I gotta be honest: the retired life is wonderful! It’s interesting to see how my mood has changed. It’s not quite a winter to summer change, but there are definitely fewer clouds in my skies these days. I’ve found that some things that always got under my skin don’t have the same power to piss me off they once did.
I noticed that first with regard to fans situated behind announcers mugging the camera. It bugged me producers would set up such distracting circumstances, and it bugged me the damn fans were distracting me from the announcers. The other day I found myself grinning due to a young man aping for the camera from his seat behind the sportscasters.
But that doesn’t mean some things still don’t piss me off or bum me out!
Truth is, my anger and disappointment with the world goes way back. (It’s with people, actually; I think the world is a fine place to hang out.) These feelings go back at least as far as high school. One of my classmates there gave me the label, “Angry Young Man.”
The anger comes from the disappointment; I’ll write a lot about that in the days to come. The short version is simply this: Either I’m really exceptional or most of you aren’t trying very hard. I don’t feel at all exceptional (in fact, in many regards I feel inferior and lame). That leaves me feeling I live in a world where a lot of people aren’t trying very hard. The result, either way, seems to be a huge amount of misery in the lives of so many. That upsets me, because I don’t think it has to be this way.
My message to the world is simply this: Be Better! Be Smarter!!
A number of things have happened recently that have gotten under my skin. I hadn’t really planned a Rant post, but the Bad Brain Bubbles reached a quorum, held a meeting and decided to demand air time. I find it advisable to do what the voices in my head say, so here we go: Four items from my “Oh, World, You Disappoint Me (Again)” list.
First up: I got a letter from Amica Insurance telling me I may qualify for a reduction in my auto insurance. Apparently I’m in a special group of “1 in 25 drivers” selected for this offer. [Math: about 195 million licensed drivers, so I’m in a small group of about 7.8 million or so. Always do the math!!]
There is, of course, the usual weasel wordage—”may save” and “actual savings may vary” and other fine print. Prominently, across the top, in bold print, I’m begged to respond by “Augut 24, 2013”.
Down in the letter’s text, again I’m urged to call by “Augut 24, 2013”.
It’s pretty obvious what happened. This is a form letter where someone needed to type in a date before generating the mail blast. And on this tiny task, correctly entering just 15 characters, they screwed up and made a typo. (Their error-rate is over 6%, which is pretty atrocious. The notorious “Six Sigma” seeks an error-rate of about 0.00035% (3 or 4 defects per million).)
That’s pretty careless, but we all make typos. The real sin here is not checking and double-checking your work. The cost of not doing so is this public humiliation and that I would never buy insurance from such an incompetent company.Actually, there is another sin here. As a software designer, I deeply resent the choice they seem to have made that no one has a first name longer than eight characters. Or that if they do, they won’t mind seeing their name truncated in a letter.
Wrong on both counts, assholes! From a software design point of view, it’s inexcusable. Computers serve us, not vice-versa. There is no excuse. People do care about their names. In fact, a good piece of business (and personal) advice is: Always take the time to get people’s names right, especially in print. It shows you care.
On the topic of selling stuff, the day after my last day at work, I got an email from a college friend. We’d connected on Facebore after decades of no contact. For a while, we emailed a lot, got caught up, got into each others’ heads a bit… And then the conversation kind of dried up. That happens a lot when two people don’t really have all that much in common. In fact, we hadn’t emailed in a long time.
Anyway, her email has one sentence of congratulations about retirement followed by a paragraph trying to suck me into an MLM scheme. It even has the weasel wordage about how someone else (not her) makes $5,000 in commission and drives a BMW.
I said we don’t have much in common (any more). This email misses me on so many levels. Can’t stand MLM schemes; I think they’re evil. She assumes I’m as materialistic as she is (in my world, the BMW is pretty much as asshole’s car… same with Rolex watches and all that other evil shit). I’m not looking for more work or more money. And the MLM is about a weight loss thing, and those are usually bullshit, too.
Given that my emotional response was, “Hey, go fuck yourself!” I thought my return email was extremely level-headed and strictly about my own view. (I learned a long time ago to avoid the word “you” in conflict discussions. It’s rarely a good idea to ascribe feelings or opinions or character to someone else unless you’re really, really sure of your ground. And prepared for the fallout.) I did point out that I was a bit offended at being considered a marketing opportunity by an old friend.
Her reply… well, let’s just say we won’t be communicating anymore, I think. Talk about escalating a situation! My, oh my.
During the MLB All-Star Game, many of the fans booed when players they perceived as rivals were introduced. I thought that was a sad display at the time—this is an exhibition game, a romp, a party, and there is no cause for booing.
East coast fans are known for booing; it’s part of the game for them. That’s fine. It’s well-known that people on the east coast are assholes. (I was born in NYC, which is why I’m an asshole!)
Kidding aside, it did seem to me that booing at the ASG was inappropriate. But whatever. I forgot about it until it popped up as a topic on MLB Now (which I’ve mentioned before) and then again on MLB’s Intentional Talk (with Chris Rose and Kevin Millar).
“Ah, ha!” I thought. “Now this topic will get some air time and everyone will agree how wrong it was to boo!”
Except both analysts on MLB Now were fine with it. “Part of the game,” they said. Then, on Intentional Talk, regular host Chris Rose was fine with it, but guest host Mitch Williams wasn’t. Gee, I’m one for four!
Here’s the real irony: The reason it was a topic is that comedian (and huge Mets fan) Jerry Seinfeld tweeted about how mortified he was at the booing. That kicked off a lot of counter-reaction, and the whole thing rose to the level of discussion topic.
So Jerry Seinfeld and I saw eye-to-eye.
The irony is that I’ve never been much a fan of his comedy. I respect the hell out of his comic ability and knowledge. He sat down with Bob Costas to analyze the comedy behind the great Abbott and Costello Who’s on First routine, and that was delightful!
But I just don’t care for his mode of comedy. So much of it is based on the dumb things we do or the things we don’t understand. The problem is, I know the science behind those things, so the comedy falls flat for me. Still, he loves baseball and he is a great comic.
Last up: I finally saw the movie, Ted, the other day. I’d been looking forward to it. I like both the actors (Wahlberg and Kunis), and the idea seemed pretty funny. I was certainly attached to my teddy bear as a kid (I still have it somewhere). I really wanted to like this movie!
I managed to get through about an hour before I had to turn it off. Another damn stupid movie for stupid people. An infantile, unwatchable, pointless piece of shit. I think it’s official: I can’t stand Seth MacFarlane‘s work. In the future, I’ll know to simply avoid anything with his name on it.
It’s extremely uncommon for me to turn off a movie before the end. I try to give a movie every chance to redeem itself (and some have late in the game). But after one hour of infantile bullshit, I had more than enough. It says something that I don’t care at all how the movie turned out.
[blurp, blurp, blurp!]