The Corner

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Poor Jennifer


’Take Our Daughters To Work Day’ was always an idea that seemed, well, doubly creepy. The victim feminism that underpinned it seemed out of date even in the Day’s whiny heyday (in a substantial improvement, it is now supposedly dedicated to taking our daughters and sons to work) and there was something faintly disturbing about the importance that it attached to exposure to the corporate grindstone as an essential part of a child’s personality-building.

The New York Observer, a paper that is as witty as it is (frequently) misguided (although never, of course, when Rick Brookhiser is contributing) has a special edition out to celebrate fifteen years in business (if there’s a link to the anniversary items I am too incompetent to find it). This splendidly sour little gem from 1996 deserves repetition. The author is Jim Windolf.

Taking Our Daughters Straight To Hell

“See Daddy. See Daddy yell at people on the phone. See Daddy get bossed around all day long. Oh, what a splendid idea, taking little Jennifer to work.

The first thing she noticed was that Daddy’s desk was smaller than the one he had at home. He was in a grouchy mood, too – it was pretty much like his mood on Saturday morning, when the errands begin – but he had a tight little smile, a smile he never used at home, and it looked so strange. He ate a giant doughnut in the morning and said, “Don’t tell Mom.” He drank two big coffees right in a row, and his breath got bad. He had French fries at lunch, even though he had told Mom he was “off the fries.” And he disappeared for a while in the afternoon and came back smelling like a cigarette, although he told Mom he quit.

See Daddy crack dirty jokes with the man at the next desk. See Daddy gossip. See Daddy fawn before his superiors. After Take Our Daughters To Work Day 1996, Jennifers all over the city went home with a sad realization: Daddy is kind of a jerk”.

Looking forward to work on Monday, folks?