Archive for November, 2008

we are better than me

November 25, 2008

We people.  Chances are you know a we person.  Perhaps you are one yourself.  No, a we person is not someone who is small, well I guess it could be.  A we person is someone who makes the following types of statement.  “I was worried until the second half when we started coming back.”  “We really need to start thinking about the future at quarterback.”  “When we make it to the postseason, you guys are going to be hurting.”  “If we win this game, we’re going to go all the way to the championship.”  The caveat of this is that the people making the statements are not actual team members, they are fans.  Now, I realize that there are these sports “nations” and home crowds are like the sixth, seventh, tenth, twelfth player, but last I checked, none of the we people get paid to play.  This got me wondering when is it okay to be a we.

I think if you are an actual player, that is a given, but what if you are a manager, coach, custodian, front office worker, etc. for a team?  Since your career or job hinges on the success of the team, I could buy the arguement that you could use the term we.  Season ticket holder?  You could argue you help fund the team and pay salaries, but does their success on the court or field hinge on your purchase?  Probably not, and in some cases, you giving up your seats makes someone else from a waiting list happy. 

What if you are an alum?  Can you be a we?  I’m still thinking not really.  Maybe when you were in school, it made more sense, but after you leave, get a job, have 2.5 kids, buy a house, are you still able to claim each victory as your own? 

Help me out here.  I don’t understand the we phenomenon (not the Wii keep in mind).  What is it that makes you refer to your favorite team as “we” when you speak?  I could be convinced it isn’t such a bad thing.  I’m not going to change the fact I won’t say we, but I’ll stop cringing so much when someone else does.  Now if you’ll excuse me, there was a game last night and I need to see how we did.


it’s high time someone started talking about it

November 22, 2008
I’ve had enough of this.  Every day it’s the same thing and no one seems to get it.  I would think that after a while it would just sink in, but no, it just doesn’t.  What is it that makes people not realize or consider what they are doing?  I’m speaking, of course, about stall fouls. 

Let me back up, if only for a moment.  I tend to notice things, probably more things than I should.  I cheer whenever the tub shows up in the Cialis commercials, you know it’s going to happen; it’s just a question of when.  That’s just a random example.  I work in a building with many people and as such we have a number of restrooms that are made to accommodate more than one person at a time (versus your home bathroom which was built for however many family members happen to need it five minutes before you are supposed to be at work).  I am a male and as male have the option of two “void” stations.  One where you can stand, and one where you can sit.  When I was in Japan for a brief stretch of time I found a few you could squat, but that’s another story.  Too much information?  Get on with the discussion?  You’re right, on we go.

There should be rules, understood rules about what should be done.  Always wash your hands is one preached since potty training, but even some forget that.  This can’t be the first time anyone has spoken up about it nor will it be the last.  I think it’s just my turn to say something.  Let us then start with the standing area.  Ladies, you can skip this part and move to the next paragraph.  I’ll give you a second.  No really, go ahead, nothing to see here.  Right, now then.  This is a solemn process and should be treated as such.  That means no singing, humming, laughing, looking around like you are on a tour bus, etc.  Do what you need to do, flush, head to the sink.  There really is no need to strike up a conversation with the person next to you, no real need to ask how the kids are doing, or what they thought of the game, wait in the hallway and ask if you really care.  And please, seriously, if there are other options than the facility directly next to someone, take it.  This is not the place to make a friend.  No one will feel shunned trust me.  I can’t imagine someone on a therapists couch, “You know doc, I just feel like no one wants to stand next to me when I’m at the urinal.  Do you think that could be due to the dreams I used to have about waterfalls?”  If you happen on the rare occasion that it is a full house, form a line and wait your turn.  Think the Sienfeld soup episode too.  Step up, don’t look right or left, do what you need to do, flush, move on.  No need to give an embarrassed hello.  Your neighbor is not any more thrilled about this than you.  Okay, we all good on this now?  Great, let’s move on.

And we’re back.  Ladies, if you skipped ahead, you are now a full paragraph ahead, congratulations.  Now we get to the stalls.  Again, I’m sticking to the work environment, airport restrooms, facilities at sporting events and concerts are all completely different and will perhaps be tackled another time (I’m guessing not though, I’ll save it for my bathroom book).  Let’s break this down with a few subject points. 

First up:  Talking.  If you are at the sink and someone comes in, obviously on their way to a stall, a simple hello is all that is required and even that is not necessary.  You could nod your head or not even see the person and everyone is fine.  Do not start a conversation and continue it after the door is closed.  You are trapping the person; I don’t care which side of the door you are on.  Of course, it is funny to be outside, start a conversation then leave when the person doesn’t know you’ve left and is still talking, but that seems rather cruel.

Next: Noises.  Look, let’s be adults about this.  People are going to make noises that are potentially embarrassing.  Let’s all just agree that this happens and if you are going to do that, this is the place for it okay?  No need to laugh, send down a “damn, rough night eh buddy?” or any other acknowledgement.  If anything, finish up and get out before it gets worse. 

Almost there:  Stall selection.  I mentioned this in the guys only section, but it is worth repeating.  I can only guess that some have their favorite spot, but if there is someone right next to that spot and everything else is open, do you really need to park yourself right next to that person?  Really?  Is the seat that much more comfortable than the rest?  Do you have snacks stashed in the seat cover box?  Is the paper softer?  Someone must tell me the answer here because it can’t be that you just feel lonely.

Finally:  Texting and emailing.  Okay, no one is that busy.  Do you hear me?  No person is so busy that they cannot take a few minutes to take care of their personal business without the country going into a financial tail spin.  After all, aren’t we already there?  So why, please tell me, do you find the need to tap, tap, tap on your blackberry, smart phone, text board, etc. while doing what you need to do in the stall?  It’s bad enough to hear beeps, or buzzing, or ringtones which I can certainly forgive.  Do you have to reply?  Can’t this person wait?  Is it really the CEO texting or did one of your buddies want to do a fantasy football trade?  I’m going to say it again, no one is that busy.  Relax for two minutes or however long you need.  You deserve a break.

I think that should take care of a few questions you may have had on proper etiquette.  Just know the next time someone sits next to me and starts talking on the phone, I reserve the right to make loud, obnoxious noises, flush four times and start banging on the side of the stall like I’m trying to pass a stone. 



should you live in fear?

November 15, 2008

Fear is a funny thing in a way.  What do we tell our kids about crossing the road?  Look both ways.  Why?  So you don’t get hit by a car.  Don’t stick forks in the outlets.  Why?  You could fry your brain.  Brush your teeth or you’ll end up with just gums eating applesauce.  I guess it’s a quick way to teach kids there are consequences for their actions.  Well, unless they are CEO’s of large financial or insurance companies in which case, feel free to cross that street, all the cars will stop and let them pass and throw money on the ground in front of them so their diamond soled shoes won’t get dirty.

Many of us are living in fear right now.  We’re afraid that our job won’t be there for much longer.  We’re afraid to make a major purchase, needed or not, since it will cut into our budget.  I got yelled at by a reporter on NBC last night because I am not consuming.  She basically explained the circle of economics.  People have to buy things so that companies that make these things will make more and employ the people who buy things.  Yes, we know that, but damned if things aren’t getting just a bit more expensive.  And shame on me for planning a little bit ahead into what I may or may not need to cut back if one of us happens to lack work at some point.  I read a complaint the other day too that demand for gas is going down.  The logic went something like this:  Gas is close to half what it was over the summer and yet consumption is not increasing.  Well no kidding genius!  We were told to have “staycations” this summer even though no one needed to say that because we couldn’t afford the gas to go anywhere anyway.  Now we’re just driving to and from work like we did all summer and still buying gas.  What would you like me to do, drive an extra five miles each way just because gas is cheaper? 

The lead story on the news this past week has been the economy.  Mr. Williams actually apologized on Thursday night’s cast for staying on the negative subject.  Look, don’t patronize me, Brian (I call him Brian because he always thanks me for watching and hopes to see me again tomorrow night) just read the teleprompter and dish out the information that keeps people watching.  Tell me how bad it’s going to be, tell me that Walmart is turning a profit (for selling groceries) and Exxon/Mobil are still doing well.  Then tell me about a dog who hopes to someday make it to the White House.  That way, I’ll turn off the program with a pessimistic full view surrounded by a slight hint of optimism. 

Okay, got a little sidetracked there.  Fear is a motivator.  Let’s face it, the 2004 election was run on fear.  An increase in gun sales following the 2008 election is fueled by fear (and I’m guessing a slight bit of stupidity and shallow mindedness either that or the belief that the new president elect will legislate tougher gun laws).  What if you made a decision not to be afraid?  Could you get up every morning telling yourself, I’ll just take this day as it comes to me?  I won’t worry about being injured, saying the wrong thing, getting fired, spilling my coffee…I’ll just be.  Then you’d zip up the side of the bubble and wait for those nice people in white robes to bring you your breakfast.

Okay, I’ll stop being a cynic for just a moment.  How about if I try to be less fearful, not worry about things that are beyond my control?  I won’t even ask you to try, I’ll do it and get back to you at some point providing I can still afford internet access.  Ack, okay, starting now.

Wait, what was that sound?  I think there are ghosts in my house.

Okay, starting now.

turmoil in the head

November 4, 2008

As we get ready for what could be a very bizarre and interesting Tuesday (and hopefully not Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, etc.) something struck me tonight.  I was reading to my young son as is our tradition now.  I read to the son, my wife reads to the daughter, everyone is happy.  Lately he has picked three books, who’s there on halloween, chugga chugga choo choo, and a collection of mother goose rhymes.  The last book is the one that trips me up.  Anyone who grew up through the 80’s and early 90’s remembers a certain Andrew Dice Clay.  He of the dirty nursery rhymes.  And now how many of us have become parents and have something other than “jack fell down and broke his crown” appearing at he end of jack and jill.  What about little miss muffet?  What happened with the spider?  Hickory Dickory Dock?  I’m not even going to continue with that one.  Thankfully, old mother hubbard does not make an appearance in this book. 

I can thank Mr. Clay for not introducing a bad rhyme to the peanut and railroad track rhyme which is my son’s favorite.  Toot, toot, peanut butter.  Nothing screws that one up.  Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not reading them wrong, but you know as well as I do my head isn’t exactly always thinking “the mouse ran up the clock” after all.  Or maybe it is just me.  I’ve mentioned before (at least I mentioned somewhere) that I have a penchant for recalling rhythmic lyrics.  Why can I still do the song of hiawatha, or stopping by the woods on a snowy evening, or the village smithy, barefoot boy anyone?  I don’t recall haiku in that same way.  Perhaps I should be thankful for that.


the day will soon come

when the election is done

and life will resume


Call me hopeful if you will.

hang in there, it’s almost over

November 3, 2008
With the election two days away and counting down, and the race to spend as much money as possible on campaigns while the country slumps into a recession and company after company announces job cuts finishing, it’s past time to think about which way you lean.  Chances are, I can already tell.  As someone who lives in New York (the state, not the city), I’ve been told for years that my presidential vote is inconsequential.  After all, for the highest office in the land, we still can’t trust the people to choose by popular vote, we need the antiquated Electoral College process to keep us from making huge mistakes.  As you were told growing up, someone always knows better than you.  Don’t forget that.  Our state will always vote the way of the large city in our south eastern tip based on population.  Some years that works out just fine for me so I’m not going to complain (sharp intake of breath from a few can be inserted here).  Isn’t it fun that Iowa and New Hampshire get to decide the primaries (in most campaigns anyway) and lately Ohio and Florida have decided the election?  But, I’m getting distracted here; I was going to tell you how you are going to vote.
If you are a God fearing protestant who grew up in the church, continue to raise a family in the church and may even send the kids to private school, I’m guessing you’re leaning toward McCain/Palin.  It’s not your fault; it’s how you were raised.  You are told to focus on one of two key issues and let that be it.  That used to be the death penalty and protection of Israel.  Now it is abortion and gay marriage.

If you attended an Ivy League university as an undergrad and partied with the best of them while taking classes that opened your mind to the suffering of Native Americans and gave you an appreciation for fine wine, I’m guessing you’re leaning toward Obama/Biden.  It’s not your fault; it’s how you were taught.  You were told that everyone deserves an equal chance no matter their color, religious philosophy or background as long as they weren’t Republican.

The interesting thing is that becomes a very narrow view.  Some of the larger influential organizations and yes, media outlets pick the side that agrees with their views.  The republican nominee is always going to have the religious right and the democratic nominee will always have the outspoken actors, media anchors and so on.  I know I’m not alone in thinking there has to be more to a candidate than their view on a woman’s right to chose, when life begins, whether or not same sex couples should be allowed to live together, and how many campaign contributions they can take blindly not truly knowing who is really funding their run for the white house.  This election has moved from a focus on the war to not being Bush to a response to the sinking economy.  I like that there are answers being given to these questions, I’m still rather shaky on who is going to pay for everything.  Could the dollars raised by the candidates in one week alone have helped people who are or will lose jobs?  Did we really need to bail out financial institutions who took huge risks loaning money assuming they would be long gone by the time things turned and bit them in the butt? 

See that?  I let myself get distracted again.  My main point is to stop for a second and think.  Move outside of your comfort zone.  Look outside of the area you were raised, move beyond the way you were told to think in college, step out of where you are now.  Are you scared yet?  I am.  I don’t know who to believe, trust, listen to, or support.  Great ideas are great ideas on the surface.  Once you scratch a little bit and discover there is either a hidden agenda or even worse, no clue of an agenda of how to accomplish said idea, you begin to wonder if there is substance after all.  There is hate now too.  Footage of rallies have passionate booing, speakers botching the forced lines, writers creating frenzies in the crowds, and for what?  So that two undecided retirees in Florida will say, “Damn, they’re right, the other guy is scary.  If I could see straight, I’d go vote.”

My hope is that the election will be clean, over on Tuesday with no extra days needed.  I wish for there to be gracious celebrations and respectful concessions.  I worry that the rousing of the masses may create a reaction to the outcome on either side that will only make things worth.  It’s almost over and if your person loses, it’s only another four years after all.  Just like Bush.  Wait, has he really been in for eight?  Damn!




Next time let me change the channel

November 2, 2008

Want a fun way to start your week?  How about a visit to the dentist?  Even better, how about a visit to the dentist, where they have a TV for patients and don’t ask if you’d like a particular channel?  What?  Not good enough?  Okay, I’ll go further.  The hygenist asks you lame questions while Matt Lauer is doing the same to Elton John.  Or, how about during the opening “monologue” if you can call it that of Regis and Kelly, the dentist, not the normal one I see since she was in the office but not seeing patients, comes in and is talking to the hygenist in code.  “Okay, 15, 16?” “No, 14, 15.” “Got it, and what about 26?  Is that an RL?” “No, that is a PL, but 13 is an RL” “13?” “Right, but he should probably get 1, 16, 17 and 32 all removed.”  “You mean where there is a RWT?” “Yes, I think so.  Now, what does he have on 5, is that a QS?”  Whatever happened to bicuspid, K9, wisdom…

Basically I sat there with my mouth wide open while these two decided the fate of my teeth, jaw, and financial stability all while Regis was explaining something about why he doesn’t like a dish Kelly cooks.  Who cares!  Then I was asked if I had any questions.  Well yes, actually I do.  Where the hell is my normal dentist and why can’t I talk to her about this plan you now have to start paying for your child’s college education courtesy of my mouth.  Not that I’m bitter or would harbor resentment, that’s not my style.