Monday, October 28, 2013

Emerging from Death

Not every post I write has a specific point or structure to it. Some things I either want to just share or get off my chest and there's no way to wrap it up with a neat bow. This is one of those posts...

 A few years ago I was obsessed with death. Not in a goth kid or sadistic sense. I was just suddenly fearful of my own mortality. Before anyone starts worrying, it was not suicidal thoughts in any way. Much the opposite. There’s so much left I want to do and I was frightened about the prospect of everything suddenly ending.

 This wasn’t occasional thoughts. It became a nightly occurrence. Nearly every time I tried to sleep I would think about what would happen if I didn’t wake up. Would I no longer be conscious of anything? Do we move on? Does everything just stop? I became incredibly aware of each heartbeat, trying to figure out if there was something irregular as I tried to settle myself down for the night. I worried about brain aneurysms and blood clots. This was quite a scary feeling considering I normally look forward to sleeping, not only for the dreams, but to fast-forward to the next day. Again, this was just at night. I wasn’t overly cautious and paranoid during the day and certainly didn't avoid the shark filled oceans and deadly golf ball filled courses of Hawaii. 

 It wasn't depression (or at least, I don't think it was). It only happened prior to sleep and there wasn't really anything wrong in my life. I had no reason to even think that I was going to die and I was relatively happy and healthy. No signifigant money problems and I had sufficient friends and a family. 

Religion wasn't much of an option. I was raised Catholic, but hadn't practiced in years and I’m really more of an Agnostic at the moment. (I don’t want to get in a debate. I do believe there’s something greater than us out there and I believe in an afterlife of some sort, I’m just not convinced it’s as simple as heaven and hell. This actually would be a good future blog subject).

 It went on for months. I tried to alleviate my worries but doing what always used to work; write about it. I came up with the gem of an idea for a book and/or screenplay that explored theories of afterlife (I’m still working on it). This helped for a little bit, but eventually those dark thoughts returned night after night.

 This continued for almost a year, then they suddenly stopped. I actually hadn’t noticed that they stopped until I reflected on it a few months ago. I traced it back and realized the last time I can remember thinking about it was almost the same time I met a friend who changed my life.

 I apologize in advance, but I’m not going to expand much on that last sentence. I can hear you groaning as I write this. One day I’ll find a way to tell that story, but I can say that this person completely and utterly affected my view of the world. It was almost as if we were supposed to find each other and they are the primary source of my soulmates post. (Don’t read too much into this. I’m still divorced and very single, so it’s not what you think).

 To be fair, it’s possible that something else could have eased my mind. A lot of major changes happened around the same time I met that person. All I know is we’re incredible friends and it’s brought me peace since we met. Whether you believe in God or not, I’ve seen evidence that there’s some unknown force providing opportunities. It’s no mere coincidence our paths crossed.

 I guess what moral you can get from this post is that funks end, and the clouds eventually clear. Sometimes on their own, or sometimes someone guides you out. Good things can happen at any moment. It just may come from an unexpected source, or an unexpected person. 

 **I’ve never told the person this story. I could never find an opportune time to do it ("hey, did I ever tell you the time I was obsessed with death?"), but I wanted to thank them. It should have been in person, but I think writing it down is a more fitting tribute.

Friday, October 25, 2013


 My Facebook friends have probably noticed that I post random thoughts that I have affectionately dubbed “Aaron-isms”. An aaronism is a saying that randomly pops into my head at any moment, though they appear more frequently on Friday nights or after a few beers. Aaronisms are inspired by many things; a person, the mood I’m in, or a casual observation. Most are intended to be clever, some are cryptic, and some may be an unintentional plagiarizing of an existing quote (I did mention, alcohol, right?). 

I’ve attempted to scour the past year of Facebook in an effort to collect my aaronisms (no easy task considering how difficult it is to go through the archives of even your own home page). Some of them brought a smile to my face, but others made me remember what was going on at the time to make me write them. For additional explanation, leave a comment, but most speak for themselves. As an added bonus, I’ve thrown in some rotten e-cards I’ve created as well. Enjoy! 

Some people surround themselves with idiots so they can feel like the smartest person in the room.

 No sense in continuing to perform if no one's watching the show 

The key to avoiding disappointment: Temper expectations and keep things in perspective. 

Apparently I'm quite the catch. The chase must be quite a thrill too, because everyone releases me immediately after 

When you're the only one rowing the boat, you get stronger, but you also wind up going in circles. 

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me thrice... Oh, wait-a-minute, I see what you did there. 

I would rather get a root canal, while being audited, during a pt test than go through an exit housing inspection…

 If you're asking for directions, then you won't find what you're not looking for.

 It's absolute torture when you care about someone so much, but absolute bliss when you no longer give a damn 

If you discover you're just one of many, should you be upset that you're no longer special or happy you were invited to the party? 

Saying nothing is far more difficult than saying everything 

I'm at the kind of drunk to where I want to say stuff, but am sober enough to know it’s a bad idea

 Being angry is a lot better than being depressed 

Happiness is large rain puddles and an SUV

 It's a lot less miserable being an asshole instead of just an ass 

You know you're old when you are sharing vasectomy stories over beers…

 There are times when you have to put your wants and desires aside and just be a good friend.

 Concentrate on the things you can control, the other pieces will fall where they're supposed to.

 Jack of all trades, Master of Fun 

It's not a problem if you're awesome at it.

 Our paths crossed for a reason, so we need to stick together until we figure out why

 I don't want to end it without knowing the truth, but trying to find out may end it anyway 

I've either figured things out, or am comfortable with the delusions I've created 

 He's good... But, I'm better 

Sometimes I wish I could see the line between perseverance and futility (but sometimes, ignorance is bliss).

 Should you ask the question if you're not sure you want to know the answer? 

I guess I'll just have to accept the fact that I'll think about you every day, for the rest of my life 

I'm willing to bend the rules for something I want. I'm willing to bend space and time for something I need. 

Once you discover something exists, it’s hard to remember what life was like before you discovered it. 

Those unexpected surprises are the most fantastic ones… 

Sometimes in life you get to a point to where you've done as much as you can and it’s time to sit back and see how things play out for a while before you get back in the game. 

I think I'm going to bed early. Though nothing is impossible if you put the effort into it, right now It's easier to change reality in my dreams.

 I try even if there is little chance, because there is no chance if I don't try.

 The best things that happen in life are the things you never plan for.

 (This one isn’t an aaronism, but I had to throw it in) My daughter said she didn't know the answer to a math test question today, so she wrote: " Because, Jesus".

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Most Romantic Thing I’ve Ever Done (or How I Knew My Marriage Was Over)

   Those who get the privilege of knowing me find out I’m quite the romantic. I’d love to divulge all my tricks and trademarks, but alas, I’m still single, and I may need to use those tricks more than once. Needless to say, those I’ve wooed know exactly what I’m talking about. I love to pour my soul into my special someones. I listen and cater to their wants and desires. Most of all, I love to surprise.

  I’m not in the habit of dishing dirt on my failed marriage. I’m not one to hold grudges and I try and respect people’s privacy. After all, there are two sides to every story. Unfortunately in this post, I’m going to need to show a little dirt, but I’m fairly sure those involved won’t be offended or mind.

  It all started a few years ago. My then wife and I were in a funk. No sex or intimacy for many months and we were locked in a battle of resentment. Our anniversary was coming up and there was no signs of thawing. Not to say we were at each other’s throats. We weren’t. But we were friends, not lovers, and something was going to break soon.

  We would trade off anniversaries. One would do something one year and it was up to the other to match or beat it. The previous year was my wife’s, and we went diving in a shark cage. Quite a hard thing to top. I was really unmotivated by the lack of intimacy and wanted to call this year off due to lack of interest. But I decided no. Someone’s gotta be the bigger man, and last I checked, I was the man.

  This year was gonna be it. I’d pull out all the stops. If this didn’t jump start some romance, then nothing would.

  I told her that we were going to go on a long hike for our anniversary. The date landed on a weekend, and I knew we’d both have the day off. We honestly hadn’t been on a hike in a while, and neither of us liked doing the traditional dinner and blah blah for anniversaries. I told her to pack for a day hike and plan on being out for most of the day. I arranged for someone to watch the kids and set my plan in motion.

  We woke up that morning and got ready for the hike. We packed a bag and change of clothes, took care of the kids and hopped in the car. We sped off to our hike. My wife knew there was something up when I took the first exit. “Why are we going to the airport”?

  I avoided as many questions as possible. I clarified that I didn’t exactly say where our hike was, and produced two tickets to the Hawaiian island of Kauai. (For reference, this was while we lived on Oahu, so Kauai  is a 30 min flight). She complained for a bit about not bringing enough stuff, but by then it was too late. We boarded the plane and took off to the “Garden Isle”.

  Once we landed on Kauai, we got our nice rental car (I wanted a convertible, but changed at a last minute veto by the ex) and headed off to our first stop, a nice Mexican place by the ocean. The lunch was nice, but far from the romantic moment I had planned. No worries, the next place was going to wow her.

  I wanted to go on a long hike, but time just wouldn’t permit it. So I did the next best thing. Kauai is home to one of the wonders of the world, the grand canyon of the pacific. Smack dab in the middle of the island is this incredible mountain range that looks incredibly like the grand canyon. I had no idea of the magnitude of it. It’s truly something you need to see to believe. While viewing, I noticed she began to crack. I saw a smile, and I heard zero complaints.

  Next stop was a waterfall that was quite spectacular. We got close and just watched it for a while. Finally it was getting close to time to leave. I hadn’t heard many words of encouragement, but for her, silence was usually a good indicator that she was happy.

  We flew home. After this spectacular day, I expected at least a little something romantic in return. She was never the most physical of spouses. She preferred to show intimacy through sex, not so much touching and kissing. We returned home, picked up the kids and it was business as usual. I thought maybe I’d get a reward later that night. But no sex. No intimacy. No kiss. Just a halfhearted acknowledgement of thanks for the day.

  I had pulled out all the stops. This was an expensive, well planned, romantic as all get out anniversary and I didn’t get so much as a peck on the cheek. At that point, as sad at it was, I knew the most romantic attempt of my life had failed to rekindle anything in our marriage. A few years later we would divorce amicably, though we both knew it should have happened sooner.

  No real happy ending to this story. Just a lesson to all that if you really want to see if love is dead, at least give it a final go and not let it fade into nothingness. I hope one day to find a woman who appreciates, no, deserves my romantic gestures. Maybe I’m kidding myself and just shooting blanks, but I’m sure someone will appreciate me.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Challenge Accepted! (or How I Kidnapped the Most Interesting Man in theWorld)

 I used to talk myself out of a lot of things. My desire to over-analyze things combined with a general anxiety disorder made it difficult for me to mentally commit to doing things like going to a bar, attending a party, or even dancing. I went on some medication for several months, which helped, but eventually quit because it made me not care about anything (like housework, eating, etc). The one thing it did for me, however, was free me from that little voice that prevented me from being more social. Fortunately, I remembered that feeling when my brain turned to “normal” following the withdrawal from the meds.

  I still have those doubts and anxieties before doing things, but now when I hear that voice saying I probably won’t enjoy something, I do the opposite. This has almost completely squashed my social anxiety, and my old self would probably shock most people that know me now. I’m frequently in the thick of things, and have adopted a new attitude of “why not”? I find that doing something resulting in a good story makes just about anything worth it; even if it was a complete failure. Of all the crazy things I’ve done this past year, this one is my favorite (that I can admit publicly).

  It started on a routine trip to the Shopette (a military equivalent to 7-11 or Circle K) late April. Cinco De Meyo was right around the corner and they had several displays for Corona and Dos Equis. Anyone who has watched TV in the past few years should recognize the Most Interesting Man in the World, who doesn’t always drink beer, but when he does, it’s Dos Equis. There he was. Full sized, holding a couple maracas and clearly ready to party. I was texting my friend and somewhere in the conversation I joked to her that “I think I’m gonna kidnap the Dos Equis guy”.

  I thought about it the next day and figured why not? I started formulating a plan, trying to think of how I was going to pull it off, and how much trouble I’d get in if I were caught. For some reason I mentioned it to my kids. Not only did they know exactly who the Most Interesting Man in the World was ( I salute your marketing genius, Havas Worldwide), they fully supported me and kept bugging me to make it happen. My then 14 yr old even wanted to help. Being the bad parent I was, and knowing he’d get off as a minor, I took him with me to do some final recon before I set the plan in motion.

  The Dos Equis Guy was unfortunately situated smack dab in the middle of the store, in full view of the front entrance. To make matters worse, he was heavily taped to several cases of beer. Finally, he was directly in the line of sight of the first cashier. Despite these obstacles, I felt I could pull it off. Simply walking in, grabbing him, and running out wasn’t an option considering he was in a busy store, taped to cases, and it was on a military base after all. I decided it would have to be done in stages.

  Stage 1: I had to free him from the tape. This is where my accomplice, aka son, came in handy. He distracted the cashier by buying something (happily spending the 5 bucks I gave him). While she was ringing up snacks, I pretended to tie my shoe and cut the tape with my much-noisier-than-it-needed-to-be keychain knife. I actually had to do it twice because there was a lot of tape, but I accomplished my task and left with my son.

  Stage 2: I returned the next night at about 7 PM on a Wednesday. During my recon, I determined this was the best time. It was still a little busy, so I wouldn’t stand out like a sore thumb, but not so busy that I’d have eyes on me the whole time. Armed with more money from me, my son provided lookout while I set the next part of my plan in motion. I looked in horror to see two cases of beer had been moved to help support the Dos Equis guy. Fortunately the tape was still cut from yesterday, but I assumed that he wasn’t standing well on his own, hence the cases. I subtly moved the cases, examining both as if I intended to buy them, then walked away for a couple minutes. I wandered back and executed stage 2. There was short wall of beer near the cut-out, so I quickly picked him up and laid him on his side, then walked away again.

  Stage 3: My plan was to take him out the back entrance which led into the food court. I returned and moved him towards another wall of beer, closer to the back entrance. I joined my son and finished shopping for items in preparation for the next stage. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed this little girl start playing with the cut-out hidden behind the second wall of beer. I was hoping she would just go away, but then her mother came over. She must have thought the girl knocked it over, because she picked him up and set him upright. I was worried she was going to put him all the way back to the starting point, but fortunately she left him there. But now, the little girl was obsessed with him (well, he IS the most Interesting Man in the World). This was complicating things because my son had already moved in line, executing…

  Stage 4: My son’s job was to once again distract the cashier. He was almost up to the front and the quiet corner of the store I had picked as my exit point was suddenly quite busy. Every time I moved towards him, someone would grab some ice-cream or a soda. Finally a brief window opened and I took it. I had intended on setting the Dos Equis guy back down on his side before doing this part, but it was now or never. I grabbed him and walked out the side entrance as calmly as I could, all the while saying “oh god, oh god, oh god” in my head. I felt as if all eyes were on me in the food court, but the worst part was getting him out the door and to my car. That was in full sight of everyone, including the military police car that had just pulled up for gas. I just damned the torpedoes and walked out as quickly and as calmly as I could.

  Stage 5: I parked behind the Shopette, (correctly) thinking that loading up a full sized cutout of the Most interesting Man in the World would draw attention. I threw him in the back, quickly shut the tailgate and plopped in the driver’s seat. I looked over at the empty passenger seat and my son was not in it. I hopped out of my car and paced back and forth for a little bit. Finally he appeared and I rushed him into the car. We looked at each other and excitedly went home, feeling like we just pulled off the heist of the century.

  The Dos Equis guy was a welcome guest at our home, and he's still with us today. We found many places of honor for him to be displayed. Partially so he could get the full tour of our house, but mostly because he scared the crap out of us when we came downstairs in the middle of the night.

The next day, all of my kids were excitedly showing him off to their friends. I thanked my son for helping me, but I asked him why he wanted to do it so badly? He told me, “You have so many fun stories to tell. I wanted one of my own”.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Ignorance is Bliss

I have a lot of things on my mind right now, and most of my potential blog subjects probably require several nights' sleep before I realize it's not a good idea. This is probably the first post I'm a little hesitant about writing. It may seem a bit arrogant, but I think in the end it'll sort itself out. Besides, based on my page views, not many read this anyway ;-)

One thing people eventually tell me is that I'm pretty smart (oh, and humble). I'm not sure I like the word "smart". Anyone can be smart at certain times, and lord knows I've done my share of bonehead things. We'll go with intelligent. I am very intelligent. And it's not always a good thing.

Intelligence is how quickly you can come to a solution to a problem. The more intelligent you are, not only allows you figure out things more quickly, but also do it with less pieces. I view intelligence much the same way I view talent (and could argue talent is nothing more than focused intelligence). It's a natural ability you're born with, and you're stuck with whatever you've been blessed with. It's not a skill; not something you can increase with practice. Does this mean someone born with average intelligence can't be a rocket scientist? Certainly not. But they have to work harder. Average intelligence starts at level 1; high intelligence begins at level 7. Both can reach level 10,  but one has a significant head start.

Anyway, the intention of this post isn't a pissing contest about being more or less intelligent than anyone else, it's about the good and bad that comes from being intelligent. Okay, this is about my viewpoint anyway. I have no idea if other intelligent people have the same issues (though I suspect they do). Even though others may view intelligence as always a good thing, too much of a "good thing" usually isn't. Ask any rich person, beautiful person, successful person. As the song goes, "Mo Money, Mo Problems".

Intelligence allows me to read people extremely well. While this useful in poker (and I am a very good poker player), it's not always the greatest thing in my relationships with other people. When I'm talking to someone, I can immediately tell if they are interested in either myself or the conversation. This is great because I can quickly shift gears and get more in depth if you're interested, and I'm usually pretty courteous and stop talking if your eyes glaze over, but not so great because I may omit information if I think you're not interested. It's also a great bullshit detector (and subsequently, makes me good bullshitter. Useful for a military career which is highly dependent on bullshit). I can sniff out lies pretty easily. Yes, I can be fooled, but it either takes a really really good bullshit artist, or I trust that person explicitly (so if you successfully mess with me, you're probably one of my best friends).

Like I said, I fill in the gaps rather quickly. I notice things. ("You've been checking out the waiter since the beginning of our date") This unfortunately leads me to coming to conclusions and over-analyzing things. Now to my credit, most of the conclusions I come to are accurate, but when I'm wrong… ugh
 ("Yes, I have been, but that's because I think you're cute and I'm nervous I'm staring too much"). I want to get to conclusions quickly and without all the information, I'll come to my own. Combine that with my creative imagination and that can cause trouble. This is probably why I'm attracted to open-book personalities. The more honest a person, the less gaps I have to fill in. 

Intelligence can also keep me up late at night, thinking about things. Sometimes it's worrying about trivial things, but mostly it's just things that pop into my head right before I doze off. Many "what ifs" and "what can I do about thats". I can also wind up being "paralyzed by choice" and hesitate on decisions because I'm trying to figure out which one is the best. Fortunately, I've recently taken the go-with-my-gut approach, and it's made me take a lot of chances I wouldn't normally have done (That actually might make a good future blog).

I've found ignorance to be an effective equalizer to intelligence (see what I did there? Not just a clever title this time).
Even though I already know something, or have figured it out, I'll tend to try to ignore it and just go with the flow anyway. This helps when I do jump to conclusions. Again, I'm usually right, but delaying any action can help when I'm wrong. It also helps with depression. Being able to figure things out quickly means I can see where things are headed, and it's not always a good thing. But the cool thing about life is that nothing is certain, and humans are anything but predictable. Remaining ignorant can allow these unexpected miracles to develop instead of me calling things off too early. It also allows me to enjoy the ride, even when I know it's going to end in disaster.

Now, if you haven't noticed, my posts normally end with a silver lining, and this one's no different. Despite what i've written, the positives far outweigh the negatives. For one, I'm definitely the guy you want on your Scatergories team, haha. One of my favorite positives is the ability to listen to people, quickly understand them and even offer advice. I love being able to help people solve their problems, or at the very least give them some options on which direction to go. It's also useful for making things happen. I'm not always the person that comes up with the idea, but I can figure out a way to make it work. Sometimes I wish I wasn't so intelligent, but I'm smart enough to know better ;-)

(The above picture has nothing to do with this post, but it cracked me up when I was looking for blog pics)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Hanging around with nothing to do

I hate waiting. Waiting is different from patience. Patience is when you wait, but know there is a solution on the horizon. It may be good or bad, but you know that fate will decide, and biding your time is the best course of action. Waiting is dependent on someone else to take action. Sometimes waiting is necessary. Like waiting in line at the DMV, or waiting on the computer to finish loading that website than has your test info pending. The other type of waiting is far worse. I'm talking about Limbo.
No. This isn't about how low you can go...
Limbo is the absolute worst. It's waiting without any hint of conclusion. Being in the military, I've had my share of time in limbo. But unlike any other sort of pain, it's not something you never become immune to. It's excruciating waiting on someone that has the decision in the palm of their hands, yet they give you no indication of what direction they are going to take, or when they will make that decision.

Anyone waiting on a loan application, or a reply from a confession of love can empathize with me here. Limbo sucks. You are absolutely powerless in Limbo. noting you can do can resolve the situation. In fact, most of the time, any intervention of your part will make matters worse, and either prolong the limbo, or force a decision that most certainly will not be in your favor.

I'm well aware of the tortures of Limbo. I do my best to not delay decisions unless it's absolutely necessary. Some things are better resolved with a quick answer, but some require a night or two to sleep on it. I'm the proud owner of a 2013 Ford Explorer because I failed to sleep on that decision. But I failed my ex-wife by balking on the decision to end the misery for several years.

Limbo has many forms. It could be something as simple as hearing your favorite artist has a new album coming out, yet no release date (Seriously. Do they honestly have no clue when they are going to be done with it?). Or it could be as painful as finding out if your job will still exist three months from now (the big-wigs have already made their decision, but they don't want to hurt anyone's feelings by announcing it early).

Limbo is the absolute worst form of torture. At least if you're in Heaven or Hell, you know what to expect. Even if it's eternal damnation, at least you have a moment to prepare and accept instead of holding out for the chance at redemption..

The ultimate Limbo is to string someone along. This is where you've already made up your mind, but fail to let them know. You may think you're going to hurt them, but I assure you, the pain is far worse when you combine the torture of limbo to your negative decision. Not only will they be hurt, they will be weakened by their time in limbo. You're not doing them any favors by holding back. 

True, not every moment in Limbo ends with a negative response. You may find out you got that extension. That boy may really love you. Still, positive or negative, that time in Limbo cannot be returned. Even a positive response is still time wasted.

But this post has no moral to the story like my normal posts. This is a plea to others. Do your best to end the Limbo. You know exactly what I'm talking about. That girl that is hanging on to your every word, yet you have no intentions of taking to the next step. That customer that is waiting on your decision on that loan request. End their misery. Deep down you already know the answer. Give it to them as quickly as possible so they can move on with their lives. There are only so many days. Don't waste them by making them wait in Limbo.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Just this once…

The recent budget crisis made me think of a dangerous word. Precedent. Precedent isn't necessarily a bad thing. The precedent of Supreme court cases allow many of the freedoms we enjoy today, but far too often precedent becomes synonymous with being taken advantage of.

Currently the Republicans forced a government shutdown because they are attempting to circumvent a law they do not like, yet already passed both legally and electorally via the 2012 elections. Why are they doing this? Because of the precedent they set last year. They held the budget hostage and forced a sequester that cut 10% of the budget. They figured it worked last year, why not do it again?

This reminds me of a similar tale of precedent that happened to me earlier in my career. In the facility I worked in, we had many secure rooms, one of which was reserved for whoever was in command. This office allowed the commander a secure office which they could conduct their job with all the secure resources they required. Now, these secure rooms require significant effort to not only become secure enough for the military, but remain secure on a daily basis. One year, someone in leadership thought it would be a good idea to let a high ranking visitor use this office since it wasn't currently occupied. One problem; the visitor did not have a clearance high enough for that office. When presented with the idea, I briefed leadership on all the reasons it was a bad idea, reinforcing the vast effort needed to un-secure the room, the round the clock security required to monitor the room, and the Herculean effort to re-secure the room following the visit. The visitor did not require a secure room (and for all we know, probably never asked for it) but instead of displacing someone from their un secure office for a week or two, leadership insisted we use the room as a glorified VIP office. 

I was promised it was just a "one time deal" and an alternate would be found in the future. Many of my own leadership supported that it was a bad idea. Needless to say, I "shut-up-and-colored" and worked my magic to prepare the office. Thanks to many (many) co-worker's efforts, we succeeded in providing the VIP room, and quickly restored it after they departed. Low and behold, another visitor came about a year later. Guess where they set up office? See, a precedent had been set. Leadership saw that it was possible to use the office and since they were so far removed from myself and the other workers, they didn't seemed concerned with the effort required. 

This is exactly why I refuse to allow my subordinates to do tasks that are outside of their realm of responsibility. Sure, it would be easy to do. I'd just be helping someone out. But when it needs to be done again, guess who gets called to do it? Even worse, it eventually becomes a new responsibility since we did such a darn good job the first time.

Bad precedent isn't just reserved for work, or the government. We set precedent in our lives, our relationships and families. When you let your children misbehave without consequence, a precedent has been set. When you let your significant other talk you into doing something that is their responsibility so they can go off and do something foolish, a precedent has been set. When you do those favors for a "friend" without getting anything in return, a precedent has been set. These precedents can then be used against you time and time again.

Should you never do any favors for anyone else again? Of course not. No need to be paranoid. Not everyone is out to screw you over (okay maybe just YOU, but don't tell anyone I told you). Just be aware of the precedent that is being set, and be cautious that it could go from a "one time deal" to a routine occurrence. 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Why yes that's a Banana in my pocket…

Ah, so many things to write about, so little time. I figured I'd focus on something a little less serious. Anyone who knows me can tell I'm a bit of a goof. Anyone who really knows me can tell I'm a major goof. Only those really really close to me can tell I'm bat-shit crazy…

Humor is one of the tools I use to get through life. If you can laugh at any situation, then you truly have nothing to fear (quick, someone Google that… if it's not a quote, it is now… copyright 2013). This is not to say I completely blow off everything as a joke. I know when to be serious. But if you look at it, a lot of things we consider serious, really aren't as bad as you think.

I don't remember when I began my affair with the lighter side of life. I know my father was definitely a prime factor.  Most questions I asked were met with a straight faced joke of a response (followed by the true answer… if you waited long enough). I wish I could remember some of them, but I'm sure I've passed them on to my children (who are far smarter than I was at their age… they don't believe anything I say…). I also remember stealing a tape of his which featured an impressionist that mimicked quite a bit of sounds, much like that guy on the Police Academy movies. I wish I could remember that too, but apparently whatever portion of the brain contains humor appreciation also holds long term memory, and there's only so much room.

My dad introduced me to the wonders of the great Saturday Night Live alumni of Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase and Jim Belushi, among others. I would watch You Can't do that on Television and Out of Control in the early days of Nickelodeon. I slowly branched out more and more standup and discovered among others, the comedy gods, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, and Steve Martin. I could go on and on, but I'm nearly 40, so it could take a while…

Anyway, back to the subject; I've used humor most of my life to get me through the rough patches and enhance the good times. I throw quips around to cheer people up when they're down and I launch zingers to get a quiet conversation going. I use humor to diffuse situations. It's hard to insult a guy who's already telling jokes about his own mother.

Much like music, I appreciate all types of humor and find different types have their own place in life. Slapstick/idiotic humor (think Three Stooges, Dumb and Dumber) are perfect for winding down after a long day. Just when you thought that idiot in the office who won't shut up in the meeting that is already running an hour late, here comes Jim Carrey lighting a fart and mistaking Samsonite as the owner of a breifcase ("Man, I was WAY off!"). This reminds me that as dumb as people seem, there are far worse. (Or even better, they may be the ones who are worse.)

Puns and wordplay are my favorite. Lords of this are Demetri Martin, Mitch Hedberg and George Carlin. Not only are they appealing because I happen to be a writer, but they also let everyone know that most of those words people get so upset about are just that… words. 

Intelligent humor (Steve Martin, Tina Fey). Well, if I had to explain it, it just wouldn't be funny anymore, would it?

Sarcasm is just plain stupid… jeeze!

Dark Humor (Monty Python, Danny Devito movies) is definitely an acquired taste. Most of it involves sensitive subjects like death and suffering. But really think about it. If anything needed brightening up, it's death and suffering. We all bite the big one. May as well make people remember you with a smile .

Edgy humor (Daniel Tosh, Lewis Black) is dark humor's ugly cousin. True they hit on some truly offensive subjects, but again, if we can laugh at the crappy things in life, it somehow makes it less crappy.

Improvisational humor (Robin Williams, Whose Line is it anyway cast) just proves anything can be funny in the right hands.

Observational humor (Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen Degeneres) and Political humor (Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert) can show us just how the people who pretend to know better, really don't.

This post has devolved into a breakdown of the various types of humor, but you know what? That's cool. Humor follows no boundaries. You never know what's funny until you try it and see who laughs. Next time your three-year old shows up with mommy's makeup on her face, you light the thanksgiving turkey on fire, or you fall on your ass trying to impress a girl, try to see the humor in the situation. It's a hell of a lot better than getting upset, and you'll get over it that much faster. Who knows? Your misadventure today may brighten someone else's tomorrow.
Always look on the bright side of life!