Monday, October 30, 2006

WalMart + husband = DISASTER 

First, some good news; I passed *******150,000 hits******* today!! Thanks to all my readers for making it happen!! xo

I'll preface this post by explaining something about my husband; he's legendary for losing receipts. He can go to ONE store, get in the car and drive straight home, and when he gets here the receipt is gone; we can search his pockets, the bag(s) and the car all we want, but we'll never find it. He even goes to the drive-up teller, or a drive-through fast food place, gets a receipt when he's IN the car, comes right home and the receipt is gone. It's not that he's not taking the receipts, or that he's absentmindedly tossing them, because I've SEEN him take receipts, put them in his pocket or a bag, and by the time we get home they're GONE, never to be seen again.

As a result, I long since developed the habit of snatching receipts from him whenever we're shopping together; as is typical of habitual screw-ups, he tends to be petulant about it, as if his sacred manhood is being impugned by the implication that he can't hang onto a receipt... and reminding him of his disgraceful record in this area doesn't change anything. Undeterred, I've continued with my policy of receipt-grabbing, and refuse to cave in to his philosophy of "don't return it, just throw it out," which he created in his many pre-me years of inept handling of problematic purchases. With that said:

Last week, we made a rare stop at the most inconveniently located WalMart in our county; in what I thought at the time was a big stroke of luck, they had the exact sort of subtly-patterned khakis that I needed to fill in the spectrum of my pants wardrobe between jeans and formal (ie business or dressy) varieties. I was able to find 2 different patterns in my size, and felt a warm sense of accomplishment when we took them to the register; one of the pairs of pants didn't have the store tag, but they were able to scan the others twice because they had the same UPC, so it was ok.

As we were leaving the store, the unthinkable happened; for the 1st time in literally YEARS, I forgot to grab the receipt.

I didn't realize what had happened until later that evening, when I unpacked our many WalMart bags and discovered what the glaring fluorescents of the store had hidden; there was a shadowy little dark spot on the front of one of the pants. Careful rubbing did nothing to reduce it, and, worse, some of the pigment in the pattern was disrupted in that spot, so I had to accept that they needed to be returned; although there'd been other pairs of that style in my size, since they clearly weren't fully colorfast I was just going to have to do without them.

That was when I realized that I hadn't confiscated the receipt.

I frantically searched all the WalMart bags, and my husband searched his pockets and the car; no receipt. Seeing that my blood pressure was reaching quadruple digits, he tried to reassure me by pointing out that they'd almost certainly take the pants back since I had the tags; knowing my luck as well as he does at this point in our lives, he wasn't too surprised when I told him that it was the pair withOUT the store tag that was the problem. Most stores will STILL take an item back if it's got SOME of the tags and is something they're currently selling, although only for store credit; keeping track of the credit form, and making sure it's used before it expires, is a pain, but would be better than nothing.

Because he'd eaten the receipt (well, what do YOU think he did with it?), my husband agreed that he should be the one to do the way out of the way drive the next day to do the return; as always, he milked it until the last possible moment (he gets some sort of thrill from leaping through the door of a store 2 seconds before it closes), but he went... and came back with the pants. It turns out that at least that particular WalMart closes its customer service desk before the store closes; ignoring that my eyes were bugging out of my head with stress, he airily announced that he'd go again the next day, so there was nothing to worry about.

The following night, he napped after dinner; when I woke him up to tell him to get going, he belatedly informed me that customer service leaves TWO HOURS before the stores closes, meaning that it was already too late to go. When I inquired, in a voice that could shatter granite, why he hadn't apprised me of that particular detail BEFORE he went to sleep, he sheepishly replied that he'd "meant to" set his alarm to handle the issue, but had failed to do so... but that he'd go the NEXT night, so no worries.

The next night, he DID go, and at a proper time; he returned with the pants AGAIN. He'd been told that he needed the store tag or the receipt to do any sort of return, but that if he got a new pair he could then use the receipt to return them and the tag to return the original pair. When I asked him where the new pants were, he replied that he didn't want to take that step, a step that was inarguably necessary, without asking me 1st, so he hadn't gotten them; when queried as to why he didn't call me from one of the pay phones right outside the store, he said, "Uh... I don't know." He assured me that he'd do it the NEXT night, so I should stop fretting.

The next night, he did indeed go AGAIN... only to discover that WalMart, contrary to what the previous service person had told him and what most stores do, will NOT take a return even for store credit if you've got the store tag but no receipt, and furthermore that it was a moot point because thanks to the DAYS of delay they no longer had the pants in my size, so no sleight of hand could be done in any case.

At that juncture, my husband thought we should just throw the pants out, since it wasn't worth driving to every WalMart in the county looking for another pair in the right size; when I pointed out that we had this marvelous new invention called a PHONE, he insisted that no trustworthy information could be obtained that way, because the WalMart employees wouldn't be capable of looking for the pants, or willing to do an honest search, or blah blah blah. Ignoring him, I called the closest WalMart; after a few minutes on hold, I was told that a pair of those pants in my size had been found, and I could come and get them from the layaway department at any time. Surprised but willing to play along, my husband agreed to go and get them; he mentioned that he wanted to get a jar of petroleum jelly while he was there, and I lectured him at length about why it absolutely, positively must NOT be put in the bag with the pants, because even rounded corners could poke and rub, and these pants couldn't take ANY mistreatment. I also made him take a box with him to bring the receipt home in; he complained bitterly, as he always does when forced to use it, but he's safely brought home 100% of receipts put in there, and if he lost a SECOND receipt for these same pants my head would have exploded, so that was that.

Off he went, and came back a while later with the pants; I took them to the bedroom, and as I shifted the bag to empty it onto the bed I felt something large and hard in it... I started screaming even before I dumped it out and discovered that a BELT had been wrapped up with the pants. My husband, leaping into the room in response to my shrieks, started his standard disclaimer that nothing was wrong, that I was freaking out over nothing... and then I interrupted to indicate where the tab of the buckle had made TWO deep indentations in the pants (eerily, right on the part of the thigh where the spot was on the original pair), which, when popped out, revealed that some of the pigment had been scraped off in both dents.

You couldn't put this story in a book or a movie, because no one would believe that anyone could be STUPID enough to allow a checker to put something with METAL PARTS in the bag with ANY pair of pants other than jeans, much less with pants that are known to be easy to damage, much less after being WARNED about the possible dangers from a much less potentially disastrous item. You know what his excuse was? I hadn't said anything about BELTS, so how was he supposed to know a belt could hurt the pants? Yes, a grown man actually stood there and claimed that he would have to have been TOLD about any item other than the one we'd discussed for him to be aware that it was a potential problem.

So there I was, with TWO messed-up pairs of the same pants, with no way to know if there were any others of my size left anywhere, and looking at trying to juggle TWO returns at best, and 1 return and one thrown away pair at worst; I scorched my husband right down to his bone marrow for having created such an insane fiasco, believe me. With nothing left to lose, I went to work on the new pants; I dripped water on the dents, pushed them out from the inside, and gave them the most infinitesimal rubs to blend around the pigment... and after several rounds of this, with my heart in my throat the whole time, I got them to the point where you can't pick out where they were dented or scraped anymore (in large part because the pattern is subtle but busy). WHEW!!

My blood pressure was sinking back into triple digits when I saw the store tag protruding partway out of the waistband; just out of sheer anal-ness, I pulled it out... and there was a red SALE sticker on it. I don't know what was worse; realizing that if I'd bought the pants a few days later I could have gotten them for HALF price, or realizing that it was possible we'd be stuck with store credit after all because they were a clearance item (we DID eventually get cash back, thank goodness).

All this for a pair of pants I don't want anymore, will be afraid to wear, and get a surge of stress every time I think of them.

The next time my husband tries to give me sh*t for demanding that he hand over a receipt, he's gonna regret it, lol.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Underwear and other party topics 

I've got a Halloween party coming up; sounds like fun, doesn't it? The thing is, I'm not a party person; I've never cared much for any sort of group socialization, not even good friends under ideal circumstances, because it's not conducive to the sorts of conversations I prefer (eg intense), and with parties there's the whole merry-making thing that's utterly foreign to my Puritan nature. Even if there's no alcohol involved (I don't drink, and don't enjoy being surrounded by tipsy folks who think they're being amusing), there's an unwritten rule that party conversation should be festive, or at least very casual; it's not that I'm unwilling to be light-hearted or discuss frivolous things (if someone throws a party with the theme of men with hairy chests I'll be there with bells on), it's that there isn't really anything in that genre that I have in common with random strangers... and that's the real downer, that my husband and I won't know anyone at the party but our hosts. Oh, HE doesn't care, because he'll vanish into the gaming room as soon as we set foot in the house and not emerge until the final game is done, 10 seconds before we have to leave (men all intently playing the same dumb game don't need to come up with social chitchat)... but what am *I* supposed to do all night? What do I say to a bunch of total strangers for 8 hours?

The problem isn't that I'm ever at a loss for words (obviously, lol), it's that in a social situation you have to come up with words that people find enjoyable to listen to... and how many of them do you think will want to sit around in Halloween costumes, eating candy and discussing metaphysics or the psychology of evil? My hosts are geeks, so their guests mostly will be too, which will help a little, because I can discuss "Babylon 5 vs Star Trek" with the best of 'em; I've gotta be wary of tech talk, though, because it'd be too easy to get carried away and let slip the phrase "my blog"... which, since no one is supposed to know about it, and my hosts are mentioned in multiple posts, would be a disaster.

How long can we ramble on about geek stuff? Longer than you'd imagine, but even geeks talk about pop culture and current events at parties, and I'm mostly outta luck there; I don't go to the movies, I haven't seen the latest episode of anything since "Queer as Folk" was cancelled, I know virtually nothing about music made after 1990, I'm almost entirely indifferent to celebrities and I don't follow the news. What's left, religion and politics? I might luck out with the former, as there's a good chance that there'll be a few Wiccans there and maybe I can steer them into discussing karma for a while, but politics is a total waste of time to debate, as all it accomplishes is creating bad feelings... especially if you're a cutthroat debater like ME.

After much thought, here's what I've come up with that I should be able to have normal, and perhaps entertaining, conversations about, even with strangers:

1) Animals: The hosts have pets, and the doodads and hair thereof are everywhere, so it shouldn't be too hard to work in a mention of critters; nearly everyone has some pet stories, and I've got endless tales about the furry and feathered visitors to my patio and the cute things they've done, so this could use up alot of time.

2) Spouses: Thank goodness I'm old enough now that any group of my peers will mostly be coupled up; yes, even geeks find love, and although the male of the species does so at a rate much lower than average they're also not likely to be sociable enough to be invited to parties, so it evens out. If you're a regular reader, you know that I have numerous heinous-hubby stories, and can tell them with a reasonable degree of humor; I know better than to tell too many of them, as I don't want to sound like a malcontent, but everyone in earshot will have contributions to make to this topic, so it can go on for ages, and as a bonus it's a good way to get to know people.

3) Underwear: Well, not that specifically, but whatever I've seen recently that's struck me as being worthy of a stand-up routine, both to regale folks with and to encourage them to add their perceptions to, which at this point in time is the ladies underwear ("lingerie") section of WalMart:

I hadn't gotten any new bras in far too long, so since we had to go to WalMart anyways I figured I'd send my husband to look at boxers (most of his are in SHREDS) and take the plunge. Have you looked at a bra display zone recently? It used to be a small area with mostly-white, simple bras in the various sizes, the majority of which came in boxes, with a little annex with strapless, convertible, padded and a few colored or lacy ones hidden decorously in the back; now, it's row after row of racks extending for nearly half the length of the store, with a dizzying array of styles, colors, patterns and decorations that you can clearly see because they're NOT in boxes (except for in a tiny section of one aisle that incongruously had drawers full of the old-style packages)... it was a little embarrassing to be there, because it looked like stuff for strippers and hookers rather than for normal women. Who the heck is buying all those wild bras? I can see having a couple of fancy ones for, um, erotic enhancement, but usually you want a bra that's not visible through your clothes, and you'd have to be wearing a suit of armor to hide most of the ones I saw.

Another scary observation was how many of the bras were padded and/or pushup; are there really that many WalMart customers who want to look that hooterific? I certainly want bras that are sufficiently lined to conceal if I'm, er, standing in a draft, and I want good support, but nothing on Earth could persuade me to try to draw attention to my chest with a "sexy" bra; I want to be taken seriously, looked in the eye, and valued for my intellect, NOT my cleavage. The absolute WORST thing, though, was the preponderance of underwires, those excruciatingly uncomfortable shaping elements that had been almost entirely eradicated until a decade or so ago; literally about 95% of the bras had them.

I wanted bras that would provide proper lift and coverage without enhancement, ornamentation or underwires, in basic beige or tan; out of the hundreds of available styles, know how many fit my criteria? TWO... and only 1 had my size in stock. sigh

Then came the search for panties... and I do mean PANTIES, not thongs, boyshorts or the giant granny undies that come up to within an inch of the boobs, although those varieties made up ALL of the stock that could be examined and bought individually off the rack and most of the packaged types. I don't want anything digging up my butt all day, I don't want the lower half of my butt hanging out, and I don't want my underwear visible over the waistband of my jeans; is that so outrageous? There's something vaguely degrading about having to get underwear in a sealed bulk package from the far end of the department, like it's something shameful to want more than an inch-wide strip of fabric covering my privates, and I'm not thrilled that I have to get at least 3 pairs at a time even if I only want 1, but the most aggravating part isn't WalMart's fault; the bulk-panty-pack companies appear to be run by blithering idiots. I can't tell you how many times I've seen a pack with cute, colorful patterns... and one plain white pair (occasionally it's beige or battleship gray). What MORON decided that someone looking for patterned panties would want to pay for a plain pair along with them? As my husband pointed out, the plain-white and the patterned-panty preferers are NOT the same women, so why combine those things? They don't stick a patterned pair in every pack of white panties, so why stick a white pair in nearly every pack of patterned ones? I don't wear white panties, and I don't want to have to pay for them and then donate them to Goodwill, so most times there's nothing I can get; this time, I found a pack with an attractive enough solid color mixed in with the patterns that I was willing to buy it, but it still drives me NUTS that something as basic as attractive cotton panties has become so difficult to find and onerous to purchase.

Once we've all talked about spouses, pets and underwear, hopefully we'll be capable of chatting naturally about whatever; cross your fingers for me that I'll be able to enjoy getting to know these friends of a friend... and that maybe, just maybe, there'll be a kindred soul or 2 to exchange ideas with.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Why do the evil usually triumph? 

I had some new insights today as to why evil people enjoy such enormous success:

1) Evil has few, if any, opponents: To earn the label of "good" or "evil," you have to take ACTION that demonstrates your moral standing; most people neither attack/screw over (evil) nor defend/assist (good) the innocent, and thus are morally neutral... and the neutral tend to not get involved when there's trouble. Since evil is easier and more exciting than good, there are more evil people than good ones, to the extent that in most social groupings there aren't ANY good people; this means that the evil can usually act unopposed... and THEY KNOW IT.

2) Evil is fearless: Evil people are aware that, contrary to how it SHOULD work, it's highly unlikely that they'll receive censure from the authorities or the members of whatever group they're acting up in; that doesn't matter much to them, though, because they're NOT AFRAID of censure, or even punishment... either they're so arrogant due to their many successes that they truly believe it can't happen to them, or they've experienced it and realize that it's not particularly painful and has no lasting ill effects, and thus can be dismissed from their calculations. The good and the neutral, in contrast, ARE afraid of censure, which causes them to hold back from taking action, making it easier for the evil to steamroller onwards.

3) Evil understands psychology: They instinctively grasp the grim fact that how a person typically behaves is seen as a baseline on which no judgment is passed (see my post of 2-2-06), so if they misbehave consistently people just accept it as a given and ignore it; worse, if they get into a dispute with a neutral or good person, this means they're seen as doing nothing wrong (because they're acting in the normal, accepted manner), and leads to the blame for the disruption being placed on the only other available party... the innocent victim. They also understand intermittent reinforcement (see my post of 9-10-04), which tells them that if they're nice occasionally it has way more impact than the behavior of those who're always nice, and so causes them to be seen as far nicer than the latter; this protects them from well-deserved harsh judgments, and even gains them the friendship of people who should know better.

4) Evil lays the groundwork: They know to go around and lavish some charm on everyone in the group, especially those seen as leaders or authorities, before acting up, because this provides them with an absurd amount of protection from being judged against. They also know to talk privately with others of their kind, and any they think might join them, and get everyone worked up to take action so that they can come out of nowhere with a mass assault that's very difficult to combat. Most diabolically of all, they complain to everyone about their victims before the latter can complain about THEM, so that the members of their social circle, and, more importantly, the authorities, will automatically discount whatever the victims say because they've already leapt to judgment against them; sadly, most folks will continue to believe whoever talked to them 1st no matter what evidence of what really happened is presented to them afterwards, so the victims are out of luck.

5) Evil knows the value of gradual escalation: If you drop a frog into boiling water, it'll hop right out; put it in cool water and heat it slowly, and it'll boil to death without ever having tried to escape. In similar fashion, evil types will start small and build to ever-greater evils, with an unerring instinct for how far and how fast they can successfully increase their level of misbehavior without alarming the witnesses... and then folks finally wake up and wonder how things could have gotten so BAD without anything being done.

6) Evil is unhesitatingly active: In order to accomplish your goals (whether constructive or DEstructive), you have to DO something, and the evil are like barking dogs straining at their leashes; the good and the neutral, meanwhile, hang back from taking action, even in their own defense, and while they're dithering and discussing the evil are kicking butts right and left.

7) Evil loves to team up: Evil people smell each other out and rush to join forces, because it's so clearly in their best interests to do so; it gives them vastly enhanced power and protection. The goals of the good and the neutral don't include acquiring the power to hurt others and having the safe exercise thereof, so they do NOT automatically form "battle groups"; it never occurs to them that they'll eventually need a group for protection, and if you tell them that they'll brush it off as nonsense. Sadly, even AFTER the evil make their move, the good and the neutral are blind to the need to scramble into protective groups... they scatter like rabbits instead.

8) Evil effortlessly pads its ranks with the neutral: Once the evil go into action, neutral types will all too often join them out of fear of being targeted if they're not in the group, or because they see it as a safe way to release the anger and hostility caused by their rotten lives, or because they're weak and attackers seem strong (think moth to the flame), or because they're worthless and only the evil will have them. The good are notoriously bad at luring and keeping the neutral, because the neutral stand to gain little and forfeit much if they join what's usually the losing side, and they're drawn to, and fooled by, the wonderful-seeming fake friendships that the evil offer, never seeing that they're being used and held in contempt.

9) Evil follows the leader: I used to wonder about movies, and even cartoons, that showed world-class villains with swarms of henchmen; it didn't seem possible that someone could get a group of even their fellow evildoers to willingly follow their orders day in and day out... but I don't wonder anymore. Through some psychological pathway that still eludes me, once someone is seen as the leader of an evil group, usually by being the most dramatically evil member thereof, their orders get OBEYED; it doesn't matter how many orders there are, or how extreme or difficult they are, the flunkies can't WAIT to carry them out to the letter. The good and the neutral, however, even if they've explicitly agreed that they're all going to do what THEIR leader says for their own frigging good, will argue, complain, drag their feet, promise but not follow through, make excuses, do things their own way or half-@ss-edly, etc... getting them to all do what they're supposed to is like herding cats, which makes their groups of limited use even if they manage to form them and stick with them.

10) Evil is persistent: They'll gleefully do an infinite # of evil deeds, and will literally NEVER grow tired of it, because they LOVE what they're doing; if there's a goal other than just causing trouble forever, they've got what it takes to see it through. On the other hand, if you can get good or neutral people to make ONE decisive move, they act as if they've just climbed Everest and are all done in... and just plain DONE, because, no matter how obvious it is that the evil have NOT been stopped yet, their attitude will be that they did their best and that's it. Even if they're being personally attacked, even if they stand to lose a great deal if the attack "destroys" them, they'll rarely put forth more than a token effort before giving it up as hopeless.

Given all that, the amazing thing is that the evil don't ALWAYS win... they do come close, though, and it's largely because YOU aren't taking action to stop them. If you're tired of little cliques of evil people running things, or at the very least causing constant irritation and making chosen victims miserable, at your office, school, and every social group you're in, online as well as off-, DO something about it: Taking a page from their book, secretly talk to everyone you think might be willing to act against them, tell them to all tie broomsticks to their spines to stiffen them if necessary (be a little less blunt than that, of course), and when the evil ones take their next action, CRUSH THEM. Even if you can't get enough people to keep fighting long enough to get the win, you can still make being evil much more trouble and much less fun, which will dampen their enthusiasm and reduce their bad behavior.

And if you're unwilling to do that? They win. You lose. It's that simple.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

How to get more comments on your blog 

It seems like every blogging-related forum and chat is full of people begging others to come post comments on their blogs; in their honor, here are a few ideas about how to get more folks to click your "comment links":

1) Eliminate anything about your site that might cause new arrivals to instantly dismiss it, such as:

a) Music or video that starts playing automatically: It's not work safe, and is the #1 complaint I've seen about blogs.

b) ANY sort of automatic file download: People will assume it's a virus, but no matter what it actually is it's NEVER ok.

c) Requiring a special plugin to play your files: There are endless ways to play music or video that don't require weird plugins, so there's no reason to make people deal with a popup telling them to download one.

d) No content at the top of your main page: Even someone on a small laptop with the screen minimized somewhat (which people who surf via BlogMad and such often do) should see something other than your header, graphics, and ads when they reach your site; they won't scroll down to a comment link if they see nothing to comment ON. Ads are a special case in this category; I've seen people say that they won't read ANY blog that has ads at the top of the page, so you've gotta weigh the few pennies extra you're earning against lost readers.

e) Text that's hard to read: If your font is too small, too funky, or in a glaring color combo with the background, don't expect people to risk eyestrain to read your posts. Anything other than black on white (or white on black, although some people complain even about that) can be hard to read after a while, so you REALLY want to be sure that "colorful" posts are important to you before choosing them. Also, if some people's fonts sizes seem too big, but yours looks just right, you might have your screen resolution too low; if so, the other blogs are fine, and yours has too small of a font size.

2) Make sure the general public is ABLE to comment on your site:

a) If your blog only allows registered users to comment, most folks can't post there; to increase comments, move to a more visitor-friendly site, put in Haloscan or some other flavor of commenting that doesn't require registration, or install a chatbox. If your blog is somewhere that allows for anonymous commenting, such as Blogger, and you've turned that feature off to reduce the likelihood of trolls and spam, why not turn it back on and see what the ratio is of increased comments to "bad" ones?

b) If you've got cutting-edge code, be aware that some of that stuff only works on newish PC's with recent versions of Windows and browsers; potential commenters on Macs, or with older computers, operating systems or browsers, or browsers other than the major ones, might not be able to use your links and scroll bars (the latter being very important if you have a postage-stamp-sized embedded window with your posts in it). If you want to be sure that everyone can comment, either test your site on a wide range of machine and browser combos or just stick to tried and true, if less glamorous, template designs.

3) Post content that people will WANT to comment on: If you're posting about how many eggs you had for breakfast, the only person who'll comment is your mom warning you about your cholesterol level; to affect folks enough to engender in them the urge to respond to you, your posts should be funny, emotional, informative, controversial, insightful, sexual, or about famous people.

4) Don't beg people to comment: Anyone who liked you enough that they would have commented eventually will change to viewing you with pity and even contempt, and new readers will instantly peg your blog as a dead one that no one likes enough to comment on. Yes, you might get a comment or 2 from embarrassed lurkers who don't fully grasp that you can't "see" them, but their discomfort will probably drive them away afterwards, and in any case will NOT lead to them commenting regularly.

5) Be aware of the email addy issues:

a) There's absolutely, positively NO reason to require an email addy for someone to be able to post on your blog; trolls and spammers are perfectly capable of entering fake addies. It's a pain for commenters to have to type something in for that field, and to either give a total stranger their private email addies or invent fakes; if your current commenting system won't let you eliminate the email addy requirement, consider a new one.

b) Recently, a bunch of commenting software was apparently updated to detect fake email addies; they accept the comments, but dump them in a spam file rather than posting them. Commenters who don't want to give you their addies won't be willing to keep trying fake ones until your system accepts them... they'll just move on to the next blog.

6) Go easy with "captcha": If people have to enter a code in order to post comments on your site, a certain % of them won't bother; unless you've had a major spam problem, it's best to just do without captcha. If you REALLY need to use it, be careful about which one you choose; the capital and lower-case versions of lots of letters look alike, especially when they're distorted, so don't get a captcha that doesn't accept upper- and lower-case as the SAME letter, or people will have to make a bunch of tries to get past it... and that won't encourage them to ever post again. Also, avoid captchas that are too deformed or otherwise difficult to make out; same reason.

7) Re-think comment moderation: I understand the desire to fight spam and trolls, but it's off-putting to some folks to not be sure if their comments will ever appear, and if there's a discussion going on it'll be a wreck with no one knowing what's been said but not officially posted yet... that is if people are willing to post at all, and risk looking foolish because they duplicated someone else's comments.

8) Treat anyone who DOES comment with courtesy: The bulk of your comments should be from repeat visitors, but people won't come back if they don't feel like they connected with you in a positive way, which means that you should:

a) Welcome 1st-time commenters.

b) Respond to every non-trivial comment that's posted: If all someone says in reaction to your post is something like "Me too," they probably don't expect you to reply, but most folks comment because they want to be part of a dialogue, and if you deny them that there's plenty of other blogs they could go to where they can feel more involved.

c) Even if there's an intense debate going on, as long as a commenter hasn't stooped to name-calling or personal remarks you need to remain polite when you address or refer to them; also, resist the temptation to argue with someone who's posted a reason for disagreeing with you withOUT asking you questions to prompt you to rebut them... there's no chance you'll change their minds, and it just looks like you're being a bully.

9) Keep control of your comment areas: If you let trolls, or people who can't discuss issues without getting nasty, run rampant, no sane person will want to bother posting a thoughtful comment, much less become a regular commenter; unless all you want are a few belligerent types spewing on each of your posts, delete comments from and if possible ban trolls in a timely fashion, and threaten to do the same to those who get too heated if they refuse to abide by your request that they keep it civil.

In general, though, the most important thing about comments is that you don't get so hung up on them that you lose sight of what makes your blog special; YOU, and your unique perspective on the world.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Who do I respect the most? 

Since writing my last post, I've thought alot about who I respect the most, and why. The traditional concept of respect includes deference, in other words that you'd defer to that person's judgment over your own; for me to feel that for someone, they'd have to have a history of judgment superior to mine, and have me totally convinced that when they advised me their intention was to serve my best interests (rather than to manipulate me, or worse). For most folks, there'd be some older family members that qualified for this position; in MY family, sadly, I've seen little evidence of my best interests ever being considered, and NO evidence that any of them possess superior judgment, so that's out. Some of us have friends with such great track records of making the right choices that we'd trust theirs over ours; among MY friends, I'M the one with the best track record, so that's out too.

The deepest respect I can offer would be that any idea the recipient put forth that's other than what's already in my head would make me stop dead in my tracks and think it through out to 10 decimal places, even if it doesn't make sense to me at first, contradicts my worldview or seems a little crazy... or ALOT crazy. The ones I feel that for are the precious few whose intelligence, perception, knowledge, analytical ability, adherence to logic and facts over feelings, and grasp of the complex attributes of humans and the spiritual realm have knocked me out multiple times.

A famous example of such a person is Dilbert creator Scott Adams, who has given me eye-popping food for thought over and over and altered my perceptions of things up to and including the nature of reality... what a MIND that man has!! Respecting him as I do, when I see something he's written that seems nuts at first glance, like this

"If everyone exposed to a product likes it, the product will not succeed."

I don't shrug and move on to the next post, I open up my mind and keep reading. The explanation for his seemingly nonsensical statement, which he tells us he heard from "an experienced executive" and has since verified himself, is:

"The reason that a product 'everyone likes' will fail is because no one 'loves' it. The only thing that predicts success is passion, even if only 10% of the consumers have it. For example, I'm willing to bet that when the TV show Baywatch was tested, 90% of the people rolled their eyes and gave it a thumbs down. But I'll bet 10% of the test audience had tents in their pants. Bingo."


As soon as I read that, I couldn't believe I hadn't seen it before... which is the best sign of a powerful truth, in my experience. It makes perfect sense; most people don't have time/$ to spare on something new that they just LIKE, when there are so many things they LOVE that they want more of, and established likes filling in the gaps... they need to love a new thing to be willing to pursue it.

I'll finish off with a description of why my most respected friend has that honor; we'll call her "Jane":

It started when we were in college; the psycho best friend of my then-boyfriend used the weeks between the beginning of the romance and when my bf brought me into their social circle to badmouth me incessantly to everyone in the group... although he'd never even MET me. They all bought it enough for my original reception to be chilly; the first big breakthrough came when Jane and I crossed paths on campus one day, and she announced out of the blue that she was sorry she'd listened to anything Psycho had said about me, as it obviously wasn't true and she should've known better than to trust anyone behaving that way... how many people of college age, or ANY age, have the backbone to denounce the official party line like that, or even the discernment to realize that it's in error?

A few years later, she was involved with a man that she didn't care too much about, but who from her descriptions of their time together was unmistakably falling for her big-time; when I pointed out how he apparently felt, and told her that because of it she needed to either make clear to him how SHE felt or end the relationship, she got defensive and nasty, with the upshot being that I was an idiot with no idea how things were between her and him, and how dare I tell her what to do... she even hung up on me. A couple of weeks later, she somehow found the courage to call me back and tell me that he'd asked her to MARRY him, and thus that I was totally right, she was totally wrong, and furthermore her prior behavior had been inexcusable regardless... could YOU have done that?

About that time, she began a protracted quest to study all facets Christianity, with the intention of finding which church best represented God and the Bible; she went at it full-tilt, even being born-again for a while... and eventually turned away from a lifetime of organized religion and devoted herself to studying the Bible in-depth and contemplating God in her own innovative, insightful way. Equally as amazing, at no point did she try to drag anyone else along with her, whether Christian or "heathen" (eg ME), or look down on those who didn't agree with whatever her flavor of belief was at the time. She married a pagan man, and has bent over backwards to learn about his beliefs, to accommodate them on holidays and such, and has incorporated much of them into her own belief system (she sees no conflict in that-she believes that God created karma and other forces to serve His plan). AND, since I became a mystic, she's taken endless hours to discuss and ponder MY version of metaphysics, and to help me understand her interpretation of God and the Bible as part of my studies of Christianity; if there IS a God, she's done Him proud.

The darkest chapter in our relationship came when she suddenly and inexplicably stopped calling, returning my calls, or picking up the phone; I eventually got a brief, cold LETTER from her basically telling me to get lost. Fast forward several years; a voice from the past timidly called my name in the middle of a department store, and there she was, looking scared but hopeful. It was evident that she was eager to "get me back," and because she'd been such a good friend I took the plunge; in return, she admitted that what she'd done to me was the biggest mistake of her life... one so huge that she could never find the courage to contact me to try to make amends, and didn't know if there could even BE amends. It turned out that it'd been a king-sized replay of what happened in college; a couple of guys who barely knew me had trash-talked me to her, and she took their opinions over her own and ended our friendship. It didn't take her long to realize she'd done something dreadful, but it was too late; in contrition, she took a vow to learn to think for herself and do so from then on. Determined to make the RIGHT choices rather than just digging her heels in with whatever popped into her head, she developed the ability to gather all the facts, think them through thoroughly and objectively, come to the logical conclusion (which all too few people can do well, or at all), and stick to it no matter what nonsense got tossed at her... she still credits ME with indirectly forcing her do this and thus to become an adult.

When she told me what had happened all those years ago, she didn't spare herself at all; she made no excuses, she didn't even give reasons that might have lessened her guilt, she made it clear that she'd been stupid, blind, weak, and cowardly, and that was that. She announced her intention to spend the rest of her life making it up to me, if I'd allow her to; she wasn't just talking, either, she's been doing it and continues to do it... because of course I forgave her, as was only proper under the circumstances.

And finally: She revealed that a few years before, she'd looked at her friends and realized that the majority of them weren't the sort of quality people she wanted to be around, be influenced by and judged in part by being associated with; she hadn't fought with any of them, she hadn't stopped liking them, they hadn't mistreated her or done some terrible thing, it's just that they didn't have the sorts of virtues she'd struggled to exemplify, and in fact weren't particularly nice people... so, although she'd been friends with them since college, she took a giant step away from most of the people in her life, and focused on finding and maintaining relationships with people that she could point to with pride and name as her friends. Can you imagine the strength and courage it took to do that, not to mention the intellectual rigor necessary to alert her that the facts weren't adding up to an optimal result, and to allow her to think totally out of the box and come to an unheard-of but correct conclusion?

THAT is what it takes to earn my deepest respect.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Who should you respect? 

Ask most people that question, and they give an immediate answer that's essentially a list of every person, or category thereof, in their lives; family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, you name it. If you ask them WHY they respect those they listed, you'll get a blank look. If you ask them if they're sure all of those people DESERVE respect, you'll get reactions ranging from shock to confusion to anger. If you ask them what analysis they did for each of those people to determine their respect-worthiness, they'll look at you like you're a raving lunatic, and express horror at the idea of actually seeing if people QUALIFY to be respected before giving them respect and the benefits thereof.

WHY? Why is it such an outrageous thought that we shouldn't just give respect indiscriminately to everyone we know, that we should reserve it for those who are WORTHY, who have EARNED it? Do we as a culture have the misguided idea that we're so special that anyone in our orbit magically becomes respect-worthy? Or, is it that we've inexplicably decided that respect has to automatically go along with any relationship beyond bare acquaintance? Certainly, all too many folks use "respect" to just mean that they like the person they're referring to, or at least don't DISlike them; aside from this being foolish, it ignores the unfortunate fact that alot of charming-but-evil people, or on the other hand sweet-but-dopey people, are totally likable but NOT worthy of respect.

What difference does it make? Can't we just say we feel however we want about anyone we want? Sure, we can assign feelings to people on a whim, or at random, but what would be the point? Words MEAN things; when we use them we influence the opinions of others and even our own inner views, and "respect" is one of the strongest words we can use about another person... to toss it out with every name you mention is just as wrong as to announce that you feel, say, DISGUST for those folks, because both of these words make powerful statements about their subjects-the concept is the same whether you're using a positive or negative term. If we don't have any standards for who we respect, the word becomes meaningless; it seems like a sweet New Age-y idea to respect EVERYONE, but that benefits the unworthy and takes away benefit from the worthy... far from ideal.

Let me be clear: I'm NOT saying that we shouldn't TREAT everyone with respect (unless they're jerks), or that we shouldn't respect people's rights, whether to privacy, to express opinions, or whatever; those uses of the word "respect" refer to forms of courtesy, which isn't the topic. And, I'm not saying that you shouldn't show respect for your elders, your boss, or whoever else is "above you"; heck, even if you perceive a person in this category as being an IDIOT you should still show them respect if failure to do so can cause problems. What I AM saying is that if you claim to respect someone you should actually FEEL respect towards that person, as per the definition

"a feeling or attitude of admiration and deference toward somebody or something"


and that if you have that feeling it should be because they DESERVE it, not just because you haven't noticed anything glaringly wrong with them yet.

So; what sort of people are worthy of admiration and DEFERENCE? Those who have superior abilities, achievements, intellect or wisdom, and those who've made a major effort to accomplish noble ends or to be virtuous; yes, some of those terms are open to interpretation, and that's as it should be, because YOU are the one who has to judge who deserves YOUR respect. Naturally, there are all sorts of impressive folks who should have the respect of EVERY reasonable person, but most people aren't that great, nor are they 1-dimensional, so you have to look at all the facts and decide who should have your respect, whose abilities you'll respect without respecting them as people (such as when someone is a turd but a great singer or athlete), and who should just be treated with respect without being respectED. These analyses can change over time, both as you learn new things about the potential respectees and as your own circumstances change; if you take up gourmet cooking, you'll likely gain a new respect for chefs, and if you become better at something than those you respected when THEY were better, your respect from them may fade or die (we tend to not respect those we see as below us in some way; how we see our equals varies). The tricky part is not being influenced by how much you (dis)like someone; you might despise a person for being too different from you, or too similar, but if they have inarguable achievements they still deserve respect for them, and if they don't have objectively bad points countering that (admit it, you sometimes dislike people who are NOT objectively bad) they deserve to be respected as people as well... and, on the flip side, someone you like, or even love, could easily NOT deserve respect.

Despite all I've said, are you appalled at the suggestion that someone you care about might not be worthy of respect? Try this; pick the name of one of those folks and then complete the following sentence; "This person should be respected because..." Can you come up with anything that would cause an objective viewer to respect them, or even anything you'd honestly claim as a valid reason for YOU to respect them (you might admire their ability to belch the alphabet or find the cutest shoes at a sale, but are those things truly worthy of respect)? Unless you hang out with a pretty unusual crowd, made up of PhD's, heroes and great artists (etc), most of those you know are average in every way, and just do their unexceptional jobs, look out for their homes and families, and try to have a little fun with whatever time and $ they have to spare; they're undoubtedly nice folks, enjoyable to be around, kind to animals and such, but it takes more than that to earn respect.

With that said, you probably DO know at least a few people for whom an objective case can be made that they deserve respect; you might think that they'd be universally respected, but you'd be surprised at how differently others would see them... the personal nature of giving respect means that people use their own beliefs and preferences (and emotions, sadly) to decide what qualities are respect-worthy, and that leads to a wide range of views. Do you know a single mom who's working long hours to provide for her kids? *I* respect that kind of effort and sacrifice; some folks see providing for one's family as just part of living, though, and not as something special, and some would even look down on her for not having a man. How about a stay-at-home mom who gave up her career to make sure her kids aren't raised by strangers? Some consider that noble; others consider it selfish, even contemptible (ask any s-a-h mom how she gets treated at parties full of career types). Do you know a lady who sings opera? You probably respect her talent, and *I* would too even though I hate opera; plenty of hard rock fans would turn up their noses at her, though. Do you know a man who's the best rock-climber in your city? Some would respect that, some would think he's crazy, and some would see climbing rocks as too lowbrow to bother about.

What group a person belongs to affects how they apportion respect, too: You and your friends might have great respect for the member of your gang who's the best at shooting hoops, but how much respect would a PRO player have for that person? You might respect everyone in your church because they're dedicated to your faith; those of a different faith, or none, won't see that as cause to respect them. There are countless different theories as to what the ideal qualities are for a person to possess, many of which are related to race, gender, sexual orientation or country of origin; if you embody those qualities, you'll probably be respected by members of that category... if not, you probably won't.

My final point is about that part of the traditional definition of respect that doesn't get acknowledged much these days; deference. How many people do you respect so deeply that you'll actually DEFER to them? Before you answer, here's a refresher as to the definition:

"To submit to the opinion, wishes, or decision of another through respect or in recognition of his or her authority, knowledge, or judgment"


How many people do you know that if they told you that you needed to change something about yourself or your life, or pick a different path than you'd intended, you'd do it their way, not argue or debate the issue but just agree and do it? THOSE are the people that you REALLY respect; how does that # compare to the # of people you thought of when you read the title of this post?

Friday, October 06, 2006

The Beware List, Part 4 

The purpose of the Beware List is to warn you if someone in your life is evil, sociopathic, a manipulator, out to get you (or some other innocent party), or so messed up that they could cause problems at any moment; to read entries 1-30, see my posts of 5-31-06, 7-6-06 and 8-31-06. Beware of anyone who:

31) Has inconsistencies in their stories (no matter HOW tired, sick, stressed or upset they are).

This is an easy one; if they can't keep their stories straight, they're LYING. When you call them on it, they'll try to claim that it's because they're tired (etc), but, while mental or emotional duress might cause you to have to struggle to remember things clearly, it WON'T cause you to rattle off a different version of a story every time you tell it... and, an HONEST person will be apologetic if you point out that they got it wrong; only a DIShonest person reacts to being caught out by arguing.

32) Describes an event in their lives with a weird and excessive degree of detail (often speaking more rapidly and/or at a higher pitch than usual), especially if in response to a query on your part as to their actions.

In every culture, there's an amount of description that's normal and expected for any sort of story we tell; if a person gives what seems like too much info, particularly irrelevant info, that's a sure sign of a lie being told. Yes, sometimes honest people describe events at length (*I* do, obviously), but we can tell the difference between someone endlessly describing the new hottie they met, or trying to put across a factual topic with as much thoroughness as possible, and someone who babbles on about the color of the seats and what kinds of shirts everyone was wearing at the movie they supposedly went to when all you asked them was how said movie was.

33) Describes situations where they say they’ve been mistreated by others, but it’s clear that THEY were the ones in the wrong.

This is someone with no idea whatsoever about how to judge right and wrong, or who's responsible for what happens, so they use the most terrifying yardstick of all, how they WANTED things to be; if it doesn't end up that way, they truly believe that everyone else involved was responsible and in the wrong, and were probably bad people as well... and naturally, they think it's permissible to treat "bad" people like dirt.

34) Can’t seem to let go of past hurts, and goes on and on about them at every opportunity, even months or YEARS later.

The not being able to let go part means that they're depressive and obsessive; their going on about it might be because whatever's in their head just comes pouring out of their mouth, or because they're trying for attention and sympathy (and usually hoping it'll magically morph into liking and friendship)... or, worst of all, because it's all being faked by a manipulator who wants you to see them as a poor, pitiful creature who's totally incapable of whatever evil they're plotting.

35) Has demands or expectations of you that make them seem more like a jealous lover than a friend.

A friend NEVER expects you to circle your life around them, forsaking all others, not so much as glancing at anyone without their approval; if a supposed friend is acting that way, and they're NOT trying to become romantically involved with you, it means that they're a manipulator who's hoping to isolate you from everyone else so as to have total control over you, at which point they can mistreat you at will. If you protest any part of this process, you'll get melodramatic accusations that you're betraying or rejecting them, and threats that they'll drop you; they expect you to realize that you have no other real friends anymore, or none not under THEIR power, and cave in... and if you do, you'll be their virtual slave for as long as they choose to keep you around.

36) Only wants to talk about themselves, never about YOU (even when major things are going on in your life).

Friendship is a 2-way street; anyone who wants you to ride down the one-way road to Themsville is not only NOT your friend, they're either a belligerent depressive who's become convinced that their misery entitles them to be the non-stop center of attention, a manipulator in the final stages of using you (when they can no longer be bothered to even TRY to make it look like they care or are giving you anything), a jealous turd who gets "revenge" on you for your superior life by refusing to talk about it, or just a bad person who's dropped the pretense of pleasantness they used to trick you into befriending them.

37) Someone who’s known them longer and/or better describes as being very different from how YOU perceive them, ESPECIALLY if you’re warned about potential bad behavior (if the describer is an EX-friend or -lover, seek objective verification).

This is another easy one; no, it does NOT mean that you and only you know the "real them," it means that they've completely fooled you with a fake persona. Needless to say, they haven't done it to benefit you in some way; they've done it because they dislike you and are planning to slam you, or are using you (or intend to), or are just a sociopath who enjoys periodically messing with people's heads.

38) Suddenly starts badmouthing someone you KNOW has been nothing but nice to them.

It's possible that they're acting ugly because they're just plain evil, but it's also possible that they're a clueless depressive who's enraged because the target didn't act the way they fantasized they should, or that they're a manipulator trying to do what they do best in order to "get" the target, or that they're being used as a pawn by a master manipulator as part of a strategy against the target... in any of these cases, get as far away from them as possible, REMEMBER that they did this, warn your friends about them, and make sure the victim gets told what's going on.

39) Is suddenly eager to convince YOU how bad someone is, with no mention of a (non-trivial) wrongdoing of theirs or a fight between the 2 of them.

This is similar to the previous case, but it's scarier because there's no possibility of it being a depressive or garden-variety unpleasant person spouting off; it's too sneaky, focused and methodical, and your not knowing those involved well enough to be sure how their relationship has been means that the goal of the would-be convincer (or their "master") is to "get" some innocent person so thoroughly that they won't have ANYONE on their side in your entire social arena. Try to find out who all is involved in this (it's usually a group), and be VERY afraid of those people... and make sure that everyone you care about in your joint social circle is too, and that they're all told what's going on, including the target.

40) Descends upon you with one or more sidekicks and launches a combined effort to convince you of how bad someone is, and they're not providing a proven, serious wrongdoing from the target as their reason.

This is similar to the previous 2, and is the scariest of all, because they're willing to act openly as a group, and have taken time out of their lives to discuss and plan how to manipulate YOU as a team... people who are THAT organized, dedicated, confident and ruthless belong in the Mafia, NOT anywhere near you and your friends. They'll usually only feel the need for this maximum level of persuasion when the target is someone you're close to, so they might try to portray it as a "relationship intervention" intended to get you away from a dangerous character; the reality is that when people are willing to go to THAT much effort and risk (if they screw up, it's certain that you'll tell people about their scam), it's very likely that there's more to it than trying to "get" someone they dislike... they, or at least one of them, may be guilty of some major wrongdoing that the target knows about, so they're hoping to "discredit the witness" (evildoers instinctively know to go for the preemptive strike). In addition to the advice from the previous 2 entries, try to find out what the unknown wrongdoing is; they wouldn't be involving you if it won't impact you or a loved/liked one.

As always, I hope reading this will help you understand some past interpersonal problems, and avoid some future ones; remember, they can only get you if you LET them.

Monday, October 02, 2006

The world's most disgusting person 

Ask any married woman who the most disgusting person in the world is, and she'll almost certainly nominate her husband; although we all received the same childhood training as to how to deal with our excretory functions, and the parts of the body they emerge from, when we're not somewhere totally private, for some reason it's mainly women who continue to follow those guidelines in adulthood... if a friend tells you that they witnessed someone farting, picking their nose or scratching their armpit in public, you don't need to ask their gender. Even so, most men have SOME restraint outside of the home; once that front door closes behind them, though, they often reveal behaviors worthy of the poo-flinging gorillas at the zoo (and then they wonder why they get laid progressively less the longer they're married).

I assert that MY husband is the most revolting of all; I intend to prove it, so if you're squeamish you might wanna skip this post (there won't be anything graphic, just icky):

Yesterday, my husband was supposed to go up on the roof to try to find where the rats were getting into the attic; as usual, instead of getting his chores done he was wasting hours on forums, chanting "in a minute" to my repeated promptings. As 4PM and the end of usable daylight loomed, I unplugged my laptop, marched down the hall, plopped down on the floor of his study (he was in the only chair), and announced my intention to stay there until he got moving; while he tried to pretend he wasn't bothered, I poked around in the heaps of junk within reach, handing things up to him and piling them on his leg. When I started grabbing dirty socks and tossing them into the hall, he said, "Um... you don't want to touch those socks." Now, I naturally don't love his rancid footwear, but after many years of marriage have become inured to touching things that stink (lucky for HIM); more to the point, HE doesn't normally see anything wrong with his socks, even when nearby maggots are gagging, so...

If there were such a thing as the KING of masturbation, he would be it; since he generally takes matters in hand (so to speak) in the study, I assumed that he'd forgotten his tissues one day and used a sock instead, and demanded to know if that's what had happened. He denied it, but he hesitated, so I shrieked at him accusingly; he reluctantly admitted that during his recent cold he'd been blowing his nose ON HIS SOCKS.

Him: Well, they're softer than tissues...
Me: Bullsh*t!!
Him: ... and, they were all that was convenient...
Me: You're never more than a few feet from a box of tissues in this house, and even if you DID have ONE emergency that's no excuse for continuing to do it!!
Him: Well... uh... uh... uh... you might wanna go wash your hands.

Thus reminded of what I'd just been touching, I washed, I disinfected, I wished for a frigging autoclave to put my hands in, all the while cursing him with great vehemence; despite his earlier concern, he was quite amused, as he typically is with anything concerning his bodily emissions. He did at least feel bad enough to go change into even grungier clothes to climb onto the roof with; however, after he changed he came over to where I was back on my laptop and dangled one of his crusty socks right in my face, laughing when I scrambled back and screamed... I think to an objective observer it would've looked like one of those traditional drawings of a boy dangling a snake in front of a girl to scare her. Then, he did something even worse; he dangled the sock over my KEYBOARD... and my outrage at that blasphemous act was sufficient to make him retreat. I yelled after him:

Me: I'm gonna wipe my BUTT with one of your socks-how funny will you find THAT?
Him: That'd be grosser for your butt than for the sock.
Me: More than likely; in any case, it'd be the...
Him: ... weirdest exchange of bodily excretions...
Me: ... in the history of marriage.
Both: LOL!!!!!!
Me: There's a reason we...
Him: ... have to be married.
Both: LOL!!
Me: You know this is gonna be in my next blog entry, right?
Him: Thank goodness your blog is anonymous.
Me: Don't worry, I'll tell all my friends about it, too.
Him: It was still worth it.

He went out to check the roof; I headed for his bathroom, where I removed all the toilet paper. I then put on my hazmat gear, got one of his germy socks and draped it over the empty toilet paper roller. About half an hour later, he was in there doing his business, when he yelped:

Him: Hey, where's the toilet paper?!!
Me: LOL!! {I trotted over to the bathroom and opened the door (married people have very little privacy)} Why don't you use your SOCK?
Him: Huh?
Me: {craning my neck to get a better view of the throne zone} There, on the floor-you must have knocked it off the roller.
Him: Come on, get me the paper.
Me: You don't need it; you've got the all-purpose wiper.
Him: Maybe if it was a sock I didn't like very much I'd try it...
Him: ... I guess I can use the newspaper if I get desperate...
Me: Ok, ok, I'll get the toilet paper, you big baby.

Marriage, as I always say, is GROSS. If you're not convinced that my husband is the most disgusting person who ever lived, I've got another story; be warned, this one's worse:

In the earliest days of our marriage, we only had ONE computer between us (if we had to do that NOW, one of us would be DEAD within an hour); I woke up before my husband one Saturday and made a gleeful beeline for the machine. As I stepped onto the anti-static mat, my foot was suddenly chilly and wet; I figured he'd had one of his many oopsies with the bottled water he was constantly toting around back then (to paraphrase comedian Lewis Black, as if he were perpetually about to cross the @#$%^&* Mojave)... and then I looked down. When I saw what I was standing in, I started screeching; in the time it took him to wake up and run to the study, I noticed the incriminating half-dried streaks on the monitor screen, and several pubic hairs on the keyboard. When he burst into the room, I held out my slimed foot and filled him in on what I'd found at the top of my lungs; I made him clean that foot a dozen times, after which I hopped to the bathroom to clean it some more while he worked on the screen and mat and removed the souvenirs from the keyboard.

My revenge for this, and a few other, less extreme incidents, has been to develop what he calls "whack-off radar"; wherever he is in the house, and whatever I'm doing when he starts, I'll feel the urge to go check on him, and can always interrupt within the 1st couple of minutes... on a good day, I can distract him sufficiently that he can't finish.

Anyways; if you've got a story about a more disgusting person, post it... if not, my husband is the champ-and he's SO proud, lol.

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