Saturday, November 17, 2012

Isn’t It a Bummer When You’re Not on That Mailing List?

(Scene from my childhood)             
Five or six Osaka girls, the closest thing to a clique in my sixth-grade class, smart, relatively well-to-do, arrive at the graduation ceremonies in matching dresses made for this special occasion—all except one, who is noticeably miffed and spends the day acting chummy with a girl who could have been a part of this group but was not because she was a last-year transfer and had not had enough time to fully integrate.*

* A few weeks ago, I received a xxth anniversary invitation for Elementary School XX class of 19XX reunion. The prettiest girl in the clique and the transfer girl—my next-door neighbor, incidentally—were on the organizing team. But no, I’m not going;I'm otherwise occupied. And it was that long ago, and now, that far away.

(Scene from my adulthood)
A former METI official and Diet member arrives late at a retirement party for a top METI official. Now this was just after the Recruit scandal, when the founder and CEO of the company shelled out lucrative purchasing rights—well below what the market would actually bear, as was typically the case in those days—for the Recruit IPO to a who’s-who list of LDP politicians, temporarily deflecting into their political trajectories and arguably toppling the Takeshita cabinet, broke and the first thing out of his mouth after the usual pleasantries is that no, he didn’t receive an offer and the most embarrassing about the whole affair is that he has to say this to his constituency because it reveals that he wasn’t important enough to be placed on the A-list.**

** Those were the days before it became fashionable for METI officials to seek political careers. Asked to run to replace a retiring high school alumnus, he had declined the first time around, but caved when the high school alumni leadership came calling again and told him that everyone else had refused and that it was his duty to run for reasons which I won’t go into here.

(Scene from Afghanistan)
So I can imagine how embarrassing it must be when you’re a journalist/analyst covering Afghanistan and Taliban accidentally CCs everybody on its mailing list and you’re not on it.***

*** Not so good if you’re a mole for the Taliban.

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