Saturday, July 5, 2014

Life Truths

(Life Truths is a series of shorts about interesting life experiences)

There are a lot of situations or experiences in life that you will have that are good things, good practices or just plain old common sense like the concept that one of my favourite comedians ever talked about, the late great George Carlin.

The Hot Water Heater

Simply stated, it is incorrectly named. Why in the world would you heat water that is already hot? It should be called a cold water heater since you are heating it from the state of cold to make it hot. And so the wise folks out there just call it a water heater and that takes care of that!

Well I would like to share with you some of my thoughts on Life Truths as I see them in the spirit of George (I think he was wiser than most gave him credit) and these are things that have just crossed my path over the many years.

Owning a House

You do not own a house; the house owns you, even if the bank doesn’t still own most of its monetary value. On weekends, do you get to rest and enjoy the house? Nope, cut the lawn, stain the deck, trim the trees, plant some flowers so you have more stuff to do on the weekends to keep up with the house’s needs. And vacuum the rooms you don’t use very often and move stuff to the garage that you really don’t need (the stuff, not the garage) but the house likes lots of stuff.

Work two jobs, or both parents work and ignore the kids needs to keep up with the mortgage payments and the maintenance of the house because it just likes to sit there and rot, mostly. Ever hear of a house that gets better over time on its own? It needs constant attention or it goes all crazy and gets condemned in the long run. (It’s kind of like some comedians out there. George did do a piece on advice to serial killers which I though was a little over the top. They don’t need any help, they are already really crazy).

And the house can be hard on your health if you don’t keep up with its demands so I got rid of mine. (I am single so I could do that. I know that is not too practical for a family with children). Took the money from the equity generated in the sale (aka the money tied up in the house which the bank wants me to keep paying the mortgage on for longer that the life of the house) and so I rent now and invested the rest into mutual funds and get a good enough return to live off of that and my paltry pension. So now a house will never own me again and I feel way better for that. Why do other people push you so much to buy a house? Maybe they need you to share their misery.

The World is Full of Crazy People

Your job is to avoid interaction with those folks as much as possible and keep them out of your circles and that of your family. They are everywhere on Facebook now and you can quickly figure out how to use the Unfriend option in that program.

There are people that poke holes in their faces, stick objects in those holes and then tattoo their faces and wonder why no one will hire them so they go on welfare.

There are people that beat their babies with pillows and other nut-jobs that film the person doing this shameful act. (How can a mother hurt her own child?)

There are people that will try to get you fined for collecting rain water on your property in a climate that has a lot of rainfall, but they will not fine the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas (in a desert) for wasting thousands of gallons of water daily to allow their tourist attraction to spit it into thin air numerous times a day and every day except when it gets windy I think. They will fine you for flying your countries flag on your house. You will recognize these folks as the government.

There are people that will try to take your money because they are too lazy to do the actual work to earn money and they will do this on the Internet too for the curious but not so bright people that will open an attachment to an unsolicited email and wonder why their bank account is being hacked and why they have all this junk on their computer now.

There are folks that will text message while driving or walking and wonder why they got into an accident since they had their face buried in their cell phone instead of paying attention to what they should be doing.
And you think your wi-fi is slow

There are a "gazillion" would be daredevils that get featured in YouTube posts showing complete and utter failure of their ill-planned adventures and it makes you wonder what under-performing gene pool reared those not-ready-for-Mensa-time players. Several of them may not be able to foster children after the outcome of their various misadventures which, judging by their actions, is not such a bad thing.

And the list can go on for ever really and use up your entire disk space and that of everyone else within Wifi range of a computer to cover all the crazies that are out there. Crazy is consistent with not all of it being there as well so avoid those folks, too.
Might be wise to avoid folks who need this kind of help

So your job is to find those folks out there that are not crazy and keep them close in your circle so the likelihood of you becoming crazy is greatly reduced, not halted altogether, just slowed down for now because it is more difficult to keep one’s sanity now with all the information we get thrown at us each and every day. Good friends are the rarest of prizes in today’s I-me-mine state of mind world.

Poker Teaches You More Than Just How to Play Cards

The best poker players can play the game of Texas Hold ‘em with just about any two cards, since they rely more on how they read the opponents at the table than the actual cards. There is a better time and place to use these skills and the wise player knows when to pull the trigger.

Calling a player’s bluff in poker is very much like calling the bluff of the local schoolyard bully who exists in many places now including the Internet. If you play enough war games online, you will most definitely run into that type of player and they are of all ages.

Another important lesson you learn in poker is patience. It is better to attack the other players at the table with the best hand known as “The Nuts” and setting that up properly is a key element of the game. If you only force the issue when you have strong hands, your opponents will simply fold which results in a very poor pot and you are not gaining any ground with that play.

Poker is really just another form of negotiation and anyone who uses that in their day to day work can learn more from playing poker. And that is just about everyone out there since you negotiate with your spouse, your parents, your children, your friends, your teacher, etc. etc.

The Family Get Together

“…only thing i dont like about family get togethers is the family part”. That is an exact quote I got from one of my playing friends in an online war game that we share and chat on. I call those triggers as they are great thought provokers for a writing topic.

What he is implying is that it seems his family is a lot like mine in that the get togethers are, more often than not, just a large “bitch session” and one gets very tired of those so the sooner the event is over, the better you feel when they depart.

The message he wants to convey is that it would be soooooooo much better if you talked about positive things and made every one laugh and be happy with your conversations and insights that you bring to the group. A family should be a support group and there is not much to be gained with a frequent rush of negative waves. Like my mother said, “If you have nothing good to say, then maybe you should say nothing”. She was a lot wiser than her brothers and sisters gave here credit for and she was a good role model for me.

“Oh you have to leave (thank goodness). Don’t make it so long between visits (every 10 years is Ok by me). See you real soon (I certainly hope not)”. I think a lot of us have heard this upon leaving a family get together and have also felt the feelings represented inside the brackets. Make the most of your family get togethers by trying to practice the positive messages written here. Park the negative crap!!

It’s Hard to Find a Good Boss

In all my years of life spent working for a boss, it became totally clear that not all bosses are well-equipped to be your boss. I would think 50% of them were just plain old a$$holes (yes driven by money and ego only); another 25% or so tried but they just didn’t have what it takes to do the role successfully and maybe the other 25% were just outstanding. I wish I was smart enough then to recognize that the last group would be so rare and that maybe I should have stayed in that job longer. The problem is the really good ones get promoted, move on or just retire and you also get caught in the trap of yourself getting promoted or move to another company.

Too many people get the role of boss solely based on a measurable numeric rate of performance in their previous position, like highest sales dollars. Most sales managers are just really good salesman who get the promotion and have absolutely no ability to manage people. The really should have stayed in sales where they achieved success. Maybe training and an aptitude for management might be in order but that costs more money that most companies just don’t want to spend.

A great boss is a great motivator and knows enough to leave you alone and let you do your thing which results in their department exceeding all expectations. A great boss knows when to discipline in a subtle and controlled manner and never tears a strip off of a subordinate whether that person works for him or her or another manager. A good boss is a mentor for you and will pass on many sound ideas and concepts that you can put into practice and often co-workers who have been through the paces for years are also great mentors.

So if you have a good boss, recognize it for what it is (rather rare) and do your best to keep them in that position for as long as possible because a good boss is not for forever. Trust me a “bozo” is likely to get the position when they are no longer your boss.

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