Tuesday, February 07, 2006

No Resignation

It happens every Tuesday. I fill an inane weekly update slide and then trudge my way into the meeting to present. It’s not really presenting because all that happens is I stand and read a couple of bits of info to people who could care less and could simply read it for themselves but for some goddamn reason require me to be there anyway.


I was in the fourth grade when I first came across (or perhaps it was “gave any real thought to”) the concept of idealism. My teacher was of the type that happened to be a constant source for the wellspring of derisive 4th-grade comedy gold. She had the Asia of moles on her right cheek, which provoked intense speculation from all of us deep-thinking 9-year olds.

“I wonder if it hurts?”

“I bet if she tried she could make it grow at will.”

“If you put seahorses and the little people from Gulliver’s Travels (Lilliputians?) on her mole as if it were a continent, who would win the war for control of it?”

That last one was mine. What a gem it was, and what a shame that none of the other 4th-graders knew dick about Gulliver or his famous travels. A year later and a year more crude, we would opine about the possibility that might be a giant brown second clit and what would happen if it were actually true and someone slapped her. If 10-year old boys can make themselves shudder, it’s got to be pretty bad. Christ, I’m off on a tangent already.

The subject was history but I couldn’t say exactly what subject within that subject was being discussed. One of us asked the typical “Why don’t we just…(insert topical question)….then?” favored by naïve young folks learning about the world and its history. Her face suddenly took on a very resigned and tired look. She informed us that such ideas were nice and pretty and typical of young folks such as ourselves, and that we should try and enjoy it because it would go away in short order. She told us that when we got older we would lose the idealistic steam that drove us, and looking at her face right then I didn’t have any ammunition to fight the assertion.

Two things happened in that moment. I vowed to begin making fun of her as little as possible and hopefully not at all, because her look stirred feelings of pity. I didn’t get all the way to my first goal, but my intergroup jabs at her expense were drastically reduced. .My second vow was to never have that kind of resigned look on my face. At its core, her look was one of someone who was beaten and would not be returning, and it chilled me to the bone. I saw it on my father’s face and on my mother’s. After seeing the look that day for what it was, the occasion was rare that I could spot someone without it.


I never recognized until recently that every time I’m plodding my way into that weekly meeting I think (if only very briefly) of that moment and I feel the same now as I did way back then. I don’t ever want to have that look. I must refuse to take on that look as others continually try and thrust it upon me. As all of the high and mighty sat around sucking each others cocks, trying to ignore the serf in the room, and agonizing over whether the guides we developed were simple enough for their intended readers, I finally interjected.

“Dumbing these down any more would require a lobotomy. Perhaps I should call and make some appointments? No?”

A great deal of silence and blinking followed me as I made my exit. There will be no resignation today. Not today. Not any day.