Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Phrases I Hate

I normally go out of my way not to come off like “The Mad Blogger,” however, the following phrases make me physically ‘effin angry and I feel the need to explain why.

“Joe Six-Pack,” “Joe Public” or “Joe The Plumber”

The way our aristocratic politicians refer to the general public should enrage us, however nobody but me seems bothered in the least. When a politician or anybody else addresses the masses in the dumbed-down, lowest-common denominator demeanor used extensively throughout the last presidential election they are basically telling you that they think you are an idiot and incapable of comprehending world issues on the appropriate scale. Now, I understand why this is done: most people are not that bright and need to be spoon-fed concepts in order not to get frustrated and change the channel back to football or American Idol, but why have we grown to accept this and when did we stop trying to get better?

I am not exceptionally bright (I have amassed several degrees because I am the academic equivalent of Wayne Chrebet-a little talent and a lot of work has allowed me to out-perform what most would expect), however, I take classes, read outside of those classes, listen to challenging and progressive music, try to engage in intelligent conversation and produce this blog in an effort to make myself better. I am not content being the stereotypical binge eating and drinking, reality-television watching, fantasy football playing, top-40 radio listening, bad credit having, USA Today reading American that has made so many poor lifestyle choices that I now require a daily regimen of prescription drugs that I can not afford. The problem is that instead of being offended when people in power refer to “Joe Six-Pack” and rebelling against the idea that we are all fat, stupid, pill-popping buffoons, we accept it as a term of endearment. There is NOTHING endearing about what these people think of us!

The fact that we have all given up on being better tomorrow then we are today is evident all around us: I grew up in a town with the right demographics for hundreds of hair/nail salons, but not one major bookstore, I work across the street (Literally 30 yds.) from one of the largest libraries in New Jersey and the overwhelming majority of my co-workers have never even been inside the building much less checked out books and we continue to support the most asinine music/movies/television, while anything with intelligence or substance is ignored (if the media conglomerates that control the entertainment industry even allow it to reach the general public).

By no means do I think I’m perfect, I enjoy a good night out as much as anybody else, occasionally I like the escapism of a slapstick movie and I probably have as much “stupid” party music in my iPod as anybody else. But, I occasionally take a break from watching the Jets and listening to 50 Cent to read a book, take a class or discuss the state of the world with my peers.

“This project is your baby.”

Of all the things you can hear from your boss, this has got to be the worst. Creating a baby requires an awe inspiring chain of events, both biological and (hopefully) emotional. Developing a new way for salesmen to track travel expenses or putting the client database on a new server is nothing like creating a new human life. The fact that anyone in any position of power could ever compare a work project to something as significant as childbirth means they are a complete imbecile and you should not have to answer to them anymore.

“I can’t make fun of my job” or “I love my company” or any variation of these statements

Having any kind of allegiance to the company you work for beyond doing what is in your job description is ridiculous. As an employee you are an investment that is worth EXACTLY your salary, nothing more, nothing less.

For most of us this means we are worth more than our company issued computer, but less than the operating system that computer runs on. If you think I am wrong try this experiment: Call your boss and tell him/her you are not feeling well and need a few days to recover and you will get no response at all. Tell that same boss the computer system is down and will need a few days to recover and watch him/her loose their damn mind.

“I want to get an iPhone, but I don’t have AT&T”

Why do people treat their cell phone carrier like a member of the family? I currently use Verizon (I have used several over the past decade, mainly because I have moved several times and was unable to get service where I relocated), and I am pretty happy with the service-good reception, cool phones and rates that are, for the most part fair. However, this is strictly a business agreement, when a better product comes along Verizon will have no sentimental value that will not allow me to change companies in order to get a better or cheaper service.

Also, if your phone company was a family member it would be like the cousin you hate and purposely don’t invite to holidays. I would have no affection for a family member that lured me in with promises and then didn’t deliver once I signed a multi-year agreement, constantly changed rates and billing structures and dropped calls every time I drove on Route 3.

Lastly, I find the fact that all cell phones come with a customer service number pre-programed in the memory a little amusing. If you can call the phone company with your cell phone, obviously there is no problem and you don’t need to talk to the phone company.

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