Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Thank You For Your Service

Before my official retirement from the military I had an interview with the HR office. All of my paperwork should have been up to date, but considering that the same documents were submitted three times and lost three times, I showed up with copies. To my surprise, everything was there. All of my retirement points were accounted for, and that's what I cared most about. I had already gone through my documentation with my Unit Administrator, so I didn't see a need to have a meeting with HRO. The person interviewing me, who we'll call Sgt Rivera, cause that's her name, and who was about seven months pregnant, had called me to her office because of my beneficiary papers. I changed them when I married a few years earlier to make my husband the primary beneficiary, and my father and nephew alternates. She insisted that I update it to add my children before my retirement date. The following is the conversation that ensued as clearly as I can remember, which is very clear because that bitch pissed me off so much I couldn't forget if I wanted to:

"I don't have any children to add."
"You don't have children?"
"No, I don't have children. Does my cat count?"
"No. But you ARE going to have children, aren't you?"
"Uh, no. I'm NOT going to have children."

She somehow managed to shrink her mouth into a pucker tighter than my cat's ass and elongate her face to look like my pissy 6th grade teacher, Miss Lynch. She got pretty darned snooty at this point and I was getting visions of turning her desk over in a fit of rage, but I didn't, because it occurred to me that my shit was tight, and hers wasn't, and that made me happy.

"But you HAVE to have children!"
"I don't HAVE to have anything!"
"You get married to have children. If you didn't want any children, why did you bother to get married?"

Now normally when confronted with a total asshole of a human being, I try to find ways of dealing with that person which will somehow end in peace, not pieces. But she was pushing it. I noticed a picture of her and her husband and three kids on her desk. And another on the way? I thought that maybe she was hormonal or having a bad day, but obviously, this was a thought out plan brought about by the assumption that every woman is supposed to pop out babies, cause that's our primary function. Well, fuck that! Wasn't she popping them out enough for the both of us? My husband and I were incredibly happy with our life and we wanted to keep it that way.

"I got married because I love my husband, not because I wanted to have children. Never in my entire life do I even remember wanting to have children. And besides having some physical issues that I won't get into, why should I do something I don't feel naturally inclined to do?"
"You'd feel differently if you had a child."
"No, you'd feel differently if I had a child."
"Well, that's your decision."
"Exactly. My decision and absolutely none of your business. Let me ask you something. Were you trained to be this rude? Or did you get the job for your natural ability? Because as far as I know, in the 21 years that I have served, Self Righteous Bullshit wasn't a requirement to wear the uniform. So if the inappropriate judgemental portion of this interview is over, I'd like to get on with my retirement. "

I always find it amazing how people who are pregnant assume that they should be treated like holy vessels doing the world the great favor of overpopulating the planet. A week before this conversation I was walking with my dad in the city. We were passing in front of the Hard Rock Cafe and the music was so loud that you could feel it on the sidewalk and through your feet. At that very moment a car pulled up in front of us and a door was thrown open. Out hopped a woman with a baby, a toddler and a magically opening stroller right in our way. It was all so fast that my dad, who has problems with sudden stops and turns thanks to a stroke, almost fell over. I imagine that the look on my face did not convey it's usual cheerful glow. I held on to my dad and stared her down. There she stood in front of me with her Diagon Alley stroller, ready to take children into the city's loudest restaurant and she had the nerve to look at us as if we were the ones in HER way. So I stood there and waited for her to get out of OUR way. Finally she moved and as I was guiding my dad away she said, "It's obvious you don't have children!". Oh no she di-int. I turned around and walked right up to her and said in the lowest most controlled voice I could muster, "No, I don't have children, but if I did, I wouldn't use them as road blocks and I certainly wouldn't take them to a loud and crowded adult place like this. If I owned this business I would ban people like you for the sake of the children whose hearing you put in jeopardy, and for the sake of the customers who come here to eat, drink and listen to Hard Rock, not miserable children screaming because their parents are assholes who care more about themselves than their children's well being. Have a nice day." She was stunned, needless to say, so my work there was done. She was lucky that my dad didn't fall. I honestly don't know what I would have done. But I digress.

Sgt Rivera closed my folder and said that my paperwork was complete. She didn't look at me, she didn't wish me a happy retirement, she didn't thank me for my years of service. It didn't matter how many medals, awards or citations I had. My accomplishments and dedication to my country meant nothing. I was a selfish human being because I chose not to have children. I got up, gathered my things and walked out.

There's a big difference between being a smart ass and being rude. I love being a smart ass. Probably because I can't help it, and it's usually in good fun. I don't like being rude. As a matter of fact, I'm totally against rudeness. It makes me crazy to have to defend myself as a result of other people's rudeness. I hope I never do anything that would force other people to flip out as a result of my rudeness. And I wish there was some kind of procreation law that said people had to pass certain requirements in order to procreate - like not be assholes or stupid. And if you insist on wanting a big family, you should be required to adopt kids who need a family. That's the kind of family I'd like to see on TLC.

I love my cat.


  1. If I'd have been there, I'd have made a snotty comment about her using back-to-back pregnancies to shirk her military duty. But that's just me.

  2. Good for you, Liz. I'm glad to see that you haven't changed one bit since the days when we used to hang out.

  3. I guess haven't changed much, no. I've just learned to not take people's crap anymore.

  4. http://www.gapminder.org/ has all the ammunition you need to demonstrate that having 3 or 4 kids is definitely not what modern people do these days.

  5. I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to say I agree. But I'm usually too meek in public to properly take it out on people. Hehehe...

  6. Sometimes a person can only take so much...