Yesterday, my friend suggested that I blog about Steven Slater, the JetBlue flight attendant who, on Monday, went coo-coo upon being instigated by a passenger who dropped luggage on his head and then (in stereotypical New Yorker jerkola fashion) chose to respond with a slew of obscenities—you know, as opposed to a humane apology. According to various news sources, “Slater got on the loud speaker, told those aboard to ‘go f*** themselves,’ grabbed a beer from the galley, deployed the emergency chute and ran into the terminal. His car was parked at an employee lot and he drove home.”
Slater wasn’t the only camel who, on Monday, had a straw break its back. Also, on Monday, this chick named “Jenny” quit her job via dry erase board and photographs. She called out her boss for logging more hours on Farmville than on his work. She said she put up with his chauvinistic shenanigans because she “wanted to be a broker.” But in the end, she realized that she just couldn’t put up with his bad breath and a soul-sucking assistant job any longer. The story launched a flurry of Facebook, Gchat status and Twitter banter about the amazingness of “Jenny.”
When I first heard both of these stories, I laughed, and I did feel like there was more to be said about these news sensations than, “They sure have cajónes!” But I didn’t really see how the story could fit into The Body Logic‘s theme. Then it hit me: Duh. Slater and “Jenny” could be the poster kids for, “Beauty is being yourself.” No, they’re not Zen, body peace, “let’s all sing Kumbaya” examples. They’re just everyday people saying, “This is who I am. I’m over pretending to be something I’m not. Now, I’m doing what’s right for me. Screw you guys, I’m going home!” And because no one was really harmed in either Slater or “Jenny”‘s exploits, I think it’s fine to fully applaud them for breaking free.
But hold up. This just in: TheChive.com reported that “Jenny” is Elyse Porterfield…an actress. And the whole “I’m quitting and exposing my boss as a chauvinist with halitosis” thing was a hoax. Oh well. As it turns out “Jenny” wasn’t actually being herself. She was just pretending to be someone who was. But I think there’s still merit to her tale, because like Slater, The Fake Jenny and TheChive.com inspired everyday people to think, “Hey, we’re also mad as Hell and we’re not going to take it anymore!”
The lesson here isn’t necessarily that we should all deploy emergency chutes or buy dry erase boards and quit our jobs. It’s that we can and MUST do something this week—and every week!—to honor our passions, our interests, our ambitions. We can speak up for ourselves. Ask for credit for our ideas. Give ourselves the gift of “me” time (you know, like, taking lunch). Why? Because no matter what small or grand gesture you make to bust free of that society/work/life-imposed box, as long as you’re being true to you … you’re gonna be just fine.