Warning: Soapboxing ahead! Rocks are three bucks each, no refunds if you miss.
Everyone has had their share of crappy jobs. Among other things, I’ve delivered pizza, worked in a pawn shop (most interesting job ever!), and sold games in a mall. Lots of people have jobs like this for one reason or another, and by and large, they can be trusted with whatever small of amount of responsibility they’ve been entrusted with.
They don’t cheat on their timecards, they don’t stick a paw in the till, and they don’t walk off with free goodies when they leave. But what they do, some of them, and you know who you are, is half-ass around like a kid who’s told to clean his room, then stick out a hand for a paycheck.
This is about working the drive-through window at a fast food joint and rolling your eyes at the guy who’s order got butchered. It’s about being that cashier who’s talking on the phone and can’t be bothered to ring anything up until they find out what Miffy said to Tad. And of course, the bagger at the grocery store that is so busy chatting up one of his coworkers that he never notices that he’s putting cans on top of your lovely bananas.
It’s not the end of the world if you don’t treat picking up butts in the parking lot as your life’s work. But if you’ve ever tried doing it well, day in and day out, you know it’s pretty damn hard. It’s hard to do something you don’t care about and don’t want to do, simply because you’re responsible for it.
Do it anyway.
It’s like exercise. You work through the pain and you get something in return. In this case, it’s the ability to follow through with your own life. That song that you like didn’t fall out of thin air, that novel didn’t write itself, and that game wasn’t delivered overnight by the code elves. Somebody worked at learning their chosen craft and sweated blood over it. The ability to follow through on your plans is hard won.
Without it you’ll never be able to roll up your sleeves and do that thing you dream about when nobody is looking. Not forgetting the fries isn’t hard, and in the end, you get more out of it than the happy guy in the drive-thru.
Gather ’round O Men, and try to pay attention. Herein lies the secret of…The Look.
The Look cannot be given by a man. This may seem unfair, but let’s face it, we men don’t have to eject something the size of a football through an opening the size of a lemon. The granting of this power is what the Universe calls Justice.
The Look can stop a person in their tracks, stun small children into obedience, and generally turn the average male into a sock puppet. I know, I have the button eyes to prove it.
In contrast, The Eye is just like the look, but with a huge dose of Chi slathered on top of it. The Vorpal version, if you like. Not all women can give The Eye. The horrible truth is that only the most desirable, smartest, and coolest women can do it. That perfect creature you have your sights on may very well be chock full of Power, so tread lightly.
The Eye is not only more powerful than The Look, but it can be used over the phone. It may be usable over E-Mail, but I’m not eager to find out. YOU try it, and if you are able, let me know how it worked out.
Let me give you some real examples of The Eye in action:
A cable repair guy told my friend’s wife that he would be over at a certain time. Five hours later he showed up. He recieved The Eye and a verbal beating. He was in his thirties and he cried. This is a true story.
A salesman told my wife that the washing machine she just bought would be delivered in 3 days. She told him to check his stock because if he couldn’t deliver she was going elsewhere. This was a clear warning sign. He didn’t check. On the third day, there was no machine. The wife called. The Eye was given. The next day a new washer was delivered. It was three (3!) models upgraded from the one we paid for, and came with a heartfelt apology. This is also a true story.
It is your duty to pass this lore to the next man you meet. May you live happily ever after…and not get caught doing it.
Like many of you, I’m something of a stickler for accuracy when it comes to Sci-Fi. I enjoy pointing out the odd foible as I exit the theater, and I confess to many an eye-roll while reading some poorly researched foray into the average Quantum Adventure Novel.
But I recently had an epiphany, and I wanted to share it with you. You’re welcome, please send money.
For our purposes here today, I’m going to assign each of you sophisticated, jaded readers two brains. One Modern Brain, which is full of coffee and code, and one Monkey Brain who’s job it is to keep you from getting eaten. Don’t underestimate the Monkey Brain, as its job is also to get you laid. At that point, the Modern Brain can kiss my ass. But I digress.
I want you to recall, many misty moons ago, when you saw Star Wars for the first time. Remember in the very beginning, after the giant slab of InfoDump serenely moved off into the distance, how that Big Ass(tm) Star Destroyer passed overhead, rumbling like an avalanche? Do you remember the dopplered whine of the Tie Fighters zipping past the camera during the later space battles? I do, and I remember two things that happened to me at the same time.
My Modern Brain leaned over to my companion and sneered, “Sound can’t propagate in a vacuum, what were they thinking?” But at the same time my Monkey Brain was screaming, “JESUS H CHRIST! THAT THING IS FUCKING HUGE! WHY ARE WE STILL HERE? GET UP OR WE MAY WET OURSELVES!” and “DUCK! DUCK! DUCK!”.
Monkey Brains love spaceship rumbles. They don’t know about vacuums, but they know a crapload about judging the size and speed of something from the sound it makes. (The exception to this is the Cheetah, which sounds like a small kitten and is quite capable of producing monkey chiclets anyway.) And the best part is that they share this information with you whether you want them to or not. Without this bit of input, my Modern Brain, having no scaling information in the frame, would have no way to tell how huge the ship was. That majestic moment would have been lost on me completely.
Of course I was too busy sneering at the time to thank the Monkey Brain.
I went along like this for years, until the night that I was rescued by The Little Mermaid.
Some friends and relatives were all gathered together for the holidays. Someone’s children had gotten a copy of Disney’s The Little Mermaid for Christmas. There’s a large musical number in the beginning that features Sebastian the Crab singing and dancing like crazy. After his performance he stalks off to do his master’s bidding, and someone, we’ll call him Sparky, bellows out the following information:
Crabs don’t walk like that!
Silence. Heads turn. Eyes roll. Now, strictly speaking, while this is true, they don’t SING AND DANCE either. And I opened my mouth and said, “You’re missing the point!”
And as those words left my largest head orifice, I realized that I had been missing the point, and harpooning exactly this kind of thing for decades.
Alas, I suck.
The next time you find yourself about to pick that nit, just take a deep breath and let your Monkey Brain thrill to the rumble of huge spaceships as they tow that 50 zillion tons of gravel across a tin roof, or whatever the fuck it is they do that makes that noise.
Your brain, and one very talented little crab, will thank you for it.