe sometimes the Cops can be bought and sometimes they can't. So Michael's neighbors, who were just the employees, or even just the hangers-on (the Entourage), or the welfare recipients, turned on their neighbor and benefactor and investor or even taxpayer. Michael then was left with more than the tab run-up by his jealous neighbors. The legal system exacted his means of support, his fortune to date, and sent him to jail to pay for his crime. His neighbors went back to The Hood. The NFL sanctioned him.

Now the legal system says his dues are paid. The NFL is thinking of taking him back. So here Michael stands with his talents and the world back at his feet. I am happy for him because I think this means that The Hood lost this round, and it makes me hope that The Hood will continue to lose until it reinvents itself to raise its neighbors up instead of keeping them down. I also cynically believe that the NFL took him back because they know they can make money off of his talents, and I hope he senses that too.

So then my gay hairdresser and I go head to head (no pun) on Teddy Kennedy. He said one of his customers, while he had the scissors in his hands, said she was so happy that this "Damn Democrat" was dead. I told him that when my husband told me in the morning that he had died I said, "Big party in hell today." I also told my hairdresser that he would not lose me as a customer for having different opinions.

Then my hairdresser explained to me how all of Teddy's good works since Chappaquiddick had most certainly redeemed him. So I asked him, "What if you were Mary Jo's father?" He said that if Teddy had explained to him in all honesty that he had tried his best to save his daughter, but he did not succeed, that he could make peace with it." I kept my thoughts to myself. I think that considering what I have been told that Teddy lied to Mary Jo's father, and my belief system judges his good works as misguided.

But then I thought about how I believed that Michael could have a second chance so he could redeem himself. So I realized that I had to believe that Teddy was also entitled to that same second chance. This is because both men came from Hoods where things are run a certain way. These Hoods are communities, and I must be honest with myself about the influence of the community. Thus it must be that it is not all about the individual and his will.

So I take back what I said. I do understand The Hood.