Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Capital Punishment of a Different Kind

Yesterday I was talking to a friend on the phone.

"You know that bus monitor they are showing on TV?"

"Yeah," I said, knowing instantly she meant Karen Klein.

"You have no idea what I'm going through," she said, referring to work.

"They are treating me terribly."

My friend is not a glamour girl, and she doesn't have friend in high places. But she's great at what she does. And for whatever reason, "they" just don't "like" her.

The latest incident was benign enough. "They" got together and brought in coffee. 

There it sat, steamy and delicious and inviting.

Everyone gathered around the hot cardboard box. Pouring, chatting, and swirling those little half-and-half packets around with lots of sugar or Splenda.

Nobody talked to my friend.

There are lots of ways to kill people. In Bible class I learned about stoning. HBO had a show about it, "Six Feet Under." The Spike network had a stupid show, "1,000 Ways To Die."

But one really quiet way to do it, is simply not to talk to people. Shunning. It's the most painful thing you can do, and 100% legal.

"And her soul is cut off from her people." In the Bible, that's the worst punishment you can get -  perpetual excommunication:

When someone is kicked to the ground you can see the bullying.

When you hear the taunts, and see them spelled out in a caption at the bottom of the screen, you can feel that twinge as well.

But when hostility and aggression take the form of shunning - simply keeping people out of the loop - it is easy not to see it, or to pretend you don't. To avert your eyes.

It's death by a thousand stinging needles.

So maybe the real meaning of inclusion is to include shunned people. 

And earn a few karma points for the next go-round, when the person in the target sights  might be you.

Have a good day everyone, and good luck!