Tag Archives: Urge

Baby’s Gone Shopping

by Richard

Yeah, it’s Black Friday.

Normally, this is a day I stay at home, hunker down under my blankets, and try to pretend the rest of the world doesn’t exist.

For some reason, though, I’ve got this urge to get ou there and mingle with the sweating throngs of humanity. Or is it sweaty thongs? Sorry, dudes, I realize I just put in your minds the image of me wearing a thong. It won’t happen again.

Anyway.

I feel like I’m in the need of some in-person deals. I want to fight with someone I’ve never met over something I’ll never use, so I can pay a price that’s not really as great as I think in the moment.

Oh, yeah.

Oddly, that actually does sound like fun right now.

So I’m off, dudes.

To fight. To bargain. To shop and to spend. To do my part to make sure that, for this year at least, the economy doesn’t crater into the desert.

I make no promises as to whether I’ll be back in one piece. But when the urge to shop comes upon one. . . Well, it’s like Pon-Far, only with silk neck wraps instead of nerve pinches.

A geek’s gotta do what a geek’s gotta do.

Time to shop.

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Stop Hitting Yourself. Stop Hitting Yourself. Stop Hitting Yourself.

by Richard

Okay. I’ll freely admit this, dudes. One of my favorite games as I was growing up was played with my sister. Mostly it consisted of me grabbing her hand and then smacking said hand into her face.

As you might have guessed, I’d accompany this brilliant game with what passed for witty banter back then, “Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself. Stop hitting yourself.”

Hey, I was a first child. I figured it was my responsibility to teach the latecomers that life was unfair. What I didn’t know was that there were actually people out there who really would be hitting themselves in the face. For no reason.

Metaphorically, of course.

I’m talking about those masochists who keep poking at the digital wound.

If anyone should be thanked (punished?) for making masochism a household word, it’s E.L. James. But if anything can be blamed for really stoking our masochistic sides, it’s the Internet — and social media in particular.

Look, the urge to hear painful truths about ourselves runs deep. In one experiment, 87% of subjects opted to view a transcript of others making fun of them — even though 39% admitted that reading said nastiness would do more harm than good.

The flip side of that is, of course, someone’s got to provide said nasty truth. Once we get online, there’s a real strong urge to just drop all pretense at social nicety and straight get nasty. And not in a good way.

Scientists point to a variety of reasons for this: The anonymity the Internet affords, the inability to see the other person’s wounded face (and thus allow your guilt instinct to kick in) as you slip in the knife, and/or the breakneck speed of communication that discourages reflection and encourages rude, shouty, often error-riddled missives.

With all that, we still put ourselves out there, basically inviting others to get out there and start hitting us.

One of the stupidest ways to hurt yourself in the online public is by wallowing in who friends you and who unfriends you.

In short: You look like a narcissistic navel-gazer when you monitor such things — and when you actually post about using them (“@MyBiggestFan just unfollowed me 🙁 :(“). By shining a spotlight on your self-absorption, you look like a bigger chump than the former fan with his finger on the Unfollow button.

Seriously, dudes, who cares? You sure shouldn’t.

My FaceBook policy is pretty simple. If it doesn’t look like a come on to a dating service or something similar, I’ll friend anyone. If someone unfriends me? I probably don’t even notice. I just realized something right now. I don’t know how to tell if someone unfriended me. Now that I’ve read this article on CNN, I’m pretty sure I don’t want to find out.

Do yourselves a favor, dudes. Lay off the digital self-flagellation. You’ll be glad you did.

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Why “You’re Wrong” Are Two Of The Worst Words In The English Language

by Richard

Even when I know I’m wrong (and I’m not saying that’s something that happens with any sort of frequency, you understand) I have to fight against the urge to dig in, double down and create my own reality distortion field that will enable me to be right and her to be wrong.

I’m not the only dude who does this. No. It seems as if this is something everyone does.

It goes something like this: In my head, that is, my self image is that of a reasonably intelligent person who is cynical enough to not be taken in by most cons and is able to fairly evaluate evidence and remember results. That’s the story I tell me about me. And, who knows, it might even be true.

However, when telling myself that story, it necessarily precludes my being wrong. I mean, that sort of person couldn’t be wrong. I am that sort of person. Therefore, I can’t be wrong. I don’t care what the evidence says. Sound at all familiar?

No, I’m not really talking to you dudes specifically, but I’m actually thinking about every single discussion I’ve had with my three young dudes from the time just before they sprouted their first pubic hair on. Despite any evidence to the contrary, these young dudes tell themselves some really great stories about their own competence and breadth of knowledge. And we know that any person like that couldn’t be wrong. Therefore, I am an idiot and should be told so.

Yeah, now that’s starting to sound quite familiar, isn’t it?

I got started thinking of this while I was reading a blog post by Christine Aschwanden, an award-winning freelance science journalist, on a cooperative groupblog called Last Word On Nothing. She gave a talk on what she’s learned from getting mail for her science news articles. Basically it boils down to, people don’t like to be told their closely held beliefs are wrong.

Tell readers that they’re wrong about something they know in their heart to be true, and they will send you hate mail.

Narrative trumps evidence, in other words.

Instead of thinking, hmmmm, maybe I need to reassess here, what most of us do is go back and think about why we’d come to those beliefs in the first place. And in the process of doing that, we remember how great those reasons were and we end up reinforcing our original beliefs. Instead of re-evaluating, you become more sure of yourself.

Something to remember the next time you’re, just as a for instance, out at a shoe store and your 12-year-old declares that the size 11 shoes fit him just perfectly and he should get them, not the size 8 your stupid mind says he should. Facts just don’t cut it. You need to find the story that will help him realize the truth.

Of course, that probably won’t happen until after the very loud, very public temper tantrum. Sorry.

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