Wednesday, February 3, 2010

F is For Faculty

JennyMac at Let's Have a Cocktail yesterday published a post about the F-Bomb.  She mention a study that claims the use of profanity helps reduce pain.  I wish I'd had that information at my finger tips, years ago when I went back to teaching after spending a year selling life insurance.

Back in 1980, life insurance sales was a male dominated field; when I went through training, there were only two of us females in a class of 100 students.  There was so much testosterone in that room, you could have sprouted hair on your chest just by deep breathing for a period of time. I was part of a southern Maine insurance company sales force comprised of 12 men, 2 women, and 2 male sales managers.  The men in the group were not particularly happy about having women on the team, and made it clear to us that they were not making any changes to the way they conducted themselves just because of a couple of 'skirts' being present. 

(Bear in mind that these were the early days of the Sexual Harassment  Law.  Precedents were just beginning to be established, and here in  Maine, I don't think anyone had ever heard of such a thing being a legal issue.  In fact, I was a divorcee  at the time and was actually asked in my employment interview if I was using any type of birth control!  Today, an employer could be carted off to jail for such a thing, but back then, both employers and employees were uninformed of the Law.)

The men were used to using "colorful" language in their daily conversations in the office, and were not about to clean it up because two women had seen fit to invade their macho Mecca.  Whether it was guilt by association, or an effort to be accepted and fit in, or a combination of the two, after a while, I found my own speech beginning to acquire some of the local color.  Hey--I'm not proud of it, but when in Rome, ya' know.

A year later, when the insurance company and I had parted ways, I  had an opportunity to go back to teaching.  (I would have done it sooner, but at the time I had to re-enter the workforce full-time, there were no teaching positions available.)   I was glad to get back to the classroom, which was what I had trained to do in college.  I lived about a 35-minute drive from the town where I was teaching, and soon was car-pooling with one of my collegues each day.  She and I became pretty good friends , joked around, and had lots of laughs during our twice daily commute.

One morning we were in the faculty lounge prior to the days classes starting; the teachers gathered there before school, during lunch, and after school to make conversation, seek help from each other, etc.  My car-pool buddy Joan (names are changed in this tale to protect the guilty!) was seated at a table reading the newspaper.  There were several faculty in the room; some having coffee, and some just chatting.  I was seated next to Joan.  An item in the newspaper caught my attention, and I leaned towards Joan so I could read it.  After just a moment or two, Joan turned to me and snapped, "I bought this paper, and I'd like to read it in peace, if you don't mind!"

"Well, EXCUUUUUSE me, " I replied,  knowing that Joan was just kidding with me.  The others in the room did not know Joan as well as I, and there were a few raised eyebrows here and there.  About 10 minutes later, Joan handed me the newpaper.

"You want to read the paper, here you go!"

"You can keep your F**ing paper, I don't want it " I growled back at her. 

All of a sudden you could have heard a pin drop in the room.  Eyebrows were raised, and jaws were dropped.  Little did I know, no one had EVER dropped the F-Bomb in the faculty lounge prior to that day!  After an awkward silence, during which goody two shoes, Miss Beasley, stood at the mimeograph machine in total shock, while her panty hose rolled down to her ankles and back up to her waist a few times in 'sheer' disbelief.

 Finally, conversation and the mimeographing resumed, and I was inwardly chuckling at the exaggerated response to my grand faux pas.  Surely, this crowd couldn't be THAT proper!

Later in the day, a letter appeared in my box in the teachers" mail room.  My heart sank as I read:

Dear Mrs. Gallant:

It has been brought to the attention of the Faculty Ethics Committee that you have been guilty of using profanity in the Faculty Lounge.  This type of behaviour will not be tolerated. 

As this is your offense premiere, no punitive action will be undertaken at this time.  However, you should be some f**king glad that John Stevens is the Chairperson of the Faculty Ethics Committee.


John Stevens, Chairperson
Faculty Ethics Committee
Noname High School.

John (name also changed to protect the guilty)  was a major prankster and was just pulling my chain!  I totally cracked up, although for a minute there, he had me worried!

I did make an effort after that to not drop an F-Bomb in there unless it was totally warranted!

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Helene said...

OMG, that's, SERIOUSLY funny!!! At first I thought the letter you got was for real!! You must have been a riot to hang out with!

My name is PJ. said...

Priceless! I would have framed it!

DJan said...

In the male-dominated skydiving world, profanity like that is very common, and I got used to it and even began to use the F-word myself. And then I did the same: I slipped up at work and was chastised for real! I am very careful now. It's amazing when you hear that word all the time how it loses all its steam, and when you DON'T hear it, it seems so CRUDE! Great story, brought back a ton of memories.

glnroz said...

now THAT would have been a YouTube hit..lolol

BrnEyedGal said...

Oh that is so funny. I would have thought OMG, Am I in trouble for that? haha.
And I was in insurance myself for awhile and I have to say...THANK GOD it was in the 90's and I didnt have to worry about a male dominated field, it was stressful enough!!!
Nice to meet ya and thanks for stopping by....
Have a great day,

"And so our stories go..." said...

I reduce pain a lot.

Hillbilly Duhn said...

OMGoodness. That would have worried me a little too!!

Actually I use the f bomb a lot, and it doesn't help me I have been actually trying to avoid using it, saying other words to replace it or just omitting it altogether, in the effort I seem to use it more. Dang it.

Blackberry Jam Cafe said...

Love this! Especially the image of a woman standing at the mimiograph machine with her panty hose rolling up and down. We've all seen that woman somewhere! Too funny.

The Vegetable Assassin said...

Haha, PHEW!

I bet you're relieved I'm not a teacher, huh! :)

I could teach swearing that's for sure.

Kristina P. said...

That is hilarious! Sounds like something my office will do.

JennyMac said...

HAHAHA. I heart John Stevens. And you. Pioneer in the faculty lounge!

Eva Gallant said...

Helene: I thought it was serious when I started reading it!

PJ: We had some good times there!
The staff grew a little less shocked by the F-Bomb; one of the men on staff referred to me as "the broad with balls."

DJan: Skydiving?? You were into skydiving???

Glen: Especially those panty hose rolling up and down Ms. Beasly's ligs! lol

Danielle: Thanks for returning the visit! You are always welcome!

Mary: I SHOULD be pain free; I'm working on it!

JennyMac: John Stevens was a delight to work with. Always cracking me up!

Kristina: It was pretty funny, although initially I nearly had a heart attack when I thought it was serious!

Nezzy said...

I thought the letter was real because when I was teaching in the Middle School here in Nowhere USA it would have been real. We lead such a sheltered life 'round these parts.

You have just a marvelously blessed day sweet gal!!!

The Retired One said...

Too frickin' funny!
I love that man that sent the prankster memo.....
I have to work with folks with a sense of humor...and he definitely had one!

Sandy aka Doris the Great said...

Hilarious - as usual!

I have some wonderful stories about working for a major oil company in the early '80's and the lack of sexual harassment ruling. I remember one boss cornering his rather well endowed secretary in the library one day; and the young, innocent little Jewish girl around the corner with me (and hidden from Mr X) actually crawled out of the room to avoid being seen. She was terrified. I was, by that time, hardened and more knowledgeable about how to avoid the croapies!!

Meeko Fabulous said...

Ok . . . You have GOT to post a vid of you dropping the F-bomb. That would just be awesome!

Steven Anthony said...

omg! as always, you make me laugh

Steam Me Up, Kid said...

I LOVE the image of the pantyhose rolling up and down.

Tam said...

Hmm..I shouldn't be in any pain at all, according to the study.

Unknown Mami said...

That is f***ing hilarious!

Eva Gallant said...

Nezzy: I thought it was real, at first, too!

Retired: He was very much fun to work with!

Sandy: You really should blog about some of those experiences!

Meeko: Some things are better read than seen!

Steven: That's my mission in life!

Steam: That seem to convey her shock and horror much more effectively than just saying her face turned red!

Tam: We strive to be pain-free!

Mami: Glad to tickle your funny bone!

Cinnamon-Girl♥ said...

For one moment I was scared when you said you had a letter in your mailbox. What a good laugh!

Richard @ The Bewildered Brit said...

Fantastic! I'd have been terrified for the first 1.5 paragraphs of that letter!!! :)

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

OMG I love it!

gayle said...

So funny! That letter had me worried for a minute!!

tattytiara said...

Ha! Well good for you for deflowering the delicate ears of the breakroom.

Respectfully Yours said...

It is always so shocking to hear the "F" bomb. Too funny. I always substitute it for what the bubble....stupid really, people know what I really mean. Ha Ha

Brandy said...

What a story!!! Thanks for sharing it, made me worry and laugh at the same time ;-)

Stopping in from SITS!

TechnoBabe said...

Now see, why couldn't I have been fortunate enough to work around these types of people! Humor, people!! Lighten up. This is great.

Pretty Things said...


Cranky Mommy said...

Having someone funny at work can make a LONG day not seem so bad, can't it?