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Jesus & His 64 Pointy Disciples

Jesus & His 64 Pointy Disciples


Pink Floyd/We Don’t Need No Education (what my lil ears were listening to at the time of the story).

Sitting in my catechism class back in 1979, one Saturday morning, something my teacher, Mrs. S said, snapped me out of my glazed over state.  I had been mentally organizing the students, by the shades of their shirts (something I did when I got bored at school or church related events, or later in life—at every work meeting), when I heard her say that ‘The Virgin Mary’, died a virgin.

Before thinking, which is usually when I do my best work, my arm shot up.  Mrs. S called on me and I said, “I’m sorry, we know she was a virgin when she had Jesus, but where does it say in the Bible that she died a virgin?”  Somehow that statement seemed improbable even to a less than savvy second grader.  I mean, Joseph was a saint, but c’mon!

I continued, “Can you show us in the Bible where it said she died a virgin?”  I truly wasn’t being a smart-ass, I just wanted to see with my own two eyes, what she was saying, was in fact true.  She said, “Mary brought Jesus into the world a virgin,” and quickly tried to move on to anything, but eye contact with me.

I was becoming frustrated, as I often did when I was dismissed without getting an answer, “But Mrs. S, that’s not the same as dying a virgin.” Today we hear of Jesus possibly having brother and sisters (wow-talk about sibling pressure), but there was no such talk in the 1970’s, in my Smurf thermos circle, I can assure you. Can you imagine: Mary to other kids, “Jesus just turned water into wine, totally making motherhood much more tolerable, what have you kids done for Mommy, lately?”

Frustrated and under her breath, my teacher, muttered ‘Doubting Thomas,’ and sternly said, ‘Here, color this picture of Jesus,’ as she handed me a 64 pack of Crayola Crayons.  And, she informed me that she’d be talking to my parents after class about my disruptive and inappropriate line of questioning.

My mother, as any good mother would do, sat with me after her meeting with Mrs. S.  She discussed my disruptive behavior and was rather stunned at my degree of reasoning and disappointed in the teacher’s response.  She told me that sometimes people don’t have the answers or are afraid to say that they misspoke.  And in the future, if my questions go unanswered, that I should just wait to discuss it with her later.  My mom did however, laugh at the notion that I still believed in Santa Clause and the Tooth Fairy, but, found religion to be little more than the fairy tales she read me at bedtime, as a result of the event.

I remember feeling such anger and humiliation, just for wanting to know the truth.  I could not fathom an educator being asked a direct question and not providing a direct answer.  Being dismissed, and more or less, being told to ‘Here go color this picture of Jesus,’ would become a running theme in my life, and ultimately end up killing my career.

OK, here it goes, again.  I don’t have problems with authority; but, I do have problems with things that do not follow logic, reason or lack truth and transparency, and well, there’s that mouth of mine. The Catholic Church’s hypocritical view of women, not being equal to men, even from a very early age, outraged me.  In my adulthood, I found it interesting/insulting that they wanted me to give 10% of my income like, a man, but still didn’t view me as an equal.

My mouth and logic coupled with middle child personality traits, all really exemplify why I started Killing my Career in kindergarten: 

  1.      independent, free-thinker
  2.      more oriented to principles and concepts—like justice—over          earning power
  3.      excellent manipulator/negotiators*
  4.      often motivated by social causes
  5.      side with the underdog and practice what they preach
  6.      often came across as challenging authority

Hey, fifty-two percent of Presidents were middle children, so there’s that. I recently relayed that statistic to my mother, who responded, ‘Jesus Christ Mel, now you’re telling me you want to be President of the United States, what’s next?’ It’s encouragement like, which really makes me question, how I was ever as successful at all.  I’m kidding, but my mother and I are two very different people.  I think I got the best traits from both parents, they think I got the worst traits of both parents.

*My new recently adopted theory—in the absence of the opportunity to negotiate, one must manipulate. In successful negotiations, usually concessions are made by all parties, for a favorable outcome.

In the professional world, it’s important to understand the motives for someone not wanting or willing to negotiate or operate with transparency.  This is where business today is running into problems, everyone from CEO’s to our own Government, are not willing to negotiate with transparency and instead, say with absolute power, ‘because I said so.’  Which is great if you’re four and your mother is trying to get you to eat Brussels sprouts; however, that is not an acceptable response to anyone past the age of eight. Ever.

My now, former industry, of Pharmaceutical/Medical Device, it appears, is more focused on Company image (spending 20-30 million on commercials with babies) than they are at solving the problems (31 children died (11 from off-label promotion), 14 year old boys grew breasts, all from an drug marketed in the US, resulting in no jail time for CEO’s; but, the company paying BILLIONS in federal criminal and civil fines for illegal promotion and marketing.   Companies are viewing this problem as ‘do the crime, and pay the fine,’ even building billions in fines into their business model and budgets. There is no deterrent, and so you see this cycle repeating with larger fines but no one doing the time, in jail.  The Pharmaceutical/Medical Device industry looks a lot like jail cell next to Bernie Madoff.  Maybe if Mr. Madoff, had Big Pharma attorneys, he’d be free right now, too.

Corporations running under this unethical business model, where illegal activity is, encouraged, replicated and rewarded, regard these massive fines, as little more than a speeding ticket.  It can be likened to a corrupt monarchy, where their loyal subjects (employees) do as they’re told (even if illegal), or risk hearing, “Off with their Head.”  Ironic word choice for someone who used to train surgeons on disembodied cadaver heads for a living.

When, employees, not willing to be complicit with the Company’s illegal activity, come forward, they risk, being belittled, humiliated, threatened, labeled difficult, passed over for promotions, retaliated against and ultimately, illegally, terminated.  And, they run the risk of being burned from the industry all together.  Retaliation is the highest claim in EEOC chareges for the last two years, even above sex discrimination and race discrimination.

I would love to hear from others in the industry, who have noticed a shift in ethics and where employers have put profit above all else, including patient saftey.   If you’ve grown tired of your Company’s lack of transparency when asking questions and don’t want to ‘Color a Picture of Jesus.’  Speak out!


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