Do a Search of Women and Drawbridges

A friend of mine recently did a Google search of Women and Drawbridges, and what came up was disheartening. Not one word about the many amazing female bridge operators out there. Sadly, nothing about this blog, either.

No. It was all about the stupid things women have done on bridges. Especially this woman, who famously got stuck on an automated bridge as it was rising.

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She has become the poster child for all the foolish pedestrians who ignore warnings when a bridge is opening. (And did she have to be wearing that tacky shirt while doing so? Jeez.) I see them every day. (She also happens to be the perfect argument for why drawbridges should never be automated.)

Another thing that pops up is the woman who died after falling from an opening bridge. (Please take those gongs seriously, folks. Getting to your destination on time is rarely worth your life!)

And then there’s this insane and obviously faked video of a woman jumping across an opening bridge. “Do not attempt”, it says. Uh, yeah. That’s putting it mildly.

For what it’s worth, after years of observation, I can say with a certain amount of authority that stupidity on drawbridges knows no gender.

The reason I find these search results so frustrating is that I’ve been a bridgetender for 17 years. I’ve worked with dozens of other female operators, and we are every bit as capable as our male counterparts. And yet inevitably I’ve encountered people in positions of influence who openly state that they don’t think women should be bridgetenders.

What is this, 1950?

Yes, it’s a male-dominated profession. I have no idea why. It’s something that I’ve had to adjust to throughout my career. There’s a constant push back from certain sources. It can be exhausting.

One male coworker refers to a female coworker of mine as “the little blonde,” which completely discounts her intelligence and capabilities, and reduces her to her physical attributes. It makes me want to scream. Another coworker referred to an assault incident between two women as a “cat fight.”

For God’s sake. What an ignorant world we live in. I’d clutch my pearls if I weren’t so busy cleaning the motor oil out from under my fingernails.

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Nature Doesn’t Clash

I have a friend who is an artist, and when choosing his color palette for any given creation, he looks to nature for inspiration. He’ll take a leaf or a flower petal, for example, and put it under a microscope, and then use the colors he sees there. I think that’s a brilliant idea.

If you want the ultimate arbiter of good taste, nature is it. First of all, it’s been around a heck of a lot longer than we have. It knows how to play the game. It doesn’t like short-term trends. I can’t think of even one example of a natural thing that irritates my sensibilities. I definitely can’t say that about humans on an average day. (Nature wouldn’t be caught dead in sandals with knee socks.)

Nature also doesn’t wage war, shut down the government for selfish reasons, or pollute itself in the name of greed. It sees no need for firearms. If anyone were to support health care for all, it would be nature.

While nature can seem arbitrarily cruel, it definitely looks at the big picture and the long term. These are qualities that modern man seems to lack, to our everlasting peril. The more we ignore nature’s warnings, the more we will suffer. Nature is patient. Nature will win. The question is, will we be around to see it?

Painted Hills Oregon
Painted Hills, Oregon

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Don’t Try This at Home

I just saw a car commercial in which the company felt it necessary to run a disclaimer across the bottom of the screen which said, “Fantasy. Do not attempt. Cars can’t jump on trains.” What a bummer. I was totally planning to run out and try that.

What a sad state of affairs when our society becomes so prone to litigation that we have to anticipate every level of stupidity in order to protect ourselves. Like those warnings on plastic dry cleaner bags that say, “This is not a toy.”

There’s even a website about this. Of course. Here are some of my favorites from www.dumbwarnings.com.

  • Keep away from water -White-Westinghouse 1600 Blow Dryer
  • Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly. – Child-Sized Superman Costume
  • Warning: Contents under pressure. Cap may blow off causing eye or other serious injury. Point away from face and people, especially while opening. – Canada Dry Club Soda
  • Product will be hot after heating. – Mark and Spencer’s Bread Pudding
  • Warning: Do not reuse the bottle to store beverages. – Liquid Plummer
  • This product not intended for use as a dental drill. – Dremel Electric Rotary Tool
  • WARNING: Do not smoke until hair is dry. – Clairol Herbal Essences Maximum Hold Hairspray
  • This formula may cause drowsiness, if affected do not operate heavy machinery or drive a vehicle. – Demazin Infant Drops
  • Use for sex only – not to be eaten – Trojan Condoms
  • Do not attempt to stop chain with hands. – Jonsreds Chainsaw

I really worry about humanity sometimes. I think I’ll go cut the warning labels off my mattress in protest. What’s the worst that could happen?

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[Image credit: colinfahey.com]