Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Reading the Mail on a Punchy Morning

Today I'm punchy with sleep deprivation, so I've decided to take a page from the book of the great late grouch Andy Rooney.

That's right. This morning, I'm just going to answer my mail.

Why have you backed off Mitt Romney? I thought Tricky Mittens was one of your best posts ever. -C.J. via email

Thanks, C.J. I haven't written much about the GOP's presidential nominee lately, because Mr. Romney has been doing an excellent job of showing the public what a despicable human being he is without any help from the blogosphere.

Over the past seven days, Mr. Romney has smirked and gloated over the death of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and voiced unmasked disdain for much of the electorate (injured veterans, the working poor, retired grannies, ordinary citizens who share the Christian belief that all children should have access to food, shelter and medicine, among many others).

Andy Borowitz from the New Yorker joked today that the Romney camp's new strategy will be to wire their man's mouth shut through election day.  Couldn't hurt.

Seriously though, my opinions haven't changed. I maintain my reasonable, articulable suspicion that Mr. Romney is a felonious tax cheat.

Moreover, if any of my wealthy progressive readers found Mr. Romney's remarks about the 47 per cent offensive, I'm happy to share a list of donors present at that fundraiser. My humble suggestion: If you don't like what you're hearing from their man, don't invest with these guys or their funds. It's surprisingly easy to move big sums of money around. Don't be scared.

Do you think Mitt Romney is running for president because he has a small penis? -R.G. via email

Thankfully, I have no knowledge of the dimensions of Mr. Romney's genitals, but I guess I understand why you might ask. The business with the car elevator does beg the question, and Mr. Romney has yet to articulate why, other than ego gratification and disdain for the current President, he wants to serve in the highest office in the land.

All I can say is that half the male population have smaller than average penises. Do with that what you will.

Two of my absolute favorite, must-read voices in the Mommy Blogosphere thought I was way too hard on Adrienne Pine last week, and told me so via Twitter.

C. from Welcome to the MotherhoodPeople need to back off this woman; and K. from Mama by the  BayWomen who call in sick to be moms are penalized...That's the real issue.

While I agree that the story got far too much national attention, I don't think the student reporter was out of line in the least. Back in the dark ages, before the dawn of the Internet, I wrote for The Skidmore News. Anything a professor did or said during class was absolutely fair game. I expect that's still the policy at student papers nationwide, as it should be. On a common sense note, Professor Pine didn't do her image any favors in sniping at the student reporter during the first week of school, when the fledgling correspondent was likely drunk on the newfound power of her pen.

K. is absolutely correct that moms suffer discrimination in the workplace. 

But a stunt staged by one privileged employee (in the sense that a professor has some professional discretion and doesn't work, e.g., on an assembly line or in a kitchen) doesn't do anything to advance the lot of working moms. 

Maternity leaves in this country are pathetic. Many employers resist flex time arrangements and give as little paid time off as they can get away with. Some workers get no paid time off at all.That doesn't happen in the rest of the western world.

The trouble I see with stunts is that they can backfire. We professional women shouldn't give the powers that be ammunition. When a parent reports for work toting a fussy kid because she failed to get her personal life in order before starting the work day, I bet more than one man rolls his eyes and mutters: See, the little lady can't do it all.

I'm confident saying this, because I've been "that guy." Not that I've been a man, but I've shared that "old boys' club" sentiment. When I worked in corporate America, our company shared a floor with a company that sold shares in private jets. One of the jet workers brought her kids to work whenever it snowed, whenever school teachers had a planning day, whenever they missed the bus, etc. Those kids ran amok, trashed the kitchen, wiped boogies on the reception sofas and generally acted like monsters. I remember a client on the phone interrupting me to ask, "Sorry, but is someone hammering nails in your office?"

"No. The lady in the next office brings her kids and one of them is pounding on my closed door with a stapler."

I'm not optimistic that time off policies or maternity leaves in the U.S. will change in my lifetime, because employers won't make changes until either the economy or the legislature forces them to do so.

Why does the Grape still have a pacifier? -Director of Preschool, via ill-timed waylay in hallway

Because I pick my battles. Because if I take away the pacifier, he'll go to his thumb, which I find more disgusting, and more damaging from an orthodontic standpoint. Because I sucked my thumb through the second grade and grew up with no addictions or convictions on my record. I gave up my babyish habit on my own, and so will my kid.


  1. Love your articulate analysis of Romney. There's so much fodder these days it's almost no fun.

    1. Thanks very much! I agree. It's very fish in a barrel all of a sudden.

  2. I adore you, and I'm glad we're friends :) I think we could have some awesome debates over coffee if we lived closer! This post made me smile today...and geez, tell your preschool director it's a damn paci, not a crack pipe! Good lord!

    1. The feeling is mutual. I like coffee debates, and heart wine debates.