Entries by Wryter (132)


Don't leave home without it

hankie.jpgGood, bad, or indifferent, we all carry with us the lessons learned from our parents.  I carry mine in my left-hand back pocket, only because I haven't mastered the art of folding it for the breast pocket of my suit jacket. 

"Never leave the house without a clean handkerchief," Mom used to say.  As a kid, I rolled my eyes and ignored the advice, deciding I didn't really want to cart around a Cold-in-a-Pocket.  But with age came the dawning of her wisdom.  It's become the family punchline that what John D. Rockefeller was to dimes, Yours Truly has become to handkerchiefs.  Really, I go through them like Kleenex, and hardly ever by using them myself.  I've lost many a hankie to:

Ketchup and coffee mishaps.  
On a date.  (This isn't that kind of blog.) 
Weddings.  (Natch. Keep one for yourself... especially if they play Shout.)
Funerals.  (Most recently to a friend in a receiving line at his Dad's wake.)
Friends.  (The One who lost her Dad; the One who lost her job; the One who thought she was sick, but wasn't; the One who thought she was sick, and was; the One who'll need you next.)

It might not help an old lady cross the street, but if you're the kind who likes to do a Good Deed daily, and "Pay it Forward," you can do a lot worse than to spread some clean, white cotton squares around the world. 

I'll be honest.  Except for one time, I'm not the kind of guy who is prone to part with the shirt off my back.  But when I die, and someone asks what kind of person I was, I want it to be said, "He gave me his hankie."  [And then mutter, "I'm still trying to figure out what to do with the damned thing..."]


My first post

Today is my birthday... and I need your help

[My first designed-for-the-blog post, penned on May 25th.]

I am 40 years old today, and I need your help.  Today we break the chain:  Join me on a crusade to stamp out a scourge in the workplace known as OBB. Office Birthday Behavior (Behaviour if you're in England).

Somebody must have done a riff on this, and I'm guessing that dozens could do it better, however, for the record, your approval, and action, here goes...

Tell me if this sounds familiar.  It's your birthday.  You get to work and it's a ghost town.  Someone in the office circulates an email saying, "Don't forget, it's Stan's birthday today."  By your second cup of coffee, "IT" is being circulated, and you can smell IT:  the goofy "from the group" card with cartoon animals in an office setting, furtively tucked away in a colored file folder.  (And the first couple if signers get to pick the really cool looking animals.)  Often this clandestine card trick is carried off with the subtlety of a train wreck.  "Psst!  Here.  This is for Stan.  It's his birthday today.  We're having cake in the conference room at 4:00. Sign it and pass it on. And whatever you do, DON'T blow the surprise."

Let's face it, WE ALL DO IT.  And all day long, until the appointed hour of the secret party, what do we do for our buddy Stan to show him the love on his birthday???  WE GIVE HIM THE SILENT TREATMENT.  That's right!

We avert our gaze... we avoid conversations that might lead to his mentioning.... "Oh yeah, I got this tie for my birthday."  Then you're screwed.  "Oh Stan, it's your birthday today????  Golly!  I.  Had.  No.  Idea!"  (Which immediately becomes a lie when the cake comes out.)  The alternate response is even more lame.  "Oh, right. Happy Birthday, Stan.  Uh... I gotta go!"

Poor Stan.  The man's CLOTING could be on fire, and people will go to ANY length to avoid talking to him until the appointed hour later that day when it's okay to do so..... when you show how much you REALLY care about good old Stan.

"I'll bet you thought we forgot about you, Stan...."

"Yeah, sorry we didn't talk to you today.... We care about you so much that we gave you the stink-eye for 7 and a half hours so we could share this meaningful 30 minutes with you.  Oh, by the way, I'd love to stay, but do you mind if I get a head start on that traffic?"

And here's the kicker.... it's not like Stan isn't onto the whole birthday gig....  Heck, he was in charge of last week's party for Gordon in Accounting.  We ALL do it.  We do the same exact thing to everyone else in the office for the other 364 days of the year...  we think we're really being clever... and suddenly we think Stan's going to FORGET about it on his own birthday???? 

"Yeah. Okay. SPARE ME.   Today I'm Stan, and it's my fecking birthday.... Share it with me, for crying out loud."

The only saving grace through a day like today is the one person who gets it.  Who cares... who doesn't think it will give away the surprise and synthetic supermarket cake to extend a bit of human kindness to their fellow man.  That one... rare... BEAUTIFUL person who ducks their head in your office and says, "Happy Birthday, Stan!" (That person just stepped into my office and made my day.)

Today, I am going to break the chain.  Today, when the moment strikes, I will take a stand.  I will tell my coworkers that it's time we ALL cast off the shackles of OBB so we can ALL enjoy our birthdays as the good Lord intended.  When they call me for that "impromptu meeting" in the conference room, I'll be ready.  I know my duty.  I know my mission.  Here goes!

Oh... one thing before I go....   If it's a Carvel cake with those cholocate crunchies in the middle, scratch everything I just said.  Carvel cakes with cholocate crunchies are worth a day as the office pariah!
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