MC Tater Leaves His Comfort Zone

I am not someone who enjoys speaking in front of other people. I’m somewhat OK talking to a group of teenagers, but add any adults to the mix and my anxiety kicks in. Add several hundred adults(including our CEO) to the mix and I feel the need to vomit. That is where I am at the moment. I will not sleep well tonight and I envy the people who can just look forward to a day out of the branch tomorrow.

It all started two years ago when they needed someone to help with a skit at our professional development day. They needed someone to make very boring announcements. I make boring announcements at least once a week at work, so I was perfect for the job. I am about as boring as you can find. The role made for me. So, I went on stage and made some really bad boring announcements. People who don’t work with me thought I was acting. People who know me know that it was not an act. I really am that boring.

The next year rolls around and they need someone to take over the emcee duties. They remember that I was dumb enough to say yes to going on stage the year before, so they assume I am still not smart. They are correct.  I’m possibly even dumber than I was a year ago because I say yes even though I hate public speaking. What was I thinking? I wasn’t. Not thoughts at all. It’s completely empty up there. So, I am now committed(or should be) to speaking in front of several hundred coworkers, including the CEO. I muddle my way through and don’t screw up to badly. People are nice and pretend they enjoyed it so now I am invited back for a second year. I’m thinking maybe I should be really boring on purpose(be myself, I mean) so they won’t invite me back, but I’m afraid that no matter what I do, short of insulting the boss or using inappropriate language, I am in this until I retire. I don’t know who I feel sorry for the most, myself or the people who have to listen to me. It’s a toss-up.

So, now I am less than 24 hours from being on stage and I already feel sick. Why did I do this to myself? Why are they subjecting my coworkers to a day of me again? Why did I ever say yes in the first place? Why do people pretend I’m good at it? So many unanswered questions.

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Thoughts on Leaving and Being Forgotten

Before any of my coworkers or fellow Marylanders start to celebrate you can cancel the party plans – you are stuck with me for a while. I know most of you are now too depressed to read the rest of the post, but I will continue to write anyway.

I’ve written a little about this before(Lost Connections). I started thinking about it again when I received an email from the place I worked for 19 years. They emailed asking for information. I gave them the information and also told them I was in a new job. I received a one word email back(thanks) with no acknowledgment of the news of the new job. I’ve also never been invited back since I left. While I was there, they traditionally invited former coworkers back for holiday lunches and special events. I have never been invited back and only hear from them when they need something. I’m not really that bothered by it. I just wonder sometimes why I seem so easily forgotten.

I once attended a church for about 14 years. I was a deacon, a Sunday school teacher, a youth leader and served on various committees. I spent much of my life at the church and on youth trips. There came a time when it became obvious that it was no longer the right fit for my family so we started looking for a new place to worship. It took a while, but we have found a new church home. When we stopped attending the old church no one ever contacted us about it. I did tell the youth pastor that we had made the decision to leave, so that might be why there was no outreach but I still wonder after all the time I put in at the church how we could leave with no contact at all. No call or visit from anyone associated with the church at all to even ask why we felt the need to leave. Several months later, I received an email from the church. It was not an email checking on us. It was obvious from the content that the sender didn’t realize we had stopped attending. It was a big church, but I didn’t think it was that big. Again, a situation that makes me wonder why I am so forgettable or if the 14 years at the church really had so little impact that no one missed me when I was gone.

I moved to a new branch almost 6 months ago(I’m sure it feels much longer to my new coworkers). I wonder if the old branch already seems like I was never there. I was just some random, replaceable guy who used to work there.  I’m 8 years away from removing myself completely from the collective memory of the library world. I can live my life as an old hermit writing sad blog posts that no one will read. I’m OK with that.

 

 

Tater Takes on United, Hitler, Egg Rolls and A-Holes

  1. United: Unless you live under a rock, you’ve seen the video of the man being dragged off a United flight to make room for United employees who needed to fly. To be fair, United only ever said the skies were friendly. They never promised to be friendly before takeoff or after landing. I might consider adopting this management style. No volunteers to take the desk shift? Let me re-accommodate you. I like it.
  2. Spicer and Hitler: So, Sean Spicer when talking about Syria actually said Hitler didn’t use chemical weapons: “We didn’t use chemical weapons in WWII. We had someone as despicable as Hitler who didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons,” He then tried to clarify with “he was not using the gas on his own people the same way that Assad is doing” I think it’s time for a visit to the Holocaust museum. I’m sure he would be allowed to do that on work time. I’m sure the alt-right is pleased with the thought that he might not consider Jews people.
  3. White House Egg Roll: It seems based on recent reports that the White House is way behind on the planning of the White House Easter Egg Roll. I can see the reason behind this now: “President Trump, we need to get things going on the egg roll” “I love egg rolls. I like to dip them in ketchup. But no egg rolls unless the Chinese pay for them” I’m glad we got a chance to take our kids to the event when they were little. It was a lot of fun. Too bad it looks like it won’t be well planned this year.
  4. False Equivalence: I’m not really sure if that term applies here, but it’s the closest thing I could think of for this section. I’m tired of seeing people argue that we shouldn’t help refugees until we help homeless veterans. Why can’t we help both? I saw a comment on the topic of drug addiction saying we shouldn’t spend money on treatment for addiction because kids have cancer. Again, can’t we fight cancer and drug addiction? No one is saying we should only help refugees or only fight drug addiction and I think the people with the false arguments know this. They just don’t want to help refugees or drug addicts, but it sounds better to say they care about others than to say they just don’t like these people. I wonder how many of them are actively helping homeless veterans or donating to organizations fighting cancer.
  5. People Suck: The last couple of days I’ve had some situations that remind me that most people only care about themselves. They can’t take a minute to stop and think about how their actions might affect other people. There is a knee jerk reaction to do what is easy for them instead of some consideration for others. I’m not claiming to be a saint, but I like to think that more often than not I try to do the right thing and help others when I can. On days like this I sometimes think that I’m done with that. I’m going to become the asshole who only cares about himself. I never will though(unless I already am and don’t realize it. The asshole is usually the last to know) I don’t think I could live with myself if I did that. Please, stop and think about your decisions. Do the right thing when you can. Try to be a positive influence on the world. Look outside your personal bubble and think about those around you.

Currently Reading: Chuck Klosterman X: A Highly Specific, Defiantly Incomplete History of the Early 21st Century

Friday’s Random Tater Thoughts

In an effort to avoid doing something productive on my day off , but with no one topic I want to address, I bring you another random collection of Tater Thoughts. I know you are excited.

Powerball:  Unfortunately, I did not win the Powerball this week. This means I have to continue trying to be a productive member of society with a job and stuff. I do have a plan if I ever win, though. I wouldn’t quit my job right away. That would be too suspicious and people might figure out I’m rich and want money. I would keep working for a little while and then one day overreact to something, go on an epic rant about everything that has ever annoyed me over the past 20 years and storm out. Of course, now that I’ve posted this everyone will know if I do this then I have become wealthy. Time to come up with a new plan.

Weather: I know that 70 degree weather in February should be a reminder that global warming is real and a serious problem, but I can’t help being very happy about it. The older I get the more I hate the cold and the snow.. I would happily move somewhere where 70 degree February is the norm, but I also don’t want extremely hot summers. I fear, though, that I will be in Maryland forever.

Political Stuff: This week the Trump administration ended the Obama guidance that schools should allow transgender students to use the restroom that aligns with their gender identity.  A good portion of the people out there who agree with this move somehow believe the untrue assertions that this will reduce the rapes that have or will occur if transgender students are given the right to use the restroom they want. I have yet to see any reports of any rape stemming from these policies. Many people also applaud the move because they hate, fear or don’t understand the transgender community. What you need to understand is that other people’s’ rights should not depend upon your personal feelings, your religious beliefs or, really, anything to do with you.

Civility: Lastly, let’s talk about civility. This election season and the first month of the Trump administration has been marked by a lot of harsh words, insults, etc. I know that people are angry about the election and about most of what the Trump administration stands for. I know people on the other side feel empowered by the win and think the rest of us should just shut up already. Passion about your beliefs is great and I’m all for protests, calls to Congress, posts on social media, etc to make your voice heard. I will continue to post when I have something to say about political issues. I hope my friends continue to post their thoughts as well, from both sides of the issues. What I would like to see less of is –

posts from incendiary/slanted news sites(Infowars, Breitbart, Occupy Democrats) designed to make people mad instead of inform

name calling. you can get your point across better and get people to listen more with reasoned debate without insults.

dismissive comments – if you just tell me to shut up and deal with it, call me butthurt, sheep, etc I will stop caring what you think. This does not help at all. feel free to disagree, but disagree with facts and debate, not this stuff.

hate – this one most of all. Way too many people out there saying Muslims don’t belong in our “Christian country” that people in the LGBTQ community are mentally ill, unnatural, etc and don’t deserve to be treated equally. Too many reports of racist and anti-Semitic violence and vandalism. Too many attacks on people who aren’t like you. Please stop. You say we are a Christian country, but then you act like the complete opposite of a Christian.

Disagreement is good, but we will get nowhere if we can’t learn to disagree and debate civilly

Tater Tuesday

Another one of those mornings where I think “I should write something” so I get my laptop, sit on the couch and then stare at a blank screen with a blank mind rejecting ideas that pop in to my head. So, here are a few of my rejected ideas and why I rejected them.

The “War on Christmas” – I’ve written about how I feel about the fight over Happy Holidays vs Merry Christmas before. My thoughts haven’t changed. Wish me a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, whatever. I won’t be offended and my ability to celebrate the holiday of my choice will not be affected at all. I think it’s time we all grow up and stop fighting about stupid stuff.

The Electoral College – Yes, it would be nice not to have a President Trump but I was not expecting any other outcome. Yes, I will peak up over the next four years against policy and action that I feel is wrong, but right now I just want to focus on trying to get in to the Christmas spirit.As usual I am having trouble in that area.

Changes – I’ve bored everyone enough with how I’m struggling with the changes in my life. Nothing has changed to warrant a new blog post. I’m still adjusting to the new job. Next week will be hard being back home with my mom not there. I have been able to start focusing on reading again have a shot at reaching my goal of 100 books this year.

2016 – It’s still a little early for any sort of year in review post. I will do my year in reading post around January 1. I might do just a general year in review post around the same time. If I do it now I might miss posting about something exciting.

Current events in general – Too depressing at the moment. I need to start searching for funny news stories to share. The regular news is not fun.

I’m way too boring to do any sort of regular post about my days in general. A more talented writer could probably do something with that, but not me.

So, there you have it. My thought process while trying to decide what to write.

Reflections From the Road

I’m sure the 10’s of you who actually read this blog noticed that I have not posted in a few days. Since pretty much all of you are my actual friends in real life, you likely know why. I have been traveling back home to Kentucky more frequently to visit my mom who is ill. It is good to see my family and everything, but it is not a fun reason to get to go home. Please keep my mom and our family in your prayers. It has been a tough time recently and it will not get easier from here. Below are some of my reflections from the road(and air since I flew this time).

The airports this time around were very easy. Both National Airport and Nashville Airport security lines moved smoothly and quickly. I didn’t notice any of the people who tend to slow down the lines because they don’t think about the giant metal jewelry they are wearing or the jumbo size bottle of shampoo in their luggage. Both flights were on time and people seemed to be able to board efficiently without holding up the line while they contemplate luggage placement. I’m sure I will pay for this on my next trip and everything will go wrong, but for one weekend air travel was pleasant, efficient and on time. Well, with the exception of breakfast Tuesday morning. I stopped at Swett’s on the way to the gate to get something to eat and they were out of biscuits. How the heck does a restaurant in the south, even one in an airport, run out of biscuits? They should be shut down on principle.

Speaking of food: We had a grand plan to head to Owensboro to eat at Moonlight BBQ after visiting my mom on Sunday. I was very happy with this plan because I have not been to Moonlite in years. We all headed out to Owensboro from my mom’s house. I decided to check the hours to make sure they were open and discovered they close at 3pm on Sunday. We turned around, headed back to Bowling Green and ended up eating at O’Charley’s. I like O’Charley’s, but it just wasn’t the same. This was likely the worst good meal I’ve ever eaten.

There have been some creepy clown sitings in Bowling Green. I was really hoping to see one.  I really want to get a picture of a creepy clown in the wild. The streets around my brother’s neighborhood is perfect for a creepy clown. I was very disappointed with the lack of clowns there. I don’t think they share my opinion.

Finally, it was very nice to be at my brother’s house the week I crushed him in fantasy football. Winning against him is fun. Almost doubling him in points is more fun. Doing this while at his house is perfect.

Tater’s Friday Lunch Break Ramblings

So, it’s been a week since my last post. I guess that means it’s time for me to spend a few minutes rambling about random stuff.

  1. Politics: Ben Carson suspended his presidential campaign, meaning he can finally get more nap time without people interrupting him with questions. Donald Trump is still so bad that he makes Ted Cruz look good in comparison and that’s not easy. John Kasich is still the only grown up on the stage, so no one pays any attention to him. At this point the Democrats could run Dukakis and win.
  2. High School Musical: No, not the Disney movie and the new of a 4th movie, but actual high school musicals. I took my daughter to see some of her friends in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat last night. When she first said she wanted me to stay and watch the show I was kind of disappointed I couldn’t just dump her there and go home to watch TV. I’m glad I didn’t. It was a very good show. They always do a good job. I just forget that every time until I go. There are some very talented kids at AHS.
  3. Stupid Drivers: I thought it was impossible, but I think the drivers in the area are getting worse. This morning I was almost killed by someone who didn’t even slow down at a red light. I’m sure they were looking at their phone. There is nothing on that phone that is more important than not killing your fellow drivers. No one is important enough to have to read their texts/facebook/email while driving. Put the phone down and drive. The message will be there when you arrive and no one will die(unless you are a doctor ignoring urgent messages about a patient).
  4. Stupid Questions: It was proven definitively this week that there is such a thing as a stupid question. I’m not sure why anyone ever thought the opposite was true. Wherever you find stupid people, there is a chance that you will hear stupid statements, questions, etc. and you can find stupid people everywhere. I found a couple on the FOX News debate stage last night.
  5. Lunch Break Being Over: What do you mean lunch break is over? I wasted the whole thing trying to think of things to complain about. I never had a chance to read my book. It’s not fair! I demand to be paid to do whatever I want! Actually, I’m going to go work. Darn work ethic.