You Got Moxie, Kid!

rosie_the_riveter_poster-r3091783638ae408994a605de333dcf99_wi4_400Dear Evangeline,

I want to tell you more about this chutzpah. It took your mother decades to grow the stuff. But in my early twenties I had to deal with a lot of people with big cahones, and my chutzpah hit an all-time low.

There is a loaded canon of examples I could use, but I want to tell you about this paper I wrote in grad school. I got an “A.” But that’s only part of the story. The professor that graded it hated this paper, I mean loathed it. “This belongs in The New Yorker, not an academic paper!” She meant that slanderously, though I’m not sure why being published in The New Yorker is a bad thing. “You need to learn to write in a different, more muted style.” She furiously circled every other word in the paper and accompanied her scribbles with semi-expletive remarks. It was like a pogrom on words. So, what did I do? I imagined storming into her office and asking, “Why did you give me an “A” then?” Or more like “Why did you give me a fu*@*#g “A” then?” And, “Tell me why academic writing has to be boring? What pretentious moron made that rule up?” But I didn’t say any of these things. In fact, I said nothing at all.

This wasn’t the only time I was a total coward in my “younger days.” At my lowest moment, I was working on a goat farm in Vermont. “What the f**k,” you might ask? Well, ten years later I still don’t have an answer for you. I didn’t have an answer then either when I decided to not milk the eighty goats the family so desperately relied on. Instead, I woke up that morning at 5am, got in my car, and drove all the way back to New York without leaving as much as a gratuitous note. Oh! And you guessed it! I never picked up one of their phone calls to let them know I wasn’t dead, eaten by one of their kid goats, or even to tell them the reason I left was that they were total dipshits. Ok, ok, maybe a little part of the reason was that I woke up from the coma that took me to that farm in the first place. But, we are all entitled to our self-soothing justifications, aren’t we?

A lot of people will tell you that learning when to keep your mouth shut is a helpful skill in life. I think that, maybe, women are told that much more than men, so consider yourself unfortunately predisposed to such pish-posh. And, of course there is a time and place for everything. Like when your mother tells you to stop eating that Crayon, it’s best to not respond with, “stop it! stop it!” Silence can be golden, child. But learning when to open your mouth is So. Much. More. Important. Case in point: maybe if I had always practiced what I’m preaching, I’d be in some important corner office with a window right now rather than sitting at home, wrapped in a Snuggie writing a blog.

Fortunately, you already display a more promising disposition than your mother. Since the day you were born you’ve shown exceptional savvy for getting what you want. Sure, some may call it “colic.” I like to call it “determination.” So, don’t be a sucker like I was. Have some moxie, kid. Have a lot of it.

Affectionately Yours,

Maman Pearce

  1 comment for “You Got Moxie, Kid!

  1. March 12, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks a lot for the post.Really thank you! Fantastic.

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