Tag Archives: Bad days

I can’t get no … revisited

It’s Open Season for choosing health care options at my company, and probably at yours.

Personally, I think that they call it something else, because I’m pretty sure that most people associate “open season” with hunting.  And people who get as frustrated as I have trying to have relatively simple questions answered should not be invited to think of firearms.

It's a simple question! ANSWER IT!!!  (Google image)

It’s a simple question! ANSWER IT!!! (Google image)

Instead of shooting anyone, or permanently damaging my own vocal chords screaming into the phone, I thought I would bring back this post nobody ever read.

*     *     *

Automated telephone answering systems are responsible for the 40% increase in psychotic events over the past 15 years.

That’s my theory, anyway. My hypothesis. I’m not sure how to prove it, but it is true. My secondary hypothesis is that all incidents of domestic terrorism are directly tied to automated telephone systems. The FBI should investigate.

Personally, I become psychotic each and every time I have to press 1 for this and 2 for that. I’ll cut them a break for language, though. I have no problem pressing 1 for English. People need to grumble in their native tongue. Spanish speakers should have that right too.

But in fact, nobody gets to bitch. We just press 1 or 2 respectively and listen to additional options, none of which are what we want. None of the prompts are even close to what really want to do. None of them says “Press 4 to scream at a human.”

I become progressively more apoplectic with each and every telephone prompt. Eventually, with perseverance, I finally get a person. And by the time I do, that person on their end of the telephone is thinking long and hard about their career choice.

It’s not their fault. I always tell them that. I know it is true. But that fact doesn’t alleviate any of my anger at the time I have spent just to get to them. And nine times out of ten, the human I have reached is the wrong human in the wrong department and usually in the wrong country. I must start again. My psychosis soars along with my blood pressure.

There is even one telephone prompt voice that makes my blood boil. I call her Sybil. Sybil is everywhere: at my cable company and my power company and a couple of the banks I briefly considered doing business with until I heard her speak. She is young, chatty. She pretends to be my friend. She is not my friend. I do not want to be friends with a telephone prompt. I do not want to talk to her. I do not want to do anything she asks of me. And I really do not want to press her buttons. She is pressing mine. Remotely.

On average, after approximately 5 different prompts I am invariably led to a dead end where I have the same four original choices, none of which remotely fulfilled my need at the start. Or, if somehow one of the choices would work, I am promptly disconnected. I must start again with Sybil.

I am pretty sure the cost savings in terms of personnel is not worth it for businesses. Often by the time I am done with a call about this or that, I am ready to destroy the building. And if all your customers feel that way—and they do–perhaps you should rethink your policy.

One minute with a person early on and my problem would have been solved, amicably, and I would be a satisfied customer. Instead, an hour later, I would give all that I own for a battalion of similarly psychotic customers who would help me storm company headquarters and pin down just one human for us to yell at in turn. But by the time my turn comes, of course, I will have forgotten why I want to yell at them. And then I’ll have to talk to Sybil again.

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Gun control, Health and Medicine, Huh?, Humor, Stupidity, Taking Care of Each Other, Wild Beasts

A Sunny September Day

“It is September 24! You’ll catch your death.” Mom declared. “You may not go swimming with your friends.”

“Moooommmmmmm.”

I couldn’t believe it. I’d finally, finally, finally been invited to the cool kids beach by Cathy, a seriously cool girl. And Mom was telling me that I couldn’t go. Or that I couldn’t go swimming, which was what people do at the beach.

We compromised. I got to go to the beach with a promise not to swim. A promise I was planning to break just as soon as it was out of my mouth. Mom wouldn’t be there – she’d never know. And she didn’t until much later.

Mom was being ridiculous, I thought – it was a warm September day, in the 80s. A perfect, last beach day of the year.

In spite of growing up on the beach, I was (and am) a rotten swimmer. I never really learned to get very far or very fast. I splash around in the water in something a half notch above a dog paddle.

But I love the water.

Early on I learned to back float forever. When I tire after my first 10 strokes, I turn over, point my head in the direction I want to go, and meander through the water. I watch the gulls overhead, see pictures in the clouds, daydream. It’s wonderful. Relaxing. Peaceful.  Not at all tiring.

In elementary school, Burying Hill Beach was where the cool kids went in the summer. It wasn’t my beach.  I was not generally invited there. But when school started that September, Cathy took a liking to me, and invited me to meet her and some other friends there.

In fact, there were tons of people at the beach that day. It was likely to be the last sunny, warm day for swimming at the beach. Everybody in 7th grade was there. Everybody in our class and all the other classes. The beach was packed.

For some reason I don’t recall, Cathy wanted to swim in the causeway that runs between Burying Hill and Sherwood Island State Park. All the cool kids did it. At least when the life guard wasn’t looking, they did. In fact, it was probably what the lifeguards spent most of their time doing all summer long – chasing people off the jetty and away from the causeway. Of course it was late September; there was no lifeguard. We were free to swim wherever we pleased.   As we stood there considering the other side, we heard half-hearted warnings from behind us, which, naturally, we ignored. We’d crossed to Sherwood Island earlier in the day. What was their problem?

Google Image, Natch.

Google Image, Natch.

“Race you across!” said Cathy. And in she went.

Ingrid and I looked at each other, shrugged, and dove in after Cathy, who quickly outpaced us. Soon, I was left far behind even mediocre swimmer Ingrid.

It had been really easy to swim the causeway just an hour or two ago. Even I managed it.  But of course, the tide had ebbed, and was now going out. And while the water looked completely placid, the tidal current was heading straight out. Fast.  And it took me with it, out towards Long Island, 30 wet miles away.

But don’t worry. Remember, I am a champion floater. Possibly the best back floater ever.  Olympic-quality floating.  (Hey, synchronized swimming is an event.  Don’t judge.)

I wasn’t scared in the least. I turned over on my back, pointed my head towards shore (I had long since passed the end of the jetty) and started kicking my feet and flapping my arms. I was making good progress, getting out of the strong part of the current. I was heading to Long Island a little more slowly. And besides, it was a beautiful day, the water was warm, the sky was blue. It was delightful. And I knew I’d make it back to shore. I only hoped I’d make it before dinner. I was supposed to be home by then.  If I didn’t make it, my mother’d kill me.

I don’t know how long I was floating, enjoying myself, when I was rudely interrupted. Some man just swam up to me and started shouting stuff to me.  At me.

“Put your arms around my neck,” he ordered. “And don’t be afraid. I’ve got you now.”

“Afraid of what?” I asked. “What does this guy want?” I wondered. Fortunately, I kept that thought to myself.

But I did as I was told for the first time that day, and held onto his neck. I must admit, that it was easier to see the crowd that had formed on the shore while my head was above the water.  What’s everybody looking at?

So the man towed me in, chatting all the while.

“You’re very calm. Some people panic,” he said.

Frankly, I was more panicked about having my arms around a strange man, to tell you the truth. That’s why people panic, I thought. It was quite humiliating, in fact.

As soon as we got in, somebody else immediately wrapped me up in a towel and started rubbing my arms and back as if I was suffering from hypothermia.

“I’m OK!” I kept saying over and over again. Why is everybody making such a fuss? I wondered.  What’s the big deal?  I would have made it.

I imagine I thanked him. I’m sure I did. Positive. I mean, I do have manners. I just can’t remember thanking him or anybody else.  I thought they’d overreacted.  (They hadn’t.)

It seemed that Cathy had made it to the other side. Ingrid, like me, had gotten back to dry land on some other unknown man’s back. I vowed to become a better swimmer, because it really is embarrassing to be hauled out of the water like a flounder.

I learned not long afterwards that Jenny L’s father had been the guy who fished me out.

Each of us went home, vowing never to tell our parents the story of that day. Nobody told.  Strangely, nobody else let our parents know, either.  Life was better when nobody was a tattle-tale.

But just like the promise I broke to my mother that day, I broke my pledge of silence.

I told Mom in 1982 when she was staying with me after my operation.

“What?!?!” she shouted. “Somebody saved your life and I didn’t even get to thank him?” She was mortified. Laughing, but mortified.

“You would have killed me yourself if you’d known at the time.”

“You are in such trouble for going swimming when I told you not to.”

“Mom, this happened in 1968.”

“… wait until I tell your Dad.”

 

*     *     *

 

In a couple of weeks I’ll be going to my 40th High School Reunion. I sure hope that Jenny’s there, and that her Dad is still alive. I hope that I can at last pass on my parents’ deepest thanks, and my own, for his unheralded rescue.

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Filed under Childhood Traumas, Family, Huh?, Humor, Mom, Taking Care of Each Other

It’s a Joke, Son

My husband John makes a point of not laughing at my jokes.  He pretends that I am not the funniest person he knows — even though I often hear him repeating my zingers with a chuckle.  John has helpfully suggested that whenever I am “trying” to be funny, that I should hold up a flag to let the world know.  I counter that he is humor challenged.

As it turns out, I recently learned that there are loads of humor challenged folks.

And they read our blogs!

SHIT!

Now most of you know my good bloggin’ buddy, Peg-O-Leg.  Well, Peg was Freshly Pressed just yesterday!  It was a delayed FP’ing for a post she wrote over a month ago, entitled: Facebook Ruined My Life, Now They Must Pay.  It’s about how she wants to sue Facebook because somebody put up an embarrassing picture of her from her childhood.

It was a joke, son.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7T2wYE0W1oo

But the thing is, she got comments from strangers criticizing her for suing Facebook.  I’m not joking, she got nasty comments about the lawsuit she was clearly making up for a humor blog.

Just how many humor challenged folks are there?

***

Peg’s predicament reminded me of one of my very early posts.  I couldn’t resist reposting it, because, well, it was my very first blogging experience with possibly humor challenged folks.

Manitoba Bound

It’s time to export all the stupid people in the United States to another country.  Congress will go along with it as long as we can designate “stupid people” a commodity.  A trade lawyer I consulted suggested that designating them as “spare parts” under the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement would permit widespread exportation of stupid people from all over the country.  It would also ensure that only “real” stupid people and not fake or “counterfeit” stupid people qualify.  US export numbers will skyrocket, the debt limit will take care of itself, and we won’t owe China a penny.  Or a Yuan.  The economy will be saved.  More importantly, I won’t have to deal with them any more.

I decided to send them to Canada – nobody lives there, anyway.  Manitoba, to be exact.  Why?  It’s easier to spell than “Saskatchewan.”  Manitoba is right there in the middle of the continent where the stupid people won’t be able to hurt themselves.  Like one big padded room.   They will be safe, happy, well cared for.  Cable TV.  Internet access — even broadband.  I’m not unkind, you know.  A team of teenagers will be available to help them turn on their TVs, stereos, DVD players, mobile phones.  Friends and family members can visit anytime.

There are a lot of stupid people in the US, you say, so where do we start?   We’re starting with the ones that bug me the most.  It’s only fair.  After all I am the brains here.

I deal with stupid people every day.  I work in medical products litigation.  Stupid people believe the TV lawyers’ mantra “Sue then Retire.”  Each time I walk into my office, I am smacked upside the head by the stupid actions of stupid people who sue for big bucks.  I learn way too much about them, sort of like when you interrupt your 74-year-old uncle in the shower.  You’d be happier without the image.

          I want them outta here.

 Here’s a contender:

 A woman named Mona was sick.   Mona went to her doctor and was given a 30 day prescription for the drug that would treat her.  She took it to the pharmacy where the pharmacist typed up a label and put it onto the bottle that the manufacturer dispensed the tablets in, because conveniently, those pills already came packaged in bottles of 30 pills.  Terrific!  Safe!  Foolproof!  How many times have you gotten medicine this way?  Loads of times, I wager.  Have you gotten it that way lately?  Nope.  Thank Mona.

Now Mona is a very precise woman.  She carefully monitors everything.  She uses a pedometer to count her steps, compares food package labels. Understands the food pyramid.  She doesn’t walk when the “Don’t Walk” sign starts blinking.  She knows the calorie, carbohydrate and vitamin content of everything she swallows. Brushes her hair precisely 100 strokes each night.  Flosses.  Therefore, she read the label that came with the pills from the drugstore, too.  She opened the sealed package, and poured out her first dose.  That’s when Mona’s ticket to Manitoba was punched.

Because when she dumped out that first pill into her hand, she also poured out a tiny crunchy plastic package about a half inch square.  It contained salicylic acid – packages like that are put into many products to help keep the contents dry and to prevent mold.  The little package in her hand said “DO NOT EAT.”  So she didn’t.  At all.  She didn’t eat for 30 days while she took her medicine.

She didn’t call her doctor and scream:

          “You never told me I couldn’t eat!” 

She did not call the pharmacist and say:

          “Can I at least have toast?  Or Jell-O?”  

And when she got very ill from (1) being stupid and (2) not eating for 30 days, did she feel embarrassed?  Did she pack for Manitoba?  No.  She sued the pharmacy and the drug manufacturer for millions of dollars for pain, suffering, and lost wages.  She won.

So Mona goes first.

And the woman who fell into the shopping mall fountain while texting and then sued the shopping mall?  You saw her.  She went onto local and national news shows to tell the story and to complain that no one helped her after she fell.  She said repeatedly that she was embarrassed that everyone she knew had seen her fall into the fountain on YouTube.  She was upset at being called “Fountain Lady.”  She appeared on television voluntarily, where they replayed the video three times for people like me who hadn’t yet enjoyed it.  She made absolutely sure that “Fountain Lady” was unmasked, because this caption appeared at the bottom left of the TV screen:

CATHY CRUZ MARRERO

“FOUNTAIN LADY” FIGHTS BACK

Her ticket is printing now.

 

 

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Bloggin' Buddies, Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Diet tips, Disgustology, Health and Medicine, Huh?, Humor, Law, Mental Health, Stupidity, Word Press

Blame Duncan if I Didn’t Respond to Your Comment

Thanks, everybody, for all the nice comments about Duncan.

Sorry if yours was one of the comments I didn’t answer.

You see, I was afraid.  Afraid of what was happening with Duncan.

Yup, things didn’t start smoothly at all.

Twenty-four hours after bringing our new son home, we were at animal emergency, with a dying puppy.

We don’t know what happened or why, but he developed a fever of 106.3 degrees — dogs are normally 99-102.  Our puppy was sick, and possibly dying.

If I am ever reincarnated as a dog, I want to be my dog.  I’m not quite sure how I can work that out, though.

Anyway, Duncan was admitted, treated with antibiotics and IV fluids (at great expense).  We left him last night, certain that he was going to die.

Thankfully he didn’t.  He spent some more time with our own vet, closer to home, this afternoon before we brought him home early this evening (Monday).

So far, Duncan is acting very much like a puppy — he plays, eats, poops and pees.  We are keeping a close watch on him.

I will never let him see this picture of himself during the interval between the ER and our vet.  Because I fear he’d die of embarrassment.

"This is Embarrassing"

“This is Embarrassing”

When I texted this photo to Jacob, he responded:  “When did we switch to Dish Network?”

Everybody was saying sweet things about Duncan — and I just couldn’t answer when I didn’t know if he was going to make it.

We have no idea what caused the problem.  It may be a bacterial infection, a virus.  It could be all kinds of things.  Tests to possibly determine what caused it would have cost $THOUSANDS, and we opted to treat, rather than investigate.

So far he is doing OK.  Keep your fingers crossed.

 

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Bloggin' Buddies, Dogs, Duncan, Family, Pets, Taking Care of Each Other

Good Reason to Fear European Travel

Since the Age of Exploration gave way to colonization of the Americas, folks living in our neck of the woods here in the U.S. of A. have feared travel back to the Old Country.

They feared crossing the ocean on a sailing vessel, a steamer, an ocean liner.  It is a big ocean.  (Remember the unsinkable Titanic)

They feared flying over the Atlantic in a dirgible (Remember the Hindenburg)

They feared flying over the Atlantic in an airplane because anything can happen.

But mostly they feared trying to get by in a language they could neither speak nor understand.  That, and they use different money over there!

In recent years, though, more and more Americans are venturing abroad.  Seeing the sights, the art, the scenery, the architecture that Europe is so justly famous for.

But all that will end soon.  Because there is something new in Europe to fear.

Vaginas.  Yup.  Vaginas.  Big ones.  At least that’s what I read over at Talking Points Memo

A Giant Vagina Attempted to Swallow An American Tourist (Photo AP Photo / Feuerwehr Tübingen via TalkingPointsMemo)

A Giant Vagina Attempted to Swallow An American Tourist (Photo AP Photo / Feuerwehr Tübingen via TalkingPointsMemo)

Giant Vagina Sculpture Traps US Student in Germany

An American exchange student who got stuck in a giant vagina sculpture was freed by firefighters in southwestern Germany.

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Conspicuous consumption, Diet tips, Holidays, Huh?, Humor, Stupidity, Wild Beasts

HE is Pissed

It finally happened. God woke up and got pissed.

He realized that there is a whole group of fanatical jerks, using His name to bash just about anybody else who believes that there is an important role of government in the lives of American citizens.

The Rally for Which Tens of Millions Stayed home and dry

The Rally for Which Tens of Millions Stayed home and dry

 

What does God do when he is pissed?

God sends natural disasters, of course.  Just ask any TV preacher when he’s not asking for money.  (OK, you’ll have to interrupt him.)

This time, he sent rain. And not just any rain – but about 4 inches of rain in a 12 hour period to an area that was already saturated.

God obviously is pissed at the Tea Partiers.  Can you blame him?  I am too.

*     *     *

My thanks to my friend X, at List of X  for inspiring this post.

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Filed under Adult Traumas, Disgustology, Elections, GOP, Gun control, History, Huh?, Hypocrisy, Law, Stupidity, Taking Care of Each Other, Traffic

Medical Advice

You guys know that I am a fake medical expert who does drugs.  In a safe, legal way only, of course.

But I saw this over at my friend Father Kane’s blog, and I just couldn’t resist sharing it with you.  Not that any of you need this advice, but someone you know might be wondering.  Someone you don’t know well.  Someone you don’t even like.  But still, it is important to keep folks safe.

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Filed under Bloggin' Buddies, Conspicuous consumption, Criminal Activity, Disgustology, Health and Medicine, Huh?, Humor