Simply 6 Minutes — Whatever It Takes

I was pissed. I’m an aspiring actor and my agent, Goldie McFintail, hadn’t gotten me into an audition since late last year. I was getting desperate. I picked up my phone and called her up. When she answered I yelled, “What the hell, Goldie, did my number fall out of your Rolodex? Why haven’t I heard from you in six whole months?”

“Who is this?” Goldie asked.

“Oh come on, Goldie, this is Barry Scales,” I answered. “Maybe if you’d pick up the phone and call me every once in a while, you’d recognize my voice.”

“Oh yes. Barry. Of course,” Goldie said. “The truth is, Barry, there aren’t a lot of parts these days that would fit you. And, as the saying goes, there are lots of fish in the sea. The competition for meaty roles is fierce and there are a lot of sharks ready to mercilessly gobble up those roles.”

“Goldie, please,” I begged. “There must be something I can at least audition for.”

“Well, a famous director is casting a new movie and maybe I can call in a favor,” Goldie said. “But it’s a stretch and the odds of you getting a role are about like those of salmon swimming upstream through bear territory. And you might have to put on a, well, a costume.”

“Whatever it takes, Goldie. Just get me an audition,” I said. “I’m up for a good costume drama. What’s the name of the movie and what kind of costume would I have to wear?”

“The working title is ‘Jaws V’ and you’d have to wear a large dorsal fin and act like a predator shark.”

“Oh,” I said.

Written for Christine Bialczak’s Simply 6 Minutes Challenge. Image credit: Romolo Tavani.

Whatever Happened to Live and Let Live?

Target, one of the largest American general-merchandise retailers, with more than 1,900 stores nationwide, has offered products celebrating Pride Month, typically in June, for more than a decade. But this year, Target will remove some of its LGBTQ+ merchandise from its Pride Month collection after facing backlash from conservative and religious organizations that threatened the safety of its workers.

“Since introducing this year’s collection, we’ve experienced threats impacting our team members’ sense of safety and well-being while at work,” Target said in a statement yesterday. “Given these volatile circumstances, we are making adjustments to our plans, including removing items that have been at the center of the most significant confrontational behavior.”

Target said that customers have knocked down Pride displays at some stores, angrily approached workers, and posted threatening videos on social media from inside the stores. The Pride merchandise has been on sale since early May.

Target’s response to confrontations in its stores is taking place as state legislatures introduce a record number of bills targeting LGBTQ+ individuals. There are close to 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills that have gone before state legislatures since the start of this year, an unprecedented number, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

What the hell kind of insanity has infected the American right? Must people tear down displays of retail items they don’t approve of and threaten workers in the stores that sell those items? Can’t they just walk by them and focus on whatever items they wish to purchase that brought them into the Target store in the first place?

What is this going to lead to? Jews pulling down Christmas displays in stores? Christians boycotting stores that sell Hanukkah menorahs, candles, cards, and gifts? Oh wait, many Christians are already boycotting stores that don’t insist their workers, and even customers, say “Merry Christmas” and not “Happy Holidays.”

Why do companies like Target kowtow to the most radical, far right customers and groups that represent a minority of their shoppers? What’s the harm in selling merchandise and putting it on display for their customers who are interested? As an atheist, I’m not interested in buying religious goods, but I can’t imagine threatening employees who work in the store, much less tearing down the store’s displays. I just walk by and ignore all that.

America used to be known as the home of the brave and the land of the free. But these days, it’s become the home of the brazen and the land of the free as long as you’re white, Christian, straight, and for many, male.

Seriously, whatever happened to live and let live?

Fandango’s Provocative Question #215


Welcome once again to Fandango’s Provocative Question. Each week I will pose what I think is a provocative question for your consideration.

By provocative, I don’t mean a question that will cause annoyance or anger. Nor do I mean a question intended to arouse sexual desire or interest.

What I do mean is a question that is likely to get you to think, to be creative, and to provoke a response. Hopefully a positive response.

I first started working from home in 2005. I loved working from home. Not having to get up every day and commute to an office in order to get my job done was a wonderful thing. I considered myself fortunate that my role afforded me the opportunity to work out of my house.

When the pandemic hit in 2020, many more employees got to (or had to) work from home. Were you one who was asked to work from home? If so, are you still working remotely, or has your company required you to return to the office?

I recently read that Elon Musk has described working from home as “morally wrong,” likening it to a privileged indulgence of the “laptop class.” He went on to say that, “You’re going to work from home, and you’re going to make everyone else who made your car come work in the factory? People who make your food that gets delivered can’t work from home. Does that seem morally right?”

Musk continued, “People should get off their goddam moral high horse with the work-from-home bullshit. Because they’re asking everyone else to not work from home while they do.”

And that leads me to today’s provocative question (or questions).

If you are not yet retired, do you regularly work from home? If not currently, have you ever telecommuted on a regular basis? If so, did (or do) you prefer working from home? Why or why not? And finally, how do you feel about Musk calling working from home “morally wrong”? Do you agree or disagree? And why do you feel that way?

If you choose to participate in Fandango’s Provocative Question, you may respond with a comment or write your own post in response to the question. Once you are done, tag your post with #FPQ and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Or you can simply include a link to your post in the comments. But remember to check to confirm that your pingback or your link shows up in the comments.

FOWC with Fandango — Outlook


Welcome to Fandango’s One-Word Challenge (aka, FOWC). I will be posting each day’s word just after midnight Pacific Time (U.S.).

Today’s word is “outlook.”

Write a post using that word. It can be prose, poetry, fiction, non-fiction. It can be any length. It can be just a picture or a drawing if you want. No holds barred, so to speak.

Once you are done, tag your post with #FOWC and create a pingback to this post if you are on WordPress. Please check to confirm that your pingback is there. If not, please manually add your link in the comments.

And be sure to read the posts of other bloggers who respond to this prompt. Show them some love.