Tuesday, October 04, 2005

I've got a bad case of the rants...

So. October is a pretty big month if you’re into the whole women’s issues awareness scene. For one, it’s breast cancer awareness month. As if you couldn’t tell from the fact that everything under the sun is available in pale pink this month. Breast cancer awareness receives a considerable amount of public attention though out the year and especially in October. Incidentally, memories of getting into a colossal argument with my Psych of Women Prof. over the validity of the public attention still piss me off.

Her stance: breast cancer is no big deal. It has a good prognosis and does not affect many women. It is no where near the killer of women people would think it was from all the media/marketing attention. It reflects (and I am not joking here) the nation’s obsession with the female body, most notably breasts.

My stance: Pardon my French, but who the f*ck cares? Are we really going to switch from complaining that women’s issues receive no attention and no funding on any comparable level to bitching about that fact that all they care about are our breasts? And, excuse me, but I have NEVER seen a man wearing a pink ribbon on ANYTHING. It appears me that the B.C. movement is an example of women supporting women. And, by the way, the KEY to attaining a good prognosis is early detection. Now, because women are 40% more likely than men to be poor, and because the poorer you are the less likely you are to have health insurance, and because according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, uninsured women are significantly less likely to have seen a doctor in the past year and are even less likely to have all the necessary health screenings done, LET’S NOT KEEP THEM FORM GETTING THE NECESSARY FUNDING TO PAY FOR EARLY DETECTION! After all, what would that to do the survival rate?

But actually, it was never my intention to write about breast cancer awareness month his morning. In my line of work, October means one thing: Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We spend months (and by “we” I mean people other than myself who work for this agency) preparing packets to mail out all over our service area and preparing for media interviews and speaking engagements. It’s a big deal…and it’s safe to say that, beyond the normal daily focus of doing what we do, it’s the center of our world during October.

I get that. I write our newsletter and normally devote two of the 3 ½ page spread to DV. In fact, last year it was my idea to have the newsletter printed on purple paper, rather than the usual gray fleck in order to garner more attention. It looked fab. It also saved us on postage: an added benefit.

This year, because of scheduling problems (which I won’t even get into!) I was not able to put out a newsletter in September. As I look back at last year’s files, the same was true last year. September is a very busy month for us. It’s the end of our fiscal year and so everything must wrapped up, reports generated, and closed out. It is also the month of our biggest fund raiser of the year and (for some stupid-ass reason), “staff appreciation day.” This is they day wherein we remind our staff how much we like them by forcing them to make small talk with their co-workers at lunch and then making them listen to a coma-inducing speaker who talks about stress management. The whole thing stressed me way out.

So October is now here, and now I am playing catch-up. There are things from October that must go into the newsletter along with the DV stuff, same as last year. So I work and I scrunch and I reshape and I manage to fit everything in PLUS all the important DV info. I finished it this morning, and this puppy is packed. There is only one picture and one little graphic in this month (which I know will gain me criticism. I was one told, “Sarah, please don’t put so much information in the newsletters. You should put more pictures.” Pictures of what? Anonymous battered women? Come on…) but I figure this is a month for special allowances – there’s a ton to fit in.

I haven’t had the thing done for more than, say, 10 minutes, when I get a voicemail. Every time I get a message and I pick it up and the display reads “my boss” I can feel the bile rising up in my throat. This is not going to be good. It seldom is.

“Sarah, I was thinking (here’s the part where I slap my forehead in a combination of dread and resignation – “What? What were you thinking, God help us all…”). I’d like you to get a copy of the presentation from the luncheon and put it into the newsletter this month. I know it’s not exclusively about DV but there’s a lot of good information in it and it kind of ties in because it has statistics too.” This I cannot believe. It ties in because it has statistics??? Um…the Lions have statistics too…should I put a picture of Sunday’s last-minute failed touchdown attempt in as well??? I mean…COME ON…It’s already full of USEFUL DV information….now I should put in statistics about global poverty? Not to mention that the thing is six pages long and the newsletter only has 3 ½ useable pages for text.

So I decide that we must have a meeting about this. I must gently break the news to her that her stupid-ass idea won’t work. But before I can go into my meeting, I get a phone call. It’s the DV Program Director telling me that she has her staff writing the DV stuff for this month’s newsletter and has given them a deadline of Thursday and oh, by the way, is that okay with me? Well no, actually, it’s not. It’s DONE. And I used their packet info to write it, so they basically wrote it anyway. Can it just be done? No…it will now be rewritten by people who don’t get the fact that you can’t pluralize with an apostrophe and who write almost exclusively in passive voice.

Now…I can admit that when it comes to writing, I’m a little bit of a grammar and style Nazi. I like it to be correct. Especially if people are going to think I wrote it. Notice I did not say spelling Nazi. That is because I know my limitations and I figure that anybody who needs a “Weather/whether, witch/which” cheat sheet on her bulletin board really ought not to get on her high horse about spelling. Besides, that’s why God invented spell check – so people could forget to use it, or mistype and then actually type real words by mistake, and look like fools. (This is me on a regular basis.)

So that is the end of my diatribe today. Because it is so…well….um….verbose, let me sum it up by highlighting these key points:
1. Breast cancer is a legitimate cause to support.
2. If you don’t think so you’re kind of an ass.
3. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.
4. Stupid people are attempting to take over my newsletter.
5. Statistics are, apparently, a common bond that can unite any two subjects ever considered.
6. I cannot spell.

Thank you for reading today’s diatribe. Please come back and see us again.

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