Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I Wouldn't Marry Him Anyway

This isn't something that happened recently. This was a while back when I was still applying for teaching jobs.

It was a phone conversation with a very well known figure in the community's school system. This woman is in charge of most of the interviewing and hiring that happens with teachers here.

It's easiest to put it down the way it took place- as a dialogue, so here goes.

JACP: "Hey, I was given your number by _______, and was told you were the one to talk to regarding a teaching job for the coming September?"

HER: "Have you been to seminary?"

JACP: "Uh, no."

HER: "Well we only take girls who have been to seminary."

JACP: "But I got married right out of school so I didn't have the chance to even go to sem!"

HER: "What school did you graduate from?"

JACP: "______"

HER: "Oh, so did you have my friend _______ in 12th grade?"

JACP: "I didn't actually go to 12th grade. I graduated school at 16."

HER: "What? Why?"

JACP: "Because I was sick and I completed the whole high school curriculum while I was out being treated."

HER: "What were you sick with?"

JACP: "Hodgkin's."

HER: "What's that?"

JACP: "A type of cancer."

HER: "Don't say that word!! Poo poo poo!"

JACP: "Excuse me?"

HER: "That word is an ayin hara! Don't say it out loud!"

JACP: "I'm sorry; that word is a part of my life. I feel that by calling it Poo poo poo or spitting on the floor, you are putting down what I went through."

HER: "That word causes terrible things."

JACP: "In my opinion fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself."

HER: "That's YOUR opinion. The Rabbanim have said not to say that word."

JACP: "I'd like to have a talk with those rabbanim."

HER: "How old are you anyway?"

JACP: "Just seventeen"

HER: "And you expect me to give you a teaching job? What grades do you think a 17 year old can teach?"

JACP: "I'd like to teach any grade from 5th through 8th."

HER: "It's not going to happen. What makes you think you're qualified?"

JACP: "I have life experience. I'm married. I'm young and can identify with them. I graduated with top marks...What else do I need?"

HER: "Wait a minute. You were sick."

JACP: "So I said."

HER: "But you're married!"

JACP: "Uh yeah."

HER: "What's wrong with your husband? Is he divorced? Was he also sick? Why did he marry you?"

(It was a good thing this was a phone conversation. I would have strangled the woman in person.)

JACP: "My husband married me because it was bashert. Hashem put us together and that's the way it was meant to be."

HER: "But what's wrong with him?"

JACP: "What do you mean? Why does anything have to be wrong with him?"

HER: "Because a normal boy with a good background and from a good home doesn't just go and marry a girl who was sick with some life threatening disease."

JACP: "There's nothing wrong with my husband. He had struggles in his life as I've had mine and that made us stronger and better people and when the time came for us to meet it didn't matter what each of us had in our pasts, what mattered was where we were standing at that point in time, and as it happened, Hashem planned for us to be at the same place in life at the same time. What more can you possibly expect?"

HER: "But I would never let my son marry a girl who was sick!"

JACP: "But would you have a guarantee that your daughter in law won't ever get sick after her wedding? What? Do you think I was born with a stamp on my head that said 'I am going to have cancer--"


JACP: "-at age 16'? You think people know these things in advance?"

HER: "But still..."

JACP: "As a matter of fact, I am actually healthier than your son. I go to the doctor every few months and get scanned and have thorough checkups that your son will probably never get in his life. Every six months I get a clean bill of health. Can you son even say that he goes to the doctor every six months? Does he even know what's going on in his own body?"

HER: "So you can't control what happens later, but if I had the choice of having him marry a clean girl or a sick girl, I would never pick you!"

JACP: "That's just fine Mrs. ___________. Your son wouldn't be good enough for me anyway. See, I went through so much already that my neshama is cleaner, a little more elevated. My husband and I see the world a lot differently than most people do, and we are more than happy to be this way. Your son would never see eye to eye with me and I would never want to have to stoop to his level to see life the way he does. I'm so over that. I would never marry your son anyway"

(Besides for which, I'd never want her as a mom in law!)

The rest of the conversation was about getting the job I no longer wanted, so it's not important.

Just thought I'd share some stupidity.


Anonymous said...

OMG!! PLEASE PLEASE PLEAASE tell me that your joking!!! how could a person talk like this?! and pus to be in charge of who will teach little children!! oysh she sounds like a monster..some people just think they have to say everything thats on their mind!!
~perry l

chchick said...

Woah!!! Unfortunately her points were all too typical and familiar. I'm finding the conventional wisdom of the frum community to be increasingly shallow. It would seem the more religious we get the less "spiritual" we become. Nobody knows how to think a little "out of the box" anymore. You gave her good, pointed responses which I'm afraid were totally lost on her. Too bad, Her loss.

J.A.P. said...

Hey Perry, I'm far from joking- and you'd NEVER believe what school that was. I think she was the one in charge of hiring some of the teadchers that molded our young minds ;)

Chchick- Yes, I don't know why the frum community is so unaccepting of us. Its not like we had a choice in the way our lives turned out. I find people who are thrown tough situations and rise above them are so much more worthy of respect than people who live sheltered pampered lives and still have the chutzpah to believe they are better than everyone else.

I'll get off my soapbox for now.

Bas~Melech said...

That was so ridiculous that I had to laugh... even while being upset that people really talk like that. I mean to "poo poo poo" is one thing, but to go on and ask what's wrong with your husband... Come on. There has to be something we can do about this...

Did she ever get around to telling you which rabbanim say not to say cancer? Because I have a very hard time believing that one.

Anonymous said...

For anyone who wants to know why Jews suffer the way they do and why we are still living in Galus and doing more damage to each other then any other nation could ever inflict on us - look no further.

Anonymous said...

It's so interesting that people are so scared to say the word, but almost everyone who has/had cancer has no problem saying it freely. Do people actually think that if you call it the machala or whatever it will never happen to them?!

J.A.P. said...

I learned a long time ago not to let it bother me. Yes, in a way this is sinas chinam, but more of it is sheer stupidity.

I just feel bad for them that they live in such a pitiful state of mind. Must be awful to live in that neighborhood!

I'm very happy to be who I am and I'm sorry they dont love me as much as I love myself. :)

J.A.P. said...

Oh, Bas Melech,

As far as I know, Poo poo poo is the term I use to describe what JB does in his diaper.

I find it utterly ridiculous when ladies say it in all seriousness.

J.A.P. said...

Anon, This is totally the real life version of the Harry Potter series where the wizards are all afraid to say the name Voldemort.

But, like Harry, we survivors refuse to call what we had "You-Know-What"

Semgirl said...

Im making in my pants, laughing so hard. Please tell me people arent that stupid..

Gee my father always told me there arent stupid Jews because our enemies did our selective breeding for us, anyone who wasnt smart enuf didnt survive...

chchick said...

When you've done hand to hand combat with CANCER you've already been in the lion's den and stared him down into submission. What is it to be scared of a puny little six letter word?

Anonymous said...

I can't believe such people exist. How could someone be so tactless? I'm shocked. But you respond so well to these people, it's amazing. You've got such inner strength. You're really an inspiration!

halfshared said...

Omg, if I had children or siblings in school now, I would insist on knowing which school has someone as shallow and narrow minded as this woman (or child if you will) hiring the teachers. I wonder what her criteria of a good teacher are. Probably someone that was coddled, protected and sheltered all their life and that never built up strength to deal with life’s challenges. Pretty sad indeed!

a good boy?! said...

Tears were running down my cheeks, i know its a mean world out there, but to be so nasty!? Besides the fact that she doesn't have any brains, she must be someone that has no clue how tuff life could be.

Israel Mom said...

I'm SHOCKED and appalled and i can't BELIEVE someone would say that, let a lone to YOUR FACE!

... and i'm rolling on the floor laughing at your sharp wit!

Keep 'em coming!

J.A.P. said...

Semgirl- Im sorry! Didnt mean it to be that hysterical! LOL Glad you enjoyed.

I think that some people cant help being stupid, but that some for sure choose to be that way.

Chchick- Yeap it takes more than 6 letters to scare me.

Anon- It's not inner strength that I have- its chutzpah :)

Half-shared- Unfortunately, being in the school system, I can tell you that her mentality isnt an isolated one. :( Our kids are being fed a lot of junk.

Good Boy- Dont feel bad for me. I never feel bad for myself and I have the mouth to deal with these people. I feel bad for the others out there who have to face people like her. I can take care of myself but there are plenty of fragile people who are shattered by things like this.

Israel Mom- Hope your floors are clean! My son just spent an hour crawling on mine and he's black...I better go and do some Shabbos cleaning!

Anonymous said...

great line from Dumbledore..."fear of the name increases fear of the thing itself..."

J.A.P. said...

Yes Anonymous, Dumbledore is one of my role models. Even in his death, I can always look back at the previous Harry Potter books and gain tremendous insight from that wonderfully wise man. :)

My students think its very cool to have a teacher who likes Harry Potter and High School Musical more than they do. ;)

Anonymous said...

It drives me crazy when people are scared to say the word cancer. I mean my life depended on that word and these people can't even say it. I find it very insulting and
Another Surviver

nuch a chosid said...

and this was the principle you said... what education can she already be teaching to the students of her school

J.A.P. said...

No Chusdid, It wasn't the principal, but it was someone who was in charge of doing the hiring at the school.

The principal herself is a wonderful person and if she knew about this conversation she would be horrified.

But I don't talk about it... Just post it on some blog :)

Zach Kessin said...

I have to say I'm horrified that you have to deal with this kind of c*rp. It seems you are strong enough to handle it but still you shouldn't have to.

nuch a chosid said...

Interesting, there was an article not long ago in a heimish Yiddish Weekly magazine called "tzeitishrift" a very similer story with some changes.

That article-story was about a very intelligent and strong but handicapped woman in a wheel chair that came for a job interview, and the principal didn't want to give her the job .....

I have a strong feeling that the article writer, read this post, and then rearranged the facts for that article.

have a gut gebencht yohr with health and wealth and everything sweet to it

J.A.P. said...

nuch a chossid- wow, thats funny. I wonder if the author really did read this post. That would be interesting.

Thanks for all ur well wishes and right back at you!

brianna said...

I bet you get this a lot, but YOU GO GIRL.

Frum Jelly Bean said...

Sadly, I have heard those ridiculous prejudices before...and when I complain about it, people tell me I am too idealistic and when I grow up I will realize that our world just has to stay this way, with cancer being 'poo poo.' That sometimes makes me hope I never grow up... This made me laugh, and you handled the conversation with such poise and self-confidence. I probably would have mumbled some excuse and hung up. Hats off to you. :)

M said...

I'm probably coming into this conversation about a year late, but guys, I just want to tell you that I just went out and brought the book at the book siging and it is AMAZING!! The crowd was tremendous, they were all in awe of this petitie woman with a smiley face, and they were all just *dying* to get her autograph. JAP, you ROCK!!! Way to go- I already skimmed through the book and found myself REALLY drawn. From whatever I read- WOW. Incredible. I feel priveledged to know you!