[about the author]
i actually like speaking in front of large crowds. freakish,
i work crossword puzzles in ink.
i am the american nigella lawson. or maybe the american eddie
izzard. can't decide, really.
i would be a really good mom, but i'm cool with being a really
i am sometimes more perceptive than i would like to be.
i am fiercely loyal. sometimes, stupidly so.
i never play dumb. never.
i am way too hard on myself.
i am a change agent.
i sometimes cross that fine line between assertive and aggressive.
i am not afraid to tell people that i love them.
i am militantly pro-choice.
i am pro-adoption.
i know a little bit about alot of things.
i typically enjoy the company of men more than women.
i am capable of being really mean and nasty, but i fight it.
i am a lifelong cubs fan. do not laugh.
i have been known to hold a grudge.
i have hips.
i am not my sister.
i am lousy at forgiving myself.
i am an indoor kind of gal.
i am a bargain shopper. to the point of obsession.
i am 32 flavors. and then some.
you kiss your grandchildren with that mouth?
several years ago, i was working for a training company that taught businesspeople how to use computers. although the job was exhausting, it had its really good points. i got to learn everything there was to know about desktop applications. i even got to learn how to build and program databases.
the real variable in the job was the people. even if you taught the same class every day for a week, it was never the same thing twice because the people were different. each group had its own personality. sometimes that was great. other days…not so much.
a large company in our area had just given all of its employees desktop internet access. they contacted us to provide basic internet training to their employees.
dude, it was, like 1997. before aol took over the world. before everyone and their fourteen-year-old sister had a blog. people had no idea what the hell the internet was, or what the hell you were supposed to do with it.
at any rate, i had taught several sessions, and everything had gone pretty well. people were amazed by the internet. and, of course, that was all because of me. after one particularly good class, my manager called me into her office.
“the client has asked that you teach another one of these classes. it’s a special session.”
“what do you mean ‘a special session’?”
“well…they have a group of employees who are…older. and they think they might have a particularly hard time grasping the concepts. they asked if you would teach the session.”
“okay. not a problem.”
i arrived on the day of the class to find twelve old men milling around the room.
“good morning, gentlemen!”
they seemed pleasant enough. sweet, really. it was like this room full of paw-paws who were nice and cuddly. they were even self-effacing, which is great.
they were dazzled by the history of the internet:
“so, the technology that resulted in the internet as we know it today is the result of government research that began in the early 70s!”
they were captivated by my depth of knowledge in the realm of acronyms:
“so, when we say the site’s ‘address,’ we’re talking about this text that begins with http – which, of course, stands for hypertext transfer protocol…”
they heartily appreciated my extensive lesson on the fine art of crafting effective searches:
“so, by placing ‘white house’ in quotes, we’re telling the search tool to find the phrase ‘white house.’ without the quotes, the search will just look for sites that have both words present – not necessarily side-by-side.”
we even did an internet scavenger hunt, which went over like gangbusters.
okay, maybe they were just being nice.
at any rate, we were having such a great time. it was one of those days when you really enjoy being a trainer. when you feel like you’re really connecting with your students. like you’re making a difference, really giving them useful skills.
as the close came to an end, i wanted to let them know how much i appreciated them. it’s not often that you have a class so pleasant, so easygoing, and i wanted to be sure to thank them.
“i just wanted to tell you how enjoyable it has been to spend the day with you, today. honestly, in this job, some days are tough. sometimes you have not-so-nice people to deal with, but you have been an absolute joy. it’s been my privilege to have such a pleasant group of honest-to-goodness gentlemen to work with today, and i hope you’ve found the class helpful!”
there was silence in the room.
a few of the men were looking around at one another.
as i stood in the front of the classroom, i began shifting nervously.
two of the men in the back row huddled together, talking in low tones. then, another got up from his seat and joined in their hushed discussion.
i still stood at the front of the room, growing more uncomfortable by the minute.
“um…gentlemen? is there something wrong?” i finally asked.
there was no response.
i could feel the blood rising in my face.
what in the world could be going on? had i said something to offend them? we’d had such a great rapport all day, i simply couldn’t imagine what had happened.
“gentlemen, is there something wrong?”
the three men finished their discussion.
one of them broke the silence.
“well,” he began, “we were kind of wondering.”
“well, we’re interested in learning where the naked women pictures are.”
another one, in the front row, chimed in.
“yeah, i hear there’s lots of pictures of naked women on that internet, and we haven’t talked about how to find those.”
now another one in the back row was joining the pack.
“yeah, if i wanted to find pictures of naked women, you know, young ones, like you, maybe even find some hookers, where do i look?”
“i think we’re done here.”
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