He Just Couldn’t Handle The Truth

Work has always been a bit of a tedious task for me, having spent halve of my adult life traveling and doing exactly what I wanted, swimming or surfing all day if I felt like it, reading in hammocks, trekking through jungles, climbing mountains or volcanoes or just sitting around chatting with friends and partying all night, I have countless things I like to do, and none of them involve work. However I was not born wealthy, nor am I wealthy now, eventually my money always runs out and I need to get back to work again, to save for my next long vacation.

I was a car salesman for three years once, after my many years in retail, and the knowledge that the bigger the product the bigger the commission, I decided to try my hand at the top of the retail game, I sold some entry level cars, but also things like Lexus, Mercedes, BMW Audis, Infinity, Cadillacs and most of the other top brand names. The money was good, but there was a lot of competition, stealing, conspiring and injustice involved in the job,  many people were always trying to take a share of your commissions for themselves. Bullying on car lots is common, and there are an abnormal amount of fist fights.

One night after being particularly sick of my job, I watched an episode of the Simpson’s where Homer having finally paid off the mortgage, decided to get his dream job at the local bowling alley.  Since I had almost paid off my mortgage at this point, and was so tired of swimming around the shark tank I called work. I decided to take Homers lead and got a job working as IT support on contract for big business. Though the pay was about a quarter of what I was used to, there was virtually no competition, lying, greed, or backstabbing going on. It was almost shocking to step so far out of the sleaze I was used to, and helped refresh my faltering faith in humanity.

Office Space Poster

I Worked In A Place They Made A Comedy About

The job was a very interesting one to me, the building I was working in employed about 3000 people, but the company employed many more doing the exact same thing we were doing, in many other places around the globe. In order to manage so many people, we were all given numbers, mine was 512650, we had to identify ourselves by this number on all documents we created, as well as all phone calls and other interactions in the office, we very much became a number and not a person, this was Dilbert meets the Borg. I am not allowed to give exact details on the company due to papers I signed when I started work there, but the movie Office Space was actually filmed in one of its locations, and was based on the work there.

What I liked most about the job besides the many decent people I worked with, was that only halve of the time did we actually need to be working, after each phone call there was a break before the next one, and most long termers had figured out how to stretch that break as long as possible, most of my time was actually spent surfing the Internet, and chatting with the people around me, it was very social and very fun. Though the job paid very little, I was happy.

The company had a very high turn over, and there were always new recruits coming in, this story is about my interactions with one new recruit named Devin who was sat in the cubicle directly in front of me. Devin was fresh out of high school, he was a local to the town, and I don’t think had yet worked a day in his life. He sat down, put his headset on, and began taking calls.

The beginning of the job is very difficult, often our clients were groups such as Pixar, General Motors, NASA, or some other huge corporation, and sometimes the people you are talking to are not some clerk at their help desk, but some big wig himself, who’s very nature is commanding. I had gotten used to these types of clients already, I had sold people like this their luxury cars, and had learned to just speak frankly to them, not to argue, and keep control by answering all their demands as slowly as I liked.  When working on the phone, really rude customers could just be given a  little “time out”,  as we put them on hold and goof off for a few minutes until we felt like talking to them again, saying we were doing “research”

Anyhow here is Devin, this recent high school graduate, thrown into the harsh reality of work, trying to help people solve all sorts of complicated computer problems he never knew existed, and talking to loud mouth commanding big wigs from all over the world.

Devin did not adjust well to the job, he was often frustrated, slamming his headphone down on the desk and shouting at it, taking long walks to the washroom, missing some days of work, and then after a while coming to work stoned on weed, eventually he added drinking booze at lunch time in his car. I had always tried to be a bit of a mentor to him telling him why I was in the job, how it was really not that bad, and should count himself lucky that the customers are only on the phone, where you can put them on hold and not in his face.

Devin was sure I didn’t really understand, he told me strait out, “You just don’t get it.”

I was between calls, so I said, “Yeah man I get it. I have just learned to live as a corporate slave is all. I mean here we are, our government has spent fifteen years educating us, and this is what we have become, we are forced to sit in our cubicles eight hours a day, answering telephones on a flashing light and a bing, kind of like how they teach chickens to play the piano. The people on the phone get pissed off at us because they are too stupid to learn how to use their computers themselves, and cant follow our simple directions, and we are forced to take their crap because we have four layers of bosses and quality control watching our every move, with cameras on the ceiling, and listeners on our phone calls. It is a bit like a jail, we even have our numbers on our chest ” (I pointed to the ID tag we were forced to wear) ” But its worse than that, not only are we stuck in our cubicle, but we are tethered to our phone by these stupid headsets , kind of like a dog on the leash, they pay us crap, and give us hell.”

He said “Yeah that’s it !”

I was having fun by now, and had worked myself up a bit, I still loved my job, but was enjoying my rant against the corporate world, I could also see he was worked up and wide eyed about my speech, and I just couldn’t stop myself from winding him up further.

“I mean we are not really criminals or animals are we? We’re better than this? Right? This isn’t what our nation trained us to do is it? We are supposed to invent rocket ships and fly to mars, not sit here like a bunch of stupid poorly treated animals right? This place reminds me of a bunch of chickens on a farm all sitting in their little boxes and forced to lay eggs.”

He reacted in a way I did not expect, maybe it was the double chicken analogy that put him over the top, I am not sure. I thought he would just join my rant for a bit and get back to work, but something kind of snapped in him.

He said, halve to himself “No I’m not an animal, I’m better than this.” then he slammed his headphones on the desk and shouted to the other thousand or so people in earshot “I AM NOT AN ANIMAL! I WILL NOT LIVE IN THIS CAGE, AND WEAR THIS LEASH ! ”

He then proceeded to grab his stuff, and began walking down the cubicle alleys, speaking to no one, but giving the finger to all the managers and supervisors that tried to ask him where he was going,  he walked through security, then finally marched right out the door.

I never saw Devin again, I hope he is doing well, either that he has submitted to his corporate masters or found his way on his own, but one thing was sure, at that moment, in that place, he just couldn’t handle the truth.

And now a video about a piano playing chicken.

 

And They Just Keep on Marching

Nobody likes bad people. Society for many thousands of years has tried to use religion to teach us our morals, the right from the wrong, and yet they still exist.

The dislike of nasty people is not confined to just the religious societies though, even in non religious societies evil doers are shunned and punished. Modern society has laws to punish the mean hearted among us. After all, if you let a bad guy run around stealing and hurting people, and you don’t lock them up, it could be you, or someone you care about next.

None of us is a true saint, but the best of us try to keep our bad side in check.

After doing the wrong thing, most people will stop in their tracks, realize what they have done, and turn to apologize or try and lessen their crimes. The worst of society however will commit a vile deed, and are happy about the outcome. They don’t consider or care about the hurt they have caused. They don’t stop to think about the damage they have done, there is no guilt to cause them pause. They hide from the truth and think of defenses if they get caught. Often they will get away with it and be free to march towards their next victim.

To all the uncaring jerks that avoided punishment and were able to march away after screwing others over, fleeing from the truth of their wrongful deeds like the chickens that they are, here is my salute to you:

Just Keep Marching Foul Fowls, One Day You Will Stop In Your Tracks.

Lucky Banana Shirt

Lucky Banana Shirt

Lucky Banana Shirt - Click Image $19.99USD

Wow, look at that Banana!

Man that’s not cool.

What’s so special about that banana anyhow? How does he get two pretty girls attracted to him like that? Does he drive a fancy hummer or something? Why would the two ladies share that one banana, when there are so many other bananas in the world? What makes him so special? How come he has two girls and I don’t even have one, that’s not fair, and its not right either.

I hate looking at that, it makes me so jealous,

Stupid banana, I hate you, you suck.

You know what Mr. Banana, I was just thinking I would go make myself a banana split, or a nice banana milkshake, or a banana cream pie, huh what do you think about that Mr. Banana ?

Stupid Lucky Banana. You are so not cool.

It’s None Of Your Business What Other People Think Of You

Almost two decades ago, while I was traveling around Vietnam,   I came across this phrase in a book I was reading,  “It’s none of your business what anybody thinks of you”. After contemplating the phrase for quite some time, I ended up adopted it into my life, and through it I have made quite a few very positive changes. On occasion I have advised others of its wisdom, and  usually have been met with arguments rather than acceptance. I am told with great certainty that I must care about what others think of me, but how can I explain to the majority that this is untrue? This is just the way most people think, but definitely not the best way to live your life.

Now don’t go and read this wrong or something and think that I don’t care about others, this is not true at all, I care deeply about many people,  and even mankind in general, I just don’t care what their opinions of me are.  In the immortal words of Popeye, “I am what I am”

Popeye, He Is What He Is

He Is What He Is, And That’s All That He Is

When I was younger I was always looking to others for the definition of cool, I wanted to wear the same types of jeans, shoes, and sunglasses as them, I only wore the clothing with the “cool” brand names, used to get my hair cut by the  same people who cut all the other cool kids hair, exaggerated a story now and then, smoked a couple of cigarettes, and even used to do incredibly stupid things such as carry my brand name backpack only on my right shoulder and not two shoulders every day, just because that was the “cool” way to do it.

The most damaging part of this “quest for cool” comes when we turn into adults however, and start using credit cards. So many people seem to go into debt these days, just to try and seem like a winner, many of these people buy nothing but overpriced clothing, the latest phones, and often buy a very expensive car or house they can not afford. Some people end up going so deep into debt, that they become stressed out wrecks, which is felt by all those around them, they often become bitter individuals people try and avoid. In fact, they eventualy become the very definition of “not cool”.

Some people try to use lies to try and impress others, the history they give you is a sham, they are nothing but regular people pretending to be better than they are, and striving to appear better than you. The fiction these competitors of life tell the world, if they are believed, raises the apparent bar of success for everyone around them, assuming those people also subscribe to the belief that they need to impress others.

Some of the real jerks will try and pull other people a step or two down on their imagined competitive ladder, to place themselves on top, where they feel they need to be. In their minds they are the winner, but no so much in the minds of those around, who usually choose not to speak up, afraid they themselves might end up on the verbal chopping block.

The most insecure of all may use all of these methods to try and “Win”.

I know this may be surprising to some, but how cool you are is actually about how relaxed and in control you are of the various situations in your life, not the logo on your shirt, or the lies you weave.

The easiest way to be cool is just to save your money, don’t tell stories you think people want to hear, don’t be bad to others, and express your opinions. Even if your opinions are not popular ones, people tend to prefer being with interesting people that have actual beliefs rather the common, stressed out walking billboard type of competitive “Yes Men” that are trying so hard to fit in.

Bling Boys

We Cool, Cuz We Got The Logos and the Bling

I do agree there actually are some pretty good reasons to occasionally care about what some others think about you, for instance, forgetting your manners might cause some people to try and punch you in the nose. Also its very hard to get a promotion at work, or a new life partner if you are not willing to put on a nice outfit and comb your hair, but most of the time, why would  you care about what others think?

Some people even care about the opinions of strangers, you must admit its a little nuts to care about people who don’t even know your name, right? I mean you probably will never see them again anyhow, so what is the point in impressing them?

Although your true friends will always be your friends regardless of your apparent stature, you should not become too strange, your friends will likely still care what others think, and if you start wearing shirts made from newspapers, and pants made from garbage bags, they might be a bit shy to be seen with you in public. This is not an idea to take to the extreme, but thinking this way to a large degree can be very beneficial to your life.

It’s None Of Your Business What Other People Think Of You

Ladies First

I was out getting some products for the website the other day, and at one point was standing for quite a while waiting for a busy elevator to take me down a few floors. Ahead of me, among a dozen or so other hopeful waiters, were two Arabian looking  gentlemen speaking quietly to each other in their traditional white robes with the traditional white cotton sheet and band on their heads.

After a while a lady came up from behind us, and proceeded to push in front of the fifteen or so other people waiting for the elevator, all the way to the front of the line. After she got right up to the door, she turned back towards the two Arab gentlemen and said “Ladies first”.

WTF Ladies first? What about all the other women waiting before her? Are they not considered ladies or something? Beyond the fact she was not the only lady there, why should she go before the polite guys that were waiting in line, such as myself? Is she really that special? And then to top it off she speaks rudely to the  two Arabs, WTF is that about, did she think that all Arabs repress their women, so she had to  teach the two quiet guys a lesson in manners or something ?

How can someone so rude, ignorant, sexist, and obviously racist teach manners to anyone?

The elevator came, and we all fit in, so the budging did not seem to help her in any way.

As we were standing in the elevator, this “lady” then proceeded to flash a friendly smile at me, we were two white skinned people in Asia after all, and that would normally make us comrades, she was a nice looking blond, in her early 20’s, but I  turned my head away and did not give her a smile back, a person that acts so rude while pretending to teach people manners, is not someone I need to get to know any further.

Speaking of rude ladies that think they should go first, check out this video of a lady at a turnstile that pushes a man out of the way, and gets taught a lesson from the guy she pushed.

The guy is not my hero. I don’t like him any more than the rude lady. Just goes to show though what happens when two uncaring rude jerks run into one another.

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