Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The road to others 'hell' is often paved with my good intentions...

As I looked at today’s ‘Life Saver”, there was only one story that I knew could possibly go with it. Let me give you today’s gem of thought and then I will expound….

“I have faith in fools – my friends call it self confidence!”

Years ago I was the president of a small software company called Careware that wrote and distributed software programs for care giving agencies like childcare facilities, nursing homes and home health care groups so they could fully automate their process and keep track of all government reporting.

In the middle of the venture, I started noticing some major changes going on in my business partner who also happened to be our software programmer. Longer hair, track marks in the crux of his arm and glazed over, doe-in-the-headlight stares naturally lead me to think he was quickly getting caught in the web of narcotics.

Imagine my surprise when he sat the board down and announced that he was going through some rather significant changes – namely he was becoming a she through gender reassignment surgery.

I was aghast! He was barely passable as a nice looking 6’6” male but I knew he’d make an absolutely horrific looking female! I, however, kept my mouth shut and managed to get through the sideways glances when we’d go shopping for office supplies, when people would snicker as she/he/it would use a falsetto voice to communicate and kept from gagging when my opinions (as the only other female in the office) were solicited on necessities from the Victoria’s Secrets catalogue.

My parents always taught me to be gracious under any circumstance and so – even though I did not agree with his choices – I remained a friend and a sounding board.

When the day of his/her final surgery actually arrived,….yes the one that lops off and inverts certain uuhhh,….’parts’, I had compassion and figured that in some sort of way, my friend would need comfort through the transition. I mean it was after all a pretty permanent and drastic surgery which would irrevocably change his life forever. I was sure that there would be some sort of mourning process although I had not the foggiest what that would entail –nor did I really want to know. But nonetheless, I wanted to be compassionate and lend some sort of support.

But what to send????

There are not many cards that do justice for such a surgery. “Get well soon” didn’t seem to fit the bill. “I’m sorry for your loss” wasn’t quite appropriate. Since I didn’t agree with his choices, I had a hard time with “Welcome to your new addition”.

Flowers seemed to ‘girly’, balloons too juvenile - nothing seemed gender neutral enough to make me comfortable without sending mixed messages to him/her.

That’s when I got a flyer in an ad circular for lovely gift baskets done by Mrs. Fields. Perfect! I called the number and had a nice basket sent to my friend’s room in the specialized Seattle hospital.

Two days later I got a call from my new “female” friend.
“Hiya, Stace. Thanks for the basket. It was lovely,” he said in his best falsetto, although slurred from the pain meds, voice.

“I’m glad you liked it. I was trying to find something that was appropriate for the occasion since you will always be my friend but you also know how I feel about the choice.”

“You made that quite clear,” he snickered an octave lower. “Were you aware that the tag on the front of the basket says, and I quote, ‘Mrs. Field’s assorted cookies with chopped nuts??’ It became the talk of the gender reassignment ward the moment it was delivered.”

“Uuuuhhh, gee,…I’m soooo sorry, I’m not sure what too say…..”

“Normally I would take offense, but knowing you, Stace, means that I can know with an absolute certainty that you didn’t have a clue what the tag said and didn’t mean anything but sincere wishes….”

So much for good intentions. All I can say is that is good my friends know the meaning of my heart even if the translation loses a bit at times.


Jewel's Gems said...

HA!!! "I'm sorry for your loss!"
Too funny:-)

Karen Hoover said...

Oh, that is too funny!

Cindy Beck said...

Funny story! You know what they say, "No good deed goes unpunished."

Chas Hathaway said...

Oh, man! Isn't it funny how the worst possible option could be mistaken for the safest? That's hilarious!

- Chas