Monday, 24 March 2014

Your Fifteen Minutes Are Up by Naomi Elana Zener


Wandering alone, forlorn, without direction, searching for something with a sense of longing, struggling to recapture what she had lost, Lisa stared blankly at her reflection in the windows of the tony Robertson Boulevard stores, no longer recognizing the woman gazing back her. Even the shiny, pretty things decorating the window displays could not distract her from her mission to reclaim a scintilla of her former self. The distant land to which Lisa had been flung was obscurity, also known as Idaho, where she had lived for the past fourteen months after her family’s reality television series had been cancelled. In Idaho, Lisa’s former fame was non-existent, and her coworkers knew her only as potato quality control inspector #90210. Oh, the irony.

After her notorious family had made a household name for itself by being famous simply for being famous, like all good things, the fame came to an end after the show’s ratings took a precipitous nosedive into Hades.  The catalyst for the collapse was due to a discovery made by a sneaky paparazzo, who uncovered skeletons in their designer closet. The paparazzo exposed the fact that Lisa’s momager mother of four, Patty, who always had publicly espoused the importance of good Christian values, had mothered all of her kids not by her current husband of twenty-five years and the man whom they called ‘daddy,’ but rather by her boy toy Rinaldo, fifteen years her junior. Rinaldo was the tennis pro that broke up her first marriage, but the fire between Patty and Rinaldo continued to burn brightly, unbeknownst to her cuckolded husband. Once fans realized that the family’s life was a sham, Patty decided not to hide the truth any longer and invited Rinaldo into her boudoir, while kicking hubby #2 to the curb.  With the naked truth disclosed, Patty tried to salvage the sinking TV ship by having Lisa, the jewel in the family’s money-making crown, do a tasteful Playboy® pictorial. Sadly, Patty’s calculated efforts backfired and her family’s bible-belt fan base eroded, favoring the twerking antics of a young southern MTV star in desperate need of their support and salvation.

Lisa’s celebutante star power continued to flicker for a few months after the show went off-air, but fans vacillated between loving and hating her on a daily basis. Love turned to permanent hatred quickly, as was evidenced by her steadily declining appearance fee for club openings. Suddenly, Lisa was only being invited to appear at ribbon-cutting ceremonies for fast food franchises in Barstow, California and Plano, Texas alongside castoff contestants from Survivor Season Three. No longer rolling in the money, Lisa was unable to keep up with the lease payments on her fleet of luxury vehicles, or her mortgage on her ten million dollar home. Soon her palatial Bel Air mansion was in foreclosure and Lisa watched on as a former teen star, who had been savvy with his wealth, bought her home and turned it into a celebrity rehab center.  Barely able to afford her Botox injections and her buttock implant upkeep, Lisa made the Sophie’s Choice of saying goodbye to her beloved backside in favour of maintaining a crow’s feet free fa├žade.  With a deflated ass, the paparazzi, once glued to her like feces to flies, flocked to a new starlet and her DUI-antics. Lisa became a persona non grata at Lalaland’s finest eateries and even homeless people stopped recognizing her. Adding insult to injury, the final nail in her celebrity’s coffin was hammered when all speculation about whether she was pregnant by her ‘is he or isn’t he gay’ actor boyfriend ground to a halt.  Rock bottom was a hard hit, especially with no bountiful tush to cushion the fall.

Idaho had been a welcome refuge, but after ten minutes of working the line in the potato factory, Lisa was desperate to return to the public eye. Lisa returned to L.A. in the vain hope that VH1’s invitation for her to participate in a new reality game show called ‘Please Give Me 15 More Minutes,’ would return her to her former glory.  Drifting southwardly on Roberston, Lisa found herself standing before the flashing wattage of the paparazzi’s camera, lighting up The Ivy, like the Fourth of July.  The photographers swarmed the real celebrities coming out of the restaurant, all of whom stopped for an obligatory pose, faking exasperation at the doggedness of the camera Nazis, whilst secretly loving every minute of it. Quick thinking spawned Lisa’s swan dive into the fray to photo bomb the pictures being snapped before the paparazzi could clue into her interloping presence. Unfortunately for Lisa, one of L.A.’s keenest observers of celebrity life on the streets, a residence-challenged street dweller, caught on to Lisa’s ambush and alerted the photographers to her presence.

“Hey lady, if you want them to take your picture, you should get on another reality show and become famous again, because your fifteen minutes are up!” cried the homeless man.

The homeless man’s acknowledgment of her former celebrity was not lost on Lisa.

“You remember me! You really, really remembered me!” Lisa exclaimed.

In that moment Lisa knew that no matter what happened, she would never leave L.A., the land where anyone could be plucked off the street and shot into stardom, even if the person doing the plucking was homeless.


© 2014. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.


Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Size Me Up No More

Wandering aimlessly through the hallways of a mall, down a street, or even through a museum, while pushing my baby stroller, I’ve come to notice the unwelcome gazes and size me up stares I now receive A.C. (after child) from other women. Knowing I suddenly wasn’t giving off an LGBT vibe to anyone, I quickly gathered that the women were always moms (sexual orientation unknown and irrelevant) by virtue of the nature of their familiar expressions. Unlike the uninvited male gawking I received as a single woman, even as a married one before I popped out my two children, and sometimes even now due to the overwhelming size of my post-partum mammaries, from which I would always walk away feeling empowered that I still had "it,” these gawps left me feeling exposed, judged, and sometimes violated.  An assiduous subscriber to Dr. Seuss’ motto that "those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter,” I was surprised to find myself caring about the condemnatory looks.
I’m sure I’m not alone in this feeling. You know the scrutiny, from shoe to haircut and everything in between, your entire being is measured and analyzed in a thirty second gapeshorter than a racist sound bite that could ruin a politician’s career. The questions buzzing through these women’s mindsones often discussed in mommy blogs and online parenting forumsrun the gamut of logical to insane, dissecting everything from the make, model, and price of each piece of baby gear toted, baby’s weight, mother’s post-partum weight, baby’s hair or lack thereof, mother’s hair or lack thereof, to whether the mom is sporting a push present or not. Regarding the latter, a whole other contest ensues, one which reminds me of the female version of the game men playwhose dick is bigger than yours?except that women did it using the cut, clarity, colour, and size of each other’s engagement rings as their measuring sticks.
Some comments I’ve caught muttered audible enough for someone who is hearing impaired to have heard include:
I wonder where she got her stroller?
She must be rich because she has a Bugaboo!
What a great diaper bag! I’m so jealous because mine is from Target and clearly hers is Gucci.
Look at all that hair on her baby’s head! I wonder if she uses Rogaine on her daughter?
What an ugly child. Thank god my kid is cute! Why doesn’t she just wax his unibrow?
Her child is so young, so how come she can fit her ass into non-maternity jeans?
Her child is so old, why isn’t he in daycare already? I guess she doesn’t have to work.
And so on, and so on it goes. Heaven forbid if your baby or toddler screams and you don’t quell their verbal rage immediately, the sentencing from the peanut gallery worsens. What happened to the sisterhood of mothers, of women, to help each other out instead of singling each other out for any perceived faux pas or mothering decision? Did women take a u-turn in their seven-seat mini-vans and SUVs back to the 1950s, when such nasty attitudes prevailed in the domesticated homes in which women resided, because they were forced to by societal anti-feminist pressures? At least back then there was no Internet, no Facebook, no Twitter where anyone could socially castigate another woman for her perceived choices, which have emboldened further women to express their views to anyone, including strangers, in person.
Although I’ve been guilty of a holier-than-thou moment or two, I’ve never spoken such thoughts aloud for anyone to hear, despite my motto being, "I’m not mean, just honest," for I was taught that if I don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. So, if you do see me walking around, pushing my pram (or, usually in my case, my baby inside of his car seat atop a Snap ‘n Go), stop and say hello instead of wondering how many strollers I own, or why I’m reading or writing on my laptop instead of stimulating my baby 24/7, or how come I’m able to wear skinny jeans four months after giving birth. I’m happy to answer all of your questions, for I’d rather be looked in the eye by someone cutting me down to size rather than stabbed in the back based on unsubstantiated beliefs.
© 2014. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.
- See more at: http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/family/mummy/20140130/size-me-up-no-more#sthash.PWflQsCV.dpuf


Let's Derail the Train Off of the "Mommy Track"

I resent being labeled as being on the "Mommy Track." First, unlike Thomas, I'm not a train, thus not on any track. Second, I've never once heard anyone speak about my husband or any male friend or colleague as being on the "Daddy Track." To that end, I've never even heard those words muttered in the general direction of a stay-at-home dad. Does the expression "Daddy Track" even exist?
I’ve been a practising entertainment/media lawyer for nearly a decade, holding three post-secondary degrees (B.A., J.D., LL.M.) and two bars (Ontario-2004; California-2008), and have earned every job I’ve held to date on my own merit. In 2009, I decided to write my first fiction novel, “Deathbed Dimes,” and is set to be published and released in Summer 2014 by Iguana Books, which I followed up with a satire fiction blog in 2011. Furthermore, I have written a collection of humour kids stories for parents and will be writing my sophomore fiction novel in 2014. Yet, as soon as my husband inseminated one of my eggs bearing us our first child in 2011, all of my accomplishments and endeavours were overshadowed and I was greeted with the same refrain from many men and women who crossed my path: “So you’re on the Mommy Track.”
Why does anyone need to label a woman, whether working outside of the home or not, as being on this particular set of tracks (or on the wrong side of the tracks depending on who is making the proclamation) as soon as she becomes a mother? Moreover, why is it when a woman chooses to lead a life in triplicate hyphenate (or more), wife/mother/career gal, somehow they are viewed as not being as committed to their careers as their non-breeding female counterparts? I’m never surprised when a man announces which track my training is running on, as it is generally par for the course in our patriarchal society, but when a woman does it, I often wonder, what real strides has the feminist movement made to advance womens’ presence in the working world.
Although women outnumber men in professional degree programs formerly dominated by men (i.e. law, medicine, dentistry), we still hit our heads on the glass ceilings as we birth our babies and get dinner on the table. Clearly, the dent made to change the attitudes towards working women who balance career, wifely duties, and motherhood has been as impactful as what driving cars has done to close the holes in the ozone layer. This fact is even more glaring when women look down upon their sisters who attempt to engage their inner jongleuse. These women must be reminded that, as Madeline Albright once stated, ‘there is a special place in Hell for women who don’t help other women.’ In fact, I’m sure that this special place has enough room to accommodate the unsupportive men out there who aid and abet in the crime of disabling or simply not supporting women succeed in both the workplace and in the home.
I’m a juggler wearing many hats: a lawyer, author/writer, mother, wife, entrepreneur, who also happens to be a woman. I hope that at the very least by exemplifying a woman who will not be limited by an external label, I can help other women believe that they can unlock their inner-jongleuse and go after their goals with the belief that they can and will achieve them to, because I schvitz too much to end up in that special place in Hell.

© 2013. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved. 

- See more at: http://www.yummymummyclub.ca/life/work/20131113/lets-derail-the-train-off-of-the-mommy-track#sthash.VVNcAejc.dpuf


Saturday, 1 March 2014

Millennial Support Group by Naomi Elana Zener

[AlmostDr.1987]: ISOJ. I can’t believe how after 11 yrs of school & training, I make $0.37/hr as a surgical resident SAVING OTHER PEOPLE’S LIVES! With residency coming to an end, I can’t find a job because old fucking boomers won’t retire or die! FML #WM #ISU

[HeartofGold]: WTF did I go to law school for? At least you’ll have a job. I’ve been sofa surfing in my parents’ basement for two years looking for work, but there’s nothing out there that meets my skills. #TSPMM

[Z63]: I’ve seen lots of job postings for lawyers. If you can’t find work, why don’t you just apply to everything?

[HeartofGold]: Um because who the fuck wants to just do insurance defense work? I want to be an entertainment lawyer, but no one wants to let a junior in!

[Z63]: Both of you should stop complaining. With your degrees you’ll land on your feet. What about poor people not lucky enough to go to med or law school? Would you rather flip burgers at McDonalds? You should be grateful that your parents let you stay at their place. Think of the money you’re saving on rent that you can use to repay student loans.

[AlmostDr.1987]: What student loans? My parents paid for school.

[HeartofGold]: Same here.

[Z63]: Some of us aren’t so lucky. By the way, what do these mean:
FML
WM
ISU
TSPMM
ISOJ

[AlmostDr.1987]:
FML – fuck my life
WM – why me
ISU – it’s so unfair
TSPMM – they should pay me more
ISOJ – in search of job


[Z63]: Well aren’t you both special! You are whiners. Do you know what the Gen Xers faced on graduation? Recession. Yet, they still made careers for themselves.

[AlmostDr.1987]: Well we’re in the midst of trying to recover from the Great Recession, so it’s worse for us.

[HeartofGold]: Our problems were caused by Gen Xers. They showed us what we should aspire to: 4+1 bedroom house, two luxury cars, 5 star vacations, 2.5 kids cared for by ethnic nanny who simultaneously walks designer hybrid doodle mutt. So we went to school with our GenX dreams in mind while our Boomer and Zoomer parents Blackhawk-hovered over our every move, put us in every conceivably organized team sport were we all got gold stars & no one lost.  We’re not special? We are Generation Special because our mommies told us we were.

[SupaStah]: The problem is every other ‘special’ kid from our class and teams are competing against us for jobs that Boomers & Zoomers won’t retire from. Or, Gen Xers won’t quit.

[HeartofGold]: I want to be my own boss

[Z63]: So, you have a law degree. Hang a shingle. Start your own practice!

[HeartofGold]: Then who will mentor me?

[AlmostDr.1987]: That would be negligent to practice law not having been taught how to be a lawyer.

[SupaStah]:  I got thrown in the deep end at my job. No mentorship.

[Z63]: What do you do?

[SupaStah]: Investment banking.

[Z63]: Hard work.

[SupaStah]: I kill myself for my $100K salary, which works out to about the same as AlmostDr.1987’s hourly wage when you look at my hours. I should only have to work 8:30am-4:30pm for that money, especially when my bonus was only $250K last year.  I’m lucky if I get more than 6 hours of sleep on weekends.

[Z63]: Is that because you’re working non-stop?

[SupaStah]: Are you out of your fucking mind? My weekends are sacrosanct. Only for the occasional big billion-dollar deal will I work a weekend. No man, it’s bottle service time.

[AlmostDr.1987]: The only bottle service I see on call is the coke bottle I get when I have five seconds between patients from the pop machine.

[HeartofGold]: I don’t even want to be a lawyer. At least you two have jobs & are living the dream.

[Z63]: What do you want to do?

[HeartofGold]: I want…I want…

[Z63]: You don’t even know what you want!

[HeartofGold]: Yes I do! I want to make A LOT of $$$$ & do very little for it.

[AlmostDr.1987]: Hate to break it to you, no such thing.

[SupaStah]: I’d say send me your c/v, but you have to kill it to make cheddar in I-banking.

[Teach4Future]: You are all such jerks. I’m a teacher staring down a lifetime of union membership oppression, low pay, no respect from students let alone parents, overcrowded classes, under the pressure of teaching our future leaders, doctors, lawyer, etc… You have NO idea what that’s like.


[AlmostDr.1987]: Don’t talk to me about pressure. Come back when you’ve had your arm elbow deep inside a guy’s chest cavity massaging his heart back to life. Try training for 14 years to make less than a kid in a Bangladesh sweatshop. I haven’t eaten a decent meal in years. My ass is so large that I have to wear scrubs on dates because nothing in my closet fits & I don’t have any money to buy a new dress.

[HeartofGold]: Maybe you’ll marry rich. Or, another poor doctorJ

[AlmostDr.1987]: Fuck you. I was one of the unlucky ones not to snag a classmate as a hubby while still in med school.

[SupaStah]: Hey teach, what do you have to complain about? 8am-3pm school days? Two weeks off at Xmas? A week’s vacation in March? Sick day bank? Wait, you must HATE summers off!

[AlmostDr.1987]: You’re not even responsible for their lives. You get a new batch of students every year. So if you fuck up one group, there’s another right behind to teach the following year to make up for it. They’re just like Kleenex.

[HeartofGold]: Seriously, you have lifetime job security. The rest of us here don’t.   What do you really have to complain about?


[AlmostDr.1987]: If someone dies on my table, my career is one scalpel cut away from being killed.

[SupaStah]: Please, if I do something to screw up the NYSE, I face public career execution. If I tell anyone I work in finance & the stock market had a bad day, I get looked at like I “Madoff” with their $$$.

[Teach4Future]: Do you know how hard it is to teach today? To get a kid to listen to you when plugged into their iPod 24-7? Or, to get a parent to care long enough between calls on their smartphone? To top it off, everything is digital so we have to be computer geniuses too, even though our degree is in social anthropology of lemurs & basket weaving.

[Z63]: You’re Generation Steve Jobs complaining about working a computer?

[Teach4Future]: Just because I have a PhD in Facebook® doesn’t mean I write code or am a software genie.

[AlmostDr.1987]: I have the same issue in the hospital. I understand the inner workings of a human brain, not that of an iMac. Where are all the great six figure salaries we were promised? Where’s the help, the mentorship? Where’s the accommodation we need for our ADHD? Where’s the life-work balance so we can all be #1?

[HeartofGold]: This is our parents’ fault. I can’t afford a real house. Who wants to come home with me to have sex in my parents’ basement? Being a GenY has totally screwed up my sex life.

[Z63]: Ever hear of renting?

[Teach4Future]: That’s a total waste of $$$. You have no equity in a rental. And, how would you save for a down payment?

[SupaStah]: Or bottle service?

[Z63]: Live within your means? Cut out the bottle service? Don’t go into debt?

[HeartofGold]: There’s nothing wrong with a little debt. We can always declare bankruptcy and start over.

[Z63]: It’s called setting priorities, sacrificing & saving for what you need before you impulse buy what you want.

[HeartofGold]: We do make sacrifices. I buy my coffee at Tim Hortons, not Starbucks.

[SupaStah]: I buy designer clothes that are two seasons old.

[Teach4Future]: All I want to do is give my kids a home with a yard, is that so wrong?

[Z63]: Oh, you have children?

[Teach4Future]: I will one day, and on that day I want them to have a yard. How can I give them that if my parents don’t give me a down payment for a house?

[Z63]: Maybe move to a community with cheaper housing?

[SupaStah]: That makes no sense. Location, location, location. Learned that one from my Boomer dad. No point in putting money down in a non or slow appreciating neighbourhood.

[HeartofGold]: Seriously Z63, that’s your dumbest idea yet. We already have shitty life-work balances as it is. So if we move to the nosebleed section of the city, our life will be spent working and commuting. What do you even do? Are you even a Millennial?

[Teach4Future]: Yeah, you’re really critical of us. This is supposed to be a supportive Facebook group. Not one designed to hate on each other, like some of the mom groups here.

[Z63]: I can’t take it anymore! You’re a bunch of lazy, spoiled, entitled Gen Y brats. In my day we worked hard to get what we needed before we even thought about what we wanted. Couldn’t afford a house? Rent. No mom, dad or government to come along and just bail us out or give us handouts. I thought that Gen Xers were bad, but you are the “ME” generation. You live like this is an expectocracy, where you expect everything to be given to you on a silver platter…

[HeartofGold]: How fucking old are you?

[Z63]: I’m 63 dipshit! See, if you even used your itty bitty brain cells to read my handle, you’d have put two and two together.  I’m the person you’re waiting on to retire so you can grab my corner office at 27 because you think you deserve it. I’m the one you want to force into retirement with 0% return on my portfolio as a result of an economic meltdown that eroded my capital because you all think you have the right to borrow your brains out to buy things you can’t afford. I’m the one driving a 12 year old Volvo that is fully paid off while you speed around in your leased BMW like you’re starring in a rap video.  I’m the one who like your fathers and mothers, gave you far too much because you treat the world like it’s your toilet.

[AlmostDr.1987]: You’re a Boomer!

[HeartofGold]: I know that speech. You’re my dad!

[Z63]: Rubin, I should’ve known it was you! The whining sounded too familiar. I’m coming downstairs and taking away your iPad.

© 2014. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.