Tag Archives: what the . . .?

Really??!!

Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’ve asked for help only to be dropped squarely into the middle of circumstances that were just the opposite of what you’d asked for? Prayed for relief in times of trouble only to have more and more piled on? Found yourself in surroundings where all you could do was look up and go, “Really??!!”

Yeah? Me too.

Continue reading Really??!!

Time to Get My Sexist On

Alright, I guess it’s time for me to get my sexist on again ‘cuz I need to have something explained to me. I’m watching certain circumstances unfold at work that I find fascinating in a grand “isn’t-it-interesting-the-way-the-human-psyche-works” kind of way.

We’ve just recently hired a new employee. One of only three we’ve hired in the last six to eight months. She had excellent qualifications and good, relevant job experience that made her the best choice for the position. She’s also . . . shall we say . . . attractive. “Deal or No Deal” briefcase #26 attractive. (Yes, that actually was on her resume, and no, the picture is for illustration purposes and isn’t her.)

Now, right here: What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say that? Why do you honestly think she was hired?

Her qualifications?
Her past experience?
Or was she hired ‘cuz she was purdy??

I’m amazed at the number of times I’ve seen an automatic default to number three; especially if a man does the hiring. (Not me in this case, but my point remains.) Regardless of why she was actually hired, there have been no questions, conversations or accusations, just an automatic self-justification for this “go-to” conclusion. Not by all but by more than I expected.  This begs my sexist question . . .

Why do we do this to women?

Why is it that, when a woman “makes it” in this man’s world, whether it be positions of power, success in Hollywood, or simple achievement of employment, the default is to hone in on her looks as the most likely reason? And immediately feel the need to tear it down?

Go ahead; tell me I’m wrong as my attention is drawn to the latest tabloid headline fodder of “Worst Bikini Bodies” and “Who’s Cellulite Thighs Are These? Find Out Inside!”

What society deems as “beautiful” is only a part of this inequity—although that is the gist of what I’m writing about here. I’ve seen successful women also described as “severe”, “shabby”, “masculine”, “hard” and any other number of adjectives to describe her face, clothes, height, weight, or whatever else is outwardly apparent. . . and an easy target. When was the last time you heard a media talking head speak on the qualifications, intelligence or relevant experience of Condoleeza Rice? Megan Fox? Hillary Clinton? Lady Gaga?

On a sideways note . . . There was a video that made the rounds of Facebook not too long ago entitled “Miss Representation“. (YouTube movie trailer link shown below)  It brought up many outstanding points of how society, the media, and our world in general view women. A lot of the criticism was based on the pervasive drive towards sex appeal and beauty as the “standard” the media harnesses our young women with in order to garner attention or sell a product in today’s society. Accusations were made of the downplay of a woman’s intellect.

But what if a woman is beautiful? And successful? And smart? What is the default of society, including, in particular, the female society, of how she got to her goal of success? Her intelligence? Her dedication? Her hard work? Or, her looks?

When did beauty become a bad thing?

And moreover, not unlike many of the thoughts and questions I had while watching “Miss Representation” was this chicken-and-egg question; Which came first, the successful exploitation of sex and beauty to gain attention, or the media’s use and overuse of it?; Our (male) fixation on the female body or the (female) drive to perfect that body?

When does it start?

And, who has control over it?

It reminds me of the young lady I wrote about in Immoral High Ground that, if she were lucky, was in her early teens yet dressed in short, SHORT shorts that drew your eye to areas that should never have been drawn to . . . especially in one so young. And her mom was right there beside her. Who taught her that? Who showed her those particular shorts, or who did she show them to so they went, “yup, that’s you!”? Did society create her? The media? Her parents? Her own self-image . . . or, at least, what she deemed it should be?

And now that we’re all on this fun-filled super-highway to moral decay, how do we stop the car and get out?
Stop the media’s exploitation of sex and beauty?
Stop the pursuit of attractiveness by those drawn to low-cut tops and high-cut shorts?
Stop the pursuit of attractiveness by those longing for the attention?

Chicken? Egg? Beauty? Exploitation? Derision? Disenchantment?

Which came first?

And, why?

Miss Representation trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFh5F8cFb3g

For Whom the Bell Tolls

We just got a bell at work. It sits on our customer service counter; small, shiny, silver-chrome, loud.

*ding*
The bell. Or as most of us at work call it; “that damn bell.”
*ding*
“There goes that damn bell again.”

You see, we’re not used to the bell. We’ve never needed one before. But hours have gotten so tight, and personnel has been reduced so much that apparently we now need one.

The reasoning is sound enough (pardon the pun.) With the bell there, those of us assigned to the customer service desk can feel free to do tasks away from the desk without checking in every thirty seconds to see if a customer needs help. Feel free to do busywork until, *ding*, customer time!

I guess that’s part of my problem. What was once touted as “award-winning customer service” that for years our company prided itself on (at least to its staff and shareholders) has been reduced to . . . a bell.

The other part of my problem, probably a significant part of it, is strictly personal . . .

*ding*
“You’re not doing your job.”
*ding*
“You’re not moving fast enough.”
*ding*
” . . . loser.”

Yes, it’s personal. I’ve always taken customer service personally. That’s why I get so worked up over issues I can’t resolve or customer’s I can’t satisfy. I take it personally. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing.

Nonetheless I know, it’s silly, right? Some of you have probably worked in retail environments where a bell was commonplace. But, as I said, where I work, we’ve never needed one before. Customer service was our job, our livelihood. It’s what set us apart. Tethering yourself to the customer service desk, if that was your assignment, was your job, your position, your post as it were. Nothing was more important than the customer.

Now what are we telling them? Now you have to go, *ding*, otherwise we’re too busy for you?

It’s probably just me. My wife tells me that I have an issue with having been reduced to being at a customer’s beck and call.

*ding*
“Here, boy.”

In a way—probably a big way—she’s more than likely right. Yet, for my own feelings of self-worth more than anything, I’d like to think there is more to it than that. I suppose, when it comes right down to it, staffing has been reduced to the point where those few of us who remain are being asked/told to “do more” and “do faster” by those few who remain in the management/corporate positions above us. And now, with a small, shiny, loud, silver bell, the customer is able to say the very same thing.

*ding*
This is great for morale by the way.
*ding*
Still, I suppose we’ll eventually get used to it.
*ding*
After all, at this point it’s still new.
*ding*
But it’s getting old really, really quickly.

The Type of Christian That Christians Like

I love my wife! Let me just get that out of the way at the outset. She’s beautiful, vibrant, a wonderful mother and a cold slap of common sense reality when I need it.

Like today.

Well, like most days, but today in particular.

I was talking to her about a particularly bad day I had the previous weekend: You see, every now and then on my half-hour commute to work, if I’m not jamming on some obscure Pink Floyd or thinking up ideas for the next incredible blog post, I enjoy a little “quiet time”. It’s a time to reflect, to ease myself into (or out of) my day; or a time to commune with God. And that’s what I was on doing this particular morning.

I was asking God to take care of my wife because she’d not been feeling well. I asked Him to look after my kids so they behaved and didn’t cause mom any additional undo stress. And, I prayed that I might be an example of Christ to those I would come in contact with that day, both customers and fellow employees. Something to the effect of, “God, I would really like to be more of a light for You at work; to be an example to those who may be far from You.”

Then I added, “If need be God, if the right words don’t come, provide them by Your Spirit. Let them be Your words, not mine.”

I told her it genuinely confused me that, when asking that God use his Spirit to give me words should my words fail, I would have the type of day that I had. It was horrible. I was a real smartass. (For those of you who know me, even more so than usual.) I thought, where was God? Did I miss a busy signal in the prayer phone on the way to work?

“All lines are busy; please try your prayer again later.” *click* Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

You know my wife’s immediate reaction?

“Maybe you’re praying that God make you into someone you’re not meant to be.”

Say what?? 

“I think you have this mindset of what a Christian is supposed to be,” she continued, “But maybe that’s not how God sees you. You’re trying to be this prim, proper, hands-folded-in-constant-prayer kind of Christian you think you’re supposed to be. And that’s fine for people who are genuinely built that way. But that’s not you.” She laughs at this point, “That’s definitely not you!”

“You’re more blunt, honest,” she continued, “And yeah, you can be a smartass, but who’s to say God can’t use that? Who’s to say He’s not using you now? When He’s quiet like that, maybe He’s saying, ‘No. No, that’s not what I have in mind for you. That’s not who I want you to be.'”

“God wants me to be a smartass?”

“Well . . . yeah. Maybe. For now.”

I don’t know, but for some reason that clicked with me. I think I’ve been so wrapped up in trying to be the type of Christian that I see other Christians trying to be; the type of Christian that Christians “like”, that they’re comfortable with, that I forgot that maybe that’s not me. Maybe that’s not what God wants me to be. Maybe that’s not what I want to be. If we were all this cookie-cutter image of a “proper” Christian—you know, the pressed, white shirt, skinny black tie, high water pants, little gold halo, eyes looking reverently towards the heavens—how boring would that be? How boring would heaven be?

When I get to heaven, I want the angelic choir to be backed by loud guitars and a double-bass drum kit! I want clouds with bungee cords attached so I can leap off, ruffle some unsuspecting guy’s hair then snap back up into heaven as the guy whips his head around in a mild panic. When Jesus turns the water into wine, I want it to be REAL wine.

But that’s just me.

And maybe God’s alright with that.