Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Hunter Becomes the Hunted

I am on a search for Bindi Irwin.

As I work to warm up mamadukes to the idea of Australia and convince my bros and hos that I’m not making a foolish move for a guy, I’ve been answering a lot of questions for myself. Yesterday, while procrastinating on the plantation via g-chat, I spoke with one soul sister from another mister, who urged me to leave this hemisphere. Our convo went something like this:

You could hang out with Bindi. That could be fun.
Me: Po’ Bindi—she’s had to grow up so fast.
L: I like how the family didn’t miss a beat.
Dad’s dead.
I got my own show.
I rap about reptiles.
She’s a G.

I mean, if that’s not the Sojourner Truth, I don’t know what is! Bindi is gangsta to the maxxxxxx! I mean, check out homegirl on the Today Show rapping Trouble in the Jungle. She was just like, “Having a dead daddy doesn’t mean I can’t dance!” Homegirl is my new (Australian) idol—I think she may be a young strong black woman in the making.

I must go to her and fortify myself.

This is my plan: I will go down under and comb the continent for the tiny Caucasian imp, focusing my search around animal sanctuaries and stagnant lakes where reptiles make their home. I will brush up on my dance moves and wear only khaki-colored ensembles, in hopes that she will hire me as a b(l)ack-up dancer. Following such great back-up dancers as K-Fed and J-Lo’s ex (what was his name?), I will work my way into Bindi’s inner circle, becoming a fixture at her side during all major promotional appearances. I will turn her pigtails into cornrows and soon people will wonder where her mother went.

The mother will be silenced.

Bindi and I will sharpen her rap skills (baby’s kinda a hot mess, as you can see in the clip above), and we will record a duet—the follow-up to “Trouble in the Jungle,” it will be a remix of “Jungle Fever,” which plays on her love of animals, our interracial friendship, and the inevitable yellow fever outbreak of 2011. Stevie Wonder will appear in the video.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Rabbit-Proof Blacktress/ Longings to Go Down Under

You all know how I have dreams of becoming an overseas pop-singing sensation, right?
Yeah, so I’m thinking it’s time I kick that jam into high-gear. Perhaps, instead of Ashley Tisdale, they can put a blacktress in the remake of Teen Witch! Imagine:

Int. Classroom. Day.
A dowdy blacktress, in glasses and an ill-fitting potato-sack dress, sits in the back of the class, doodling and staring longingly at Mark (played by Soul Food television hottie Boris Kodjoe), a star football player who already has a full scholarship to a historically black college—even though he’s only a junior.
He catches her staring, and he smiles. His teeth gleam like white Chiclets. She drops her pen, flustered. When she reaches down to pick it up, she smacks her head on the desk—so awkward! She shrieks, and all her classmates turn and snicker as she holds her throbbing head.

Do you have something to say, Sojourner?

No, massa—I mean, Mister Hiller.

She looks over at Mark and blushes (yes, a black girl can blush).

Okay, that’s all I got so far, but the rest of it will involve a choreographed dance routine to the remix of Nina Simone’s hit song “Young, Gifted, and Black,” which will feature a rap by Lil’ Bow Wow (or, as I like to call him, “The WOW”).

Um, if you can’t tell, I’m bored, guys.
Not just cause it’s Monday and I’m on the plantation, but with NYC in general. It’s just getting old. The same bars, the same pervy guys, the same trains with the same delays—I need a change of pace.

So I’m thinking moving to Australia.

Yes, I want to go down under.

Some of my loyal readers who have followed the truth from the beginning may be thinking that I want to go down under for the man who inspired this post. And although having his mixie babies would be a good time, I'm not about to pull a Felicity for a man who may not be worth is weight in gold doubloons.

But, his desire for a blacktress has really gotten me thinking. Why am I here dealing with crazy and lazy hot messes, when there is a whole world of men who may be down with the brown? The Australian has shown me what I could be missing. Besides, the weather’s mild, the men are tanned and rugged, and everyone has an accent. I could get a job at a bar (you know how I love to enable other people’s addictions) or work in an office. I could get a gig as a nanny, but that'll be too similar to my slave past, and I may have flashbacks. Or, I could really develop my skills as a blacktress and be a recurring character on Neighbours, in which I play....a black girl who moves into the neighborhood!!!
I don’t really care what I do as long as it allows Sojourner to write, travel, and see something new (not the movie—though I will probably bring that DVD with me as a carry-on).

But I’m fearful. Will they be able to handle a blacktress down under? Where will I get my hair did? Will the white male oppress me? Will I get to make out with hot dudes? I mean, I’ve read about the Aborigines and seen Rabbit-Proof Fence, so I know tensions can run a little high—how will they feel about Sojourner? CAN THEY HANDLE THE TRUTH???

What do you think, guys? Any suggestions?
I think I may have some Australian blog readers (ELI REED, i'm talking to you): if you have any insights, please bring them to a blacktress (we can exchange email addresses and discuss). Would you be my friend if I came to your hemisphere? If you like the blog, you’ll love Sojo IN THE FLESH.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

This Is My Confession

I just finished watching Akeelah and the Bee and I'm feeling a little emotional.
This is nothing new.
I have seen Akeelah and the Bee on more than one occasion.

There, I've said it.

The film tells the story of a young, gifted, and black girl who discovers her gift for spelling with the guidance of Laurence Fishburne, a surly college professor who has led many spellers to the championships. Angela Bassett plays Akeelah's single mother, struggling to keep the family afloat by working overtime, all the time.

This film speaks to my heart on many levels: as a woman of color, a writer, a blacktress, and as a former young black girl--and a former spelling bee champ.

Yes, Sojo can spell.

I was never all into the Latin roots and reading the dictionary, but back in my Harlem schooldaze, I represented the 5th grade in our school-wide spelling bee. I didn't take home the big trophy, but I made it to the top 3-- and I even beat an 8th grader.

So, watching Akeelah and the Bee is always tender and heartwarming, and I tune in for at least a portion of it whenever it's on the boob tube.

And I always cry at the end.

Wow. I can't believe I just admitted it. I must really feel safe with you guys here in cyberspace.

But for serious, I do cry during the film. Something about the cast of a who's-who of blacktors and blacktresses, Akeelah's glasses and braids in a ponytail--she is a young Sojo. Her ill-fitting outfits, nerdiness, and friendship with the soon-to-be homosexual fellow speller Javier is everything I was growing up. Then just add Angela Bassett to the mix, and I'm feeling empowered, intimidated, and desperate for her approval--much like I do with my own mother.

At the end, when Akeelah is triumphant (come on, that wasn't a spoiler, you know it's a feel-good film), there's a montage of everyone cheering: her classmates back in South Central LA (obvi it had to be set there), her family back home, neighborhood residents in the diner. And I don't know why, but the slow-motion clapping and hugging just really got me this time around--Sojo's spirit was lifted. I am so happy when a young nerdy negress can triumph and lift up the whole community.

The young blacktress Keke Palmer, floating in the Caucasian Sea, stands--and spells--alone.
I think I own the outfit she's wearing.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Late Birthday Love/ An Ode to a Strong Black Woman

When I first met you, I must admit I was scared
You were a strong white woman, and said things other wouldn’t dare.
Gender, race, politics, and class
you were into it all and you had great hair and a cute ass.
After admiring you from afar, the clouds parted in heaven
Something magical happened between us in the summer of 2007.
You let me into your heart (all it took was a glass of red wine)
And I found your inner bourgie pig, and you came to accept mine.
You’re a strong black woman--or so people think when they hear your name--
And when I’m feeling down, you remind me that I’m just the same.
Inter-office emails keep the love fires burning when we were apart
Procrastination is my destination when you’re in my inbox at the day’s start.
You remind me that men are a dime a baker’s dozen,
And I even love your Swedish pseudo-cousin—
And I think me and little sis may become besties.
You help Sojourner find the TRUTH, from the very first day,
And when a man oppresses me, you tell me I don’t need them.
I know if I was still in slavery today,
You’d be the white person to buy my freedom.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

You Don't Own Me!

I think facebook is trying to bring slavery back, much in the way that JT tried to bring back sexy.

I, as a blacktress, am offended by this.

Today I went in to the good ol' f-book to see who wanted to be friends, who had a new special friend, and who was kicking my butt in Scrabulous. I haven't really been into facebook since they decided to add more applications than an Ivy League school, but I go along for the ride because seeing the number of internet friends I have gives me a boost on really rough days. Usually I ignore the applications people ask me to add, knowing that this will do nothing but clutter up my page full of hilarious, wry quotes, and clever inside jokes that friends write on my wall--you know, just to see if you remember that time that really funny thing happened a couple years ago.
Today a particular application caught my eye. Invited by a dude from Denmark who I met at a hostel in New Orleans 3 years ago (I kid you not, you know how random f-book gets), it read:

M- L sent a request using Owned!:

Hey , I just bought you. Find out how much I think you're worth!

Block This Application | Ignore All Invites From This Friend

Um, excuse me. Did he just say he bought a blacktress? In the words of Whitney--hell to the no!!!

Is facebook trying to put me back on the auction block? I think it's quite humorous that only two people have asked me to add this application, and they are both men who are whiter than a monster truck rally held in a ski resort.* One of them was a dude I made out with who then had no love for a blacktress--he most certainly doesn't get to buy me when he already got some chocolate milk for free!!!

I'm sorry, but this application is just too much. When it was pink ribbons and vampires, I was okay with it. I even went along with a good game of Oregon Trail (always caulk the wagon) and some Scrabulous (even though it takes 12 weeks to finish a game). Then bitches started asking me to take a quiz to determine "what kind of American accent I have." I thought facebook was being run by a monkey with Down's Syndrome.

Now I'm starting to believe it's being run by my former Massa John Nealy (who was straight trippin' on me cause I spoke Dutch and not English--um, just be glad someone let me learn one language!). I haven't even clicked the link that that says "what's my price?" cause I'm sure it'll put me on some sneaky government list of people to re-slave. Besides, if I'm worth less than Beyonce, I'll just be really pissed.

*could that even happen? I don't know, but it sounds like two things that are stereotypically Caucasian. Maybe I should ask that guy who does Stuff White People Like before I go throwing these terms around. Next thing you know, Aliza Shvarts will come after me with some blood in a cup, saying it's her unborn biracial baby.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Future Baby Daddy on 7th Street

OMG guys!!!!!!

I was totes walking down 7th street, in the east village, enjoying my lunch hour and the warm sun as memories of the motherland caressed my mind, and I saw two women in my path. They were standing next to a thrift store called “Fabulous Fanny’s,” and were looking down at the ground. With my headphones on and the tint of my sun-specs, I wasn’t paying much attention—I figured they were looking at a dog or something (as many people do in the east village).

Suddenly, however busybody in me followed their gaze and I saw they were talking to a man.

A man who turned out to be none other than CLIVE OWEN—the hot actor I’d love to get Closer to (you know I love a British man)! He was ruggedly handsome and looked camera-ready in a white button-down and jeans. I don’t know if he knew the old broads, but he talked to them casually. Does he live in the neighborhood? I wondered, as I made a note of the location for future star-gazing. He noticed me looking, I guess, and our eyes met through our sunglasses. I quickly walked on, not wanting to bother him (stars—they’re just like US!) or be “that girl,” but I think we had a moment.

I think he wants me.

Clive, you can have me any which way but loose!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A Real Blacktress Gives Back

You'll never guess what I did yesterday, y'all.
I helped an old lady cross the street!!!

For real.

I fleed the plantation yesterday, and enjoyed the sunshine as I fortified my weary bones. Part of this involved getting my hair did in the Bronx-- you know, where the Dominican ladies will work it out. A blacktress can come in looking like Macy Gray and walk out looking like Pocahontas**!!!!!

Anyway, after applying burning chemicals to my scalp to deny my nubian nappiness, I left 2 hours later feeling hungry, kinda sweaty, but surprisingly grown and sexy. I put on my sunglasses as I stepped out into the sun's glare, which only increased the sexy feeling (and allow me to eye-fuck hotties without consent--holla!).

As I waited for the light to change across the Grand Concourse, I heard a voice behind me call out. A true New Yorker, I ignored the initial call, certain that I didn't know you, so I wasn't even going to invite a random conversationalist--or a dude hell-bent on calling me "shorty" or "ma" (paging Dr. Freud!). The voice repeated, this time softer, gentler, with a hint of an island accent. I turned around to see a small old woman resting on her cane. She held out her hand to me and the another young woman who was approaching the corner. "Can you please help me cross the street?" the old woman asked us. I hurried over, and grabbed her hand.

The Grand Concourse is a rough strip, and there are often accidents as people try to cross the quadruple-lane pavement. She was already about 4'11", and was wearing a parka on a 60-degree day, so I knew it was behoovy of me to come to the rescue.

It took us about 10 minutes to cross the street.

The whole time, she kept saying, "Thank you for being patient with me, the Lord will bless you," her sweet West Indian accent pouring into my ears sweeter than syrup.

I assured her I was in no rush, which I wasn't. Not only was I now feeling grown and sexy, I felt useful.

And she was totally right about being blessed. I knew she'd totes given me a "get out of jail free"--or, rather, "get into heaven VIP"--card.

Dude, I helped an old lady cross the street!! That doesn't even happen! Do you know what that means? I can steal candy from a baby, double park my imaginary moped, and kill a man just to watch him die--and totally break even!!! How awesome is that?

God, it feels good to help people.

**(have you ever heard the wolf cry????)

A Letter from a Reader

I live in India, and Im an artist, painting mostly in oils.
Most of my life I had this desire to come to the US and paint its lovely hills and deserts .
Unfortunately that has been fantasy so long.
But , just last week, I visited a shopping mall, and there in a bookshop I laid my hands on the very first ___________ magazine!
I have been seeing your mag online for so long, and have heard of your mag for decades , and it was a thrilling experience to lay my hands on your mag.

In life there are so many of these yet-to-be-experienced moments that you can't describe the joy and thrill when you come to these moments.
I thank you for your lovely mag! Im considering subscribing to it, as I have just applied for my first credit card.
Thank you , and please keep up your quality.

I must admit that this letter is only funny if you replace the 'm' in "mag" with a v.
Go ahead. Do it.
Now laugh.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Hotness: A Review

Last night I had the pleasure of being the plus-one of none other than JJSiii at the screening of the upcoming film The Wackness. We didn’t really know what we were in for, and I attended for three reasons: it was free; Mary Kate Olsen was in it; as was Method Man.

I figured disappointment was highly unlikely—and I wasn’t wrong.

The Wackness
centers on Luke Schapiro, a young Jewish prep-school gangster lazing about the city over the summer before he’s set to go to college. To pass the time, he sells weed out of an ice truck, and hangs out with Ben Kingsley (yeah, that Ben Kingsley—Ghandi, Sexy Beast, etc.), who plays a therapist who's a hot mess himself.

How hot of a mess? Well, he buys weed from Luke and makes out with M-K O.

Don’t worry, that’s not even the best of it.

The film’s true hotness comes in the form of witty one-liners and the great soundtrack, which harkens back to our youth (I mean, what’s better than watching a teen boy swipe his v-card to R. Kelly’s “Bump ‘n’ Grind”?!). Set in the summer of 1994, the film is a period piece of the finest degree, showing us the early years, when having the channel 1 was a big deal, when Notorious BIG was just coming up (and, you know, not dead), and Giuliani was getting rid of whorehouses and cracking down on crime.

Unless you were a white boy from the Upper East Side selling weed.

Before the screening of the film we were given a detailed information packet, which included a “glossary of slang terms” that appeared in the film. Some words included:

the plural of breasts.
Bounce: to leave a place. Eg. This party is wack, let’s bounce.
Weed: marijuana.

I kid you not.

I didn’t think these words were so foreign, especially when coming out of the mouth of an actor who played basically every guy I went to high school with. Apparently, I’m a bit more urban than their target audience.

But I’m certainly not more urban than Luke Schapiro, who takes his love of 90s hip hop to the nth power, making mix tapes for the therapist and his stepdaughter, Stephanie (played by Olivia Thirlby, the bff in Juno), who he is has a fat crush on.
No, “fat crush” would be an understatement. I believe his exact words are:
I got mad love for you, shorty. You make me, like, want to listen to Boyz II Men.
Best. Line. Ever.
I think I now know what I want my future husband to say to me on our wedding night.

The film works best as a story of child-men, with Ben Kingsley smoking weed, suggesting that the cure for Luke’s malaise is just getting laid (or, as he puts it, “the pussyquest”), and getting them locked up in the clink for a hot minute (where he asks a scrawny old black man what he’s in for and the man answers matter-of-factly: “I stabbed my wife in the pussy.” I know why this film won so much buzz at Sundance). Ben Kingsley is the hotness in this film, and the relationship between him and Luke is unexpected and only something an indie film would create, but it’s actually believable and enjoyable to watch. As JJSiii put it, “it didn’t give me an indie boner or anything, but I liked it.”


Luke is a sad case, and is well-played by some dude who is usually on Nickelodeon (Josh Peck--have you heard of him? Fresh face to watch). He has no friends and just wants to love Stephanie, who cannot handle his tenderness. Stephanie’s rejection of Luke’s affection was particularly eye-opening for a blacktress. He was ready to start of college in a long-distance relationship, give her the love he had no one else to give it to, and she played him like a game of Chinese checkers!!! It’s girls like Stephanie that made it impossible for me to find a man willing to commit at any point from 2003-present. Awkward, tender guys gave their heart away to skinny boring girls who just got bored, and then they vowed never to love again.

I bet in the sequel to The Wackness we see Luke in college, sleeping with any and everything with a vajayjay, as one lonely girl just tries to make him an honest man, but he won’t let her cause he’s “going through a lot right now” which is code for “I don’t like you, and I am incapable of love because I’m so self-involved.”

Sorry, I digress.

Other highlights from the film include:
- Method Man as Percy, Luke’s weed supplier, who for some reason has a Jamaican accent.
- Ben Kingsley's final words to Luke at the end of the film: "Good luck in school. Try and sleep with a black girl--I never got to do that in college." How many times did I say at Diversity U, "black is like bi--you try it once in college"?!
Many times.
And Ben Kingsley simply confirms it.
- The line that gives the film its title:
While on the beach on Fire Island, Luke is confused and scared, wondering if Stephanie really like-likes him. She tells him to relax, and not think about the end of the summer, saying, “see, that’s your problem Schapiro, the way you look at things. Me, I just see the dopeness. But you, you just see the wackness.”
I will now be referring to all negative things as “the wackness” and all cool things as “the dopeness.”
Except for this film. It is most definitely THE HOTNESS.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Dream Lover

As many of you may already know, I’m kinda into Harry Potter. I love his magic wand, I want his snake to Slyther-in, you know—the usual. While this is always good for a laugh among friends, I’m starting to wonder if this obsession is getting to be a little unhealthy. I woke up in the middle of the night after a terrible nightmare. I struggled to go back to sleep, but was unable to. This morning, I talked to my fellow scorned woman about what happened, unable to go on with my day until this wicked dream was out in the open.

Thank god for gchat, or else I would have had to wait until a reasonable hour to discuss this via telephone.

me: oh my god, i had such bad nightmares last night
seriously, i had to wake up and put on ‘flight of the conchords’ on dvd just to calm down

K: oh my god

me: but the dream was this:
luna lovegood was possessed by lord voldemort and there was nothing i could do
so i texted harry, ron, and hermione
because i can't even speak parseltongue
(katie, i'm dead serious)

K: shut up-- you had a nightmare about harry potter

me: and luna was all pasty and speaking in scary demonic languages, kinda like linda blair in THE EXORCIST
and i was carrying her downstairs to the living room, terrified.
and then harry texted me back

Kathleen: texting with harry potter

me: and harry was like, "reply to her in the voice she uses and tell her to stop"
and then i did i said "impendimentum"
what does that mean?!
and luna acted like she was okay
but then she wasn't

K: wow this is very detailed

me: and she used dark magic to knock me and my mom down
it really was quite detailed and intense.
i woke up in a cold sweat
maybe i had a vision
maybe i'm connected to the dark lord
this should be a blog post?

Monday, April 7, 2008

Mondays With Artists

You know, just when I think I’m ready to pack it up and quit this plantation, something comes in the mail or a voice squawks in my ear, and I remember to find the laughter. Today is no exception.

I was sorting the mail for the massas when a letter addressed to no one in particular hit the pile. I open any piece of mail with no direct recipient, and usually toss it in the garbage because it often involves an organization asking for money or someone with questionable talent looking for exposure. Today’s letter featured a 1-page single-spaced letter, and four photographs of the artist’s work attached. I have retyped the greatest moments from the letter below, leaving in all typos and other errors so you can really feel what I felt while holding this cold piece of parchment in my hands. You must forgive my inability to scan the accompanying images—something about “being illegal” and “dangerous” came up, but I wasn’t really paying attention. Anyway, here it is:

Dear Magazine Editor,
It feels strange approaching you. Then again We Artist’s have to promote ourselves sometimes….

[Note the typos. I’m uncomfortable. I think part of promoting oneself should require the use of proper grammar and spelling.]

I was tired of painting my usual flowers and landscapes. “Done to Death.”

[Um, why is that in quotes? I know he’s not really dead, or else he couldn’t write to me.
Or could he??????]

I wanted to do something different, stimulating, and enjoyable with a “Fresh subject matter.” Pondering, what could be interesting that would get people into the gallery to at least look? I came up with the idea of “Cats.” A lot of people like cats. That’s it! “Cat’s doing outrageous human things.”

I kid you not.
This is my job.
Read on.

Why cats? Cats have a mischievous behavior anyway, and do what, when, and where they want on there own terms. If cats could, they would be doing human things…
I must admit, I was giggling to myself as these ideas flourished. … As I was painting, other ideas came to mind that would make the painting funnier, so I would change them as I went along. I was very excited to get out to the studio every day and work on these paintings. They were “FUN” and made me laugh out loud!! I figured that If they made me laugh (in my warped sense of humor) they would make others laugh, too. (Maybe I am related to Gary Larson- Far Side Cartoons)”

I think Gary Larson would probably take away his acrylic if he saw this.
The six paintings he provided pictures of include:
-A cat doing a handstand on a surfboard.
-A cat lounging in a bed of various balls of yarn.
-A cat dressed as a grocer, selling things that only cats like: smoked sardines, yarn balls, goldfish.
-And my favorite: A dog dressed as a doctor, performing an ultrasound on a cat's belly. The wall of the doctor's office features the sign "Canine University: Feline Obstetrics." The caption under the painting reads, "you're going to have siamese twins!!"

This man and the sock monkey guy should get together and put their animals in crazy situations.

Does anyone mind putting my resume on

Friday, April 4, 2008


In addition to being a writer, comedian, and blacktress, I am also a grader for an undergraduate film course at my alma mater (yeah, I got my learn on when I was allowed to). I receive papers written by students of all grade levels taking an introductory course in cinema, and I wield my red pen like a sword, cutting into their hopes and dreams—and dropping a little knowledge. What I love about this job is threefold:

1. I get a little extra income coming in (I’m just a freed squirrel trying to get a nut, y’all!)
2. I get to reaffirm my own genius by judging others.
3. I get to guide young Caucasian minds, teaching them how to write thoughtful analysis and become freedom writers.
(sometimes I’m tempted to ask about their great-grandfathers’ slave-owning past, but I remember that that’s inappropriate in academia)

But sometimes when I’m reading these papers, the young people of Diversity University teach me a thing or two … and then I know why Michelle Pfeiffer, Hilary Swank, and Dainty Deb find great joy in teaching. (Granted, it’s better when the kids are impoverished and brown--cause then you can really hold your head up high at dinner parties and art openings--but well-tended liberals are better than nothing.)

Take, for instance, the current topic of the papers I am grading. They are for a film course that combines philosophy and psychology (only at Diversity U!), and has students quoting Freud, Nietzsche, and other scholars as they discuss memory and identity in melodrama. Reading 4 pages that manage to analyze the acting chops of Bette Davis and Freud’s definition of melancholy is nothing short of brilliant. However, when I saw that one of the paper topics asked students to comment on the differences between males and females, my eyes perked up with excitement. Here’s the intro to one paper:

"It is not uncommon for men to be baffled by the amount that women seem to ‘obsess’ over details and events, analyzing every word of a conversation that was had a week ago. Beyond this everyday difference and constant source of fighting between the sexes, there is the fact that women are forced to remember, while men are allowed to forget. This is due to cultural expectations and physical realities that have always existed and will always exist, and can be seen clearly in __________ and __________."

Does this student read my blog? How do they have such a firm grasp on female “obsession” and analysis of conversations that were “had a week ago”? The idea of women being forced to remember and men being allowed to forget is the crux of the essay, for in melodramatic films, male characters get to be playboys—or suffer from amnesia—while women always have to remember the magical night, the failed romance, or….THE KID THAT THEY GAVE BIRTH TO.

Reading these essays, I wondered if this was the key to the differences between the sexes: why do I freak out over a random dude not calling me after a few dates? Why do I replay our conversations in my head on loop, wondering what I said that was “too much,” while he skips happily along, going on auditions and playing magic cards—wait, I mean, doing whatever else he does ‘cause I’m not still into Magic-card Guy anyway.

I digress.

Is the reason for my obsession biological? Is it because any physical union with a man could result in our love-, dislike-, or drunken-boredom-child? My DNA says that it’s in my best interest to remember a potential baby daddy, if not for the future health of my offspring, but for the sheer need to avoid appearing on Jerry Springer or Maury Povich.

The student then went on to explain how easy it is for men to forget, and how the display of emotion common in females is not seen as a male virtue:

"though there are some cultures that are more accepting of male emotion than American culture, it is a present factor in every culture to some extent, tracing back to the fact that the male cavemen hunted for food while the women picked berries and tended to the cave and children."

(I kid you not. This is a real excerpt from a college student’s paper. A student whose parents and/or the government pay $40,000 per year for him/her to learn and write such papers.)

That is so true!!! I mean, have you seen the Geico commercials? Those cave dudes are always hunting for food and fun. Where are cavewomen on our television screens? They are off picking berries and tending to the cave and cavechildren!!!! From the beginning of time, women have had to remember everything that goes down cause men have been too busy hunting and flirting with cave-tramps. And now, in the 21st century, instead of hunting (which may be an actually legitimate excuse, since it was key to survival), all a dude has to say is that “shit’s been crazy” with them, leaving it up to you to remember when their mother’s birthday is, or when they get out of class so you can casually bump into them, or when you took your birth control pill so that you don’t end up at PPNYC.

Men are allowed to forget, and women are forced to remember.

In case you were wondering, I gave the above student an A+++ and told them to call me.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cracking the Code of Conduct

No, I didn't just use that title for the clever alliteration.

Today I received an intra-office email.
Do you know what that word means? It's when you get an email to your office email address from a party within your office.

I'm so glad I went to college and got a bachelor's degree. I would have never been able to use such a word.

Anyway, I digress. I opened my inbox yesterday to discover that I was wanted--for participation in an online course about our company's code of conduct. Apparently, someone had gotten wind of my lewd comments and penchant for sharing company secrets.

I jest.

I don't even know what my company does.

All employees were required to take the online training course, which was scheduled to take approximately 40 minutes.
W. T. F?!

Why in the world should it take 40 minutes for me to take a computer course to learn not to hire family members and/or grab the mail guy's ass? Mama didn't raise no fool!

After my anger subsided, I decided to alter my perspective--look on the bright side, as the therapist says. This was not simply THE MAN, forcing his will upon me. This was 40 minutes of company-sanctioned procrastination!

I clicked the link wholeheartedly, and prepared to tuck in for a hearty helping of repetitive information fitting a mentally disabled foreign child.

I was not disappointed.

I had to read through 5 scenarios, and then take a quiz at the end. I thought I'd beat the system by clicking straight through to the NEXT button at the end of each scenarios, but the company was ready for my laziness and disrespect. A giant pop-up window came up when I clicked the button prematurely.

The computer, it's thinking.

This is how the movie "I, ROBOT" started--only I'm no Will Smith.

I put on my headphones and began to read the scenarios.

What I immediately discovered shocked me unlike any realization I'd ever had: I think our Code of Conduct "training course" was written by Carrot Top.

Here's an excerpt from a scenario titled "Pam Gets an Eyeful"-- needless to say, it has to do with lewdness:

GlobeCo's Business Development Department had a different culture than the rest of the company. Many people who worked there enjoyed telling dirty jokes, and one employee, Ken, often downloaded new screensavers from lingerie catalogs.

[Um, what? What kind of "culture" does the Development Department have that would lead someone to tell a dirty joke and/or download a screensaver from a lingerie catalog? I didn't know Business Development was such a raunchy area of major corporations--what was I think entering a creative field?

Oh, and PS-- when did lingerie catalogs start making screensavers?]

Ken is about to show the newest pictures to his coworker, Tim, and they're about to be interrupted by another employee, Pam, who doesn't find the pictures funny.

Ken: Hey, Tim, check out this new screensaver! These things get better every week.

[Do they really get better, Ken? Do they? Who is this guy? He sounds lame. This is the second hole in this "story" for me. There's no way this guy--who is clearly socially awkward and flirts inappropriately with the interns--would still be employed at GlobeCo, or even have an office friend who'd want to "check out his new screensaver."]

Tim: What's the theme this time?

Ken: I think it's Nations of the World. See the little flag?

[Who added this touch of color? I think this is my favorite line]

Tim: Oh yeah, I see it now. And on the other girl, too. You know, that is probably the tiniest flag I've ever seen! (they both laugh)

Pam: Hey Ken, hey Tim. So I've been going over the—Oh, no. Those screensavers again?

[I don't have a picture of Pam, but I don't think she's cool like Pam from "The Office." I imagine her to be bloated and whiny, and probably eats Lean Cuisines while looking
longingly at Tim's sandwiches from SUBWAY. ]

Ken: No, Pam, it's not what you think! Tim and I are! You know, things like wind resistance.

[Now, if Ken really is this pervy, wouldn't you think he would have a better cover line than that? I mean, this can't be the first time he's been caught with his pants down and his fingers on a mouse]

Tim: Yeah, and maximum fabric load. See, this fabric right here has just about hit its breaking point. (laughs)

Ken: Luckily yours is well within its safety margin, Pam, if you know what I mean... (laughs)
[By that, he means that she is wearing more clothes than the lingerie model. Get it?]

Pam: Look, I've told you guys before to knock it off. These screensavers are really offensive. And I'm tired of overhearing your dirty jokes.

Ken: Oh, you're just jealous.

[Yes, yes she is.]

Ken and Tim's comments to Pam are offensive and violate GlobeCo's Code of Conduct, as do the screensavers they're displaying. Unfortunately, it sounds like this kind of behavior has been going on for a while, despite Kim's complaints. Kim should discuss the situation with her manager or HR immediately.


Why did they assume this would take me 40 minutes?
And why did they make me take a quiz afterwards?

What I learned from this Code of Conduct training is threefold:

1. The Business Development Department at the imaginary GlobeCo is really effed up.
2. Pornographic screensavers are not okay.
3. Working in a cubicle the size of a veal pen makes you do dirty things on company time.