As a department manager I was required to attend the monthly managers’ breakfast meetings with the Director and the other three managers. The Director was a pompous, bombastic, argumentative, resentful misogynist who delighted in excluding me whenever he could from the managers’ all boys club. I had been promoted by his predecessor and since I had outstanding evaluations, there was nothing he could do about me.
These breakfasts were such an incredible waste of my time 1) because the “guys” all tried to outdo each other in caloric intake, ordering huge greasy, disgusting breakfast specials while I ate an egg and fruit and drank endless cups of coffee prompting comments about my figure vs theirs; 2) because we very seldom discussed organization business but I had to listen ad nauseum to their military and sports stories; and, 3) as a woman, they expected me to keep notes which I refused to do. Insulting, demeaning, antagonistic behaviors … I spent each breakfast meeting on edge, deflecting every insult with a pithy comeback or a witty comment while trying to avoid bloodshed. I would gladly have ripped the director’s head off and bludgeoned the other two with it. Most of the females working in the organization would have testified that it was justifiable homicide.
During one of these (endless) meetings, the “boys” were discussing famous Marines and one of them said, “What about Ira whats-his-name?” I said, “Do you mean Ira Hayes?” Four pairs of astonished eyes swiveled to me and the original questioner said, “Bet you guys don’t know what he did.” “Sure,” I said. “He was the Native American Marine who helped raise the flag over Iwo Jima; was honored as one of the five heroes and eventually died in a gutter from alcohol poisoning.” I could actually see their mouths drop open …
Thank you Johnny Cash for recording “The Ballad of Ira Hayes”. I’ll learn my lessons wherever I find them.
“The Ballad Of Ira Hayes”
About a brave young Indian you should remember well
From the land of the Pima Indian
A proud and noble band
Who farmed the Phoenix valley in Arizona land
The water grew Ira’s peoples’ crops
‘Till the white man stole the water rights
And the sparklin’ water stopped
And their land grew crops of weeds
When war came, Ira volunteered
And forgot the white man’s greed
Two hundred and fifty men
But only twenty-seven lived to walk back down again
And when Old Glory raised
Among the men who held it high
Was the Indian, Ira HayesIra returned a hero
Celebrated through the land
He was wined and speeched and honored;
No water, no crops, no chance
At home nobody cared what Ira’d done
And when did the Indians danceThen Ira started drinkin’ hard;
Jail was often his home
They’d let him raise the flag and lower it
like you’d throw a dog a bone!
He died drunk one mornin’
Alone in the land he fought to save
Two inches of water in a lonely ditch
Was a grave for Ira Hayes
Call him drunken Ira Hayes
He won’t answer anymore
Not the whiskey drinkin’ Indian
Nor the Marine that went to war
Yeah, call him drunken Ira Hayes
But his land is just as dry
And his ghost is lyin’ thirsty
In the ditch where Ira died
love your description of the not so smart company breakfasts – made me chuckle
by the way, I’ve just turned myself into http://julzcrafts.com, and have tweaked the site a bit – you are still on the “i LIKE” page – smile
There are a couple of good documentaries about Hayes. He deserved better.
I remember those meetings. So many meetings. Breakfast. Lunch. After work and always pizza. There was no reason for me to be there. Anything that concerned me could easily have been transmitted in a brief 1 paragraph email. But I was there to be a witness? To validate their importance? Retirement is a wonderful thing. I have been asked if I miss work. Oh my lord no. But I wouldn’t mind the money.