Shut the heck up.

Carlotta came back to work today, but before she could tell us any stories of her vacation, Kallie told her she’d been fired. It's all about that crazy phone call from HR (12/14), so Lottie got to spend half of her first morning back on the phone with those nitwits in HR. And the upshot is…

She still works here, and like most people, she does not have to pay union dues when she’s not in a union. But she did have to go to HR and sign some stupid forms, handed to her by the same person who thought she was too stupid to do this job in the first place (11/14).

There are workplaces more evil, maybe more mean, but there can be no workplace more stupid than our workplace.

♦ ♦ ♦

I think of myself as a feminist. I strongly believe in equal rights for everyone, regardless of all the usual things that should be disregarded, and one of those is gender. Lottie should be able to come to work, and be respected for doing the job, and her gender and appearance should have nothing to do with anything and should never be an issue in the workplace. So there.

But holy crap she’s pretty. I’m a straight man, and when she’s standing next to me I’m even straighter. When Carlotta is talking about work, talking about anything, and by good manners I’m supposed to be looking at her, it’s impossible not to notice that she looks great, even smells great, and what a smile, and ... well, my mind is not always on price changes, shipping dates, and merchandise transfers.

I’ll never say anything, though.

♦ ♦ ♦

Because whenever I say anything, there's a good chance I'll botch it up. Like this:

I’m fat, plain, not too bright, and way too socially ill at ease, so I’m in the habit of defusing all that with self-deprecating humor, because, you know, there’s a lot of me to self-deprecate. 

Well, today one of the junior executives (actually, my favorite junior exec, because she’s clever, chubby, plain, socially ill at ease like me, and writing a novel) brought her children to the office and introduced them around. For some reason, Pathetic Doug said something pathetic.

This lady introduced me to her two chubby 8- or 10-year-old kids, and I said to them, “Pleased to meet you, I’m the fat, plain, not-too-bright jackass your mom may have mentioned.”

Why the hell did I say that? I knew it was idiotic even as I said what I said, but once the first few words were out, it couldn’t be stopped.

As if she’d mention me to her family at home. 

Really dumb, dumb, dumb.

It’s yet another rerun of a lesson I should’ve learned thirty years ago: Shut the heck up. You usually say the wrong thing if you say anything at all, Doug, so just shut the heck up.

 From Pathetic Life #7
Wednesday, December 28, 1994

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

Pathetic Life 

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