A non-blonde and lessons learned

Long ago, while in a teaching position not so far away but growing more distant by the year, I was taken to task by a well-meaning individual, a faculty peer.

I had made a joke in class at the expense of a fun-loving, good-natured female student I had interacted with more than most other students.  And, in the course of a performance review some months later, a male student in the class had been interviewed, mentioning this joke in a positive light.  In other words, the male used this joke as an example of my likability and approachability in class.  But the faculty peer heard it as an error in judgment and wrote up “the incident” negatively in my review.

pineapple_188421The joke?  Well, the female student had said something a little uncharacteristically “off,” and I asked her if she were a “pineapple blonde . . . you know, blonde on the inside.”  Everyone laughed, including the female student, and we returned in fun to that moment several other times.  Of course it helped that the “blonde” was actually very bright; I wouldn’t have made the joke about an actually ditzy person.  🙂

The moral of this story:  one ought to know when to speak.  I’ve made a lot of judgment errors in my life, but this little joke really wasn’t one of them.  This “pineapple blonde” later became a great friend and has stayed that way.  Our son was in her wedding.

I suppose the sub-moral, though, is that one also ought to know the situation in which he speaks.  An over-serious, hawkishly scrutinizing life-context probably isn’t the place to risk a silly joke.

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6 thoughts on “A non-blonde and lessons learned

  1. Steve 06/23/2015 / 8:42 am

    Shakespeare’s Falstaff once uttered, “The better part of valor is discretion…” and we’ve rearranged his words to the more familiar–“Discretion is the better part of valor…” This was originally an explanation to redeem a bad situation/response and try to make it look good. Been there–done that myself. Sometimes it actually works.

    Your reflection is insightful, showing some aged hindsight-which is commonly called wisdom… or discretion. I had little of that virtue early in my life…gained a bit since…we all do, generally speaking, but not all do.

    In our increasingly PC world, it is increasingly important that we know the culture, but more importantly, that we know kingdom culture. His words always seem to convey a timeliness and appropriateness. Surely a God of joy is one who made jokes–and some of them were most likely shared only within the safety of his inner circle, because his culture also had a PC-ness about it, like ours.

    It’s hard to live according to the PC rules–because they always are changing, like fashion; it’s fickle, geared to the popular, often devoid of lasting value. People with self-esteem issues, who can’t laugh at themselves, who are PC trolls–create a miserable environment for themselves and those around them.

    All of this is just a morning ramble that is more stream of consciousness than thought out. I’m glad your friendship remains intact with ‘Miss Pineapple Blonde.’ Your story morals are helpful: thanks!

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    • Brian Casey 06/24/2015 / 12:26 pm

      Thanks for both appreciating the levity in my little joke — which has given some more humor mileage through the years — and for noticing a bit of wisdom in the hindsight. I’d probably say it was more of an assessment than an outpouring of anything really wise, but thanks just the same!

      Knowing culture and subcultures (kingdom, small groups of friends, workplace, etc.) seems to go hand in hand with wisdom and discretion.

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    • godschildrenorg 06/29/2015 / 12:31 am

      Steve, I enjoyed your “morning ramble.” Brian, Thanks for the laughter! I feel sorry for the peer that found no humor in the joke. Point well taken…some places may not be the best venue for levity? And, it’s true, people with self esteem issues may “hear” your words through their filter…miss the point entirely…and choose to be upset about their “interpretation.” ~~ Anne B., missionary for Transylvania, currently Stateside.

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  2. sarahcledgett12 06/24/2015 / 12:51 pm

    …and that “Miss Pineapple Blonde” continues to tell the story, always in the same spirit it was initially received 🙂

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    • Brian Casey 06/24/2015 / 1:39 pm

      Well said (and appreciated)! 🙂

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    • godschildrenorg 06/29/2015 / 12:32 am

      Sarah, you just “put the icing on the cake!” ~~ Anne B., missionary for Transylvania currently Stateside.

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