Saturday, June 20, 2009

A Soul is Free and May Have a Law Suit

Although I'm in a bit of a crisis at the moment, having become another unemployment statistic in America, it looks like life is better on all fronts. Except financially, of course, but I'm accustomed to teetering on the edge of financial ruin.

It's a long, convoluted tale - much of which has been deleted on account of the blog spies - and this very blog was mentioned as one of the reasons for my termination. It is an illustration of my inability to maintain proper boundaries. Maybe if I had allowed a quart of melted wax to ignite on a hot plate endangering the safety of my students, I would have gotten off with a warning like my former fennel seed chewing assistant. I have been fired and allowing a student teacher to eat potato chips in the classroom was on the list of my transgressions.

Although I've taken the precaution of adding a new feature to the blog - toolator the ip address blocker - I know very well that any of the blogstalkers could simply walk to a different computer and reappear at any moment. Fortunately, some of them were my advocates and are protesting my termination. If my lawyer were here to advise me, he'd tell me to STFU. He's either on the golf course or running from the law himself - you never know with the Man from San Antone.

I love the Man from San Antone. He's like a cross between Matt Dillon, Charlie Wilson, Dr. Gonzo (Hunter S. Thompson's 300 lb Samoan attorney), and Hoss Cartwright from Bonanza:

The nicest thing to have happened so far is the confirmation of my belief that Buzz Kill, Velvet and I remain a family despite the divorce. For months, the issues that have erupted with Velvet going off to college have swirled around the concept of family. According to Velvet, I have been extremely naive to believe a divorced family is still a family.

But one thing is true as the wind and rain -- in a crisis, families stick together. We may want to bust each other in the head when life is good, but in Times of Trouble families stick together. My mother and Buzz Kill agree that a wrongful termination suit is in order. Buzz Kill is chomping at the bit to get the process started next week when he and Velvet get back from the beach in North Carolina. The problem with that plan is that I doubt there's any way Buzz Kill can lead this charge without finding out about the blog. And since the blog was included on the list of reasons why I was terminated, as soon as Buzz Kill sees the documents regarding this event (which I requested via certified mail yesterday), he will know all about the blog.

If he doesn't already.

As it happens this is not the first time I have been asked to leave a job when I already had one foot out the door. And as it happens, back then something I had written was a problem too.

Cat's Cradle tells us that Bokonists know that things happen as they are meant to happen. That's why when a Bokonist says, "As it happens," everyone knows that is how events were supposed to unfold. It doesn't mean there is predestination or fate - it's more like you can't stop a train wreck, I suppose.

Twenty years ago around the end of May, I was a secretary at a major Public Relations firm and detested one of the account executives. He was a short man in a necktie who said I was as smart as I was beautiful which might not have bothered me if (a) it wasn't so sexist and (b) he wasn't recently married but if he were single it might have bothered me more. Either way he was a pompous ass. I had already arranged for a better job at a different PR firm that would start when Buzz Kill and I got back from our honeymoon, so I had already given two weeks' notice, but I was fretting over something the pompous ass had done. A well meaning individual suggested I write a pretend letter to him in order to vent my spleen then rip up the letter.

Thanks to my father's gift of frequent flyer miles, Buzz Kill and I spent nearly a month in South East Asia: Bali, Singapore, Phuket and Bangkok with overnights in Tokyo and LA along the way. We watched the sun set into the Indian Ocean in Uluwatu. We had lunch in a fishing village on stilts over Phang Nga Bay. Two of the hotels we stayed at and a restaurant where we had dinner were on an episode of Life Styles of the Rich and Famous. Buzz Kill was very adept at traveling and back in those days, the dollar went a very long way overseas.

I took the advice and wrote the Pompous Account Executive a letter explaining that I refused to be bossed around by a dip shit and listed my reasons for believing him to be a dip shit in the first place. The words Douchebag and Buttroy had not been introduced to my vocabulary twenty years ago, or I'd have used them. Like most offices, we were trapped in cubicles and shared a common printer. I printed out the missive, but in a distinctly Freudian moment, forgot all about the inflammatory document. One of my colleagues thoughtfully placed it in plain view on the top of the printer where it remained for a couple of hours. The IT Tech, who worked in the cube right next to the mainframe and printer, told me that people were cracking up all afternoon.

The next day was my last day.
I'm still not sorry about that.
And I'm not sorry about this episode either.

Granted, I made some mistakes - especially about the blog but maybe they didn't hear about it from the coworker I foolishly told. For all I know, one of my PENolan cards fell out of my handbag onto the closet floor where the fennel breathing dragon discovered it, thus sealing my fate.

I may be unemployed, but my soul is no longer being crushed. My little family may be a divorced family, but we're still a family. I have the love and support of friends and colleagues from coast to coast - and the parent of one of my erstwhile students slipped me a hundred bucks. I promptly frittered it away (twice) on mani/pedi/eyebrow wax and massage at the nail salon, two new tops and a lovely lunch with Gigi that included chardonnay and creme brulee, and a diverting English Country House mystery romance by one of my all time favorite writers, Georgette Heyer.

I was already in the process of getting a new job anyway, and my dad arrives on Thursday for Velvet's graduation. Dad's going with me next week to the mediation about the fee dispute with my divorce attorney.

I don't need my dad to get me out of this, but I sure am glad he'll be here soon.


Gail said...

Hi there -

Great song - I never heard it before. Are those his teeth?

I love how you and yours are your own posse - circling the wagons - ready to defend and honor.

And Hoss Cartwright? Perfect.

Lov to you
keep 'em dangling

PENolan said...

I'm not sure when this video was recorded in the time line of Warren Zevon's life. He may have been sick already because normally his hair was all over the place, He might have had it styled for the BBC. Who knows? He could have gotten new teeth, too.

Liberality said...

I am really sorry to read about this. It isn't fair that you can be fired for writing about your own personal life. You rarely talk about work and only in generalities so what is their problem?

I worry about the people at work knowing about my blog so I don't tell them anything. I don't tell my friends either. The only people who read me, as far as I know, are people I don't know in person.

Good luck with finding another job.

CDP said...

Well, I'm sorry you were fired, but it seems like it's not an all-bad thing for you, so I hope it all works out. I love that song too.

PENolan said...

Actually, it gets better by the minute. I've received lots of kind, supportive calls and offers to write recommendation letters which is nice since I've got an interview early next week.

Good thing I passed my third and final exam for teacher certification a week ago this morning. At least I'm pretty sure I passed ;)

Utah Savage said...

You will land on your lovely pedicured feet. You are that good!

And what the hell happened to free speech? God I'm glad I don't have anyone who would fire me for what I write. How wrong is that to fire a teacher for having a blog? Idiots. Asshats.

PENolan said...

Yes - I have the freedom to piss off all kinds of people without ever getting out of my pajamas. I must be a real blogger now.

Freedom doesn't mean no repercussions to our actions, and certainly there have been repercussions in my case. However, if they hadn't been such jerks, I wouldn't have had anything to say about them at all.

My mom is a frequent presence here on the blog and never has cause to complain because I have shared her insights, observations and wisdom with strangers. Somehow I have a feeling that if certain individuals had not felt exposed to ridicule, they'd be figuring out a way to use my blogging experience to their advantage instead of using it against me.

As the Irish say, "Here's to those as wish us well, and those who don't can go to Hell."

emily said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
emily said...

As someone who's been fired frequently, I say congrats! Your next employment adventure is just around the corner.

PENolan said...

Thanks, Emily.
As I recall, you've had your own sorry repercussions from a cut and paste incident. It's always good to see you on the statcounter

dissed said...

Blogs, facebook (even private accounts seem suspect)-- we've been warned off both. I know a couple of people who are writing books but are afraid to publish.

Pseudonyms exist for a reason. You used them. Your employers have now established themselves as peeping toms.

PENolan said...

More than peeping toms, actually, but for the moment, I remain muzzled.

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