The Daily Dahlia . . .
in a beautiful mug created by my friend Sorrow
Once upon a decade, I did some freelance graphic design for the local board of education. I reported directly to the Superintendent – a man I liked immensely – and got to do things I enjoyed. Like marketing, for example. Making the system, schools, individuals put their best side forward on paper just made me love going to the computer. One of my favorite projects was the in-house newsletter the Superintendent suggested we create and publish each month, highlighting all the varied wonderful things schools, staff, and students were doing. It was, by all accounts, a smashing success as people enjoyed putting their best foot forward to all the other schools in the county.
Things were rolling along swell . . . until a new Director of Marketing was hired. She was young and you had only to spend two minutes with her to know that she felt she had something to prove. Her attitude reeked of step-aside-and-let-the-girl-with-the-title-show-you-how-it’s-done. She took an immediate dislike to me, along with anybody else who had been there before her and whose job description overlapped hers in any way, big or small.
Br’er Jeanne, she lay low.
You know the type: to the Superintendent, she was Miss Cheerful Optimism. A real can-do, rah-rah kind of girl. Behind the Superintendent’s back, she shot daggers and glares and stuck her proverbial foot out to trip you up at any and every opportunity.
Needless to say, she did not make friends easily.
And Br’er Jeanne, she continued to lay low.
Fortunately for me, I was only in the office about once a month and I continued to report directly to the Superintendent, not her. The Superintendent asked me to show up weekly to help her learn the ropes . . . something I did not tell her because with her attitude, I didn’t see any way that was going to do anything good. You know what I mean?
So Br’er Jeanne, she just showed up weekly to see if there was anything she could do, and continued to lay low.
One day, Miss Director of Marketing informed me that she’d scheduled a meeting with the Superintendent, me, and herself. From her smug demeanor, it was obvious she had a plan to get me fired.
Br’er Jeanne, she lay low.
We sat at the small table in the Superintendent’s office, and the Superintendent asked her to start, since she was the one who requested the meeting. She started out with little nit-picking things, all delivered with a lot of batting of her eyes and a broad smile.
Br’er Jeanne, she lay low and took notes to look attentive.
Then in an unexpected turn of events, Miss Director of Marketing suggested that we do away with that “ridiculously frivolous and unnecessary in-house newsletter.”
Now Br’er Jeanne, she lay really low, somehow stifling a smile and forcing herself to stay focused on Miss DOM without so much as a sideways glance at the Superintendent.
“Nobody likes it,” Miss DOM informed the Superintendent. “It’s a big waste of time and money that we could surely put to better use somewhere else. I’ve never heard of an in-house newsletter that reports only good and positive things. Oh, I’m sure it was a good idea at the time Jeanne suggested it, but now, well, like I said, it’s just an extravagant waste of time and money.” And with that, Miss DOM shot me a quick smarmy got-you-now smile just before directing her gaze back to the Superintendent.
Br’er Jeanne, she lay low . . . and also turned her gaze to the Superintendent.
The Superintendent smiled like he was kind of enjoying himself, paused a beat, then said, “The in-house good news newsletter was not Jeanne’s idea, it was mine.”
Br’er Jeanne had to bite the inside of her mouth to keep from laughing out loud . . . but still she lay low.
The meeting ended shortly after that when Miss DOM remembered that she had a Very Important Phone Call to return. She left, and we somehow let the door close behind her, the Superintendent and I, before we cut loose in that kind of laughter that’s just downright good for the soul. Despite Miss DOM’s horrendous attitude, behavior, and intentions, our laughter wasn’t malicious or self-righteous. It was just plain ole’ delighted guffawing cause we both knew that it’s not often you get to see somebody hang themselves instead of the person they were gunning for.
In Our Own Language 4:20
Nancy (my developmentally disabled sister-in-law) draws.
I (the woman who flat-out loves her) stitch.
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