I had this science fiction vision once. It’s the farthest corner of the universe. Two humans find themselves in an alien jail. The jail is overflowing with multitudes of strange creatures, life forms and aliens. They all have differing numbers of eyes, noses, mouths and faces. Some are sticky to the touch.
Humans are extremely rare in that part of the galaxy. But, against all odds, somehow there are two of them in the very same jail. The jail is enormous, like eight times the size of the Death Star. That’s because it’s operated as a for-profit enterprise by some alien corporation. But that’s another story.
One day the two isolated humans happen to bump into each other.
In that moment, I imagine they’d find some thread of a shred of humanity and commonality that they would cling to like a life raft in that alien sea.
Continue reading →
My blog may be an expert authority on poop but I do try to keep it classy, ya know?
Blogger Tip: A forgotten point in yesterday’s post becomes the launch point for a new post today. FTW!
So yeah, yesterday I left out a key point that probably changed the flavor of the whole thing. Well, maybe not flavor, but you know what I mean. I’m going to literally pick things up right where we left off.
And that’s the point of today’s article. I’m going to take you on a firsthand tour of the complicated world of small office politics, protocols, mores, values and norms. Just think of me as your very own amateur poop sociologist.
As you might imagine, in a small office little grotesqueries can become big problems if left untreated. That’s why they need to go to the treatment plant. It’s natural for humans to come up with way to cope in the face of unimaginable horrors.
Most of us have the sense to know not to do certain things. We instinctively feel with our gut, much like Captain Kirk, when something is bad form. But then again, some of us don’t. This post is directed at them.
Continue reading →
Who doesn’t love a healthy dose of intercourse? I know I do.
But before proceeding further, perhaps we’d better define things a bit. Possible (and germane to this posting) definitions of the word include:
(noun) exchange especially of thoughts or feelings
(noun) communication and actions between people
For the purposes of this discussion we will disregard other definitions. (Minds out of the gutter, people!)
Sadly, these days, true intercourse is such a rare thing I feel like we’ve all taken a vow of interpersonal celibacy.
So what is “communication?” Don’t answer too quickly. The question is just a bit trickier than it seems.
Ask that question of any member of genus Modern Homo Sapiens and you’ll likely get an answer like this: “Communication is when I speak and you listen.” Note the implied message here: The reverse is not automatically true.
What I learned in college is that “communication” requires four essential components:
- Sender (shown above as “emisor”)
- Receiver (shown as “destination”)
- Message (shown as “content”)
- Medium (shown as “form”)
“Medium” is the method of transmitting a message. It could be sound waves traveling from my mouth to your ear. It could be an electrical signal connecting two telephones across the country. Or it could be something like a computer disc.
The point here is that, as far as communication is concerned, all four of those components are vital. If any single component is missing then communication cannot take place.
The model depicted above, it turns out, is incorrect. Like a lot of theories, our understanding can change over time. The modern era has proven the old model of communication to be insufficient and outdated. The time has come to revise our theories.
Generation Y may be the most “bombarded” in history. Baby boomers and Generation X mainly had to deal with television. But Gen Y is faced with omnipresent cell phones, texting, the internet, and a constant barrage of new media that is close to infringing on their brains in a continually 24/7 assault.
Think 24/7 is a bit of hyperbole? An exaggeration? Think again. A 2010 poll by the Pew Research Group found that two-thirds of American adults have slept with their phones on or right next to their beds. And that number jumps to over 90% in the 18 to 29 age group.
That is an amazing poll! I would argue that never before in the history of civilization has a generation taken adopted such a completely new behavior so universally and in such a short period of time.
It used to be that self-expression was limited to entertainers and authors. The vast majority of the public limited themselves to expression in the form of tshirts and bumper sticker.
These days, the soap box has gotten immensely bigger and the world a whole lot smaller. The internet has made “publishers” out of us all. We went from a culture of consumers to a society of producers at light speed. Now we all can have our own video channels, recording studios, art galleries, photo exhibits, blogs and even interactive social networking where we are rated, respected, judged and admired based on how many “followers” and “friends” we have garnered.
In other words, there has been an intense paradigm shift. No longer do we merely and passively absorb content that is beamed in our direction. Now we actively create it.
To put it in a slightly different perspective, it is now about the “me” more than ever before.
And this is exactly where communication has taken a hit.
Your typical modern human being is so busy generating “me-based” content, that this activity has essentially formed a new and unforeseen barrier in the outdated communication model. I have dubbed this discovery the “Me-Barrier.”
This Me-Barrier is so intense and invasive, it can actually block the communication process. An excellent analogy is a person with lips flapping so loudly that their ears can no longer hear other sounds.
Gen Y, absorbed in their own culture, and raised within it since birth, is completely unaware of the Me-Barrier. They see other persons as nothing more than mirrors to be used only to seek their own reflections. Their awareness is limited to social “pinging” which exists solely to see if the other person is talking about or responding to them. If not, the person is deemed irrelevant and the person either resumes transmission of me-based content or begins searching for a new audience. In either case, the acceptance of outside input and stimuli does not take place. There is no communication.
To put all of this in context, you can look for and identify this phenomenon and Me-Barrier in daily life. Do you know someone who loves to tell stories about themselves in excruciating detail but won’t ever listen to anyone else? Do you know someone who interrupts whenever anyone speaks or attempts to join in a conversation? If so, you have just successfully identified the Me-Barrier.
Once you know how to look for it, you’ll notice that the Me-Barriers are more plentiful than you could have ever possibly imagined.
In my own personal experience, I happen to be one member of a three-person team at my job. Two members have extremely developed Me-Barriers. These function much like the guns in the movie Ghostbusters where it was strongly admonished, “Never cross the streams!” When Me-Barriers come into contact with each other, the sparks can really fly!
I can only sit back and clinically observe as these two people interrupt each other then begin an escalation in the form of vocalizations that get increasingly loud. It only takes a few microseconds for them both to be yelling over the top of the other and neither of them are listening. It is truly a sight to see. (And hear.)
Normally, identifying the problem is the first step towards working for a solution. In this case, however, I sadly see no way out. Our culture, our society, and even our entire country is at risk, due to the Me-Barrier and it’s powerful interruption of the flow of knowledge. Soon we’ll be left with nothing but drooling idiots talking to ourselves.
This is my “I” post for the April 2011 “A to Z Blogging Challenge.”
Not too long ago, it’s been three or four weeks now, I gave up on an old friend. That’s right, I no longer add granulated sugar to anything. That includes iced tea, coffee, etc. I’m trying to be healthier.
It’s been rough.
I’d been drinking glasses of water all day. Not my favorite beverage. But I was doing ok. I decided to mix it up a bit.
Suddenly I have a new appreciation for fruit juice. Go figure. After a few weeks of water, I had an apple juice and it was delicious!
So I decided to try some grape juice. I went to the store and picked up two 64-ounce bottles of Welch’s grape juice for $4.59 each. I had a coupon for $1 off when you buy two, so the actual price was $4.09 per bottle.
To stretch things further, I did some experimentation and decided that a ratio of half juice and half water was right for me. I don’t want to be buying a bottle every other day so I want to make this stuff last.
I kept one bottle at home and I took one to work. It is pasteurized and has to be refrigerated after opening. That means I had to keep a bottle in the work refrigerator.
My job doesn’t provide potable water (unless you count the toilet and/or sink) so I bring my own Klean Kanteen with water every day. And I was actually looking forward to enjoying a little grape juice to enliven my otherwise shitty day.
We all know by now how this turns out, right? If I actually dare to want something then that becomes The One Thing that will be denied to me. This is the way of things.
I went to work yesterday and there was my bottle of Welch’s grape juice, completely empty and sitting in the trash!
Out of that 64-ounce bottle I was able to actually drink about 8 ounces. Yes, for those keeping track, that works out to be about $4.09 for a glass of grape juice. What a deal!
As I sat there considering this dastardly turn of events, the boss got up, lumbered over to the fridge, grabbed a bottle of juice, took off the lid, and brought the wide-mouth opening up to his gaping maw. Gulp, gulp, gulp. Ugh, what a sickening sound.
I turned to myself and said, “I dare say, Watson. We have cracked the case!”
This was worth pursuing. I couldn’t help myself. “Say, boss,” I said as casually as possible. “Did you also drink from the bottle of grape juice that was in there?”
He wouldn’t answer the question. How telling.
Then he said, “Oh, was that yours?”
“Yes. It was.” Emphasis on the was. Rest in peace, my dear bottle of grape juice.
WAIT FOR IT. HERE COMES THE KICKER THAT MAKES THIS A TALE WORTH TELLING…
“Oh, I didn’t know who’s that was.”
Excuse me??? What the fuck?????? You unimaginable bastard!
You didn’t know who the grape juice belonged to, therefore you drank it. I see.
Words fail me at a time like this. Seriously. What can you possibly say to that?
“Simple logic, Captain. When ownership of the grape juice is indeterminate, logic suggests you drink it anyway.”
So yeah, I wasn’t really planning to talk about my new job quite so soon, but forces have allied against me. There are usually pros and cons associated with most any decision, and switching jobs was no exception. But I still don’t know, even after a month on the new job, if I’m in the frying pan or in the fire. Either way, one thing is certain. I’m fucking cooked. But more on that later.
Boy I just can’t wait to go to work today.