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Dear Matt: The Daily Caller just featured an expose of what everyone has always known about Rep. Sheila “you mothereffer” Jackson “you mothereffer” Lee. What advice can you offer on how to deal with difficult bosses? In other words, how often does Tucker Carlson call you a “mothereffer?” Your indulgence is much appreciated. — Sydney D. Mothereffer
I’ll take your questions in order of unsuitability due to mature themes and adult language. Tucker frequently calls me a “mothereffer.” And in retaliation, I call him “Oedipus,” because I’m sophisticated, and once took a class on Greek mythology down at the community college. When launching The Daily Caller, Tucker even tried to name this column “Ask Mothereffer.” But I refused, figuring it would only confuse readers, who’d wonder why Bill Maher was writing for him.
My first piece of advice if you have a difficult boss, is to quit and find a more agreeable boss. If you still work for a horror show like Sheila Jackson Lee after she publicly called you a “mothereffer,” then it’s time for some self-examination. Maybe she has a fair point. In which case I suggest you go to Sheila Jackson Lee’s office — entering cautiously in case she chucks a stapler at your head — to thank her for her honesty.
Many people think it’s a sign of moral inferiority to quit. To which I say they have quit – on finding a better solution. I know that as Americans, we’re supposed to be all about dogged optimism and stick-to-itiveness, and we’re not supposed to be quitters. But sometimes change is necessary. The Farrah-cut once worked for you. But you can’t wear it forever. That was yesterday’s hairstyle. Time to get a new look. Maybe “The Rachel,” which really accentuates your cheekbones. Get with it. These are the ‘90s, man.
In the event that you can’t quit, for whatever frivolous reason you have like paying your mortgage or feeding your children, here are some additional strategies for dealing with an evil boss:
1. Playing Possum – If you have a difficult boss, chances are they bring you difficult tasks, which interfere with more important office priorities such as eating lunch, emailing your friends, and finding unspeakably offensive porn sites. Your actual mission, then, is to convince your boss that you are not the man/woman for the job. So gladly accept these tasks, then prove your incompetence. After enough failures, your boss won’t entrust you with anything more consequential than bringing in cookies for National Cookie Day. Thus allowing you to get back to discovering the joys of goldenshowersbringmayflowers.com.
2. The Snitch – If there’s one thing that cannot stand in today’s workplace, it’s intolerance. Intolerant people are simply not tolerated. So in order to make yourself indispensable to management, find someone who has disparaged a woman, a minority, a physically-challenged person or a person of whiteness (white people in America will be a minority by the year 2042, meaning it’s time to start practicing more tolerance toward them). Once you locate said hater, loudly reprimand them, then report them to HR. Your boss will no longer have time to express displeasure with you, since he/she will be too busy punishing them. Will your co-workers come to resent you for putting their careers in jeopardy? Undoubtedly. But what are they going to do about it? Report you? Too late, you’ve already reported them. Wake up a little earlier if you want to get the drop on The Snitch, co-workers.
3. Respect Is A Right, Not A Privilege – Under no circumstances should you ever tolerate being called a “mothereffer.” It’s the “mother” prefix which I find particularly troubling. It harks back to a dark chapter in our nation’s history, one in which women found it perfectly acceptable to stay home and raise their children. Sure, mothers gave birth to us, and breast fed us until we were four or five (normal, right?) But the very word “mother” is so politically charged nowadays, with connotations of hausfraudom, of bon-bon eating and game-show watching and denim-jumper-wearing. Such pejorative labels are unacceptable in a place of employment. And if you work, and are additionally a mother, then you are what social scientists call “working mothers.” So demand respect from your boss, and insist on being called a “working mothereffer.”
Are ants communists? This is something I have pondered of late. They have no social hierarchy — they work completely for the cooperative community. The division of labor is done by consensus. Are ants the perfect communists? Have they reached the ultimate in utopian society? – Bill Hicks
Interesting question. One I’ve never considered. You’re like the Edward O. Wilson of Ask Matt Labash. I was trying to think of a less easy reference to a myrmecologist. But then I remembered that I don’t know any other myrmecologists. Also, I had to look up that myrmecology is the study of ants. So there was that problem, as well.
I tend not to give ants much thought unless I’m crushing them underfoot or spraying them with Raid when finding them marching out of a Funyons bag in the cupboard. But if you’re correct, and ants are indeed commies (I have noticed that many of them are red), that means I’m not just a calloused speciesist who believes in the existential supremacy of me and my Funyuns. No, I’m a freedom fighter, keeping the cupboard safe from the red menace. I’m like C. Thomas Howell in “Red Dawn.” I’m like the Ronald Reagan of my house, or something. In fact, the ants are getting off easy with Raid. They should consider themselves lucky I don’t go Strategic Defense Initiative on their pinko asses.
Wilson himself has joked of ants that “Karl Marx was right, socialism works, it is just that he had the wrong species.” But whether ants truly do represent our next serious national security threat, or are behind some commie world-domination plot, is way beyond my expertise. So I’ll forward your theory to Glenn Beck, stat. Look for yourself on the chalkboard.
Matt Labash is a senior writer with the Weekly Standard magazine. His book, “Fly Fishing With Darth Vader: And Other Adventures with Evangelical Wrestlers, Political Hitmen, and Jewish Cowboys,” is now available in paperback from Simon and Schuster. Have a question for Matt Labash? Submit it here.