Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The direct line...

We all know that I take a pretty direct approach to things around here. And it's easy to be direct when you're just yammering on about anything you want into the vast reaches of anonymity known as the internet. I mean you don't really have to answer to anyone for anything, and provided you keep certain things to yourself, nobody can really do a damn thing about it because it's a right to free speech and editorialism. You might run into a few complaints if you start blogging about your plan to do serious physical harm to public figures, or if you decide you're going to publish your plan to blow up a building or something... (I'm betting that those two key phrases probably have my page being checked out by someone in some national security office right about now... But if that's the case, then they're missing the overall point.) The point is that directness is easily achieved when there is no accountability.

So then there's the remaining question; is it possible that I actually live my life the same way I go on and on here?

Well as a matter of fact, I do.

In fact, in real life I think I am far more brazen and crass than I ever let on here. I mean the editing process obviously allows me to rethink some of the more offensive comments I make before publishing them for the world to find. And in real life I am certainly much more profane. I mean if we're on the subject of profanity, I would like to point out that when I'm alone in my car, driving from one client's home to the next, I curse a blue streak, scream, pound on the steering wheel, and generally wish I had the James Bond budget to install machine guns in my headlights... But that's really neither here nor there.

I suppose I focused in on this topic because today while at the office (in the computer lab/lounge) I was loudly and profanely expressing my displeasure with my caseload. A nearby coworker who is not yet as jaded as I am about the whole thing looked at me blankly in shock and amazement and asked if I was always so brazen. I naturally affirmed this. And several other nearby coworkers nodded or otherwise replied in agreement. The fact that I have no qualms about expressing my displeasure over my job, and the fact that I really don't care who knows about it has only exacerbated this alacrity and zeal for making my honest opinions known. Of course, when with a client, or the company owner/boss from whom I will be needing a letter of recommendation to grad school, I am still capable of civility and censorship. (Or at least the appearance of such for the time being...) But the mental tabulations of any snide remarks is kept and shared with others as soon as those folks are out of earshot.

And while I do on a rare occasion make a total ass of myself, I apologize to the cursory people and move on to more crassness and offensive behavior. (I'm not so crass or offensive to be compared with someone like say Steve-O, but then again, I don't walk down a whole lot of red carpets upon which I have the option to publicly urinate... And I got enough love and attention from my mother while growing up, so that's not something I'm striving to achieve either.) But the apologies are rare, and I only issue them after careful consideration as to whether or not I feel that something I've said or done merits an apology, and whether or not I feel the offended party is deserving of said apology. And I like to think that based on the number of people who seem to really enjoy my company, I'm pretty sure that the judgment on those rare apologies is sound. In fact, the level to which I am revered by the coworkers and friends who have already clearly stated that they will miss me when I depart for greener pastures makes me pretty sure that I'm going about this with the right approach.

One of my favorite lines in "As Good As It Gets" is spoken by Greg Kinnear's character. He notes, "The best thing you have going for you is your willingness to humiliate yourself." Truer words were never spoken, and that has essentially become my motto. If you're not willing to go out on that limb and embarrass and make an ass of yourself from time to time, you miss out on all the fun that's involved. Yes there's a time and a place for civility and refinement, but by comparison it's a pretty small portion of the time.

I mean sure we could pussy foot around an issue all day, saying things in a politically correct and diplomatic way so that nobody gets their feelings hurt, but when you take the opportunity to just go the direct route and say what you mean the way you want to say it, the fact is that you save EPIC amounts of time in the long run.

So, who have you offended today?

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