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An anonymous letter I would like to send February 19, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in career, friends, issues.
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34 comments

Yeah, I don’t know if I’m actually going to send this, but I do want to. Only, I don’t really want to be responsible for fucking up other people’s relationships. I’m torn.

Aaaanyway.

Dear Mrs. Carl,

You do not know who I am. In the interest of keeping my job and maintaining a good rapport with all my co-workers, I’d like for it to stay that way.

I have some information regarding your husband Carl that I would like you to know about. Bear in mind that this is not an attempt to get his goat; Carl is actually my friend, or at least was my sort-of-friend until he told me about what he’d been doing behind your back. I refuse to associate myself with men like him. I am telling you this because I think that you deserve better than a cheating scumbag of a husband, and a man like Carl does not deserve a faithful wife and loving kids. Karma will strike him sometime, and if I have to be the catalyst, then so be it.

After work, a group of co-workers, Carl and myself included, hung out at a nearby bar and had drinks. I’d always seen Carl as a kind-hearted family man, and thus was quick to befriend him, and apparently he trusted me enough to tell me that he has been cheating on you for the entire ten years that you two have been married.

Anonymous: “How many girls?”
Carl: “Three.”
Anonymous: “How many of these were serious relationships?”
Carl: “Err, all of them?”
Anonymous: “Absolutely no one-night stands?”
Carl: “What? One-night stands don’t count!”
Anonymous: “God damn it. How many one-night stands, then?”
Carl: “I’ve lost track.”

Carl told me that he loves you, and the kids, but it’s a “man” thing to have many mistresses, supposedly, and the sad truth is that in this country, being a philanderer even if you’re married is considered something to brag about. I certainly don’t approve of this, and I doubt you would either.

Your husband is also a horrible sexist.

Anonymous: “What if you found out that your wife was cheating on you?”
Carl: “I’d leave her. …Wait, maybe I’d ask her if she wanted to work things through, but it would definitely be a problem.”

Because cheating is a “man” thing to do.

A huge part of me wishes that he’d never told me about it in the first place, because now I am saddled with this huge burden, and I’d feel guilty if I didn’t tell you. Everyone I’ve asked, save for one, said that it was none of my business and that I shouldn’t stick my nose where it doesn’t belong, but the one person who disagreed with them insisted that by telling me all of this information, Carl had made it my business.

Frankly, I don’t have any advice for what you should do with this knowledge. Were this America, I’d advise you to sue the bastard for all he’s worth, but sadly, circumstances differ where you and I live. All I know is that you deserve much, much better, and I hope that no matter what happens, you are able to realize that. Please look for something better. Don’t settle for this piece of shit, because it’s this attitude among the women of our country that allows cheating husbands to be so prevalent and hailed here. It’s not right. Please don’t let him get away with this.

Sincerely,

An anonymous co-worker of Carl’s

Okay, I’m probably not going to send it. I don’t think she’d be likely to believe some anonymous letter, anyway. The issue, however, and the information I have on my hands, is seriously making me feel guilty for not doing something to right the situation.

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The world is shallow. Trufax. February 16, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, career, issues.
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15 comments

[Apologies in advance for the number of non-atheism-related posts recently. If I limited my blog to experiences pertaining to my beliefs, this blog would be waaay thinner. This is most likely because I haven’t interacted much with my sanctimonious, preachy Mother Dearest since I started working, and god damn it, I love working!]

I realized in the fourth grade, while pondering on the ways of the world with a couple of friends, that anyone who claims that “Looks don’t matter” is a fucking liar. Of course they matter, and I honestly don’t think there’s anything wrong with that.

Little Steve: “All that counts is what’s on the inside.”

Little TA: “Well, it counts for something, but I wouldn’t want to marry a guy whose face I don’t really want to see first thing in the morning.”

We were strange children. Hee.

When I say looks matter, I don’t mean that we should only go for the Adonises of the world, because that’d leave a helluva lot of lonely people. I only mean that it’s natural for people to want to be with those whom they are attracted to. Appearances are not the end-all-be-all, but they certainly do matter. Not just in romance, but in all sorts of interactions: from my experience, people are nicer to me if I wear something pretty and show a little leg.

In case you were wondering, I’m discussing this because an experience this past week had me thinking about how shallow I truly am. The experience happened on Wednesday morning, with 50-something divorcee Murray.

Before I continue, let me give you a brief description of Murray, whom I’d mentioned in my last post as the co-worker who gave an unsolicited lecture to me and fellow atheist Carl. That TL;DR moment aside, Murray and I had a pretty good friendship going, with an Opie-and-Cool-Older-Guy dynamic. In terms of looks, since that’s the topic, Murray is, well…old. And pretty gross-looking. (Hey, I never said I wasn’t shallow.)

I showed up on Wednesday wearing faded jeans and a fitted black Pearl Jam t-shirt with a low neckline; I’d taken to it with a pair of scissors because the collar was tattered. It showed off my ta-tas pretty nicely, although that wasn’t my reason for wearing it — I just really liked Pearl Jam.

Right as I walked into the office and sat down at my desk, Murray went “Woooo, someone’s looking hot today!” complete with the touch-your-skin-while-making-a-sizzling-noise gesture. Which, okay, it’s always nice to hear that you look good, but this was bordering on creepy. I’m fucking eighteen, dude, watch your boundaries.

I tried not to let the comment bother me too much, or affect my rapport with Murray, but I ended up avoiding him for the rest of the week. I think he took the hint, and he didn’t try to say anything like that again, limiting it to a “You look nice today.” It’s kind of a shame, because no matter how you slice it, that’s still one less friend for me in the workplace. (Oh well, he was kind of annoying, anyway.)

It was after that incident that I started thinking about whether or not I was overreacting or being superficial. If, for instance, it were Gay Friend Mikey or Platonic Soulmate Ray who made that remark, I wouldn’t have been bothered by it. Hell, even though he’s still got a good 15 years on me, if Totally Doable Boss Mr. McKenzie grabbed my ass and whispered dirty things in my ear, I’d have nodded, grinned, and locked the door behind us.

But since it was gross, old Murray, it bugged the heck out of me. It’s like that one SNL skit with Tom Brady, where he was in a 50’s-style PSA on sexual harassment, which included this awesome bit:

3 Rules of Avoiding a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

1. Be attractive.

2. Be handsome.

3. Don’t be unattractive.

Funny but true.

Overall, I was a little shaken by what happened, but I’m not going to let pervy comments or lascivious stares affect the way I dress. I’ll wear whatever the hell I want to, thank you very much, and if you can’t keep your comments (positive or negative) to yourself, then I hope you won’t mind if I avoid you for a while.

Ah, the workplace. I learn something new every day.

TA would hit it (she totally would) February 10, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, career, friends.
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17 comments

Just finished my first week of work, and it was hella fun. Yay, me!

I met all sorts of interesting people at work. There’s my semi-cute, early-30’s boss, Mr. McKenzie, who doesn’t really make my heart race when I see him (plus he kind of has a beer gut), although I’d still hit it. I’d totally hit it. I’ve never had that phrase repeated so often in my head in one week. Whenever he’s got his back turned and I’m checking out his butt, I’m like, “I’d hit it.” When my co-workers squeal about how gorgeous he is, I’d say, “He’s not that hot, but I’d hit it.” Haven’t you ever encountered that kind of person? You know s/he’s totally wrong for you, and maybe isn’t even your type, but you’d still tap that ass given the chance. I’ve only experienced that kind of thing with McKenzie and with a former teacher of mine, Mr. Dexter, who somehow managed to be a Catholic and a Wiccan at the same time. He was weird, pale and spindly, but still kind of hot. Don’t ask me why.

McKenzie picks on me a lot because I’m the Opie of the workplace, but I’m handling it pretty well. I think McKenzie and I would have been good friends under other circumstances, but since he’s my boss, I find him just a little bit intimidating.

Back to the co-workers: fat, condescending uber-bitch Judy. I took this job knowing that people would probably underestimate me because I’m at least a decade younger than everybody else, but Judy is in a class all her own. She’s twice the bitch on the outside that I am on the inside, and that’s saying a lot, because you all know I’m a total bitch inside. I tried to be friendly towards her, but she’d raise an eyebrow and then turn her back on me. Whatever, nobody else likes her, anyway. Maybe she’s just jealous because she’s a 29-year-old college grad who’s earning the same amount as a dumb teenager fresh out of high school? Hee.

We have Annie, 27, sweet but slightly clueless. I spend most of my time with her, I guess because she was the first to approach me when I was new to the workplace. I sort of have to dumb myself down when I talk to her, but I don’t mind too much. It’s nice to not have to be on my toes all the time.

Ray, 24, brings out the inner dork in me, which is why I love hanging out with him. In the middle of work, we’d jump out of our seats and sing showtunes to each other! He’s the Jim to my Pam, if you remove the underlying romantic tension from the equation.

If all goes well, then Mikey, 28, will soon be my Gay BFF. Tee-hee. We like all the same things, and we get along great. He’s the only guy in the office whom I feel is on my level, intellectually.

Then there’s Carl, a kind father of two in his mid-thirties who sits next to me at work. I don’t know how the discussion came to religion, but it did, and when he told me he was an atheist, I breathed a huge sigh of relief, told him I was an atheist too, and then high-fived him. (What? It’s hard to find fellow atheists here!) Unfortunately, Murray, the mid-50’s guy who sits behind us, overheard the conversation and wheeled his chair over to share his thoughts on God and faith. I know he meant well, but it was incredibly TL; DR, and I spent most of that monologue trying not to space out. To make things worse, it was an “I used to be an atheist, but…” story. “But then I decided that logic just wasn’t for me.” (Okay, it was “But then my mom got cancer.” At least it’s an interesting twist to the whole “My mom got cancer so I became an atheist” story.)

It’s another annoying habit that theists have. It happened to me before when I had dinner with Joe, a hugely irritating friend-of-a-friend. I was telling him about my rocky relationship with my family and how horrible they are to me just because I’m an atheist. From out of nowhere, he starts preaching to me about “it’s not really about God, it’s about love” and blah blah fishcakes, and I just nodded and smiled even though I was thinking, “Guh, what? Worst date ever.”

I don’t know what compels someone to do it, but whenever I say that I’m an atheist, a believer who happens to hear me will suddenly go into a looooong sermon on the tenets of Catholicism or whatever. I hate to break it to you guys, but theists? We usually don’t care. Well, I’m speaking for myself, anyway. You’re not going to convert me by saying something long and boring about a topic I don’t give a flying fuck about, when we could instead be talking about something interesting, like rock music.

Murray’s actually my friend, and I like the guy, but once he was out of earshot, I whispered to Carl, “This is exactly why I don’t tell everybody I meet that I’m an atheist.”

Carl: “Agreed.”

Act your age January 30, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in backstory, career, issues, rants, teen angst.
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28 comments

While waiting at the clinic for my pre-employment medical exam, I met Janice, a 45-year-old fellow applicant who had three kids, all older than I am. (Most of my co-workers are in their mid-20’s to mid-40’s. Am I intimidated? Naaah.)

Like many other fellow applicants, as well as a couple of the folks at HR, Janice was shocked to find that I was only 18 and hadn’t even set foot in college yet.

Janice: “What about your studies?”

TA: “I’ll probably have to put that on hold in order to fully focus on this job. I’m taking it seriously, because this is something that I think I could really flourish in.”

Janice: “Sweetie, let me offer you some advice. I’ve got three girls, and my youngest is 20, so you’re already like a daughter to me.” (TA’s note: Whoa! Overstepping the boundaries a little, aren’t we? We just met!) “I think you should quit this job and focus on your studies, because college is very, very important.”

At first I thought it was a manipulative, underhanded attempt to sway my decision (in which case: Wow, she really is like my mother! Bada-BOOM!) and eliminate the competition, although I soon realized that Janice really did mean well; it’s just that, like most adults in my life — excluding a few awesome high school teachers — she was underestimating me.

Janice: “This job is for people like me. I’m 44 years old and I don’t have a lot of other options. You, on the other hand, have so much potential. Don’t waste it by staying here.”

I appreciate that she gives a damn about my future, but she didn’t even consider the fact that I wanted to work there. It was a beautiful office, with a great working environment (think Google), and it was a huge company. Why wouldn’t I want to stay and try to work my way up?

I’m writing about Janice because I’d like to address the older readers of this blog on how to deal with teenagers. I don’t mean to get all lecture-y on your asses, and I don’t claim to be any kind of expert on this, but this is something I’ve been subject to from both my interactions in real life, and my interactions on this blog.

As whiny and bratty as some of us might be, teenagers are smart enough to recognize when they’re being patronized. If you talk down to us like we’re just kids who don’t know any better, we’d be less inclined to listen to you. For instance, I only smiled and nodded at Janice, being equally patronizing back to her, because I knew that she was making assumptions about me based solely on my age. She felt that as an older, wiser woman, it was up to her to guide me back to the right path. (Just like my mother, and you all know how I feel about her.)

On this blog, I get a few good-intentioned comments which are marred with a tone of condescension. They don’t explicitly state that “You’re just a kid going through a little teen angst,” but the sentiment is clearly there.

If you treat us like adults and talk to us like equals, on the other hand, we’d be more likely to consider your sentiments and hold them in high regard. Two of the awesome high school teachers I mentioned above, Mr. Benjamin and Ms. Vicky, treated me like I was on their level, and as a result, they became massive influences in my life and I always gave their opinions high priority.

I’m also happy that most of my older readers communicate with me the same way. Even though I’m only a teenager, they don’t condescend to me, and I in turn respect their opinions.

Basically, make us feel smart. It doesn’t matter how dumb or clueless the teenager is; if you’re addressing us with a tone of “I’m older and therefore smarter than you, so you should listen to me,” we’re going to disregard whatever it is you have to say with a wave of the hand and a “This is, like, sooo beneath me.”

So, there you have it. This PSA was brought to you by Teen Atheist. And now I’m off to hang out with my girls at the mall, get my nails done and flirt with boys. OMG, squee!

When the going gets tough, the tough kick ass. January 27, 2008

Posted by Teen Atheist in anecdotes, career, school.
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13 comments

On the heels of my semi-rejection (the “Uh, we’ll think about it” kind) from Dream College, I blew a lot of money on clothes and shoes. Totaling the receipts post-retail therapy brought me to the conclusion that I needed to get a job.

The following day, I checked out the classifieds and some online listings to see if anybody needed an articulate, computer-literate, bratty teenager with an exceptional typing speed. It turns out, we’re actually in high demand (minus the “bratty teenager” part), especially in this country. In a week, I got a phone call from an outsourcing agency, asking if I could drop by the following day.

I was made to take a few IQ and reading comprehension tests, and a typing test. After being informed that I did well on all of them, and then being coached on how to conduct myself during interviews, the administrator told me that I would be sent for an interview at another company the next day. When he mentioned the company name, though, I dropped a brick. This was an international, Forbes-list-worthy fucking corporation, and they’re sending some kid to apply?

So I did it anyway, because of course I wanted to work there, despite being a lowly Dream College reject. I put on my best idea of “corporate attire,” took a taxi to their pretty, pretty office and got interviewed by three different HR bigwigs (one of whom was adorable in a nebbish, Adam Brody kind of way).

And I got the job*.

Boo-yah!

It’s a full-time thing, so I will probably have to postpone my studies another year or two. Which I’m totally cool with, natch! College can wait; I have a feeling I’ll be learning much more through this experience, anyway.

Between this and skipping my fourth year of high school, I’m so far off the normal path for fresh high school graduates that I’m in a different continent entirely. I’ve always been one to march to the beat of my own drum, though, so this is nothing particularly new.

 

 

*I can’t disclose the nature of the job or the company, for obvious reasons, but it does involve dealing with a lot of cranky and stupid people! Don’t worry, though, I can totally handle it. I’ve been living with cranky and stupid people my whole life. ;P