1. Failure to RtGE. If you’re attending an event and the people (person) responsible for planning it send you a confirmation message, it might be helpful to go ahead and Read the Goddamned Email. You never know, it might just be filled with all manner of helpful information, links, instructions, and answers to all the questions your apparently illiterate ass would rather jam my inbox and voicemail with asking individually. At most, I’m just going to forward the email that you already have. At worst I’m going to ignore you. It depends entirely on my mood.
2. Door slammers. I’ve always been under the impression that when you’re exiting an auditorium it’s basically common decency to make sure the door doesn’t slam behind you. Particularly when you’ve been there for a few hours and certainly have heard the thunderous clanging the door makes when it slams shut. Or maybe not… because it’s obviously more cost effective to just go ahead and require stationing two “doormen” on site, each who earn into six figures a year, for three days in an effort to minimize the incessant banging and distraction to everyone sitting in the last 20 rows.
3. Wearing out your welcome. If you’re still milling around flapping your gums when someone walks over to the breaker box and starts turning off the lights, you have overstayed your welcome. The fact that you’re the last six people in a 1000 person auditorium and the lights are off are an unmistakable sign that you need to take your ass elsewhere. Rest assured that after 13 hours on my feet, your dirty looks are the very least of the things I could possibly care about.
4. Name dropping. Something to keep in mind is that I’m not in any way impressed by who you work for or what names you drop. I’m not entirely sure what kind of people fall all over themselves because you think you have weight to throw around, but believe me when I say that you don’t… and even if you did, I really wouldn’t care.
It’s the third day in a row that I’ve been late getting away from the office. If anyone despises this turn of events more than me, it’s Maggie and Winston. Thanks to their upbringing to take joy in the marvel of a well executed routine, they’re finding the whole thing unsettling. The net result is from the time I do get home until lights out these two are attached even more closely to my hips than usual. I don’t see the week getting any more “regular” from here on to the end. In fact the next two days at a minimum can be relied upon to have a monumental amount of stupid baked right in.
I don’t think I’ve pulled a legitimate 12 hour shift since Hurricane Dean threatened the Gulf Coast in 2007. It’s not a level of effort I’m particularly eager to reprise. Even though I’ll be made whole for those additional hours at a later date I really have gotten to the point with this fiasco that eight hours at a time is more than enough to test what little patience I have left. Given their attitudes over the last few nights it’s clear that the dogs agree with me.
I do my level best not to let a trifle like work interfere with the important work of blogging and trying to deliver my next sarcasm-laden book to an expectant world. Most days I’m successful on that front. This week, my expectations are somewhat more limited. Tonight for example I’m sitting here at the computer just barely able to keep my eyes open. It’s the second night in a row that I’ve been at least an hour late heading home and on balance the week should only really get worse from here.
I’ll make every effort to keep up with fresh posts for the duration, but let me go on record as making absolutely no promises in that regard. At the rate this week is currently spiraling out of control, by this time tomorrow it’s possible I’ll be subsisting entirely on a diet of coffee and whatever I can find from a vending machine. By Thursday I’m beginning to think I’ll have lost the capacity for coherent speech and default to communicating through prehistoric grunts and pointing in the general direction of what I want.
As far as I can tell at the moment, this week plans to be nothing but a time thief and that means you’ll have to suffer right along with me… so please forgive me for whatever drivel ends up filling these otherwise respectable pages over the next few days.
Every Thursday night for the last two years, you’ve all been treated to a brief glimpse into what slights and outrages are simmering in my head as the week rolls towards its end. What Annoys Jeff this Week is consistently the most read post of the week and probably comes closest to capturing what I think of as my “authentic voice.” It’s a mostly unfiltered dump directly from my head onto the page and has probably saved me tens of thousands of dollars in psychoanalysis bills.
For some time earlier this year, Sunday mornings were reserved for reposting the “lost blogs” from MySpace and Blogger. They weren’t met with quite as much interest as WAJTW, but having a weekly theme did give me an uptick in traffic for Sunday mornings – no small thing on a day and time when most people are otherwise engaged with other than web-based activities.
This past Thursday a challenge was issued by one of my good and loyal readers to adapt my format slightly and offer a once a week post featuring What Jeff Likes this Week. I wasn’t immediately drawn to the idea. Most weeks I’d be hard pressed to come up with three items to talk about. Knowing this, my challenger graciously offered to let me get away with just expounding on one thing each week.
Challenge accepted. Beginning on Sunday, November 23rd and running every Sunday through the end of the year, you’ll be reading a new weekly mini-feature right here at jeffreytharp.com. I’m still kicking around actual titles, but the suggestions What Slightly Manages Not to Bug Jeff too Much this Week and What Jeff is Mostly Indifferent About this Week continue to be strong contenders.
Check back next Sunday to see what I come up with.
1. Failing to read for comprehension. When I send you a four sentence email it’s not like reading the entire thing is going to monopolize your day, especially when one of those sentences tells you exactly how to do what you’re trying to do. No, the answer isn’t to send me more “follow up” emails. The answer, as I will tell you over and over and over again as needed, is right there starting on line two of the original response, which you obviously didn’t stop long enough to read. You can feel free to “follow up” all you want, but damned if I’m doing it for you. Your inability to read and comprehend simple English is not so much my responsibility.
2. The value of time. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I know the value of my time. It’s the most limited commodity I have and it doesn’t come cheap. Unless you’re on the friends and family plan, it never, ever comes free. Whatever it is that’s so critical, unless it’s an immediate threat to life or property, really isn’t so critical and certainly doesn’t give rise to the need to give anyone a freebie. I’ve been around long enough to know that there’s always a tomorrow… and on the off chance there isn’t a tomorrow none of it is really going to matter at that point anyway.
3. Non-surprise surprises. For the love of Pete, when I’ve been telling you for weeks that X is going to happen on Y date how in seven hells are you surprised on Y-4 that Y is going to happen next week. It’s been on the damned calendar for 5 months. We’ve had at least 30 meetings about it, but whoa, every-damn-body but me seems to be taken by surprise. Look, I know we always try to kill the gator closest to the boat first, but there’s no way I’m letting anyone get away with the “Uh, I didn’t know” excuse on this one. I find it interesting that all the things we didn’t have time to do three months ago, we now suddenly want to cram into a day and a half. I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t wrap myself in knots trying to do that which is inherently illogical if not downright impossible given the limitations of available time and manpower.
Not long after lunch this afternoon my left eye twitched once and then felt like someone was jamming an ice pick into the socket. My first thought, after the initial WTF, was “Wow, this is how it’s going to end for me… Stroking out at my desk after being utterly overwhelmed by stupid.”
Thirty seconds pass and the pain lets up enough to be mostly a roaring headache situated just behind my left eye… annoying but not debilitating. Since there was no face drooping and no obvious slurring, I went on about my business.
It wasn’t until around 2:00, when I reached for a long empty mug of coffee that reality dawned. I wasn’t about to stroke out at all. I was unintentionally coming down from a years long caffeine high and my brain was rebelling against it. I couldn’t tell you the last time I got so busy that I didn’t reach for a refill until almost the end of the day. It could easily be half a decade or more. After all but mainlining three cups, the pain in the ol’ brain box settled out from a dull roar to nothing at all by the end of tour.
Consider it lesson learned. Now that I know the unfortunate results of under caffeinating, I’ll never, ever let it happen again.
It would be easy to get carried away with superlatives on Veterans Day – the most, the best, and so on. Plenty of blogs, Facebook posts, and news outlets went that way. It’s hard to go wrong following that route.
My approach is a little more basic: A simple thank you to that long line of men and women who have served our nation in uniform. It may not always be easy to tell on the other days of the year, but your sacrifices did not go unnoticed, for without you there would be no us.