feet on a longboard

“I’ve ‘Matthew McConaughey’-ed Twice at Work Now, What Do I Do?” How to Recover From “Alright, Alright, Alright.”

When your joke falls flat, your reaction will determine how well you sleep that night.

I get it; I am the queen of both impulsive decisions and terrible jokes. That is, jokes that are quintessential “dad” humor, and jokes that are poorly constructed. It can be an absolutely disastrous combination.

My family prizes humor – my father often says his dream job would have been to sit around and come up with one-liners. Growing up, this meant that any discussion our family had was punctuated with dumb puns, pop culture jabs and M*A*S*H-style spoofs. When a joke didn’t land, it would be brushed off. There was no harm in testing new material or reaching for the subject matter; the worst someone would do was blow a raspberry and boo a little. While this meant that I had a completely awesome and supportive environment, it also meant that I gave into my predisposition to just blurt out the first thing that came to mind.

To sketch a framework of (horrifying) things that have come out of my mouth in a professional or formal setting:

Tim, the really nice HR guy: “Ooh, coffee. I need another cup. You like it black?”

Myself: “Yep, as black as my soul.”

Ross, my manager: “Jesus, Emily.”

(I was then forbidden from speaking to corporate unsupervised)

Another time –

Coworker picking up the phone: “Good morning-“

Myself: “VIETNAM!” 

(I’m not allowed to say this in the office any more)

To finish this up –

Global Entry Officer conducting my interview: “Right, so anyone traveling in your party without enrolling in this program will not be able to go through the PreCheck line, they-“

Myself: “Yep, they’ll have to go through the peon line.”

(He gave me the hairy eyeball, but I ultimately was approved for the program)

This is not an exhaustive list by any stretch of the imagination. There’s a great deal of tiny interactions I’m sure I’ve forgotten that involved stupid puns, or knock-knock jokes with terrible punchlines, etc, etc.

The point being is that I had to learn the hard way to roll with the failures. If I didn’t, I would be miserable constantly. I would be doubting every fifth word coming out of my mouth and tossing and turning at night reliving all of the awkward moments I had placed myself in from the moment I could speak until the time I walked out of the office that day. A small chuckle, maybe a self-deprecating comment and a smile goes a long way toward smoothing any ruffled feathers or awkward silence or looks. It doesn’t have to be perfect – I’m certainly not claiming to be – but it’s critical to be able to roll with anything. Even if the roll is a Nat 1.

Regarding the Matthew McConaughey impression that brought you here: please evaluate why you’ve said “alright alright alright” twice in a single day. Then, embrace the McConaissance and begin perfecting your drawl. Only take on rom-coms until you decide to shed your surfer life and become a dramatic actor. Youths these days, man, I get older, they stay the same age. Or something like that.

yrs as always

someone had some serious focus on this pile of clothes

I Moved a Pile of Laundry From the Chair to the Bed & Back for a Week – You’ll Never Guess What Happens Next!

Right hand to God, I think 60%* of my Facebook feed is terrible clickbait.

I get it, I really do. Somehow you have to break the flow of constant images and information competing for attention and make someone click on your article. A really easy way to do that is to have a cliffhanger-like title. It’s so common that there are literally websitessubredditsFacebook pages, and twitter accounts designed to go through the article so you don’t have to.

My favorite articles are ones that pair the “what happens next!title with an unrelated image.  Though, let’s be honest – it’s rarely an article. It’s usually 26 semi-related slides that all require different pages to be loaded. Gotta maximize that ad revenue, son!

The articles’ contents are really just appealing to the lowest common denominator – unabashed and morbid curiosity. I say this with at least four clickbait-y gadget reviews in my reading list. There is no condemnation from me for clicking on one of these articles. Seriously; cliffhangers have a long and storied (sorry) past of hooking a crowd in to obtain interest and engage them. Clickbait titles are just very tiny cliffhangers. It’s what you lean over your desk to discuss with your coworker instead of dealing with Cheryl from accounting. The end of last night’s popular sitcom; the articles with titles proclaiming “x celebrity did this action and you can too!

I’m not saying anything new, but I would like to propose alternate clickbait. Title your photos with “My baby did this, and I can hardly believe it” and put their (normal) action in the caption. Like, we all know your baby has smiled – it’s gas, by the way, it’s always gas – but spice up the presentation. Maybe your baby’s month-by-month photos with the stickers could be something like “My baby is the size of a vegetable, and I can’t believe it!” It’s a pumpkin.

If our lives are going to be slowly consumed by clickbait, let’s embrace it, and make it our own.

Oh, if you were curious about the laundry situation, I’m still resolving it. The bottom drawer of my bureau has broken (the front panel has come off) and I’m whining and moaning about whether to repair it or purchase a new dresser. While normally I’d have just fixed it by now, the drawer is an amalgam of tiny nails, dovetail joinery, and a little bit of glue – I’m not even sure where to start. The whole bureau is a masterpiece of 80’s construction and style. Purchased for the grand total of “I found it on the side of the road,” it’s been a faithful companion, but I might just have to take it out back and put ‘er down.

Sent From My iPhone

*The other 40% of my Facebook feed consists of about 10% personal posts – life stuff, kids, event photos – and 30% cat and dog photos. I have no regrets.

these are actually ruins of poseidon's temple in greece. joke's on you.

Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day

But they sure had more than one person to help build it.

I did some super serious math; the time it would take one person to build the entire city of Rome at its peak population would be approximately a kajillion years. Seriously – one person tasked with creating the entire infrastructure and bits and pieces of Rome would go absolutely insane. They’d throw up their hands and quit. Stomp off in their leather sandals screaming something about the exceedingly high expectations of their boss and just where they can shove their amphora. The building materials and partially finished city would just sit there forever as a parade of people walked past going “yeah, I’m not gonna be the sucker who tries to take that on.”

When I decided to re-launch my blog, I had four hundred ideas and a lot of enthusiasm. Two weeks later, upon purchasing server space and a domain, I had at least six feasible ideas and a moderate amount of enthusiasm. The enthusiasm was mostly caffeine. A week and a half after that, packing up my apartment in preparation for moving to my new space, I had four ideas that I was fairly sure I could do and no enthusiasm. I knew I should do it, since I had already bought the digital space. I put it in the nebulous ‘I’ll get to it someday pile.’

Fast-forwarding three weeks to the present, I had an epiphany and a turkey burger. Mostly because the turkey burger was sitting in my fridge, and Diet Coke can’t be the only thing in ones diet.

I look at all my favorite design blogs and websites with their well-defined structure and layout and I’m trying to create the same multifaceted site with my limited spare time, resources, and knowledge, and expecting perfection. These sites may have a figurehead, but they were built with a team and with time. I, for as much as I’ll deny it, am a single person with limited free time.

Take By Dawn Nicole. Her work is pretty baller stuff. If you throw the URL in the Wayback Machine to a few months after launch, then you’ll see its foundations. It was just her – albeit with a pretty cool site – in her spare time.

I decided I was being stupid. A turkey burger needs Frank’s Red Hot. That, and I can’t wait around for that indefinite ‘it’s finished and perfect!’ date to revive and release a blog. That date will never come; I will have stomped off screaming. The ideas that have bounced around in my head can be fleshed out in time and with help. A two-page site with blog posts is a good place to start.

Until next time.