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Meet Me At Emotional Baggage Claim

Lisa and her daughter, Francesca Serritella, have teamed up to bring their hilarious and witty perspective on the everyday life as mother and daughter in their weekly essays which you can find in their latest collection, Have a Nice Guilt Trip. With stories that will have you laughing out loud one minute and tearing up the next, Lisa and Francesca connect with readers on a deeply emotional level because of the honesty they bring to their stories and by the time you turn the last page you will feel like you just found two new best girlfriends. Earlier collections include Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim, Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog, My Nest Isn't Empty, It Just Has More Closet Space, and Best Friends, Occasional Enemies.

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Chick Wit: "Picking Quarrels and Provoking Troubles"
Lisa Scottoline | October 19, 2014

Well, that settles it.

I'm not moving to China.

You probably read last week about Guo Yushan, a Chinese man who was arrested there for breaking the country's law against "picking quarrels and provoking troubles."


Somebody needs to stop sweating the small stuff.

Lighten up, China.

I can't imagine making a law against picking quarrels and provoking troubles. I don't think life's worth living if you can't pick a quarrel or provoke troubles from time to time.

In fact, I was raised to pick quarrels and provoke troubles.

Mother Mary specialized in picking quarrels and provoking troubles.

I remember the time I ordered her a crossword puzzle jar from the New York Times, but it never got delivered to her. She raised holy hell with the New York Times itself.

The Gray Lady was no match for my gray lady.

I wouldn't want to live in a country in which nobody picks quarrels or provokes troubles.

First, there would be no lawyers.

OK, maybe that's a bad argument.

Please don't think I'm making fun of the Chinese situation. I'm just trying to find the humor in it, which is exactly what Mr. Guo did himself before he was arrested. He predicted his own arrest because, two years ago, he had helped his friend, a blind legal activist, escape to the United States with his family.

So Mr. Guo knew he'd get in trouble for making trouble.

Because, under Chinese law, that's the same thing as helping your friend.

Who just happens to be blind.

I'm pretty sure the Chinese government must have a heart, but I'm not sure exactly where.

I'm guessing they kick puppies in their spare time.

Seeing Eye puppies.

But to be fair to China, the world abounds with people who wish you would just Sit Down and Shut Up, and some of them make their way to the top of companies.

Like Microsoft.

I'm referring to Mr. Satya Nadella, who recently advised female employees in the tech industry not to ask for raises. He said, "It's not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along. It's good karma. It will come back."

In other words, ladies, don't pick quarrels.

Don't make trouble.

Sit down and shut up, and the system will reward you.

Is there any woman in the world who believes this is a good way to operate, in any area of her life, on any planet in this or any other galaxy?

Honestly, I tried that and it doesn't work.

Mr. Nadella also said, "That's the kind of person that I want to trust, that I want to give more responsibility to."

Of course, as soon as he said this, any woman worth her ovaries threw a fit, so he later apologized for being "inarticulate."

I disagree.

I think he was articulate, and he said exactly what he thinks, and I don't accept his apology.

You can't apologize for being sexist.

The only thing he's sorry for is that he said it out loud, to a roomful of people with ears.

And ovaries.

What scares me is that his attitude isn't unique to him, CEOs, or even men, but there are plenty of women who feel the same way.

I myself was one of them.

I was a good girl who did all the homework and got good grades, so I naturally assumed that if I kept quiet and kept doing well, success would follow.

I learned the hard way that it doesn't.

That you not only have to ask for what you want, but if they don't give it to you, you have to go out and get it, all by yourself.

Bring a club, so that you can bonk it on the head and drag it home if that's what it takes.

And by the way, it might take years to get what you want, but don't be patient.

On the contrary, be impatient.

Ask, then demand, and if you have to, get out your club.

Karma might work, but it takes too long, and why wait?

These are the things I taught myself, because I had simply forgotten the lesson Mother Mary used to say to me, which isn't exactly sweet and motherly sounding, but is profoundly true:

She always said, "Lisa, don't take any crap."

Only she didn't say "crap."

Because she was cooler than that.

Mother Mary would not have done well in China.

God bless her.

© Lisa Scottoline 2014

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