Patsy Porco

Archive for November, 2015|Monthly archive page

Thanks, Boss!

In Humor, Thanksgiving on November 25, 2015 at 3:54 pm


Don’t you just hate it when you’ve given someone a present and the person doesn’t even bother to acknowledge that it was received? It’s especially hurtful if you’ve put a lot of thought or money into the gift. But, even if you’ve remembered a person at the last minute and emailed him or her a Staple’s gift card, you still think you deserve to be thanked, right?

Now, I know that anyone who is reading this is thinking, “Yeah! I hear ya sister!” or something similar, using currently used language. You continue the thought: “If so-and-so doesn’t thank me this year, he/she is OFF my list!” Of course, if you actually don’t send a present to so-and-so, then you will definitely hear from that person, or his or her mother, or even your mother. It’s odd how people always remember to complain.

By now, I probably have you really worked up. You’re probably thinking, “How dare they get angry with me for not sending a gift to someone who can’t even pick up the phone or send me an email?” Damn straight. You would never be so inconsiderate.

Or would you? How often does your boss decide that the day before a company-paid holiday, and the company-paid day-after-the-holiday, should become a company-paid half-day-off? Or how often does your boss give you a holiday off, and sometimes the day after it? Sure, the government might mandate that certain days are paid holidays, but the government isn’t the one paying you to not work. And do you ever directly thank the person who is paying you? Hmmm.

Why don’t we thank our bosses? I work in a very small company and find it strange that we will all gladly take a half-day off today, and a whole day off on Thanksgiving and the day after, and not acknowledge the person who provided our bounty. If I were my boss, I’d be angry enough to start throwing office furniture at my employees.

It might not be feasible to thank the CEO of the huge conglomerate you work for, but if your supervisor lets you leave early the day before a holiday, shouldn’t you say “Thank you”? And, if you work in a small company, isn’t it downright inexcusable not to thank your CEO, who sits across the room or in a nearby office?

We thank people all the time for little courtesies. So, how can we ignore the big ones? I suggest that we all thank our bosses now, before we’re the ones who are off the list next year.

Do the right thing, Pilgrim. Don’t be a turkey.




People Can Change … But Not Always For the Better

In Humor on November 15, 2015 at 2:49 am

I used to be an excessively, compulsively clean person. All of my clothes were worn once, and then washed, dried, and ironed. My apartments were always impeccable: the windows gleamed with cleanliness; the carpets were vacuumed and hand-raked; the furniture was dusted; everything was in its place. Dirt was not welcome in my home.

Back when I was single, I ran into a guy I briefly dated and he said that I had pulled out my vacuum cleaner when he dropped a crumb on my carpet. I didn’t remember doing this, but it didn’t seem out of character. I do remember, in my husband’s and my first house, having my childhood friend visit and I vacuumed the rug immediately after we ate. She turned to my son and asked if he had inherited this idiosyncrasy. He assured her that he had not. I vouched for that.

Despite the comments, I didn’t fret about my compulsion. I was a neat-freak, and that was that. My fastidiousness earned the respect of my mother-in-law. She told anyone and everyone that her daughter-in-law kept a very clean house. That was a great compliment coming from her; her house glistens.

Then, one day, I changed. Drastically. I suspect that it was when we moved from a five-room, one-story house into a house with two floors and a finished basement. For awhile, we had a housecleaner, so appearances were kept up. Then, in an effort to tighten the family belt, I decided that we would all clean the house instead of paying a person to do it. I don’t remember if we ever actually did clean the house together. We certainly don’t now. Rooms get cleaned when it’s obvious that they should be either tidied up or burned down.

Then one day, I found myself smelling the socks I had worn the day before to determine if I could get another day out of them. This soon led to sniffing tops and jeans. I did draw the line at underwear; that line was drawn in the dust on the floor.

Recently, my mother-in-law visited our home and pulled my son aside. “This house is clean,” she whispered. “Who cleaned it?” Knowing that she would not approve of our hiring a housecleaner, despite my working full time, he said that he did. By this point, I had fallen so low in her estimation that she was willing to believe him. “Good,” she said. “Someone has to.”

Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

On Veterans … One in Specific

In Humor, Veteran's Day on November 11, 2015 at 4:44 pm

Veteran's Day photo

A number of years ago, when she was still alive, a neighbor, Assunta, told me something about Veteran’s Day. She was very old even back then, having been born three years before World War I started. It was during a visit to her house that she mentioned Veteran’s Day, in the middle of a very long monologue during which my attention went in and out. Whenever I visited her, she talked and I listened, or prayed that she would stop talking. That isn’t very charitable, so I don’t expect any credit in Heaven for those visits, but the facts are the facts.

Anyway, somehow Veteran’s Day came up, and she said that, as a child, she learned that “On the eleventh hour and eleventh minute of the eleventh day of the eleventh month,” people were supposed to do something. Probably say a prayer, or remember or think about the war or the men who fought in it. I think I stopped listening after the dramatic, “On the eleventh hour and eleventh minute …” recitation. That was interesting to me.

As I write this, at the fifteenth hour and fifty-sixth minute of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, I realize that I missed my chance today to do something at that exact time. However, I can still think about the veterans, of all wars, for the rest of the day. There are plenty of men and women who are fighting for our freedom right now, or are fighting personal battles and demons that resulted from their defense of our country. They probably aren’t going to care when I think about and pray for them (or whatever I’m supposed to be doing). In fact, screw the rules; I’m going to think of them any time I damn well please.

Which brings me to a funny story. It’s a third-hand story from my sister, Veronica, who heard it from my father, a veteran of the Korean War. When I was growing up, my father didn’t share many stories of his past with his kids. All that I knew about him was that he was engaged to Miss Rheingold,* a beauty queen for a beer company, before he married my mother. I also knew that he worked as a salesman for Pennzoil.

My father’s reticence ended, however, in the year before he died. In fact, he became a little manic about telling all of his stories. Veronica lived at home at the time so she was often his audience of one. She heard riotous stories from him, which came as a shock to me because I had always considered my father to be a stalwart, disciplined man who “brooked no nonsense,” as they said back in the day (not my day, or even his, actually. I’m currently reading historical fiction set in the 1700s and have picked up a few new, but dated, expressions).

In any event, one of the stories that he told Veronica left me speechless (unlike Assunta). She said that my father, who was a sergeant stationed in Germany** during the Korean War, was initially placed in the radio unit. His job was to send locations, via code, to troops. He must have been thrown on the job without any training because, on one occasion, he dutifully tapped out the code of the site where some troops were expected, but he got the code wrong and they all wound up at the wrong place. According to Veronica, my father found this story to be hilarious. It was a very funny story, since his actions didn’t result in anyone dying, but I was mystified. My father was not one to appreciate half-assed work; in fact, if you were the half-assed worker, you’d probably wind up with half an ass to sit on. His favorite saying was, “Anything worth doing is worth doing well,” and he said it all the time. Maybe that’s why he kept this story, and a wealth of other very funny ones involving his questionable behavior, to himself.

I wish he had shared this part of himself earlier. But at least he eventually did. I love you, Dad. Happy Veteran’s Day to you and to all of the veterans of all of the wars that were fought to preserve our lives, liberty, and pursuit of happiness.

I think my father was duped. I looked up the names of all of the Miss Rheingolds and there was nobody named Joan on the list. Maybe she was a contestant. Maybe. (

** I never understood why he was in Germany, when the war was being fought in Korea. Maybe he was teaching a radio code class.

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