Clueless In Gaza (With Apologies to John Milton and Aldous Huxley)
Bringing things up for questioning
By Ed Goldman
When I was a kid, Mrs. Payne—my fifth-grade teacher at Grover Cleveland Elementary School in Lakewood, California—said I asked too many questions. I asked her why she thought that. This greatly amused my classmates as I headed out the door to the principal’s office.
Since Mrs. Payne would be about 112 years old now, I feel confident in sharing 23 current inquiries on my mind:
- Why do we say we’re UP to no good but DOWN with something we like?
- Why do we FALL in love but RISE up in revolt?
- Why is poetry read aloud at a DEF jam?
- Why is a MONUMENT a tribute but a serious gaffe called a MONUMENTAL error?
- Why does the SHORT sale of a home take so long?
- What makes a tale TALL but a story SHORT?
- Why do businesses say they’re GIVING back to their community? What did they steal? And why aren’t they being investigated?
- What makes a CAUSE worthy, hopeless or lost?
- Why is one opera GRAND and another LIGHT?
- What’s realistic about a REALITY show?
- On a similar note, why define a particular TV show as SCRIPTED when all shows have scripts, even improvised ones?
- Why do journalists insist they’re OBJECTIVE when as soon as they decide on how they’ll open their stories and which quotes they’ll opt to use they’re making subjective decisions?
- Why does someone say “DO THE MATH” if he or she isn’t teaching arithmetic?
- Why do the comments “APROPOS OF NOTHING” and “MAYBE IT’S NONE OF MY BUSINESS” always prove to be accurate preludes of what follow?
- Why is “IT IS WHAT IT IS” said as an expression of futility rather than seen as an acceptance of reality?
- If an appetizer or salad is not a foyer, why is the main course an ENTREE?
- Why don’t we give tips to waiters, bellhops and parking valets when we initially encounter them instead of when we’re through using their services? After all, TIP is an acronym for “to insure promptness.”
- Why is a mediocre music performer called an ARTIST but someone who makes exquisite pottery called a CRAFTSMAN?
- Similarly, why is it an insult to call someone ARTY but a compliment to call someone CRAFTY?
- Why is UP MY ALLEY a positive rejoinder but UP YOURS a negative instruction?
- Don’t END OF STORY and DON’T START mean essentially the same thing, though in different time zones?
- FANNY PACKS are not worn over one’s fanny. Did “Belly Pack” sounds like intestinal blockage? And if so, doesn’t “Fanny Pack” also sound like one?
- Shouldn’t the expression HAVE ONE’S CAKE AND EAT IT, TOO be juxtaposed? The idea is that you’ll get to eat your cake but it’ll still be there, presumably for you to enjoy all over again. Maybe it’ll become part of your belly pack. Or fanny pack.
A Weekly Blog by Virginia Varela
President, Golden Pacific Bank, a Division of SoFi Bank, Inc.
photo by Phoebe Verkouw
I recently brought back an unwanted souvenir from a business trip to Washington, DC.—COVID-19—and spread it to my husband (but fortunately, nobody else to my knowledge).
Mac and I had been fully vaccinated but that didn’t seem to impress our assailant. We’ve dutifully quarantined at our home in Sacramento and while we were grateful to not require hospitalization, we were still pretty ill.
I mention this because as the president and COO of our bank, respectively, neither I nor Mac worried that our employees wouldn’t be able to handle this unanticipated disruption. We’re privileged to have hired (and hung onto) the kind of staff who allow us to sleep at night—or in the afternoon, convalescing.
Most well-run businesses and nonprofits have crisis plans in place for any variety of work-related emergencies, including fire, scandal, personnel challenges, litigation and even, sadly, unexpected deaths. They also create succession plans to ensure that when leaders retire, move on or pass away, there’ll be as smooth a transition as possible.
We have those. But no written plans and policies can substitute for the personal relationships we’ve cultivated in our workplace throughout the years. It’s one thing to legislate that people have each other’s back; it’s quite another (and remarkable) thing to discover they already did, do and will continue to.
Brian Tracy, a motivational speaker, says “The value of a relationship is in direct proportion to the time that you invest in the relationship.” Our people have put in that time. It’s why Mac and I can rest easy and will recover fully.