Sunday, January 28, 2007

You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry (Also, Miami Celebrity Sighting #5: The Cast of Reno 911)

I can already see that the Year of the 30 is going to be all about jacking people up.

Seriously, I’ve been in a really foul mood lately and everyone else is having to pay the price for it. Like a couple of weeks ago when I went to see Stomp the Yard

Reese [in a foul mood]: “Egypt this movie is all sorts of gay…”

Egypt: “Hey, at least there is eye candy.”

Reese [in an increasing foul mood]: “Not only is this movie all sorts of gay, but there are a bunch of idiot 13 year olds sitting in the back of the theater who won’t shut up!”

Egypt: “I know, girl. Just ignore them…”

Reese [seriously foul mood right now]: “I…can’t…”

Egypt: “Reese, just ignore them…”

Reese: “No, no. I’m going to say something…”

Egypt: “Reese, no…”

Reese: “I’m going to handle this…”

Egypt [pleading]: “Reese…”


Stupid Kids: “Sorry, mami. We’ll be quiet.”

Reese [sticks up middle finger]: “DON’T ANSWER ME WHEN I TELL YOU TO SHUT UP!!!”

And then, when I went to the South Beach Comedy Festival and saw the cast of Reno 911

Reese: “Oh, what the hell? What is this red carpet? What nappy headed rapper is in town now?”

Random Paparazzi: “Duh! It’s the cast of Reno 911. They’re here for a special screening of their new movie!”

Reese: “Oh, cool…”

Random Paparazzi: “Yeah.”

Reese: “Yeah…so…”


And then, when I went to see Mike Epps at the South Beach Comedy Festival…

[Random Person politely walks through the row to get to their seat and, unfortunately, has to walk past Reese]

Random Person: “Excuse me, Excuse me…”


And then at the IHOP yesterday morning…

Stupid Kids: “Oh, mommy! I love breakfast!”


[Reese makes scary face]

Random Parent: “Okay, honey. Stay away from the scary black woman…”

I think when you turn 30 you stop taking mess from people. Or maybe, I never had the opportunity to take out my aggression during my twenties and it’s coming out now. I’m not sure. But, what I do know is this…

Beware of the Law Girl who turns 30. She will jack you up.

© Copyright 2007. All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The Year of the 30: January

I’m turning 30 this year.

I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m really excited.

Actually, I don’t know why, but I feel like the life has been sucked out of me. It’s been happening slowly ever since I moved to South Florida and now I have like no life left. I’m literally a walking shlump of human just going about her usual routine every day.

I feel like I need something new. Actually, I think I know what I need. So far, I’ve estimated that I need $5 million dollars. If I were to get $5 million dollars I’m pretty sure the life would come back to me.

So much money…[Reese drools like Homer Simpson]…

So, anyways, the book is still going…sort of…

Okay, the book is really bad. I’m only starting the third chapter. Oh, it’s so awful. It’s really, really awful. In fact, here’s the first chapter. I’m pretty sure that I’m going to rewrite it so I’m okay with sharing it with you now.

I forewarn you that this is not even slightly entertaining. I have ZERO knowledge about how to write a book. The structure of the writing is just really, really bad. I mean, it really is bad. It’s not even funny at all. Like at all! The only reason why I’m sharing it is because I’m a glutton for embarrassment and punishment. Right now, its embarrassment and punishment that keeps me going in the Year of the 30.

Okay, so here’s the first chapter. To answer your question in advance, this story is loosely, LOOSELY, based on my life.

Oh, and my real name isn’t Reese Lilianne Stallworth.

I mean, Lilianne? Puh-leeze!


Chapter 1


Have you ever had one of those days?

You know, the day that changes your whole life?

No, I don’t mean in an “Everyone Died But Me and Now I’m Going to do What I Always Wanted to do and Start a Home for Underprivileged Kids” sort of way. I mean, the day you realized that you could give a flying fig Newton if a series of environment altering meteors descended upon the earth turning our planet into an ice age for the next 8 million years!

Have you ever had one of those days?

No? Oh, okay, I was just checking.

Well, if you’ve never had one of those days, I’m guessing that you’re not a federal employee. Because, I can tell you, at least 10 federal employees an hour have one of those days.

Now, I know the stereotype of the federal employee: lazy, spoiled, and unappreciative. But, I have to say, I think the stereotype is completely unfair. The misconception that people have of us feds boggles my mind. If people really knew our story they would be marching down the national mall shouting, “Rights for Feds!” instead of giving us an evil eye.

Of course, you don’t believe me. You think I’m just complaining. But, I’m not. It’s really true. We feds have it bad. And today, on this very day, I, Reese Lilianne Stallworth, have conceded defeat to the powers that run our nation’s federal government. They have my very soul- and there’s no way I’m ever going to get it back.

I must admit, their plan was fool proof. Even I, a self-proclaimed world genius, wasn’t able to figure it out. But, hindsight is 20/20 and my vision is somewhere around 20/250, so I really shouldn’t beat myself up about not being a step ahead.

Growing up, I was always brilliant. “Oh, Reese is so bright.” “Reese is so articulate.” “Reese is so clever.” Man, I used to live for that. While other kids were whoring for their next hit of ecstasy, or whoring for the boy or girl that would sweep them off their feet and sweep away their virginity, I was whoring for something completely different- admiration.

“Look at me! Admire me! I am wonderfully brilliant! I am the exception. I am awesome.”

“I am your god!!”

Okay, wait, that went a little too far. But, I was a whore for admiration. I really blame the educational system for this. It shines a spotlight on those who are remarkable. But, it doesn’t tell those remarkable idiots that the real world could care less about their “remarkableness.” Inevitably, I was in store for a great big old fall.

Graduated from one of the top high schools in the country, I did. Breezed my way through college and graduated with a 3.5gpa. This led to a full scholarship at one of the oldest law schools in the country. I thought I was on the fast track. In fact, I knew it. I had it all planned out.

College. Law School. Bar. Attorney. Money. Great Life.

The plan was flawed, I know. I see that now. After the bar, I didn’t really have much of a plan. In fact, I don’t know if I had much of a plan to begin with anyway. But, here it is- the map to what was supposed to be my life. If I had it to do all over again, I would tell Past Reese to become a hair weaver to the stars instead of an attorney. Developing the perfect lace front wig would have probably been more fulfilling.

The rug slowly started coming out from under me at my first big job opportunity. I was a bright eyed, bushy tailed third year law student poised to make a hell of a lot of money at a big firm. And, I was sitting with two of the firm’s partners doing my interview in one of the city’s swankiest restaurants.

You know, when a firm takes you out to lunch during the interview, you’re pretty much assured of the job. Firms don’t spend money on law students they don’t plan on hiring.

So, what was the problem, you ask? Well, the problem was that I thought slavery had ended back in 1865. Of course, the firm didn’t really see it that way…

“So, here at Jefferson Washington & Plantation, we live for our clients. We work hard, but reward our associates even harder.”

Ha! I remember that load of crap speech just like it was yesterday.

“Well, I’m really excited about working at JW&P,” I said. “I’m especially excited to be working in the intellectual property department. I love copyright and trademark law…”

“Oh…hahahahaha,” interrupted Master aka “big firm partner.” “My dear little slave girl, you won’t be working in the IP group.”

“What do you mean? That’s what I applied for. To work in the IP department.”

Master responded, “Look, JW&P doesn’t exactly have the best diversity track record in the city…”

“Excuse me…,”now, I was interrupting.

“We have one black attorney in the firm. She’s a litigator and she’s excellent. Did you know that black women make for excellent litigators?”

I was confused. “I’m confused,” I said.

“Let me put this bluntly. We want another black female litigator. We’ve chosen you. You will be in the litigation house and that is where you will stay until we tell you otherwise.”

I think I even saw the partner crack a whip at me after he said that. Honestly, I started spacing out so much at the absurd situation that I had gotten myself into that I didn’t even hear the “Mao! Di Di Mao!” screams that the partner had yelled at me.

Needless to say, I didn’t take that job. I was a fighter, always have been. I promised myself somewhere around 1991 to always wear my Africa medallion, my X cap, my Cross-Color green pants, and to “Fight the Power. Fight the Powers that be!” My militant sub-conscious wouldn’t let me serve as a house negro to whitey. So, I graduated with no job lined up.

Funny…I wonder where Militant Reese is now. I’m just guessing, but I think the CIA locked her away deep, deep, deep into my subconscious.

In any case, I moved on. I decided that the firm thing probably wasn’t right for someone as strong and opinionated as me. I needed to be somewhere were my superiors would appreciate my stellar work and excellent accomplishments. Somewhere where I could easily outshine my contemporaries. And, like a light bulb that was smashed on top of my head, I knew that that “somewhere” was the federal government.

Yes, for all intents and purposes, I was an idiot for believing this. But, really, understand my logic here.

I had previously interned for the federal government. Heck, I grew up in and around the beltway. I knew how the system worked. I mastered the system by default of my childhood home’s zip code. As always, I knew I would be an exception to the rule. But, as it turns out, I was just another gold star faded away into a gray star on the great big board of federal employees who have lost the will to live.

How? How did this happen? Actually, it’s easy really. I bet you didn’t know that there are only eight steps to destroying a federal employee’s bright flame of life:

Step 1: Hire the Employee

In this step, you hire the employee and make the employee believe that your organization is fair. That it is looking for hard workers who deserve grade-step increases and incentive awards. And, most importantly, you re-emphasize how fair your organization is.

Step 2: Pay Employee About Half of What They Would Make in the Private Sector

Self-explanatory. Find out what an attorney in the private sector makes and pay the federal attorney half of that. Make up for the glaring lack of compensation by yelling “Don’t forget the benefits! You’re getting great benefits!” at the new employee every chance you get.

Step 3: Pay All Unqualified White Males More Money then Overly Qualified Females

Hey, you’ve got to have a glass ceiling right?

Step 4: Reward New Employee with an Incentive Award

This keeps up the appearance that your organization is fair. It also keeps the new employee, if she happens to be a female, off the trail that her white male counterparts who are idiots are making more money than she is.

Step 5: Leak to All Overly Qualified Employees that Someone Unqualified is Making More Money Than They Are

This is truly when the soul sucking takes place. It continues with Step 6…

Step 6: Remind Overly Qualified Employees That if They File a Grievance They will be Blacklisted

Ohhhh, the dreaded Blacklist. It’s the scariest thing ever to a federal employee. Feds on the blacklist are tortured and humiliated ala Abu Grahb on a daily basis. And, they are never allowed to leave the agency which caused all of their problems in the first place. The Blacklist elicits the rightful fear of all federal employees. I can’t be certain, but it’s my belief that feds lose about 75% of their soul during this step alone.

Step 7: Take Away Any and All Privileges Given to the Federal Employee

This step is a little tricky. You have to take away the important things that the federal employee loves while making it look like doing so is simply a “necessary administrative decision.” In the end, the decision is highly questionable in its workplace efficiency, but it is effective in sucking out the remaining 25% of the employee’s soul.

Step 8: Infinite Deniability

It is inevitable that the federal employee will now try to reclaim their precious soul. And, it’s the federal manager’s job to retain the precious. It’s their precious now. The key to this step is infinite deniability.

When the federal employee asks, let’s say, to get an office that’s not full of asbestos, the federal manager will reply with, “You’re one of the people that I didn’t want to move into a horrible office. I would love to move you somewhere better, but they won’t let me. It’s not my fault, but give me some time and I’ll work on it. Okay?”

The federal manager will keep repeating the above statement every time the federal employee asks to be taken out of the asbestos office. In the end, the federal employee will give up all hope that her concerns will be addressed. She’ll sink away into her office knowing that she is now a goner to the system. In the alternative, she’ll apply to another agency to get out of the hell she is in now and the federal manger can give the position that the federal employee left vacant to the manager’s best friend.

And, there you have it. Voila! The federal employee’s flame is out. Her soul crushed. Her star faded. Her hope gone. And her life over.

I see it now. The plan as it was. And, I realize that resistance truly is futile. There’s nothing I can do to escape my path of mediocrity in the federal government.

Thus far, the only solution I’ve come up with is that maybe it’s time for a new plan.

© Copyright 2006. All Rights Reserved.