Tuesday, August 28, 2007

United Religions of Benetton

We had a rough morning at the office. I mean rough, as in employees quitting without warning, infuriated CEOs raining hellfire and brimstone down upon our lowly department, rough. I honestly thought nothing could help me survive the day.

That is, until B., my illustrious co-manager, summoned me to her cubicle.

“We’re interviewing someone today,” she said, dropping her voice to a stage whisper. “And she’s Mormon.”

Granted, B. couldn’t know how happy this would make me (she doesn’t read my blog), but we had a lovely bonding moment over the religious diversity that thrives in our workplace.

“I think she’ll fit in well,” B. opined. “After all, E.’s Jewish, and J. is Eastern Orthodox, and you’re Pagan, and L. is Lutheran, and we all totally get along.” Then she paused, reflective. “If only we had a Baptist.”

“Oh hey, I’m Baptist!” announced another manager.

“And that’s great!” B. replied.

Above all else, that’s what I love about my job. The people I work with come from a wide variety of religious and cultural backgrounds, and through this, we’ve managed to create a truly safe space where differences in belief and practice are not just tolerated, but accepted, and sometimes downright encouraged.

Not what you normally expect from a company based on corporate sales, but there you go. And this brief ray of sunshine in my otherwise catastrophic day pretty much made me snap.

“Alright, everyone, listen up,” I said. “Who here does not ascribe to any particular organized faith?”

My loyal subordinates looked at each other, confused and concerned, and then a few people tentatively raised their hands. Sizing up the challenge in front of me, verily I went cubicle to cubicle, assigning religions.

“Let’s see. You’re Methodist now. And you’re Daoist. And you…” I stopped at my assistant’s desk and looked him over. “You’re Baha’i.”

He rolled his eyes at me. “For your information, I’m agnostic.”

“Oh, same difference.” I moved onto the next cubicle. “What are you?”

“Well, my mother says I live in sin.”

“Hmmm. Okay, you’re Episcopalian.”

Suddenly, one of my newest employees piped up: “Ooh, ooh! I worship the Devil!”

I raised an eyebrow: “Church of Satan or Temple of Set?”

She mulled over her options. “Never mind. I want to be Buddhist.”

And so it went. After a few minutes, everyone was happily settling into their new belief systems… except for B., who was growing increasingly skeptical.

“I think you’re just making these religions up,” she grumbled.

Whatever. She’s just pissed because she tried to call Muslim, but I’d already stuck her with Hellenic Reconstructionist.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fluffy Bunny Under Glass

The phrase "fluffy bunny," or "fluff-bunny," is one oft bandied about in the NeoPagan community. Roughly translated, it means "people whose practices and/or beliefs are somehow sillier or less serious than one's own." It's a derogatory term.

And let me tell you, the Pagans hate the fluffy bunnies. But only because said Pagans secretly suspect that they're fluffy, too. And they're deathly afraid that someone "legitimate" will call them on it.

Has anyone ever read a book called The Mole People, by Jennifer Toth? If not, check it out sometime: it's an in-depth, first-person study of the homeless people in New York who inhabit abandoned subway tunnels, and it's beyond fascinating.

None of the underground homeless actually refer to themselves as "mole people," though; that's a figure of speech only applied to the tunnel denziens who live in the levels below them. Even when you get down to the lowest man-made tunnels, the groups living there have stories about the "mole people" who live even further below.

It's the same thing with the fluffy bunnies. Regardless of how much many Pagans worry that "valid" practitioners will notice how fluffy they are, there's always someone fluffier to look down upon.

But as a definable, persecutable group, fluffy bunnies simply don't exist.

(A tip o' the nib to Deborah for the special request.)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Roger Woof

You know who's oddly yet undeniably attractive?

Bob Hoskins.

That's all I got today.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Things what come out of my mouth

There's a Sheela-na-Gig pendant hanging from my rearview mirror, which I keep in honor of Squat, the Parking Goddess. It's an unassuming yet fertile bauble, and it brings me luck. I have amazing parking karma, to the point where even Jack at his most skeptical can't help commenting that I find parking spots like I'm in a Doris Day movie.

So this morning, we're driving to my parents' new place to help them unload boxes (upon my dad's retirement, they packed up and moved from the suburbs to Houston's Official Gay Neighborhood). Just before we arrive, I reach up and remove the pendant.

Jack immediately starts chuckling: "Well someone's feeling conservative today."

"I am not feeling conservative," I say. "I just don't want to have to explain a big vagina to my parents."

You know what else I don't want to do? Use the words "big vagina" and "my parents" in the same sentence ever again. Because ew.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Things to Do to Mary When You're Bored

When your supervisor isn't looking, sneak online and print out a picture of Michelango's Pieta.

Take a Sharpie, draw a little dialog bubble above the Virgin Mary's head, and within it write "Oy, you're too skinny."

Surrepetitiously pass the picture to your stressed-out Jewish employee, then watch as she collapses into a helpless fit of shoulder-shaking, hiccup-inducing laughter.

Stongly encourage her to hide the picture in her desk before the Christians in the surrounding cubicles start asking what's so darn funny.

Get back to work, secure in the knowledge that the light-hearted defacement of sacred iconography totally lets the sunshine in.