What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. I don’t think I’m giving away any state secrets when I say that if you build a giant office complex at the end of a peninsula and then fill it with people, there are only going to be a limited number of ways people can get and their cars and drive away from that facility at the end of the day. When you close some of those already unlimited number of exits things get worse. When you additionally closed one of the few that is usually open just in time for peak traffic, well, you get thousands of people clogging every feeder road fighting to measure progress towards the gate in feet rather than inches. I get that shit happens, but when it does I feel like someone would have a plan to address it – like maybe opening up one of the long shuttered gates just for the day and just for outbound traffic. Being the considerer of worst case scenarios that I am, I’m abjectly horrified at the prospect of what a real honest to God emergency evacuation of this place would look like when just closing one single gate can leave traffic gridlocked for over an hour.

2. The death of a dream. With my 1.6 billion dollar dream now laying in ashes, divided to those with better luck in California, Tennessee, and Florida, I suppose it’s back to building wealth the old fashioned way – piling money regularly into a well-balanced, low-fee retirement vehicle. It’s not nearly as sexy or exciting as winning the Powerball, but it’s something… and statistically way more likely to pay out, though I think my newest ambition to retire early to a 17th century Scottish grousing estate may have to be shelved for the time being.

3. Extemporaneous speaking. Back when dinosaurs rules the earth and I was a student we were required to deliver “off the cuff” presentations. Being able to give a talk without the benefit of notes was something they assured us would be of the utmost importance in whatever fictitious versions of the “real world” they’d concocted in their heads. In the actual world I inhabit, extemporaneous remarks have almost never come into play. Instead of mastering the content there’s a constant stream of requests for notes, bullet points, or an entire script no matter how mundane the topic at hand. Maybe having that seamless, well-reasoned, and articulate messages is reassuring to other people around the table, but for the guy putting the words in your mouth it never rises above “vaguely unsettling.”

Some people just don’t have it…

One of the many skills I’ve learned as part of Uncle Sam’s bloated civilian workforce is the gift of reading my audience – how interested they are in what I’m saying or whether the question I want to ask is appropriate for the setting. Some people have apparently not learned that lesson, which is how you end up in an auditorium without an empty seat in the house listening to someone GenFlag_GeneralFlagawkwardly accusing the General Officer corps of being inept, slow to change, and out of tune with the realities of the war around them. Now don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of asshats wearing stars on their shoulders, but the guy on stage doesn’t happen to be one of them. I actually have to admit he carried himself with far more patience and class than I would have under the same circumstances, but that’s not the point.

The point, dear friends, is that when you have 1000+ people in an auditorium laughing at you, an Assistant Secretary of the Army laughing at you, and a 4-star general looking at you with a mixture of pity and contempt, it’s probably best to go ahead and sit down. What you shouldn’t do is rattle on for another three minutes while reading your prepared, yet incomprehensible, statement/question while everyone else in the room stares at you in utter disbelief. It’s a good bet that someone is still the the bowels of the building getting himself a wall to wall counseling session… and probably wondering what he did to deserve it.

The thing to remember is malcontentery, like comedy, is all about timing. Clearly some people just don’t have it and should probably remember that before opening their mouths in public.