1. Be proactive. Reach out with a kind offer of help so you can promptly assist him.
2. Bite your tongue as he declines to respond to your email and goes over your head to your boss because he’s in a panic about the very same thing you contacted him about.
3. Bite your tongue harder, until it bleeds, as he goes over your boss’s boss to stress the urgency of his request.
4. Use the blood to concoct a fine red paste—no wait, scarlet or crimson sound more feminine—that you can wear as lipstick.
5. Cradle your Art History diploma. It helped you pick out a genuine lithograph to put above your sofa. Well it looks real if you close one eye and stand far away.
6. Scream into your pillow when he persists in emailing your boss about the urgency of his request without so much as cc’ing you.
7. Rip your pillow at the seams when he does reply and this time it’s to your boss, your boss’s boss, and your boss’s boss’s boss. At least he remembered to copy you this time.
8. Use the stuffing from the pillow to fashion a new potholder to keep your good-for-making-coffee hands, soft and delicate.
9. Smile into the camera as your boss forwards you yet another email from, guess who, the aforementioned scholar who is still refusing to email you directly. You can dab some Vaseline on your teeth to keep that glowing smile of yours.
10. Clutch the diploma you received when you completed a Master’s degree in Psychology. It will help you pick out just the right therapist.
11. Swallow the bile rising up from your esophagus as you get an email from this most learned of scholars, with copy to you, but addressed to your boss which reads, “If you can let her know the urgency of this situation,” in bolded lettering just in case it escapes your feeble mind.
12. Resist the urge to smash your glass in full hormonal rage as you read how he addresses you: “Dear Ms.” You have a PhD just like him. It says so in your email signature.
13. Go ahead and smash it as you read on to see that he referred to your boss as Dr. who doesn’t have a PhD or MD but you suppose warrants the title. After all he is a white man.
14. Scoop up the shards of glass. You can use the blood for nail polish to match your new lipstick.
15. Sob into your pillow. Oh wait you destroyed it yesterday.
16. Dry your eyes on your PhD diploma. It’s not worth anything anyway.
17. Whatever you do, don’t get hysterical.