February 26, 2007

In Praise of Dorks

Posted in Lessons Learned at 6:15 pm by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

This past weekend I was in the Pocono’s with a large group of friends celebrating the snow and the founding fathers’ birthdays.  L. was there, along with Em.  Also hanging out were Lauren, and three other friends, Jay, J. and Gay.  K2 should have been there, but stayed back to catch up on work she missed while she was out sick.  

 We were sitting around talking about nothing really, when I brought up the fact that I was looking forward to a date.  

Gay immediately asked me if he was cute.

I bit the inside of my lip.  The truth was the guy is a complete dork.  There just is no other word for him.  He’s nerdy and geeky, but he’s also more than that.  I didn’t know him, but I could tell he was really into Star Wars and whatever else dorky guys were addicted to.  But none of that matter because I thought he was dreamy. 

I don’t know how it happened.  Sure, there are a couple of geeky guys in my past.  Most of them grew into their looks and none of them could be described as dorks by anyone but my father or possibly my brother.  Still, the large majority of my dating history has been the tall, athletic, not very smart type. 

But recently, I noticed myself making passes at boys wearing glasses.  The realization of which had me swooning worse than when it occurred to me I was dating a guy older than me. 

One of my readers recently referred to these guys as “diamonds in the rough” when she suggested I start looking there for the one that will complete me.  They are not pretty, they are not polished and yes sometimes they are awkward and gawky and look silly.  Like diamonds, are dorks a girl’s best friend?

I am finding that these guys have more to offer then just six pack stomachs and killer cleft chins.  These guys will make you laugh and make you think.  More importantly these guys will not criticize you for reading comic books, tease you with pictures from your chubby phase or mock you because you were once a Mathlete. 

Now, when I was younger and more naive, I noticed a number of attorneys in my office with pictures of really attractive wives sitting on their desks.  In my cynicism, I assumed it was because of the money.  Now, that I am older and wiser, I think maybe it is because they make these women happy.  Goodness knows washboard stomachs were no longer doing it for me. 

But, since I had only just recently come to grips with my attraction to the less cool, I didn’t think I was ready to admit this to all of my friends.  Still, I couldn’t lie.  They might meet him one day.  Lauren already had.  She knew he wasn’t cute, not in any conventional way.

I looked down at my lap.  “Umm, yeah, in a really dorky sort of way, but I have a thing for dorks.”

“Oh, honey, you don’t have to tell me.” Gay crossed his legs.  “I love dorky looking guys, too.” 

The girls almost unanimously agreed.  To my relief, it seems, dorks are sweeping the nation.  Apparently, they are this year’s metro-sexual.


February 15, 2007

Valentine’s Day Massacre

Posted in Public Service Announcement at 8:23 pm by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

As many of you know, I started 2007 wanting to change myself for the better.  So far, it has been a resounding success.  Still, I feel a little empty inside and have decided I want to do something for humanity. This is why I have chosen to take on the government, the calendar making industry and yes, Hallmark.  I am freeing this world of Valentine’s Day. 

I had contemplated taking on SEPTA and their utter lack of service, but that just proved to be too hard.  I mean, who wants to boycott when the wind chill factor has the thermometer dipping below zero?

I also thought about using my keen fashion sense to help makeover the less fortunate.  However, I was reminded (by my sister) that no one leaves the house in the morning thinking they look terrible thus my ambush techniques may be less than welcomed. 

So after crossing SEPTA and bad dressers off my list of what ails me, the solution was clear.  I have to rid the world of Valentine’s Day. 

Trust me, this is not just for the singles out there, but for all mankind, especially men.  This holiday is the worst for you.  You are the ones with all the pressure to perform; to get the perfect gift and deliver it in the most romantic setting possible.  You are the ones that all the advertisements for jewelry, flowers, candy and lingerie are directed towards.  Even those of you who will get gifts from your significant others, chances are she will outdo you every time.  Women are just better gift-givers.  We are capable of a level of selfishness you will never be able to comprehend.

But women in relationships, this will benefit you too.  Picture this: you are out at a very romantic dinner at your favorite restaurant, you stare lovingly into the eyes of the man that you think you could spend the rest of your life with, when he reaches into his jacket pocket and pulls out an envelope.  He slides it across the table.  You immediately recognize the size and shape.  You look up, your eyes gleaming, your lips parted in anticipation.  How did he know that you wanted tickets to the Justin Timberlake show?  You never mentioned it to him; you thought he would make fun of you.  Plus, it is a sold-out show, so this gift must have cost him a small fortune.

You tear open the envelope and find – four tickets to the Phillies’ home opener.  Your body involuntarily falls and he immediately starts to plead his case.  “But you love going to baseball games with your girlfriends.” 

And he is right.  I mean since the addition of Chase Utley, what girl doesn’t like spending an evening in Citizen’s Bank Park?  Every time you can get your firm’s tickets you email the same three girls and make a night out of it.  Still, even if this is the Fightin’ Phils’ year (again), it’s not the gift you expected as he slid that envelop towards you. 

Removing this holiday from our lives will alleviate the inevitable disappointment you feel each and every year because you are not with one of the six men that can get this holiday right.  For those of you who received a Vermont Teddy Bear, you are more disappointed than most. 

Oh, and for the record, those six men change every year, so just because you had one this year, does not mean you will still be with him in 2008.  It could just as easily be you next year, developing frown lines as you look down at a rose dipped in gold. 
I recognize that this removal could be a huge blow to the flower, candy and card industries.  That is why I am suggesting we replace it, with Friendship Day, which I believe is “celebrated” in early August.  I mean, really, doesn’t August deserve a holiday?  February already has President’s Day. 

And since everyone has at least one friend, no one is left out.  Even better, from a sales perspective, most people have a lot of friends, so sales could be triple; even quadruple those on February 14th.  Just imagine, desks filed with yellow roses and Gerbera daisies, silver and gold best friend charm bracelets and BYOBs packed with large groups, all laughing and sharing and spending money. 

I imagine as years past, this holiday grows in popularity and my genius for redirecting our attention to it becomes legendary, the U.S. Government may even see fit to move it to my birthday and make it a dual celebration.  And while I am harboring delusions of grandeur, I want them to make it an “observed” holiday, so that everyone can get a three-day weekend for my birthday, err Friendship Day. 

Who’s with me?

February 6, 2007

The Retirement Test

Posted in Office Hijinks at 4:13 pm by devilwearsbrooksbrothers

The FAA is re-thinking their mandatory retirement age for pilots. For those of you that missed this, starting some time in the 60s or 70s (hey, I’m not a news source, you want specifics watch CNN) a law was passed that a pilot had to retire when he reached his 60th birthday. Why? Well, they were afraid he would keel over mid-flight (please, I couldn’t make this up). At the time, life expectancy for men was only in the mid-60s.

But now, people are living a lot longer (well into their 70s on average) and it is generally agreed upon that with age comes experience. Wouldn’t you rather an older, experienced aviator than a young, vibrant pup out for his or her first time?

So now this organization and the union and soon, possibly, Congress are going to come up with a new and improved indicator for retirement. It may still be an arbitrary age; however there has been discussion about meeting physical testing requirements to continue flying the friendly skies.

This got me thinking that maybe our firm needs to create a system to determine when it’s time to put our employees out to pasture.

It would of course include a physical element or two. I think it is important to learn early on if a person is unable to combat the 16th Street wind tunnel. With no access from Suburban Station to our new building this battle has become a part of everyone’s everyday. I would hate to see any of my co-workers get hurt on their way into the office. Okay, there are a couple I can think of that I wouldn’t mind seeing get hurt, but I digress.

The guts of the exam would be on new technologies. I’m not suggesting everyone should be able to write HTML code. I am not sure our IT department would pass that. I’m simply stating that after three months with a new phone system if you are still dropping calls instead of transferring, it may be time to start collecting Social Security.

Other areas would include logging into the server when away from the office, printing to a different, faster printer, using a Blackberry and checking voicemail. There could also be a section on public policy and behavior. If, for instance, you still think it is appropriate to stare lewdly at members of the opposite sex and then follow that up with a “looking good.” or something similar, it may be time to start perfecting your golf game.

It could also be made job specific. For assistants there could be tests on maximizing word processing programs, worksheet programs, time entry, typing and even a how-to use the office scanner. For paralegals there could pop quizzes on current filing procedures and the most efficient ways to organize medical records.

All of the scores would then be weighed against the individual’s unique talents. If this is the only person that can always answer any question that starts with, “Do you remember where I put. . .” then keeping him or her around despite a total failure of my test would be considered. Other remarkable gifts would include thorough understanding of an archaic filing system or the ability to read and understand otherwise illegible handwriting.

Of course this skills test could come back to bite me in the behind as it would prove once and for all I have no business being in this business.