Tag Archives: me

Enter The Plankton


If I’m lucky!

Spoiler alert: I’m not exactly the world’s greatest conversationalist.

For the curious, the opening line above is an example of my patented Start-By-Telling-Them-How-You-Suck approach to writing. You can buy a pamphlet describing the technique – and much, much more – for only three easy payments of $19.99. -Ed.

As the holidays cascade down upon us like a perfect storm, I’m already anticipating how I’ll surf that wave and/or navigate the complex maze-like quagmire of quicksand in quixotic fashion.

The holidays means lots of group settings of social interactions. Historically I do not fare well in these and opt instead to spend my time studying in minute detail the nearest potted plant. I’m bringing my magnifying glass just in case.

Since I remain ever hopeful, however, I’ve been role-playing various stratagems in my mind that might increase my odds of getting the occasional word in edgewise. Or I could give up in advance and just play the lotto.

A normal conversation consists of the following:

Person A: Me.

Person B: No, me!

Person C: Bloody hell to both of you. Me, me, me!

Person D: Did I ever tell you about me?

Person E: Did you say something?

Person F: … Apple’s tri-tone sound …

Person A: Ahem. You weren’t listening. I say again …

Every once in a while as the conversation morphs dynamically through these shifting realities, I may actually have something interesting to add. I hate it when that happens.

Person A: Yeah, there are a lot of elephants in Thailand

…. 20 minutes and 420 topics later I finally awkwardly interrupt and take my dream shot …

Me: An elephant sat on my head once.

Everyone: What the fuck are you talking about?!

Yeah. About that potted plant.I’ve heard that one thing that helps make you seem interesting is to ask questions about the other person. Especially if you can appear thoughtful and fake sincerity in the process. If successful, your only job is to tlean back, stay silent, let their mouth do all of the work, and celebrate a job well done.

I’m looking forward to trying this out. To that end I have prepared some questions in advance.

My only worry is that the conversation will run through a googolplex of permutations before I get my first chance to speak. That would be bad and could go down like this:

Person A: So, can you tell us what’s new with your son?

Me: Eeeeiiiiii!

swift kick to the nards …

Me: I was gonna ask that question!!

Person B: Someone dial up the whambulance!

Lastly, sometimes the floor is occasionally dished my way. If and when that happens I should be ready. Usually this is a provactive attempt to surprise me so much as to induce heart attack. Assuming I survive long enough, I usually succumb to the intense pressure. The stress of filling that space is simply too high. I usually stammer out something like, “Goo goo gah gah.” Then everyone shrugs, wonders why the hell they bothered to give me a chance, and resumes talking about the fractal shapes of their bunions.

Also, something about the spirit of the season and it’s better give than receive but I can’t remember any of that crap right now. I’ve been much too busy with the pre-conversation planning.

I just hope I’m not over-thinking it. Perhaps I should limit my dreams to the Ribbon of Participation.

My Top Tweets of 2013

I found an aggregator that compiled my “best” tweets of 2013 as calculated based on quantity of interactions. Quantity, not quality. Yes, these are the crème de la crème, the coup de disgrâce if you will. If you boiled my tweets from 2013 this batch represents the skim, that thin layer on top that would have normally been scooped out.

It’s somewhat interesting that all of my top tweets top place in October, November and December. That’s obviously because I was pacing myself. Yeah, right. I’ve been doing twitter for about 3.96 years and only last October did anyone notice. That’s just perfect.

Here there are, the top 10 least sucky tweets as determined by a computer.

  1. Dec 8 – Why do you hate me? And use your big words this time.
  2. Nov 14 – I know, for security reasons, I shouldn’t reveal my destination ahead of time, but what the hell! I’m going to the movies.
  3. Oct 30 – Yeah, because if there is one thing the Walton heirs truly understand, it is personal achievement. @LibertyBelleJ
  4. Nov 26 – Birth control on your health plan doesn’t violate your religious views unless you use it.
  5. Oct 23 – We need to find some way to take the focus on winning out of politics. Win culture is ultimately destructive. @LibertyBelleJ
  6. Nov 24 – Tell your friends about me. That’s how this social media shit works, asshole.
  7. Nov 28 – Let us also ban coverage for circumcisions and injuries resulting from beatings, fasting and faith-based healing. @LibertyBelleJ #parenting
  8. Dec 19 – Too many websites are crashing and freezing @googlechrome for interminable periods of time. Going back to @firefox as my primary browser.
  9. Dec 19 – Perhaps there’s a benefit to making gun ownership for criminals as difficult as possible. @NeoConAtheist @Paula68154 @shemararae @Birdseye1
  10. Dec 11 – School officials are “taking a lot of heat” for canceling classes due to cold weather. That is so punny! #journalism

Ignited We Crammed

us-v-themIt came to light that a business had taken a hardline position on a hot potato political issue. The story went viral in the social media. Soon, something that had been around for a while, perhaps even years, was on the top of Google News and the blogosphere leapt into the fray and whipped things up to a nice frothy frenzy.

The reaction was fierce but equally split. About fifty percent of the response from vocal net denizens was to grab pitchforks and torches and take up cries of, “Boycott! Boycott!” The remaining half, however, rallied round, filling caldrons with hot burning lead and chanting, “Defense! Defense!” and holding impromptu bake sales to support their newfound friends.

Alas, it wasn’t merely a rousing and violent game of football.

Meanwhile, a lone solitary figure stood far to the side waving a flag that read, “United We Stand.”

Methinks it must be our manifest destiny to be as divided as second generation stem cells in a petri dish. Disgusting.
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Allow me to be your social valet

164 | EgoFraud. Deceitful intent. Narcissism. Caring way too much about what other people think. Either it’s time for another blog post from your favorite Guru or I have a business idea.

If you’re lucky maybe it’ll be a little bit of both.
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Hyppo and Critter: Unrequited Dangles

How me-oriented are we as communicators? Allow me to introduce my newest creation. I’m calling it the “unrequited dangle.”

I’ll start with a real life example. This actually happened. I shit you not.

Person A: Someone very close to me died yesterday.
Person B: Did you see my new shoes? What do you think?

One person is feeling vulnerable and shares a delicate thought. They dangle the bait hoping to catch a sincere moment of intimacy. I guess. I mean, why else say something like that?

The other person may actually care about the speaker. It’s unclear from this example. Let’s go out on a limb and assume that they do. (The alternative is that they are merely a pure selfish asshole and, although likely, isn’t particularly useful to the point at hand that I’m trying to make.) Assuming the person actually cares, what just happened?

Their “me bubble” was so powerful that the pain and hurt of the other person did not penetrate. It simply bounced off. This me-oriented communicator is literally unaware of the message that was sent in their direction. In strict technical terms, communication did not take place.

My daily life is replete with these moments of unrequited dangles. Granted, most of these happen with people who are flaming assholes, but some are sincere friends and the assumption is that they actually care. What then? These damaged communicators aren’t even aware of what they do.

My wife and her friend are both really good cooks. They recently put out a seven-course meal for some friends. It was an evening of small plates complete with wine pairings. The way she told the story to me it sounded like an episode of Top Chef. Each dish was brought out, described along with the wine pairing.

As people who know my wife learned of this, an unintended science experiment was the result. In three separate cases, my wife was approached and asked about the seven-course evening.

In one case, she was only able to describe one dish, the first, before that prompted the person asking to interrupt and launch into a grand telling of a story of her own. That person never thought, at any point, to ever return to what my wife had to say. Score: 1 out of 7.

The second experience was similar, except my wife was able to describe three courses before the same thing happened. Score: 3 out of 7.

Now, here’s the wacky part. The third experience was with a gerbil. This young person is a friend of our son’s and has frequently graced the pages of this blog. He asked about the dinner and … get this … he listened as my wife described them all. All! Mothafucka! Score: 7 out of 7.

This gerbil, who figured prominently in The Adventure of the Raspberry Bar (still unsolved!), who has lived at home since graduating high school, who has a medical marijuana card and is on food stamps and has never held down a job – he was the only one willing to allow another human being the courtesy of relating the whole story when asked. My wife’s so-called friends came up woefully short.

Final score: 10 out of 21. That’s a scientifically-computed listening rate of less than 50 percent. Conclusion: Humans are doomed.

We all think we’re the center of the universe – and we treat each other just like that. Truth be told, however, we’re not quite as important as we like to think. Not by a long shot.

It’s Raining Hens

Inquisitive hensAs an amateur doucheologist I study communication and interaction phenomena. My special area of research is conversation inhibitors like interrupting and the inability to listen. I have a special penchant for that sort of thing and I dare say I’m an expert at study of same. Throw in some basic human pushiness for good measure and you’ve got yourself a real humdinger trifecta!

The occasion? A baby shower for my wife’s boss. I’m going to call her Marjoram. She been “trying” for five years and this is her first so this is a pretty big deal, or so I’m told.

Somewhere it is written that a social function known as a “baby shower” must be held to commemorate the event. So let the games begin!
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Barriers to communication

In a previous post entitled Intellectual Intercourse Interruptions I introduced my discovery of the modern communication model.

Since then, I have discovered a few barriers to communication that I’d like to share with you now.

The first barrier is called Mutually Assured Distraction (MAD). In this model, two me-oriented persons are transmitting simultaneously. The messages hurl towards each other much like two freight trains on a single track. When they meet somewhere in the middle, the messages explosively cancel each other out, very effectively preventing any actual communication from taking place. Since the transmit sources are so fully locked in me-only-modes, neither party is aware that all communications have been blocked. This blockage is also known as Conversational Mushroom Cloud.

Some modern communications are so completely surrounded by this particular barrier that they go through life locked in transmit while remaining blissfully unaware that none of their messages have ever been received.

The second barrier turns out to be something inside each and every one of us. (Well, most of us.) It is our very own brain working against us being effective communicators! Cranium drainium is a condition suffered by an alarming number of modern communicators. In a process known as thin slicing, our brains peripherally receiving incoming messages. Involuntary functions within the brain perform a very limited analysis of these messages. Those that are identified as pertaining to ourselves are admitted to higher levels of consciousness. Those that don’t pass this test are vigorously attacked, much like antibodies defend us against biological intruders. Those with highly developed cranium drainium systems are able to go through life believing that everything is about them.

The third barrier I’d like to discuss is something I’ve dubbed recievius terminus. Those with this condition are, like the rest of us, very developed me-oriented communicators. They can expound about themselves nearly 24/7 and with an amazing level of excruciating detail. But even the best me-communicators need breaks. That’s where recievius terminus kicks in. Literally nanoseconds after their final me-transmission has ended, a recievius terminus expert will take dramatic action to prevent the possibility of communications from anyone else being received. The most common form of this is probably turning one’s back and aggressively walking away.

See how many of these barriers to communication you can identify as you engage in conversation in the coming days. I bet you’ll have a plethora of opportunities to witness these in action.

I would suggest that you return here to report your findings but alas, I won’t be listening.

Good luck!