Wednesday, November 16, 2011

"We" The People

It's the little things in life that annoy me. Take for instance a really, really small word; "we"! It's misused and butchered in so many ways. For example in referring to your local sports franchise as "we". Like "we should have won that game". Right, if only the coach had called your number! Or when you see your doctor and he asks "so, how are we doing today"? Well doc while I can't speak for "we", "I" have a rash on "my" ass, wanna see it? But the most annoying, pretentious use is when someone uses "we" (by definition referring to more then one person) in the singular and referring to someone else, not themselves. For example a mother and daughter go to buy shoes and the mother tells the salesperson "we'd like to try on some shoes". Um, OK, can you be anymore opaque? Be "we" you mean both of you, right? Or do you mean just you? Or just her? Honestly, how stupid a use of a word is this? Well it's completely incorrect use of the word for sure. And yet it's used over, and over and over

So, why is it misused? Are people stupid? Maybe. I think typically it's misused by control freak wannabe alphas who think they are so important they need to speak for all around them henceforth he or she speaks for "we". Could you be a little more self important? I can sniff these dill holes a mile away and like to mess around with them ('cause that's what "we", meaning "me" like to do). At my job (if you don't know already I'm in the wonderful world of retail) I'll have group walk in and when I ask if I can help them I get a "we'd like to try on some skates". Now I KNOW they mean for a single member of their party who is not him or herself but hey I'm a prick so I'll say "sure, why don't we start with you" to wit I almost always get a "no, no, for my son/daughter/wife/husband/friend" and I'll say "Oh, when you said we...." with a dazed look on my face. Sure it's petty and juvenile but it' the little things that help me get though the day. Besides, I'm so freakin smooth they have no clue and by the time I dazzle them they think they've made a new best friend!!

Anyhoooo. Is there a reason for this rant? No. Just something I get annoyed with so I thought I'd share it with you. But please people, "we" is the first person plural (meaning more then one) personal pronoun (try saying that 5 times fast) and should be used as such. The described usage above is known as the patronizing "we" and a more descriptive term could not be found!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Money For Nothing And Your Chicks For Free

I had a young guy who worked with me recently who was (and is) an awesome guy, hard worker, and all around solid human being. He had a major disconnect when it came to money however. All he would do all day was bitch and complain about how much more everyone he knew was making. "This guy owned 3 cars". "This guy bought a summer house". "This guy had "bank"". He wanted to know when he was going to get his!! The honest truth is probably never. Of the people he spoke about 2 had worked their tails off starting their own successful small businesses where they put up to 100 hours a week of work in and the other had an educational pedigree that gave him an edge in his chosen field. But he didn't get it. He thought a blue bolt was going to come out of the sky and give him a six-figure job where he basically didn't have to do anything. Sorry Charlie, doesn't work that way. The simple truth is most people who make a lot of money have worked their asses off to make it. Period

In popular culture...no, make that throughout history, those with money have been perceived as villainous, undeserving, or otherwise unsavory. I don't get this. Yes, there are those that were born to money or because of who they are landed a cushy, high paying job they didn't earn. But they are the exception, not the rule and in most cases someone along the way busted their ass to make life comfortable for their progeny. No, most aren't born with the proverbial silver spoon up their ass. Most people who "have money" in some way, sort or fashion have EARNED that money. Now, whether you consider how they "earned" that money to be legit or not is a different story

So, yes, you might feel that a highly paid athlete or actor get's paid because of their god given talent or looks and, like the song goes, get their money for nothing and their chicks for free. I don't think it's true. Maybe they get paid disproportionate to what they do but they have to work their asses off at what they do. AND like with any job they are paid by those they work for based on how much money they earn for them. But regardless of what you think of what someone does for a living most people aren't simply handed money for doing nothing

At the end of the day everyone works for someone or works for themselves (Captain Obvious). If they work for someone else then that entity, at some point, was the result of one persons blood, sweat and tears which has evolved into something bigger. Big companies don't become big companies by osmosis. These companies need workers at every level to run and the amount they are compensated are almost always in direct proportion to their importance to the bottom line. If you work for yourself then you are 100% percent responsible for your own success whether your job is blue collar, white collar or any collar you choose. Sometimes it's luck but it's usually hard work that is the difference between success and failure (well, in these economic times maybe not but you get my drift). Risk and reward is exactly as it sounds and for those not willing to take a risk our reward is working for someone else and bitching about how little we make

So while certain people may have a certain advantage in the job market based on education, upbringing, socioeconomic class, god given intelligence or talent, most people have to work their asses off to make how much or how little they make. Very few people have it handed to them (OK, the cast of Jersey Shore is an exception). If you think you deserve a bigger piece of the pie then go out there and grab it. To quote the British S.A.S. "Who Dares Wins". Rather then pissing and moaning about what others make or have and what you don't get out there and make your own fortune. It may work out, it may not but unless you walk in the shoes of those you're envious of you don't know what it took them to get there

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Popular Myth-conceptions 2

You hear some shit so much, so often you start to believe it's true. People repeat the same old crap so often you start to wonder if they are trying to convince themselves it's true. Today I am attacking the most popular current myth- there are no jobs out there! Tell me you don't hear this at least a gazillion times a week. I have friends, relatives and acquaintances out of work. Some are looking, some have been looking unsuccessfully and some have just given up. Here's the deal; there ARE jobs out there!! Now maybe not good jobs, maybe not what you want to do, maybe not careers but there ARE jobs out there!!

As I drove around today 6 out of 6 establishments I entered had help wanted signs. Seriously. Now, all were retail or service jobs but jobs nonetheless. So, we need to clarify when we say there is no work out there. I've had the same job for over 20 years and while it may not be a "career" by some peoples definition, it's an honest days pay for an honest days work and, generally speaking, I like what I do . So, all that said, I struggle understanding not working. I know there is a method to the madness for those laid off from a particular field, used to a certain pay level or position. I get it...actually no I don't but I pretend I do. I know there is some kind of algorithm that tells us that not working and collecting is more advantageous then working at a lower wage. However what this doesn't take in to account is the mental anguish, low self-esteem, and general doldrums that come from being out of work for long periods of time

So, yes, there are jobs out there. Maybe not what you're looking for but there are jobs. The question you have to ask, despite everything everyone tells you, is at what point do you stop listening and start working. Take away the pay, benefits, 401k, etc and what is work? Well it's a sense of purpose, a sense of accomplishment, and a structure to our day. I've seen too many people out of work for too long fall into a funk that's almost impossible to get out of. So, when is it time to give up on "I can't take a job for less then this" and start doing something, anything? I can't say, it's different for everyone. Just don't tell me there are no jobs out there, ok??

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Never Seems to Be Enough Time To Do The Things You Want To Do

Work and life have been a bit hectic of late so I'm way behind on blogging and pretty much all electronic social media (and no, I don't blog at work but it's just been exhausting and sapping the will out of me) . It happens. Vacation is thankfully just around the corner. I have so much to rant about it's boiling over. The Benjamin Brady pics, the new bike sharing program, why some people say Peking (rhymes with speaking) ravioli while others say Peking (rhymes with baking) ravioli and other important issues. I'll find time soon, I promise. I have new found respect for others that blog constantly while holding down a regular 40 plus hour job. I don't know how you do it.

Til next time, stay thirsty my friends!

Rich O

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Reality Check

Quick thought for a hot day

We are all self-absorbed. We are. I am, you are, we all are. Don't deny it. I'm not saying it's a bad thing only that it is true. And we should be. You really need to have your own shit in order to be any good to anyone else. We all suffer our own personal set backs, dramas and mini-crisis's. And these can become all encompassing. Again, this is not unusual. No matter how we try it's hard not to put ourselves first whether we mean to or not. Often times what seemed like the end of the world to us yesterday we laugh about tomorrow and what is a huge issue to us seems laughably unimportant to everyone else. The good news is that in life we get many reality checks to put it all in perspective. You usually don't have to go any further then home, friends or work for these reality checks but sometimes it's something the whole world is familiar with but you just need to be reminded of to get your head out of your ass

A couple of weeks ago I was all out of sorts about...something. I don't recall to be honest and that kind of tells you how unimportant it was. I was cruising the national headlines on my Yahoo page and came across a story about Elizabeth Smart taking a job as a reporter for ABC focusing on missing persons. 2 nights later there was an amazing interview with Jaycee Dugard and where she is in life after the most trying of ordeals. Now, if you're not familiar with the stories of these young women get you head out of the sand and read up. I won't get into all the details but rest assured what both went through I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. The courage, strength, and faith of these two young ladies is hard to comprehend. I instantly felt like a douche for feeling bad for myself for what essentially boiled down to nothing important

I will continue to be self-absorbed and overreact to every little thing in my life. So will you. But when you do think of Elizabeth and Jaycee. Think of that kid going through chemo or your friend who just lost a parent. Or a child. Think of all those people who have it worse then you. There are plenty of them.

Reality? Check!!

Thursday, July 07, 2011

(red) White (& blue) Wedding

I'm at that point in my life. You know when things went from weddings and funerals to just funerals. Nearly all my friends are married or have been married and if they get married again (or for the 3rd time) they are not likely to have a big wedding. Most of my 1st cousins are married or not likely to get married at this point (with maybe 1 exception). My nieces and nephews are kids so no worries there. Do I miss it? It's hard to say. I've had so many good times at weddings but recently, as the single guy, I feel more like an outsider then anything. Plus it's hard to be the "fun group" when you're in your 40's (tho we do try). There was one wedding I had been looking forward to however and it didn't disappoint. Let me first state that I will not name names etc as it is not my place. Secondly as the story progresses please don't throw my last blog in my face. I assure you the wedding was at a beach but I did not go TO the beach

Anyway a friend, a girl I've know since she was a little girl, got engaged and I found out myself, 2 of my sisters, and 2 of my good friends were all invited. On top of that my family and hers are very much intertwined between school, kids, work etc. All in all very exciting. Then I learned it was to be held 4th of July weekend. Interesting. I certainly had no plans and none that could compare to this wedding. Then I found out it would be held in York Beach, ME a very popular vacation spot. Now I had something to dwell on as I'm not a beach guy and I'm not a big tourist spot guy. But, hey, it's a wedding and maybe, being 4th of July, we can even recapture some of the magic of the old long weekends on Cape Cod.

Now, if you've never traveled for a wedding and spent a day before and/or after the wedding at the place the wedding is being held it's different then a regular wedding when you arrive, wedding it up, and leave. You find yourself spending lots of time with other wedding types, both old friends and new. There is a lot of laughs, a few drinks, a lot of catching up, and a lot of "nice to meet yous". Things happen, mistakes are made, you say stupid things or maybe do stupid things. You laugh about it, have a few more drinks, have a blast at the wedding itself then everyone goes their separate ways, often never seeing each other again. It's kind of like condensing 6 months of real life into 2-3 days. I happen to love wedding "on the road" and this was one of the best I've ever been to

OK, so now you're about to stop reading as I go blow for blow about this wedding and this weekend...well even I'm not that cruel. No, I'm simply going to break it down to 3 parts and what they meant to me (it's all about me after all). The weekend, the wedding, and the people

The Weekend- The weekend itself did indeed remind me of our old weekends away before anyone was married or had kids. Oh it was a little different as in many cases the previously mentioned spouses and kids were along for the ride but in a weird way it actually made it better. Days on the beach (not me) or poolside and nights at the pub wrapped around the wedding itself brought back floods of memories of the good old days when, in retrospect, life seemed so much simpler. We partied like the party animals we used to be (or still are in some cases ;-)) taking the Way Back Machine to the early 90's. Hell, there was even an unplanned slumber party one night (more by necessity then by design)!! OK, maybe that wasn't my best memory of the good ol days

The Wedding- I'm not one to wax poetically about weddings. I'm just not. If I was I'd be raving about this one. Just about everything was perfect. The setting. The entrances. The guests. The theme. The fireworks (amazing how they arranged fireworks for the whole beach around this wedding). The bride and groom. I mean I know a wedding is supposed to be one of the best days of your life but I've been to a few where either the bride of groom seemed less then happy (sometimes both). Not these two. You couldn't have sandblasted the smiles from their faces. And the bride, I'm going to take a bunch of grief for saying this, really did look radiant. An 18 month long mystery was solved (was good seeing you Pat) and there was even an appearance by the Stanley Cup (well, sort of). It really was a happening. Was there a downside? Well the planned outdoor ceremony was dashed by rain but if you didn't know it was supposed to happen you wouldn't have missed it. Oh, and I forgot to pack a belt/suspenders so my mad dancing skills were not shown off for fear of my pants ending up around my ankles. Talk about a pants off dance off!!!

The People- To me everything I do and everywhere I go it's more about who was there then where I was. This was no exception. It was so awesome to get to spend long overdue time with a few people I just don't get to see often enough anymore. Things change and it just happens. Sometimes you don't even realize it until you see them again how much you miss them. Even people I "talk" to a lot via text and social networking...and there are a lot of them...to see them live, up close and personal for a length of time was just great. I met a few new people too tho probably not as many as I could as I was too wrapped up in playing catch up with my "old" friends. Maybe the best part tho was just spending time with sisters, my brother in-law, and some really close friends. Oh, we see each other enough bout never for very long as we all have different lives and lifestyles. The morning and afternoon of the wedding just sitting around the pool at our motel on the beach (yes, with all that ocean across the street we sat around a pool) sipping beers or sodas, playing cards for Doritos, rehashing old war stories for the 1 billionth time and laughing our asses off about things most other people would not find funny in the least was special. This, more then anything, really brought me back to a different time in my life

Thank you my friends (H & N) for you awesome wedding and for restoring my faith in holiday weekends away again. My job makes "long" weekends almost non-existent (I was only in York for 38 hours) and frankly I didn't think missed them. I don't enjoy crowds as much as I used to (maybe tolerate is a better word) and I'm at a different place in life then a lot of my friends. Couple that with the work thing and like I said, I had just given up. Thanks to everyone involved for letting me realize that, even into our 40's, we can still party like rock stars for a few days even if we don't bounce back as quickly as we once did

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Sun Spot Baby

The following is a amalgam of conversations with various friends and family members on the same topic combined into one (hopefully) cohesive conversation. Person #1 (henceforth known as P1)- "so, when we got to that wedding at the beach 4th of July weekend we figured we'd spend the day at the beach" Me-"have fun. I'll see you back at the hotel". P1-"you won't come with us"? Me- "no, I hate the beach, you know this". P1-"it's just for one day. You can cover up. It's so much fun at the beach" Person #2 (henceforth known as P2)- "Yeah, I cover up completely, slather on spf 72, wear a floppy hat and sit under an umbrella". Me-" I cover up with a roof over my head and air conditioning". P1- "you're a party pooper". Me- "so let me get this straight. I hate the heat, I'm fat and ghastly pale, I burn under a fluorescent bulb, am not particular to crowds, and the thought of laying in the sun basting for hours is so foreign to me I can't even visualize it...but I should suck it up for a day"? P1-"Exactly"

So, you may have gathered I'm not particular to the beach nor sunbathing in general. I'm just not. I may have liked it once but as I've gotten older I've become more and more susceptible to sun poisoning. The last time I can recall spending time on the beach I got burned under my eyes so bad I bear the scars to this day. So no matter your argument, I'm not likely to EVER go to the beach (during the summer, during the day at least). I'm not likely to EVER spend my vacation in some Tropical Paradise sitting poolside or beach side sipping rum drinks. It's not how I want to spend my time or my vacation

One of the big "arguments" I get is being out in the sun give you a "healthy" tan. Well, who decided "tan" is healthy? I'm literally the palest person I know. When I was in Ireland even the locals pointed out how pale I am (that's scary). I didn't ask to be pale, I was born that way. Who am I to decide my skin needs to be a shade, or several shades, darker? Last I heard, particularly for those of us of paler complexion, overexposure to sunlight is in fact, NOT healthy. I'm on the cusp of 45 and while my hair is prematurely white I've yet to find a wrinkle, crows foot or other sign of aging closely associated with, among many other factors, exposure to sunlight. Oh, and the amount of time devoted to this "healthy tan"? I simply can't be bothered

Now I don't begrudge you sun worshipers and beach bums your passion for lounging, swimming, tanning and reading in the warm sunshine. It's just not for me. My idea of a perfect summer day has little to do with waves and sunblock. My ideal vacation has nothing to do with all inclusive, poolside bars, and private beaches. What do I like to do? Meet people, go hiking, explore, eat at restaurants and roadside stands, hit a few bars, try to cram as much into the time I have off as I possibly can. Give me the mountains over the shore, Europe over the Caribbean, historical sites over white sand and blue water, and an exhausted feeling of a full day over a "healthy" tan and sand in my butt crack.

Happy Independence Day weekend! See you at the beach. Well, at the bar at the beach

Friday, June 17, 2011

Welcome to Bruinstown, U.S.A.

The Boston Bruin's are Stanley Cup Champions for the first time since 1972 and Bruin's Nation is absolutely ecstatic. Now some may say "*yawn* another championship for a Boston team. All you guys do is win". Well, this may be true if you're between the ages 16-25 as all you've witnessed is winning. For the rest of us there was 16 years of nothing but frustration between the Celtics win in 86' until the Pats 1st Superbowl win in 2002. We lived and died with the Sox, Pats, C's and B's and their near misses at championship glory. Eventually the Patriots, lead by the holy triumvirate of Belichick, Brady and Kraft, upset the "greatest show on turf" and things turned the corner. 2 more Superbowl wins, the beloved, beleaguered Sox broke "the Curse" after 86 years, and the Celtics behind the new Big 3 returned to championship glory. But there was a missing element. The team with maybe the most hardcore, loyal fans, the Bruins, were lost in the shuffle and far from the average sports fan's minds having not won a Stanley Cup since 1972. That was about to change...

It's hard to explain hockey fans if you're not one. The rules are a little opaque and participation, depending on where you live, can be spotty. It's a game that plays out better live then on television. It's a game of muckers and grinders as much as it is superstars. It's a blue collar sport with the players that are most like me and you (well, once upon a time). It was the last sport where everyone, not just the rank and file, had 2nd jobs to make ends meet. It's the sport where most of the players ended up settling in the area forever and therefore were the most approachable to the fans. That's hockey fans. Then there are Bruin's fans. Loyal to the core to their team. Packing them in to the old Boston Garden where you were practically on top of the skaters giving a home ice advantage par excellence. Hard working sorts who had to watch every dollar but always set aside enough to renew their season tickets. A small, hardcore, ravenous group that had no time for fair weather fans or bandwagon jumpers. The pinnacle for these fans was the Big, Bad Bruin's of the early 70's

I was born in 1966 so I have no memories of the Bobby Orr Bruins that ignited hockey fever in the region and was in part responsible for literally 100's of hockey rinks being built around the region. My first solid memories were of guys like Terry O'Reilly, Stan Jonathan and Mike Milbury in the late 70's/early 80's. But I knew all about the Big, Bad Bruins that won Stanley Cups in 70' and 72' (and were probably the best team in the NHL in 71'). You knew the names; Bobby, Espo, Chief, Turk, Cheesy and the rest. They could skate, they could score, they could fight and they had the best player on the planet in Bobby Orr. This was the team that really defined Boston hockey. You had the poster of The Goal, it was required. You saw these guys around town as most of them settled on the North Shore to raise their families. Game 4 1970 with Bobby Orr flying thru the air was replayed over and over again. It was the peak of hockey madness and honestly maybe the most legendary team in Boston sports history

The next decade plus were lean years for Bruins fans. The Garden was still full with loyal fans but the stars of the 70's had retired or moved on. The main reason to go see them play was a young defenseman from Montreal named Ray Bourque. Bourque was a phenom and eventually they would surround him with talent like Cam Neely, Craig Janney, and the goalie tandem of Reggie Lemelin and Andy Moog. As good as these teams were, and for me they are the teams I remember best, in 1988 and 1990 their dreams, and the dreams of their fans, were dashed by the juggernaut that was the Edmonton Oilers. Looking back now I can't believe it would be another 21 years to see a return to the Stanley Cup Finals

When the tore down the Garden and replaced it with the Shawmut/Fleet/Banknorth/TD/Center/Garden it just wasn't the same. A lot of long time season ticket holders had their once great seats downgraded to mediocre seats and a lot of them were just plain priced out. Whatever it was that made the Garden such an awesome venue for hockey had been lost in translation to the (for simplicity sake we''ll just call it the...) Fleet Center despite much better amenities. Jeremy Jacobs the elusive owner was public enemy #1 with the percieved notion he was only interested in money, not the Cup. There were some competitive teams but none that got too far and none that really excited the populace

Fast forward to 2009/2010. This team started to capture the interest of the fans with dreams of Stanley Cup glory until a monumental collapse against the Philadelphia Flyers ended the playoff run rather abruptly. 2010/2011 started with a healthy Tim Thomas, key off-season acquisition of Nathan Horton and Gregory Campbell, rookie standouts Tyler Seguin and Brad Marchand and Bruin's legend and Hall of Famer Cam Neely as the newly named team president. Key late season acquisitions of Rich Peverley and Chris Kelly rounded out this gritty bunch. I won't rehash what happened next as you probably already know but as the frigid early spring in Boston grew warmer by the day you started to realize this was a special team

So, here I sit on the cusp of the rolling rally to fete the conquering heroes. Suddenly everyone is a Bruins fan and you know what? I'm fine with it. Pink hats and bandwagon jumpers are all welcome on this ride. The modern, casual sports fan has become more of an event oriented crowd as opposed to a hardcore sports crowd being more concerned about being a part of history then a fan of the sport. But I'm cool with that. These new (possibly short-term) fans make the difference in the relevance of a team and the financial bottom line of their owners. The more money they make, the more money they (hopefully) spend. So jump on board kids, Boston IS a hockey town! Boston IS a Bruins town. Get out your black and gold, crank up Nut Rocker and Dirty Water, get ready scream Looooooch, and Zeeeeee, and Timmmmay! Enjoy this victory, you deserve it!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

I Honestly Don't Care

There is a current commercial running for the USPS Priority mail service where the postman (in a dress shirt and tie no less) explains to the office worker about saving on postage and he replies "It's not my money. I honestly don't care". It goes on from there but I love that line "I honestly don't care". In my day to day life I must say this 1,000 times, mostly to myself. We are in the age of TMI (too much info) where certain people have a long, involved story for, well, everything. Now, the problem is that a) I'm a nice person (despite outward appearances) and b) if it's work related smart-ass responses are frowned up. So the words coming out of my mouth are of feigned interest while the words going through my mind is "I honestly don't care".

  • "I'm sorry we don't have a public restroom". "I drove over 20 minutes to get here". "I truly am sorry" (I honestly don't care)
  • "I forget, did I tell you about how my son's toilet training went"? "I think so". "Well, just in case..." (I honestly don't care)
  • Did I show you the newest video I took of my dog"? "I think so...". "Well just in case..." "awesome" (I honestly don't care)
  • "I'm sorry but your credit card has been declined". "That can't be. Oh wait, my stupid ex-husband must have used it without telling me. Ughhhh. He drives me crazy"! "Would you like to try another card"? (I honestly don't care)
  • "Ugh, you guys are so lucky you don't have to deal with having your period". "I know, it must be horrible" (I honestly don't care)
So there you have it. An unexpurgated look into my inner voice. Before you go getting all sensitive, admit it, you do the same thing, you just don't want to own up to it. This was obviously written tongue-in-cheek but it does raise a good point. Limit what you're saying to a total stranger as they probably don't give a shit. Know who you're talking to and what subjects they have absolutely zero interest in. If they're your friends you know what these subjects are. If they're your friend you probably have a bunch of other common interests to discuss. Let's face it much of the time we are simply tolerant of each other rather then genuinely interested in each other. So, just remember next time you're talking to someone and when what you're saying totally jumps the shark regarding the listener, no matter what they may be SAYING what they will be THINKING is "I honestly don't care"

Thursday, May 19, 2011

More randomness

Me=Randomness

  1. Now that it's spring (in name only) I notice a lot of people out running. Here's the thing, so many people who run look like no one ever taught them HOW to run. Like, horribly, painful looking form. Like, so horrible looking I wonder why they are even bothering. Once upon 100 pounds ago I used to love to run and while I'm about as graceful as a billy goat, I always had textbook form

  2. Why can't I seem to avoid Cee Lo Green? He's everywhere. On the radio, on TV, I think I saw him in line at Dunks the other morning. Am I missing something? Other then one wayyyy overplayed song with Gnarls Barkley and one wayyyyyyyy overplayed as a solo performer, what else has he done to be so ubiquitous? I mean can he turn lead into gold? Walk on water? Cured the common cold? Or are we simply way overrating anyone who musically has a modicum of success??

  3. The Royal Wedding...OK, I got nuttin

  4. I'm not sure which has run out of funny ideas more quickly the Geico "Do Woodchucks chuck wood..." etc or the Miller Lite "When you take off your skirt..." etc ad campaigns but both are really reaching at this point in time

  5. Call me old school, old fashion or just old but when did drinking become so complex. Do we really need 72 draft beers, citrus flavored beer, 15 flavored vodkas, well, call, premium, and super premium liquor, and alcohol spiked whipped cream? I wish it was like TV and the movies where you sit down and say "I'll have a beer" and the barkeep just hands you a beer...as long as that beer is Miller Lite

  6. When we say something has gone viral these days it means less passing on some kind of illness to someone else and more making something that was fairly lame to start with exceedingly popular then tear it down by even lamer imitations (See Rebecca Black, History Will be Made parodies)

  7. Someone actually used the term "outside the box" the other day with a straight face. Hello, 2008 called and wants it's terminology back

  8. I love my Ipad but fair warning for those who don't yet own one; any app ending in "Story" may end up being hazardous to your free time (Farm, City, Restaurant, etc)
  9. If you're lucky enough to live in an area with tons of mom and pop pizza and sub shops why would you ever opt for Dominos, Pizza Hut, or Subway...unless you are completely drunk off your ass and need late night delivery

  10. Deep thought (and slightly off color)- If a woman goes out of her way to accentuate her, um, "assets" in the above the stomach/below the shoulders region by her choice of undergarment and/or top, why is it if a guy compliments her on said "assets" that the end result a slap or a drink in the face? Think about it...
Till next time

Friday, May 06, 2011

Bully Beatdown

Rich's Note: This post got un-blogged during the recent Blogger meltdown/maintenance thing so I apologize to the couple of people who may have already seen this

In the wake of the unsatisfactory decision in the Phoebe Snow bullying case here in Massachusetts I got to thinking about bullies, bullying and modern day bullies. Let me first state in the case of Phoebe Snow I am of mixed emotions as I feel the "punishment" did not fit the crime in that 3 of those involved did not look regretful in the least. On the other hand it's hard to send 5 young people to jail in a case and circumstances which were multilayered to say the least. I don't know that the decision was the ground breaking, eye opening verdict that would help to dissuade bullying from reaching the harmful levels it often does. No, I'm afraid bullying is still with us and likely always will be

To get it out of the way, I was bullied a lot as a kid (as I'm sure were a lot of people reading this). I was undersized, had horn-rimmed glasses, an easy going disposition and (then as now) talked too much. I can remember still to this day enduring humiliation and fear on many occasions. What was odd is, and what a lot of people don't realize is often the case, I was a pretty popular kid at the same time I was the victim of bullying. I remember being despondent and looking at my "friends" like why didn't you stick up for me? I know, it sounds crazy but it's true. One of the major issues with bullying is no one ever wants to step in for fear of physical harm or, more likely, a loss in social standing. I was lucky as I filled out physically and hardened emotionally and in time was able to stick up for myself. Others weren't as lucky. I can also look back on one particular incident where I was, in retrospect, the tormentor. It set off a series of events which went on for years after and which I am, once again in retrospect, truly regretful. It's a complex situation. Sometimes the bully doesn't realize from the onset he's bullying. Sometimes the target doesn't realize he's a victim right away. In most cases the sides either learn to coexist, it just stops, or, as it seems more and more frequently, ends in tragedy

First things first. Bullying, whether called by that name or not, is a part of life. It will never go away. It shouldn't go away on it's basest layer. Let me explain. Overcoming our fears and the obstacles in our way is one of the ways we progress in life. Sometimes these obstacles are in the form of a person looking to hold us down. To move to the next level you need to go over, under, around or through this obstacle. Now, excessive bullying, that's another story. Excessive bullying is when a person or persons inflict physical or emotional harm on someone they perceive as weaker or an "easy target". This is not limited to the schoolyard and pops up in other situations such as the workplace, sports, or even relationships. I had a friend who I admire a lot and who I perceive as pretty tough. Well, she told me about a situation in her corporate job where her boss bullied her something awful. I was stunned as I always thought this was something that happened in the movies and TV but that in real life no adult would take that kind of abuse. She told me it was real and it was scary and it was her fear of losing her job that forced her to take it. So, again, this is not a simple, black and white issue.

To make things worse modern day bullies have the power of the internet at their finger tips to take their tormenting to an all new level. There have been several recent, high profile incidents where private things were made public on You Tube, Facebook and Twitter. With texting and, god forbid, "sexting" something said or done will be on everyone's phone in a nanosecond. So, yes, the only thing scarier then a bully is a bully with a knowledge of social media

The more important question is how do we deal with bullying? How do we prepare our kids for bullying (theoretically speaking as I don't have kids) and how do we prevent tragedy from bullying from happening? I have a few thoughts. They are my thoughts and are based both in theory and reality
  1. The tried and true method for dealing with bullies is standing up to them. It worked for David vs Goliath and it works today. Now, in some cases it doesn't work (reference Dazed and Confused...under rated movie). But, and especially if you have back up, this is still the most direct route to end bullying. Even if you get your ass kicked it is still the best way to put an end to it
  2. Parents, you need to talk to your kids about bullying. Find out if they or anyone they know are being bullied. If you get the feeling your kid may be a bully don't just blow it off but speak to them. Find out where this anger comes from. Most importantly, and I mean this, tell your kids if they are witness to bullying it is almost as bad to watch it happen and say or do nothing as it is to be actively involved in the bullying
  3. To expand upon that last thought a bit, those of us that can and don't stick up for victims of bullying should be ashamed of ourselves. This is especially true in the circumstance I mentioned earlier where we don't get involved less because of physical concern and more because of social standing. Honestly, is what your standing is in the eyes of those kind of people that important? I was once faced with a scenario between doing the right thing and what my friend termed "social suicide". I chose the former and said to my friend "eh, I'm not that popular with that crowd anyway, so fuck em"
  4. Be cautious of electronic media. If it's yourself don't go doing stupid things like take inappropriate pictures or videos of yourself as that is cannon fodder for bullies. Set you privacy settings on EVERYTHING to friends only. If you have kids, as much as they may get pissed, monitor their Facebook, email and texts as the seeds of bullying will probably be found here
  5. This is the hardest one as it flies in the face of what I believe. I am a true proponent of being who you are and not who the masses say you should be. Drones suck and individuals rock. Now, all that said there can be something said about making yourself less of a victim. This isn't easy and involves compromise but sometimes it is the simplest way around bullying
The modern day bully tends to be more of a clique of popular types picking on those they consider not to their standards versus the classic mean spirited, loner type that was long the stereotype (although they still exist too). The tormenting is more likely to be emotional then physical but it's bullying nonetheless. At some point in our lives most of us will have to deal with bullying in some way, sort or fashion. It's becoming a more serious issue then ever before and needs to be taken more seriously. No more turning a blind eye or claiming "they're just kids" etc. I still think the key to stopping the bullying lies in realizing if we are watching it happen and do nothing about it we are almost as much to blame as the bullies. There is strength in numbers and the rest of us will always outnumber the bullies. Stick together, stand up for each other and bullies will show their true colors as a bunch of dipshits with low self-esteem who stroke their own fragile egos by making others suffer.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Opinions Are Like...

One of the things that chaps my ass more then anything else is when I opine on a subject and am told I can't because "I don"t ____", "I've never___" or "I'm not____" and the like. Some examples "you have a job", "you're not a woman", "you're not married", and the big one "you don't have kids". I will tell you quite honestly that the number of things I'm "not" far outweigh the things that I "am". If everyone could only talk about subjects on which they were experts then the world would be a very quiet place

The thing is this, taking from a famous expression, opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and they all stink. But an opinion is a very personal thing and is reflective of how you feel about something and how it affects you, not necessarily the masses. That's why the term "personal opinion" is kind of an oxymoron as all opinions are, at their core, personal...even when it's in the court of public opinion (OK, that was lame). Bottom line-everyone has an opinion on EVERYTHING. Now, whether you agree with this opinion or feel the person giving this opinion is qualified to do so is your problem, not theirs (or mine).

I was thinking that if I was limited to opinions based strictly on who I am then here are the topics; single, forty-something, unmarried, childless, Cambridge, Miller Lite, white hair, pale skin, hockey equipment, Irish heritage...I think that's it. Pretty dull, no? So, no, I will not live by your rules of what I can and can't speak on. I will continue to have an opinion on everything. Whether I choose to share it or not and whether you like it or not is not my concern.

So, in order from above, stop sucking the State dry, I'm sorry it's your time of the month but don't take it out on me, stop being a wuss and letting your wife walk all over you, and you coddle your kids too much, let them walk to school. Wow, that felt good to get that off my chest

Friday, April 08, 2011

Funny Pharm

A (relatively) brief thought for a Friday. There are a lot of jobs that carry a high level of stress or unpleasantness. Cops for example have very stressful jobs. Plumbers have very little to look forward to on their next stop. Proctologist...well, that goes with out say. But I'd have to say one of the worst jobs in this day and age is pharmacist and pharmacy tech. Are there any current jobs where you have to listen to more gut-wrenching, heartbreaking and, yes, preposterous stories from nearly everyone you encounter? It must be hard and it must harden the worker to no end because an hour into their day they've already been emotionally beaten down

Meds have become a huge part of our lives while at the same time insurance coverage gets trickier and pharmacies are caught in the middle. While I waited in line to pick up my prescription last night a woman more or less bared her soul on the pharmacy tech about yes, she can't refill for 2 weeks but that her husband, who has the same prescription, took all her pills and he was out because they couldn't afford the co-pay for his last month and about how her psychiatrist makes her see him before he'll give her a scrip renewal and how she can't afford the office co-pay... I felt kind of bad for her as she seemed, well, desperate. I felt worse for the pharmacy tech who could only say sorry and there's nothing I can do for probably the 100th time that day. As someone who deals with the public and hears sob stories daily I really felt for this guy as honestly, what can he do? It is a sad state of affairs however that this poor lady, so desperate for her meds to keep her going was forced to debase herself in front of this complete stranger as well as all of us in line

I guess my plead to everyone who has an issue is there isn't anything that the person helping you can do. Call your doctor, call your insurance carrier, call your priest, rabbi or imam but don't take it out on the poor pharmacy tech just trying to do their job. There's little they can do for you and making them feel bad doesn't solve any problems

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Correctamundo

One of the constant theme in my rants is political correctness. As always I'll stress that I am sensitive to race, color, creed, religion, gender and whatever else people get offended by. I also think the world is a better place with some semblance of political correctness as it has made a lot of ignorant terms and expression stand out as just that, ignorant. However, as with most things, people have taken it to the extreme and everyone is forced to walk on eggshells before saying anything that could be even in some infinitesimally tiny way be misconstrued as politically incorrect. Anything traipsing within a country mile of being slightly un-PC sets off a series of tsk-tsks, head shaking and lectures on sensitivity. Me, I'm not buying it. We spend so much time worrying about how we feel others feel about certain terms, words, and yes, stereotypes that we tend to make it a bigger issue then it should have ever become. In many case a we make it a bigger issue then those who are "affected" by it even realize (or care about). There is an old expression "call a spade a spade" which basically stated means it is what it is, don't over complicate it. The funny thing is that if you use this expression, someone could actually accuse you of being un-PC as even tho the spade in question is a shovel, it also has a past as a derogatory term (see Blazing Saddles if you don't get the reference). Whatever. Below I'm going to mention a couple of terms which are generally considered politically incorrect and the situation in which they were used and the reaction it elicited just to prove how silly some of this is

Oriental- Now considered an inaccurate, dated and yes, politically incorrect term for Asians as a group. The fact that there are thousands of Asian restaurants, owned by Asians, using some form of Orient or Oriental in their name doesn't seem to matter. I think it's dated in that no one really refers to the continent of Asia as "The Orient" (as opposed to the Occident...) anymore even tho it was so for decades. I think it's more the fact the term Oriental was used as a mass tag for anyone from that part of the world regardless of their actual home country. Think, "check out that Oriental fella over there". 2 recent, real world, Rich O experiences with this term.
  1. A recent conversation between someone close to me and a person she was doing business with got to a point where the other person, a white male in his early 30's, mentioned an earlier customer who was an "older, Oriental woman". Well, she went into a diatribe about how Oriental isn't appropriate, he's too young to be plead ignorance on using outdated terms like that and generally (and in a good-natured way) browbeat him for a good minute. The result was he lost composure and seemed distracted for the rest of the meeting. My opinion? Unnecessary browbeating.The more questionable content was him specifying that the customer was elderly and Asian, not using the term Oriental
  2. I was at work on a quiet day and was musing aloud with a co-worker about a restaurant I saw called Oriental Chinese Restaurant. I was carrying on like I often do about how silly I thought the name was and comparing it to opening a place called European French Restaurant or the like. Well, quicker then the speed of light another co-worker ran up to me said "there are Chinese customers in the store!!! I can hear you from here. That's so inappropriate". I said, well, no, it isn't. I said not one thing that was inappropriate or insulting (though maybe not terribly funny either). I was pointing out the absurdity of the name of an eatery, not the customers, the Chinese people, or really anyone at all and I told my co-worker to get a grip and...well, I won't print the rest
African American- Probably one of the best examples of a politically correct term. It is the now accepted term for those formerly identified as black. I don't have a ton of black friends but those I do have still refer to themselves as black, not African American. Look, anything is better then "colored" but still, it seems overcompensating. The funny part is people as so afraid to say "black" anymore they are describing any "person of color" regardless of birthplace or ancestral home as African American. Couple of quick examples;
  1. I was serving jury duty recently and most of the people involved in this case of larceny on both sides were natives of Cameroon and only a couple of them were naturalized American citizens. So basically 2 were indeed African Americans and the rest were Africans (get out your world map). When we were deliberating one guys was trying to point out the lawyer for the defense was implying prejudice in one part of the case because everyone on the defenses side were "African Americans". After 4 days with these strangers I was feeling like being a prick so I pointed out that only 2 were African Americans. He said no, all of them are and I said, Um, no, most are Africans, not African Americans. He said, well, you know what I mean and I said, no, what do you mean. He said well, they'll all...and I said "black"? He said, well you can't really say that anymore and I said, actually, yes you can if it it more accurate then incorrectly identifying them as Americans, which they weren't
  2. Mike Grier who played hockey at B.U. (and who's dad once worked for the Pat's) recently passed a milestone in playing 1,000 games in the NHL which is remarkable. I was at the bar and in discussing I said it's a remarkable feat that is being lessened by the constant mentioning of "1st African American". A guy sitting next to me said "what about Grant Fuhr" and I answered "no on both counts" he said "huh"? I answered "he didn't play 1,000 games and he's Canadian" to which he answered "Oh, I thought he played over 1,000 games and there are tons of Canadian African Americans"...
  3. A friend of a friend, who is indeed black, and I were joking about this very subject and he said he hates being referred to as an African American. He said I'm American, born and raised and the furthest back I can trace my family to is Haiti which last I checked was NOT in Africa
Midget- Admittedly this is one of those words that just sounds ugly. But it was a long accepted term defining a person of short stature but otherwise standard proportions. Now, I don't have a problem with people taking offense to the term but is it any worse then the PC "little person"? In my opinion, no,
  1. Only real life example wasn't really real life but from a reality tv show. The show about a traveling troupe of midget wrestlers and their lives on the road. The leader of this merry gang calls himself and his cohorts midgets to the chagrin of dwarf activists. On the first show he got in the ring at a show at a crowded bar, stood in the center of the ring and asked the crowd "what am I"? No one said a word so he asked again "what kind of person am I"? Finally, one woman yelled out "a little person" to which he responded "f*#k you, I'm a midget. There's nothing little about me". Amen brother, amen
So, my point? Relax people. I know it's different but if someone calls me white and not Caucasian I'm ok (and based on skin tone I actually am whiter then white). If someone refers to me as a Mick in regard to my Irish heritage it's all good. If someone else takes offense to someone calling me that, that's a different story. Mind your own business until you know how those you are defending feel about the word you are defending them from. We all know the inappropriate, ignorant, insulting terms that have been more or less eradicated from every day lexicon (thank god) but let's not go overboard n the other direction stumbling and bumbling over words we think may insult someone. I'm sure if you tried hard enough you could find someone offended by almost any word so just speak as you speak or spend the rest of your life self-censoring everything you say

In the interest of those of you members of the PCA, I'm recommending the following words and terms be eliminated from the English language (sorry, no explanations, figure it out yourself)
  • Colored pencils, colored socks
  • Indian Summer, Cleveland Indians, Indianapolis, and the state of Indiana
  • Blackboard, black eye, Black Death, black mark
  • The midget division in hockey (as well as bantams...can't insult those roosters)
  • Oriental Avenue in Monopoly and the Orient Heights T-Station
  • Broad side, Notre Dame, Chick Fila,
  • Eskimo Pie
  • Vancouver Canucks
  • Doo Wop music, Guinea pig, Father Guido Sarducci, and the Dagobar System from Star Wars
  • Paddy cakes and paddy wagon (ok, that is an actual derogatory term which is now commonplace)
I think you get my drift. Goodnight and have a pleasant tomorrow

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Some Like it Hot

Throughout the history, and in this great country specifically, there have always been unofficial labels for a period of time known as eras. There is typically an event or an occurrence which is most often associated with kicking off an era be it reality or just popular opinion. Some significant eras in United States history and the events that are popularly associated with kicking them off would be The Great Depression kicking off with the Crash of 1929 (Black Tuesday), The Space Age kicked off by the launch of Sputnik, or The Summer of Love kicked off by the Monterey Pop Music Festival (really the Human-Be-In earlier that spring but no one remembers that). I've been trying to come up with a suitable name for the age we're currently in. I know the event that kicked it off but we'll get to that

So, to start a new era you need an event to kick it off. Well, here are some examples of potential era defining events:

  • 2005 Administrative law judge Roy Pearson sues a dry cleaner for $67,000,000 for losing his pair of pants (popularly known as the Great American Pants Suit)
  • 2005 Kurt Prohaska files suit against a homeowner who's house he was attempting to rob as he fell through the skylight and was later shot by the owner
  • Caesar Barber seeks a class action suit against the Big 4 fast food chains for his being overweight
  • 2000 Cleanthi Peters sued Universal Studios for $15,000. She claimed to have suffered extreme fear, mental anguish, and emotional distress due to visiting Universal Studios’ Halloween Horror Nights haunted house, which she said was too scary
  • 2006 Allen Heckard sued Michael Jordan and Nike founder Phil Knight for $832 million. He claimed to suffer defamation, permanent injury, and emotional pain and suffering because people often mistook him for the basketball star
Are we seeing a theme here? When did we lose our collective minds? What was the jumping off point of this litigious madness? When was it decided that we are not ever wrong, stupid, or at fault and there is always someone else to blame? I contend it was the 1994 McDonald's coffee case. For those that don't remember this landmark case in foolishness here is a quick and dirty summary. In 1992, 79 year old Stella Liebeck received 3rd degree burns on her legs, buttocks, and groin from coffee spilled while holding the cup between her knees in the passenger seat while trying to add cream and sugar. The contention was the coffee was "too hot". Long story short she was eventually awarded a 6-figure settlement somewhere between $160,000-$600,000 depending on what you read. As a result you can no longer get a cup of anything containing a hot beverage with less then 10,000 warnings about the fact that, hey, the liquid contained herein is f'n hot!

Now, I'm not heartless and I do feel bad she was hurt. Having said that, anyone who can blame anyone but themselves or anything but stupidity and ignorance for holding a cup of hot coffee between their knees is the one who should be sued for sub-human intelligence. I mean, hot liquids burn, they always have. Drinking and smoking are bad for you, people, not guns, kill people, please don't feed the animals means please don't feed the damned animals. I'm sorry, fully grown adults of even marginal intelligence should, no, MUST, know these things. There is no excuse and it's really nobodies fault but your own

This diatribe really hits 2 major issues. The first is the legal end. There are unfortunately tons and tons of loopholes in local, national, and international laws. These loopholes are exploited all the time and then effectively closed once precedence has taken place. I don't blame the lawmakers or lawyers as with the former it is impossible to cover ever possible contingency and in the latter it is their job to find these things and in many legit, on the up and up cases the world has become a better place because of the outcome. There has to be a person willing to pursue litigation in cases for personal gain above and beyond logic (ok, they can be eked along by an interested party) in order for this to take place. And more often then not the lawsuits are brought against entities they know they can get money out of. If it had been Mary's Donut shop coffee that Stella had burnt herself with, would she have attempted to sue for damages? Maybe, maybe not but the odds are against it. The biggest issue is a lot of these cases of what could be considered "frivolous litigation" cause a logjam of legit cases of negligence wrongful injury that can takes years to be heard and costs us millions of dollars

The second issue is people's growing inability to take responsibility for their own actions. You spilled your coffee and burned yourself. I'm so sorry you got hurt but how can that be anyone's fault but your own? You drank, you drove, you crashed and hurt yourself or someone else. It's YOUR fault. Not the beer company, not the car company, not the company that made the traffic light that your ran. Your weight, blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure are off the charts unhealthy because you showed no restraint, not because some fast food joint tempted you with commercials claiming they are healthy. No, ultimately we're each responsible for our own actions be they beneficial or detrimental and trying to pin blame on someone else because they have more money then you is wrong on every level (ok, the Pants case was hardly suing a wealthy person but the man was in financial dire straits at the time).

Obviously this is all personal opinion based on things I've heard and "researched" on the internet (and if it's on the internet you know it's true) and, to paraphrase The Town, "everything I know about law I learned from watching Law & Order". Anyone with even a working knowledge of law can rip my story to shreds and that's why it's "opinion". Look, thank god there are laws that protect us against those that are often in a better position of power then we are. My point is it's a crazy world we're now living in where logic seems to no longer exist, up is down and black is white. Come on people, let's get our collective heads out of our collective asses and stand up and take responsibly for our own actions. Nope, easier to find someone else to blame for our shortcomings and maybe make a few bucks while we're at it. Thank you Stella, and Welcome to Generation Litigation!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

A St Paddy's Day re-post

From 2009 but the sentiment remains the same. Enjoy


Ah, March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day. The day in which we celebrate everything Irish and everyone is Irish for a day. Me? I’m not buying it. Being Irish for a day is like being Christian only on Easter and Christmas or in love only on Valentines Day. My ancestry is Irish on both sides and I’ve made it a point to study my ancestry, been to Ireland 3 times and hell, my personality alone exudes the atypical Irish stereotype. I’m Irish 24/7/365 and don’t need a special holiday to celebrate this

Let’s face some certain facts:

1) St Patrick’s Day is more of an Irish American holiday then an Irish holiday although it has become bigger in Ireland and made traveling to Ireland for this date more a destination trip then ever before

2) The traits of being Irish that are celebrated on St Paddy’s Day are most of the negative stereotypes propagated by the media and popular fiction and not history. It celebrates the Irish as a bunch of drunks (true in many cases but not in all), that Ireland must be chock full of leprechauns, and that the Irish exclusively wear green from head to toe. It doesn’t celebrate the fact the Irish are hard working, industrious folk that were critical in the growth of THIS country

3) It is the one holiday that straddles the line between Hallmark holiday (the sheer amount of crap you can buy to celebrate) and Amateur Night (New Year’s Eve and night before Thanksgiving being the other 2) in that it becomes more and more popular because the stores shove it down our throats and at the same time all these poseurs and wannabes are out drinking and generally getting in the way of us real drinkers

4) People want to hear “Irish” music, which of course they mean traditional or Irish folk music. As far as they are concerned Irish bands ceased progressing with the Clancy Brothers and the Irish Rovers. I suppose that all Irish high school kids walk around playing the Unicorn Song on their Ipods and that most of us never heard of U2, the Corrs or the Pogues?

Finally, some dos and don’ts:

Don’t order corned beef and cabbage (aka boiled dinner) if you want authentic Irish, as corned beef is not a preparation indigenous to Ireland (the cost of salt was way too high)

Do order bangers and mash if you want authentic

Don’t order green beer. ‘nuff said

Do order Guinness or Smithwicks or another real product of Ireland

Don’t order a black and tan as it has a very derogatory meaning to the Irish (and hell, don’t spoil Guinness with anything else)

Do have a shot of Jameson’s, just about the tastiest stuff on earth

Don’t speak with a phony Irish brogue

Do have fun without making a total moron of yourself and, if you are indeed Irish, your heritage

Do visit one of your areas many Irish pubs

Don’t forget they are typically open 360 plus other days a year and not just St. Paddy’s Day

Have fun, drink, laugh, and raise a toast to those whom gone before you. Rejoice in being Irish if only for a day but don’t make a mockery of a proud, hard working people who helped build THIS great country as well as their own

Sl√°inte!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

R.I.P. Dickie O 1937-2011

Most of you who take the time to read this probably already know this but I've been away from blogging, and a lot of other things, as my dad had been really sick and recently passed away. Cancer had really overwhelmed him and in the end his passing was merciful. My dad was a larger then life personality and was mourned by hundreds and hundreds of friends and family. It's hard to handle all the raw, emotional outpouring of affection that everyone had for my dad because it makes you both happy to hear and sad because maybe you never realized just how great he was because, well, he was your dad and had to dad-like at times. For those that knew him, most of what I'm writing here will come as no surprise. For those that didn't know him, I'm only scratching the surface of who he really was. If I sound like I'm bragging or going on too much about my dad, tough shit, stop reading right now as this is all about the man that was Dickie O

Dick was from North Cambridge, MA and was damned proud of that. Not Cambridge, North Cambridge. That was important to him and his people at that time and would be quick to correct people who said he was from Cambridge. What neighborhood you were from was far more important then what city. He was the youngest of 5 and so much younger then his older brother his was often mistaken for his son. He was a typical neighborhood kid of the time and on the whim of a friend enlisted in the USMC where he served for 6 years. He came home and met the love of his life; his best friend's baby sister. Boy, did that have disaster written all over it. But it all worked out as several years, and 6 children, later he moved the family from a 2 bedroom apartment in Somerville to Arlington where he lived for the rest of his life.

He basically had one employer his entire adult life which would be the entity now known as Verizon but to us was simply "The Phone Company". He started and finished his nearly 40 year career as a proud union member and the thought of ever going "management" to him was nearly blasphemous. He mentored literally hundreds of coworkers over the years and remained friends with nearly all of them and best friends with many of them. He was a typical dad of the time with a large family and sole provider in that he put in massive amounts of overtime just to make ends meet. At the same time he never, ever missed work unless it was a dire situation and took home perfect attendance awards (yes, strange they have those things for working adults) pretty much every year. With all this going on he still found time to make it to his kids various activities although not to a level that is likely acceptable to parents these days.

In his 40's he joined Fitness First in Arlington where he spent his nights doing aerobics, working out, raising a ruckus and serving as unofficial mayor of the gym. He touched the life of many young people there while never missing an opportunity to embarrass his son and daughters that also were members.

After retirement he spent a lot of time with his emerging brood of grandchildren whether it be walking cranky kids around the neighborhood, waiting at the school to walk the kids home, or volunteering as a "lunch lady" he enjoyed his time with the kids and entertaining the young parents of the other kids. When my sister adopted Willie the cat his new job was walking the cat. Don't ask. While the last few years of his life weren't easy dealing with hip replacements and the constantly recurring cancer but he typically made the best of it and while it was a little harder to draw it out, he never lost his sense of humor

Those are the facts, that's the biography but none of that is what made Dick O'Rourke who he was. Nope, it was his personality that made him such an unforgettable character. I once described him as the guy that was all your high school superlative awards rolled into one. Most popular, class clown, best dressed, best dancer, etc, etc, etc. He was an amazing dancer and was the first to dance at any event. He could whistle like a pro and his whistling always served as an early warning device for the mood he was in. If he was walking down the hill from the bus stop whistling away we knew we were in for a good night. If not... He was a masterful story teller, knew a million (mostly dirty) jokes and hundreds of (mostly inappropriate) songs all of which we heard hundreds of time but which always brought a smile to someones face. He didn't know the meaning of the words "shy" or "awkward" and was always comfortable around people whether they were his oldest friend or if they had just them. He was a major league ball buster but always took it as well as he gave it and never missed an opportunity to be the butt of his own jokes. He knew how to work a room and made it a point to interact with everyone whether a hearty handshake, hug, or, more likely, a subtle dig. He was, in his words, "a real pissa".

Now, all that said, he certainly had his faults and idiosyncrasies. He had a temper that you had to push to see but when he blew up, run. He was the life of the party for many years always being the last one to leave. He quit drinking when I was 12 so I don't remember much of those days (nor did he) but I asked him once if he got counseling or AA or anything to help quit drinking. He told me no, he just woke up one morning and quit drinking. Of course he woke up on the neighbors porch... He didn't drive, he didn't fly, he didn't really like going away as he was convinced the house would burn down. For us a vacation was a trip to wherever my uncle Bernie had for us to use within a few hours drive. He was a horrible sleeper and existed most of his life on just a few hours sleep. This was an issue as we got older and tried to "sneak in". He always told us it was impossible to lie to him as he had done everything we'd done and done it better. He was right too. He was admittedly only slightly handy yet collected enough tools that his friends who were carpenters and contractors borrowed tool from him. He obsessed with painting the house until he finally gave in and got siding. He was super paranoid about inclement weather often calling his grown children to tell them to "be careful it's going to be slippery out there". But all these peccadilloes were part of the character that was my dad

I always think of my dad as a friend. Well, I mean of course he was my friend but I mean everyone's friend. He had that type of personality and charisma that he attracted friends like metal filings to a magnet. And if he called you his friend he meant it. Words like friendship and loyalty were not throw away terms for him but words by which he lived his life. I'd say he had more, real, true friends then anyone I knew. He would quite literally give the shirt off his back to a friend in need. And they never forgot him either. As his health deteriorated he had a constant stream of visitors to make sure he knew he was loved. His best friend in particular showed the true definition of BFF by spending all day every Wednesday with him to keep him company, keep him from feeling too sorry for himself, and to give my mom a much needed break. While we all extolled his virtues for doing this he would have no part of it. He'd say "you don't get it. Being Dickie's friend has been a privilege". So say we all Bob, so say we all

Dickie died at home surrounded by loved ones after a long, difficult bout with cancer. He was very weak and couldn't speak much in the end but we did get some flashes of old Dickie in his last few days. He told Karen to control herself, told Katy she was too loud, told my mother Eileen was a PT so she has the right technique to move her, not my mom who was a "bull in the woods, smirked as Jenny sang and danced for him, and shared a tender moment with me as he called me closer and as I leaned in he flipped me the bird. Yup, true story. The smile on his face, knowing he got me good, was priceless and something I'll never forget. You'd have to know him to understand why that was a precious moment.

In the end he went out with style. Hundreds and hundreds waited hours to say farewell at his wake. There was no simple condolences as nearly everyone wanted to share a story. I joked with one of his friends that he was up there laughing at all the fools standing out in the freezing cold just to see him. At his funeral he was serenaded by bagpipes and I had the honor, no, the privilege, of giving his eulogy. It meant a lot to me. He was buried in Arlington and received the ceremony deserved of a Marine with Taps and a flag folding ritual. While it was sad the whole thing was beautiful

I won't lie, it's been hard. He was so sick you tell yourself he's better off and while that may be true I'm not sure WE'RE better off. It's hard losing someone who, as we are reminded of every day, cast such a large shadow. I know he's watching over us and is happily reunited with Mimi and all the others that went before him.

I've had a lot of people tell me he was a great man. I think he would argue with that as he'd say that was reserved for people who did great things. I will say he was a great friend, great guy, great husband, and great father and he was great at making people feel better about themselves. Hmmm, sounds like great things to me. So, yeah, I guess great man is a avid description.

So long pops, you will be missed but not forgotten

(some people have asked me to post the eulogy I wrote for him. Most of what I said is contained is this blog but if anyone would like to read it, let me know)