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.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Reasonably Good Girls Who Show Cleavage

I dedicate this post to my coworker Erica who sits in the cubicle in front of mine.

They say that one of the problems with the Republican party is its members' gentility which sounds like it should be a good thing. But I think it can also be described as the so-called "country club mentality" which sounds like there might be some bad things about that.

I see from the dictionary why gentility, which makes me think of a courteous person, can be viewed as a bad thing. In Merriam-Webster the worst definition of gentility states this, "superior social status or prestige evidenced by manners, possessions, or mode of life."

In my experiences being a guest at a country club, I am always treated with courtesy and respect by the staff. The surroundings are beautiful, the members are reasonably friendly, and the food is delicious. My favorite thing is what I call "country club coffee." I think it is really just plain old brewed coffee, so it must be that little pitcher of real cream that is always on the table.
But by definition and reality a country club is for members and guests only, so it is a place of exclusion.

So by doing the math, gentility plus country club mentality equals "bad." You know that I am not blogging hate about Republicans. I have told you that I am one of them, but I also am trying to express a new Republican mentality. If Republicans want to go forward in today's world, we cannot continue to be (excuse my French) inaccessible, exclusionary snobs. We also can't let the good part of our gentility prevent us from speaking out when we see things that are not right and that might offend. We Republicans need to let down our guard a little and accept that we are humans who make bad choices and go crazy just the same as any other human on this planet. We Republicans also need to stop being so uber-moral that we can't express who we really are.

That leads me back to the title of this blog. I recently attended a political fund-raiser for a Republican member of the House whom I admire and support. At the party, there were woman of all ages. I realized that I was the ONLY WOMAN there who was showing any cleavage. When I turned 4o, my New Year's resolution was to show more cleavage. I decided that cleavage, with the help of Victoria, was the only thing on a woman that never aged badly. I also decided that showing it did not mean I was a loose woman. Cleavage, or shall I genteelly call it d├ęcolletage, is a thing of beauty not just raw sexuality, so why should I hide it? If seeing it makes men goofy, that is their problem. When I see a man in a beautiful pin-striped suit and tie, I get goofy too.

So I shared my story with my coworker Erica who claimed she had no cleavage. I reiterated that Victoria's real secret is that with the right bra, ANY WOMAN can have cleavage. Erica came to see me a couple days later and told me that she took my recommendations and found what she needed so she could show her cleavage at an up coming party. I shook her hand. I will miss her when she leaves to take a new job next week.

In conclusion, I am a reasonably good woman. I am a Republican woman, and I show my beautiful cleavage. I encourage all women to do the same.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

I Loved Him Too

Today Michael Jackson died at age 50. He is a rock and roll icon; no question. Although my mother and father wanted me to appreciate and listen to mostly only classical music, I remain today strictly a "rock and roller."

I "loved" Michael Jackson no matter the color of either of our skins. I was in college when Thriller was released as an album and as MTV videos. I sat in the school commons in the TV room and waited with that full room to see the Thriller video. I did not use my limited funds to buy the album when it came out, but I knew all the songs from the videos and the dance places; i.e., bars. Tomorrow I will go to Best Buy and purchase Thriller rather than download it from iTunes, if that is possible.

As I watched the news tonight and felt that I was not being represented as a legitimate fan of Michael Jackson, I remembered something else. I got my old box of 45's out and I searched until I found it. It is the 1972 45 of Michael Jackson's Rockin' Robin. I showed it to my husband and told him my story. That is the first 45 I ever owned. In 1972 from my AM radio and my girlfriends at school, I got it in my head that I had to have that 45. I spoke to my father about it, and I was not a "daddy's girl." Yet, every night when he did not come home with that 45, I complained bitterly. I think it took about a week, and he finally relented.

My Dad and I are working on our love issues. I challenge anyone, however, to tell me that I did not "love" Michael Jackson from day one.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Americans with Paychecks, Unite!

Now that it is pretty clear to all of us what "change" meant, some of you have buyer's remorse and some of us are wondering why you bought it in the first place. I understood "change" well in advance from the right wing editorials that I regularly read and from my general knowledge that Democrats typically raise taxes to generate more money to pay for big government. When I could not convince my Obama-voting friends about my fears of massive income redistribution; yes, I am calling "change" by its real name, I tried to appeal to them this way, "Why would you vote for change, in general people hate change." But alas.

I have made it clear in my blog that I want President Obama elected out of office in four years. I am also betting that more of you than you thought before also want him out. It all started with the massive stimulus plans. I will grant you that my favorite president, George W. Bush, initiated one of those before he left office. My unyielding devotion to George W. Bush rationalized that as pandering to the people. He had to become what he hated to try and help his party. Anyway I have talked to many supporters of President Obama's brilliant economic plans. My only response is, "Printing money and borrowing from China is brilliance? That is Econ 101, and hey, somebody has to pay that money back." And hey again, guess who that payer-backer is? Primarily it is Americans with paychecks.

Then President Obama's next move was to slip us a little extra into our paychecks back in April or so. Ladies and Gentlemen, we all know that extra was our own money. I promptly filled out the form to return it to the federal government and handed it to payroll. The woman who took my form said she did the same thing. I have been joking with friends after my personal property taxes on my car and some lingering medical bills from last year came due saying, "What was I thinking when I gave that money back?" Even so, I tell them that I gave it back so that I would still have it when President Obama comes to re-collect it in January 2010.

Americans with paychecks are a very diverse group. We are men and women. We are young and not so young. We are gay and straight. We are Democrats and Republicans. We are African-American and Caucasian and Hispanic and Asian and Christian and Jewish and Muslim. We are blue collar and we are white collar. We are supporting the needs of our families. We are willing to pay for governmental services that support us all, such as for schools and roads and necessary services. But bottom line: WE ALL WORK HARD for our paychecks, and there should be NO QUESTION that we get to keep as much of our paychecks as possible.

So this is my call for all Americans with paychecks to unite to elect our next president. Whom should he or she be? For one thing, it should now be clear whom it should not be.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Under the Radar

As I was ready to leave the house this morning to go for a bicycle ride on a beautiful, spring Saturday, I grumbled as I had to go back upstairs to get my bicycle helmet. My grumble to my husband was, "I need to make sure I wear my politically correct bicycle helmet so I can stay under the radar." What I think I meant was that I did not want anyone to see me riding my bicycle without a helmet on and taking some sort of mental note.

So why did I feel this way on a beautiful, sunny and cool Saturday morning? To be frank bicycle helmets bug me. In the 1970's when I learned to ride a bicycle, there were no helmets. My father taught me to ride on a neighborhood school playground on a used blue girl's bicycle with brakes in the pedals and NO TRAINING WHEELS. Dad bought the bicycle from a family in the neighborhood whose daughter had outgrown it. I remember Dad running behind the bike and holding it. I also remember looking behind me one time to find that Dad was no longer running behind me holding the bicycle, panicking, falling over with the bike, and hitting my chin on a rubber tire that had cement and a pole in it. (Those were allowed on playgrounds back then.) Dad and Mom determined I was not hurt, but they gave pause as this was a critical moment in the teaching of a child to ride a bike: would she stop crying and get back on? Clearly, since I ride today at age 46, I got back on.

So back to the repressive bicycle helmet. It is not yet the law, so I can ride without and not be fined. But what I don't like is the "looks" from other adult bicycle riders. They convey to me, "Why is she not wearing a helmet?" "Who does she think she is that she does not need a bicycle helmet?" "See children, that woman is not wearing a helmet while riding her bicycle and she could fall and suffer a brain injury." I just couldn't take the pressure, so even though I was trained to ride a bike without a helmet, and I rode bicycles without incident for a few decades without a helmet, I finally bought one at age 40 or so.

You will laugh when I tell you the actual motivation behind buying a bicycle helmet at age 40. It was because my serious bicycle riding friend was taking me on her special ride along scenic back roads where we lived and I thought, well I need the helmet for this ride in case I get run over by a car.

I wish I could remember where I read it and who the author is of a sentence that sums this all up. It went something like this, "We need a $20 helmet for a 10¢ bike ride." We know why this is so. It is for the same reason that there are now free bags for wet umbrellas. Please note that I use the politically correct wet umbrella bags and I tell others to use them as well so I can stay under the radar.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Why I Don't Want Obama to Fail

I did not vote for Barack Obama. I warned friends and relatives and anyone who would listen not to vote for Barack Obama. I collected news articles that explained what "change" meant. I showed friends and relatives these articles. I emailed friends and relatives these articles. I pontificated on these articles in the hallways, at luncheons and at parties. And so he won. We the people spoke. But DO NOT GET ME WRONG; I am not a sore loser.

I do want President Obama elected out of office in four years, but I want to go on record that I do not want him to fail. I do not want him to fail the United States of America. I do not want him to fail the people of the United States of America. In my opinion, President Obama's vision for our country is wrong. It is the wrong thing for our country.

So please President Obama, in your four year term, don't saddle the children with exorbitant federal debt. Please don't take away incentives from entrepreneurs to make as much money as their business models will allow. These business models create jobs for others and stimulate the economy without intervention. Please don't turn our medical care system into something that does not provide us with proper medical care at all stages of our lives. Do not impose "green taxes" and make companies and states bargain for credits. Do not take more of our hard earned dollars and turn them over to programs and people in lieu of hard work.

Everyday for the next four years I will make sure that my friends and family know that I do not want you to fail. So please President Obama, do not fail us.