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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bulllying -- Even More Expensive!

Bullying -- Even More Expensive!


Last week we talked about grudges and how unprofitable and taxing they are to maintain.  My solution was a 24-hour Statute of Limitations.  If you don't address your tormentors within 24 hours of their misdeeds, and your detractors don't address you, AND ONLY YOU, with their grievances, THE CLAIM IS WAIVED FOR ALL TIME.  This allows you to "scrimp and save" your psyche, because it automatically dismisses issues that have grown stale.

So now let's address how bullying itself can also be expensive.  Oh no, not for the victims . . . for the perpetrators!

Were you upbraided, downgraded, belittled or besmirched?  Did someone take an undeserved swipe at you?  Does someone think it's OK to shriek and scowl with you with impunity?  WAIT TILL THEY GET THE BILL.

That's right!  Provided, of course, that you commenced your claim against them within 24 hours of their misdeeds, THEY PAY YOUR DAMAGES!  Every time they run their mouth on you, it will cost them, and cost them, and cost them, until the wake up and realize that immaturity and arrogance does return a profit.  At least not for them, that is!

Here's my suggestion of a sliding scale:

(1)  Snarky remark:  $10.00

(2)  Biting someone's head off:  $20.00

(3)  Unfeeling dig:  $50.00

(4)  Overreacting to something that results in no damage just because you were "worried":  $100.00

(5)  Threats of violence or abandonment:  $500.00

(6)  Anything containing profanity:  $1,000.00


Now wait . . . even though this blog has received very few comments, I can already anticipate the battle cries of my worthiest opponents:

(A)  WHAT ABOUT FREEDOM OF SPEECH?  I never said you should go to jail for verbal misdeeds.  You're "free" to say them -- you just don't get to say it for free!

(B)  HOW DARE YOU COMMIT EXTORTION!  Extortion?  Did I threaten to pop someone in the nose if they didn't pay?  Quite the opposite -- I'm demanding that someone pay if they pop someone in the nose!

(C)  I WON'T PAY ONE RED CENT!   If you actually consider me a friend, or better, and want to continue a relationship, you'll pay.  If you think you can maintain a relationship with anyone while abusing and bullying them without consequences, your life just got way more expensive.  Either hold your tongue, think before you speak, and behave like an adult, or you can pay for the privilege and sought-after honor of remaining a child in perpetuity!

(D)  WHAT ABOUT YOU?  SHOULDN'T YOU HAVE TO PAY FOR YOUR COMMENTS?  I, for one, have the discipline to refrain from making such comments.  Having been raised by two parents who NEVER permitted me to speak that way as a child, I am able to hold up my end of this bargain.  How about you?  And best of all, because I'm getting a payday from your lack of couth and class, there is no reason for me to get angry!

So how about it, punks?  Can you afford to be like this your whole life?  I think not.

DISCLAIMER:  The above was not meant to be seriously applied.  In fact, this was a fanciful attempt at humor.  Any offense perceived by the reader is SOLELY the responsibility of the reader, and not the author.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

It's Sunday night, and you know what that means! Click the link, comment, like, follow, whatever!

Grudges -- Too Expensive!

Good Evening, Gentlemen!

Hope I didn't interrupt your Emmy Awards, or the Eagles/Falcons game for those of you in the Philly/South Jersey area.  Just talking about the generally unprofitable act of holding onto hate, resentment, anger, or unfinished business.

This is something yours truly has been guilty of most of his life.  So who better to tell you all about how much it hurts to keep it happening!

I've had records of holding onto grudges for as long as 10 years, depending on what happened that burnt my biscuits.  Insults, slights, etc. had ways of leaving marks on me that just wouldn't go away . . . in no small part because I wasn't actually trying to make them go away.  Not only do anger, rage, fury, and hate give us a rush, they also make us too comfortable.  As long as we have gripes and issues with other people, we can be less responsible.  We can point fat fingers at these other people (or our perceptions of them), and say that it's their fault, and ALL their fault, so we shouldn't have to do anything about it, no matter how long ago it happened!

Nice try fella.

I've instituted a rule that rejects that attitude whole-heartedly -- the 24-hour statute of limitations.  For those of us outside the legal profession, let me explain.  A statute of limitations is a law stating that civil lawsuits and criminal charges must be commenced in Court within a certain number of years after the alleged wrongdoing took place, otherwise the claim is barred.  For example, let's say you want to sue someone in New York for the neck and back injuries you sustained in that fender-bender -- better make sure suit is filed within three years after the date it happened, or you're done for!  File it too late, your lawsuit will most likely get what my sister used to call, "dissed and dismissed!"  Or at least, your attorney will get dissed, with a malpractice lawsuit and a call from the Grievance Committee!  DA's, you better make sure that perp gets arrested and processed within two years of the date he gave himself a five-finger discount from Duane Reade -- otherwise he's gone!

By comparison, I'm giving myself a 24-hour statute of limitations.  If someone wrongs me, be they family or co-worker, or even someone at the next table, if I don't bring it to their attention that they've done something wrong, I waive my claim.  So if I don't bring it up right then and there, it disappears.  No stewing, no post-morteming, no woulda/coulda/shoulda either (that's annoying)!  Move on, case closed, next case!

But I'm not going to be so selfish to only use it on myself.  It also applies to any wrongs that others think that I have committed.  Have I spoken out of turn?  Did I trample on some inside joke or family secret that I wasn't "allowed" to make light of?  Did I not show sufficient gratitude when I said "thank you" only once when a full genuflecting was required?  Or better yet, did I permit the faux pas of announcing that a certain self-appointed emperor or empress has no new clothes to speak of (and the ones he or she does have went out of style in the Nixon years?)

You got 24 hours on your claim with me.  And that means you tell me, and ONLY me.  Not an intermediary, not a friend, not a relative, but ME and ONLY me.  Not in a confrontational, biting, jabbing manner, either, because you forfeit any right to redress or restitution when you run your mouth.  If I am not told, within 24 hours of my transgression, that I have harmed anyone, my obligation to apologize, feel guilty, or take responsibility for such alleged action disappears.

You can e-mail me, Facebook me, Twitter me, call me, or even talk to me face-to-face.  I won't have an eager-beaver tone in my voice when I respond, I admit, but if I'm advised of my misstep timely and respectfully, I will take responsibility.

Or better yet, gee, I don't know . . . how about commenting?  Space right down here is reserved for just that purpose -- let's have at it!

By applying this cost-cutting measure, gentlemen, you've cut the fat from your portfolio.  You've sold your dog stocks before they really went downhill, and you've "scrimped and saved" your thoughts!  Now without holding onto resentment until infinity, you can deal with problems when they arrive, or possibly first thing the next day, and NOT when someone else is ill-prepared to deal with your complaining!

More importantly, it is the best defense in your arsenal against those who air dirty laundry, scrape open old wounds, and do everything in your power to cut you down when you're on the right track to success.  You Exist, You Matter, You Belong, and You Deserve -- and that means you don't have to get brought down by untimely claims!  If someone feels like bringing up an old gripe, or even an embarrassing story from days gone by, shut them down!  If they couldn't be bothered to bring this up when it was happening, them they get NO relief from it NOW!

For a specific example of what I'm talking about, read the entry entitled "The Fast He Wanted" on my New Day blog, published September 19, 2010.

Share the word, don't forget to comment, like, and follow! 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Ten Years Later, America Still Grieves. Read and comment, please.

9/11/11 Ten Years Later

Part of this is a reprint from New Day's post from last year, but it's also updated.

At the time, I was working in-house for a no-fault insurance carrier on Wall Street. I was scheduled to attend two arbitrations in Huntington, Long Island. Physically, I was far removed from what was about to happen, but I still felt the impact.

Driving to Huntington on the Northern State Parkway, I decided to put on Howard Stern. At the time, he was still on 92.3 K-Rock, and not Sirius or XM Radio. Hadn't listened to him in some time, so I wanted a chuckle.

Howard was not joking that morning. He did let through a few asides about how frustrated he was that Pamela Anderson wouldn't hook up with him, but that was NOT the point of that morning's broadcast. People were calling in telling him that two planes had hit the WTC Twin Towers! Some had seen those planes passing overhead, some had seen the actual impact. I didn't understand what this all meant -- hadn't it already been 8 years since something happened to the World Trade Center?

Notwithstanding Howard's stature, I switched to the other stations on the radio -- surely this was either a rebroadcast of the 1993 bombing, or something entirely different. All other radio stations were reporting the same thing -- the Towers were hit, people were jumping out the windows, Muslim extremists were responsible. How the hell was this happening?!?!?!?

I made it to the first arbitration. The arbitrator had the TV news on, showing both towers in flames, yet we proceeded. Headed to the next one, my adversary was there, but the arbitrator was not.

After 20 minutes, she arrived, after pulling her daughter out of school. She explained to us both that she would not be able to adequately decide the arbitration and continued the case, exhorting us both to "go home and be with your families."

Before leaving, we briefly discussed what had just happened. Although it may be the work of terrorist, she said, it might have been an American, like Timothy McVeigh, who was behind this. I disagreed -- one week beforehand, Israel had pulled out of the World Counsel on Racism, and the US had followed suit. I opined that this was most likely the work of some Palestinian extremists who thought they could punish the US for our "Zionist" leanings. I said, "This was an act of war, nothing else. The US simply has to respond to this, or the rest of the world will think we're weak."

I called my Mom and my girlfriend (at the time) to let them know I was OK. Tried calling the office, but the calls wouldn't go through. I couldn't tell if I had to go into the office, but it seemed that just going home would be the best choice under the circumstances.

The traffic was heavier than normal on the parkways that day -- the State Troopers were out in full force. As I proceeded home, the Towers fell. Without the benefit of TV or Internet access (there were no Blackberries back then), I imagined them both falling down to one side, not collapsing in a stack. I began to fear that all of Wall Street had just been taken out.

I also got angry. I began to mutter under my breath, "Who did this? Who the ---- thought they could do this in our country?!?!?! Find them, kill them all, and let G-D sort them out!"

At the time, I still lived with my parents in Baldwin. My mother's birthday was that day, so as planned, we all had Carvel ice cream cake with my aunt, uncle, & grandmother as we watched CNN. By that time, in the evening, they had removed footage that rumored to show people in the West Bank dancing and selling candy, reveling in this lethal blow rendered by their would-be heroes. Damn them.

For the next week, there was no work. Mayor Giuliani had sealed off everything south of 14th Street in Manhattan, and that included my office. I did not know if I still had a job, or if my co-workers were safe.

Later, we learned that the husband of my mother's friend had perished during the attack. He was on the 90th floor of Tower One -- exactly the point of impact where the plane hit. We decided amongst ourselves that he never knew it happened, and we found solace in that thought. A week later, a memorial service was held in his honor at our synagogue -- it was jam-packed to the rafters.
In the following months, nobody hated anyone else. Total strangers would talk to each other on the subway as if there were no boundaries. A respect for the sanctity of life began to permeate everyone's thoughts and actions. At the same time, an enemy named Osama bin Laden, who had already claimed responsibility for the 1998 attack on the U.S.S. Cole, and the U.S. Embassy in Tanzania, appeared to have been the central figure responsible for the attack. he would follow this up with video and audio tapes decrying perceived injustices against the Muslim world, that somehow justified this mass murder. He was being protected by the Taliban, an extremist religious party that bullied Afghanistan into submission, and was a leader in a gang known as Al-Qaeda.
In a more shocking turn of events, after the U.S. began its eventual attack of retaliation against Afghanistan, it was learned that one member of the Taliban was an American citizen named John Walker Lindh. America screamed for his head as a traitor, but he was instead convicted of a lesser sentence.
Looking back, it seemed like a cross between Pearl Harbor and JFK's assassination. Like those both events, 9/11 brought our country together in a time of shared pain, outrage, and chaos. Like both events, our country emerged stronger than before. Admittedly, it did not lead to victory in a just war, and did not serve to lionize the leader of our nation at that time. But it did remind us, the hard way, that life is short and fragile. It awakened us to the reality that others in this world are so easily swayed by inflammatory rhetoric, that they de-value human life. It made us more patriotic, more G-D-fearing, and more wary of who in the world seeks us well or harm.

Today, since 9/11 happened to have been on a weekend, I had the opportunity to watch the memorial service in lower Manhattan on TV.  It's hard not to get choked up or burst into tears not watching it -- it is more depressing than a Holocaust documentary with the theme from "Platoon" as the soundtrack.  The reaction I felt today was, "How MANY people died that day?  How MANY families were hurt by these terrorists?  How CAN they all heal, even ten years after?"

Unless we individually lost someone that day, we can't know.  We can only admire their resolve, including the numerous children who read the names of parents they'd lost, some of whom were only in infancy at the time. 

Since that time, there has been a small amount of closure with the death of Osama Bin Laden on May 1, 2011.  However, this only led to mass hysteria and continued conspiracy theories.  All day long we've been waiting with baited breath over a terrorist attack that (as I predicted) never materialized.  Apparently, we forgot the healing words of our leaders in the months following September 11, 2001 -- STOP BEING AFRAID.  Go out and live as you normally would.  To do otherwise is what these gangstas WANT us to do!

The Four Pillars would not normally be needed for the last remaining superpower on the planet, but some segments of the population need it, so here goes:

THE UNITED STATES EXISTS.  We revolted against Britain to seek independence and freedom.  We grew from a weak confederation of loosely united colonies to be the strong UNITED country that we are.

THE UNITED STATES MATTERS.  No matter how much hate is hurled at us by other nations and cultures, we remain relevant in this world, no matter what they try to do to us.

THE UNITED STATES BELONGS.  The rest of this world must admit, no matter how begrudgingly, that we are needed.  To promote freedom and democracy, and to develop lacking nations into respectable countries -- if they don't want that help, it's their fault, and not ours. 

THE UNITED STATES DESERVES.  Other nations owe us respect, even if they wish they didn't.  Without the United States, the rest of the world would fall into the two extremes of dictatorship and anarchy, and democracy would become extinct.

We are the wealthiest country, we have the strongest army, and we have the fairest and justest government in the world.  Who are we to become self-hating, weak-willed people pleasers?  Because a bunch of gangstas hate us?!?!?!  LET them hate us.  LET them talk their pseudo religious trash.  LET them demonize us in their cheaply-made, amateurish videos.  Who the heck are they?

They're NOTHING.  Why give them power they don't deserve by being afraid?

And once again, my best wishes to the families of those who lost loved ones on that day, and of those first responders who met their deaths later from Ground Zero-related illnesses.  G-D bless the NYPD, the FDNY, and the PAPD.  G-D bless the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.  G-D bless New York and New Jersey, and the United States of America.

Monday, September 5, 2011

A Post in Honor of Labor Day!
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For Those Who Work Hard

Today is Labor Day.  Many of us had the day off from our usual occupations, to honor and respect the American worker.  Since I was one of them, I postponed this week's blog until now.

I'd like to say a few words about those who labor, and the respect they deserve.

There is a group of friends that I sorely miss.  They live in my hometown on Long Island, and they raise their families together, sharing good times and bad, and sometimes sharing profit and loss.  Had Hurricane Irene not rained on our parades, I would have sojourned out to the Island to wish Happy Birthday to my godson and his older brother, and to acknowledge that they will both become big brothers this winter.

When I think about hard work, the image of these boys' father pops into my head.  I have known him since we were both in the first grade.

When we were in high school, he played hard more than he worked hard.  If you knew him, you'd see he was a star.  Every guy wanted to be him, know him, or hang with him.  Every woman . . . he should be the one to finish that sentence, and not me.  :)  He was the coolest, the hippest, the funnest, and the savviest.  Point being, he brought good times with him everywhere he went, and elevated everything he touched. 

Since high school ended, this man's time to play hard also ended.  However, he replaced that effort with his capacity to work hard, which he has done ever since.  He is an expert electrician and cable installer. His knowledge requires him to traverse the entire tri-state area to wherever his work is needed, so he may support his family.  He also can handle every type of home improvement issue that suburban life can throw at a man.  And he never, and I mean never, complains about how difficult or uncomfortable it is.  In fact, even while working harder than he did as a teen, he still has that attitude that elevates everything he touches.  As a father of two, soon to be three, boys, this is the right example to emulate.

What does this mean for the rest of us?  Transference of attitude, I think.  Many of us get lazy and start complaining over our job conditions.  We tend to do so with no idea of how much worse it could be if our jobs were suddenly taken away from us, which does happen in this economy.  We are better off taking pride in the work we do and the profit it brings us.  If many of us worked the way my friend does, we might not think of it as easy.  He probably doesn't either.  You wouldn't know that, though, because he carries himself through his work as if he were still in high school.  Still laughing, cracking jokes, and showing grace under pressure when things were rough -- much the same way he did when confronted with an overzealous disciplinarian in the old academic days.  Maintaining this same posture towards adversity and difficulty is what sets him apart from other men, now and then. 

The Four Pillars tell us that we exist, matter, belong, and deserve.  They don't tell us that we are spoiled, or that effort is beneath us.  Although he's brought this attitude to work and fun long before yours truly typed out the Four Pillars, he's actually been applying them better than most people I know.  He makes himself an integral part of every project he's on, and earns respect on top of remuneration.  Such is the manner that each of us should approach our job and/or business, should we hope to succeed.

However, the spotlight does not only belong to him this week.  Although this blog is primarily meant to provide motivation for men and boys with low self-esteem, it has come to my attention that most of the people who follow this blog are female.  Not to pander or glad-hand, but in the interests of further increasing traffic, I'd like to show the example of a woman I know who works just as hard as this man, if not more.

She is a single mother of three daughters.  She was in a marriage that was not doing her family or herself any good.  She took the risk of not only ending the marriage, but also moving her family clear across the country for a better life.  This move required her to work, and to work hard once she arrived there.

This move required her to make sacrifices.  Life got less comfortable than it had been previously, and sacrifices had to be made that required her and her girls to give up the creature comforts they had previously enjoyed.  Despite it all, on she presses.

Not everyone in her family or circle of friends agreed with this decision. Some of them gave her a cold shoulder, and others reneged on promises made. Even with so much unfairness of things, she worked two jobs, or one with additional hours, so that her girls could have what passes for a normal life. She has also moved on from the remnants of her marriage to find love and respect from a man who recognizes her and loves her for who she is. She is now the modern-day embodiment of the protagonist of Bertolt Brecht's "Mother Courage and Her Children."

This woman has also used the Four Pillars without realizing it. Despite the fear, doubt, and rejection that came her way, she knows that she plays an indispensable role. She plays the primary caregiver role for her family, teaching her girls the values of self-reliance and discipline. She reminds them to learn from her example of the right choices to make and the mistakes to avoid. She teaches them that even if they may hate the decisions she makes, they are done out of love and concern first and foremost.

So let's all remember the American worker. If there were no blue-collar workers, we'd all be living in tents. If there were no white collar workers, we'd be living in anarchy. If there were no green-collar workers, our environment would be deadly. And if nobody worked, we couldn't live.

Have a good week getting back to work and school, all. And don't forget to comment, like, and follow on Facebook and Twitter!