Defeating the Robot

HOW TO SPEAK TO A HUMAN BEING WHEN YOU CALL AN AUTOMATED SERVICE THAT HAS VOICE RECOGNITION:

A) Do not press 0. They’re onto that.
B) Do not say “Speak to Agent” They’re onto that, too.
C: Do not say “Speak to Human.” They’re onto that as well.
D) Say, “Fuck You”.
E) It will try to redirect your response or correct you.
F) Ignore it and say,”Fuck You”.
G) Anytime it tries to direct your response or play dumb, just repeat,”Fuck You”
H) Eventually, you will be directed to an agent.

You’re welcome.

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Outing Cousin George

Yesterday, I split a cab home with a couple of colleagues who were gay.

GAY GUY 1: when I was a kid, I used to sneak and read my sister’s Nancy Drew books.

GAY GUY 2: Hey, me too!

GAY GUY 1: Remember her lesbian cousin?

ROB: There was a lesbian cousin in the book?

GAY GUY 2: She had a cousin called George, but was a girl. She was a lesbian.

ROB: Did the book say that?

GAY GUY 1: Well, not directly, but you have to read between the lines.

ROB: So you are outing a fictional book character? You can’t out a book character!

GAY GUY 2: Sure we can!

ROB: How would you like it if Nancy Drew outed you?

GAY GUY 1: Oh, I’ve been out the minute my sister caught me with her Nancy Drew book. So you could say that Nancy Drew did out me!

ROB: I never read Nancy Drew

GAY GUY 2: Oh, what you’re missing!

It’s Only Green if it is Actually Green

If a building claims to be a “green” building: has water saving toilets, solar heating panels, solar panels on the roof, etc yet does not bother to recycle and in the cafeteria, the default plates and flatware are disposable and bottled water is sold in plastic bottles (which they don’t even recycle), it is not a green building.

It is only pretending to be a green building. The occupants are hoping you’ll get so distracted with all the cool green stuff that you’ll forget that in the more mundane day to day operations, it is business as usual; the business of wantonly and thoughtlessly trashing the plane for the sake of convenience.

An old, standard, non-green building, complete with old, energy-inefficient standard flush toilets and an old oil-burning heating system is more green if it actually bothers to recycle and use durable, rather than disposable items, and consciously does not have bottled water.

While designing things to be environmentally friendly is noble and a good endgame, we need to take more down to earth steps be green, all of which are attainable. It is mundane and not as flashy as new cool green stuff, but that is what is going to make the big difference.

Carpooling in your old 1982 Monte Carlo is greener than driving solo in your new, cool Prius. Turning your heat down and putting on a sweater is greener than your cool new environmentally friendly heater cranked way up. And using a reusable steel water bottle or simply slurping it outa the water fountain is greener than a plastic bottle that claims to use 33% less plastic (which is still 100% too much).

But back to my point, if you end up with a “green” building, at least finish the job by making all your operations green as well, or move out and give it to someone who will. Otherwise it makes the statement that the green building conveys completely worthless.

The Asshole Free Existence you are Not Entitled To

REALITY CHECK FOR TODAY:

You are not entitled to an asshole free existence. In your life you will encounter all kinds of assholes. You might find they are racist, sexist, anti semitic, inconsiderate, boorish, uncharitable, conniving, vindictive and downright mean. In other words: assholes doing what assholes do best, which is being assholes.

To that end, you are not persecuted. You are not oppressed.
You were born in a developed western hemisphere country. That means you have won half of life’s lottery right there. Bonus points if you are a prevailing race or religion. More bonus points if you are in a functional socio-economic bracket. Even more bonus points if you are male.

There are children in the world who don’t have access to clean drinking water. There are people in Syrian refugee camps who have absolutely no economic or political security whatsoever. There are women in the world who can’t walk 100 yards in one direction without the risk of being openly gang-raped without significant consequence. There are countries who have essentially been bombed off the map.

And then there is college educated, employed, five/six figure earning you. In the Western hemisphere, who knows s/he will get enough to eat tonight. You who will sleep in a warm bed tonight. You, who may find yourself on the receiving end of an asshole making a cheap shot: a racist or sexist comment, or doing a socially unacceptable thing, encroaching on your space or being sexually unsavory or skeevy (catcalling, leering). That is an asshole being an asshole.

You deal with this problem in real time in a number of methods at your disposal. You can tell them where to go (hell) or what to do (fuck off, etc), and be as colorful as you want. In more severe cases, you can bring it to the attention of other people or even police or security. You fume about it for five or ten minutes. Then you move on with your life. You take the money you were going to spend on therapy for the tremendous trauma an asshole caused you by oppressing/persecuting you. And you donate it to a reputable non-profit agency that works to allay the problems mentioned in my third paragraph.

Here is what you DON’T do:

If you are a witness to asshollery, you don’t record it on your iPhone. You should have just come to the aid of the person on the receiving end of if. Or minded your own business if s/he was handling it well enough him/herself.

You don’t put a video of it on YouTube in the hopes of it going viral. So what? Who cares? An asshole being an asshole. *Yawn*

You don’t put that video on Upworthy, ThinkProgress, Addicting Info etc with a deliberately indignation-provoking title so that random people can play armchair quarterback from behind the screens of their MacBooks.

If even a fraction of the people who voiced their outrage and indignation at an asshole being an asshole ( in the comments section of Upworthy, Think Progress, Addicting Info or good ol’ Facebook) instead contributed even five bucks to one of the causes I mentioned, we’d eliminate a lot of suffering in the world.

This is not to defend or offer mitigation of the behavior of assholes. It is merely to state that:
You are not entitled to an asshole-free existence.
Actually, everybody is entitled to an asshole free existence. You are just not more entitled to it than anyone else. And if all the assholes were eliminated from your existence, where would they go? To someone else’s existence.

We’ll go crazy if we spend our existence stewing, getting outraged, offended and butthurt over every act of asshollery. Not everything needs to go viral and be subject to the outrage of the world at large. No asshole deserves to be made into a celebrity, which is what happens when a video of his behavior goes viral.

There are things we should deal with on a micro level and things we should deal with on a macro level. Asshollery should be dealt with on a micro level. The problems of my third paragraph: they should be dealt with on a macro level. This outrage: that’s where it needs to go, and repeated until we cough up enough tangibles to actually make a dent in the problem.

Nobody cares that someone did/said something offensive, racist, sexist, unsavory, skeevy or otherwise untoward to you. Actually, we do care, but not globally.
You are not entitled to an asshole free existance, and you will have to deal with assholes being assholes. Everybody else did.

My Big Little Brother

Crazy Dream Last Night:

Dreamed I found out that my brother Mike was shorter than me. That for the past twenty years he had been lying to me about being three inches taller than me, and in actuality, he was a good four inches SHORTER than me!

When I wanted to verify it and measure us, I’d look and find that Mike would be standing on something. Then when I’d get rid of it, he’d find something else to stand on.

I remember being really pissed that the whole family was in on the conspiracy.

Well, I’ll see him for Thanksgiving, and I’ll measure him, because now I’m suspicious!

Aesop Rolling Over in his Grave

COLLEAGUE: What are you eating?

ROB: Rosemary roasted chicken.

COLLEAGUE: Is there any more?

ROB: I think it may be all gone

COLLEAGUE: Because you ate it

ROB: Because I ate it.

COLLEAGUE: It’s probably all dried out and nasty anyway.

ROB: Are you getting all sour grapey on me?

COLLEAGUE: What’s that?

ROB: Sour grapes. You know sour grapes?

COLLEAGUE: No, what’s that?

ROB: Well, once upon a time there was a fox…..

COLLEAGUE: What color was the fox?

ROB: What? I don’t know! Fox colored. it doesn’t matter. So the fox is walking through the field and finds some grapes on a vine…

COLELAGUE: What kind of grapes?

ROB: I don’t know! Regular grapes. So he finds these grapes…..

COLLEAGUE: Just growing in some random field? That seems weird…

ROB: Who’s telling this story, you or me?

OTHER COLLEAGUE: Oh God help us all, you got Rob on a story, didn’t you?

ROB: Go away!

{Later in the day………}

COLLEAGUE: Remember the story about the drunk fox?

ROB: The drunk fox?

COLLEAGUE: Yeah, the one about the grapes.

ROB: But the fox wasn’t drunk.

COLLEAGUE: But he got drunk. After he said,” Aw fuck it, those grapes have gotta be sour….”

ROB: He didn’t say “fuck it…..”

COLLEAGUE: Yeah he did. But then he noticed the grapes that fell on the ground. They had been sitting there awhile, fermenting in the sun. So they turned into wine and he ate them. And got so drunk he didn’t care about those sour-ass grapes on the vine. And he lived happily ever after.

ROB: My God, you are my new hero. That’s better than the original. Don’t know how much Aesop would have liked your version, though.

COLLEAGUE: Who’s Aesop?

ROB: The guy who wrote that story.

COLLEAGUE: I thought you made it up.

ROB: No, I can’t take credit for that one.

COLLEAGUE: How was your nasty, dry rosemary roasted chicken?

ROB: How do you know it was nasty and dry?

COLLEAGUE? Well, was it?

ROB: It was pretty nasty and pretty dry.

COLLEAGUE: I rest my case.

Getting Jiggy with Beethoven

Earlier this week, I gave an impromptu music history lesson to a temp.

TEMP: So there was this music I heard, with violins and all that went like “🎶Bom bom bom Boooooooom!
Bom bom bom boooooooom!🎶
Then it got all jiggy.

ROB: That’s Beethoven’s Fifth symphony. The “bom bom bom bom” part is the exposition; that’s where they show off the basic tune. Where it gets jiggy; that’s the development, where they jig around with it, or develop it, to make it interesting.

TEMP: So is he still alive? The guy who wrote that?

ROB: No, he died almost 200 years ago.

TEMP: Is that the only thing he wrote?

ROB: No, he wrote nine of those little buggers; they’re called symphonies. And a whole bunch of other stuff. Songs, pieces for just piano, an opera and even more than that.

TEMP: Were they all jiggy like that?

ROB: A lot of his stuff was pretty jiggy.

TEMP: Was he cool?

ROB: I don’t know. I wasn’t born yet. Actually, you probably wouldn’t have liked him. By all accounts, he wasn’t a very nice guy. He also wasn’t very clean. But people are still playing and listening to his music, so he was damn good at it. He ended up going deaf, and which might explain why he wasn’t too friendly.

TEMP: How could you write all that jiggy music if you were deaf?

ROB: Well, he wasn’t always deaf. He wrote some of it before he went deaf, and remembered how after he was deaf, because he could kind of hear it in his head.

TEMP: I bet he was pretty smart…..

ROB: Yeah.

OTHER TEMP: Yeah, they use that “Bom bom bom bom” song on Judge Judy!

ROB: Beethoven really would have hated that.

OTHER TEMP: Judge Judy?

ROB: Yeah, and the fact his music is being used for that crummy show.

TEMP: He could make a shit ton of money from that.

ROB: He’s dead. What would he use it for? More dirt for his grave? A new headstone? Anyway, it’s public domain.

OTHER TEMP: What’s that?

ROB: Get back to work.