Sunday, November 26, 2006

Call it Like I See It

Some say that it's all in the approach... Some say it's tone or timing... I just tell it like it is.

Quick-wit and humor are often coupled with the uncontrollable habit of blurting out exactly what one is thinking. There are some who feel badly about it. But for most people "blessed" with this "curse," that is quite simply, WHO THEY ARE. I am one of them.

If I do say so myself, there are moments in which I am stupendously and almost unbelievably funny. But my humor comes from my life experiences and my ability to spin some of my most troubling times into a bearable and laughable story. I can laugh at myself. And, quite frankly, I have no problem laughing at others.

When I am not laughing at myself or those around me, I tend to quietly and not-so-quietly comment on the goings-on around me. The happenings could involve someone's cooking or child-rearing. Perhaps my comments surround someone else's inability to think of anyone but themself. But... I comment. And many people do not find it funny at all. It's not always meant to be funny though. It's a comment.

You might say, as many before you have said, that it is not my duty or responsibility or even my RIGHT to comment on whatever I feel like commenting on. But to be honest with you, if I don't say it in the moment, I am going to say it later. And I feel that it is far nobler to say what you have to say in front of your topic of conversation rather than talk about someone behind his or her back.

But you might hurt that person's feelings. Anyone who knows me, knows also that most of what I do in life, I do in love. Rarely do I act out of hatred or spite. No matter the motive, however, I feel it is better that others hear what I think FIRST HAND so as not to cause confusion going through third party channels. I call it like I see it , in front of you.

It is not that I am ignoring feelings or that I am COMPLETELY tactless. I am not. I am sensitive to timing and present company and the questionable appropriateness of certain topics. But I don't hold back with my family and friends because that is who I am.

Talking behind someone's back is dangerous. It plants seeds of doubt surrounding one's character. It can stir up confusion. And often it turns into a great big game of telephone leaving the truth of the matter in its distant past.

So I prefer to tell it like it is, to call it like I see it. That's just who I am.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Liar, Liar

At this stage in life, I have come to expect at least a little bit of deception in a relationship. And, quite frankly, I'm okay with it, as long as it is the "lying by omission" brand of deception.
There are just some things I don't need to know. Like the number of women you have slept with… I know many of you are screeching, "WHAT?!" right now. The number of people a person has slept with BEFORE you is irrelevant. By definition "before" means "prior to" or "in the past." It's in the past. You can't change it or alter it or make it go away. It happened but it is irrelevant to the present moment. And as long as that number doesn't continue to grow once you have committed yourself to me, it does not matter what your number is.

There are other things I don't need to know and I will gladly let you know along the way what those things are. But there are a few basic things that it's just NOT OKAY to lie about.

1. YOUR NAME. A critical first step in getting to know someone is learning his name. So lying about it off the bat is not helping me and it is certainly not helping you. Especially when you forget to answer to your substitute name or inadvertently send an email with your real name on it… Instantly busted. Instantly a big ol' liar.

2. YOUR WIFE. Um yeah, if you're married, just be honest about it. Please don't do that "We Haven't Been Happy For Years" song and dance either. Married is married, whether it is happily, unhappily, grudgingly, or any other word that ends in 'ly." Spare the details.

3. WHAT YOU REALLY WANT. If you are honest with yourself and honest with others about what you REALLY want, you get what you want a lot faster. If you like a skinny blonde with a nice rack who's good with cars, then just say it. Don't pretend that's not what you really want. Don't waste my time oohing and ahhing and skirting the truth. GO get the blonde chick with the tiny waist and big boobs. And, if you like a lady with a little meat on her bones who's good in a car, that works too. JUST BE HONEST ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT. Stop wasting time. You might as well have what you want. Hell, I might as well have what I want. We ALL might as well have what we want. What a wonderful world it would be.

That old cliche "honesty is the best policy" is true. For the most part... I guess a good rule of thumb is this: if someone asks you a question, they are asking it because they WANT to know the truth. So don't answer questions UNTIL THEY ARE ASKED and once the question is out there, be honest.

Remember the Good

Most people are not remembered for the good that they do. The average, everyday Joe who walks through life without fame or notoriety or any glory of any kind is usually known for the mistakes he's made. Those are the things friends bring up when reminiscing about him or the stories that family tells or the source of all the whispering at the holidays.

I have made a lot of mistakes in my life. Some of them have been pretty big. And I have made plenty of unwise choices that, if given the opportunity, I would jump at the chance to change. And while I say that I try to live with no regrets and that I usually pay no mind to what others think of me. The thought that I will go down in history as merely a list of mistakes and bad choices causes me great angst.

The woman I am today is a product of all that bad but also of all the good.

Fueling anger and hatred is often easier than breeding love and that is why we as a people have a tendency to recall bad over good. Think about how effortlessly you can stir a group of people who are unhappy with a common situation. Getting them fired up over their given cause is a piece of cake. But when it's time to rally folks together for good, it takes some old fashioned hard work.

I don't want to be remembered as the girl in college who almost died from alcohol poisoning at the Jimmy Buffet concert or as the one who joined a local church for four years at the expense of nearly every relationship or the one who fell for the ugliest and craziest guy on the baseball team. I don't want to be remembered as the one who mishandled her friendship with Kathy Donaway in high school or the mean one who made the girl at work cry or the idiot whose car almost got stolen because she was too lazy to put on "THE CLUB." I learned a lot from those mistakes. I grew up because of them and in spite of them. And I would like to think that out of that came...

The one who would give you the shirt off her back... The one who would pick you up in the middle of the night when you get a flat tire on the side of the highway... The one who would hug you when you need it... The one who would spend hours to cook you a meal that will last thirty minutes...

If I am going to be a list, I want to be the good list, the A list, the BEST OF list, the TOP TEN reasons that SHE WAS A GOOD PERSON list.

Be Good at It

Whatever you choose to do in life, I believe that you should strive to do it well. And I believe that we, the people, have the right to expect others to be good at whatever it is that they are doing.

When you go to the doctor, you expect that your physician will know how to heal your every ailment. When you take your car to the shop, your expectation is that when the vehicle is returned to your possession, it will not only get you where you need to go but it will live up to its greatest potential. Dry cleaners should be proficient in dry cleaning, restaurant servers should serve and plumbers should plumb… or fix the pipes, if you will.

And so I submit that the expectation we hold to those in positions of authority, in careers that are seemingly important and in roles that make our daily lives either better or more bearable should be held to everyone. I submit that we should expect people to be good at WHATEVER it is that they choose to do.

Over the last few months, neighborhood thieves attempted to steal my Jeep twice. Both times, they were unsuccessful. Whatever they learned from the first attempt did them no good. They were unable to apply those learnings in order to successfully make off with my car the second time. Their incompetence overwhelmed and infuriated me. I mean really… OPPORTUNITY KNOCKED TWICE for these idiots which almost NEVER happens for the people with good intentions, and they missed it both times. If you are going to be a car thief, be a good car thief. Don't be half-assed about it. Know your target and take it. Stop leaving it in front of my house with $1700 worth of damage.

Now I am not advocating stealing cars as a career choice. I'm just saying… Whatever you choose to do in life, be good at it.