A combination of family matters and mild blogging fatigue/Weltschmerz (this from JuliaM succinctly illustrates why) may keep posting light for a while longer.
today reports a conversation he overheard at work (in a jobcentre) which could serve as a metaphor for our times...
Adviser: Can you explain why you didn’t make your signing time today?
Customer: It’s my birthday, right and I was getting a tattoo innit and it took a while.
Adviser: I hope it doesn’t hurt too much?
Customer: Nah mate. it’s alright, I’m taking cannabis for the pain.
By coincidence, this story
from the Daily Telegraph takes us into the same territory:
A woman with 30 tattoos claims she was told to ''put a bag over her head'' when she went for a job interview.
Hayley O'Neil, 23, - who also has 20 body piercings - says was also advised to ''stand behind a wall'' when she asked a job centre official what post she could apply for.
You have to admit, he'd got a point raising the question of her appearance - I mean she certainly shouldn't be allowed near magnets or high voltage cables.
Miss O'Neil, who got her first tattoo from her mother as an 18th birthday present said: ''I just felt so humiliated. I couldn't believe what this guy was saying."
It's stretching our credulity too, to think that someone in his position would expect to get away with that in today's climate. If he did express himself in those exact terms, then he certainly wasn't at home to Mr Tactful that day - and, more relevantly, had decided to kiss his career goodbye.
It's true that, when you're stuck behind a desk day-in, day-out, dealing with the the stroppy and terminally workshy along with genuine cases of hardship, the sight of someone sporting tattoos that must have cost more than your month's salary might well make you see red.
On the other hand, of course - always assuming he really did say something of the sort - he might actually have been trying to make a serious point in a humorous way:
"The guy said: 'on first impressions do you think anyone would hire you?' He said: ' look at it this way if you were to stand behind a wall - or put a paper bag over your face do you think you would have a better chance?' "
Considering the picture above....er, yes? At least with interviewers of a nervous disposition. But Telegraph headline writers et al
, please note that, if those were his actual words, then far from 'advising' or 'telling' her to do it, he was asking her a question, using a graphic example to get her to consider the impact of her appearance.
The subtlety of this approach, however, seems to have escaped her and 'look at it this way'
suggests that previous attempts at explanation had met with a similar fate; all she understood was that he was telling her to put a bag on her head. You might like to consider the reaction on her part that must have led up to this:
"He then backtracked and tried to say that he was sorry and hoped I wasn't offended but I was."
In fact, she was so offended that she went straight to the papers with her story - or rather several versions of it.
Significantly, the earliest report made no mention of paper bags or walls - simply stating she was upset by being told she would find it hard to get work anywhere other than a tattoo parlour and by being advised to remove her piercings. From today's Telegraph:
A spokesman for the Department of Work and Pensions denied any inappropriate remarks had been made during the interview, adding "Jobcentre Plus offers standard job hunting tips which include dressing appropriately when going for an interview or visiting a potential employer."
So who's right? And why the discrepancy? A clue, perhaps, lies in the Lancashire Telegraph's
initial report on the 22nd:
'Her mother Dena, who accompanied her to the interview yesterday, said: “I was very upset.'
How many adults take their mother to the Jobcentre with them? And in the short intervening time, somebody has comissioned a more flattering photograph, lavishly embroidered the story with juicy, headline-grabbing detail and shoehorned it into a national paper, ensuring plenty of publicity. After all, celebrity careers have been built on less.
My money's on Mum.
(Update: this one's obviously touched a lot of nerves - there are plenty of interesting comments on Subrosa's take on it. Scotland's answer to Boudicca simply replaces my lengthy ramblings with the title 'Today's non-story' - which says it all, really.)