Tag Archives: safety

And The Race Is On

Halloween is coming!

It’s inevitable. In a bit more than a fortnight, goblins and ghosties and ghoulies will roam the streets of almost every city in America and parts unknown. Candy will be demanded and given.

Tricks will be played. Treats enjoyed.

And I will be stuck at home.

For most of the last two decades, I’ve been able to hit the streets with one, two or three of the young dudes as an excuse. That is, they dressed up and headed out to Trick or Treat and, for safety’s sake, they needed an adult to go with them. Not that I wanted to go, you understand. But for the good of the kids.

And, if I had to go out, I probably needed to wear a costume of some kind so I would fit in. Surely you don’t think I would be wearing a costume because I like wearing costumes? Don’t be silly.

This year, though, I just don’t see it happening.

Sarcasmo and Zippy the College Boy are both too old to require a chaperone and, even more difficult to swing, they’re both far out of town on Halloween. For the last few years, I’d been pinning my Halloween Hopes on Hyper Lad and, for the most part, it’s been working.

That comes grinding to an inglorious halt this year, I’m afraid.

I’ve talked to him again and again about Halloween, asked what he wants to have for a costume, if he needs any help coming up with something to wear, or help creating something for the costume. All I got was a condescendingly incredulous stare that spoke volumes, mostly on the topic of “Just How Young Do You Think I Am?”

It was a horrible read, that volume.

Which means that I’ll be at home. Even worse, I had thought I’d be able to stretch one more year out of the costume chaperone thing so I didn’t actually plan anything else. I mean, I enjoyed years of post-costume Halloween fun before I started going to dress-up parties by dressing up our house and trying to scare the costumes off of any kid that dared to walk onto our yard.

I’ve got some good ideas, dudes, but I’m not sure if there’s enough time to pull it all together.

Although, I think I might just have an idea here. I’m thinking the Old Living Statue trick. Get a comfortable chair, dress up a bit, with some make up and maybe gloves, sit down in said chair and then put the candy bowl in my lap.

When someone walks up to the bowl, don’t move, don’t breathe, don’t blink. Get lots of questions and people trying to guess if I’m a doll (aren’t I, just?) or a person. Then, when they’re least expecting it. . .


Ha, ha, ha, ha! Is there anything better than scarring and scaring a young child? I don’t think so.

Who cares if Hyper Lad thinks he’s too old to go out Trick or Treating with his dad? I don’t. I’ve got other fun stuff to do.

But I need to get a move on. The clock is ticking.

And the race is on.

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. . . To Unintended Humiliation And Consequences

Anonymity does not exist on the internet. Search hard enough, search long enough and what you seek will be found.

Because everything you ever put up on the internet, at whatever time you put it up and wherever you put it up. . . It’s all still out there for anyone with a little diligence to find. No matter how stupid. No matter how embarrassing. It’s all still there.

Which is bad enough when you find a picture of your little dude or little dudette acting like an idiot, but it’s even worse when your cherished child tries to get hired for a job and has to explain away a series of pictures of him smashed out of his gourd on questionable substances and then bragging about it to all his friends.

Let me give you dudes a little example. Zippy the College Boy had been taking to venting to his Facebook friends whenever he was upset with his mom or me. At one point, he’d even told one of us to. . . well, let’s just say it wasn’t nice. Eventually, he apologized for “saying” that, but not for the forum in which he expressed his anger-fueled views.

And that’s the problem. Then, he didn’t see that what he said in anger on a public forum could ever come back to haunt him. At which point, I asked him how he would explain this certain passage to a future employer.

“Oh, please,” he scoffed. “They’d never find it. I mean, do you know how many (Zippy the College Boy’s) there are out there?” (At this moment, I should probably state for the record that Zippy the College Boy is not his real name. I know. Bit of a shocker, but there it is. During this conversation, he used his real name, which is a bit more generic.)

He actually thought there was safety in numbers, but he forgot one important detail. When he is applying for a job, when anyone is applying for a job, the prospective employer will be requiring important personal details like birthdate, place of birth, social security number, etc. etc. With all that info, it’s an absolute snap to find the right you and see all you’ve been dumb enough to post to public and whoops-I-thought-those-were-private fora throughout the years.

Think before you post, especially if you’re looking for a job. Seems like common sense, doesn’t it? Yet despite all the advice and warnings to be cautious with social media, job applicants continue to get burned by their online profiles.

Many companies now search candidates’ social-media accounts to get a better feel for their personalities, to see if they have creative flair, and to find out how well they communicate. 

Vanessa Wong, from Bloomberg Businessweekposted a great column on this a while back. She talked about a recent survey of more than 2,000 hiring managers. According to the survey, about one-fifth of the respondents said the applicant’s social history actually helped them to get a job.

More often, though, it backfires: 43 percent said they found information that led them not to hire a candidate, up 9 percentage points from last year. That trend means either that more job applicants are behaving badly online or that human resources is getting stricter in sniffing out problems.

Among the problems these hiring managers mentioned: racy photos, boozing photos, horribly written posts, intolerance, evidence that shows the applicant was lying about qualifications, and crazed ranting (hello, Zippy the College Boy!).

They’re all bad news when you’re looking to be hired, but that last one. . . Hoo, boy. Imagine you go off on your current boss on Facebook or Twitter. And then your next prospective employer reads about it. Do you think she’s going to want to hire someone who takes such savage glee in roasting an employer? Most likely not, yo.

Parents, don’t panic. This simply is another part of the online privacy conversation we talked about yesterday.

We’ll talk more about that not-panicking thing on Monday.

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Stop Signs Are Not Suggestions

When you see an octagonal, red sign with the word STOP written in big, white, bold letters standing tall on the side of the road, the correct behavior is:

a) Laugh and speed up
b) No cop, no stop
c) Slow down, look carefully to see if there are any people or pets and then speed through intersection
d) Tap the breaks once, slightly, then continue
e) What stop sign? Was that what that text was?
f) Actually come to a complete stop. Make sure it’s safe to go and then proceed.

Unhappily, the answer to that question might come to a surprise to a lot of people.

If the sample size by which I’m going is indicative of the population as a whole, most of them seem to believe the answer is anything from a) to e).

Yeah, I’m getting a bit touchy about the whole thing.

There’s a stop sign at the intersection of our cul de sac and the slightly less minor road that connects us to the outside world. The stop sign is at the top of a hill on the connecting road so there’s reduced visibility going both ways. That is, as you’re approaching the stop sign, you can’t see what’s happening on the other side.

And, yet, people just blow through that stop sign like it’s not even there.

There are at least 10 little dudes under the age of 10 living in a very narrow radius of that stop sign. These are kids without the normal ability to think their way out of a paper bag or notice a nuclear explosion going on if they’re busy doing something else. They’re kids.

But these deadly drivers just don’t care. It’s more important that they save the several SECONDS it would take them to actually stop at the sign than it is to worry about the safety of the people, kids and pets who actually live in the area.

It drives me absolutely bonkers when this happens.

Heck, last year while a group of six kids were waiting right next to the stop sign for their bus, I was out walking Buzz, the garbage disposal who walks like a dog, when a car pulled near the stop sign. It didn’t stop. So I stepped in front of the car, intending to force it to obey the law or hit me.

The jerk driving the car still didn’t slow down. He drove around me, rolled down his window and began loudly cursing at me for being in the way. It was only because I didn’t want to set an even worse example for the kids that I didn’t hurl the package of dog poop I had in my hand through his open window.

But it was close. Oh, so very close.

So here’s the big takeaway, dudes. Especially in a residential area, those stop signs are there for a reason. If you’re so late that the extra seconds you’ll gain by not stopping will actually matter, then you’re too late so you might as well slow down and get there safely.

STOP at the STOP signs, folks. Don’t be the driver who blazes through the sign and then hits another car or a person. You’re not that dude.

Don’t be stupid: Stop at the sign.

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