Monthly Archives: December 2011
The people who know me casually see me as someone who would seem quite normal. I don’t throw off this weird vibe (at least I don’t think I do). I tend to blend in and mirror the crowd I’m with. When I’m with people who want to have the usual “hi, how ya doin’” kind of conversation, I can small talk with the best of them. When I’m with a group of friends ready to party, I can party with the best of them. I guess I’m saying that the conversation I’m having in my head can be filtered and used for good, not evil. Sometimes, the evil slips out. I’ve been told that I tend to say whatever is on my mind without filtering it. That’s true now, but that’s not always been the case. I don’t always say everything I’m thinking. That would make my cloak of invisibility fall off and you would see how much of a nut job I really am!
When I was a young boy, I was surrounded by a large, loud family. I’m talking 13 kids, two parents, four cats, one dog kind of large, loud family! My only hope to survive was to observe how the older siblings got into trouble and I tried to do the opposite. That worked out until I was the older brother in the house. I found new ways to get into trouble! I figured out that the less my dad heard, the better off we all were. You could haul off and smack your brother in the head, make him cry, and Dad would come in and yell at the kid crying! I experienced this phenomenon from both sides. It was bizarre being the one making someone cry and then sitting there while Dad yelled at them. He gave a cursory yell at the offender, but the loud one was the one who was really in trouble. So I learned that quiet is good and keeps you out of trouble.
The problem with this is, you really can become invisible in a group if all you do is observe without adding to the conversation. It took me a long time to become more vocal in group settings. Even so, I’m not the most talkative or loudest of the bunch. When I’m with a group of friends, there’s usually one person who dominates the conversation. They can be loud and boisterous and make people laugh at how silly they are. That will never be my style. I will sit there and pay attention and laugh when appropriate. There comes a time in every conversation like this where something pops into my head that may or may not be appropriate to share. When I do share, and it gets a laugh, I learn that sometimes the weird thoughts in my head can be appreciated by others. I’ll never tell a “guy walks into a bar” joke, or clown around in a crowd. There’s too much of the “quiet keeps you safe” in me to be that guy.
At home with Alana, it’s a different story. Here, I have an audience of one and she’s a great audience! She loves the silly! I can be a clown with her. Everything I do that makes her laugh has to be repeated so she can laugh again. After being with her for over a year, I could record a “best of” album of my greatest moments in silly! When the wedding planning began, and we had to go meet professional photographers, DJs, and the Rabbi, she saw my professional persona for the first time. This is the persona I try to maintain at work, though I’m not always successful with that. She was surprised at how “serious” I was in those meetings. I just explained that’s just how I am in those situations. I can’t be myself in every situation. So, she gets to see all the crazy that’s inside my head because she loves that shit.
The battle in my brain is ongoing. If you’ve been lucky enough (cursed enough) to be on the receiving end of a snarky comment on facebook, you’re welcome. You’ve experienced the unfiltered version of me. The other me, the quiet me sitting on the sidelines is having an unbelievable conversation with myself! I really need one of those cartoon thought bubbles hovering over my head. On second thought, that would be really dangerous to your well-being! It’s in your best interest that I not say everything I’m thinking. I’m not really being quiet to protect me, I’m being quiet to protect you!
Last month, I took a look at how much fun Thanksgiving is. Now, Christmas is upon us. I’m writing this on the first night of Hanukkah, I work for a Jewish man, I’m engaged to a Jewish woman, and no one said Happy Hanukkah today! I guess that means Christmas rules in America! I’m not going to complain about how everyone is being forced to say “Happy Holidays,” I’ll just assume they’re trying to be inclusive and trying to find the least offensive way to say “Merry Christmas.” Or it could be that the person wishing you Happy Holidays could be an atheist or practice something other than the Christian religion. No one has the guts to ask!
One quick look at Religious Tolerance.com and you’ll see the Christianity majority in America is actually a minority around the globe. This made me curious, so I went to SelectSmart.com and took the quiz to help me see which religion matches my belief system. The results were interesting to say the least. The percentage next to each religion below is the percentage that my answers match the religion. I’ll show only my top 10:
1. Unitarian Universalism (100%)
2. Mainline – Liberal Christian Protestants (89%)
3. Reform Judaism (89%)
4. Liberal Quakers – Religious Society of Friends (88%)
5. Theravada Buddhism (86%)
6. Mahayana Buddhism (84%)
7. New Thought (80%)
8. New Age (79%)
9. Secular Humanism (77%)
10. Taoism (77%)
There really is a very small difference between the ideology of a Unitarian Universalist and a Protestant; between a Quaker and a Buddhist; or between a Buddhist and a Taoist. There is almost no difference in my answers between the ideology of Liberal Christian Protestants and Reform Judaism. This is not to say that I practice any of these religions – I’m just pointing out the similarities between people who do practice their religion while ignoring the existence of all other religions.
Wars have been fought for centuries over religious differences. Catholics had the Crusades, the Spanish Inquisition (no one expects the Spanish Inquisition!), the 30 Years War, and the Northern Irish Conflict among many others. Islam has their Jihads. Palestine and Israel have fought a religious and ethnic war forever. The Civil Wars in Iraq and throughout the Middle East are religious wars. Even the Buddhists have had an uprising!
Deep down, we are all the same. We want to explore the philosophy of our beliefs and find people who share those beliefs. I urge you to take the quiz I took and see how close your beliefs are to people with whom you come into contact . Christians should be able to celebrate Christmas. Jews should be able celebrate Hanukah. Costanzas should be able to celebrate Festivus. All of us should be able to celebrate whatever our chosen group wishes to celebrate. You and I are not that different. You and the cashier at Target are not that different. When they wish you “Happy Holidays,” just smile and say, “Merry Christmahanukkah!”
When you think of Spock, you think of an emotionally detached, logical perspective. My life is ruled by logic. If it’s not logical, it’s just stupid! Many times, I have stuck my foot in my mouth by saying “Why would you do that?” I also get in trouble by saying, “That makes no sense!” Knowing I have a propensity to question other people’s motivations and thought processes has caused me to mask my questions with sarcasm. That’s not necessarily a good thing!
For example, I have a person in my office who begs for sarcastic responses! She doesn’t know it, and she’s not intentionally ironic, but she makes my logical approach to sarcasm entirely logical. Today, she tried to tell me that other people in the office were going to have a meeting on Thursday and they would be expecting my input on a certain document. These people have been meeting every Thursday for about a year now, so Thursday was not a surprise. The document was delivered to me a week earlier, so that was not a surprise either. So, I’m in the middle of my to-do list for the day, with the review of this document at the end of said list, when she came to my desk to interrupt me. She said, as she often does when she interrupts me, “Are you busy? I know you’re always busy, but I just wanted to remind you that the document needs your input, especially parts 3, 5 and 7 because that’s your area of expertise and they want to finalize this document at the meeting on Thursday, so it would be good if you could look it over and give them your input by tomorrow.” That’s not a run-on sentence, that’s how she talks! Every time she brings me information, I pretend to listen while thinking, “I know that, what’s your point?” In this specific instance, I mumbled after she left, “Really? I did not know that! Thank you for sharing!”
She starts every disclosure of information with a monologue of what she was thinking while making her decision on how to handle something. She will tell me things I taught her when I hired her!!! Why the fuck are you wasting my time telling me things I taught you??? Just give me the Cliffs Notes version and go away! This is not logical!!! When I asked her to give me a copy of the most recent Duke bills for a property we manage, but only the Duke bills that have gas charges, she gave me copies of every Duke bill for every month of 2011, prepared a spreadsheet showing the charges, and prepared a graph showing the fluctuations of the charges. My first, and only response was, “Why did you do this?” Her response was, “I already did this for another manager in the office, so I just thought I’d update it for you.” Of course I said, “I don’t need this! I just want a copy of the most recent bill with gas charges on it! How does this help me?!?” Once she pulled out the most recent bill and gave it to me, I was able to recycle the remaining 20 pieces of paper she wasted. Where is the logic in that thought process???
Okay, so I’m realizing I’m missing the emotionally detached piece of the Spock persona. Every time someone does something “highly illogical,” I get confused, which forces me to wonder how they could do something so clearly illogical. This confusion leads to my love of sarcastic responses because they deserve it for their illogical thought process! So if you see me with a confused look on my face, it’s not because I don’t understand you, it’s because I’m confused by how you could think in that way. It’s not a voluntary response, I really can’t help it! To answer the question I know you’re thinking, “Yes, I know this makes me an asshole!”