Day 23,724: Finding Words to Match the Moment.
One of the beauties of living in the New York area is being exposed to many different cultures as well as the words and wise sayings of those cultures. One word that came into use this week at work was chutzpah.
One of our remote vendors seems to be a first-generation American likely from a Mediterranean culture. He now lives and works in Minnesota. He had just displayed amazing chutzpah by setting up a large video conference call with several of our vendors and us from at least 5 different locations on Zoom.us, a great video conference service. The chutzpah was that one of the vendors on the call was Google, inventor of Google Hangouts – the first decent, but no longer best video conferencing service. That’s like serving Coke at a Pepsi sales meeting, or Lipton Iced Tea at a Nestle conference.
I thought it was so funny. Post meeting, I commented with giggles how trying to get Google to jump into a Zoom meeting was true chutzpah. Sadly, none of the team in Minnesota knew what I was talking about and I had to think of how to describe it.
Luckily, Google — just as they are now solving a tech problem for me from this call — has also defined chutzpah for me. The definition is accurate, but still misses some of the full emotional depth behind the word. Chutzpah can lie as easily in naiveté, which I think it was in this case, as in desperation (my case below), or in defiant impudence, per the definition above.
My case of chutzpah was almost marriage ending. My young UPS-affiliated husband went out of town without his required daily medications. He needed them stat. I was a full-time working mother and my company only used FedEx. Because I was time pressed, and he was time sensitive, I let my company overnight the meds FedEx. I was in problem solving rather than politically correct mode. Big mistake.
Since my husband was at a UPS event, my faux pas was not left unnoticed,uncommented, or unforgiven. I have heard about it for years and years and likely will again just because I’m posting here and bringing it up again.
Chutzpah is a rich word. I delighted in it yesterday, yet have had to live it down in my case forevermore. It’s still a sore point and not funny in my family. I’m still giggling over yesterday’s event.
It’s too bad they don’t know the word well in Minnesota. At least now, I’ve introduced it to one, new up and coming team. And Google.. well …
Because Google is Google, and hires tech whizzes, instead of stopping an ongoing meeting, or refusing to participate (as happened at Lipton years ago when I worked there), they just cooly and collectedly somehow created an overlay of a Google Hangout within the Zoom meeting room. All of us on the call were “nerded” out as we watched Google do some stuff we wouldn’t have considered, felt do-able, or known how to implement. Nevertheless, one Google rep may working from India and interacting with 5 from one service agency in Minnesota, 4 from my company in NJ, and 2 or 3 from our web developer in Florida just made it happen without blinking. That wasn’t chutzpah. That was pure talent.
Daily Focus on Gun Sanity: There’s an ongoing public furor between Fox conservative host Laura Ingraham and Parkland spokes-student David Hogg. Neither side is a display of chutzpah. Ingraham has a bully pulpit and used it as an adult punching down. Hogg, called a bully by Bill Maher, is not one. The students of Parkland, in general, are empowered, enraged, a little entitled by upbringing, and, therefore, not taking any of it.
Related Post from LittleHingesUSA.com: Conscious Capitalism, or Why Yuengling May Not Be The Beer For You .
Just as Sarah Huckabee Sanders likes to say that her client likes to punch back when punched, Hogg is exercising his American rights to punch back. As a student, he doesn’t have much to fight with except words, and now also the wallets of those who support him – a bold, bright chess move. That’s not what bullies do. They are not bold, nor usually bright.