“The emotional, sexual, and psychological stereotyping of females begins when the doctor says: “It’s a girl.” ― Shirley Chisholm
Facebook, your standards on acceptable depictions of the female body (as discovered when researching image regulations for a client’s social media posts) trouble me. I think we can all agree that bathroom selfies need to go, but out of the three (of four total) images depicting women, the bottom left image is the one showing the most inappropriate amounts of skin? Really?
“That’s disgusting…thanks for taking one for the team.” “But I don’t want to take one for the team. I want to leave the team to its moldy fate.” – Student employee, C.
One of the downsides of working at a university is that everything is time is cyclical. The wheel of life and work turns by semesters and even though you are out of school, you are directly affected by this fact. For example, I do most of my hiring and firing of students at the beginning of new semesters – kids graduate, have tough schedules, or sometimes even drop out and have to be terminated or replaced. During Fall and Winter terms I’m involved with projects related to various athletic seasons. When Spring and Summer terms roll around I, and others, will be beating our heads on our desks for whole weeks at a time for lack of work – you can only reorganize the supply closet, update your all of your forms, and rearrange your staplers so many times before you’re quite longing for heinous crimes to be committed.
But there is a sneaky week or two in the middle of every semester, after you’ve finished hiring all of your new students and finished your major projects, and just before you have to start ordering next month’s supplies and prep next term’s spreadsheets, that you are stuck.
It is at this soul numbing point that I start wandering about the office begging for work. Susie is usually pretty good at giving me some filing or shredding, or handing one of her own projects over to me if she is swamped, but even her ideas can give out. And so it proved this mid-Winter.
I had my annual employee evaluation and told her that since I began working here I’ve tried to streamline and improve processes and I’ve been successful – to the point that I regularly don’t have enough to do, especially during mid-term deadlock. When she asked what sort of small project ideas I’ve come up with, I listed the various tasks I’ve given myself over the past year and declared without guilt that the idea well has run dry. After a moment she said she had a job that needed doing but didn’t want to offend me by asking. I told her I didn’t mind.
So today I spent an hour on hand and knees cleaning out the two refrigerators in the break area.
And let me just state for the record, there are mothers all over the United States today, wringing their hands and weeping as they try to figure out where they went wrong.
I pulled seven one litre bottles of soda that were up to a year old (and fermenting), three packages of cream cheese that had turned teal (and grown eyes), almost an entire pizza that had dried out months ago (and fossilized), and several tupperware filled with various rotting mush (that had apparently evolved highly enough to invent a rudimentary form of communication). Let us not speak of the fish I found. Really. Let’s not.
Allow me to disabuse you of a seemingly common notion: the internet is not anonymous. No really, it’s not. Yes, there are steps you can take to protect your identity and privacy, but anyone who really wants to figure out who is posting those trollish comments at the bottom of a youtube video probably can.
From a police perspective, this anonymity myth is particularly funny. We’ve had instances with theft that we’ve traced from Craiglist, and abuse of animal carcasses (not as kinky as it sounds) that we’ve tracked from Facebook. The bottom line is, if you do something wrong and then publish photos, accounts, or step-by-step instructions somewhere online, it is really easy to find you and punish you.
So, when a kid shared on Twitter that he was jumping curbs in his car to park in visitor and handicapped parking, it was the work of a mere moment to look up his name on the campus directory, see what car he drove, and slap a ticket on it. And when he came in huffing and puffing about why he’d got a ticket because “he hadn’t done anything wrong,” it was immensely satisfying to tilt a computer screen at him to display his own confession, broadcast for all creation to see, and watch him turn 12 shades of red.
Truth is, dear World At Large, if you really are so silly as to tell everyone what you’ve done and where you are, do expect someone to show up and hold you accountable. Because someone probably will. And if you are really so narcissistic that you have to share every detail of your life, even your petty criminality with us, you have much larger issues to deal with.
“The art of medicine consists in amusing the patient while nature cures the disease.”
I will publicly scorn those who play Farmville and whatever the latest Vampire obsessed game is on Facebook, but I am far more guilty than they. For I, it must be confessed, play…Sorority Life.
(Yes, yes. Shame. Plenty of shame. Let’s move on, shall we?)
However I think that, despite the obligatory shame spiral, I’m still allowed to be a bit snobbish about the fact that I in no way confuse Facebook and its games with real life.
For example yesterday, after I got home and checked my email, I logged into Facebook and Sorority Life, and sitting pretty at the top of the message board was: “My kid is sick! Is there an R(egistered) N(urse) on the feed?!”
“Sweet is revenge – especially to women.”
– Lord Byron
Good morning, minions. Where can I get the best real-looking plastic snakes money can buy?
Last week, after doing the laundry run, I returned the key to Lt. Colossus as per usual. Then J. and I headed up to the City for the evening. I’d left my phone at home because it needed to charge, and when we came back I had about half a dozen messages on it that proceeded thus:
“C. this is —- from work, Lt. Colossus asked me to call you and find out where you left the key to the van. Could you call me back? Thanks.”
“C. this is —- again, we really need that key.”
“This is Officer —-, I’m not happy. You know that you’re supposed to turn that key into Colossus when you’re done, it’s not your car. We need to use it.”
“C., Colossus. Where the hell is that key? You know better than to keep it, damn it! We need it!”
“C.! Where is it?!”
“C. Hi…sorry…this is Colossus…I found the key…see you tomorrow.”
The blasted man, after having told all the officers on duty who needed the van that I had absconded with their blessed key, had accidentally taken it home with him in his pants pocket. Jupiter Ammon, what is it with men and pants in this office?!
But to add insult to injury, this morning he found Lt. Citrus pressing a uniform in the supply room and cracked, “Shouldn’t you have to wear a skirt to do that?”
Wise heard him and let him have it with both barrels.
“But you girls weren’t supposed to hear that,” he protested.
“It’s sexist whether we hear it or not,” I retorted.
“You just have not sense of humor,” he tried to tease.
Foolish, foolish man. I’ve officially lost patience with your mild but all-pervading sexism and your tendency to blame things on me. And unlike most women you seem to know, I am not of the ignore-it-and-it-will-go-away persuasion. Also I know three very important things about you. 1 – that you scream like a girl, 2 – that you are terrified of snakes, 3 – your locker combination.
There are many ways to cure sexism and undesirable behavior. I choose psychological warfare.
“If idiots could fly, this place would be an airport.”
– Sign on Lauper’s desk
I am constantly amazed at some of the conversations that we, as a police department, get to be a part of. Read on for a sampling of THIS week’s pearls of wisdom:
“My child’s backpack went missing at your university over the weekend. I’ve checked the Lost and Found, all the custodial departments, and with his camp counselors. What do you think happened to it?”
“Honestly, ma’am, I think it very likely it was stolen.”
“(Gasp!) Would someone do that?!” *
“I just thought that if I didn’t pay these tickets they would just go away.”
“Sorry, sir, that’s not correct. If you don’t pay tickets they go to collections after a certain number of months. That information is found both on our website and printed on the ticket you recieved.”
“Well, I still wasn’t going to pay them. It was the principle of the thing.” **
“I’ve been driving around for an hour looking for your pink parking lots.”
“I’m sorry, ma’am, I’m afraid I don’t understand.”
“The pink parking lots! They’re pink on your map, but I haven’t found any parking lots painted pink.”
“Ma’am, we only depict them in pink on the maps to distinguish visitor parking lots from all the other lots on campus, they are really just normal parking lots.”
“What do you mean? This is false information!” ***
“So, on Craigslist we found a listing for a scooter that we’re interested in, but I wanted a police opinion first.”
“Well, it’s listed for $50, the guy says he doesn’t have paperwork for it, and doesn’t even have a key for it. Does that sound normal to you?”
* Yes, ma’am, they would. Which is why we have police departments.
** Congratulations. Your principles, which apparently do not include being a law abiding citizen, have just ruined your credit score.
*** I don’t think we’re going to be able to help you.
**** Let me guess, the owner is Mr. Jean Boogaloo from Nigeria.
“Who can hope to be safe? Who sufficiently cautious?
Guard himself as he may, every moment is an ambush.”
For the past almost-two years that I’ve worked here, there has been a large plastic mat residing beneath my chair and the corners of various desks and cabinets. This mat is clear, studded on the bottom, a quarter of and inch thick, sharp edged, and slippery. As you may imagine, this mat has been a sore trial for many office staff, but myself in particular as I am A) a sadklutz, and B) the person who practically lives on top of this thing.
We, meaning mostly I, have slipped, tripped, slid, glided, skidded, twisted ankles, and face planted because of this contraption without complaint or word until today.
Hennessy and I were walking back from the Administration Building when a perfect storm of un-coordination happened. First her heel caught the edge of the mat. Then she started to fall forward which both lifted the mat and tore her shoe off. Then behind her I stuttered my step trying not to collide with my flailing friend. And THEN the sharp corner of the plastic peril bit into my foot. When we managed to right ourselves and glance down to survey damages, I was bleeding.
That was it! We grabbed Susie, one of the officers to move heavy furniture, and dragged the whole thing back to the custodians closet (it weighed about as much as Brazil, was filthy underneath, and smelled horrid to boot). Good riddance.
“Remember, kids, the Quail Call is not a toy!”
– Quailman (Doug)
Once upon a time, Margot began working in the university library in the Children/Young Adult Literature section. I take some credit for helping her get this job as one of the questions they asked her was, “What books are you currently reading?” She responded with a book I’d lent her, entitled “I, Lucifer” (click for Amazon link). Which, as you may have guessed, is not a children’s book, but absolutely fantastic. But apparently she was the only person who didn’t say something like, “The Berenstain Bears,” “The Magic Schoolbus,” or “The Three Little Kittens,” and she got the job because of individuality (not to mention brilliance. She’s annoying like that).
And I’m so glad she did because that meant she could share this gem (which pops up on library computers when an error occurs) with us!
I personally think we should set this up on all campus servers (particularly the parking system and its annoying offspring computer problems). Wouldn’t seeing this make your technical issue so much less aggravating? I think all universities should offer some sort of equivalent, though some mascots should not be used (such, as Pinto pointed out, a duck).
Also, the Fail Quail unintentionally reminds me of my youth: