Tag Archives: Compliment

Rose-Colored Contacts

I’m more the type to yell at someone to get me another glass of water.

You do know the question to that answer, yeah, dudes. For those of you a bit slow on the uptake (no, not you. The other dude. Yeah, him. Right.) is “Are you a glass-half-full dude or a glass-half-empty dude?”

It’s a question that gets to the bottom of the nature of perception, how we see the world. Are we inherently optimistic, in seeing the glass as half full, or are we inherently pessimistic, in that we see the glass as half empty?

It’s the same glass, with the same amount of water. The way we perceive it, however, tells us a lot about ourselves. I made a little joke up there in the lead, but that’s not really the type of dude I am.

When I see a glass that’s not full, I see a half-empty glass and begin wondering who drank the other half and if the half that remains is poisoned. More pessimistic than I wish that I was.

Events bring out the pessimist in me. However, that’s not all I am.

When I face a question about a person, it’s a completely different person. It seems like I’m always thinking the best about people. If someone’s never done something before, I still believe they can do it. I’m an optimist about a person, a pessimist about people as a group. I feel like I sort of fall into the camp as outlined by the great sage and philosopher Agent K.

Had he ever existed, which he most assuredly did not, Agent K might have said, “A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.”

So I’m not alone in this.

But, and here’s the big point here, I didn’t like being that way. I didn’t like always assuming the worst was about to happen.

So I decided to change. I decided that, instead of always looking for the hammer to drop, I’m going to compliment the person holding the hammer on her lovely nail polish. Instead of ranting about the litter on the side of the road, I’m going to think about how it’s less than it’s been in years past, then I’m going to pick up all I can carry and feel better about having made the world a (slightly) better place.

My mom had a number of favorite sayings she would repeat as often as possible. One of those was something she cribbed from a radio psychologist, Dr. Joy Brown: “You can’t change other people. The only person you can change is yourself.”

And, you know, they were right. I know that there are people who bug me just by breathing. I feel my blood pounding in my ears, my fists clenching all that. But that person’s not going to change. It’s who they are.

I have to decide that it won’t bother me. And it’s more than possible. It’s actually easy. It really is, dudes.

You can decide to be more positive and you’ll be more positive. You can decide to let the little things just slide off your back and they will.

Since I’ve decided to be more positive, to see a glass someone filled up halfway just for me, I find that I’m seeing more positive things happen. Not only that, but I’m feeling like I should be doing more little things to make the world a (slightly) better place.

Instead of getting irritated that someone left their grocery cart in the middle of a space instead of putting it away just two spaces over, I’m glad I came along so I can move that one and another that’s nearby because it will make some anonymous Harris Teeter worker’s day a little easier.

It’s all in how we choose to perceive the world and the people around us.

So what’s it going to be, dudes? Are you going to be positive or negative? It’s up to you.

I know you’re going to make the right decision.

Share on Facebook

Happy Birthdays

Here it is, dudes, almost mid-August once again, and once again we only have to celebrate the one birthday.

For more than four decades, I’d know that, come Aug. 10 and Aug. 11, it was time to celebrate both my mom’s and my sister’s birthday.

Mom loved to tell the story about how when she was in labor with Tia, the doctor offered to get her to go faster so the two of them could share the same birthday. Mom, who’d already been dealing with me for almost two years and knew what a treasure alone time was, told the doctor, “No, way. I don’t want to have to share my birthday.”

And so Tia was born just after the turn of the day from Aug. 10 to Aug. 11.

We no longer celebrate Mom’s birthday, except in rather quiet and private ways. Moments of silence, unnoticed among the tumult and hubbub of general life. Aug. 10 comes and goes these days, but there’s no one to share it with, except in our hearts and our minds.

So, here I am, thinking happy birthday to you, Mom. I miss you.

Ah, but in the immortal words of some country Bard, when thinking about Tia, all I can come up with is, “How can I miss you when you won’t go away.”

Kidding, kiddo. Kidding.

Considering what a brat she started out as, she’s come an amazingly long way toward general civility. And I mean that in a good way. Or at least as good as it has to be considering she and I don’t live in the same house, the same state any more. I’m feeling safe, is what I’m saying.

Well, safe enough to get mouthy at any rate.

No, Tia is a great lady. I hope she’ll take it as a compliment if I tell her that she’s turning out to be a lot like our mom. Although why I got the gene that forces me to tell the same stories over and over again, I just don’t understand.

Tia and her husband, The Teaching Dutchman, are raising a fine pair of children, who show great taste and class when they get so excited just because their uncle is coming around.

She’s not just a mom and wife (though I’m leaving that one out of the discussion, really.), she’s also a pretty good person as well. Tia’s got a fantastic laugh, a sharp knife for puncturing pomposity and a willingness to drag her family along to do things they’ve never done before.

This post was set to be published at one minute to midnight Aug. 10, so we can have it span the two days. They might not have shared birthdays, but I’m glad they’re sharing all of our lives.

Happy birthday.

Share on Facebook

Fashion Disaster

by Richard

So, it appears that the young dudes and dudettes of today are, to put it as delicately as possible, idiots.

I know. It comes as a bit of a shock to me as well.

The latest confirmation that young people are idiots comes from the Charlotte Observer, our local paper. In the Style section, the editors ran an article trying to help young, college-aged folks fit in with the corporate crowd.

They talked about not wearing flip flops, ragged kakis or ragged jeans, not wearing a micro-skirt, not letting a bra strap intentionally show, not wearing dirty shirts or coming to the office unshaven. It talked, basically, about how to dress like a grown-up instead of a kid.

And the shocking thing was that people actually didn’t know this. Seriously.

I mean, when I was in college and I was internship hunting, I made sure to shave off the magnificent beard and mustache I’d been cultivating for years. I was smart enough to know that people looking to hire a young dude for an internship weren’t going to squee with joy when a proto-Zack Galafianakis walked through the door.

I understood that I had to ditch the jeans and wear the suit, button-down shirt, tie and lace-up dress shoes I’d just purchased from the J.C. Penney catalog.

When you’re going off to try and find a job that doesn’t require you to swing a shovel or hit with a hammer, you’ve got to dress up to the part. That should be a given.

Apparently, young dudes and dudettes dressing appropriately is a problem even when they grow up and are supposed to actually have a slightly working brain. It’s hard to get a grade-school young dude to wear long pants to a formal occasion, but that’s okay because they’re in grade school and don’t know any better. Things even out as they head into middle school and get even better in high school.

So, it seems, in college all that learning about appropriate dress gets tossed out of the brain in favor of factoring Y on the hypotenuse. Or maybe beer. It could go either way.

Another factor, I’m thinking, is this epidemic of unearned self-confidence. These kids get complimented all the time for, basically, nothing so much as they’re growing up, they end up thinking they’re the center of the universe. So, if they want to wear something, and you’ve got a problem with it, well. . . That’s your problem. Get used to it.

Either way, it’s something young dudes and dudettes need to learn. When you’re going somewhere with hat in hand, looking for a job, if you don’t fit in, you don’t get in the door. It might not be fair and it might not be right, but it is that way it is, so they need to get used to it.

Share on Facebook