As if discrimination is ever funny; still this one is a classic and continues to make me chuckle.
A few years ago, while minding my own business, the phone rang.
“Hello, this is Diaz Communications.”
Amiable man on the other end of the phone, “I’d like to speak with Jo Diaz, please.”
“This is she.”
Complete silence for at least six to seven seconds. Count Mississippi 1, Mississippi 2, etc., for six or seven seconds, to get the pregnant pause, for the full impact of the “dead air,” as we call it in radio.
Laughing to myself, thinking that he’s thinking, “Jo, Pat, Chris… damn, you never know anymore.”
The man gathers his thoughts and proceeds to tell me that he’s a head hunter from XYZ Firm; and moves forward, not really knowing what to do. It was in his voice.
Meanwhile, I decided to go along for the ride; and, he did his thing asking questions, like I honestly mattered anymore. I mattered enough for him to make the call, until the only hang-up was gender. In the end, he was continuing with his cordiality and then we politely said goodbye. I could just see him on the other end, egg on his face and all.
About six weeks later, a letter arrived for Ms. Pat Diaz. Oh – my – God, I DID read his mind; which wasn’t the first time in life for mind reading. I’m pretty good at it, actually; so, I couldn’t wait to see what was written to my newly-named Ms. self.
Dear Pat Diaz,
We thank you for applying for our Public Relations position [for which, of course, I didn’t apply].
You are surely well qualified. We did, however, choose another candidate for this position. We wish you well and trust that you’ll find your perfect job opportunity, too.
I thought to myself, “Well dude, I read you like a book; and, since I own my own PR firm, perhaps you should have been better informed about a lot of things regarding this Ms. Diaz.
Sometimes, I still laugh about that one. It’s a classic. Yes, I kept the letter… If I ever need a good laugh, I can just pull it from the file cabinet, under Are You Kidding Me, Dude?
It happened in wine country, I’m not alone. I just chalk it up to ever-evolving away from ignorance… Things are much better than when I started my PR career, in 1983, and since that call.