Stuff I Probably Shouldn’t Have Said

Undesirable Feminine Traits in the Workplace Revealed

“You have to be careful or else you might come off as a ball buster.” That was career advice I received back in the sixties. I didn’t know what that meant. I didn’t think of myself as a female with a vengeance toward man parts.

If you discount the first-grade altercation when I launched my lunch pail full of rocks upside the head of the class bully, a behemoth three times my size, I reached adulthood violence-free.

In the sixties, it was hard enough to navigate the workplace without the pall of “ball -buster” casting negative vibes over my work cubicle.  I did what most women did; worked diligently and dependably in the background making sure the male department head always looked super professional—even when he wasn’t—even when he didn’t deserve it.

Years later, in 2002 a butt sketch artist came to our office for an afternoon of mandatory fun, and the explanation for my undesirable moniker was revealed.

My co-workers had a field day coming up with appropriate titles for the sketch. I prefer to categorize the object as that of an independent thinker. (First grade was the last time I threw rocks at anyone.)

Emily Peck’ s article, “How to Act Nicely Around Men,” covered a seminar conducted in 2018, that instructed women on how to behave among male co-workers, complete with desired feminine traits.

The guidelines were a throwback to the sixties and “independent thinker” did not appear in the feminine portion of the equation.

I’m pretty certain ball-busters need not apply either.

When is Too old Too Old?

Options to protest unfair and inaccurate perceptions regarding aging are fruitless and most of the time only serve to reinforce the offender’s position.

I am eighty, therefore qualified to address aging from that perspective. Older people have been around a long time. We know and can name the three branches of government. World history, American history, civics, and social science were required subjects when we attended high school.

Contrary to popular belief, we are more tolerant. We know many issues are gray; we understand nuances.

Eighty-year olds are informed and engaged. We use our electronic devices to remain informed. We do not use smartphones at the dinner table. We are fully engaged when we are with other people and don’t keep one eye on the phone, afraid we might miss new tweets.

Eighty is the age when you say to yourself, “Ahhh, I am free to say and do and say what I damn well please.”

Why would Bernie or Joe want to deny themselves that pleasure? As President, how would you ever keep it a secret that you ate leftover pizza for breakfast, or spent the day reading, pursuing a hobby or binging on Netflix?

Imagine being awakened from a sound sleep and having to make a critical decision without at least three cups of coffee. I don’t want to even look at another human before one in the afternoon. Can you imagine having to deal with someone like Ted Cruz before vodka thirty?

The other issue is attire. It’s an unfortunate fact, but older men have more restrictive body issues. Taxpayers would have to cough up extra dollars for custom tailoring slacks to accommodate the disappearing male booty.

An eighty-year-old chassis requires a lot of exercise and maintenance to stay healthy. That translates to more doctor appointments and more time in the gym.

Knocking eighty is too old to keep up with the demands of the presidency. Bernie and Joe’s experience in government and life are valuable assets. A better option would be cabinet positions.

I’ll bet Elizabeth would find a plan for that.

How Do We Like Him Now?

I don’t like a couple of my doctors. One is a stuffed shirt and the other a martinet, but based on their education, training, and experience I trust their judgment.  They probably don’t like me either, but I don’t owe them money, so it’s a win for both of us.

I am surprised when people risk their wellbeing and select those who serve them based on likability as opposed to qualifications. Yet, isn’t this exactly what happened during the 2016 election? When did we reach the point in our culture where we valued likability over capability?

Likability was the focus during the 1952 election, with “I Like Ike” campaign slogan. Unlike our current Republican leader, Ike took a firm stand against mob rule, risking his favorable likability rating.

Likability wasn’t a factor until Hillary Clinton ran against you know who. Voters chose a snake oil salesman, with no qualifications to lead anything but organized crime, over a woman who was eminently qualified to be president, because they didn’t like her.

The 2016 election results were further proof of Russian influence via the Vladimir Lenin quote, “Show me who your friends are, and I’ll tell you what you are.” Fox and Friends and Trump and friends reinforce this adage. The past three years of revolving door appointments and subsequent resignations are the result of choosing spin over substance.

Maybe next time we will consider someone who has demonstrated a capacity for caring and compassion over the recommendation of a two-bit street preacher.

Maybe next time there is an election logic will prevail. There’s not much that’s positive about likability these days.

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