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Stop Flirting With That Girl

August 5, 2014

I don’t talk a lot about my kids online much. I figure they can decide later in life what they want their online life (I’m calling it their onlife) to be. However, this story was too good to pass up. Last school year, I had four kids in the eighth grade. We’ve adopted kids from all over the world. I have black kids, white kids and Asian kids in my house.

Two of my kids, a son who is white and a daughter who is black, were in the same science class at school. One day there was a substitute teacher. My son was doing what brothers do to their sisters in public. He was teasing her. The teacher was tired of the disruption.

Stop flirting with that girl!

She’s my SISTER.

This surprised not only the teacher but some of my son’s friends.

She’s your sister?


Is she adopted?

Ah. . .yeah. Yeah, she is.

Does she know?

I work in a company that includes many married couples. It’s a somewhat progressive company in that many of the women did not take their husbands’ names. I walked into a meeting in progress where a woman I work with was telling a story.

And then I collapsed on the bathroom floor. It was awful.

Yeah, it took 20 minutes for her to come around. Kind of scared us.

Later I introduced myself to the one person in the meeting I didn’t know.

You must be Leo.

Oh, how did you know?

Well, you were either Tricia’s husband, or you are a really close coworker.

I’ve managed to avoid any really embarrassing moments. One coworker’s wife is a senior director. Her influence in the company definitely trumps his. This wasn’t hard for me to grasp. Perhaps it’s because I grew up in a house where my mother was the more well known. And later in her career she earned more money than my father. My dad helped put her through school. She went on to a long career as a small business owner. She started and later sold two multi-million dollar companies.

It was interesting to watch my dad. At times he was almost Mr Patricia Bliss. But, he never let it bother him. In fact, he was thrilled with her success.

My lovely wife and I have worked together a couple of times. First at WordPerfect (Back Where It All Began) and later while doing consulting. She’s fine with it. Me, not so much.

I think the lesson from my son and daughter, and the many couples where I work, is that in today’s business environment you really don’t know who is related to whom.

My four eighth graders start high school in the Fall. I’m sure there will be plenty more opportunities for my sons to be told, “Stop flirting with that girl.”

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife and thirteen children and one grandchild.

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