Monday, March 20, 2006

So a dictator walks into a bar...

Not a soul at work knows of my blog, nor do I intend to share it. I like it that way and I think it makes sense to avoid Doocification. I'm fairly sure I'm safe when it comes to relaying a few things to you.

But worry not. I'm not stupid...there's only so much I can mention before the self-censor comes into play.

So considering I've only been there just short of two months, and there are quite a few employees in our branch, I'm still getting to know everyone. You see, my branch was once a "one branch bank" before it was bought out by the bank I currently work for, so it's a pretty huge area. Especially when you compare it to my former in-store branch that was so tiny, we quite literally bumped into each other.

The people on "the other side of the branch" tend to be older, and male. Most of us in Operations are younger and female. Guess who makes the most money?

But that's not my point today.

We recently hired a new temp teller since the previous one (an itty-bitty gal with a humongous fake rack that threatened to tip her over at every turn) had to leave. Imagine our surprise when the man who showed up to replace her was a good ten years older than the average age of the rest of my tellers, MALE and with a thick accent. He was also wearing a suit and throughout the day, as he observed the tellers, he was consistently mistaken for the manager, or better yet, an auditor.

It turned out that he is Iraqi. I noticed that a lot of people were initially ill-at-ease with him, but I think it was mostly due to his being a bit hard to understand. I inquired about his background, which turned out to be fascinating, and he has since learned to open up with the others.

He made small talk with the men about sports in the lunchroom (which I of course had to butt into since my Bruins are on a roll in the NCAA tourney...yeah baby!), he brought in homemade baklava that his newlywed wife had prepared, and he quickly learned to keep it VERY breezy with the resident Moody Girl. It amazes me to see how well he's done with the varied personalities in our group.

I think that's how he's managed his whole life though.

So today, I overheard him ask my assistant, "Do you want to hear a joke? It's about Saddam Hussein."

My ears immediately perked up to find out what he'd say.

My assistant, an sweet woman who also immigrated from another country, innocently asked, "You mean your president?"

I cringed. And I knew what he'd say.

"No", he calmly replied, "My president is George Bush."

He wasn't mad. Just matter of fact. And frankly, I never thought I'd hear someone say that with so much pride. But to hear what he's been through to finally reside in a country he now calls "his"...well, it's inspiring.

The joke wasn't that funny, and needless to say it made Hussein out to be an idiot. But I laughed because he got such a kick out of it; I don't think I've ever heard him laugh so hard!

Can you imagine the joy he gets...JUST FROM BEING ABLE TO TELL THE JOKE AT ALL?

I can. Because it was written all over his face.

Life is good my friends. Life is good.


Blogger Melanhead said...

I have my thoughts about Mr. Bush, but I gotta tell ya, that warmed my heart to hear him say that. Thanks for sharing.

9:02 PM  
Anonymous betty said...

how the HELL did i get an EMAIL telling me that you had blogged quite possible INSURING that i would be first (since i bitch so much about being 100th) and I'm STILL not first???

figures dude,

fucking figures.

ditto to all future comments. :)

9:12 PM  
Anonymous m-i-l said...

Living in a very cosmopolitan area of the UK, we are used to a variety of 'immigrants' (although many - including, let's not forget, my own dear husband! - are second or third generation.) Many of them in our area are Muslim. It's embarrassing to listen to extremists (on either side!) ranting about the evils of the 'other' side, particularly when one has friends and neighbours who may be from that supposed 'other side'!

It's clear that those who leave their country of birth and settle in another mostly come to feel love for and pride in their country of adoption - whatever they may personally think of the leaders of said country ;-)

IMHO there's nothing like living and working with people from other cultures to cure one of the 'us v. them' attitudes of the bigots and extremists! We're all just people, at the end of the day :-D

1:22 AM  
Blogger Arabella said...

GREAT story! Freedom rocks!

6:00 AM  
Blogger Tink said...

Wow girl. That gave me chills.

6:01 AM  
Anonymous V-Grrrl said...

Loved this.

And I will not imply that only Saddam Hussein to make George Bush look good. Nope, won't say that. Won't think that. Never crossed my mind. Not me. No, no, no.

BTW, did y'all here the Dixie Chicks are releasing a new album in May and that the first track has to do with their opinions of THAT FAMOUS MAN FROM TEXAS? You can't keep good grrrls down.

6:47 AM  
Blogger Mrs. Harridan said...

Wonderful story!

I'm glad that people are acdepting this guy. I was half-afraid you were going to tell us that people are calling him a terrorist, which is what they do behind the back of my friendly Egyptian neighbor. Harrumph.

7:54 AM  
Blogger wordgirl said...

Like Melanhead and others...I'm happy that this guy is satisfied with his present living situation. I've no doubt that it is far better than living under Saddam.

Yes...we're free to tell George Bush jokes...for now. It's probably a bad idea to do it on the phone with Darth Cheney listening in. And don't print it on a shirt and wear it when "W" makes a public appearance unless you want to be arrested like Cindy Sheehan.

This is my country. George Bush happens to be its present "leader". I don't think of him as my President, though.

A good and thoughtful post, Brookie. It's always nice to read your words. We want to hear more from you.

8:15 AM  
Blogger mama_tulip said...

I read this entry this morning but didn't have the time to comment...but I've been thinking about it all day. Great story, Brooke. :)

11:28 AM  
Anonymous TB said...

What a great story. You have such a refreshing way of looking at things, Brooke.

7:27 PM  
Blogger mamalujo1 said...

This story has given me a nice lift today; thanks for sharing it. Life IS good.

6:20 AM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

That's a great story. I am always impressed by how well new residents of this country learn to adapt to our culture, and are SO grateful for the opportunity to do so. I always remember how proud my grandparents were to call this country home after immigrating from Switzerland and becoming permanent citizens of the U.S..

Thanks for sharing -- it's nice to see people through your thoughtful and accepting "lens."

6:48 AM  
Blogger DebbieDoesLife said...

I love what you just wrote. You so "got it" Brooke. I wish everyone else could do the same. Judge someone based on their individualism not their race or country of origin.

2:50 PM  
Blogger sit-slake-stir said...

Popular Pimp Mama,

The people you work with... I don't think they realise the awesomeness of your presence and how lucky they are to have you there with them everyday.

Well, maybe they do. I sincerely hope so anyway.

Maybe I should type out a memo.

Sorry, a mission statement. :)

Who's with me? C'mon! Who's with me?!

Sorry, too much Jerry Maguire.

Your acceptance of others has affected me personally, and I wish to say you're a fantastic sheila.


3:17 PM  
Anonymous mom said...

This reminds me of the time your grandmother returned from her first trip to Mexico since permanently leaving for her new home in the U.S. at age two.

As soon as the car stopped, she got out, kneeled down and kissed the ground.

Even though she'd enjoyed meeting family members and thought her hometown was lovely, she had a mouthful to relate about quality of life, the disadvantaged, etc.

You were with me. Do you remember?

7:43 PM  
Blogger aka Brandi said...

That post made me smile.

Good work.

8:01 PM  
Blogger Rock said...

Yo Brooke - not to get political but that's what its all about. You may have seen on my recent postat the Harder Place that I worked in Saudi Arabia for a year and a half. I almost suggest that every US citizen go work or live in another ocuntry to realize what a candyland we live in.

And that's why the guy is so happy. People come here from every corner of the world and ore successful.

(and man WG - can you just lighten up on the rhetoric for once?)

Brooke - glad the job is going well.

11:57 PM  
Blogger Ditsy Chick said...

Yes, it must be nice to be able to not have to watch everything you say or do in public.

9:39 PM  

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