Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Uncle Dusty's Guide to Reality (Millenial Edition)

              I recently witnessed a scene somewhat sad and perplexing.  I was behind a young man in the line at Starbucks who was dressed in an odd manner.  As we were literally in the shadow of Facebook (it was about 100 yards away), I assumed this 12-year old in $300 denim was one of the acolytes of Zuckerberg, Inc. 

I guess odd isn’t the right word.  Unexpected, maybe? From the waist up he was your typical hipster nerd, complete with snarky t-shirt and non-prescription glasses.  However, below the waist, his over-priced jeans were, and I believe I’m using this term correctly, “bustin’ a sag”.  I am so street.

                Don’t get me wrong, I applaud anyone who his committed to a specific look.  I do, however, believe in giving someone a dose of reality, if needed.  I don’t think Devin, if that was his real name, was giving off the appropriate gangsta vibe.  Why you ask?  Well, for one, he was at Starbucks, for pity’s sake.  If that wasn’t bad enough, he ordered a “non-fat skinny mocha-choco-latta-ya-ya” or somesuch.  All I could do was sing, ‘Creole Lady Marmalaaade!” in my head.

                From what I gather, real gangstas, were they to find themselves in a Starbucks (evading Johnny Law, I presume) would order something like “Caw-Fee!  Random Expletive!  And a Cookie!  Subsequent Expletive!  Yes, Warm!  Final Expletive!”  What?  I watched that TV show that one time.


                In honor of this interaction, I’ve decided to offer Uncle Dusty’s Guide to Reality for Millenials or as The Dad would say, “young-uns”.
1.       Pull up your pants.  You only get dates dressed like that because women have taken pity on you.  They think they can save you.  We’ve had to start prayer circles.

2.       If you are thin, stop dressing poorly.  If you have no taste, look for a friend that does and ask for help.  Or call me.  I will literally take anyone shopping, up to and including Charles Manson, although how you accessorize with a forehead swastika would be a stretch even for my significant abilities.

3.       Never assume retail employees have good taste.  No one checks out their outfits during the interview, with the possible exception of Kate Spade.  I have seen co-workers from my days at Dillard’s tell a customer that the only shirt that would coordinate with khaki pants, would be a khaki shirt.  Yes, if you are the Roto-Rooter guy. 

4.       If you think the cashier at any store has the power to change company policy, you are special kind of silly.  This is not a bazaar in Calcutta.  You can’t barter at Forever 21. 

5.       Stop wearing flip flops with jeans.  Because it’s stupid.

6.       The cashier at Safeway is not in charge of how many lines are open at 10PM on a Saturday night.  You waited 11 hours for the new iPhone, you can wait 10 minutes for whatever cheap alcohol you’re trying to buy.  Stop being rude.

7.       Don’t be rude to servers in restaurants.  If you’re nice, they’re nice.  That’s how it works. 

8.       Please tip your servers appropriately.  They are providing you a service.  I don’t care how cheap you are, tip at least 15%; more if you’ve gotten great service.  How would you like it if you were paid based on someone else’s opinion of your work?

9.       It’s great to be passionate about your beliefs.  However, if you haven’t put much thought into why you believe what you believe, don’t get mad when someone questions you.  If you find yourself unable to defend your position, maybe you should figure out why. 

10.   If you’re not horrified by the world around you, you aren’t paying attention. 

11.   It is your right as an American to have an opinion.  Coincidentally, you have to deal with the repercussions of your opinion.  Just like everyone else. 

12.   Hard work is the only path to success; there is no other.  If you want to invent an app so you can sit around chillin’, you have to actually invent an app.  All those Facebook and Twitter guajillionaires are hard-working people.  Granted they sometimes wear hoodies and seem laid back, but they actually invented, and then aggressively marketed, a product.  You’re not a dreamer.  You’re lazy.

13.   Not every successful person is smart; but all successful people are hard-working.  If you don’t apply yourself, you’ll never succeed.  If you’re in school, that means you need to study.  I know Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg dropped out of college.  But they dropped out of Harvard. 

14.   When you’re driving and you make a wrong turn or miss your exit on the highway, just keep going.  Trying to cut across four lanes of traffic to make your exit is dangerous and stupid.  I am not dying in a fiery car crash so you can get your fix of over-priced caffeinated beverages.  And you know good and well it was something that stupid.

15.   Oh, and your music is simply a re-tread of 80s music, without the panache or hair spray.  This is demonstrated by your rap stars’ inability to a make a hit without sampling Spandau Ballet and Dead or Alive.  I know that’s harsh, but whatevs, Felicia.  Slow your roll.  Is that right?  Did I do that right? 

 And that’s all I’m saying for now. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Would the Village People Steal Snacks?

                Exercise is universally acknowledged as dangerous; at least in my house.  However, I was never aware consuming low calorie snacks could cause pain and suffering outside of the unpleasant results of eating sugar-free cookies.  The snack in question was a 90-calorie bag of naked popcorn.  Naked in the sense of no artificial flavors; had there been a more scandalous connotation it should have been titled nekkid popcorn.  There’s difference, at least where I’m from.

                I have a drawer in my desk that holds my snacks.  I keep it filled with healthy snacks for all manner of emergencies like late nights, the 2:00 pm energy boost or bribes, depending on the situation.  Prior to yesterday, the only danger with this system was that the drawer, bottom left, if not closed firmly will sometimes slide open again, like the bedroom window of an unrepentant teen after curfew.  And I’ve hit this drawer with my chair and my leg but never with the full force of my body in motion. 

                I was sitting in my office, talking to my management trainee James (hey, dude!) and we were discussing some of the ins and outs of leadership and managing people.  It should come as no surprise that I was telling a story and a good story always needs a snack.  I had just retrieved said bag of popcorn from the drawer and opened it, while closing the drawer with my foot, which I felt was the most efficient use of time and energy, just like those dudes from Toyota.  I’m living the lean journey, people, LIVING IT!          

                After a minute or so, I rose to demonstrate something appropriately leadershippy (and if you ask James he will concur, won’t you James) not realizing the desk drawer hadn’t ever really closed, like those mattress stores that are “Going out of Business” for the better part of a decade.

                As you probably know, the desk is inanimate and stationary and my body isn’t, so it should come as no surprise when I came into contact with the drawer, I tripped over the drawer, slicing my leg, but fortuitously not my suit pants, and fell.  While trying to catch myself, I only propelled my rather large head into the wall and landing with a thud, followed by an interjection that would most certainly not have been exclaimed in that “Schoolhouse Rocks” tune.  You remember interjections show excitement (Wow) or emotion (Hey)?  My interjection had several more letters and was followed by an appropriate number of exclamation points.

                One of the measures of success, I feel, is the size of one’s office.  This hadn’t occurred to me until I looked up, all prostrate, rumpled and embarrassed, to see at least a baker’s dozen people crowded around me.  There was the aforementioned James, our student worker, two of our clinicians, one of my managers, two nurses, a cop, a cowboy, a construction worker and an Indian.  I could be wrong about the last three; I was woozy from the blow to my head.

                So, I was picked up from the pool of blood on the floor, mostly from the leg; not so much from the head.  They rushed me to the emergency room (it’s convenient to work in a hospital) , triaged me, interviewed me and took me to a room where I examined and then photographed my open wound.  James, great guy that he is, accompanied me to the ER and we sort of just stared at the wound.  No matter what sort of guy you are, you are drawn by morbid curiosity to really gross things.

                Cut to a fantastic medical team treating the wound, not laughing directly in my face when I explained how it happened and sewing me back together with 17 stitches in my right shin.  You know I’m going to try to be #1 in anything I do.  Simply fall down?  That is sooooo not me.  I will fall down with prejudice.  I will have an open wound, with possible infection.  I will not take painkillers.  Ok, maybe my head got hit a little too hard.  I’m strong-hearted (according to the book of baby names), but not foolish.  Pain pills, please.

                When I got home The Dad had fixed dinner (Pork Chops, Home Fries and Fried Cabbage; the last two items containing at least a pound of bacon between them) and I ate like I hadn’t had my afternoon snack or dinner, which I hadn’t.  Can I tell you that I needed some comfort food?  It was sooooo gooooood, I cleaned my plate, which is something I haven’t done since 2008. 

                The Dad was so pleased that he didn’t even make fun of me for falling down; at least not to my face.  I wonder what he’ll say at breakfast?  But a more important point to ponder, what happened to my popcorn?