Curing 30 Years One Month At A Time

January 11, 2009

Silly Opie, Drive-bys are running rampant in Mayberry…

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — 30tocure30 @ 5:45 pm

 

Ice Cube Needs To Set Opie Straight...

Ice Cube Needs To Set Opie Straight...

Awe shucks Opie, here is 5 cents go buy yourself a soda pop.  How did you become so naïve? I am thinking mercury was in the lake Andy and you spent all that time fishing around. Perhaps Aunt Bee put some extra ‘special’ ingredients in her delicious brownies that eventually fried your brain. Maybe you started to believe all those foolish tales Barney Fife told you.

You have to understand that Mayberry is a thing of the past. The sunny streets of southeastern North Carolina are just as dangerous as the gritty sidewalks of Compton, CA. No longer do people only named Doughboy, Ricky Baker, Mad Dog, Dooky, Furious Styles, Monster and Yo-Yo have to watch their backs on the way to the convenience store. Alexis, Charles, Buffy and James are just as vulnerable when they are heading to Abercrombie & Fitch. Living in the ‘burbs provides someone the same chance of being a victim of a vicious drive-by than growing up in the hood.

Don’t believe me? What if I told you that I witnessed with my own eyes a grand total of 52 drive-bys in a single 24-hour stretch? No need to worry. The victim in every incident survived, but was obviously startled over what they just experienced. I should know because I was the one getting shot up like Swiss cheese.

It might help to explain the weapons of choice were not bullets, but a quick shot of four small words. Yesterday, I managed to endure a barrage of vicious “hey how are you?” drive-bys. This social incident occurs when someone utters this phrase without even stopping to wait for a response. Here’s an example: lets say you are having one of those days where the clock hasn’t hit 10am and all you want to do is crawl back in bed, pull the covers over your head and start over. With your eyes all glazed over, you sip your burnt Dunkin Donuts coffee as you ponder how your life reached this point. Your thoughts are interrupted when a co-worker on their way to the copy machine passes by your cube and asks, “hey how are you?” Instantly, your spirits are lifted. Someone actually cares. However, before you can utter a word the co-worker is nowhere to be found. Without realizing it, you’ve become yet another victim of the “hey how are you?” drive-by.

In our culture “hey how are you?” has replaced “hello” as the standard greeting. The question mark at the end is irrelevant because more often than not the person asking the question is long gone before a response is given. They are expecting you to follow the social protocol of responding with a “fine,” “okay,” or “can’t complain.” Since I find this ritual puzzling could serve as an insight into why I am socially stunted. I am clueless when it comes to rules of conversations and relationships.

Just for fun, I decided to carry a small notepad and mark down every time I was hit with this “hey how are you?” line of questioning. Yesterday, it was 52 and counting. I decided to be a good boy and not verge from the agreed upon rules. However, the more times I said ‘fine’ I began to imagine the reaction one would receive if they strayed off course and actually told someone who asked how they really were doing. “Well Jim, let me tell you. Life doesn’t make much sense right now. My back hurts because I spent last night on the couch. My wife and I aren’t speaking. The kids are driving me absolutely insane and are constantly bouncing off the wall. We are living paycheck to paycheck. I spend the majority of my days in a square cube doing busy work my boss is too lazy to do.  While I am working all I can think about is if this is all there is to life. I’m out of shape, angry and bitter. And to top things off I have this rash that won’t seem to go away. Care to take a look?

There would be some who would continue along their way assuming you gave the normal answer of fine. Others would be forced to stop and pick up their jaw off the floor due to being in complete shock about your honesty. A few brave souls would actually stop, take the time to listen and eventually lend a helping hand.  Now, don’t be rash (sorry couldn’t help myself). I am not saying we all should verbally throw up on every single person that asks what is up. But, maybe we take steps to let a select few into our world and if someone is vulnerable enough to share what is taking place with them we put everything else in neutral, stop our drive-by and listen. 

January 8, 2009

Mirror, Mirror on the wall…who is the fairest of them all?”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — 30tocure30 @ 11:02 pm

 

The Result Of Talking To Yourself In The Mirror Too Much

The Result Of Talking To Yourself In The Mirror Too Much

Where does one go on to sharpen their small talk skills? A typical (or should I say sane) person would seek out social gatherings like the water cooler at work, a city park, cocktail parties or a get together with friends. If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you realize that is not how I roll.  My first stop in curing my nervous social tics is my bathroom mirror.

The mirror has no significance or deeper meaning. There was no ‘coming to Jesus’ moment where I dragged in an old school boom box and start blaring Michael Jackson’s Man in the Mirror while I confront the reflection staring back at me. Neither does it involve giving myself a Stuart Smalley motivational speech that “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough and gosh darn it…people like me!” Even though I contemplate it, I do not even ask where the beach is and respond by flexing my muscles and saying in a deep voice, “it’s over there.”

Step #6 from eHow.com’s “How To Make Small Talk” is the reason I find myself huddled up in the bathroom staring at a mirror in desperate need of some Windex. For those of us who are at the Hunch Back of Notre Dame recluse level, they suggest “talk to yourself in the mirror. Make a random list of topics and see what you have to say on the subjects. Baseball, Russia, butter, hip-hop, shoes…the more varied your list, the better.”  That list is definitely varied. Can you picture how one can weave all of those topics in one conversation. Going from Pujols, Pumas to Putin and ending how much butter P. Diddy puts in his pasta is quite the feat.

 

I have my doubts, but I decide to give this a shot. Here’s how it went:

 

“Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?”

“C’mon Tony…be serious.”

“Well, if we have any chance of breakthrough I have to let you know you have a bear in the cave and it really is distracting me.”

“Thanks….wow the gray sure is showing. No wonder you wear hats all the time. If it’s not the gray, it’s got to be to conceal the fact you are going bald.”

“Hold up a second chief….that’s a pretty bold comment for small talk.”

“Chief? You don’t even know my name, do you? What? Are you going to call me buddy or cowboy next time you see me?”

 

Conversation suddenly interrupted when Madison opens the door.

 

Maddie: “Daddy, what are you doing?”

Me: “Um….I’m just talking to myself….”

Maddie: “Not again daddy…That’s silly…now give me some privacy, I have to poop.”

Me: “Seems fitting, beautiful. I dropped a load on this experience…”

Maddie: “What, daddy?”

Me: “Nothing, hunny, nothing.”

January 2, 2009

Don’t Pee Your Pants… Socially Stunted You Are Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — 30tocure30 @ 10:02 pm

After a long winter break, class is finally back in session. All my issues come parading into the room ready to show off their latest Christmas attire. When ‘anger’ notices that ‘lack of patience’ has on the same pair of Sanuk Sandals he promptly blows a fuse. Typical reaction.

The majority of the struggles mingle in the front of the room chatting up a storm only stopping their rambling when breathing is needed.  A few of the others whip out their new iPhone and start twittering away or whatever the kids call it nowadays. Scanning the room, I notice the back row of desks and the issue sitting all by himself. It dawns on me that he never makes eye contact, always has his iPod buds in his ears and mumbles when asked a question.

Suddenly my thoughts are interrupted when ‘lack of manliness’ struts his stuff. After being at the head of the class for the past month, he is full of machismo. There is a bit more confidence in his step. He foolishly thinks the ladies are checking him out now. What ‘manliness’ fails to realize is that they’ve nicknamed him ‘patchy’ for his inability to grow facial hair after 30 days of not shaving.

Back to the socially stunted kid who avoids conversations like the plague. When someone does engage him the nervous tics start to go off like fireworks. As I quiet the issues and struggles down to let them know it is that time to pick a new leader of the pack, he starts shifting nervously in his chair. I know chances are good ‘socially stunted’ might soil himself if he becomes the center of attention, but enough is enough. It is his time to shine. Shine or stutter. Either way we are going to work this issue out.

When I call him forward, he hesitates, but eventually gives in. Many of the struggles are confused because they never noticed the kid before in class. He is that quiet. I ask him are you ready for some fun? Face downcast, he mutters out quietly, “um…yeah…I…um..g-g-g-uess…so.” Wow, do we have a lot of work ahead of us.

 

So, for the next month my focus will be:

30 Days To Quit Being Socially Stunted

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