Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Message #18 - Say Thank You!

Blues singer Bessie Smith said:

Some of you men sure do make me tired.

You got a mouthful of “gimme,”

And a handful of “much obliged.”

She’s right, not only about men – but about all of us.

Say Thank You!

Is being courteous old fashioned? I don’t think so.

Is expressing appreciation to someone who has done something for you and expects nothing in return a waste of time? I don’t think so.

Is it more appropriate to say ‘thank you’ to a stranger than to thank someone you see every day? I don’t think so.

Should ‘thank you’ be saved for big favors and not used to acknowledge the small stuff? I don’t think so.

If someone helps you in some way and you think it is part of his job, should you still say ‘thank you?’ Yes, I think so.

Say Thank You, Period!

This is not about saying ‘thank you.’ It’s about a way of being. It’s about how we treat our fellow human beings with whom we have contact.

The question I’ve asked about whether it’s more appropriate to thank a stranger than someone you live with is a big one. Think about it. You have multiple occasions every day to express appreciation (or not) to your partner. It’s really easy to let it go – to not bother. You may even think it is a redundant act.

If you think you deserve it, if you think what’s she’s doing is to be expected and not worthy of a ‘thank you,’ you’re in trouble my friend. Don’t take the people who are close to you for granted. The favors they bestow, the courtesies they extend to you, the actions they take to make your life easier or more pleasant, aren’t part of their job description. They don’t have to do them.

And what about you? What if you do what you don’t have to do and aren’t thanked? Should you be upset? And if you are, should you hold back or should you continue to be helpful, courteous, whatever?

An enlightened answer is ‘Don’t stop being a caring, decent human being just because some fool has bad manners.’ A more likely response is ‘Screw you. Do it yourself next time.’ A practical alternative to both extremes is to make a request that what you’ve done be acknowledged by the receiving person. This way, if you’re angry you don’t have to suppress your anger and the other person might learn something in the process.

I find that courtesy is contagious. And so is lack of courtesy. People tend to behave like those around them. So a ‘do unto others’ approach is more likely to lead to positive behavior than an ‘I’ll get even’ response.

So I’m back to where I began. Say Thank You!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Quote of the Day!

From Gail Collins in the NY Times:

Newt has framed his sexual history — the parts he isn’t totally denying — in terms of a redemption story. (“I’ve had to go to God for forgiveness.”) Everybody likes a story of the fallen man who rejects his wicked ways and starts a new life. Remember how well George W. Bush did with the one about renouncing alcohol on his 40th birthday? There is, however, a lot of difference between giving up drinking on the eve of middle age and giving up adultery at about the time you’re qualifying for Social Security. Cynics might suggest that Newt didn’t so much reform as poop out.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Go Niners!

I underestimated our local lads. A tremendously exciting and impressive win yesterday. So now what?

I shall, after 8 years, bring back from exile my two Niners caps from the glory years. They have been stored in a drawer and not allowed on my head since the humiliating 2-14 season in 2004. It was a puny and seemingly futile action to protest incompetent ownership and management in the post-de Bartolo years. In addition to putting my beloved team in the competitive toilet they were intent on exhorting and extorting San Francisco to give them a new stadium or – threat – we’ll move to Santa Clara. Good riddance, said I. No way should public money be spent to keep a for-profit sports enterprise in town. The baseball Giants built a new ballpark with private capital (and a few appropriate tax breaks). These absentee owners from Ohio can do the same – or go ahead and move.

In honor of this year's miraculous resurrection I shall – for now – proudly wear my caps. What I’ll do in 2014 when they open their new stadium in Santa Clara is not clear. Root for the turncoats? Maybe. Cheer for the Raiders – if they’re still in Oakland? Not likely. Feel sorry for the taxpayers in Santa Clara who are footing the bill for an $800 million bond issue? Ha!

In the meantime – Go Niners!

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Gentle Humanity!

Some have asked why I, a cynical curmudgeon and avowed atheist, would recommend that you spend seven minutes immersing yourself in this amazing video.

The answer is simple. This is not about religion or mindless myths followed by the masses. This is about humanity, gentle humanity, available to every person on this planet.