Tag Archives: Perception

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.

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Dating Like A Teenager

by Richard

I’ve got a theory about dating. Yeah, dudes, I know. I haven’t been dating for more than two decades, but that doesn’t mean I can’t think about it.*

This all came out of a discussion with Pitt and Mike, a couple of friends of mine who are a) on the way to getting divorced and b) long divorced. Both men are back in the dating pool and have joined several meet-up groups. The problem is they keep meeting up with women who — to the perception of Pitt and Mike (and me as well, when I get the skinny on the dates) — keep acting like they were in high school.

These ladies will tell someone else to tell someone else that they like a certain someone. Even in this age and day of enlightenment and equality, Pitt said, one lady told him (paraphrasing closely), “If I do on a date, there’s no way I’m paying a dime. That’s the guy’s job.” And this was a woman with a good job who was doing well.

It’s a lot of back and forth with a lot of the behavior trending toward immaturity. That’s when I had a flash of insight. What I think happens to people who get married is that their dating styles and expectations freeze where they were when the stopped dating.

Their dating acumen ends as soon as they get married. Sure, they might go on dates with their spouses, but it’s not the same as meeting a stranger, feeling them out (not up) and then deciding if you want to spend time with them. So their dating acumen is stuck at wherever it was when they got married.

If they married in college, they (and I’m talking dudes and dudettes here) will tend to see dating through the lens of a college student. What was acceptable then is so now. What didn’t pass muster then, doesn’t do it today.

I really think this is what’s going on. And not just with the ladies Pitt and Mike are dating, either. Although I didn’t mention that to them when we were talking. (Here’s hoping they don’t read the blog.) I get the feeling this is a cross-gender issue.

Of course, having identified the problem, I’m not sure there is anything that can be done about it. Unless, you, the dude or dudette reading this is, in fact, one of those who married young and is recently divorced. Then you could take a look at your own behavior and see what you can do to drag your dating self up to your actual age.

Or, if you’re going out with someone like this, just realize what’s going on and make allowances.

I’m just glad I’m not out there having to start dating all over again. I’m not sure if my body could hold up to an endless round of keggers and pizza. Still, that’s what you’re supposed to do on a date, right?

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Saturday Snickering: Kerning

by Richard

If it’s Saturday, dudes, that means it’s time to look for a good laugh. As I do so many times, when I’m jonesin’ for a laugh, I head over to read a little xkcd.

A stick-figure one-frame cartoon about romance, math, geeks and other stuff, xkcd is a very strange place, indeed. But it’s my kind of strangeness.

As a former reporter, current editor, and a current writer, I’m more than a bit familiar with some of the intricacies of typesetting; how the choice of font can change the perception of a piece of writing, how the words are laid out on a page can destroy a mood you’ve set up masterly with the writing.

All of which meant I was a sucker for the following cartoon.

Kerning is a relatively simple thing: all it means is adjusting the spacing between letters or characters. Bad kerning can take a good piece of writing and make it trash in my eyes. It can turn an informative sign into a red-hot poker swinging at my eyeballs.

And, for the most part, no one else gets it. Unless they’ve been similarly afflicted. Any time I start ranting about bad kerning or a sign having incorrect grammar or spelling, the folks I’m with will start edging slowly away until they get enough distance to feel safe when they turn around to run. That doesn’t bother me. I’m usually too busy ranting to notice I’ve been deserted.

The worst part of that? I’m not nearly as bad as some people I know.

It’s just once you know what to look for, bad kerning is everywhere. And the more you see it, the more it annoys. Well, I don’t know about you dudes, but it works that way with me.

Oh, geez. I just realized I might have infected you. Nah, I’m sure you dudes are made of sterner stuff and won’ t let that sort of thing start to bother you.

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