Gratituitous Solidarity

Last week was National Healthcare Foodservice Week, or as they called it at my facility, “Dietary Week.”

Our dietary services manager did a great job of organizing activities for her staff. She arranged games, a scavenger hunt, special snacks, and multiple prize giveaways for dietary staff.

And she had some t-shirts made up for the dietary staff to wear on “casual Friday.”

I was given one of these t-shirts and invited to wear it on Friday as well.

I’ll admit that the shirts were cute.

But that didn’t keep it from being a t-shirt.

I don’t wear t-shirts.


Okay–I wear them to bed and to change my oil.

Definitely not to work.

What was I to do?

I’d been offered the t-shirt as a show of solidarity. Even though I am not really a part of the “dietary staff” per se, I was invited to celebrate as though I were.

So I took the t-shirt home and modified it, only confirming the gratuitous nature of my solidarity.

Modified t-shirt

Not that tapering the waist and redoing the sleeves and the neckline of the shirt was necessary to prove that I wasn’t quite the same as the others wearing the shirt. The skirt and hose I wore with it, and the white coat worn over top probably were sufficient to make that clear.

But the shirt became an object lesson of the nature of gratuitous solidarity. “See, I’m just like you. Look how hard I’ve tried to be just like you. We’re all in this together. Can’t you see how I’m in this together with you?”

The chasm widens as the attempts at solidarity grow.

Gratuitous, a half-hearted attempt to prove I’m one of the gang when all of us know I’m not.

I realize this end bit sounds rather melancholy and depressed–it’s not. I have no problem with my “station” at the facility as member of the clinical staff. I just realized as I was modding my t-shirt how false the idea of showing “solidarity” with a group that you don’t actually belong to can be–and decided it was worth blogging :-)

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