WHEN WORDS DON’T WORK

Giving a damn about my work is both a privilege and three heavy army deploiment duffle bags through the desert. Zeal drags night owls from beds when early morning duties call. It holds up early birds when the midnight oil burns with ambition and obligation.

But it can also cause over-investment in an institution that could not care less about the individual or the ideal that brought the institution to fame to begin with.

I naively appealed to my superior’s sense of logic that a certain newly dreamed-up system will be detrimental to staff morale and student performance. I drafted e-mails using cautiously selected phrases, titbits of gentle persuasion and tickertapes of emotive touches. My e-mails sang.

Nothing.

I decorated my face in the best that cheap make-up has to offer. If my electronic petitions cannot be successful, then I shall face the enemy in the flesh. Like Joan of Arc I shall confront my adversary eyeball to eyeball.

Arranged around a massive boardroom table with sprinkles of bosses in expensive suits, I felt less like Joan of Arc and more like Jo of Canoe. And my words – my pride and sharpest tool – staggered out of me like too many children squeezed from a G-Wiz.

My nemeses stared at me from unimpressed, bored facades. My words had moved no-one. I felt opportunity slip from my hands. I had to act. So I did what any professional law professor would do. I stuck my tongue out at them and left.

So…I’m having some wine tonight. Nothing sooths the savage beast like the aromas of fermented grape. And nothing smoothes the sharp edges of potential disciplinary consequences like the sting of alcohol…

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