What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Neck Ties. I completely understand that there are times when we all need to look just a little more formal. On an average day, though, when I’m going to spend 6-7 hours sitting behind a keyboard or going to meetings with people I see every day, putting on a tie is really just a pointless exercise. That’s why I don’t wear one unless I absolutely, positively, can’t avoid it. Certain men’s fashion magazines will tell you that it’s all about “self expression” and having “good fashion sense.” Meh. I express myself using things like the English language and I can’t remember a time I ever gave a tinker’s damn about anything involving fashion. Hard as it might be to believe, it’s just not something that ever seemed worth the effort to be interested in. As long as everyone shows up freshly laundered without body parts hanging out, I’d say we’re good to go. If I’m going to court or taking a meeting with the president, I’ll probably manage to find a tie that isn’t stained (too much). Otherwise they’re going to continue hanging in the closet in case I ever need a tourniquet. If companies like Apple and Amazon can make a gagillion dollars without anyone wearing a tie, I think it’s safe to say that a colorful piece of silk hanging around my neck like a noose isn’t going to make anyone more productive or professional. Mostly it’s just going to get in the way and make me uncomfortable until I pull it off and stick it back in my desk drawer. Thankfully, I’m winnowed the activities requiring a tie down to about one a week… and even then, I ditch the damned thing before going to lunch.

2. Fakes, flakes, and liars. There’s really only one standard of conduct I try to live by; do I do what I say I’m going to do. Most of the time, I do. Occasionally I miss the boat. Sometimes that’s intentional because the situation has changed and other times it’s because of circumstances beyond anyone’s control. That’s a long way of saying that I don’t always practice what I’m trying to preach. Most people, on most days, are trying to do the right thing and despite being a pessimist by nature, my natural inclination is to give people the benefit of the doubt. At least until they intentionally drop a steaming pile on my head. Then… Then they’re irredeemably dead to me. You’d think by this stage of the game, I would have learned to manage my expectations and not be caught by surprise. Still, from time to time, someone weasels through the gaps and catches me off guard.

3. Taking big bites. Sometimes biting off more than you can chew is fine strategy. It gives you something to work towards. The other side of that, of course, would be that sometimes the only thing a big bite does is get stuck in your throat and leave you sucking for air. Facebook, Twitter, jeffreytharp.com, a few other sites and blogs I contribute to, ebooks, email, and a few other odds and ends have been consuming a ridiculous amount of time and attention lately. Through in the probably misguided desire for all those interactions to be substantive on a daily basis and, well, you tend to end up taking very big bites. All of those things are voluntary, of course, and as I wrap up a few current pet projects I’ll be doing my best to limit new things I take on in those areas. In the meantime, I’ll be doing my best not to choke. If I start really feeling frisky, I might even decommission a few of the social media accounts I find myself not really using enough to justify having around. Yeah. That would probably be a great first step towards a more sane Jeff.

4. But wait, there’s more! I could go on, and on, and on, and on about the small things that are annoying Jeff this week, but I’ll spare everyone the administrative minutia. As my mother would say, I’m “in a mood.” In all probability, this mood will resolve itself sometime after 4:00 tomorrow afternoon. I’m more than ready to get into something that doesn’t require the application of more than two or three brain cells at a time.

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