Persons by any other name

I’ve been in the people business for a long, long time. As a person who has served other persons in shops and call centers, I’ve talked to all types of folks from every segment of society and after all this time, I have grown to kinda, sorta hate people. So many people out there are jackasses. Do you live in a midwestern suburb? After you unfolded two entire entire tables of merchandise, I probably sold you a shirt for your kid. Are you a former mid-nineties hipster? Dude, that was me selling you that Pearl Jam CD. (Remember when they had top ten hits? Remember when there were CDs?)  How about a greedy mother trying to get free toys for your bratty kid? Me again. In between those gigs I sold clothes in a boutique for no money or benefits and at another job, I got yelled at by smug plastic surgeons. As of late, I’ve had the pleasure of being yelled at by civil servants. I’ve got to be very careful here because I risk betraying confidentiality and possibility of losing my job or at the very least, being chewed out by my company’s CEO. So why am I risking writing about some of the jackasses who have yelled at me on a regular basis? Well, direct your eyes below:

I am a manager at this company for civil servants and was transferred a call to speak to a customer who wanted to complain. To set up, let me explain that the company I work for just recently changed it’s entire website, which required a change in the look of the site, the logins and passwords and such. Suffice it to say, the customer base was not very happy about the turn of events. Here is the blow-by-blow of the conversation:

Me: “This is Michelle, how may I help you?”

Jackass: Uh, yeah, about the new site.”

Me: “Yes sir?”

Jackass: “Well, on there you guys say I “should” change my password to have a number and a special character and all that nonsense.”

Me: “Yes sir, for security reasons, you must now have all those characters. It’s for your protection.”

Jackass: “Well when someone tells me I “should” do something, that does not mean I “should” do it. I don’t “have” to do anything somebody tells me I “should” do. Why do you have the word “should” on the site? Why not use the word “must”? If you keep “should” there, then that means I have options and don’t have to use all that character nonsense.”

Me: “Well, maybe the site could say: “have to” or “must,” but the fact remains that the site requires you to have the special characters.”

Jackass: “When someone tells me I “should” do something, that does not mean I “should” do it. Wouldn’t you say that’s right?”

Me: “Well sir, it’s a matter of semantics, but you still have to use all the characters.”

Jackass: “When someone tells me I “should” do something, that does not mean I “should” do it.”

Me: “Well sir, I will certainly pass your comments along, however, I cannot guarantee the wording will change.”

Jackass: “I’m a grown man and I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to do.” It needs to be changed because when someone tells me I “should” do something, that does not mean I “should” do it.”

Me: “Like I said, I will pass your comments along. Thank you for calling and happy new year.”

Yes, that’s right, that jackass called on New Year’s Eve to complain about the word “should!” And come to find out, this was his second time calling and being a complete capital letters JACKASS! He must have had nothing better to do than to complain about something so inconsequential. In my many years in serving persons, I’ve got scores of People are Stupid Jackass stories. Like the time a mother called the toy company I worked for to lodge a complaint about the appalling toy we put on the market called “Little Nazis.” Now that is a great reason to call a company and complain. A Third Reich toy for children? Now, that’s bad. Call Ralph Nader! Call Tipper Gore! But, you see, the thing is, the toy was not Joseph Mengele’s Lil’ Doctor Kit, it was one of many little plush animals with knotted tails and/or ears. For instance, a pig would have a knot for a tail. They were adorable. And they were called “Little Knotties.” Mama Jackass couldn’t read. Good Lord!

Now back to my most recent jackass. Why did he keep repeating the same thing over and over? And why couldn’t he put that same energy into helping the homeless or volunteering at an old folks home instead of calling me? I just know this guy never wrote his congressperson about the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan or never wrote complaining about the B.P. oil spill. This is the same mentality of the freaks that signed petitions and picketed outside Macy’s after the department store bought Marshall Field’s and changed the name to Macy’s. And this was during the height of the war in Iraq. See why I hate people?

Now before you do it, I’ll ask myself the million dollar question: “If you hate people so much, why do I continue to be a person who serves other persons?”  That’s a good question. Not to mention a difficult one to answer. And I’m not going to answer it. Not just yet, anyhow. Keep checking in for the answer, though, eventually, I might come up with one. Also, if you’re lucky I’ll tell you about the customer who threatened to sue if we didn’t send her every piece of merchandise in our catalog for free. God, I do hate people!

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Let’s break it down, shall we?

Why “Confessions of a Unicorn?” The simple definition from www.thefreedictionary.com defines a unicorn as: “a creature of the imagination; a person that exists only in legends or myths or fiction.” Sometimes I feel like a person who only exists in my own mind. Or at least in my own condo. And yet, there is nothing extraordinary about me; nothing that would make someone do a double take. Somehow, though, I feel as if I exist in a vacuum. Let’s break it down, shall we?

Black woman

In her forties (never you mind how far)

Never married (okay, not so mythical – it’s not just me)

No kids (bingo!)

Not overweight

Works out daily

Abhors Tyler Perry movies

Agnostic

Not going to cook you a pot of greens

Has eaten a brulee

Does not start sentences with “Girrllll.”

Does not rotate head and roll eyes when speaking

Does not match my entire outfit  (you’ve see the ladies wearing turquoise from head to toe)

When was the last time you saw a person like me in the media? Someone who is complex and flawed and not a stereotype. According to the media, I should either be in a unitard, singing and dancing in a video with a weave (that’s another one – no weave), or a very light skinned girl (I have dark skin, a no-no) or lastly,  jolly and obese. Wait, I get it! What is missing in the media portrait of black women is ordinariness. Where are the ordinary black women? I can’t believe not having five inch acrylic nails with rimestones on them, having an office job, drinking pinot grigio and not exclaiming, “Thank you, Jesus!” when given good news makes me ordinary. I’d like to think Martin Luther King marched not only for black folks to be treated with respect at lunch counters (or being able to grab a latte without being sprayed with a hose), but also the right to be normal. I think my very normalness is what makes me a mythical creature. That’s why I am a unicorn (and millions of others – yes I know). Like the elusive Bigfoot, I imagine a Black Woman Unicorn sighting might cause disbelief and confusion. “Oh my God, that black woman is making a salad at the salad bar in Whole Foods!” Or “Oh my God, that black woman said she is going to Paris and not on a bible cruise.”

Btw, I get that I’m stereotyping black folks by pointing out all the ways I’m not stereotypical. But I think the reason stereotypes exists is because at the heart of them, there are kernels of truth popping like mad. So while, of course, blacks are not a monolithic people, maybe some of the black ladies should broaden their horizons and just give the hummus a try. Also, stop listening to men who say they like their women “thick” and go for a light jog a few times a week. Not enough to mess up your hair mind you. I’m not saying you need to go swimming, just do something that will keep you fit. Cuz girrill, trust and believe that I ain’t about getting my hair wet. I mean when was the last time you heard of a swimming unicorn?

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Hello world!

Okay, I did it.  And I’m gonna keep doing it. I’ll blog dammit! Every week, I will post something; even when I’m tired and not funny or not inspired. Maybe this will give me a purchase. Wow, good Lord, that is a typo! For reals. But I’m keeping it in because I clearly need a purpose. Is it wrong that my first blog in search of a purpose is being written on my brand spanking new Mac purchase? Welcome 2011!

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