My Insensitivity

insensitive

I can’t be the only one who suffers from this.

How many times have you been in a conversation with someone and you’re totally fixated on a huge mole, or a piece of food in their teeth or a big zit that looks like a school volcano project?

There’s no way you can concentrate on what they’re talking about.  They’re going on and on about their vacation in the Mediterranean, and all that’s running through your head is ‘That thing’s gonna blow!‘…

I’m gonna assume you’re all yelling, ‘Yes!  I do that all the time’.  At least, I hope you are – that way I won’t feel like the only oaf in the world.

It’s one thing to giggle like school children when someone has toilet paper stuck to their shoe at a swanky event, but what if it’s not toilet paper, but something a little more….permanent?

You’ll probably still stare and be transfixed, but it’s a lot different than a zit or food in their teeth when it’s something they have no control over.  You try your hardest not to look, and act all casual and cool, but deep down, it’s all you can think about.

“OMG – does that guy really have no ears?”  I need to look, but I don’t want to get caught looking.

Case in point:  I was waiting (appropriately enough) in a waiting room recently.  It was very narrow, with two rows of chairs facing each other.  Only enough room between them for one person to walk through.

I sat down across from a lady who was deeply focused on whatever was happening on her cell phone.  She was wearing sandals and had her legs crossed so that one foot jutted out into the narrow walkway.  No problem – although with me doing the same directly across from her, the magical and invisible ‘personal space’ zone was seriously violated.

That’s when I saw it.  Open-toed, strappy sandals, horrible yellow, chipped and cracked nails…and 9 toes.  9 little piggies staring at me without nail polish or any reasonable pedicurial effort. 9 of them….no big toe on one foot.

Maybe she had a terrible lawn mower accident, or lost it in a bet or something; I don’t know, but all my self-control and strength could not keep me from looking down at her foot regularly.  I tried my best to focus on the artwork behind her, but the draw was too strong. This 4 digit foot was my Kryptonite.

Trying to focus on the artwork behind her was like staring at the sun too long.  My pupils burned, my hands shook and a bead of sweat appeared on my forehead.  No painting is that interesting.

Like a reflex action, my eyes would dart down and I prayed I wouldn’t get caught staring at this small but distinctive abnormality.

Then I got to thinking;   Why would she wear an open-toed shoe and dangle it right in front of me unless she was either proud of it, was was trying to evoke some sort of reaction? Why should I be the one to be all ‘avert your eyes’ and embarrassed?  Is she deliberately taunting me?

I wished I was a little kid – they can get away with anything; “Hey lady, what happened to your toe?  Does it hurt?  Can I touch it?”.  No fear, no inhibitions, just pure innocent curiosity.

I remember knowing a guy who was born with only one arm.  It didn’t stop him from doing anything. One day though, at a local store, a little girl looked up at him and asked point blank; ‘Where is your arm?‘.  I think he told her it was at home doing the dishes.  ‘Oh‘ was all she replied and went along with what she was doing.

You and I would never get away with that!  I think I might even get blackballed for sharing this personal limitation, but it’s what we all think – right?

I’m no worse than the next guy.  I can sympathize with those who aren’t made the same way I am, or have had some tragedy befall them so that their look is altered in some way.

It doesn’t mean they are any different inside, does it?  I can embrace the person and see beyond that nasty, yellow, crooked 4-toed foot.

Okay, maybe I still have a bit of work to do…

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The cruelest “ism” of all

They roll their sarcastic little eyes while they try to explain to you for the 10th time what ‘tweeting’ is.  That look is deliberately designed to make you feel stupid.  And the kids are very good at it.   Don’t you just want to smack them?

I get this treatment a lot lately – not so much from my kids, although I did get some attitude last week during a family card game.  Good thing too, since I didn’t have a topic to blog about this week…Thanks ‘C’.

It seems that the most unchecked ‘ism’ out there is ageism.  That’s right – being treated unfairly, rudely, rejected, or outright ignored because of ones age.

The big problem here is that the age stereotype just gets worse with each passing day.  Let’s face it; you’re not going to get any more black, short, sexed (well, maybe a little), ethnic, or whatever, but you are definitely going to get older.

One friend always points out that getting older is better than the alternative…funny guy!  I want to smack him too.

I have a particular issue with other people who are already at this age, or are close enough that they should know better.  I thought we were supposed to support each other.

And we should stick together, right?  We should run out and get a great car insurance discount then brag about to a bunch of 20 somethings.

I was at an interview recently, and as it was winding down, I asked the gentleman across from me if there was anything in my application that was a problem for him.  He said the only potential issue was that I was ‘over qualified’.  Over qualified?  I thought being more qualified for a job was a good thing, but we all know what that really means, don’t we? It means we’re too old and can’t learn new things.  That we’re hard-coded to an old way of doing things and are too inflexible to learn a new job.

The kicker is, this guy was roughly my age. Way to stick up for your fellow discriminatee, dude!

That’s something else that is a complete ‘no-no’ for our generation.  We’re not allowed to say certain things, are we?

‘Yo! What up!’ is completely unacceptable when addressing your neighbour while putting out the garbage in your housecoat and slippers.

You can never say ‘That’s badass’ when describing a friends new golf club or riding lawn mower.

If someone is planning a long road trip to the coast with their kids and dog, you’re not allowed to say ‘That’s Cray Cray’.

You’ll never see anyone ‘Twerking’ at a curling club dance.  Okay, that one is probably a good thing…no one wants to see that.  Besides, there might be hip injuries.

But we should be free to do it if we like, right?  No discrimination.

I tried to do a ‘selfie’ but it just came out creepy…and I don’t know who I’d send it to anyway, but I should be allowed as long as all those teens are doing it, right?

Maybe that’s the key to this whole ‘ism’ problem.  We need to normalize behavior that might not fit our social norms.  Not because we really want to share photos of our lunch on Facebook, or ‘hashtag’ the Air Supply concert we’re at, but because we deserve the right to do those things that suppress us.

I could be the Rosa Parks of middle-aged men!  Who’s with me???

Oh wait – there’s a patio furniture sale on at Lee Valley this week.  Maybe we can fight for injustice next weekend…

 

 

 

 

 

The office clown

I don’t know why there isn’t more fun in the workplace.

Not smiling, suppressing laughs, and being all business around the cubicles seems to be the rule these days.  No wonder no one seems to like going to work.

It’s not like enjoying yourself at work is a productivity drain or anything.  Heck, I’ll bet that if folks had more fun at work, they might even put in longer hours.  Instead, they stand at the old time clock with their coats on, waiting for the minute hand to hit 12.

I was talking to a friend about having more fun at work, and I jokingly (sort of) suggested that they wear a clown outfit to work next week.

Think of the positive distraction that would be for the dismal, grey office environment, when your coworker shows up in a wild coloured costume, red nose, curly yellow hair, and those huge red shoes.

Unfortunately, not many of us are brave enough to try to pull off a stunt like that, but I’m not so sure it would be job-ending.

With all the political correctness and employee engagement ‘group hug’ police we call Human Resources, I’ll bet you’d actually get away with it altogether.

In fact, the longer you lounge around the office in the clown outfit, the more legitimate it becomes.  Maybe, it would even fall under one of those sacred cow categories, like a ‘lifestyle choice’ or ‘religion’.

I can just imagine the conversation your boss might be having with HR…

“Hello, Bob.  My, your shirt and tie look appropriate for the workplace, by which I am in no way implying any type of inappropriate or sexual comment on your wardrobe”

“Gee, thanks, Lisa…I think.  I’ve come to complain about Becky, who now insists I refer to her as Binky”.

“What seems to be the problem with ‘Binky’, Bob?  She shows up for work on time every day, which, considering those huge shoes she wears, is quite an accomplishment, and she has had top-notch performance reviews.  She even signs them with a big orange smiley-face stamp.  It’s very unique”.

“That’s just the problem, Lisa.  I can’t have a clown in my department – all the other supervisors are laughing at me!”

“Now Bob, we here at Catatonic Distributing don’t take kindly to discriminatory comments about those who are different than us. I have to write up an intolerance conduct report on you”.

“What?”

“We take these things very seriously here, Bob.  Everyone, regardless of race, age, creed, sexual orientation, or circus attire choice is to be treated as an equal here”.

“But she answers all incoming calls by honking one of those old bike horns.  It’s very frustrating to our customers and the coworkers.”

“You see Bob?  That’s exactly your problem.  Instead of focusing on the special uniqueness of Binky, you lash out at her differences”.  “We can’t have that here”.

“But she drives around in that little clown car all day, knocking into people”.  “She even demanded a ‘clown stall’ in the ladies room.  It’s outrageous!”

“She did?”

“Yes!  Thank goodness you finally see my point.”

“No, Bob.  I don’t see your point.”  “If Binky requires a special place to relieve herself, it’s up to us to act immediately and provide it for her”.

“Your kidding, right?”

“Do I look like I’m kidding, Bob?”

“I can’t tell.  You never smile, frown, or anything.  It’s like talking to Keanu Reeves, to be perfectly honest.”

“Well, I’m not kidding.  You need to make immediate arrangements for Binky to have equal accessibility with her little car, as you would for any other person with ‘different’ abilities.”

“How am I supposed to do that?”

“You’ll have to figure that out.  Until then, I have no choice but to send Binky home with full pay until we have accommodated her needs.  It’s a serious liability issue for us, Bob.”

“But the door to the staff washroom isn’t wide enough since she sits sideways in the little car.  Her huge shoes stick out and can’t fit through the door”.

“What about your office door, Bob?”

“What about my office door?”

“It’s much wider than the washroom door”.

“But it’s my office, not a washroom.”

“Get building maintenance to retrofit your minibar area to a private washroom stall.”

“But, its MY office.  What am I supposed to do?”

“I guess you can sit in Binky’s old cubicle.  With any luck, we won’t be sued by the ‘CLWS’.”

“What is ‘CLWS’, Lisa?”

“Clowns Living Without Shame.  They’re a radical group I just heard about from Binky.  Very powerful.”

“Are you sure she’s not just making all this up?”

“You see, Bob.  It doesn’t matter if I believe it or not. As long as Binky says it exists, we have no choice but to accommodate for it.”

“That’s ridiculous. She can just make up some crazy idea, wear a clown costume around the place, and I have to give her my office?”

“And we have to get her a helium tank so she can make religious balloon animal symbols.”

“Of course we do.”  “Is there anything else I need to do for Becky…I mean Binky?”

“Not yet, but she did put in a purchase request for a case of cream pies.”

……yup, I think you’d be safe.

The Deliberate Blog

I’m starting to see a pattern with my blogs.  At least, I see a pattern of viewer feedback, or lack thereof, depending on my topics.  (ROB FORD)

I want to try something a bit different this time, and cover a bunch of topics that I’ve had collecting dust on my thought shelf.  (GUN CONTROL)

You see, I think that some subjects resonate more than others, so even when you think you’ve got a totally awesome blog written, you sometimes come up empty on ‘likes’, comments, and site hits.  (STEROIDS)

This blog will contain very subtle subliminal messages, that you won’t see, but that will trigger a subconscious reaction you will want to act upon.  This has been tried with laboratory rats, but unfortunately they can’t read, so the results were inconclusive.  The good news is only 3 of the 5 rats died – something about a gas leak in the lab.  (DISCRIMINATION)

With that little nugget of information, you can understand why I’m writing a blog that covers a myriad of topics.  I need feedback! (MILEY CYRUS)

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I was watching one of those home video shows, where people submit things like Grandpa blowing out the candles on his birthday cake, and instead, launching his dentures into the now ruined dessert.  There was a brief video of a little kid in a karate Gi, kicking his father where a father shouldn’t be kicked.  (UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE)

That happened to me.  My daughter was about 4 (probably older, but the memory is the first to……..what was I saying?), and we had her in karate lessons.  The Gi was so big on her, that my wife had to hem the pants completely in half just to make them short enough.  She was adorable!  (SYRIA)

We were in the kitchen, and I was helping her to practice breaking out of a hold.  She was to use her wrist to hit mine, getting me to let go of her, then she was to kick me ‘in the nuggets’ to try to knock me down, then run away.  Of course, we were doing this all in pretend, and in slow motion so she could remember what to do.  (ASSISTED SUICIDE)

We were both laughing while she gingerly moved her hand down to break my grip.  I let go of her, then asked her what came next.  She said ‘Oh yeah’, then like some miniature ninja, sprung up, and swung her little foot as high and as hard as she could, connecting with the ‘nuggets’ perfectly. (CHINA)

I hit the ground like a bag of hammers, the wind knocked out of my lungs.  As I hit the floor, she then completed the move by kicking me once more then running away.  Once I came to, I couldn’t decide if I was more proud or in pain.  All I could do was squeak out ‘go get your mother’.  (CRACK COCAINE)

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I read an article once, where a business leader was tasked with opening a new office.  After looking at some best practices, consulting with other professionals, and digging into what new employees want, he came to the conclusion that he wouldn’t open any office at all.  (CREATIONISM)

Instead, he set up the new business completely as a ‘tele-commute’ operation.  Every employee would work from their own homes, and connect through the cloud to conduct their business or hold meetings.  (WORLD HUNGER)

I’m starting to wonder if some schools and other institutions should try to follow the same model.  I live in an area of rapid growth.  The elementary school, which is less than 10 years old, has had to split it’s higher grade students into the local high school because of overcrowding.  Bad planning?  Maybe.  The trouble is, we invest in these static, very expensive structures that can’t mold with the changing demographics.  In other areas of the same school board, classrooms sit empty because the school-aged population has moved away.  (DISTRACTED DRIVING)

We need to take a different approach to urban/suburban development so that we can grow and shrink with the needs of the community.  Perhaps this business leader can be the genesis of a completely new way of blueprinting community development.  (CLIMATE CHANGE)

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Last weekend, our son was home from university to visit my father.  We took him and his girlfriend back right around supper time (how convenient!).  We decided to hit a restaurant near the school.  When we got there, the hostess said we could choose to sit in the restaurant side or the lounge side, where all those giant flat screen TV’s are blasting sporting events. (GAMBLING)

Just as the overly friendly hostess grabbed a stack of menus, a small herd of screaming kids trampled past us at 150 decibels in the restaurant side.  The lounge won.  I can learn to like cricket!  (OBESITY)

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There must be a universal force that overrides peoples brains when they park.  In our neighbourhood, the streets are the perfect size for cars to pass each other, going in opposite directions.  That’s what they were built for.  Sometimes cars will park on the street, making it a bit of a tight squeeze when cars pass at the same time.  (CULTS)

Here’s what I don’t understand.  When there is a car parked on one side of these narrow streets, what cosmic force tells another driver to park EXACTLY across from them on the other side of the street?  It happens all the time, and virtually grinds local traffic to a standstill.  (ABORTION)

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I hope you enjoyed my little ‘kitchen sink’ blog of random topics, and I want to thank you for participating in my subliminal messaging experiment on the responses to blogs.  (GAY MARRIAGE)

As an FYI, I have now found work, so this may be my last blog since I’ll be so busy.  Hope you had as much fun reading them as I’ve had writing them.   (BACON)