Get it together white people

I’m very disturbed by the news regarding Cecil the Lion. Not so much because an overprivileged white guy paid a huge sum of money to decorate his home with a protected animal’s head (don’t get me wrong, I am super pissed about this too), but because of the level of outrage shown for Cecil versus any number of outrages perpetuated against people of color in the United States.

When I first heard this story I was astonished by what a dick the guy is. I mean, he already had a felony for illegally killing a black bear. He also settled a sexual harassment lawsuit filed by an employee out of court for over $100,000. Of course he claims he’s innocent and just wanted the matter to go away quickly. I don’t know about you, but that’s a lot of money to make something go away quickly. How much do dentists make anyway???

I was also amused by all the angry Yelp reviews for his dental practice. (By the way, Yelp seems a little slow in taking those reviews down, most of them are obviously not customers of his.) I saw news stories with pictures of angry, mainly white, protesters with signs calling him a killer and a coward. And these folks looked REALLY REALLY angry.

But then I was listening to a discussion of this story on NPR and someone pointed out that they’d never seen so many white people worked up about the death of an African before. OUCH! I thought. That truth shit stings. And of course I started repeating this line to people as if I had thought it up myself.

Then I saw this:

I love Roxane Gay and all I could think was HELL YEAH!

Because I’m a masochist, I started reading the responses to her comment and was shocked at how incredibly upset (and defensive) people were about the remark.

“What a selfish twit Roxanne is.”

“Grow the eff up.”

“Why does this have to be a competition?”

 Lions are endangered animals.”

“this lady is dumb & does not realize how hot it is going to be wearing a costume in this heat.”

 “This is preposterous… !!!”

“That’s not fair!”

That’s right, somebody actually cried ‘Not fair!’

Now, let’s be clear. It’s okay to be upset about Cecil. Many people are upset about Cecil AND African Americans being killed by the police. But the comparative outrage is absolutely astonishing and this is what Roxane Gay was pointing out. She was being really funny about it but I’m going to say it like it is: White liberals get more upset over animals getting killed than they do about black people being murdered by the police. Then they get more angry if you point this out. I am saying this as a white liberal: We kinda suck.

I’ve heard this said for years but I was definitely in denial. Now I see it. And I’m sorry. But apologies don’t matter, what matters is how we change our future behavior and I don’t have an answer for that yet.

Beam my ass outta here please!

When I was younger one of the worst things you could be called was a “Trekkie.” In fact, in my group of friends we referred to a group of perceived losers as a “Star Trek Convention.” Being a nerd was something you were ashamed of back then. Cool folks would call those beneath them “nerds” like it was  a filthy word.

But I lost the privilege of making fun of anyone who loves Star Trek or any other show several years ago. Not just because my own nerdy fangirl has blossomed or because I married a Trek-loving engineer but because I was completely shamed in front of a group of people that society had deemed to be the lowest form of losers on earth – Trekkies.

It was several years ago, before I was a mother or even married. My now-husband is a huge Star Trek fan (his cats are named Spock and McCoy) and when we went to Las Vegas he was adamant that we go to the Star Trek Experience at one of the big hotels. I really didn’t mind going, despite my mocking of Trekkies I secretly had fond memories of watching the original Star Trek and subsequent Next Generation and Deep Space Nine with my mother. (As a side note, I like DSN best but my husband always tsks me and says it was the worst of all the shows.)

So, we went to the the big hotel, lost some money in a Star Trek slot machine, ate at Quarks Restaurant and paid for the Experience. This involved walking along a long corridor filled with pictures and storylines from all the shows. There were dozens of displays filled with costumes and props. I found my husband giggling in front of a big green alien costume in a glass case. It was reptilian with a mouthful of sharp teeth (how did it chew its food?).

“That’s a gorn,” he said. “I sent a picture of it to my friends when we first started dating and told them it was you.” He’s such a sweetie pie.

Finally, we got to the actual Experience which was an interactive ride through several sets of various shows and ended in a virtual reality-type shuttle ride through space. Our group of “travelers” we walked with consisted mainly of overweight middle-aged men. I kept whispering jokes about them to my husband.

We made our way through the sets, complete with actors and storyline and then sat down in the shuttle for the big finale. Our seats shook and moved in alignment with the screen in front of us. But midway through, the ride stopped and the lights came on.

“Sorry folks,” said a voice over the loudspeaker. “It seems that somebody’s seat belt has come undone.”

Everybody checked their seatbelt. I gave mine a sharp tug but it stayed latched. A minute later, it seemed to be resolved because the lights went back off and the ride started up again. But, a few seconds later, the ride stopped and the lights came on again.

“Maybe we had a breech in the warp vector!” One of the trekkies behind me shouted and everyone laughed. Did I mention that we were probably the only ones there not wearing Trek t-shirts?

The announcer came back on. “Seat E5, please latch your seat belt.”

Everybody looked up to find their seat number. But I had already checked my belt and knew it was latched so I didn’t bother checking.

“Jeez,” I said to my husband. “How hard is it to put on a seat belt?”

He didn’t respond with words he just looked up at a spot above my head. I looked up at the number there: E5. I then realized that the everyone had gone silent and was staring at me with their Geordy LaForge visors and wobbly deely-bopper antennas.

I pulled at my seat belt again. Still latched. Then I pushed it together. Click. There was a millimeter of space in the latch that the sensor had picked up on. I sunk into my seat and contemplated suicide. Fortunately, the lights shut off and the ride started again.

The second the lights came on and the doors opened up I shot out of there like a Latter Day Saint at a Book of Mormon show. My husband followed me silently to the monorail. I wouldn’t look at him because I knew he was trying not to laugh and if I made eye contact he was going to explode.

Since then, the zeitgeist has changed and it has become cool to be a fangirl or fanboy. However, it is not now, nor was it ever, cool to be a jerk who makes fun of other people because of what they love – especially when you can’t even correctly operate a fucking seat belt.

Punk rock ninja seeks work with failing company

A couple weeks ago I sat in my cold, windowless office and had a mini meltdown. I told my boss that the passion for my work has gone out of me. She asked if I was looking for a new job and I told her “No, of course not!” That may seem like a strange reaction to you, but the thought of getting another job makes me sad. I’ve been here a long time and I’ve settled in so deeply that it would be hard to leave. But it did make me ponder what sort of job I would be willing to leave my long time work to accept…

My ideal company:

I LOVE working for companies that are struggling so I can fix the hell out of them. Basically, if your company is a messy failure I might pay you to work there.

I need to believe that I am doing good in the world… or at least not making it a worse place. Non-profits, the arts, small businesses and educational institutions all sound like great places to work.

The company has to value creativity and have a diverse group of employees. If I can be somewhere with my fellow intellectual punk rock ninjas (aka nerds) I would be in heaven. Finally, my muggle and tardis jokes (of which I have many) would receive laughs instead of crickets!

I don’t want to be forced to bond with my co-workers but I love a good potluck. Mostly because of the food, but also to hang out with folks. In fact, I am volunteering in advance to plan the company Halloween party, Secret Santa, Office Olympics, Book Club, Cultural Awareness Bingo and whatever else we come up with. Sometimes that’s all it takes to build a sense of camaraderie and trust between co-workers.

I’ve been in a small, windowless cave for the past few years and would love to have a window or skylight so that I can see the actual outside world. The more light my workspace has, the more likely I will turn it into a tiny plant-filled jungle. I would also be less likely to get sick from squinky lights flickering on and off above my head.

Is there any company out there where the building temperature doesn’t shift dramatically between sub-arctic cold and Death Valley? If so, that’s your biggest recruiting advantage. I’m way tired of typing with gloves on one day and sweating through a meeting in just a sports bra the next. Believe me, my co-workers are fucking tired of seeing my cesarean scar.

Also, my employer has to be okay with swearing because I do that more than a little.

My ideal job:

My strongest talent is having brilliant ideas. Some (my sister) would call me a creative genius. However, I am far too humble to use such labels. But if there was a job where I could sit around throwing out my ideas during brainstorming sessions I would feel valued and happy.

I’m very good at organizing information, tracking progress, etc. Is that what a Project Manager does? If so, that’s my wheelhouse.

Since this is my ideal job, I would also like to work only four days a week.

I like being busy but don’t thrive in pressure cooker environments. However, I’ve come to realize that my idea of a high pressure environment may be different for me than it is for other people. I rarely get panicked when everyone around me is freaking out – I tend to be the calm port in a storm. Warning: Because of that, people can get frustrated with me when I don’t get worked up when something goes wrong. I’ve had to learn to counter with some sort of emotional reaction in order to gain their confidence that I will handle the issue. Either way, believe me – shit’s gonna get taken care of.

In conclusion

So, if you are running a failing non-profit filled with moderate air temperature and a diverse group of nerds and need someone to work four days a week to calmly throw out ideas, swear and plan parties – I am your girl! Shouldn’t be a problem to find at all.

Big girl panties needed – STAT

6/22

Dear diary,

Sorry it’s been so long, but I returned to work from a long vacation today. Apparently the world exploded while I was gone. S told me in  several emails and a meeting that I fucked up and didn’t train my staff correctly and they’re all incompetent. I promptly apologized.

 

6/25

Dear diary,

My boss met with me today and told me that I wasn’t responding quickly or forcefully enough to personnel matters in my department. I immediately started crying and told her I was unhappy with my job.

 

7/6/15

Dear diary,

My sister visited us today. Yay! She informed me that one of my books is the same one that disappeared from her house years ago and she is taking it back. I said nothing. For the record, I stole it from my parents many years ago… then it disappeared from my bookcase… and reappeared at my sister’s house… so I took it back. I don’t think that counts as stealing though.

 

7/7/15

Dear diary,

How are you? Today I told our Administrator about a project I’m working on and he told me it was not approved and to stop working on it. I immediately said, “It was Angela’s idea!” and ran out to tell Angela that I just threw her under a bus.

I call fallacy

Have you ever been reading about an issue like say, oh I don’t know… gay marriage- and in the comments section someone has written something along the lines of: “Why are we talking about this when children are dying in (name any part of the world)?”

This deflection always infuriated me. Should we be handling the world’s problems by order of importance and one at a time? And who creates this list of problems? Is it something we can vote on?

I never knew how to counter this non-argument until one day I came across someone who answered beautifully. By defining it (thanks to Wikipedia).

FALLACY OF RELATIVE PRIVATION: “In which it is suggested an opponent’s arguments should be dismissed or ignored, on the grounds that more important problems exist, despite these issues being often completely unrelated to the subject at hand.”

Oh, and people can, and do, care about more than one thing at the same time. At least, the cool ones do.