Doggone Column, Chauvinism Lives

Katie Young
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Wednesday - February 28, 2007

The dog ate my work. Mr. Pono, the wiener dog, has given new meaning to the excuse, “The dog ate my homework.”

Any child who has uttered this phrase to a teacher at school was surely thought to be lying through their teeth. But leave it to Mr. P to give children all over the world hope that this age-old mantra might not be so farfetched after all.

There were many times during my six-year stint on MidWeek‘s full-time staff that I would take my work home with me. And now that I write from home, there are even more papers lying around the house. I have a habit of printing out my column to get a final read before I submit it.

One night, I was reading my printed copy during dinner. I was eating take-out from a Japanese restaurant and some of the teriyaki sauce happened to get on the back of some of the pages. I wiped it off, finished my meal and went to take a shower, leaving the column on the end table in the living room.

When I emerged from the bathroom, I saw a pile of shredded paper on the floor.

“What on earth?!” I said out loud. “What is this?”

I bent down to pick up the pieces and realized it was my column - or part of my column - covered in doggie drool and teeth marks.

The remnants of the teriyaki sauce proved too great a temptation for Mr. P to pass up (or, as I’d like to think, my words were so enthralling, Mr. P couldn’t resist his own intensive read-through).

Of course, in this electronic age, a copy of my column was safely stored on the hard drive of my computer, saving me a call to MidWeek editor Don Chapman to say, “The dog ate my work!”

Today’s woman. Leave it to one of the guys to stick his foot in his mouth. At a recent get-together of friends, my pal Brian blurted out, “Women only go to college to find a husband, get married and have babies. What’s the point?”

“What????!!!!!” was the uniform response from the five females who heard this remark.

“Oh, I know you didn’t just say that,” my friend Tanya said, glaring.

Since we’re all in our late 20s and early 30s, it’s around that time when everyone is starting to settle down, get married and have children. So Brian was thinking about it. Several of the women he knew, once they started to have kids, gave up their jobs.

So in his mind, he saw a college degree as something of a waste of time if women were just going to quit their jobs to get married and have babies.

“Well,” I said, “Someone has to do it.”

“Do what?” Brian asked. “Have the kids!” I said. “You can’t do it. So let me tell you something about today’s woman. We have to do it all! Get our degree, find a good job, be a wife, a homemaker and a mother.”

I told Brian he couldn’t expect women to just pop the children out and be right back at work the next day, but that most women I knew enjoyed having a family and a job where they could use their education as well.

Brian’s attitude got the women in the room into a frenzy, and he ended up stuck in the middle of a 20-minute yell fest about women’s liberation, equality of the sexes and freedom of choice.

Brian finally conceded that his comment was chauvinistic and made in haste. We only hope we convinced him that the women of today have a difficult balancing act to maintain. The women I know want to make a difference in the world - whether that means we choose to make the world a better place by raising our children or by building our careers.

Useless trivia. Just a few last-minute thoughts courtesy of the website for the next time you’re at a party and looking for small talk:

* “Stewardesses” is the longest word that can be typed with only the left hand.

* One out of 10 people live on an island.

* Ninety percent of bird species are monogamous; only 3 percent of animals are.

* A cockroach can live nine days without its head before it starves to death.

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