If there’s a silver lining to spending a big part of the day with a debilitating stomach ache, it’s that it has made a heroic contribution to my ongoing weight loss campaign and put me over the 50 lbs lost mark. I still can’t say that I feel any different or have magically found more energy, but really I suppose all that is secondary to the whole not dropping dead thing.

I’ve also found that I’ve reached the point in this experience where some new clothes are going to be necessary… and my viceral dislike of shopping in almost any form has me thinking that maybe adding a few pounds back may not be so bad after all. Certainly better than a forced march through the mall. There’s a fair chance that this weekend I’ll just go to go to Home Depot and buy a leather punch to keep adjusting my belt than I am to go to Macy’s for new pants. I’m considering it pain avoidance behavior.

Doing stupid…

I like to rant about stupid people. Anyone who’s read more than a post or two knows that. For the most part, I’m fussing about people who either a) don’t know they’re stupid, b) don’t care they are stupid, or c) some combination of the previous two. There’s another category that I don’t rail against nearly as often. Mostly because I have a tendency to be one of them.

There is, from time to time, the opportunity for someone who is otherwise intelligent to get up a head of steam and run headlong into a giant wall of stupid. Not because he doesn’t know the wall is there or because he thinks the wall will move, but out of a much more deep seeded desire to do stupid because somewhere in the middle of it, there’s probably going to be a good time involved. Usually doing stupid doesn’t involve more than a passing level of risk to health or welfare, and never involves anything approaching illegal, but like everything else we do, we assume some degree of risk when agreeing to take the ride.

There’s a fair chance that I’ll spend some part of the coming weekend heavily engaged in doing stupid. There’s an equal and opposite chance that it’s going to be a good time. But just in case, if I haven’t checked in over the next couple of days, send guns and money.


Cubicle stalker…

I came back from lunch to find one of the more emotionally needy members of the team standing in my cube. You know the ones; they need special reassurance that they’re doing the things right… every time they do anything… regardless of how basic the task. Yeah. That guy. I’m sure you’ve met him.

According to sources in a position to know, he had been standing there for 15 minutes. Standing in my cube, while I was at lunch, for at least 15 minutes. Just standing there. And waiting. Standing there waiting to tell me that he had uploaded some documents to our network drive.

In the future, it would be completely appropriate under these circumstances to send me an email. Leave me a note. A voicemail I’ll even get eventually. Though really, you can feel free to upload files to the network to your heart’s content without my direct supervision. That’s probably another issue altogether, really.

I can’t fathom why, in the name of all things good and holy, it might have seemed like a good idea to spend 15 minutes standing in my cube waiting for me to come back from lunch. Were you expecting a treat of some sort? Up until today, that was the only 55 square feet of real estate in the entire building where I feel even a modicum of sanity. You’ve taken that from me now. The sanctity of my cube has been violated.

I can’t tell you how much I don’t need a cubicle stalker in my life.

Editorial Note: This is part of a continuing series of previously unattributed posts appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.

Incubation period…

As of a couple of days ago I’ve been running my Hail Mary play to get out of Memphis for seven months. I dropped my first resume in the files on August 22nd, so you can check my math and make sure I’m doing it right. Seven months is what I’ve come up with… and in that time I’ve drilled exactly 276 dry wells. I’ll drill 5 more tomorrow and five the day after that.

This great escape can be left to incubate for another seven months, but know this – You can cut me off from the civilized world. You can torture me with powerpoint until I’m tapping out briefings with bloody stumps of fingers, but you cannot break my spirit. My voice shall be heard from this wilderness. I shall be delivered.

Friendly advice…

If you have a cube with a direct line of sight to the Executive Office of the UberBoss, it’s really best not to fall asleep watching the TV mounted to the wall across from you. It makes you look like a dumbass. Far more importantly, it makes me look like a dumbass.

Maybe I should just confiscate their desk chair tomorrow. It’s probably harder to fall asleep if you’re standing up… Though I’m not sure I’d be surprised to see it. I wonder if that’s even legal. I think that’ll be on the list of things to ask the lawyer tomorrow.

Editorial Note: This is part of a continuing series of previously unattributed posts appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.

Apple Care…

For the most part, I’ve had good experiences with Apple Care. There’s something to be said for an operation where you can make an appointment, walk in and generally get a repair or replacement within a couple of minutes.

After a few weeks of struggling with a glitchy iPhone, I finally decided to make my appointment before I was too tempted to send my phone hurtling towards the fireplace. I’m pretty sure blunt force trauma isn’t something that’s covered as warrantee work. After meeting with my “Genius,” the official diagnosis was “home button intermittent.” The cause, officially listed as “You have too many apps running in the background.” The exchange went a little like this:

Genius: If you shut those down once a day you shouldn’t have a problem.

Me: Yeah, I do that already. I’ve even done the half dozen other “fixes” recommended in the forums.

Genius: Ok, I’ll shut them down and you should be good to go

Me: Uhhh… yeah.

This is the point in the day where we spent five minutes trying to get the home key to respond in any way.

Genius: Well, we’ve managed to reproduce the problem.

Me: Yep.

Genius: Uhhh… Why don’t we just get you a replacement…

Me: Perfect

I had also hoped to look at the possibility of swapping out my iPad because of a stuck pixel. One very annoying bight blue stuck pixel. Apparently, though, some degree of “stickage” is considered to be within performance standard. On an $800 consumer electronic product, zero defects should be the performance standard, but arguing with the genius wasn’t going to get me anywhere. In fairness, she did offer to swap it out using my one-time warrantee replacement for accidental damage, but being this early in the life cycle, and given that I’m tapping this post out one handed, balancing my iPad on my knee over a concrete floor while holding a steaming cup of coffee with my left hand, I decided the better part of valour was probably holding the freebie in reserve until something apocalyptic happens.

But for the record that one dead pixel is super annoying.

Welcome douchbag…

We’re getting a visit from one of our regional managers. That’s not really unusual. It seems there’s always one of them wandering around the building for some reason or another. This visit is only special because the manager in question is pretty much a giant douchebag. That’s actually speculative on my part because the guy has never actually bothered to show up or call in for any of the regional managers meetings that have been scheduled in the six months he’s worked for us. So really I don’t know anything about him other than he doesn’t do meetings, or return phone calls, or think policy applies to him. Come to think of it, I’m pretty ok with standing firm on my assessment of douchebag.

The issue isn’t so much one of the guy being off the reservation most of the time as it is that no one in a position to do anything about it seems to a) know it or b) feel compelled to take action. That’s just a solitary example of why having actual leaders in leadership positions might actually be important. You’d think by now I’d have developed a better ability to manage my expectations. It’s probably best to just go back to my cube, keep my head down, and get the day over with with as little increase in my blood pressure as possible.

Do you think hanging up a “Welcome Douchebag” banner in front of the building would be considered somehow inappropriate?

Editorial Note: This is part of a continuing series of previously unattributed posts appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.

Define irony…

There’s no secret that I’m being sustained by a chemical cocktail that is a marvel of modern medical science. I’ve got pills to keep my heart from exploding and some to keep my blood from having some kind of glucose enduced fit. There’s the one that keeps my esophagus from being eaten by my stomach and a fourth one that does something that I’m sure is equally important. The real irony, though, is that while these keep me from meeting an untimely demise, one of them is secretly a traitor who is trying to shred my lower GI tract and makes himself known at the most unfortunate of times. It’s a great addition to my weight loss regimen, but I could really do without the regular feeling of having my innards tied in knots. Ah, better living through chemistry.

Send me the electrons…

I’m always happy to consult with a colleague whenever they have an issue or need to talk through a new idea. Really, I think of myself more as a facilitator than as a “do-er.” That is to say I specialize in getting the person needing the answer and the person who has the answer together so they work together to find the mutually acceptable solution. In practice, that means I need to know where content lives more than I need to know actual content. Knowing how and who to ask for things is every bit as important as being able to do the actual work involved. The two live in symbiosis – knowledge and action.

The real problem starts when you run into someone who neither has the knowledge or the ability to take action. Take the example of Mr. X for instance. At least twice a day Mr. X comes to my little section of cubicle hell and asks me to proofread and email he wants to send – usually a message asking for something or verifying some type of information. These emails are all well and good – I mean the rapid transmission of information is one of the reasons email is a great form of communication – but it’s not really an “email” when the “draft” you send me to look at is scratched out on the back of an old memo.

Seriously. I don’t know how exactly many times I can tell someone to just “send me the electrons” before it sinks in that I’m not going to spend time making “pen and ink” changes. Of course the need for these changes could be eliminated if we could all just take responsibility for knowing our own jobs and being able to formulate a simple request for information from someone working in a different office. As it turns out, that’s more than I can reasonably expect.

Editorial Note: This is part of a continuing series of previously unattributed posts appearing on http://www.jeffreytharp.com for the first time. This post has been time stamped to correspond to its original publication date.

Taking the high road…

I’m going to make the adult decision and not chase after glittery temptation for once. Just this once and just to see how that works out. What would 21 year old me think? He’d call me a derivation of “feline” and shake his head in disgust before walking up the hill for beer by the quart at Hi-Way Pizza. That’s what he’d do. Twenty five year old me would probably already be at the Green Door or Brass Rail passing the latest County gossip and talking shit. But while they’re doing that, 32 year old me will be getting what passes lately for a good nights sleep and not be nursing a hangover during that early morning meeting with the bosses.


All plans made herein are non-refundable and subject to change without notice.