I’m stalling. There’s about three inches of dripping wet snow on my driveway and probably another couple of inches of the same that will be falling until tonight. I should be out there right now shoveling it. Not snow blowing. It won’t work on it. The machine is leaving the bottom inch and that will turn into an ice layer if I try it. So, shoveling it must be. But doing it twice is just too much for my lazy nature. So, I’m stalling.
I was gonna exercise but I convinced myself shoveling was more than enough of that. I read all the news. Oh, my aching head. Blather and more blather. I’m so tired of it all. I’m even more tired of the talkers on our side. And I’m most tired of listening to me!
So, I listened to some music. Some country, some opera, some old folk music. All kinds of stuff. That cheered me up. That was good stuff. It got me out of my funk.
There’s just been too much bad news lately. Local stuff. Like that girl beaten up on the school bus and those elementary school kids in Ohio who were brutalized by the black kids forcing them to pledge allegiance to BLM. Nightmarish stuff. And that synched up with Scott Adams’ statements about anti-white hate.
So, I was going to write a cautionary piece about schools and homeschooling and Florida’s new laws protecting school kids from CRT and LGBTQ grooming and all that crap but I’m too tired of listening to myself drone on. By now parents should be figuring out their options and doing something about it.
Today I want to talk about living. We get one life. These buggers are trying to take that away from us. Well, instead live it to the hilt. Cut a swath through this world. Leave your mark. Leave a trail of people who remember you and when they think of you, they smile. Think back on the people you’ve come in contact with in your life. Which ones are vivid and alive in your memory? They were the people who put something of themselves into their day-to-day interactions. Even if you were something as stultifyingly boring as a telemarketer selling children’s books if you put some of your personality into the pitch and some honesty about what you were doing you could turn this dehumanizing rote sales chore into a human interaction that both parties might look back on fondly.
I know this to be the case. Back in the good old days when I was between careers and schools I once had three different jobs going. On the day shift I was sorting stock certificates at a Wall Street brokerage house. On the night shift I was a telemarketer selling anything we were asked to sell; kids’ books, tv commercial gadgets, whatever. And on the third shift I was a proofreader at a law firm in the World Trade Center. To say that I was in a twilight existence would be putting it mildly. Depending on which day of the week it was I might be having my main meal at 6pm or 1am or 9 am. It was pretty insane. Luckily, I eventually got a full-time gig at a brokerage house.
But when I was doing the telemarketing, I was in a big boiler room operation and you could hear the salesmen all around you saying the same lines you had on your own script. And it was fascinating to hear the differences between the pitchmen. And what you could tell was that the people who approached it as a human interaction in which their actual personality was present had better success. And they seemed happier when we had our break time in the cafeteria. Now there were exceptions. There was this one guy who was a veritable machine. He never took no for an answer. His hard sell was frightening. I had it from one of the quality guys that “the machine” had been involved in a complaint where the script said, “We think (fill in the blank) is eight years old. Is that right?” and the mother answered, “Bobby died last year.” And the script handled such an eventuality with the answer, “I’m very sorry for your loss. I’m sorry to have disturbed you.” “The machine’s” answer was, “Tell me ma’am, do you have any other children that might be interested in these books?”
Now “the machine” was a great salesman but I think the auto dialer that he was connected to probably had more soul than he did. But on the other side of my cube was a middle-aged woman who didn’t use the hard sell and probably only got through 40% of the numbers “the machine” got through but her sell rate was much higher and she smiled and talked like a human being during the meal break. Now which of those two people can I remember as having an actual face and voice. “The machine” is just a droning noise and all I can remember of his appearance is that he shuffled along staring at the floor.
The sales lady was an old woman (to the kid I was) but with a pleasant voice and smiling face and someone willing to help the newbies with advice on doing their jobs and navigating the system at that office. She was a human being with a personality and took the time to make her surroundings better for the people around her. And so almost forty years later she still lives in my memory as a living being. “The machine” is just a cartoon character and a cautionary tale.
So that’s the point. A human being is an enormously powerful creature. But in order to bring that power to bear you have to find a way to leverage your talents and use them for good. That’s the trick. You have to find a way to bring your humanity to bear. And it seems like the world is making that harder and harder. But that’s what you have to do. Look at your environment and figure out how you can make the biggest impact for good. You don’t have to be a politician or a super genius or even an authority figure. Just find something useful and do it right. And treat people like they deserved to be treated. Some of them will turn out to be awful. But give everyone the benefit of the doubt to start with. Later on, you can bring out the brass knuckles. That’s my thought.
Well, that’s enough stalling. Out with the shovel. Oh, my aching back.