Tag Archives: Philosophy

Achieving Emotional Grace (Or, Don’t Be a Tool)

Achieving Emotional Grace (Or, Don’t Be a Tool)

My birthday is in September. Now, simmer down and stop buying me extravagant presents.

The reason I mention this is because, as opposed to January 1st, I consider my birthday my new year. I tend to stop and think about what went down this year and what I’d like to see happen in the next.

Sometimes I land on simple stuff like staying on top of the laundry, which is swiftly followed by swearing to stop wasting time on stuff like laundry. So, you see, I really never get too far.

This year I’ve decided that I need a lot (and I mean A LOT) of focus on just being a better person. Clearly not the challenge of my laundry debacle, but a worthy cause none the less.

I came to the realization that I have approximately two more years of my kids actually hearing a word I say before hormones clog them up into a sound-proof cocoon and they emerge like a butterfly at 25 as functioning humans. I hope.

I had better stuff as much usable information into their pre-pubescent brains before that time or god only knows what I will have unleashed on an unsuspecting world.

Like many of you (I hope), I say a lot of useless crap to my kids. I like to think that I’m carrying on a very proud tradition, having been the recipient of just such crap from my own parents.

“Life isn’t fair”

“Because I said so”

“Money doesn’t grow on trees”

“What? This? This is Mommy’s medicine.”

I do not think that means what you think it means.

I do not think that means what you think it means.

But, every now and then, when the stars are aligned, the winds change direction and Kate Middleton farts at a precise moment, I say something pretty freaking brilliant that has some decent substance.

Approximately 100% of the time I am regurgitating some gold nugget that was passed on to me by some advanced human. I’m talking about those people we’ve all come across who seem to have life in sharp focus. They have, what I call, emotional grace.

So, I had this idea that, as a reminder to myself, I would start to write a series about all these little lessons and analogies that have resonated with me throughout my life. Sort of like an emotional personal improvement plan.

In addition, because I am lazy, I don’t want to continue to repeat myself with my kids. I suspect that this, in and of itself, makes me an emotional lummox.

I present, the Achieving Emotional Grace primer. Or, as I like to call it Don’t Be a Tool.

Let me just start with this disclaimer: I have absolutely no expertise in what I’m writing about. I have no degrees, certifications, doctorates in anything.

In fact, I chose to study film at an agricultural school in Oregon so clearly my educational decisions in general can be called into question.

I am tripping and guffawing my way through the shitpile just like everyone else. I screw up. A  lot. I have insecurities and personality blemishes too many to count. I have warned you sufficiently.

If Child Protective Services comes to your door or you are detained or incarcerated because you did anything I said, you have no one but yourself to blame.

So, what is emotional grace? We’ve all seen countless examples of physical grace – the ballet dancer, the gymnast, the ice skater. Everything they do appears effortless, almost as if they are not confined by the weight of gravity like the rest of us.

A stark comparison would be me. I walk into walls. Just talking will cause me to bite my tongue. I am convinced that I am being drugged and beaten while I sleep because I am constantly finding bruises and scrapes and can not tell you where they came from.

I have never been, nor will I be, graceful. I’m tight and don’t bend easily. I’m like dolls before they invented the bendable limbs.

What? I am relaxed.

What? I am relaxed.

The emotional equivalent of the ballet dancer are those people who seem to know how to navigate the intricacies of human relationships and situations. They know how to say the right thing at the right time. They appear unflappable but still have appropriate emotional responses. They expect a great deal from themselves and those around them while still being forgiving and realistic with both. They are often kind, giving, funny and honest. They do all of this naturally, without effort or artifice.

And, you want to hate them for all this but you simply can’t.

As I trip my way through life, I have been given so many lessons, large and minuscule, by people who have passed through my turnstile. Many were completely unaware they were schooling me. Others did it very purposefully.

I’ve listened and tried to apply those lessons to my life with rare success and more often in failure. Recognizing noble behavior and practicing it in your life are two vastly different things.

So, stand by while I pull some sage wisdom out of my back side to share. I’m sure you’re all on the edge of your seats.

Except those of you who are out shopping for a birthday present for me. Good choice!

 

Image credits:
Photo #1 – http://i.imgur.com/FKhBR.jpg
Photo #2 – personal image
Photo #3 – http://www.jakks.com

 

On Becoming A Mid-Life Orphan

On Becoming A Mid-Life Orphan

If all goes as it should, we all end up being orphaned at some point in our lives. If we don’t, our parents have outlived us and that either means you have died a tragic and early death, or you are the offspring of vampires. And everyone knows vampires can’t procreate so…..

Just because we may see the total logic in this sequence of events doesn’t mean it isn’t a huge mind-fuck.

Whether you have a healthy or therapist-inducing relationship with your parents (I suspect the latter is much more rampant….and interesting), no matter what age we are, we rely on having our parents on earth and kicking.

They are a touchstone to where we are in relation to death and the natural pecking order.

They are also the keepers of our personal history in a way that siblings and friends are not.

Having just entered orphan-hood myself, I’m still navigating the sans parents world. I suspect I will settle into it. Right now, however, I can’t stop the loop of a cockney accent asking for another bowl of porridge that keeps running through my head.

I think I’ve been watching way too much PBS.

This transition was made even stranger this past week when I was in Minnesota for my mother’s memorial service. After the very touching and lovely tribute, my sisters and I decided we’d check out our childhood house.

I had not been back since I was 10 years old.

The real shocker was that not a whole lot had changed. The house was still there, well-kept, familiar and much smaller than I remember.

As we stood around outside the house, no doubt looking like the most inept and best dressed thieves ever, a nice, young Midwestern man came out to start to mow our….his….lawn.

We let him know that we were not some sort of middle-aged organized crime ring (though I may have to start one of those) but that we had grown up in his house. Like all Midwesterners, he was exceptionally friendly and warm.

But here’s the crazy kicker. He asked us what our last name was and when we told him, he smiled widely and told us he had something for us.

He ran into his garage and came back moments later with a tarnished brass door knocker with the name “A.J. Barnett, MD” inscribed on the face.

We were the original owners of the house and this knocker hung on our front door, identifying the town doctor and intimidating every boy who came to take my sisters out on a date. And, 40 years later, it was kept and passed on from owner to owner until this nice father could give it back to us.

I couldn’t help but picture my parents hanging that knocker on the door of their new home, my Mom pregnant with me, her sixth (yes, I said SIXTH!!!) child, my father thinking about opening the doors of his new private practice in this rural outpost.

They would live in that house for over a decade, struggle with raising a hoard of kids, mend broken bones and broken hearts, struggle with starting and keeping a medical practice going, make lasting friendships and build many memories for us.

They were very much like me….except the six kids. I’m not insane after all!

 What the hell, Irish Catholics? Keep it zipped up why don’t ya!!

As I walked around my old back yard and watched my kids standing by the river that I played endless hours in, my new status of orphan didn’t feel so bad after all.

Man, I loved that sweater! I was pretty fond of that dog too.

Though I still have a real hankering for porridge.

1:11 PM

1:11 PM


She traded it all for a silver kiss. A slow, smooth, cool, decadent kiss that reminded her of who she was.

She marked the time of the kiss, so simple and benign at first, at exactly 1:11PM. A time that, for some metaphysical, astrological or numerological reason, she was inextricably tied to.

Years later she would continue to be slightly obsessed by this time of day. If it was 1:09, she would stare at the time until it progressed to 1:11 and would feel a small outburst in the pit of her stomach. At 1:12, it would be gone.

On the first instance of 1:11, she was on a plane flying to attend her mother’s funeral.  She had always been exceptionally close to her mother, but in the past five years she had been swallowed slowly but steadily into the vacuum of dementia. She would have preferred to be able to say goodbye in a much more cinematic way with a last thank you to the woman who raised and loved her unconditionally, and her mother gifting her some final words of wisdom and love. But, they were destined to have the kind of farewell that slowly slid into oblivion without any real end point to refer back to over the years for some sort of solace. Her last lucid conversation with her mother went unchecked and, try as she might, she could not remember what it was or when it took place.

She felt  her own life had taken on some of the tone and color of dementia. The thread that connected her to her unique likes, dislikes, passions thinning to the point of breakage. She could only picture herself in a hazy, watery reflection, no longer in sharp focus.

This is what she was thinking of as she stared out over the fluffy marshmallow landscape outside her small window at 1:11 Mountain Standard Time.

Then, the second instance of 1:11. The kiss.

She was at a crossroads. Possibly the first of her life, or at least the first she took note of. She’d always been a person who winged it. Never a planner, just waited for the signs of what her next step should be by what crash landed at her feet at a particular moment. Then, she’d stop, say “What the hell?” and move into that direction. She lived her life as if she were in a maze of life choices. Hit a wall, turn right. Hit a wall, turn left. But, always keep moving.

WIth this new wall there didn’t seem to be any logical way to turn. She just kept moving against it like some kid’s wind-up toy.

Unbelievably, as she now stood in front of her husband, unsure of what to say, she allowed herself a glance at the clock.

1:11.

———————————————————————————————-

(Now, if you are so inclined, please go directly here: http://www.yeahwrite.me/speakeasy/107-voting/ to read other great writers and vote for your favorites…hopefully mine being one of them!)

 

A Bunch Of Words About Aging

A Bunch Of Words About Aging

I am 35 years old.

Oh, shut up! I know I’m not 35 – let me explain!!

I seem to have frozen in time at that age. I have not advanced one second past that age. I would say I will die at the age of 35 even though most people will argue that I will be more like 95 (and a HUGE pain in everyone’s ass).

I felt my best at that age and decided I’d hang out there indefinitely. At 35, I was in good physical shape, blazing trails in a successful career, had disposable income and was under the misguided impression that I was in control of my destiny.

I was not too young, nor was I considered old. I was in my sweet spot.

But, my body clearly did not get that memo.

So, this being the case, I feel I’ve become somewhat bi-polar with my insides and my outsides not matching up. I have a good angel/bad angel on each shoulder giving me opposing views.

Sitting on one shoulder sits the woman who will stop at nothing to remain young and beautiful. Let’s call her Carrot Top.

I know!!! I totally look like a woman!!

I know!!! I totally look like a woman!!

On my other sloping  shoulder sits the gnarled and bent figure of the aged and self-possessed woman. We will call her Kathy Bates.

Yep, I’m naked and I’m OK with that, goddamnit.

Yep, I’m naked and I’m OK with that, goddamnit! Get over it!

It doesn’t help that I live in the land of happy, shiny, perky breasts. The buying public, and no matter what my Visa statement says, it does NOT include me, has set the standard for what beauty is all about. The buying public is named Stassi, Shauna, Brandeeeee or some other made-up name.

Do I, like, have something in my teeth?

Do I, like, have something in my teeth?

So, back to Carrot Top and Kathy. Let’s start with Carrot. He sits there with his plump lips, surprising eyebrows and permanent eyeliner. He is telling me that all I need to do is a lift here (to help those falling butt cheeks),  a tuck there (to shore up the jowls that make me look a little more like Nixon every year), a tweeze (because what is it that makes you turn into the Fly after 35?), and a few good shots of some unnatural material to plump you up in just the right spots.

All this for the special package cost of your soul.

But there is Kathy sitting there, a little stooped and a bit androgynous in her look. She wears no makeup or adornments because, well, what the hell’s the point?

She whispers into my ear in a raspy voice “We’ve worked at this beauty thing for decades. We’ve bought every lip plumper, push up bra, gut-sucking underwear, and spent the national debt on anti-aging everything like good little soldier.

Aren’t you just weary of all that work and wasted energy? You could have written several novels, found a cure for the common cold AND found Bin Laden way earlier with the time and brainpower put toward “beauty”….which is a subjective word, by the way.”

(We will pause here while Shauna looks up the word “subjective.”)

So I ask, is there a happy middle ground? Aren’t we supposed to learn moderation as we get older (along with where interest rates are and how our 401K is performing)? Can we learn to love ourselves enough to allow our bodies to age gracefully, as intended?

I see you getting all indignant, shaking your fist at the sky and bellowing “But it’s not us, its MEN who make us this way! It’s MEN who expect perfection!” This may well be at least part of the problem. I don’t know of any men who hang posters of Madeleine Albright in their rooms because she has a really big brain.

And, yes, most men would take a killer rack over a sagging one any day of the week. Who wouldn’t?

I know we’d like to think of ourselves as highly evolved creatures, but the bottom line is, we’ve been doing this little dance since we crawled out of the primordial slime. The vision of a healthy, big-breasted cave woman with childbearing hips sent all the knuckle draggers into a frenzy…just like today.

Oh, our foreheads have come in a bit (except for James VanDerBeek), we’ve discovered bathing (except for Joaquin Phoenix), and now we can talk (often, this is NOT a good thing), but those pesky little DNA strands are still calling the shots.

Don’t you give me the stink-eye young man, you get in that shower NOW!

Don’t you give me the stink-eye young man, you get in that shower NOW!

Women still want to look attractive to men and men still want them to look attractive.

So, do we go against our very nature? Do we thumb out nose at our chemical make up? Why are you asking me? I have no freakin’ idea!

But, it would be nice to think that our intellect would have exceeded this need by now. It does seem like we should know better and would be able to hold other deeper traits in higher regard.

So, it may seem obvious that the Kathy Bates has won the fight. She has triumphed over shallowness and has driven her point down our turkey-like throats. We will be happy with who we are. We will find healthy, graceful, and proud examples to follow. We will love ourselves, cellulite and all.

And, only the evolved, forward-thinking men will be allowed in our sacred presence.

Only the men who, themselves have reached that inner peace. You know, the ones with the “love handles” because somehow that makes fat cute. The ones with arms that jiggle like your grandmother’s…

Gotta go now, Carrot Top is driving me to my Liposuction appointment.

Pull My Finger – My First Guest Post

Pull My Finger – My First Guest Post

I have arrived, y’all!!!

I’m so excited this week to get to do a guest post for the delightful Shari Lopatin! Head on over to her blog and take a look at the purdy post I done wrote up for her….and all of you!

Pull My Finger: My Uncivilized Life With Boys

While you are there, check out her fantastic site – http://sharilopatin.com – she is the shizzle!!!

Enjoy and discover, my friends!!

 

Yes, Another Annoying Best of 2012 List

Yes, Another Annoying Best of 2012 List

imageI know there are easily a gazillion best-of lists out there so I totally forgive you if you are getting to the point where you can’t take one more. But, as you know, your comfort has never been my paramount concern so…..and, I’m just a huge, lazy ass.

One of my favorite things from 2012 was the realization that there are a million exceptionally non-famous funny people in the world. Many of these lunatics are just as funny as the most famous comedians out there. It’s really the number one thing that keeps me somewhat hopeful for our species.

So, without further ado, I present some things that made me happy this year.

Noo Yorque Times Top 5 Left of Plumb Posts (because I am learning about shameless self-promotion)

Hobo With An Attitude

Scenes From a Coffice

Dear God; RE: Anne Hathaway

I Was Plucked By The Original Jersey Girl

Glitterati In The Mist

My Favorite Pop Culture Travesties

50 Shades of Gray – The revelation that middle-aged women are horny nymphomaniacs changed the way I look at all middle-aged women.

Magic Mike – See above entry….forgive the pun.

Liz and Dick – In the ongoing train wreck that is La Lohan, we got to watch her barreling toward the brick wall for a full 2 hours.

Hulk Hogan – Ish. I never did get around to doing a post about this one….I think I’m still throwing up in my mouth when I think of it.

Hunger Games – Hatefully addictive. My personal skeleton in my closet of shame.

My Online Humor Discoveries

KidFreeLiving – Amy VanSant is so freakin’ funny it completely pisses me off!

TheBloggess – Has anyone on the planet NOT read and fallen in love with Jenny Lawson? She is the sassy matriarch of blogging!

Bad Lip Reading – I weep uncontrollably with laughter at every one of these and check the site like a rabid stalker to see what new videos they have posted.

Twitter, in general

I really really really really hate to admit this but have been exceptionally entertained by Twitter. Before this year, I looked upon it with scorn and malice as a place for whiney, needy people to talk about the consistency of their morning constitutions. I now see that, if you follow the right people, it is HILARIOUS.

My Favorite Tweeters (though the list could be pages long….)

God @tweetofgod

Amy Vansant ‏‪@KidFreeLiving‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Jim Gaffigan ‏‪@JimGaffigan‬

Kevin Seccia ‏‪@kevinseccia‬

Dave Hill ‏‪@mrdavehill

Best Political Tweets

What a sad day for legitimate and illegitimate rapists. ~Matt Roller ‏‪@rolldiggity‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

If you have never had the misfortune to be raped, fight the urge to put on a suit and talk expansively about its’ meaning. ~Uncle Dynamite ‏‪@UncleDynamite‬‬‬‬‬‬

Enjoy your gay marryjuana, Seattle! ~God @tweetofgod

IT IS NO LONGER A PROJECTION. IT IS OFFICIAL: I’m kind of a fan of Sea Breeze cocktails! ~Ted Travelstead ‏‪@trumpetcake‬

Has Michelle won First Lady yet? ‘Cause if SHE loses…. Awkward. ~ Dana Gould @DanaJGould

Why is the same show on EVERY CHANNEL? ~ Mike Birbiglia ‏‪@birbigs‬

THE RESULTS ARE IN IN OHIO: my step-cousin Jaden is OFFICIALLY the new day-shift manager of the Hardee’s on Coleman Road. ~ Ted Travelstead ‏‪@trumpetcake‬

Sleep tight, America, and know that – no matter who you voted for – tomorrow we will wake up united in our hatred of wobbly tables. ~ The Bloggess @thebloggess

There are more of these, that I love, here: My Election Hangover

Tweets That Made Me Wet Myself

Who wants to see my wiener? Shit. How do I delete on this thing? ~ Dave Hill ‏‪@mrdavehill‬‬

Jedediah leaned upon his rake and said to Isaac, “Thy wife makes a goodly pie.” “I thank thee,” said Isaac. “Most humbly.” ‪#AmishErotica‬‬‬‬‬‬‬ ~ Uncle Dynamite ‏‪@UncleDynamite‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

I just tripped, fell and then farted while walking up an escalator and now I have the ability to move objects with my mind. ~ Jerm Himselfish ‏‪@JermHimselfish‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

If I had a dollar for every time my dad questioned my sexuality I could afford a bad ass Harley and probably some super cute riding boots. ~ Jeffrey Hadz ‏‪@Hadzilla‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The thesaurus on Microsoft Word is not very… how do I put this… “good” ~ B.J. Novak ‏‪@bjnovak‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Are humans the only mammals that blow each other? I’m asking for a friend. ~Dana Gould ‏‪@DanaJGould‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

HOLY SHIT. Is there a sign on my office door that says ‘C’mon in and fart the place up?’ ~Evan ‏‪@evanrhorne‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Whenever someone invites me to go golfing I always think, “Wow, this person knows absolutely nothing about me.” ~Jim Gaffigan ‏‪@JimGaffigan‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

The downside of having a bad memory is occasionally forgetting and then remembering the existence of Mr. Holland’s Opus. ~Kevin Seccia ‏‪@kevinseccia‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

“Maybe we can sell more clams if we put them in a liquid that looks like vomit?” – Inventor of clam chowder. ~Jim Gaffigan ‏‪@JimGaffigan‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Realized I was still chewing a piece of bacon as I sat on the toilet, hence discovering the elusive EIGHTH Habit of Highly Effective People. ~Amy Vansant ‏‪@KidFreeLiving‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Got my wig caught in my braces again. ~Ted Travelstead ‏‪@trumpetcake‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

If I’m ever on life support unplug me,, and then plug me back in again,, and see if that works… ~Gordon McCleary ‏‪@ASouthernYankee‬‬‬‬‬‬

Our son HATES the rectal thermometer. Ugh, teenagers! ~rob delaney ‏‪@robdelaney‬‬‬‬‬

The worst part about being omniscient is that I can never not know what Newt Gingrich looks like naked. ~God ‏‪@TheTweetOfGod‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

In closing, if I can continue to find even more to laugh about in 2013, I think I just may survive! And, here are some pictures to leave you with that just simply made me smile cuz’ they are kinda weird.

dancing sheep

Look at me! I’m one sassy ewe, girlfriend!

You do know I'll kill you in your sleep for doing this to me....right after I eat these Cheetos.

You do know I’ll kill you in your sleep….right after I eat these here Cheetos.

I’ve gotta feeling…..that tonight’s gonna be a good night…..

 

New Year’s Resolutions In Review – Epic Fail

New Year’s Resolutions In Review – Epic Fail

Yeah, I know, little baby new year. I feel the same way.

I usually hate making unrealistic promises I know I can’t keep just because the calendar happens to turn over to January 1st. I fail to see how predicting my upcoming failures, or “resolutions,” rings in the new year with any renewed optimism.

At this point the chance that I will become a better, more evolved human is about as likely as the whole Rihanna and Chris Brown thing ending well.

To clarify, it’s not that I believe I’m already a better more evolved human and, therefore, already as awesome as it gets. It’s that I’m old and tired and can barely be bothered to pause The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills long enough to get off the couch and go take a dump.

So, here are my predictions for 2013:
*Data is derived from the predictions and outcomes of identical goals for 2012.

I will exercise more. What utter bullshit. I will either join a health club I can’t afford and use it once but pay for a full year because I hate being sold to so will sign whatever you put in front of me to get you to shut the fuck up.

Or, I’ll decide I will run a 10K without even walking regularly to the mailbox, pull a hamstring in the first 10 feet, be laid up for months in bed while eating my boredom and end up on some horrible TLC show called  “Bedridden, Obese and Angry.”

I will scale back on the cursing. Notice how I said “scale back” and not stop? You might as well say “I will no longer use air to breathe”. Believe me, the world is a safer place if I can express myself with profanity.

I will lose 10 lbs. I did not say how many times I would lose 10 lbs. over the year, did I? So, technically, if you add up all the weight I lost this year, I’d be way over that goal. Luckily, we won’t count the number of lbs. I gained as well. I blame it all on the holiday pie and booze I shoveled into my face hole.

I will be more patient. I don’t really know how to measure this one since I am, by nature, one of the least patient people on the planet. So, even when I’m at my best, I am still probably a good 50% more impatient than normal people.

I do tend to be a lot more easy-going when I’m drinking, so let’s just assume I drank more this year and everyone wins.

I will reduce my drinking. Defeated.

So, there you have it. Not a stellar report card.

However, I have come to a conclusion and this is it:  By making a list of how to change myself I miss the most important goal I should be focused on – being true to who I am and loving myself despite…..myself.

My 2013 resolution: I will love, or at least accept myself, warts and all. And, do the same for everyone else.

Happy New Year, other imperfect humans! Keep yourselves weird and we may just come out of all this OK.

Darth Vadar riding a unicycle while playing bagpipes in a kilt. What of it?

Damn You, Mayans!

Damn You, Mayans!

That’s right, laugh you filthy Mayan!

What, with our good friends the Mayans  giving us that heads-up on the end of days and all, I decided I should really hit that bucket list before the rapture!

And, we know the Mayans never get anything wrong, as evidenced by the fact they’ve been around for so long….oh, wait a minute….how did they not see THAT coming?

I highly suspect they are all having a good laugh at the little prediction they left behind for us that they came up with at some Mayan frat party after chewing on some hallucinogenic root.

But, between the Twinkie debacle and the Liz and Dick movie, it does seem a sure thing that we are on the cusp of the rapture.

Some people have decided to flock to some mountain in Serbia, believing they would be safe only there. Evidently, this mountain that I can’t pronounce is called the “Naval of the World”. I suppose that’s better than the “Taint of the World”, which we all know is Trenton.

Others are huddled in their panic rooms or survivalist shelters, waiting to pop their frightened little heads out of their holes like Punxsutawney Phil to see the massive destruction they are now going to have to spend an eternity swiffering up.

The end of days is nigh! We have less than 48 hours to get our end-of-world plan in place. That’s not a whole lot of time so I am thinking I will double up on some stuff to be efficient. See, I am a project manager to the bitter end.

For instance, I will wear an evening gown and diamond tiara while eating bacon for every meal, then wash it all down with Danny DeVito’s weight in Limoncello.

Then I’ll have a bunch of sex with super hot strangers….while wearing a diamond tiara and eating bacon.

See, it’s the simple things in life we must embrace during these terrible times.

So, what’s your plan before you are smited? What would you do if you knew you could get away WITH ANYTHING?? No accountability, people!

Godspeed, and see you on the other side. I’ll be the one smelling of bacon and shame.

Best Practices For The Remote Worker (Or, How To Avoid Being Creepy)

Best Practices For The Remote Worker (Or, How To Avoid Being Creepy)

I stopped going into an office every day 18 years ago, so I may be a bit of a pioneer in the field of remote working. At least that’s what I tell everyone because saying I’m lazy and anti-social just doesn’t have the impact I want.

I was fortunate enough to work for a company that was definitely on the cutting edge of working with virtual teams around the world. And, while that company has since turned into a behemoth monster that could rival government entities in its utter lack of innovation, I still am loyal because they made my slacker lifestyle possible.

(That company is Microsoft, in case any of you are neophytes in my universe.)

If you are thinking of becoming a Remote Worker, otherwise known as “self-imposed shut-in”, then you need to know the reality. Because, boy, it can get pretty ugly.

You probably have a picture in your mind that looks something like this:

 This well-coifed go-getter is taking no prisoners from his sunny,
IKEA-outfitted home office!! Is that the Grundälstŭp desk? Man, this guy is rockin’ it!

But this is where you may end up if you aren’t careful.

 This young man, fresh out of college, is currently programming the
next release of the hottest new app but he will never get a date again.

So, I feel like I should pass some of my lessons and observations along to the next generation of self-starters, social misfits and multi-taskers. Take heed, people. It can all be a slippery slope.

Try to take a shower at least every other day if for no other reason than to keep your sheets clean. Plus, at some point or another all of us have to make an occasional trip to the mother ship, be it your company or a client. Consider taking a shower a fire drill for when you need to be in front of people who will judge you.

Always look as if you are about to go on a run or are just finishing with one, neither of which is usually true.This is a way to dress only half a step beyond pajamas. It’s a cheat, to be sure. But, you never know, maybe you actually will go for a run…..I know, that was silly. You aren’t going for a run.

Attempt to have some sort of exchange in person with other humanoids, even if it’s just the cable guy. You’d be surprised at how quickly you can forget how to speak and interact in a real-world setting. You don’t want people to think you have a meth lab in your basement.

On the flip side, don’t scare the mailman by talking his ear off and asking him to come in for a beer. He may think you have some sort of human skin factory in your spare bedroom and run screaming. And, there is the added risk you won’t receive your unemployment checks.

Avoid video conferences. Period. But, if you must do it, set up your environment as if you are about to shoot Kathy Bates in a sex scene. Some Vaseline on the lens does wonders.

Add a small fan to create a windswept look.

Finally, the perfect camera angle is key to ensure they don’t see that you have only dirty underwear on from the waist down.

I took longer to get ready for my first video conference than I did for my wedding.

Go for something along these lines. 

Try not to get too distracted. This is a really tough one to master. Between porn and cat videos, you can sink yourself quickly. If you must, create a schedule around your internet trolling. But, if people can view your schedule, be sure to use code words.

For instance, instead of 11:00-11:30 – Troll Web for porn, try 11:00-11:30 – Research SEO for women’s issues.

Finally, the holy grail of remote working – get thee to the Coffice.  Having a place to work remotely from your remote job is imperative and has saved many lives. You can then call in sick to your home office and actually work at a super groovy coffee shop instead, thereby taking advantage of yourself and your lax people management style.

I cannot impress upon you that a change of scenery could save your life. And ensure you don’t scare your UPS driver half to death.

Go forth now, and conquer.

The Gays Will Rule The World

The Gays Will Rule The World

The Revolution will be choreographed.

Even this soon in my “career” as a “blogger” I have already pissed off several factions in this, the United States of Lack of Sense of Humor and Sarcasm. I figure there is no point in my stopping now.

So, I’ve been thinking about this lately and have come to this conclusion: The Gays are taking over the world. And, I for one, am happy to follow as I do think the world could use a serious make over, a few throw pillows and a fake tan.

Let me just name a few of the biggest power brokers in the coup d’état we are currently embroiled in.

  • Anderson Cooper, who, shocked absolutely NO ONE when he came out.
  • Ryan Seacrest – He has GOT to be gay. I don’t care what anyone says. No straight guy is that pressed and thin.
  • Ellen AND Portia –  A two-headed, well-coiffed Gaystrom (Gaynado? Gayquake? Gaynomi?) to be reckoned with.
  • John Travolta – Yeah, whatever Kelly Preston. Your gig is up, John. The rest of us do not get massages the way you, apparently, think we do.
  • Tom Cruise – No comment necessary.
  • The dude who does Glee.

As an aside: I hate Glee. I do and I am not ashamed to say it out loud. I’ll yell it from the rooftops – Glee is like an annoying yeast infection. By the way, I know the dude’s name is Ryan Murphy but the fact that I know that just annoys me further.

Lord knows I don’t want to piss off my girls. But you all know that I am not a gay man, even though there are times when I wish I were, so just step off bitches!

See, I’d make an AWESOME Gay Man.

So, back to my point….if I actually have one, which is almost always in question on these things.

White heterosexual Protestant/Catholic/Episcopalians are in deep shit. I feel sorry for them, really. Their time as the ruling class may be in jeopardy.

Plain old white males gave way to white males of a Mormon persuasion, which led to bigwig Jewish movie moguls, which ended up with big wig (literally) Gays.

I made out with a whole bunch of you before you saw the light at the bottom of the closet door. And, I always knew you were picturing Ricky Martin. But, you guys have such soft lips I went along with it anyway. And, by the way, still up for a good mashing session if you want. You all smell like a mix of spa robes and coconut oil. Yum.

Recently, I noticed another area in which they are clearly superior.

We all know the Jewish goodbye and have been victims of it. There should be some hotline you can call to get them out of the house in a timely manner. I’ve gone for an hour trying to disengage but they keep remembering new and fascinating details about the story they had been telling you for the past hour. Like the color of shirt they were wearing at the time and that they chose the asparagus over the broccolini at dinner and that was a mistake because the asparagus had this cream sauce with too much pepper and…stab me in the head.

I can say this for a couple of reasons – one is that I know and love many of God’s chosen people who know how I feel about this and second, most people think I’m Jewish.

I also would make an AWESOME Jew.

By comparison, parting with a Gay Man means many air kisses, a promise for brunch and then they vaporize in a cloud of expensive cologne because there are other fabulous events they need to get to that you will NOT be invited to.

Won’t it be an amazing day when we no longer have sexual preference as an adjective to describe people? What ever will we do as a society? We seem to need something to tag people with. How about “The world is run by people with Big Ears.”

I hope so because me and my large lobes will freakin’ rule!!