Because sometimes I'm just fucking right...

Category: Life (Page 2 of 3)

My life

Second Grade Fisticuffs

When I was in the? second grade I was an ornery little shit. Okay, I’m still an ornery shit. I’ve just gotten bigger. Anyway, a certain event taught me a valuable lesson when I was in the? second grade and it started with a sand pit and three? third graders.

On the far side of the playground of my elementary school was a large sand pit. I’m not really sure why it was there as the teachers always told us to stay out of it. Of course no one listened but I digress. One day, there were three? third graders playing in the pit. They had drawn a line in the sand and were seeing who could jump the farthest past it. Very simple game but it looked like a great deal of fun. I asked if I could play and they adamantly refused. Being the little shit that I was, I said “Fine!” and sauntered through the sand pit, making sure to scrub out their line as I did so. No big deal but obviously meant to antagonize. Well, it worked. I made it about 100? feet away when I was jumped from behind and forced to the ground. The fat kid sat on top of me and started pummeling away while the two smaller boys got in pokes and prods however the could. Well, being the fight to kill type of person, the first chance I got I sank my teeth into one of the little fuck’s hands and boy did he start howling. He startled the fat kid so much that Fatboy? stood up just enough for me to slam my leg between his legs. It didn’t hit very hard but it was hard enough and he fell on his side out of commission for the rest of the rumble. I quickly stood up and punched the only one left standing right as a teacher started frantically blowing her whistle. We all scattered as she came running over. Unfortunately, she recognized me.

As a second grader, having the principal come down to visit you outside your class is a humbling thing. Actually, I was just afraid my mother would find out. Anyway, the first thing he did was admonish me about biting. Evidently the teacher had seen the bite. Then he asked who the boys I’d been fighting with were and I told him. He went and got them out of class as well and had a chat with us all about the incident. That was pretty much the end of it as far as school was concerned. The only thing I felt horrendously wronged about was that the third grades claimed I destroyed something they’d been building in the sand box and the principal wouldn’t let me counter it. I was furious!

So, the valuable lesson. When I got home from school that day my father was outside mowing the lawn. As I approached he shut off the mower and said “Mike, I don’t want you fighting at school no more! You hear me?” I nodded meekly and headed into the house. What he said sunk in on a subconscious level and I didn’t recognize it for what it was til years later. Do you see the important part of that statement? “Mike, I don’t want you fighting at school no more!” No? How about “Mike, I don’t want you fighting at school no more!” See it now? He wasn’t telling me not to fight. He wasn’t angry at me for that at all. It was because I did it at school that he was mad. What’s even worse is that just as I was about to go in the house, he shouted after me “Did you win?” My answering “Yes!” got me a grin and “That’s my boy!”

Did I stop fighting in school? More or less. Sometimes you just can’t help it but mostly I kept it out of school. The best part of the whole thing is that Dad never told Mom. It ended with him. I think he understood that sometimes you have to defend yourself. Besides, Mom would have just made a big deal out of nothing. After all, it was just schoolyard brawl.

What? Oh right, the valuable lesson. It’s okay to fight. Just don’t get caught.

Tools for the work place

For the past 2 years, the “team” I’m on at work has been doing a “team building” exercise with the DISC assessment. What’s the DISC assessment? Well, it’s basically a personality test that helps to define how you act in your work environment. The idea is that everyone takes the test, finds out what category they fit in (Dominant, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness), and then works with the whole team to figure out how to work better together. The first time we did this we found out what we are (I’m a D) and how we relate to the other types in our group. This time we learned about how the other types work and what behaviors we need to change to work better with those other types. It was a very interesting few hours and the main thing I took away from it was not what was intended. I think it may have been the reverse.

Basically, we were handed sheets of info about each of the types. These sheets explained how each of the types functioned and how to best deal with them. It also listed the weaknesses of each of the types and what to watch out for when dealing with the particular types. Now, I quickly put 2 and 2 together and realized I’d just been handed a gold mine of information. Can you see it yet? Let me stress the part that’s important: it listed their weaknesses!? Essentially, we were given four sheets of paper with explicit information about how to manipulate and control members of all the other types. Let me give some examples:

  1. One type dislikes conflict and agression in the extreme. So much so that when forced into a confrontation, they will generally cave to your demands to get out of the situation. The sheet actually outlined this. So, I couldn’t help thinking, from now on, when I really want something from that group of individuals over there, I just need to come off really agressive and they’ll cave right away!
  2. Another group is more concerned about group harmony and emotions than the facts involved. They’d rather make everyone happy than do it the right way the first time. So to exploit this person I just need to come off as extremely emotional and lead the individual on a rioutous roller coaster of feelings until they give me what I want.

Obviously these techniques won’t work on everyone who falls with the definition of the types but I find it very interesting how closely my own assessment fit me.

So, I have a feeling that the team building exercise failed this year. Why? Obviously the intent was good but all the half day of DISCing did was supply new information on how to better control and manipulate your colleagues. Maybe that was the intent but I highly doubt it.

Code of Conduct

So, some background. There are currently two divisions of Information Services where I work. Soon there will be three. Currently, we’re all located in different areas on the campus and there’s no love lost between us all. Now, for almost two years, a new building has been under construction on campus for IS, as well as a whole slew of other areas. So far so good. Except it’s not good. Come August first, all three divisions of IS, which is over 80 people, will be crammed into one massive cube farm. The first issue we saw was the noise. Thankfully, that has been addressed with noise generators that will supposedly take care of that issue. What’s come to light recently though is somewhat amusing and dismaying at the same time. Our director sent an email out to her staff this week about a new committee the CIO has formed. The entire purpose of this committee is to develop a code of conduct for what is appropriate in our new distopia of a cube farm. I find it pathetic that we have to have a committee to talk about what is appropriate and what is not. Some of the issues are reasonable (burnt pop-corn, music, etc) but some are not (language, yelling for co-workers instead of calling, etc). Has our society really degenerated to the point that we need someone to tell us what is approrpiate in a work environment? Are people really so stupid as to think that calling someone a bitch or cunt in the work place is actually acceptable? Unfortunately, they are. Now, I’ll be the first to say that I am highly inappropriate at times but I’m very careful about what I say and to whom. I know what the limits are and I know that some co-workers will grin when I make a raunchy joke and some will not. Based on that knowledge I guard the things I say carefully. Some individuals don’t. I’m hoping that once we get moved into the new area, we’ll get to see some hefty fireworks when some of those individuals start in on their normal routine. I honestly can’t wait.

Mike the Pharaoh

Over the Easter weekend ABC was showing that old time movie favorite, the Ten Commandments with Charleton Heston as Moses. Now, not being big bible movie fans, the wife and I only had it on for back ground noise while we chatted on the sofa. Occasionally we would be drawn into the story but mostly we ignored it. Toward the end of the evening however, I turned to the wife and said, “You know, if I’d been Pharaoh, Moses wouldn’t have had a chance.” I could tell by the look on her face that she desperately did NOT want to ask but just couldn’t help herself. “How’s that?” she asks. I grinned really big. “First time Moses came up and said ‘Let my people go!’ I’d have cut off his head and fed him to the crocodiles. I’m the Pharaoh for cryin’ out loud! You don’t tell me what to do.” The wife just shook her head. “Know what else?” At this point, she has I really don’t want to know written all over her face so I don’t give her a chance to deny me the pleasure of sharing. “If I had been dumb enough to go through all ten plagues, I certainly wouldn’t have let everyone go. At first light, I’d have gathered what was left of my armies, gone down to the Hebrew villages and slaughtered every man, woman and child. Nobody fucks with the Pharaoh’s kid.” My wife just shook her head and replied, “The next time you feel like sharing something like that, don’t.” I couldn’t help grinning.

To gamble or not to gamble…

Sunday morning I will be starting my annual trip to a conference I attend for work. This year’s conference is being held in Las Vegas. Being that this year I am on the committee that helps to plan the conference, I was in Vegas for the first time last November. I didn’t have a whole lot of time during that trip and consequently did not do any gambling. Now, I’m not a fan of gambling except for poker and have never actually done any gambling in casinos. I don’t have any issues with it, I’ve just never done it. This upcoming week I will have the opportunity to try out the slot machines, black jack tables, etc. and am not sure if I will or not. Partially, I don’t want to lose any money. I’m a man with a wife and four kids and it makes me none to happy to give away my hard earned cash. Also, what’s really the point? Sure, I might hit some big pot on a slot machine or get lucky at black jack but I just don’t think so. Anyway, the point of all this is that I may give it a shot this upcoming week. I just don’ t know. I guess it will depend on whether or not I can find someone to go do it with me. I’m fairly sure one of my main work buddies will NOT participate though I might get him to watch. There are a few other people I could probably get to play with me but I’m not sure I want to play with them. Plus, there’s always the giving away my money thing holding me back.

Anyway, boring post, I know. Just thought I’d jaw a bit about gambling. I still don’t know if I will or not. I’ll just have to wait and see.

Don’t get caught

When you think back on your childhood, there’s probably one thing over everything else that you feel your parents taught you. Whether it was brush your teeth or don’t play with yourself, it’s the primary thing you walked out of your childhood with. Mine wasn’t an action, it was a concept and I honestly believe it comes from how we were disciplined as children.

Spankings were the main form of deterent in our household as children. It was something you desperately wanted to avoid because those things hurt like hell. You always watched what you said and you made sure you never got into so much trouble that you warranted a spanking. For my sister and I, the hardest part of that was keeping our mouths shut. If you know us, you know we’re quite outspoken individuals. Not saying what we felt the need to say was almost impossible. In other words, both of us got the slap across the face quite a bit in our childhood. As for the spankings themselves, those didn’t happen very often at all. My sister never did anything so horrible as to warrant a spanking (though there were other incidents that could be considered worse) and I made sure I never got caught.

And how did I do that? Essentially, you weigh the options at hand and weigh the risks. What’s the probability that you’ll get caught in this extremely heinous crime? If it’s above 50% it’s iffy; above 60% you’re feeling pretty brave; above 70% it’s best to walk away. Generally speaking i wouldn’t go beyond 70%. Now, that’s not to say I didn’t get caught at some pretty horrible stuff. I did. But the stuff I got away with far out weighs the stuff I didn’t. Sure, I got caught shoplifting with a buddy but no one ever knew we were the ones that accidentally shattered the sliding glass door of a neighboring duplex the year before. (It really was an accident by the way). Yes, I got caught forging parent signatures on mid-terms but I never got caught sneaking out and spending the night at my girlfriend’s when her parents were out of town.

So, what’s the point of all this? Mainly that, as a child, I didn’t trust my parents. I couldn’t go to them with issues or questions. How that correlates to don’t get caught is pretty simple. I didn’t trust them so I didn’t feel the need to listen. I did however, watch. What I saw taught me that as long as you didn’t get caught, you’d be okay. (I learned a whole bunch else as well. I learned to respect woman, people of color are the same as everyone else, and that if you clean as you go in baking and cooking, the mess is less at the end.) My whole life has been shaped by the don’t get caught motto. I stopped shoplifting because I didn’t want to go to jail. I stopped speeding because I didn’t want to pay the tickets. I stopped stealing in general to avoid jail. In essence, I live my life by what I can get away with, not by what is right and wrong. I certainly know the difference between the two but I don’t make my decisions in life based on those things. Obviously there are some things I don’t do because I find them repulsive, rape for instance, but overall it’s a measure of the risk and the gain. These days, with my wife and children, the risk is never worth the gain.

“Where’s your moral compass?” you ask. I honestly do live my life by a moral code but those morals were influenced tremendously in their shaping by don’t get caught. What’s funny, is that I like who I am. I like my morals and I like my perspective. Does that mean I want my children to grow up like me? Probably not. I’m not sure what I’d want their one thing to remember from me to be but “don’t get caught” certainly isn’t it. The comforting thing is that I’ll probably never know what that one thing is. The scary thing is that I’ve most likely already taught it…

Dairy Section Psycho

Remember how I told you I had a sick and twisted mind? Well, this evening I had a flash of sick and twisted in the Dairy section of the local Price Chopper. So, to set the scene, I walk into the cheese and yoghurt aisle and about half-way down the way is a stocker who’s loading up the yoghurt. As I walk toward him I noticed he had a handy belt-sheath for his box cutter. What happened next made me grin with evil ecstasy. Essentially, an image flashed through my mind. I saw myself stepping up behind this young man, sliding his box cutter out of the sheath, flicking it open, reaching around his head, covering his mouth and slitting his throat from ear to ear. Then I would simply pocket the knife and calmly walk away. Sick, eh?

The funniest part of the whole five second psychotic episode was that once it was finished, I instantly started analyzing the feasibility of the action. I found myself scanning the aisle for security cameras, other customers, obstacles that would keep my in the aisle longer than I needed to be, etc. I decided the most important part would be not getting blood on my clothes, which if the victim was held appropriately, the blood spray would not touch me, and the wiping my prints from the knife. That was the hard part. I couldn’t keep the knife because the police would most likely show up before I left. I couldn’t hide the knife as the police would close the store and tear it apart, eventually finding it. The conclusion I came to was that to effectively clean the knife, I would need to go to the cleaning aisle, open one of the cleaning wipes boxes and wipe down the knife as well as the box. I’d then drop the knife behind the boxes in the row and also clean off the box which I opened. Of course, this leaves me with a wipe to get rid of but that’s easily disposed of in a trash can or even in another shoppers cart. The final piece that would hopefully keep me out of jail would be the pure lack of motive. The only motive for the action would have been the act itself.

So, have I disturbed you yet? You know, sometimes I disturb myself. Anyway, I obviously did not follow through on my imaginings but it did remind me of a story I wrote a long time ago about a young man who worked in a toy store. The essence of the story was that the young man slaughtered all of his co-workers during the restocking period after the store closed. He did it with a box cutter and was found giggling madly in a pool his co-workers blood. It was a good story and quite disturbing all at the same time. Anyway, it’s possible the flash of imagery in the Dairy section came from the subconscious memory of that story but I really couldn’t say.

Anyway, that’s all for now!

Who would you call?

I have a rather sick and twisted mind and sometimes it comes up with the most absurd ideas. Today’s idea was this. Who would you call if you accidentally (or on purpose) killed someone and needed to cover it up? Is there anyone in your life you could trust that much? Is there anyone who wouldn’t bat an eye but would instead calmly ask where you kept the hack saw?

Now this was an interesting concept for me. I thought long and hard on what the answer would be. I have 3 friends who I’ve known since childhood and they are the closest thing to brothers I’ll have ever have. Does that mean I’d call them? At first, I thought, “Absolutely!” They’d have my back. And in the initial stages, I honestly think they would. Each of them would be there with the hacksaw, ready to go. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I probably wouldn’t call any of them. One is too damn honest. In the end I think he’d have to tell the truth. I view this as a strength of his, by the way. Certainly not a weakness. Another would be so torn with guilt that he’d end up telling random strangers until we were all thrown in jail. Again, not a weakness. An active conscience is a good thing. The third is more complicated. I think he’d go along with whatever I needed and I also think he would keep quiet. The problem with him is that I think it would slowly break his sense of self; his sense of purpose; his belief in the innate goodness of man and himself and I just couldn’t be responsible for that. So, in the end, when I accidentally kill someone, I’m pretty much on my own. That was kind of a bummer at first. And then it got me thinking about something else. Would someone call me?

I did an intense internal audit while at the grocery store this evening. Could I live with the guilt of hacking up and disposing of a body? Probably so. It’d take some getting used to but I don’t think it’d be all that horrendous. Could I keep my mouth shut? Absolutely. There are some things you just don’t talk about and that would be one of them. And finally, would it change my own self-worth? Would it change how I view myself? Would it make me feel less of a man? Honestly, I don’t think so. I’ve got a dark side that I accepted a long time ago. One of my best friends said of me once, “Mike, everyone has a dark side. You just acknowledge and embrace yours.” It fits to a tee. I think part of it is that I accept who I am and am not afraid of what I could become.

So, would I be a good person to call in this situation? That just depends on how much I like you.

Life w/out Cable and Tivo

Very soon my television viewing life will enter a dark and terrible phase. Due to family additions, the budget must be cut and the first two things to go are cable and tivo. I’m not sure how I feel about that. On the one hand, not having 70+ channels to surf on will keep me away from the television much more but the loss of the never having to remember when the shows I like are on is going to be hard to deal with. Granted, without the cable, I’ll only have broadcast shows to watch but there are several that I do enjoy watching. Heroes, My Name is Earl, and Bones to name a few. Anyway, I couldn’t tell you off the top of my head what days those shows are on so I’m either going to have to do some creative programming magic with the shell that is my Tivo box or I’m going to have to learn what nights those shows are on. Sigh..

On the plus side, I am adding another dvd to my out-at-a-time limit with Netflix. Hopefully that will keep my TV needs sated for longer periods. I’m planning on using 2 for movies and 2 for televison series (I’m watching season 5 of 24 right now). Hopefully it won’t be too bad. Of course, with the new little one, I may not get the chance to do a whole lot of TV watching but you never know.

Anyway, I’m going to go start my search for info on how to maximize the usage of my brick that was a connected Tivo service. Technically speaking, you’d think I’d be able to overhaul it somehow. I’m just not sure my technical skills are up to the task. I’ll keep you all posted on what I find…

Christmas Shopping

So, this year so far the wife and I have only gone Christmas shopping once. It was yesterday as a matter of fact and overall it went rather well. Unfortunately, I’ve been sick for the past few days so that made the experience a bit less than to be desired but as far as shopping at this time of the year it went rather well. We only ran into two overtly rude people and we were able to laugh at them without to much issue. Both individuals were at Toys ‘R’ Us.

  1. Crazy Woman with son – this woman was pretty funny. First though, I have to set the scene. Toys ‘R’ Us was a madhouse yesterday. There were people everywhere and there was almost no room in the aisles. You had to be stoked up on patience or you’d blow a fuse. So, this woman with her son. I had noticed her on a previous aisle because she was snapping at the boy over and over. He was probably nine or ten and couldn’t stop picking up the toys. Honestly, not surprising. They were in the matchbox car aisle and he just couldn’t help but look and touch. Now, it was obvious this woman was at her limit. She was completely ready to blow. Every two feet she’d snap at the boy “Put it down!” and he’d calmly set it down only to pick up something else a foot down the row. Five minutes after seeing her, crazy lady ends up behind the wife and I. Now, we’re completely stuck. There’s no where to go and nothing to do but calmly wait for things to start moving again. Well, CL decides we’re standing there doing nothing for our own amusement and barrels out into the aisle next to us in the “oncoming traffic” lane. She soon has to stop though as there’s a cart sitting there stuck waiting to get into another aisle. It takes all my self-control not to make a snide comment to the woman but I somehow manage to avoid the temptation.
  2. The other crazy lady was not as bad but was far more rude. She came barreling around a corner into our aisle. She went to our side as the side she should have gone to had people in it and nearly ran into us. She actually glared at us and then spouted “Sorry” and zoomed on. Later, in the checkout line, she came zooming by slammed her cart into ours, didn’t say a thing and practically attacked the cashier at the station she zoomed to. Very rude, and fat I might add, woman.

Again, overall it wasn’t a bad day. I didn’t have to yell at anyone or call anyone names or crash my car into anyone. I just had to calmly hold in my snide comments. Yes, things would have been more interesting if I hadn’t but when I don’t feel well and I start talking, things go downhill very quickly.

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