'Matter of Laugh or Death,' a humor column
By Bill Dunn
Interesting observations on this thing we call life
(appearing each week in the Republican-American newspaper, Waterbury, CT)
OLD FOGEY OFFERS UNSOLICITED ADVICE
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m an old fogey. Well, I’m more like a new old fogey. I entered middle-age just recently, so I’ve been at it only a short while. In a few decades I’ll be an old old fogey and my many years of grumbling at the bizarre behavior of “kids these days” will make me a true expert.
But for now I’ll focus my fogey energies on the most obvious bizarre behavior engaged in by America’s youth: tattoos and piercings.
Since I am not in a position to hire people, my old fogey attitude about tattoos and piercings is strictly academic; my negative views toward these behaviors do not impact anyone’s life. However, at a recent Old Fogey Convention (which was actually an informal cocktail party with a bunch of other guys approximately my age), people who are in positions that really can impact someone’s life—that is, they are involved in making hiring decisions at their respective companies—made it quite clear that tattooed and/or pierced applicants are immediately disqualified.
One person put it this way: “I don’t care if the guy is a hard-working genius who could make a million bucks for my company, if he has a tattoo of a snake on his neck and a hunk of metal impaled through his eyebrow, he has no chance of getting hired.”
Now, of course, this guy does not come right out and tell an applicant, “Sorry, you would’ve been great, but since you chose to mutilate your body you can’t work here.” Instead, he says something like, “OK, we have a few more applicants to interview, so we’ll, uh, we’ll keep you in mind.” Then as soon as the applicant leaves, he immediately runs the resume and job application through the shredder.
In our modern politically correct culture, it’s probably not quite legal to be so blatantly prejudiced toward tattooed and pierced citizens. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act makes it unlawful for a company to discriminate in its hiring practices toward disabled people. I suspect there either is or soon will be the Americans with Self-Mutilated Bodies Act.
As an official new old fogey it is my sworn duty to constantly offer helpful advice to young people—whether they want it or not. So here is some helpful advice: if you think it’s cool to permanently mark up your flesh with weird colorful symbols and assault your face with a pneumatic nail gun, I’m begging you, please don’t do it!
It may seem really cool right now—although as an official old fogey I can’t for the life of me image why. But please face reality: the majority of people who do the hiring in our society are just as fogeyfied as I am.
Oh sure, there are a few industries where being “inky & clinky” helps your chances of landing a job. Maybe you’ll be hired as the Assistant Director of Corporate Communications for the local branch of the Hell’s Angels. But in the other 99.99% of the business world, it ruins your chances.
Trust me, at some point in the not too distant future, probably when you walk into one of my friends’ offices for an important job interview, you are going to wish to high heaven that you hadn’t mutilated yourself.
OK, that’s enough unsolicited advice for today. Tomorrow I’ll tell you how foolish you look walking around in trousers so baggy people can see three-quarters of your underwear. Then the day after that I’ll point out that wearing a baseball cap backwards looks dopey. Then the next day…
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