Tag Archives: Truth

Word Of Mouth

How do you know that what you want to buy is any good?

If you’re buying something from a nearby brick-and-mortar store, you simply go there, take a look at it, heft it in your hands and get a feel for the object.

Then you go back home and do the same thing you’d do if you were buying the object, sight unseen, from a store on the internet: you look it up and start reading reviews.

I realize that there are some folks out there who are making a mockery of the review system, in that they are either hiring people to write glowing reviews of their product or scathing reviews of the competitor’s product, but I can’t think of a better system — when it’s not being gamed — for getting the unvarnished truth about a product.

Purchaser reviews are like talking over the backyard fence to your neighbor about her new lawn mower, or asking your cubicle-mate at work what he thought about that new Ethiopian restaurant downtown. You get to hear what each dude or dudette really thinks about the purchase or the food or the service.

You know that the person you asked isn’t being paid to speak only in glowing terms about the new nose-hair trimmer she just purchased. If you trust her, then you’ll trust her opinion of the nose-hair trimmer.

The internet, however, is a bit bigger than only your neighborhood. Odds are, you won’t know who the person recommending a product is, but you can be reasonably certain they are reviewing this under their own initiative, not because it’s their job to shill for Company X.

This came to mind last night, when I received a note from Amazon.Com that my review had helped another customer decide to purchase an item I got for Hyper Lad. It made me glad because, for a long while, I’d been reading reviews, but leaving hardly any.

That is just bad form.

See, you might recall that I’m a writer. (See A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook by Richard Jones and Barry Robert Ozer, on sale at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com, Powells.com and fine brick-and-mortar stores everywhere for proof.)

Since the book came out, I’ve been begging people to read it and then leave a review on Amazon or Barnes and Noble or anywhere they think others will see the review. The more reviews we get, the more people will see it, the more people will buy it, the better I’ll feel about the whole thing. (Which might not be all that important to you, but is oddly high on my list.)

I still don’t think we have enough reviews, but as I was brooding over that, I realized that I wasn’t holding up my end of the bargain. That is, I wanted reviews, but I wasn’t giving reviews.

Now, I understand there’s no big review toteboard up in the sky that ensures if you leave a review, you’ll get a review. But I thought maybe it was time to practice what I preached.

So I’ve been going back and leaving reviews for most of the items I’ve purchased from Amazon.com and other places. It’s taking a long, long, long, long, long (I like to buy things on the internet instead of searching for them IRL), long, long time. But I’m sticking with it.

And I think you should as well. I know you dudes and dudettes have read the reviews others have left, but have you left one in return? If folks don’t keep leaving reviews, the system breaks down and then we have to depend on the paid flacks for their not-so-honest answers.

No one wins when that happens.

Do your part, dudes. Buy a product? Write a review. Read a book? Write a review. Watch a movie? Write a review.

It only takes a couple of minutes. You’ll be glad you did.

You can always start here, reviewing A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook by Richard Jones and Barry Robert Ozer. Just a thought.

Share on Facebook

Walking The Walk As A Role Model

Actions scream louder than words.

So clichéd, but so very true.

You can tell your little dudes all day to be honest and always tell the truth. However, when they see you lie your way out of a speeding ticket, or tell your boss you won’t be coming in that day because you’re *cough* not feeling good, they will learn from your actions and not your lectures.

You, all right? I learned it by watching you.

As goofy as that PSA is (and, really, can we take anything seriously when there’s that sort of mustache in frame and it’s not being mocked mercilessly?*), there is a good point buried beneath the moralizing and hippie-hate.

In fact, let’s add on another couple of clichés that might have something to say about the matter: Seeing is believing. Monkey see, monkey do. I’ll believe it when I see it.

Young dudes and dudettes are sponges, by which I mean that they soak up the world around them, internalize what they experience and then squeeze it back out into the world through their own nascent personalities. Not that they’re yellow, with holes in them and live in a pineapple under the sea. Although I would have thought that would be self-evident.

Moving on.

Once they get past toddlerhood, most young dudes and dudettes experience their parents’ words in much the same way that we experience the words of an adult in a Charlie Brown cartoon.

“Waaah, wah-wah waaahh wah-wah wah wah.”

It has about all the semantic content of a bag of broken bricks.

But those eyes. . . Those eyes see everything.** Those ears hear everything.°

And we all know from experience (The one time you say the unmodified frak in front of your young dude, it’s what he’s going to remember and repeat. Again and again. In front of your in-laws.), that they will catch you in a contradiction. There’s no question about it. Do what you warned them not to do and they will call you on it.

Personally, I find the old excuse that we’re allowed to do (whatever it is) because we’re adults to be somewhat lacking in conviction. Lying — for the most part — is wrong no matter the age. It’s only as we get older that we begin to justify as a social necessity the idea of shading the truth.

I mention all this because, right now, I’m having a hard time showing my young dudes the right way to attack life and I fully understand the consequences of blowing this one.

Footnotes & Errata

* No. No, we can’t. That is a seriously scary mustache.
** Except the pile of freshly laundered, dried and folded clothing at the bottom of the stairs waiting for them to take up and put away.
° Except our voices when we’re asking them to take out the trash, or clean up their room, or to clean out the food mouldering under their bed.

Share on Facebook

Lego My Movie*

Build your own world.

That’s what I love about Lego bricks. You grab a bunch of plastic slabs of all sizes and shapes, start smacking them together and you can make, well, anything.

Of course, most of what I made consisted of large plastic brick-shaped things of varying thicknesses that I pretended were something else because I’m not really all that good with creating stuff out of interlocking plastic bricks. Still, I understand that there are people who are pretty good at that sort of thing.

They’re probably the ones who got hired to help make The LEGO® Movie. Yes, there really is such a thing. And, to tell the truth, it looks AMAZING!

It’s not an hour and a half of little dudes and dudettes sitting around looking for the yellow brick. No, not that one. The one with the six bumps. No, that one has a square end on both sides, you idiot. I’m talking about the one with the slanted off- Yes. That one. The one you were sitting on the whole time.

Because, frankly, that would be stupid.

This The LEGO® Movie is a whole lot better looking than that second paragraph back. I started laughing out loud several times during the trailer and that’s always a good sign. And Batman is funny. Really funny. Who’da thunk it?

As a parent, I’m giving ya’ll this heads up so you also can be ready to withstand the barrage of “WANTWANTWANTWANT!” when the movie finally comes out. This way you’ll know what the little dude is screaming about and you might even be just as geeked up to see the show.

I know I am.

*That’s two. . . two pop-culture references in one.**
*And that was a third.***
***That one was just a postscript. No references about it. Sorry. Don’t know why I included that one. Or this one, really. Guess I just got on a roll and couldn’t stop myself. You know? Yeah, right. Probably not.


Share on Facebook