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Archive for August, 2011

So, recently I had an experience with someone where I was asked, very politely, to NOT write about what just happened in my blog.  They did not even want me to change the characters, or pick a different, but similar subject matter to write about, because as they put it, “Even if only you and I knew what the real story was, please don’t write about it in your blog.”  Just in case you are wondering, it was NOT my wife.  The funny thing is, this is not the first time this has happened to me.

When I first started writing this blog, about a year ago, I made it very clear that I wanted my blog to be random, with very little redeeming value.  Most importantly, I wanted to write what was on my mind.  As my friend Corey put it, I had things I wanted to say.  As a reader, I am sure that some of my blogs were good and some were bad, but all of them, for one reason or another were thoughts that for whatever reason entered my head.  Some blogs were written because of an experience, some were truly random thoughts, and some were things that I thought would be funny, but most of my blogs are not written about a specific event or person in my life, with the exception of myself, and to a lesser extent my children, especially my oldest son.  However, even my parenting blogs are more about me, rather than my children.  Nonetheless, I have a series of stories that I could have told, had it not been for my conscious decision to not tell personal stories about other people.

So, when I was asked, once again to not write about a particular event in my blog, it got me thinking:  How many times have people asked me not to write about what just happened?  I don’t know what the actual number is, but at least 20 times.  As far as I know I have kept my promise, although I have a list of stories I wish I could tell.  Maybe I will write all of the stories that I have been asked not to tell, but I just won’t publish them.  Then I will save them in a special file, possibly to be used later, when the time is right.  For example, if someone decides to run for office, or if I need a really big favor.  Is that wrong?  Probably, but I do find the idea of it very funny.  Hey Buddy, remember that time I promised I would not write about that ‘dog incident’?  And you know who you are.  Maybe you wouldn’t mind if I borrowed your car for the weekend.  Or something like that.

I wonder if reporters and columnist have to deal with this kind of thing.  Think about therapists; they must have tons of stories that they can’t tell.  Everyone has skeletons in their closets, but few people actually know where they are hidden.  Some people know where multiple people’s skeletons are hidden, like me.  I am not sure if I like that, but it does give me a sense of power.  Which is kind of cool.  (Insert evil laugh here.)

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Explain to me why people think it is OK to have a conversation in the middle of a hallway or walkway.  Why must I say “Excuse me” or have to weave through your butts to get down the stairs or move through the hallway.  Is there a reason why you can’t respect the passageway and automatically let people by?  And don’t give me that evil look when I make you move, it is the freakin’ stairway!  I’m just sayin …

 

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So, if you have NOT read the previous blog, please read it here first, before reading this one.

My wife was disappointed that in my previous blog I did not make it clear to my readers that I am NOT the person depicted in Mindreading 101.  God bless her.  You know what my first thought was to her statement?  I should go on my blog and be an even bigger a-hole and really piss off my readers.  I don’t know why, but that is funny to me.  I love things that don’t make sense.

The other thing that went through my mind is, why?  My friends know me, and they are not going to be tricked into thinking I am someone else because of a blog.  I just don’t think about things like that.  I just assume that not every reader is going to like or get every blog, and I am amazingly OK with that.  Nonetheless, in an effort to make my spouse happy, which is very very very important to me, here it goes.  I do not treat my wife like the blog, Mindreading 101 would suggest.  I do NOT need a beer to hug my wife, a shot of vodka, maybe, but not beer.  I’M KIDDING!  I kid cause I love.

I have to run.  I want to have dinner ready before my wife gets home, so she can just sit down, relax and eat.  Cause that’s how I roll.  I’m just sayin …

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So, about a year ago I wrote a blog called the Power of Words.  In that blog I discussed how words can be offensive to some and not to others.  Here is an excerpt from that blog:

“The response is also important in the power of words.  If I make a joke, or use a word that I do not think is offensive, but you are offended/hurt, does it really matter if I think you over-reacted?  This is a line you will have to draw for yourself, but for me it matters, especially for those I care about.  It is rarely my intention to offend, so yes, I think it matters a lot.  But, if you are easily offended, I would caution you to not GIVE power to so many things.  It is not a good life to lead.”

As a result of comments received on my previous blog “Mindreading 101”  I am inspired to write this blog.  It is interesting, because I am often surprised what elicits comments to my blogs.  Most people who comment on my blogs do so directly.  In other words, they do not use the comment box on the blog, but will post to me directly.  Overall comments are positive, but every so often, I get comments from readers that clearly did not like my blog.

The first blog to receive a negative comment was my blog where I discussed naked old dudes in the gym.  The negative response I received on that blog was shocking.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought a discussion of naked fat old dudes at the Y would be offensive to anyone.  I was simply relaying an experience that I have on a regular basis at the gym.  An experience that I find humorous, but clearly not everyone thought it was funny.

The second blog to receive a surprising number of negative comments was my blog on how I believed it was wrong to poop in public.  As a matter of fact, this person in response to my blog called me a “moron”.  I was shocked!  I of course responded to his comment, and then read their blog, on … you guessed it, pooping and farting.  The blog is called, He Shat She Shat and I actually recommend it.  The positive thing that came out of this altercation, is that we actually discussed the disagreement in a civil manner, and although I still disagree with pooping in public, I would have a beer or coffee with this person anytime.  I would never share a bathroom with them, but coffee, yes.  The bottom line is that disagreements are healthy, and should never be shied away from.  It is how we grow as human beings.

The latest blog to receive negative comments was Mindreading 101.  Again, I was shocked.  I think I was shocked because in that blog (and I had to read it again to remember what I said) I did not say anything new or anything beyond what you would see or hear in a sitcom or comedy show.  As a matter of fact, one commenter compared it to race stereotypes, which I do not agree with, but you can read their commentary for yourself and decide.  The reality is that we all have our buttons.  As I tried to point out in the first Power of Words, and I reiterate here, is that we often find things offensive that are most personal to ourselves.  I will give you an example:  A person I know has a family member with severe autism.  This person used to listen and love the comedy of Carlos Mencia.  If you have never heard Carlos Mencia, I will tell you that this comedian has a lot of jokes about races.  Many of the jokes are quite offensive.  Now my friend, who is smart, a wonderful person, and is in my opinion NOT a racist, had no problem with the race jokes, but did have a problem with a joke told about an autistic person.  My friend now no longer listens to Carlos Mencia.  Why didn’t my friend stop listening to Mencia after the race jokes?  Simple, the race jokes were not a personal issue to them, autism was.

Mindreading 101 was never meant to be taken seriously.  Like most of my blogs, they are for entertainment purposes only.  It is a common thing that we do, play on stereotypes.  It is probably not a good thing, but it is common.  Chick flicks rarely paint men in positive lights.  And this brings me to a very SERIOUS point about selective offense.  I think we all have to be careful to what we openly complain or show uproar about.  I would bet every dime in my bank account, that if I had written the second blog (Mindreading 251 which is about men being stupid: Coming Soon)  first, I would not have received a single negative comment about making fun of men.  My point is this:  Pointing out the wrong in writing, or speech, or behavior as offensive is a good thing, and I truly appreciate it.  But don’t be selective, and overlook other offenses, such as race, sexual preference, religion, or political viewpoints.  Wouldn’t that be the definition of hypocrisy?  To be offended by a gender stereotype, but not be offended when someone calls a Democrat a Godless tree hugger or a Republican a racist.  Or even learning about the Indian race from the TV show, Outsourced on NBC.  Something to think about.

As side note, what does it mean for society when we can no longer laugh at ourselves?  Are we becoming too serious as society where everything must be politically correct and have zero offense to all people?  I don’t have the answer to these questions, but I do think about it a lot.

So, where does that leave us?  For me, it is a formal apology to all my readers that were offended by my last or any blog that I have written, maybe this one.  I am sorry.  As I stated before, I care about my readers, and have no desire to offend you.  And I thank you for commenting and speaking to me openly and honestly.  I can’t promise that you will never be offended again, but I can promise, I will continue to try to be sensitive to my audience.  Nonetheless, I am glad you are reading, I am glad you are thinking, and I hope you are growing.

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This blog was supposed to be Mindreading 251, but based on reading the latest comments, I felt the need to write this one.  So stay tuned for the next gender-biased blog.  Hopefully it will stir up laughter rather than anger, but you never know.  I will say this, I can’t wait until I am an old retired guy on the golf course.  Because if the guys I play with (most over 70) at my home course are any indication, I have a care-free, say-whatever-the-hell-I-feel-like life in store for me.  Awesome!  I’m just sayin …

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So, this blog is going to be shorter than I want, but I simply don’t have the time to give it the time it deserves.  But, nonetheless, I must give a short lesson on mind reading.  If you are a female, you do not need to read this blog.  For male readers only.

OK.  If you are a male and you are in a relationship with a woman, I have a quick lesson to give you.

Lesson #1:  Women change their minds.  Women are always changing their minds.  As a matter of fact, women can not stay on topic to save their lives.  This is not the real problem, however.  The real issue is that the woman will change their mind, but will neglect to tell you.  I am not exactly sure why this is, but it is true.  To add insult to injury, they will expect their male partner to realize that the mind has been changed and will get angry when the male does not realize it.  So, what do you do?  Simple.  When you find your self in a situation where it is clear to you that the rules have changed; take the following steps:

1.  Take two deep breaths

2.  Recognize that at some point your woman has changed her mind about something and hence the rules.

3.  Take a break.  This can be a short break, such as counting to three.  Or you can excuse yourself to the bathroom.  Or, better yet, run down to the local pub and grab a beer, and then rejoin the conversation.  Little known fact, beer makes women easier to understand.  You probably thought it was that beer makes women more attractive.  Not true, or at least not completely true.  Beer turns on the woman-understanding part of your brain.  Scientific fact.  Look it up.  Beer also causes men to say I love you to other men.  They are connected.

4.  If you had a beer, this step will be much easier, but if not, still possible, but a little more difficult.  Try to think about what insecurity, fear, or need of support is at the heart of your woman’s new rule change.  If it is insecurity, give her a hug, and no matter what the issue is, tell her that you will always be there for her.  If it is fear, look her in the eyes and tell her that everything is going to be alright.  If it is support, just listen and give her a big l’ hug and say I got your back.

Here is the crazy part, and if you are a male, you will definitely recognize this as crazy.  If you successfully complete step four, it will solve the problem, no matter what the problem is.  WHAT!?!?!?  That’s right.  But I know what you are thinking, Brett, step 4 doesn’t address or solve the problem.  You are right.  Unfortunately, you are dealing with a species that does not deal in logic, and that was your first mistake.

Is it mind reading? Of course, not, but she will think it is and that is all that matters.  Your welcome.

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When someone says, “Hey.  How are you doing?”  What they are really saying is “Hello”.  This is at least true in the US.  I don’t know when this happened, but it is true.  No one really wants to know how the other person is doing, which is sad.  If you don’t believe me, the next time someone asks you how you are doing, actually tell them.  And not a one word answer, but give them the details of how you are doing.  Watch how quickly their facial expression changes and they change the subject.  At least that is what I do.  Maybe it’s just me.  I’m just sayin …

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