him Thoughts, like corned beef, arrive at my mouth chewy and full of gristle. I don’t love these thoughts the way I have loved other thoughts. So I try to turn their hearts. I try to make the thoughts love me again. If they do not turn to love for me, then I try to turn their ankles with an Irish curse. If they do not have ankles, then I try to turn their footnote, or their suffix, or their root, so that when they return I recognize them by their limping.
Trichotomies, and trinities, and other things that start with Ts, three times turned, and three returned.
Limping Thought #1:
“Retain a physician to give each woman you hire a special physical examination -one covering female conditions. This step not only protects the property against the possibilities of lawsuit but also reveals whether the employee-to-be has any female weaknesses which would make her mentally or physically unfit for the job. Transit companies that follow this practice report a surprising number of women turned down for nervous disorders.”
Ah yes, glorious Tip #4 from “The Guide to Hiring Women.”
Published in the July 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine, the “Guide to Hiring Women” was well-intentioned and well-received. It helped employers during World War II deal with their new female workforce by imparting male boss-man wisdom, such as: choose a slightly husky girl, give women time to wash their hands often and apply fresh lipstick, and (for the love of God, my good sir) refrain from hiring older women, as they are known to be cantankerous and fussy.
Noted. And, applied (in bombshell red).
The list passes by every so often on social media. It is all in the name of a good laugh; which is to say, a best medicine, or a day not wasted, or a sun brought to a winter face, and so on.
Roald Dahl said it best, “It is a fine line between roaring with laughter and crying.” Indeed.
Limping Thought #2:
Around 400 B.C., Plato advocated for specialized education for intellectually gifted men and women. Plato believed giftedness was not determined by gender or by social or economic class.
Before you say, “Right, on Play Play!”
There’s more (always).
When Plato found a gifted child, he would immediately remove him or her from the home to keep the parents from stifling, from muddying, and from altogether tarnishing the child’s extraordinary gifts and talents.
Queue the chant, “Not cool, Play!”
To be fair, Plato lived in different times. And we must be fair, because, as far as Plato was concerned, manslaughter was preferable to being unfair and unjust. So, to be fair, Michael Beldoch won’t pen or define the term “Emotional Quotient” until 1965.
A little bit of selective memory, and gifted education seems to be moving in the right direction.
A thousand years happened.
Here’s what you missed: people were born, people died, disease happened, and there was this king, and once a tyrant, and some famine, and lots of religious strife, and some fine lines between laughter and crying.
Okay, you’re caught up.
The Renaissance. The Renaissance supported gifted people who exhibited creative talent. Of course it did. The Renaissance was a rebirth for the world. It lifted the tired and weary out of the dark ages, and helped make sense of the Black Death.
“Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Moore, Copernicus, Galileo…” says we.
“Just to name a few,” we says.
Selective memory: check! We are on a decent track again.
(I am beginning to not love these ellipses. They seem to precede something horrifying… but alas, they are too small to turn and maim).
Some more things happened.
Then, in the late 1800s Sir Francis Galton suggested breeding between Gifted and Capable people (his designation for the top two tiers of society) in order to produce worthy humans. Let me sum up his particular theory of eugenics: breed only Thoroughbred racehorses in order to win.
“Did he say race, as in…” asks we.
“God, I hope not,” we says, but we have ample imaginations.
The 1943 issue of Transportation Magazine is looking downright progressive at this point. I’m sure the boss-men were brought many congratulatory smoking slippers and martinis when the issue came out (if said issue came out twenty years later. My eras mix when I’m feeling cantankerous. It’s why one should never hire older writers).
Limping Thought #3:
Let’s talk about corned beef and cabbage. Good ol’ non-specific-gender, free-from-controversy corned beef and cabbage. St. Patrick’s Day. It is a day when Americans celebrate St. Patrick and the arrival of Christianity to Ireland.
Of course it is.
We celebrate it with leprechauns and with 40-lbs of orange powder dumped into a river in Chicago to dye it green. We also eat the traditional corned beef and cabbage.
Leprechauns, green, corned beef, and cabbage.
I feel Irish just typing these words… (Curse you, ellipses!)
Chew on this: in Gaelic Ireland, beef was not corned, it was adorned.
That is to say, cows were used for their strength in the fields, for dairy products, and they were at one time a symbol of wealth; and therefore, sacred. If you want to thank someone for corned beef, you’ll have to stay on this side of the pond. You’ll have to thank New York deli owners, mostly Jewish, who offered Irish immigrants a cheaper meat as an alternative to pork.
How about the color green? Wearing all of one color is considered bad luck in Ireland. No pinch. No poke. No valuable brain tonic and morphine substitute for five cents a glass. Err, no coke.
“What of my Leprechauns?”
In Ireland, leprechauns are not tiny, smiling, and jolly men who protect a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow; they are large, scary, and very grumpy. Leprechauns are to be avoided whenever possible.
It seems to me that leprechauns in Ireland are quite similar to Limping Thought #3.
I want to love my thoughts. And, I want my thoughts to love me. These three thoughts hobbled back into my brain and into my blog for a reason. Definitions of gifted change as often as all things change. What it means to be gifted and twice-exceptional (gifted and learning disabled) changes and morphs and melds and looks funny, or devastating, in retrospect. So here is how I deal with these pesky, hard to swallow, thoughts:
No ellipses, just love. You see,
I love when random thoughts come limping back into my brain in order to remind me that someday our traditions and our definitions may be nothing more than a book of humor.
I love that I don’t have to apply lipstick to make it through a blog.
I love that throughout history people have tried, in some capacity, to make the world more beautiful.
I love that corned beef and cabbage goes on sale on March 18th.
I love saving money.
“Oh dear, is she really trying to tie all of this together?”
Yes, I am (trying, that is). Because, if I’m honest…
I love ellipses.
And, to imitate, metaphrase, and paraphrase: nothing is arbitrary. Not even this.