Tuesday, October 28, 2014

LinkedIn Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

Oh, LinkedIn why hast thou forsaken me?
Forsooth, it has been a fortnight since my two-year work anniversary dawned brightly and I have heard naught (not) from you. Thusly, I have heard naught from anyone in my LinkedIn Kingdom.
Filled with more melancholy than Hamlet I have watched as each of my 1,037 1,038 well-connected LinkedIn friends have been commended for keeping their jobs, refining their jobs, and changing their jobs and, generally, doing all of the things I do on an annual – verily – bi-weekly basis.
Yea, the congratulatory floodgates have opened for these LinkedIn citizens while I sit stranded on the other side of my acknowledgment-deficient moat of despair pondering life’s injustices. Woe is me because there are no good tidings for me.
This calendar year’s employment anniversary was singularly exquisite in that I – the Queen of Change – have pledged my work troth to my employer for yea these two years. Two years! That’s longer than two of Henry VIII’s wives got to keep their heads – combined!
For me this is the sort of commitment for which there should be a feast that merrily and verily would include the slaughtering of a pig or, at the very least, the slaughtering of some fine arugula for a fine, celebratory salad fit for at least a princess.
But, no, I continued to read daily “Hear Ye’s!” about other vassals’ accomplishments which Sir LinkedIn made it possible for us all to know. The downside of this knowing occurs when you are knowing, but no one knows about you because then you are in the know, but not known, you know? ‘Tis painful.
Aye, I had a passing thought, like so many of my thoughts, that it would just take a month of Sundays before I received my employment anniversary banns. Nay that was not to be.
Anon I even went so far as to double-check my own anniversary date of September 24 2012 in my profile. Mayhaps I had left something out. But no, all was well in that particular battlement.
Perhaps my liege LinkedIn is miffed at me because I didn’t accept “Elizabethan Scholar Dude Just Chilling” as a connection and this was a rite de passage rather than a right foul spammage? No, that cannot be it.
There must be a reason. “Out, damn reason!” I sputtered as I hand sanitized my palms in readiness for using my sword of destruction (which is, in point of fact, my super cool wireless keyboard).
Just as I was getting ready to tap out a robust round of “a pox on your houses” and threaten to bid a final “Fare thee well to you, sir!” soft came the answer as surely as Banquo’s ghost appeared to Macbeth.
Methinks LinkedIn is just too busy. After all, LinkedIn rules a vast kingdom of over 200 million subjects in 200 lands. Wherefore, it didn’t take a leech applied by an overzealous barber to make me feel better as I realized this isn’t the foulest of deeds. I am not forsaken. I am simply forgotten.
Oh. Huh.
God Save LinkedIn!

Author, Diane Dean-Epps has worked in television and radio, performed in commercials and plays, as well as performing her own stand-up comedy routines that she has written. She has written several books, including Maternal Meanderings, KILL-TV, Last Call, and I’ll Always Be There For You…Unless I’m Somewhere Else?! As a popular humor columnist and essayist her writing has appeared regularly for the last millennium in numerous periodicals, most notably NPR’s This I Believe, MORE magazine (on-line), Bigger Law Firm magazine, The Sacramento Business Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Union newspaper and Sacramento magazine. 

Friday, October 17, 2014


Demi Famous

I was a stand-in for Demi Moore. It’s true. Back in the 80’s I was picked out of a group of grazing actors in a cattle call for movie extras. I guess I looked enough like Demi even though our body types never have been an exact match, particularly with her penchant for working out 18 hours a day.

I vaguely remember the pleasurable shock I felt when one of the production assistants pulled me out of the “sure to be famous” line-up, placing me into what would guarantee my eight minutes of fame.  In point of fact, those eight minutes ticked by in my own mind as it dawned upon me this would be a real glass is half-full/half-empty moment.  

Why?  As a stand-in there would be absolutely no proof I had ever set foot on that movie set. Claiming this acting credit would be quite the sticky wicket. Talk about your good news, bad news. I wouldn’t utter a recorded word, my face would not be part of any “Cut! Print it!” celluloid, and there would be no record of my having appeared in the movie, other than a pay stub.

My dubious distinction as a stand-in must be what it’s like when you serve in the secret service.  There are no living witnesses, you can’t talk about it, and no one believes you when you do share this fun fact. Demi absolutely would not remember my shadowy presence and brush with near greatness in my debut as a human placeholder.

The movie I worked on was called Wisdom, ironically enough, because it tanked at the box office, instead opening in video big-box stores.  It starred Demi and Emilio and was produced by these popular brat packers back when they were an item.

The glamorous life of a stand-in meant I sat in cars that were almost blown up, scheduled to be blown up, and eventually blown up. Lest that sounds derivative I also appeared in street scenes where the actress was almost blown up, never scheduled to be blown up, and wasn’t eventually blown up. In this way the star didn’t have to waste her time sitting.  She had better things to do.  Like sitting in her trailer waiting to be called to the set.

It is an odd experience to share a tenuous connection with another human being when you are asked to act like them and then when things are going fabulously well you’re told to “get out of the car and shot” or “step off that curb and get out of the shot.”  It’s not the strongest of connections.  

Demi never even really looked at me -- more toward me.  However, I did share a meaningful moment with Emilio when he glanced my way, although it’s possible it was because I was standing in front of the catering truck and he was checking out the specials.

Along with power ballads of the 80’s this power couple of the 80’s disappeared, the latter having broken up shortly after the movie opened/closed.

Through the years Demi’s acting career has steadily grown to the point where she needed to move to somewhere in Idaho to raise her kids and to get away from the paparazzi.  In my own acting career I just cut out the middle (the becoming a well-known actress part) and moved to a place in the country where I was only hounded by my own children asking me why I couldn’t drive them to the mall which was now an hour away.  The similarities remain.  Somewhere.

Then I forgot about her which in visa-versa is where she’s been all along when it comes to me. Until recently.  When I saw a story I found offensive on Yahoo News because it fairly oozed ageism. I know, can I be a bit more specific?

It was the tidbit that made Demi Moore out as a psychopath and sociopath who was dangerous and -- gasp! -- holding her ex, Ashton Kutcher’s, baby.  How could these super cool, well-matched-in-age new parents allow this creepy, over-the-hill divorcee to do that?   All day this story played like the high-mileage Honda of the entertainment world.

I mean, the media sunk their sharp little Terrier teeth into this non-story and shook it like a squeaky toy.  (You get the picture.) I utilize the Internet for my job all day performing searches and marketing magic, so I could not seem to get that dog-doo story off of my shoes all day.

Had Ashton Kutcher’s previous wife been Scarlett Johansson the blurb would have played for about half an hour as a meet-cute-again. But take the “tragedy” that is a break-up with a woman who was -- gasp! -- much older than her husband and it’s Yahoo! time.

Ageism rears its hydra head not only in Hollywood, but in the media, in the job marketplace, and at the danged health food store every time some whippersnapper asks me if I’d like to take advantage of the senior discount.  

Let’s call this story and others like it for what they are: A stand-in for a real story... a demi-story devoid of any wisdom.  

Sunday, October 5, 2014



That’s the name of the mascara. It’s sheer marketing brilliance targeting women who identify closely with the song “Brick House” and feel the attributes of the product will be bestowed upon them with a wave of the (mascara) wand. We cannot not buy it, truth be told.

So, I did.  Buy it.  Because ladies and gentlemen I like my eyelashes big and bold and I strive for 40’s pin-up girl wide open eyes.  In ten words or less I aspire to be a bombshell, so this noun was speaking directly to me.  

With my dim make-up lighting, nearsighted peepers, new plumping mascara, and magical array of beauty potions all laid out on my vanity that first morning it almost seemed possible to live the life of a bombshell...until it wasn’t.

Day number one found me positively breathless with the final results that were lashes so lush that whenever I blinked I stirred up a breeze lifting my hair playfully as though it was a photo shoot.

And I looked so awake.  It wasn’t until I was in the midst of conducting a meeting at work that my uh-oh possibilities began to unfold, the first one being when one eyelash hooked onto an entire eyelash grouping.  It stuck there forcing me into a full-on wink.  

As I continued to lay out the agenda I valiantly blinked with intention to get that individualistic but aggressive eyelash to back off of its attack upon the rest of the well-coated troops. To no avail.  

Now I was winking, blinking, sweating, and saying gawd knows what.  I’m the marketing director for a law firm and this was a budget meeting so you can get a sense of how big this problem really was getting:  “Certainly, I can quantify that $3,500 expenditure.”  (Wink!)  “As you can see here by this flowchart we realized a 65% increase in new client queries within a six-month period. (Blink!)  “Absolutely, I would welcome any further questions about our 2014 budget.” (Looonnnggggg wink!)
I managed to end the meeting quickly gathering up papers I could barely see because my eyelashes were in such disarray I felt as though I was trying to see through a thousand Tarantula legs.  And how was I going to explain this to the marketing committee?  I had a mascara malfunction?  Now there’s a way to really distinguish yourself as a powerful woman in Professional World.    

Back in my office I managed to tweezer organize my eyelashes back into some semblance of order and I finished the day out without utilizing any sick leave.

Quick on the uptake for some things, not so much on others after my first day’s travails I went into day number two with mascara wand firmly gripped in my teal-nailed hand ready to think things could be different.

I wasn’t ready to give up my bombshell pursuit and I soooo had this. It was my day off; no meetings.  What could possibly go wrong?  

I toddled off to my work-out and little did I know that I would be kicking it up a notch that day with a personal eyeball work-out add-on. When my heartrate kicked up I began sweating and my lashes clumped together so hard I actually had one eyelash on each eye.  And they were heavy!  It’s a group fitness class incorporating boxing with bobs, weaves, and punches which was handy when I weaved my way over to the sidelines, punched my finger into my eye, and bobbed down in pain trying to rectify my situation with my little white towel.

You know what that got me?  Dozens of white fuzzy balls on my very black, wet, long, two (singular) eyelashes.  Dismay does not speak to this situation strongly enough.  I did the best I could to clear my line of visibility so I could finish my class and act as though nothing was wrong at all costs.  (Unlike in my meeting the day before winking actually helped me out on this one.)   

I’m back to my old Great Lash mascara which leaves me looking less like a bombshell and more like a raccoon, but at least I’ve regained my eyesight and ability to blink like a normal human being.  

There’s a new product I’d like to try, but I’m somewhat embarrassed to make the purchase because I’ll need a brown paper bag in order to transport it to the checkstand. It’s called Falsies. What could possibly go wrong?