Sunday, July 23, 2006

What's the Deal with Cinderella?

First off, I'm the dad of two daughters. I can't say I've ever braided hair before (its not something my folically challenged scalp really needs to worry about), but I'm giving it a go. It's amazing how patient a three-year-old can be as her father fumbles with her tresses, fingers splayed trying to capture just a few more strands while he murmurs 'the rabbit goes through here'. Maybe there's an entertainment factor I'm not accounting for.

Anyway, the other part of my duties involve reading books at night in an endless endeavor to get them to bed at a reasonable hour. And after you've read a few dozen stories a few hundred times, you begin to form general impressions and even 'like/dislike' lists. Once a book really embeds itself on the 'dislike' list, you surprise yourself by the lengths you're willing to go to not read that book.

"I'll pick out the books tonight," I exclaim, hoping to control the reading content for the evening (chance of success: 20%). "I can't find it," I protest, even though what I'm really saying is 'you can't find it because I hid it under the diaper pail in the bathroom.' (chance of success: 12%)

The latest book to reach this spot of ignomy for me? Cinderella.

I hate that book.

Maybe its the particular version we have-- all schmaltzy and sacchriney. Perhaps the Brothers Grimm have a version that would make my toes curl (and my daughters go to sleep?). But no, what I get is 'woe is me'... 'I wish I had a fairy godmother'... and my favorite 'I've known you for almost 30 minutes. Marry me!' (Slight paraphrasing, but not much). And the worst part? When my daughters start mimicking it. Believe me, she has nothing to 'woe' about.

I want to read the version where Cinderella has the pluck to tell off her stepsisters, figure out how to get her own gown and make it to the ball on her own. And maybe meet the prince, or a nice vassel, and spend some time getting to know each other. It's gotten to the point where I'm ignoring the ending and making up my own. This is losing its effectiveness as my daughter is starting to read. I think she's on to me....

What does this have to do with Project Management. Nothing. I can't make the leap from Cinderella to Gantt charts. But I would like my daughters to have the gumption to start their own businesses and learn how to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. Because maybe it will happen in a few years, but so far I haven't met my fairy godmother, or godfather. Maybe there's a fairy great aunt I haven't met, but I'm starting to get skeptical.

And if anyone happens to know of some different takes on Cinderella, please drop me a line.

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