If I Had a Hammer
I knew by her outfit that we had nothing in common. She was a nun. I’m a reluctant Catholic. There we were in the church hall. I couldn’t remember if ignoring nuns was a sin, so I returned her smile.
We introduced ourselves. I wondered if it was a lie to say I was a writer when Sister Mary Pat asked what I did. I was unemployed and spent as much time writing as I did wishing the manager who laid me off got zapped to hell.
“I’m unemployed, too!” she said.
“But you’re a nun!” I said, like maybe she forgot.
“Yes,” Mary Pat giggled, “but I directed religious education at a nearby parish.”
Mary Pat had been let go by a pastor who felt her role didn’t fit within his vision for the parish. She nodded appreciatively when I told her my role was deemed “strategically misaligned with the company’s objectives.”
I had never thought of nuns as people who held jobs. We were both angry at the unfairness of our situation, and a weak economy that had us commuting long distances for short-term projects, and being our own IT department.
Mary Pat impressed me with how she’d moved forward. She took the pastor’s favorite mug on her last day, and wrote her least favorite phrase on it: “My vision does not include you.” She drove to a gas station with the mug and a hammer, parked by the car vacuum, placed the mug on the ground, and whacked it into bits with the hammer.
“Then I vacuumed it up and drove home.”
I laughed harder when she added, “I’m a nun. People notice me enough to leave me alone.”
Three years later, she still makes me laugh and it’s no surprise this woman is my friend.
Nancy Méndez-Booth is a writer and editor in Jersey City, New Jersey where she lives with her husband John. You can read more of Nancy’s writing on her blog.
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