Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Talk talk talk talk all you ever do is talk talk

I want to clear the air on something right off the bat; I am not a cellphone hater. Yea, I know that it seems everything I write has some axe to grind over cellphone use but I honestly don't hate cellphones. In fact, I love my cellphone. What I hate is phones and phone calls in general. I hated talking on the phone when I was a kid and hate it just as much today. Don't get me wrong, I love to talk. I talk a lot and I talk loudly...just not on the phone. You wanna go for a beer or a cup of coffee I'll talk to you until I'm blue in the face. Just not on the phone. Which leads me to my cellphone issues. People have taken what may be one of the great social inventions of the past 30 years and twisted it into this sick, twisted little device which gives it's user the power of super ignorance. People have taken the phone call, once relegated to home use, public and have no compunction about talking about the most personal and intimate things in front of other people. They just talk and talk and talk. It's like a disease or addiction. They just can't stop talking. It's mystifying. I can't do it. I honestly don't have that much important to say. There is a commercial for some cell carrier or another where the dude starts talking to his friend in NYC and ends up in rural Canada of some such bullshit. It's really not that far from the truth as some people could be on their cells while World War III was happening around them and never even take a breath. Now if you're under 30 you probably don't know any better as you've likely grown up with a cell pressed to your air. For the rest of us, we should know better. Tell the truth, when it was all pay phones and you had to pay for every call did you talk on the phone even 1% as much as you do now? No, didn't think so. Whew, that was a long opening paragraph. I know, let's do a list!!! Here's my Top 5 Things About Cellphone Use That Chap My Ass!!

1) The Check-In Call- Ugh. This is the most annoying use of phone calls. The periodic check-in with the spouse/significant other/sibling/parent etc for no real purpose at all. "Hey, just checking in. Everything ok? Good, I'll check in later". What the hell? I mean, what the hell? Is there a real reason for this call? More then anything I hate pointless calls. Calls for the sake of calling as opposed to calling for a purpose. It makes no sense to me to talk just because this is the designated time to talk. And DO NOT give me the "you haven't got wife/kids/pet turtle" argument. My dad had a wife and 6 kids and if he called once a day while he was at work that would be considered a lot. Just...please...STOP

2) The Trapped Call- Is there anything worse then being stuck somewhere and having to listen to someone phone call with no way to escape it? You're on the bus or train and someone is just droning on and on about the upcoming proposal. You're in the checkout line and the woman in front of you has been yakking non-stop the entire time to her sister about the results of her Pap Smear or some other really personal stuff. Or the meathead at the gym on the bike next to you talking so loudly on his phone to his meathead buddy about how wasted they got last night that you can't escape it even with your Ipod volume maxed. Do people have no concept of privacy anymore? Or, even more so, concept of courtesy to others? I mean surely you must realize WE DON'T WANT TO HEAR YOUR PHONE CALLS!!

3) Giving You The Finger Call- No, not THAT finger but it may as well be. I'm talking the pointer finger thrown up at you in a "just a minute" signal. Every time someone does that I want to break that finger off and stick it where the sun don't shine! So, you're saying "well, you're probably interrupting their call" which is true, I am! I'm interrupting their call because they are supposed to be working/helping me/doing something else other then making personal calls. I honestly find the "just a minute" finger" more offensive then the "f*#k you" finger as the "f*#k you" finger can be justified and out of legit anger whereas the "just a minute" finger is just plain ignorant

4) The You're Just Not That Important Call- This may actually be more ignorant then the finger. You're in a conversation with someone and their phone rings and (if you're lucky) they announce they have to take this call (other times they just take it while you're mid-sentence) reducing your importance status to lower then whale poop. Now, are there times that someone will need to take an important call rather then finishing their business with you? Absolutely. But there is simply no way every phone call someone gets is a "I gotta take this" call. My theory? It's some combination of the person on the phone represents the out of the ordinary versus the live person representing the ordinary and, at the back of their minds, people still feel that little tinge of status enhancement taking an "important" call

5) The Wish You Were Here Call- Similar but slightly different then the You're not that important call. You know that guy (or girl. For the sake of simplicity I will use the term "guy" to represent a person)that whenever you go out as a group, or are having lunch with, or invites you to his house then proceeds to take or make call after call after call to other people? People who may have had the option to be there but opted not to be there! I find the practice of talking on your phone while out with friends, family, coworkers, etc to be one of the highest forms of rudeness. We all know that guy that keeps getting up and walking away to take a call sometimes not even excusing themselves. Again, I go back and say before you had a cell phone with some kind of "minutes" plan did you constantly run out to the pay phone every 5 minutes to make random calls? Used brainwaves? Smoke signals? No, I think not you simply went out, enjoyed the company you were with and saved all phone calls for when you got home (and were alone) or at the office. The ultimate sign of the time; 4 people sitting at a table at a bar all on their phones talking to other people. Just freaking perfect!

It will never stop and will only get worse. We (as a society, not me and you) talk while driving, talk while biking, talk on the toilet, talk in the movie theater, talk while crossing busy streets, talk on the bus, talk on the subway, talk while running, talk while hiking, talk at the gym, talk at the salon, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk. Oh, and we have excuses for all the talk. It's a 24 hour work day. Bullshit! I need to keep in touch with my (kids/parents/siblings/spouse). Bullshit! It brings people closer keeping in touch on the phone. Bullshit! We simply love to hear the sound of our own voices and have eschewed common courtesy, quiet, private time, and enjoying our surroundings for the constant droning that is us talking and talking and talking and talking on our phones. Do me a favor people. Please, for the love of all that is scared, PLEASE, GET OFF YOUR PHONE!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Perfectly ordinary, ordinarily perfect

Back in the 80's there was a horrible movie called Perfect. There is nothing memorable about this movie except the one line they played over and over and over in the trailer and commercials. It was Jamie Lee Curtis (at the height of her popularity) pouting to John Travolta (at the nadir of his popularity) "What's wrong with wanting to be perfect"? Now while this movie sucked beyond all comprehension of suckiness, 25 years later that line still resonates. What is wrong with wanting to be perfect? Well, besides everything? Seriously, we've lost our damned minds as a society in striving for physical perfection. And why? First, by it's definition, it's impossible to achieve perfection. Secondly, who decided what physical perfection is? The answer to the latter is Hollywood/New York/popular culture and the like. The image of physical perfection has been set so unrealistically high it's amazing people even bother trying to emulate it. But we try, o lord do we try. Waxing and dyeing, reductions and augmentations, rhinoplasty to dental veneers. The lengths we'll go to and money we'll spend seemingly has no limitations

The biggest question I always have is who decided what the form of physical perfection is? I'm thinking it goes all the way back to the sculptors and painters of ancient Greece and Rome as most of the surviving art seems to feature males and females in the current concept of physical perfection. The washboard abs, chiseled features, 2% body fat. We never had a chance. What if those original artisans models had been flat chest women with buck teeth and uni-brows and men with beer bellies, big ears and lacking in certain physical endowments? My guess is we'd have a nation of people getting braces to cause buck teeth, eye brow implants, breast reductions, etc etc etc. Those closest to what is currently physical perfection would be the ones on the outside looking in

Here's the thing though; why can't we just be happy with how we look...within reason. I'm not condoning living an unhealthy lifestyle but otherwise why do we have to try and look a certain way? Why when we're younger do we have to look a certain way to either fit in with or accelerate past our peers? And why as we get older do we have to try and look younger. I mean, who are we trying to kid. The wrapping on the package can look all new and fancy but the present inside is still going to be old. Why can't we just say "this is me, take me as I am"?? Because we can't. We're human and we've been conditioned for 1,000's of years for how we're supposed to look and quite honestly it ain't changing any time soon. They say badly dyed hair and horrible wigs and weaves look better then the natural loss of color or of hair itself. We're told that tanned skin, bordering on orange at times, looks better than pale skin (once revered as "alabaster skin") despite the fact that all that tanning leaves you with skin the look and consistency of a wet paper bag in you golden years. They tell us this, they tell us that, they tell us what they want us to believe. And we buy what they're selling ho, line, and sinker!

I'd like to think some day we'll be able to judge each other by what's on the inside instead of the outside...hahahaha. Sorry, that was pretty funny. As humans we simply can't get past the fact that our first impression is always based on how someone looks and it's never going to change. So, until we get past that we'll just keep on waxing and tweezing, tanning and dyeing, dieting and sculpting.....

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Retro Rant

So I was going through My Documents on my old laptop (from my pre-Macbook days) and came across this blog I started writing a couple of years ago. As I read it I realized a lot of what I was ranting about then was actually the seeds of many of the rants I've had in the ensuing years. Some of the stuff is dated (GTA 3, Myspace, etc) but I didn't edit it other then a few grammatical issues. It ends suddenly and doesn't go on and on like most of my rants so enjoy a brief, dated, kind of familiar but not, retro Rich O rant!

I was driving the other day and randomly the song Eye of the Tiger by Survivor came on the radio. It made me sad because I remember that song and that movie (Rocky III) and remembered those as some of the last simple years of my life. Something as small as a movie or a one hit wonder song could make your summer. The simple joys of hanging with your friends after school playing street hockey, shooting hoops, or getting into trouble the like of which seems funny by today’s standards. Oh, we weren’t angels, but it was mostly good clean fun. It was a different time. We didn’t rush home after school to sit at the computer and chat for hours on end or updating our Myspace pages. We simply hung out with the people we liked and chatted with them face to face instead. The world was tiny and the idea of getting into some discussion of YouTube videos and memes with people in Topeka or Toronto just didn’t happen. We didn’t have GTA3 but we would kill each other good naturedly playing “kill the kid with the ball”. We did our best to hide when we screwed up not record it on video to share our ineptitude with the world. So much is different now I know my list would be enormous if I was to mention them all but here’s some examples (yes, a Rich list…yay):

1) Young people spending all day in chat rooms, chatting on instant messengers, playing WOW, browsing YouTube, dealing with Myspace drama etc. Now, as an approaching middle age guy, I could actually understand bored “grownups” doing this but 14-25 year olds wasting away their time like this is absurd. Even more frightening is conversations with their friends regarding what dramas are occurring in their electronics lives. Go outside, visit your real life friends, read a book, write a song, toast a Pop-Tart…just get the hell off the computer

2) When I was in high school, if we ever found one of our friends recording a video of them dancing to Soulja Boy and posting it on YouTube, he would have been the victim of the atomic wedgie from hell. I’m talking about guys. I mean, we had some semblance of self respect and most of us carried ourselves as the coolest guys in the world (we weren't we just liked to think we were) so to do something that un-cool and share it with the world…

3) A gym bag or book bag maybe during the school year would be acceptable but carrying backpack full of crap wherever you go just made no sense (the Richman was old school and carried his books under his arm). How much crap do you need to make it through the day? Every kid has an Ipod for all their music and other then schoolbooks for school, what other crap do you really need? Oh, and Ipods, we loved music too and, yes, we had music listening devices other then 8 track players, but, c’mon people, every once and a while take the fuckin ear buds out and listen to what’s happening around you, you just might learn something

4) We actually grew up and thrived without a single cell phone (ok except for those things with the huge battery packs that popped up in the late 80’s which were larger then the cordless phone in you kitchen and cost about $10 a call). It’s scary that the whole world is on the phone like, always. My 12-year-old nephew has a phone. My 10-year-old niece has a phone. While I cannot deny the safety aspect of them having phones I can’t totally condone it. But some people simply can’t stop talking. There’s a great series of commercials for stopping smoking where they show people struggling to do things they were used to doing with a butt in their mouths or hands . The same applies to phones as I swear some people have their necks permanently frozen in that phone cradling tilt they’re so accustomed to. Honestly, does anyone really have that much to talk about?