Thoughts from the ammo line

Ammo Grrrll reviews THE NEW FIVE SECOND RULE. She writes:

Every kid over the age of 2 knows about the “five second rule.” You drop your candy or cookie on the floor, if it doesn’t have any visible dust or hair on it, you are allowed to eat it, providing you yell out “Five second rule!” promptly. The yelling is critical. Like claiming “shotgun” in the family car. Or “Jinx, you owe me a Coke!” when you say the same thing as your friend.

Old habits die hard. The Five Second rule was good news for all of us who later found loose Certs and fuzzy Milk Duds in the bottoms of our purses. Though that often became the Five Month Rule.

This is one of the cases where the Overburdened Mothers of the 50s – who did not have just Taylor or Mackenzie to hover over, but Bobby, Joey, Susie, Sally, Kathy, and David — were both right and wrong. It turns out that the TIME on the floor – which has been walked on by filthy shoes, pets, and God knows what-all – is not the issue. The floor is absolutely covered with germs. That is indisputable. And now, your candy is, too. However, it also turns out that kids that are raised in a hothouse environment who are never exposed to these icky things never develop any resistance to any of it. So eating a dropped gumdrop OK; Mother boiling your Monopoly houses and hotels as my late, great Mama did – bad idea.

That was the old rule.

Netflix has a new five second rule: you may not look at another employee for over 5 seconds. As REM sang so long ago: “It’s the end of the world as we know it.” And then they added, of course, “and I feel fine.”

I DO feel fine. I am not currently an employee and haven’t been for about 40 years, give or take, counting 30 years in self-employment and around 10 retired. This is very lucky for me, because the next “Five Second Rule” would have been oddsmakers laying bets on the over/under of whether I could last more than 5 seconds in the new insane workplace.

I have referenced my “two years before the mast,” working nightshift in a type shop as the only woman with 40 men and no management supervision. This was the late ’70s. I was 31. One night I returned from the ladies’ room to find an 8 x 10 photo on my typesetting station. It was just one of hundreds from the prized porno collection of an Italian immigrant named Mario. What was it, you ask? Let me just say that if Bill Clinton had been able to accomplish the truly remarkable contortionist feat of the lone man pictured, he would have had no need for Monica and possibly Hillary would be President today, perish the thought.

All eyes were on The New Grrrll. For more than 5 seconds, I’m pretty sure. “Aha,” I thought, when I recovered from the sight of the photo. “This is a test. If I act at all upset, this will never end.” I picked up the photo, handed it back to Mario and said, “You accidentally left a photo from your wedding night on my station.” Yuge laughs. Grrrll passed test. That particular travesty never happened again. Can you see why I am not impressed when a crybaby goes to Spike, the Feminist Studies graduate, now the Corporate HR Intersectionality Drone, to report that Man-Bun Jaden in Accounting looked at her for 6 seconds?

Now I “hear” (intuit) two things: first, many of my women regulars and not a few of my gentlemen are thinking, “Whoa, AG, this really WAS pretty bad. Maybe we really do need rules for men who do not know how to behave?” Ah, but there’s the rub, isn’t it? Where do we draw the line? How do we get from Sexual Harassment meaning pinching a girl’s bottom every time she walks by and leaving obscene photos on her keyboard to asking a woman out twice and being disappointed but polite when turned down?

And the second thing I can imagine my many fine gentlemen regulars are thinking: “WHERE THE HELL WAS MR. AG? HAD THAT BEEN MY WIFE, I WOULDA KILLED SOMEBODY!!” Point taken. And he would have, too, if he had known about most of it.

I chose not to spend my weekends riding the bus to Stillwater Prison to visit him, having had to sell the ’68 Mercury with the bungee-fastened trunk to pay for legal fees. Plus, I’m pretty sure I would have lost my job if my husband had come in and greased the room. You know those highway signs: “Kill a road worker: $10,000 fine”? I think there was a sign in our lunchroom that said, “Your spouse kills more than one co-worker, kiss your job goodbye.” Maybe not.

I had gone from $3.50 an hour as a secretary to $7.89 as an apprentice. On my way to $11.00/hour as a journeyman! To directly contradict billionaire Mrs. Pelosi’s “crumbs” statement, that was a LIFE-ALTERING event for us. I served my apprenticeship, got my skills, my journeyman’s card, and moved on. Grateful for the opportunity. We bought a house!

My new favorite musical group, The MonaLisa Twins, have a song called “Nothing Is In Vain.” I have always believed this. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this nightshift experience also prepared me for the rough-and-tumble world of being a standup comic. After sparring nightly with these little dopes, a heckler in a comedy club was child’s play.

Mr. AG pointed out the phenomenal disconnect and hypocrisy at Netflix. Just as Hollywood lobbies for gun control and could not sell 10% of its films without weapons in them, Netflix, Hollywood, Amazon, the whole lot of them, COUNT ON our staring at lovely young women far longer than 5 seconds, which is why they are so often either scantily- or not at all-clad. James Bond without his iconic Walther PPK .380 and beautiful women would have as much appeal as a Miss America contest without bathing suits or evening gowns. Oh wait…never mind; yeah, that’s gonna work out great.

So how is the Five Second Rule at Netflix going to work? Will there be a counting device in multiple overhead cameras, like the “3 seconds in the lane” deal in basketball? Will there be a gentle reminder taser and then escalating taser strengths for each additional second?

I am not at all interested in looking at other ladies, except maybe to try to figure out HOW they do such nice makeup and hair when I cannot. And easily 99% of the men I have worked with are not as attractive as Mr. AG, so the problem of violating the Five Second Rule has never arisen for me. YOU try staring at Tom Arnold for 6 seconds, if you could even get him to hold still for that long.


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