A MinD in MoTown

Mork & Mindy.
January 11, 2010, 5:34 pm
Filed under: Argh, Getting my RANT on, The Woes of Work

It never fails:

“What’s your name?”
“Nice to meet you, Melissa.”
“No, it’s Melinda.”

My first name isn’t challenging. It’s not even terribly uncommon. And yet on a regular basis, people erroneously call me Melissa (or Missy, Belinda, Matilda, Miranda, Minnie, etc.). I’m not even going to bother explaining the difficulties people find with my rather-simple last name. Suffice it to say it’s very similar to a certain Russian satellite, which leads to numerous spelling errors and a ridiculous amount of unnecessary references to the 1950s space object.

Whenever this mistake emerges, I can’t help but question if I’m to blame for their blunder. Did my enunciation fail? Was I speaking too softly? Is it possible I said the wrong name?**

But when an individual I speak to regularly – for work, especially – commits this gaffe, my annoyance goes through the roof and a blog post erupts.

As a journalist, you are strictly taught to ensure you have the correct spelling of someone’s name at all times. To go to print with an error in that person’s name is a rather huge error. Why exactly don’t people apply this rule to life in general? It’s one thing to mispronounce a name on the first meeting, maybe even the second. But when it’s the third encounter***, you should at least verify the name before slaughtering it and possibly causing some offense.

So who else has a name that’s often mistaken for another? What’s the craziest thing you’ve accidentally been called? And do any of you regularly face this problem, as I clearly do? Depending on the situation, I might correct an individual. How exactly do you react when this happens? And in all seriousness, is there something I should be doing differently to guarantee this doesn’t repeatedly occur? Or am I merely doomed for a long life of mistaken identity?

* Feel free to substitute this conversation with Mindy v. Missy or a multitude of other mistakes people consistently make.
** I did this once. Sad, but true.
*** Or the 15th and I just said my name when you answered the phone, yet you call me “Melissa” anyway when sending a followup email less than ten minutes later…

You look like a monkey, and you smell like one, too.

Woman 1: “Ohhhh! It looks like there was a celebration here.”
Woman 2: “Yes, there was. It’s my birthday tomorrow.”
Woman 1: “Congratulations. My birthday is next month.”

Ignoring the fact that someone forewent* the traditional “Happy Birthday” for congrats – which really seems to be a polite way of saying, “Yay, you haven’t died yet!” – why exactly do people feel the need to tell complete strangers about their birthdays?

This conversation happened between a lady who just came into the office (Woman 1) and our lifestyles editor (Woman 2) only moments ago, and I found it strangely bothersome. Woman 1, who we’ll never see again, ensured that our entire news department knew about her July birthday. Does she expect a cake? Why else would she have found it necessary to share this information? Couldn’t a simple “Happy Birthday” – or in this case, “Congratulations” – suffice?

I wonder if we’re all guilty of this – unknowingly divulging senseless, meaningless tidbits with others throughout the day. Is it something subconscious? Or a simple gut reaction, like saying “nothing” after someone asks “what’s up”? Are we internally programmed to make everything about us?

Whatever the answer may be, isn’t it a bit presumptuous to assume anyone other than ourselves and maybe our parents care about the day we were born? Sure, I’m all about celebrating July as “the month-long celebration of Mindy’s birth” – so Woman 1 better back the eff** off, and you better mark July 15 on your calendar – but there has to be a line somewhere, right?

I guess I’m just babbling on about this because I found Woman 1‘s response a little selfish when, clearly, we Tribuners spent this afternoon honoring one of our own. There was zero need for her to gear the conversation her direction by mentioning her birthday. I mean, come on lady, we all have birthdays. Why must we know when yours is?

* Did you know that “foregoed” is not a word? It’s actually “forewent.” You truly learn something new every day!
** Just wasn’t feeling the actual word today. Ha.

Gay marriage in the South? Blasphemy!
March 23, 2009, 3:56 pm
Filed under: All you need is love, Argh, News Girl

So, it’s been a little while since I’ve brought up the subject of gay marriage, but an article in today’s Charlotte Observer – courtesy of the Associated Press – has allowed the topic to arise yet again on A MinD in MoTown.

Turns out that a recent Elon University poll showed that barely more than half of North Carolina adults oppose a state amendment that would specifically limit marriage to a man and woman. (Check out the full article HERE or ignore this link completely because I’m going to rant a bit about the crux of it anyway.)

Of the 620 NC residents surveyed, 50.4% said they are against such an amendment, while 43% said they would be in favor of the legislation. Looking at those figures, the state seemingly looks less conversative than assumed. However, there’s not only margin of error of plus/minus 4 percentage points, which could entirely change the results to reflect the opposite, but 6.6% of those 600+ North Carolinians either refused to respond or weren’t unsure of their answer.

Sorry, but that’s a whole lot of people who were possibly too afraid to express their true opinions via a poll. After all, didn’t similar surveys prior to the vote on Proposition 8 show that Californians would vote against the legislation? I believe so, and yet we all witnessed the true outcome only a few months ago.

These newly released NC statistics in NO WAY show that this particular southern state would vote against an anti-gay marriage amendment, despite the way the article is framed and presented by the AP and Observer. My opinion? Whatever editor let the lead and headline for this story fly despite facts that oh-so-hardly show a majority percentage in opposition to marriage limitations was clearly not thinking straightly (no pun intended).

In fact, the article continues and notes that although more than half of these individuals said they would vote in opposition of “only a man and woman” marriage terminology, they would not necessarily support gay marriage in this state. A meager 21% said they would support full spousal rights for homosexual couples. So sad, but expected, I suppose, of a southern state. Needless to say, yours truly was not surveyed.

Regardless of the poll, it turns out that in North Carolina – and this is clearly not a fact I was previously aware of – current law states that legal marriage is one “created by the consent of a male and female person.” Is it just me or does that already somewhat specify that same-sex marriages are not welcome here? I would say so, but apparently more precise wording is needed by legislators.

One day, I truly hope to look back on all of these blog posts and see a change. No longer will I be bashing government officials and religious-happy southerners for their blindness toward equality. Change is needed and I know it will come in my lifetime. I look forward to that day more than you can imagine.

Please excuse me as I rant…
January 14, 2009, 3:36 pm
Filed under: Argh, Such a quandry

For three days, I’ve been working on one blog post. That’s right, ONE. And no matter how many times I edit, add or completely rewrite it, I can’t seem to convey my original intent for the post.

And it’s mostly frustrating because I’ve had several other ideas since, but my stubborn nature is keeping me from moving to the next topic before adequately finishing and publishing this one. Although I should, clearly, scrap the subject and simply forget my feeble attempts, I just can’t seem to do so.

So folks, what should I do? What would you do? Post something considerably sub par, or toss it to the side and attempt a more feasible topic?

This one is for the fellas.
January 5, 2009, 6:56 pm
Filed under: Argh, I am THE best girlfriend ever, Just whatever

Boyfriends/fiancees/husbands of the world, this post is for you.

Don’t understand why your girlfriend got angry because you decided to play Madden 09 with the boys and drink a few beers instead of attending her work Christmas party? Can’t quite comprehend why she was disappointed you didn’t want to watch “One Tree Hill” with her on a Monday, as opposed to consuming as many 39 cent chicken wings as possible? Are you in the dark as to why in the world she’d actually care if you said “yes” or “no” to walking the dog/doing the dishes/etc. rather than simply hearing you reply with “I don’t know/care” yet again?

Well, let me give you a bit of insight… It’s because we test you. It may not be all the time, and occasionally, you may not see it coming. But it happens, often, and when it does, you need to be prepared.

We all know boys aren’t into games unless the words XBox or Playstation are involved, and yet us girls will do whatever is necessary to hear you choose us in the end. So when you are presented with an option, unless your lady seems completely sincere and 100 percent okay with the words coming out of her mouth – Helpful Hint #1: If discussing an issue through text messages, call her. You should be able to tell by the tone of her voice if what she’s saying is really the truth. – your only true option is whatever will make the girlfriend happy.

EXAMPLE: “Hunnie, it’s okay if you don’t come over tonight. I’ll just see you tomorrow instead. Go ahead, watch the football game with the guys.”

Now, outwardly, this may not look like something that requires the decision-making process, and yet it is. The beginning clearly implies prior plans with the girlfriend. But it looks as though “better” plans have arose and you’d rather chill with the boys. If you wouldn’t prefer the latter option, you likely wouldn’t have mentioned it to your lady friend – Helpful Hint #2: You could avoid this scenario entirely by simply telling your friends you have plans already and will have to take a rain check. Thus, the girlfriend doesn’t ever have to know you had a “better” option on the table at all. Needless to say, the correct response – please vary to suit your own colloquialisms and slang – would be “nah babe, I’d rather see you tonight.”

And although some fault has to be put on us females for sometimes allowing you to think there truly is an option, when we already know there is not, we’re just waiting for you to say your time would be better spent cuddling with us on the couch, as noted in the previous example.

Similarly, if we repeatedly tell you how important something is, as girls, we tend to believe that at least one of the seventeen times we say it will sink into your brain and remain there forevermore. We – stupidly perhaps – prefer to see you as the guys who once-upon-a-time swept us off our feet and would do anything to make us happy, as opposed to the nonchalant, indifferent men you gradually proved to be.

EXAMPLE: “I love our Monday nights together. It’s kind of ‘our thing.’ Remember when we used to watch my favorite show then just kiss and hold each other for hours afterwards? I really loved that.”

(Okay okay, I know that’s not exactly what your girl might say, but I’m paraphrasing here.) If you notice, girlfriend has noted the importance of Mondays at least four times. That should show how much it means to her that you spend that evening together. And if you’ve spent several consecutive Mondays and heard the same banter about how significant they are – at least to her – you should learn, eventually, that it is your day together. Thus, you ought to put 39 cent habanero chicken wings and Monday Night Football (which she may watch with you anyway ) on the back burner. The correct response would be “I know how important they are to you hun. I love our Mondays, too (yes, even if you don’t, but it’d likely make her happy to hear you say it). Of course I’ll come over.”

Shall I continue? But of course!

Despite knowing how much you loathe our friends or the things we’re interested in, it truly wouldn’t kill you boys to suck it up and deal once in a while. We understand watching “Made of Honor” isn’t exactly your idea of a good time, and it doesn’t take a genius to know that attending the ballet – not something I do, but attempting to reach the masses here – may not be an ideal way for you to spend your Wednesday night, but it’s what we would like to do and, much to your chagrin, it’s something we would like to include you in. And, sadly for you, we can recall that time you made four amazing tackles with a sprained ankle in high school, so we know you are capable of dealing with a great deal of pain for the greater good … and we ladies are the greater good.

EXAMPLE: “I know you don’t really like the people I work with, but could you please come to this party with me? Come on, it won’t be that bad.”

Look, we don’t want to be in uncomfortable situations either, but as chicks, we want to keep our guys happy. So if one of you actually tells us you want us to accompany you somewhere – Helpful Hint #3: We don’t like to hear “I don’t care” or “I don’t know” all the time. It would be nice if at least half of the time, you told us “yes” or “no” pertaining to non-sexual things, such as telling us you would like if we spent the night at your place instead of saying, for the millionth time, that you don’t care. “I don’t care” = “I don’t give a damn” and us ladies don’t always take that well. – we would do so despite the circumstances. Yes, that means going camping with you even if we hate bugs and sleeping outdoors. That means watching the hockey game with you, even if we have no interest, just to spend time with you. Shouldn’t you dudes extend us the same courtesy? Feel free to reply with “I guess so” or “If you really want me to.” The choice of words does not matter as much as your willingness to accompany us.

I could likely continue forever, providing a plethora of scenarios to you unsuspecting, obviously dim-witted males, but I suppose it’s time to wrap this up.

My point is – Helpful Hint #4: Listen to us girls once in a while. Sometimes what we say might be trivial and completely mundane. But other times, we’re hoping you might learn something. – that as chicks, we want to be on the top of your totem pole (any and all sexual inneundos completely intentional). We want to be who and what you choose not only in bed, but each day and in life.

If, as a male, you’re unwilling to commit to that kind of pressure, it’s time to remove your toothbrush from our bathroom, gather the clothes you’ve left behind on the floor, no doubt, and move on. We ladies are unlikely to change.

And before the barrage of comments come in saying “you girls should say what you mean” or “you aren’t considering us guys and how we feel” (unlikely you gentlemen feel that way, but it could happen), all of us females already realize that. We know that if we’re not dueling you in Mortal Kombat or kicking your ass in Guitar Hero, the games should cease. But for us, what we do is not purposefully done. It’s part of our human nature. And while being selfish, uncaring individuals might be part of yours, maybe it’s time to meet us in the middle. Lord knows we’ve been doing that for you boys for far, far too long already.


Note: This post is brought to you by the letter G, for Gerry, my boyfriend and this rant’s catalyst. Please blame him for any and all injuries sustained as a result. He clearly failed the test today. With any luck, he’ll make up for it shortly after reading the above.