When its easier to lie

It dawned on me many years ago that a simple lie would stop tedious conversations I didn’t care to have.
This sounds much worse than intended. It does. Let me give you some context.

A former advisor, co-worker, mentor & friend was obsessed with the movie Dirty Dancing. Instead of telling her I have never seen it, I always replied with a simple line I knew was in the movie:

I don’t understand the context but truth be told, it was just easier to lie.
I don’t want to watch the movie. I don’t want to understand. I want nothing to do with it… so when this topic comes up, I always reply with “Ahhhahahahahaa! Nobody puts baby in a corner!” and that shuts them right up.

But truth be told, I lie about this stuff all of the time. You see, I don’t really like people, and I don’t want them to try to convince to me to watch something I don’t want to watch.

This includes (but is not limited to) the following:

  • The Devil Wears Prada (oh, Meryl is so incredible!)
  • Actually, any movie with Meryl Streep (she’s unbelievable!)
  • Pitch Perfect (Oh, that adorable Anna Kendrick! I love Cups!)
  • The Godfather (Part II is a classic, but III is a waste of time!)
  • Citizen Kane (Rosebud is his sled!)
  • Gone With the Wind (I don’t know nothing about birthin’ no babies!)
  • The Golden Girls (Oh, Sophia!)
  • The Sopranos (it’s so smart!)
  • Sex & The City (hahahaha! I’m the perfect gay for loving this show!)

I let a current co-worker read this before I published, just to make sure it made sense. Aliya got through the first few lines and screamed:
“What do you mean you’ve never seen Dirty Dancing?”

My point stands. Publish. Drop the mic, walk away.

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When its easier to lie

This is just a note

There are many things I’m good at in this world:

  • Making snide comments
  • Summarizing my feelings in 140 characters or less
  • Playing video games
  • Forgetting to call my mother on Mother’s Day
  • Not knowing my parent’s birthdays
  • Burning garlic while trying to saute something

There are many things I”m not good at… one of those is writing notes. You know – little handwritten notes to someone you appreciate. Or, maybe its to someone you don’t appreciate. Just because. Sometimes they’re for birthdays (although I won’t remember it if you’re not on Facebook).

You see, my handwriting is bad. I can’t live without spell check. Those squiggly red lines don’t appear on a card that I’m writing. What is a boy like me to do?

Well, I’m doing it anyway.
If you want a card this summer, let me know (in fact, there’s one in the mail right now).

I’m putting at least two cards in the mail every week all summer. One of those could be for you. Just email me, tweet me or facebook me your mailing address. I’ll surprise you at some point over the summer.

Just don’t judge my handwriting or my speeling.

This is just a note

Potluck rhymes with PotYUCK

At an open staff forum today, the topic of staff unity was discussed.
As you can imagine, everyone wants to have social gatherings and receptions where we can mix and mingle, but no one wants to pay for them. So, a solution was provided: Potluck.

My stomach turned to knots.
I started to get hives.
Visions of filthy food crept into my mind.

Maybe I was being judgmental, so I threw it out to my friends on Twitter and for three out of four responses, the answer was pretty consistent:

MalloryBower's avatar
Mallory Bower @MalloryBower
@jasonrobert good if it’s not mandatory. good if your coworkers are good cooks.
FirstGenCollege's avatar
Yolanda Norman @FirstGenCollege
@jasonrobert good idea here! I love trying new food and you get a chance to see so much culture from the staff
ChristiSaindon's avatar
Christi Saindon @ChristiSaindon
@jasonrobert They are. I’m not a fan.
timstjohn's avatar
Tim St. John @timstjohn
@jasonrobert we do student affairs crock pot and a chili cook off each semester. Lots of fun, good food, and hanging out.

As much as I love my Twitter friends, I have to disagree. My mind still wanders to weird, negative places:

  • Don’t you own a long-haired cat? How do I know there isn’t cat hair in your Great Grandmother’s Secret Chili?
  • How the hell am I going to get a crockpot through seven train stops?
  • Is your Top Secret Mac & Cheese really just Velveeta Shells & Cheese?
  • There is certainly mayo in your unrefrigerated potato salad and I think I smell salmonella in it.
  • I’m allergic to shellfish. How do I know you didn’t rub oysters all over this pan of stale brownies?
  • I’ve seen your four year old. He’s filthy. How do I know you didn’t let him help prepare your iceberg lettuce salad?
  • You don’t understand what Gluten-Free means and this finger sandwich is certainly made of bread.

Seriously. We require our students to adhere to strict food distribution policies in fear of food borne illness, allergic reactions and sanitation concerns. And there’s no way you can be #SAFit when you don’t know what ingredients went into Marge in Accounting’s Butter Grease Crisco Salad. Time to model the way, folks.

In the meantime, you won’t catch me near your potluck.

Potluck rhymes with PotYUCK

On the topic of #FOMO

“I gotta work on my FOMO,” he said, sitting in my office frustrated he had no plans today.

“FOMO?” I said, confused at the term and unsure how to guide.

“Fear of missing out,” he replied.

So here we finally have it, the side-effect of #YOLO… a generation of young people so eager to live life that they’re afraid they’re going to miss out on something.

#FOMO is something I’ve seen for the last year but until today didn’t have a term for it until today.

From parents desperate to attend everything during Family Weekend (“why would you offer more than one thing at the same time? How are we expected to attend every mini-class?”) to graduating Seniors who buy every Senior Week Event ticket so they don’t miss something (“I don’t know my plans, but its better to cancel than to miss.”).

We can grimace and act like this is a new phenomenon owned by Millennials, but its not. Countless generations have felt this way, most recently with Generation X.

I find it hard to not reflect on the sage advice of one of my role models, Mr. Ferris Bueller –

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” – Ferris Bueller

Truth be told, Ferris isn’t helping. That’s not going to stop anyone from feeling the effects of #FOMO. It only exacerbates their ultra-fast reality. It’s not about missing it… it’s about making sure it doesn’t define you.

I’ve been a fan of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off  for many years, but perhaps we shouldn’t be listening to Ferris. Perhaps, we should be taking some sage advice from his world weary best friend, Cameron.

“I am not going to sit on my ass as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I’m going to take a stand. I’m going to defend it. Right or wrong, I’m going to defend it.” – Cameron Frye

Ferris lives by the concept of #FOMO.

We’re going to miss things, sometimes awesome things… but do you let that define you? Or, do you get off your ass and do something anyway? I side with Cameron.

On the topic of #FOMO

Slowing down

I’ve been pretty quiet for the better part of two weeks. Call it what you will: processing, grieving, coping, healing.

I’ve responded to dozens of emails, texts and tweets in the last few weeks and I give the same response – “We’re all physically okay.” But in reality, many of us (myself included) are still healing.

I’m certain I went through all of the stage of grief – I ate my feelings; I drank my pain away; I stress-vomited nightly; I threw myself into work; I went on a mini-vacation with #MyEric; I did it all.

But what I couldn’t figure out was how to get my groove back. How do I get back to me? How do I get back to life on April 14?

And it hit me yesterday. Slow down.

As part of Orientation training, I conducted a One Word Workshop with the student leaders. For some reason yesterday, my one word came back to me… and it was exactly what I needed.

My one word is #Slow. A reminder to enjoy where I am and what I’m doing; a reminder to appreciate the work I’ve done to get here and the work I will be doing in the future; a reminder I’ve accomplished a lot and I’m lucky to be in a place I want to be. 

You’ll find me later today, slowly walking through the Public Garden, viewing storefronts along Charles Street and appreciating where I am.  #BostonStrong

Slowing down