So I got a new gig.

The gig’s a good one, but it comes with a name tag.

The name tag serves the dual purpose of security clearance and identification. At a glance, children and parents may easily recognize me as a community member.

So much so, in fact, that when I first encountered the community I perceived it as a badge of honor. Shiny and white like the patent leather, church shoes I wore as a little girl to catholic Mass, I looked for those uniform placards when I needed help.

And when I first arrived Here, I needed help with everything including where to find the bathroom. As dazed and confused as I was, however, I trusted that if I found someone with that clean, white badge and its navy school insignia, s/he would help me. In its way, the troops that wore them were like my M*A*S*H* unit. As messy as I felt, they helped me triage the needs of my children and prescribe appropriate treatment.

I, however, haven’t worn a name tag at work since I worked my way through school waiting tables in local fern bars. During that season I wore an apron, carried an ice-tea pitcher and politely inquired any patron who looked under 30, “May I please see your ID?” in accordance with store policy. Didn’t matter who complained it was an invasion of privacy that I would deign to ask, or  moaned that now he would have to run back out to the car in the rain for her wallet, being sure that patrons were legal to drink came with the name tag.

Flash forward three graduations,
a wedding,
four children,
four score and seven years,
(Ok, not quite, but some mornings as I battle the snooze alarm it feels like that long ago)
and now I work another gig in a foreign land that requires a name tag.

Initially, because of the rescue mojo that had become my gestalt associaiton to the badge, I was my-first-pony proud of my name tag. Giddy, jump up and down, hug-it-out, my-new-colleagues-think-I-am-a-freak, tween with new Adriano Goldschmied ex-boyfriend jeans, proud of it, I got the job!
I got the job!
I got the job!
Oh, so happy proud of it!

Me-Pop proud of it,
feeling groovy
kind of Zen
welcome to The Show
kind of wowsa juice
proud of it…

(Like when I wasn’t wearing it at work, I kept it on the leopard apron in my kitchen kind of giddy about it, proud of it…)

Until last week Wednesday, when I was at breakfast with a friend that is.

This brilliant, percussive friend of mine is from the East coast.

She talks fast,
drives faster
and likes the F-word.
A lot.

And says it often,
a lot,
and
loudly.

Now I’m no stranger to the F-word,
I’m not squeamish about the F-word,
I grew up with the F-word,
I respect the versatility of it,
it’s pliability,
it’s enduring ruggedness
across the ages,
as dolphin flippers,
of aquatic
verbal acrobatics
that can approximate
every part of speech…

However, all of a sudden, wearing that new, shiny name tag was like having a How’s My Driving: 1-800-URF-IRED bumper sticker plastered to my forehead.

“Oh, yeah,” I could hear ONE Mommy complain to another Mommy at a neighborhood Botox party, “I saw that new hire, Ms. Jael Seeker, you remember her bio sent out by the head of school don’t you, and she was sitting there over a omlette listening to a woman drop F-bomb after F-bomb and laughing!”

All of a sudden wearing the name tag was an invasion of my privacy.
That shiny white badge publically
staged my name,
position
and place of employment in bold font.

It mutated into an invasion of my privacy
and even though it was raining,
I wish I had left it with my wallet in the car.

Wasn’t oh-so proud of my name tag then.

In fact, I was pretty embarrassed,
hang-my-head-down,
hair-in-my-face
humbled.

Context’s vital to distinguish between form and substance.

Your faith was strong but you needed proof
You saw her bathing on the roof
Her beauty in the moonlight overthrew you
She tied you to a kitchen chair
She broke your throne, and she cut your hair
And from your lips she drew the Hallelujah

Hallelujah, Hallelujah
Hallelujah, Hallelujah!