Strong Woman Lesson No. 9042

The thing about people who try to strong arm women just because they are women is, it is so old. People used to do it years ago and then, women realized they could say, “Don’t do that” and actually get results. So, fewer males, I think, try because they think, perhaps, they won’t succeed. And, this type of male is inherently lazy, so the extra effort, with no guaranteed gain, might not be attractive. Still, there are ignorant fools who continue to try to intimidate, disrespect, insult, pick your term, women, just in case they, in fact, do get away with it.

This comes to mind because of a situation in which some male tried not to pay me for my writing services. It is really boring, actually, because it is so, well, old, and because the idiot in question is such a, well, idiot. But…of course there is a lesson. And when you are a mom, and a single mom of girls who don’t see male-female discourse on a daily basis, it is important to make a lesson of it. That is a thought in and of itself, perhaps for another time, the notion that parents who do not have another adult in the house feel the weight of talking about, describing, making sure the kids know what you take for granted if you grow up with two adults in the house. For now, we will talk about the idiot male person who tried not to pay me.

So, I accept a silly assignment knowing I probably shouldn’t because the people doing the assigning seem a little incompetent. But, I figure it’s a quick job. Spending cash. While I am sitting in the office of the assigning man watching him try to work the fax machine, I am reminded of something my first Managing Editor told me back in 1985. I happened to run into her on the Madison Avenue bus heading uptown in the evening, and she told me that whatever I do, wherever I work, make sure it is for reputable people. Take a lesser position, she said, with a smarter operation. I have put this into practice for many years. The few times I’ve accepted assignments from less worthy companies, I have, in fact, encountered trouble. 

But, when you freelance, you tend to accept most anything that is offered. These days, you don’t even think about it. You will write about nail clippers. Anyway, the man, let’s call him John, tells me after the piece is turned in that the piece is not good. Of course the piece is good. This is a tactic. Tell the person the piece is not good, after you already told her it was good, so that you don’t have to pay her. It has been a month since John has had my invoice, and no check has arrived in the mail. Meantime, I email John and all of his coworkers about how it is time for them to pay me. John, of course, gets mad that his coworkers now know that he cannot operate a fax machine.

My kids think this story is funny. I tell them that people will try to take advantage of you, and no matter how significant it is or not, you cannot let them. This is insignificant, but we will use all we have at our disposal to make sure we are treated fairly. My older daughter suggested we all go to John’s office to demand the check. She wants to watch it. 

Meanwhile, John called saying that he will pay me if I sign a statement saying I will not email his coworkers and tell them that he cannot operate the fax machine or is trying not to pay me or looks like a mushroom. I told him I won’t sign anything so insane and that he should mail a check to the address on the invoice, just like real businesses do. 

He said he would. We are taking bets. Lesson No. 9043 is in the works.



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