I try very hard to look, and act, like a professional. Like I belong in the work
force. That I am not playing dress-up in my power suits and silk shirts. But this
is a challenge for me, for several reasons. First, I am young. I am 26, which
makes me the youngest attorney in my office by at least twenty years. They call
me their “baby.” You have no idea how much I love that (answer: not so much).
But also, I look young, plus I am blonde, and as a result, people automatically
assume that I am a complete and total idiot.
Now, this...this is not entirely wrong, y’all.
I try so hard to look professional and tough. To be smooth and smart and
savvy. All of those things. But sometimes...well, sometimes, I try maybe just a
tad too hard. And bad things happen. Bad things.
Let me give you an example. Or two or three. And these things are TRUE.
These things actually happened. To ME. Because shit like this always, always
happens to me.
First example: One of the senior partners in my firm came into my office while I
was eating my lunch. Pasta salad. Good lunch! And he was asking me about
some document, and I told him I would print him out a copy. And I printed it, and
I was being very professional and tough and smooth and smart and savvy, all
the whole time, up until the part where I smoothly spun around to grab the
document from my printer, smacked the pasta salad with my arm, and watched
the ENTIRE CONTAINER spill into my open purse. Which was on the floor. And
which is not supposed to have pasta salad in it. At all.
Oh, and then there’s the Second Example: This actually happened on Monday.
We had a meeting. I was wearing black stiletto boots, as is my tendency. As I
was walking down the hall to the meeting, I suddenly stumbled, face forward.
Why? Because the HEEL had just fallen off of my boot. No explanation.
Just...thwap! Off it went.
I couldn’t wander around without a heel. I didn’t have any more shoes. And I
had a meeting I absolutely had to attend. So what did I do?
Oh, I taped the heel back on. With scotch tape. A lot of scotch tape. I
fashioned a fat tape donut around the heel of my boot. And then I went to the
meeting, looking as white trash as is possible. I was so embarrassed about the
stupid tape, that I did all this shit to draw attention away from the back of my
boots. Including walking backwards, down the hall, so people didn’t see my
ghetto heel. Lovely! Pathetic, and lovely!
[I have to supplement this story with the following. Remember how I am living
with my parents while my house is being renovated? Well, the day after the boot
incident, my mom went into my room, and saw these poor, sad, broken boots
with the scotch tape on them. And then she called me at work and we had this
Mom: (sobbing) Waaaahhh! Oh, my poooor baby! Wahhhhhh!
Self: What? Mom?!
Mom: You work so (sob) haaaard! And you’re just a ...(sob) BABY,
and then I go in...and I see, I see...(sob)...and the...the
BOOTS! And...the tape! (sob). And it just BREAKS a
mother’s HEART. Like...like NOBODY LOVES
Self: My boots...? Made you...cry?
Mom: And...YES! And–oh! (Sob. Sob.) My poor baby! Your
Momma loves you, sweetheart! Your Momma will take care of
you and you never have to hold your little boots together with
scotch tape again, Momma’s angel princess daughter!
See how awesome my Momma is? Awesome. She loves me, y’all. My broken
boots made her cry. That is love, right there.]
AND, back to topic, which is myself as not so professional, despite my best
attempts. So far, you have heard about the pasta salad in the purse. And you
have heard about the scotch tape stilettos.
But none of this really compares to Example Number Three.
I went on a business trip. With another of the senior partners. (Now, let me stop
here, once again, to tell you something very awful, but somewhat necessary as a
back story. Sometimes, and I am NOT KIDDING, people kill other people and
stow their bodies beneath the mattresses of hotel rooms. Y’all, I am really not
kidding. I actually read about this in the newspaper once, and it has
permanently skeeved me out on hotel beds. So now, whenever I stay in a hotel
room, I have to check in between the mattress and the box spring. To look for
dead people. Because I am a little insane, but DAMMIT, I am NOT sleeping on a
corpse. I will DRAW THE LINE at sleeping on a corpse. Anyway.)
So I get into town, and I settle into my hotel room, which is next door to Mr.
Senior Partner’s room. And I check under my big old king-sized mattress for
dead people. And there aren’t any! Yay! But there was...something under
there. Something waaaaaay down. So I pulled it out. Guess what it was?
A Hustler. From 1989.
That is disgusting. I was holding a used copy of a Hustler magazine. From
1989. That I found under a hotel mattress. I have no idea who put it there, but it
was probably not the Gideons. So I put it back. But apparently, in my haste to
get into the bathroom and start in on the hour-long hand washing that is
required after handling unknown porn, I did not put the Hustler back far enough.
Because the next day, the partner and I came back to our hotel rooms. And we
needed to get a document from my room. So we went in there, and
Housekeeping had come, and my bed was all nicely made and turned down with
a mint on. And as I was rummaging around looking for the document, and as I
was being very professional and tough and smooth and smart and savvy, I
heard the partner clearing his throat. Loudly.
I turned around and followed his eyes...to the bedside table. Where the Hustler
was sitting. Housekeeping had found the Hustler. And, because it is their duty,
they had placed the Hustler on the bedside table. For my convenience.
So there I stood, with the senior partner, staring at the 1989 “Ladies of Asia”
Hustler Christmas Edition. And on the cover is one of those Asian ladies, sitting
all Sharon Stone. And wearing a Santa hat. And carrying a riding crop.
And then I died. Well, first I screamed. Then I died.
See how well the professional thing works for me? It does not work for me so
well. Between shoes and purses and porn, things are always going wrong.
Maybe I’ll just quit my job! And my Momma and Daddy will take care of me!
Because, as God is my witness? I’ll never wear scotch tape again. Or look
under another mattress.