Thursday, April 21, 2016

Basic Rules of Life Ignored by Supposedly Smart People

I'm not perfect.  Far from it.  If anyone wanted to follow me around for a couple hours, they could compile their own list of stupid things that I do.  I look forward to reading that on their blog someday.  Until then, here are some of my observations that drive me crazy.

If you're in a public place and spill something, clean it up!  Or at least tell someone about it.  Yes, it is probably someone's job to take care of those spills, but don't just walk away from it.  Someone spilled Cheerios on some stairs that don't get used very often in my office building.  They stayed there for days!  I know, I know, I could have said something.  But I still blame whoever spilled them.

Pick up after your dog!  Even though I'd really prefer that you not let your dog do any business on my grass, I recognize that they have to go somewhere.  So if they do end up leaving anything behind on my lawn, you need to pick it up.  And if it's your kids who take your dog for a walk, you don't get to blame it on them.  You're responsible for your kids too.  Scalawag.

If you see someone with their zipper down, food in their teeth, something hanging from their nose, etc., you have a moral obligation to tell them.  You really, really need to do this.  I am tired of always having to be the one to tell people.  It doesn't matter if it's your boss, an annoying co-worker, or the Pope.  If you've ever had someone discreetly let you know that you have a button undone, you're forever grateful to them.  If you come home at the end of a long day to find spinach in your teeth that's been there since lunch, you hate everyone you talked to that day.  Don't be that hated person.

Don't strike up a conversation in a public restroom.  Okay, so I might have issues, but I really don't want to talk to you or even make eye contact with you in the restroom.  It is not a pleasant place to be in, and nothing you have to say will be interesting to me in that environment.  I once worked in an office building where the restrooms were open to the public.  A man came in while I was at the urinal and asked me where he could turn in his resume.  "Well, I'm pretty sure it's not in here."

If you need something, ask politely.  Don't just declare your need.  It makes you sound needy.  As you may know, I work in Human Resources.  I regularly receive requests from employees to fill out forms or prepare letters for various things.  It amazes me how often I get emails that say something like, "Rob, I need a letter verifying my employment so I can establish residency."  I'm always tempted to just write back and say, "Okay, thanks for letting me know."  It's like when my kids say, "I'm hungry."  My response is usually a variation of, "Oh, that's interesting.  Thanks for telling me."

When using instant messengers at work, don't just say, "Hi," and wait for the other person to respond.  Tell them what you want.  The great thing about instant messaging is not having to engage in small talk.  Stop doing it wrong!

When leaving a voicemail message, give some useful information.  If all you say is, "Call me back as soon as you get this message," I will most likely ignore you.  Also, don't tell me what to do.  Also, don't call me when an email or text message will suffice.

Don't tell someone else to remind you of your commitments.  This one really baffles me.  If you say you're going to do something but are worried about forgetting, put it on your own calendar or set up your own reminder.  Don't try to defer accountability to someone else just because they are more reliable.  Organize your life!

These things literally drive me up the wall.  I could go on, but that's probably enough for now.  Feel free to add your own observations in the comments.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Midlife Crisis? No, I Am Actually This Cool.

Being the youngest in my family, it was with more than a little amusement that I watched each of my older siblings turn 40 while I remained comfortably in my youth.

I knew that I would get there someday, but it always seemed a long way off.  Even when my sister turned 40 and I was 37, that was no big deal because I was still in my mid-thirties, right?

Well, I hit 40 a few months ago.  It was with little fanfare, although I think Lois would have thrown a big party if not for my utter indifference.  

I was 18 when I noticed my first grey hairs.  The greys have slowly multiplied since then, but that doesn't really bother me.  But one thing that has become increasingly distressing to me as I've approached 40 is the way my eyebrows are growing.  Like most people, I've had eyebrows pretty much since birth and they've always sort of maintained themselves.  But now they require trimming.  I do not understand this.  I ignored it for a while, but one day it just became painfully clear that something had to be done.  It occurred to me that an eyebrow is pretty much just a mustache for your forehead.  So I stood in front of the bathroom mirror, set my beard trimmer to one, said a quick prayer and trimmed those suckers.  That worked like a charm.  Well, a charm that you might find in a cheap souvenir shop, but a charm nonetheless.

It wasn't until after I turned 40 that I started thinking about what would be a good midlife crisis.  When it comes to cars, I really just want something efficient and comfortable to get me from point A to point B, although a Harley would do that nicely.  But no, I'm happy with my current transportation.  I did indulge myself in what many people might rightly call the lamest midlife crisis ever.  I don't know exactly how it happened.  I don't even drink.  But I inexplicably developed a taste for karaoke.  So after some minimal research, I bought a mixer, some mics, and some other miscellaneous hardware to turn my computer into a pretty decent karaoke system.  On Thanksgiving we were all rock stars and got jiggy with it.  Are you allowed to have more than one midlife crisis?  Because I figure I might live to be 90, so that gives me another good five years to settle on a really good one that involves a little less Neil Diamond.

I don't really feel old, although I do have less energy than I used to.  My waist is still pretty much the same size as it has been since high school (never mind that it might be a bit lower now).  But there's one thing that helps me know that I'm really not old yet.  When I get dressed every morning, instead of sitting down to put on my socks, I balance on my left foot to put my right sock on, then I balance on my right foot to put my left sock on.  Can you imagine an old man putting his socks on while standing? No, it just isn't done.  There may come a day when I fall over during the attempt and break my hip, but until then I'm still young.  Meanwhile, I just need to figure out what to do about this ear and nose hair.