Rabbits Afoot

The Easter Bunny may or may not come to my house this year, but I’m not taking any chances… so I found my own Easter Eggs. The Cadbury Creme variety. Yum!  I love this time of year if for no other reason than creme eggs!  Well, that and the Spring weather which, quite frankly, seems to be eluding us this year. What the hell is up with that, Mother Nature?  But, hey, if I’m honest, it’s mostly the creme eggs.

So spill the beans everybody – what’s your favorite candy? Something you can just go out and pick up everyday whenever you’re in the mood, or are you like me, and it’s that one elusive confection that’s only available during certain seasons or in a specific place so you’re forced to turn into a sweets hoarder when you finally do see it in a market?

Escaping the Carousel of Life

There is a reason that as we get older, we like carousels seemingly less and less. This kid-like wonder we had at the round-about motion has dissipated, and if we’re honest, we’re more likely to throw up than we are to have a good time.

But why is that?

Obviously, I’m not talking about just a carousel. I’m talking about the repetitive wheel of doing the same thing every day, over and over. It’s just as nauseating, but unfortunately many of us don’t have the option of just getting off the ride.

What got me thinking of this, you may wonder. Well, I was given this artwork for a writing prompt, and all I found myself thinking about was how everyone is really looking for the same thing: happiness.

How beautiful is this idea? Creatures who were trapped, literally chained down, breaking away from the life they were stuck in.

I wonder how many days they spent on that ride, going around and around. Seeing the same things every day, unable to change. I wonder how many people they served, blissfully unaware that their lives could mean more. And I wonder at what point did they decide enough was enough.

It isn’t easy to break away—to leave a job, a home, or a relationship. Whether it’s a mind-numbing and stressful job or an abusive relationship, some things in life can strip away what really makes you you—what you love about life. So even though breaking free is hard, sometimes it’s essential.

And once you do break away, you might even feel lost. The world becomes new, open to all kinds of possibilities. Like a wild carousel horse, you get to decide what direction to go in. At first, it might just be away. It can be scary, but that’s what real freedom is like. The catch though… I mean, there’s always a catch, amirite? The catch is that jumping off the carousel and riding into your own future isn’t as easy as it might seem because … money.

Some people say that money can’t buy happiness, but I’m on Ariana’s side: “Whoever said money can’t solve your problems / Must not have had enough money to solve ’em.

If you don’t have money, it’s really hard to better your life by breaking free. I don’t mean to be depressing, but it’s true. Think about someone who’s stuck living somewhere that’s less than ideal—with toxic family members or an emotionally unavailable partner. If you can’t afford to move, well, then, you can’t. Want to leave that soul-sucking job? Without another one lined up or a bank account full of money, you’re trapped.

Winning the lottery or hell, even landing the right job can be life-changing. Trust me. Breaking free is a choice, but money can change what options you have to choose between.

I want to move out to the West Coast, I have for a long time. With the past four years, abroad has been a very tempting idea. But up and moving across the country isn’t cheap. And when there are pets and kids in the picture, breaking free and moving is even harder, especially when it’s tough just getting through from payday to payday.  But I’m sure those carousel horses didn’t find it easy to break free, either.

This picture reminds me that no matter how impossible it may seem, you can always jump off the carousel and break the cycle. If you’re like me, it may take a looooot more plotting, but I have to believe that it’s achievable, because I refuse to believe that we belong on an endless ride to nowhere.

Telling Off the Grammar Check Troll

So, the other day I was writing a blog entry (as I do), and I was using some very colorful language (as I do). Nothing out of the ordinary. However, something unusual happened.

My grammar check program called me out. That in itself wasn’t the unusual thing that happened… I often draw the ire of the grammar check algorithm. Sometimes it gets so flustered with my writing that it has nothing useful to offer in response. It’s like “yep, I got nothing.” But this time, it wasn’t telling me that I used “their” instead of “they’re” nor was it warning me that a participle was clearly in danger of dangling. No. It was telling me that some readers might find my language offensive.

First of all, I’m not out of line. You’re out of line, grammar check. How exactly am I supposed to write about assholes if I can’t use the word asshole? To be clear, asshole was in fact the word that was flagged here. I’m sorry dear grammar check, but “jerk” just doesn’t offer the same believability of tone my readers have come to expect.

I mean, anyone who reads my blogs knows how I write. Most of my readers have even come to expect colorful sentence enhancers. And if you haven’t caught on by now, well, you will.

If anyone takes offense from my fucking language, they’re on the wrong blog.

Second of all, who the hell does this grammar check troll think he is? Really, who does this grammar check troll think I am? Listen, I write, but I’m no Shakespeare.

I can’t just pull previously nonexistent elegant insults out of my ass whenever I feel like. I can’t command language with the precision and poise of the great Bard himself — and I don’t want to. Sometimes, a good “fucking” is exactly what you need to communicate your point. Yeah, okay, so that didn’t sound right, but you know what I mean. And now that I think about it, Shakespeare wasn’t all that prim and proper, either. His work was pretty scandalous for his time, and the people loved it anyway.

I get that this advice to avoid colorful words may be helpful for some grammar check users. Like if you’re writing an essay for school or working on your resume. Employers might not like to see “organized the fucking files” under the list of duties. And teachers might have aneurysms if they saw “this book was fucking great because” as an essay introduction. Though personally, I’d find that book report a hell of a lot more interesting than most – and probably more accurate to boot, wouldn’t you?

But grammar check, this is my blog. My blog. And it’s the 21st century. After what we dealt with in 2020, I think it is entirely appropriate to call some people out for the assholes they are (and don’t even try me, grammar troll!). I get that my insults are more of the garden variety and not as powerful or as graceful as they could be.

But I’m okay with that. It’s fine with me that my insults are more like homegrown tomatoes instead of wild berries. They taste and feel different, but the job gets done either way.

Sorry, Grammar Troll. I’m not interested in you’re advice. Just kidding. Sheesh, yes, I know it’s “your.” Please don’t inundate me with helpful hints. It was a joke, grammar check. A. Joke.

And yes, readers. I know that he can’t really hear me. Still…

The New Business Casual

Here in the U.S., we just hit an improbable milestone:  one year in quarantine. For those of us who had to adjust from office life to the work-from-home grind, it wasn’t easy at first. What even is the work day without an office? What about happy hour? What about lunch with my coworkers? What about happy hour? What about those gossip sessions by the water cooler? What about happy hour?

Well, I learned pretty quickly that I am just fine in my PJs all day. To be honest, I wonder why we don’t just go ahead and embrace the future and make pajamas the new business casual? When we hop on those Zoom meetings, we know damn well our coworkers are not in fact wearing pants. They threw on a shirt and the rest of the so-called outfit be damned.  Out of sight, out of mind, as they say. At this point, are we even sitting at our desks all day? Probably not. So, why don’t we get rid of the office altogether and work from home in our robes forever?

During the last year, a lot of businesses realized they could do just fine – or even better, without the office setting. Working remotely was always a good business model, it’s just that now the corporate powers that be are starting to appreciate it.  Working from home keeps employees happy and happy employees are loyal employees, and loyal employees are long-term employees. Allowing folks to work from home reduces overhead, ensures talent longevity (a cost savings in itself), and it’s surprisingly productive. Though, maybe not all that surprising after all.  Offices can be inefficient, productivity-killers, especially with old-school managers and their outdated management styles at the helm.

Maybe too, as the talent, we’re starting to realize we don’t have to tolerate the daily grind. Were you afraid to apply for that job across the country before? Well, now not only can you apply, but you might not even have to move. Working remotely has made workplaces more inclusive, and they can hire from anywhere. You’re also going to save a bunch of money if you continue to work remotely. No more commuting, buying business clothes or going out to lunch every day. No more ‘happy hour’ with those coworkers you hate, either. Okay, well, maybe we’ll keep the happy hour.

In the before times, many people spent at least an hour commuting to and from work. Not to mention getting up early to get ready to go into the office and face other human beings all day, every freakin’ day.  Spending less time preparing for and getting to the workplace gives us more time to do the actual work. And at the end of the day, it gives us more down time.

When you’re working remotely, your office can be anywhere. You can decorate it however you want, and when things become safe again, you can pack up those pajamas and hit the road for some travel without taking any time off. The world is your office when you’re working from home!

If you’re chomping at the bit to get back into the office, good for you. Working from home definitely isn’t for everyone.  For those of us who have embraced a life of robes and slippers with no commute, we hope work from home is here to stay.

Stupid Games. Stupid Prizes.

This post was originally written way back in 2014.  I thought it was worth revisiting. Not because the show in question was re-aired recently but because in a general conversation I was having with someone this week, they mentioned that they’d like to travel to another country and they gave the exact same answer mocked in this very postBefore you roll your eyes at me and make excuses for them, you should know they live in the United States just like me. I weep for the future as we descend ever deeper into the plot of “Idiocracy.”  

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Family Feud, Where Facts Need Not Apply…

Sometimes the best way to win a game isn’t by swinging for the fences every time. Occasionally getting an answer “wrong” turns out to be the best way to the top of the leader board. It’s called strategy. Having trouble thinking of the kind of game that would reward not getting “correct” answers? I have one for you that my daughter and I would absolutely demolish if we ever got picked to participate.

Family Feud.

Not only are our minds deep, vast reservoirs of completely useless information, but we also understand how stupid the human population can really be. That’s really the key point that would give us an edge on the show we love to binge-watch. You see, Family Feud is not based on correct answers, it’s based on what other people think are correct answers.

If you’ve ever watched TV since the 1970s you’ve probably caught a show or two and know how it’s played. But just in case, here are the rules: 100 people are surveyed on pointless questions (If your house caught on fire what would be the one thing you’d save? What are the most relaxing things to do on vacation? When you get on a plane what is one of the first things you do? On a scale of 1 to 10 how pretty do you think you are without makeup?) On one episode I saw, five (yes, five) of the 100 people answered a question thinking Hawaii was a separate country. The question was this: Name an exotic country?

Now it bears repeating… five people (presumably Americans) out of 100 thought Hawaii was a country.

So you see how my daughter and I might etch out some wins. To succeed at Family Feud, you can’t simply give answers that make sense, because as it turns out, not all of them will. What you want to do is give answers based on what you think 100 people off the street might say. Doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong, just that someone said it. For instance, name an exotic country. Answer: Hawaii. Yeah, we know that’s not true, but according to the survey that doesn’t matter. A wrong answer can garner you $20,000 and a brand new car.

And this is our strategy for winning. Don’t presume that everyone roaming around out there isn’t grossly misinformed about the world they’re living in. Sad, but profitable.