Books for Everyone!

April 2020

Watch Where You’re Going . . .

Many years ago, when I was a lowly word processor at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, my office of under-paid work was located on the 7th floor of the Federal Building in downtown Sacramento. The hallways in that building were, in comparison to today’s narrow-cast venues, spacious. There was, however, a problem that I consistently encountered while walking down the hallway that led from the elevator/stairwell to the Word Processing Center.

One of the F&A gals — the underpaid and overworked women in Finance and Accounting — possessed a certain attitude whenever she took to hoofing it down the hallway, usually to the bathroom. She was a hefty, peroxide-blonde hussy who had at least 4 inches and 50 pounds on me. Her habit, one of distinct pleasure, I might add, whenever she walked past me, was to shove me toward the wall.

Into the boards!

Lucille did not practice, in modern parlance, social distancing!

I allowed a few of her rude pushes with her upper body to occur, perhaps enabling her brazen behavior. One day, however, I had clearly had enough of Lucille and her bosomy parts barreling toward me.

“Watch where you are going, B——,” I said.

I continued to walk down the hallway and into my work office. Lucille was right behind me, on my tail, you might say. She caught up with me as we entered the room, and grabbed a hold of my left ear. She walked me straight into the Cubicle Space of my supervisor, a woman of non-decisive nature. The Cubicle Space was located immediately to the right upon passing through the doorway.

“I want you to tell her to apologize for what she said to me.”

Boss Lady asked me what I had said.

I pulled my ear away from the claw of Lucille and calmly said, “I told her to watch where she’s going. I am sick and tired of her shoving me whenever she walks past me in the hallway.”

“You did not tell her what you called me!” Lucille harrumphed.

Boss Lady a bit too calmly inquired of me, “What did you call her?”

I called her B——.”

At this point, Boss Lady was biting her tongue not to laugh.

“Now you tell her to apologize to me.” Lucille demanded of Boss Lady.

“Yes, Debra,” Boss Lady decided with firm resolve. “You need to apologize to Lucille for calling her a B——

I looked at Lucille who was more furious than ever, and “ever” was always a high-pitched state of fury.

“I am sorry that I called you B——.”

Lucille tossed her bleached-blonde hair with triumph and stormed out of the room. Boss Lady exhaled a sigh and looked at me. “Truer words were never spoken, Debra.”

“That is why I said them.”

The entire office of Word Processors had been treated to this exchange of forced politesse. I walked to the back of the room where I typically toiled away in rather happy seclusion and anonymity, processing technical engineering words and trying to make them make sense.

After that day, Lucille never again came within 3 feet of my personal space. When I left my employ at this Federal Agency, years later, after having become a professional technical writer, still underpaid and overworked, but with a greater sense of approval in the lop-sided labor bargain, I asked my former co-workers in the Word Processing Center if that incident would ever be remembered.

The photo-typesetter of the unit assured me: 

Debra, that kind of thing is remembered for YEARS.

For the sake of memory, I call to mind my blatant honesty every time that I witness the crude rude and vulgar on display in the Media of the United States.  

My essay, The Hook, becomes more true every day!

They really should watch where they’re going, because They are headed straight to H—-.