Sunday, July 09, 2017

Oh....You got a problem with me?!

    " I got a lot of problems with you people!!!!!!" A quote from Frank Costanza as the airing of grievances was about to begin. The group was about to celebrate "a Festivus for the Restofus."  Feats of strength to follow. (It always comes back to Seinfeld)
     We seem to have a lot of problems with "you people" today. Pick your group. Hilary - Donald, black - white, immigrant - native, liberal - conservative, Yankees - Red Sox, Stones - Beatles, crunchy - smooth. Wars have been fought over such things. Have you read Gulliver's Travels? Worth your while. The cartoon (see left) is also very cool. But I just can't be that passionate all the time. I guess that gene bypassed me. I was fairly passionate about learning to play the guitar, bass, drums..... and the whole British Invasion music scene. I was more than fairly passionate about one or two bands that I was in, women I've been lucky enough to fall in love with and cool dogs/cats I've known. Cruelty to animals can certainly get my Irish up. (It's ok. I'm Irish)  But that Abbie Hoffman, Gloria Steinem, run for political office, save the whales kind of passion.......zoom!....over my head. I think the whales should be saved. I think women  deserve equal pay for equal effort and I applaud the men and women who've made the commitment to run for political office. It's expensive, invasive and just can't be much fun. I've met a number of
politicians over the years and observed that their main job seems to be running for, obtaining and keeping political office and doing/saying whatever it takes to that end. A few have even discreetly admitted that to me.  Still, it's a commitment. And I've found that they're usually very likeable people one on one.
     In my job I meet a lot of "corporate types." At one point I was a corporate type ridin' the fast track. I realized  quickly that I didn't have the temperament, interest, desire.....passion...... for doing everything it took to climb the ladder. Thus, I've opted for a life of calm, music, the road, airports, hotels etc. Of course, it's a trade off. Peace vs financial security. Worth it?  I've recently turned sixty five. I'm not so sure. But as Don Corleone said, "This is the life we have chosen." And I'm ok with that. I have to be.
     But the corporate types I meet have a lot of problems with "you people." In this case you people are the kids coming out of college and into the work force. Millennials. I have the opportunity to have forty five minute conversations with this group and it can be.....eye opening. I've heard the word "entitled" bandied about. (I don't think I've ever written "bandied" before)  I met a young lady a while back who was fresh out of college and ready to start her career. She was interviewing with NJ pharmaceutical companies. I thought, "Well, that's a noble undertaking. Fighting cancer and other debilitating diseases right on the front lines." And thankfully great strides have been made. The cost of bringing a drug to market and the impact on the and me........ is another discussion. So I mentioned the nobility of her decision and she enlightened me with the salary range of each of her steps for the next thirty years. Enthusiastically! I said, "And you can actually change the world!" Her response? "I guess...." Her main gripe was that she had to show up every day at eight thirty to a corporate office location. She didn't think that was fair. She wanted to work from home.... ☹.  I replied, "The bastards!!!" She agreed.
     Now maybe she was the exception. Upper management doesn't seem to think so. I was in the student union at Barnard college, uptown Manhattan,  post 2017 presidential election. There was a board posting that therapy dogs would be made available to anyone who felt disenfranchised or otherwise traumatized by the results of said election. I wonder what the guys who survived the Normandy Beach landing or years in a Vietnamese prison camp would think of that. But I'm just an observer. I report. You decide.
     Which brings me to "vocal fry." You know about this? I think it started with the Kardashians. That low growl speech thing. Yes. I watched early Kardashians. Like all the reality shows it started out interesting then evolved into bad acting, ala The Osbournes and Breaking Bonaduce.  Danny and THAT was entertainment. When Danny Bonaduce skateboards down that LA hill ignoring all traffic, stops at the liquor store, pours a pint of vodka into a half empty Hawaiian punch container and downs the whole thing in one can have your "Twelve Angry Men," but that's must watch TV. And don't get me started on Ozzy trying to figure out the remote or the garbage disposal. "Sharon!!!!!!!" The vocal fry on women is kinda sexy. On young guys? Creepy.  I was playing at a local restaurant last week and overheard a conversation among two girls and a guy. The guy had vocal fry. The girls didn't. Weird......and creepy.  
     I think we owe just a little bit of props to our grandparents and parents for getting through the depression and a couple of world wars. Waddaya think? Just a little? They were a tough, resilient group. Of course, they had no choice. And we as humans tend to rise to the occasion. I hope we still can.  I've had some  tough times. We all have. But I've never been really hungry, usually had a place to sleep (even if it was a beach or the back seat of a VW) and never had to dodge bullets. Well there was some shooting in my backyard in Plainfield, NJ in 1966 but I don't think that was directed at me. (Ma! I'm on board with that moving thing now!) I've also been hearing the word "Snowflake" lately. It's amusing how all the news shows gravitate to the same hip words at the same time. Me? I wouldn't call anyone a snowflake. But if I did and your feelings were hurt.....I know where you can get a therapy dog.          Peace.

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