The World as one big family

As with every family the world is made up of different members and generations.  Some get along while others merely put up with the others existence.  Here is my breakdown of how I see the world.

Grandparents: China/Japan.  These cultures have been around few a few thousand years and have settled down in their ways.  They don’t get too riled up over little things as they have been around so long they have ‘been there done that‘ and don’t worry over the minor details of life.

Older Parents (Baby Boomers)/Older Great Aunt & Uncles: Europe.  This region of the world was in charge for so long that they are approaching the Grandparents’ attitude of ‘been there done that.’  Nothing much shocks them any more or enough to actually do anything about it but they still aren’t comfortable with all the changes going on around them.  They are laid back in their approach to work and life in general.  Things might not be perfect but they have become accustom to the cycles of life and they are fine with it.  They still secretly wish they ran the show but are content with merely complaining once in awhile from the back row.

Young Parents/20-somethings: United States.  The US is like a set of maturing teenagers/20-somethings who think they know right from wrong and how the world should work if ‘they were in charge’ so they push their weight around being young and strong.  Like new parents they try and adapt to all these new situations in life/the world as they come up.  Sometimes they step up and save the day, other times they get stuck with the poopy diaper.  Their intentions are right minded but their process might not be the easiest to accept by the older generations who might have approached the situation differently but in the end they would rather let the younger generations tackle the hard stuff.  They do alot of the work but never feel like they get enough credit for what they have accomplished yet.

1st Cousins/Aunts/Uncles: Mexico & Central/South America.  Every family has those certain family members that are constantly doing things differently than the norm.  No one really watches their day-to-day movements until you hear a story from another relative on how they screwed up their lives again.  They only show up at big family functions to complain how no one takes them seriously and have never cared for them as much as the other relatives.  In the end they slink back to the shadows of the family gathering winning no more attention than when they first spoke up.

Distance relatives/2nd cousins: Africa.  Every family has that one or two distant relatives that you only hear about every 5-10 years or so.  No one really knows what they do for a living or really care as it doesn’t affect them on a daily basis.  You get an update once in a blue moon about them; some tragedy or something generally upsetting that you think you should call them or offer to help but you never seem to go through enough to actually help or solve the problem completely.  A few days later they have fallen to the back of your mind to be forgotten until the next tragic story.

New family member recently married into the family: India.  They come to the family functions but sit quietly with their partner.  They smile and nod accordingly when someone acknowledges them but never really contributes to the gathering.  They are there for everything but no one really notices them until that one or two times where they aren’t there and their spouse needs to make an excuse for them.  You don’t really believe the story but you give them credit for at least having someone there to participate.

The Crazy Ex-In-Law: Middle East (Recently Russia).  Every family has the one crazy Ex In-law.  No one really liked them when they came into the family.  We all smiled and so did they but something never seemed right with them.  Then something blew up in that relationship and now they are not officially part of the family but because they had kids (Isarel/Palenstine/Iraq,Ex-Russia-Stan etc.) you are stuck with them in the family.  You have to witness the temporary civility of family gatherings only to watch the tension build and finally someone says something that reminds everyone why you never liked them in the first place.  It all winds up out of control until someone else in the family; usually the married into the family loudmouth spouse or hot shot young upstart steps in to try and break it up.  In the end they part ways and everyone just shakes their heads wondering why they ever dealt with them in the first place.


That pretty much covers about 90% of the world.  I’m sure there are plenty of other areas that I could assign a generation or family member to but this has been my model for some time now.  Small remote parts of the world that 90%  couldn’t find on a map if their life depended on it got filtered out.  Areas that are so heavily diverse that it is more of a fight to who actually claims that region also dropped through the filter too.

North/South Poles: those were easy – Polar Bears and Penguins.  After that I don’t really care any more.

Where am I?

Elevator etiquette.  Not one of those classes that I have ever seen offered in a college course book but maybe it should be part of the ‘required courses’ that so many colleges are pushing these days.

I am approaching the elevator this morning at work.  We have 2 side-by-side.  Drink in 1 hand, bagel in the other.  I walk up and push the button as I can see one of the elevators (enclosed in plexiglass) is waiting to be used.  2 seconds later the guy behind me walks up and presses the button trying to call the other elevator down. 

Umm, hello?  Melvin.  Do you not see the marvel of engineering sitting right in front of you.  Oh, sorry, I must have blocked your view when I was just pressing the button 2 seconds ago.  Please forgive me.

The doors open and we both walk in.  Being that we are only a 4 story building it is pretty common for most people going to the 2nd floor to take the stairs.  So I ask; What floor?


No “4 please.”  4.

Ok, I am only going to 3 so I press both buttons and up we go.  Dinging once as we pass the 2nd floor and again as we approach the 3rd floor.  Just before the doors open I step forward to walk out and as the doors open Mr. Oblivious walks out at the same time. 

Now before I go off on another rant about him being a jerk I must tell you that the elevator in our building goes through a set of meeting rooms on the 3rd floor and only the 3rd floor so it is noticeably darker on the 3rd floor when you get off than any other floor.

Mr. Pushy gets off and notices the darkness, spins on his heel and barks at me: “Why did you let me off on the 3rd floor, I wanted to go to the 4th floor?”

Hello Mr. Oblivious (yes, his name keeps changing); do I look like am an elevator operator?  Or maybe just the fact that maybe I wanted to get off on the 3rd floor and you are just an idiot?  Did that thought ever occur to you?  Obviously not.

He storms back into the elevator and stops stunned when he notices the 4th floor button is still highlighted.

And of course then presses it a few more times just to make sure.

Course grade: F 

You fail sir. 

Next time take the stairs.  And just a piece of advice.  You can use them to go UP AND DOWN too.

Is there a lifeguard to watch over me?

Once again another prime example that higher education does not equal ‘smarts.’ 

After years and years and quite a few re-starts to my college education I recently decided to give it another try.  I made an appointment with the academic consular and went in with high hopes.  I have re-started so many times I am bound to be close to another degree (Associate’s).  Upon review we found out that I qualified for a 2nd degree (already graduated with 1 in 1993).  I just needed to fill out the application.  But as we were doing so we found that the Physical Education (PE) credit that I took was no longer valid.  Through a loop-hole we found that since I started that degree program while that class was still a valid one I was able to apply it towards my degree.  Good news. 

But wait?  This degree?  What about future degrees?  Nope, that class no longer fulfills the PE requirements.  You will have to take another PE course if you want to apply for another degree.

“Ok, can I test out of ‘Swimming’?  I have more then enough qualifications for that.” 

“You will have to check with the instructor but from the looks of it, I don’t see why you can’t.” 

A few emails later I was finally presented with the head instructor for the pool classes at the college.  I presented her with the following info:

1. 1990 Fall semester – I took Life guarding at the college to renew my certificates while I was actively working as a lifeguard at a local health club.

2. 1991 Spring semester – I took the Water Safety Instructor (WSI) course at the college to renew my swim instructor certification.

3. 1992 Spring semester – I taught the WSI course employed by the college to get my WSI Trainer certification

4. 1990 – 1996 I worked as a lifeguard, water aerobics instructor, swim instructor, Red Cross Safety officer, and managed a set of pools and lifeguard staff at the same health club.

5. 2010 – After years out of the pool I jumped back into competition with the US Masters program (old farts in swim suits).  I qualified for the National meet, top 100 in the country.  I swam in 2 events after qualifying in 3.  I placed top 35 in both. 

6. 2010-2012 – participated in 5 more Masters swim meets placing either 1st or 2nd in all my events.

With all of this I am bragging but to say the least; I’m qualified to say “I can swim.”

So as a review: I was qualified enough to work for the college I was attending to teach the class to teach people how to teach people how to swim. 

I presented the case to the instructor asking if I could register for the course, pay for the course, and come in the 1st day and basically ‘prove that I could swim.’  Then I would just get the credit for a ‘Beginning Swimming’ course fulfilling my PE requirement and getting my 3rd degree.  This way the college gets what it wants (tuition), I get what I want (PE credit), and I don’t waste anyone else’s time watching over me in the pool and taking time away from someone in the course who might actually need it. 


After another series of back and forth it was suggested that I take it up with the Dean of PE.   

Presented them with the same info from above.  “Congrats on your accomplishments.  I don’t see a problem with this proposal but ultimately it is up to the instructor.” 


All the way up to the Vice Dean of the college.  “Congrats on your accomplishments.  I don’t see a problem with this proposal but ultimately it is up to the instructor.” 


Normally I am pretty darn persistant and would have pushed this all the way up to the Dean of the college myself but after some time reflecting on this I thought better of it. 

I had half a mind to register for the course and show up the 1st day with flippers, a diver’s mask, a snorkel, a floatie duckie ring around my waist and floaties on my arms.  Stand there and watch the instructor for 5 minutes then jump in pool and bust out a Michael Phelps type performance jump out at the end and say “Wow, you are a great instructor.  I learned so much today.  Thank you.”  And then walk out and never come back. 

But ultimately common sense prevailed and I thought as funny as it would be it wasn’t worth the time or money. Especially since my employer is paying for the courses to finish my degree. 

Golf for Beginners here I come.  FORE!!!

I guess if I hit into any water hazzards I will be safe.  Haha.

No thanks, just looking.

The place where I work supplies a small room that offers a few vending machines (snacks, pop, ice cream) and a small kitchenette type option.  Small counter, sink, 2 paper towel dispensers, and a bank of 12 microwaves to heat up whatever you can imagine.

Being an engineering company you should be able to make some basic assumptions that these are educated people working here.  Now I say that because in my mind formal education does NOT equate to ‘smarts.’  These are 2 prime examples of that.

Example #1

At any given time around lunch the small room is pretty full of people mulling around waiting for their leftovers to heat up for lunch.  Nothing tests Americans’ patience like waiting on a microwave.  But I digress. 

This day there were probably 8 of the 12 microwaves humming away irradiating their contents.  Standing back a few feet (who knows how the seals are on these old models?) I can watch as the flurry of activity builds as there is a constant flow of people swapping out their items for those patiently waiting behind them.  

 Then in strolls this individual. 

She isn’t carrying anything in her hands but has a meaningful stride about her.  She walks up to 1 microwave and presses open the door button stopping the cooking cycle.  I assumed this item was hers and she either thought it was cooked enough or maybe she wanted to stir the item (who doesn’t love the frozen chunk in the middle/bottom of their lunch?).  But something caught my eye with this person.  She held the door open, looked at the item, then closed the door.  She then reached over and opened another door.  And then another repeating the process on about 5 microwaves.  Now I am thinking she forgot where she placed her item.  But the part that was sticking out was the fact that with each miss she never restarted the cooking process.  She just closed the door and moved on to the next one.  

After another minute she finally just got feed up and walked out.  I guess that was her version of “No thanks, just looking.” 

Example #2

Same 12 microwaves, 4 rows 3 in each row.  One row is actually below the counter so it is more like 3 rows of 3 which places 1 right in the middle of the stack.  At this time that is the only one occupied with an item that is currently cooking with about 3:30 left on it.  I am standing at the counter prepping my food to put in one of the open ovens.  Just then this man walks up with his lunch in his hand, pops open the running oven, pulls out the item, sets it on the counter, and replaces it with his.  I assumed he had 2 items to cook so I went back to my meal prep.  45 seconds later he pops out his item, shuts the door and turns to walk away.  

I call out to him “Excuse me sir, you left your other tub there on the counter.” 

“Oh, that’s not mine.” And strides away.

I have a coupon

This story is from about a year ago but I felt compelled to share it with the world at this point in time.

Seeing the back-up building in the drive-thru lane I made the decision to venture inside hoping to jump ahead of the line outside.  Bad decision but it turned out to be another contribution to the ever-growing proof that STUPIDITY IS TAKING OVER THE WORLD!

I was hoping for a quick in-and-out but that proved to be shooting too high.  This would prove to be the final nail in the coffin of ever visiting this local King’s burger joint.

I stepped up to the counter to place my order when I noticed a stack of coupons sitting on the counter.  Glancing over I saw a ‘Free Nuggets No purchase Necessary’ coupon on the top of the stack.  As the cashier approached I snatched it off the pile excited about a freebie. 

“What can I get for you today?”

“I would like a Whopper Meal, medium fries, Coke.”  I should have stopped there but those darn kids want to eat every day so I had to continue. 

“I would also like 2 4 piece nuggets and I have a coupon for 1 free nugget.” 

“So 3 4 piece nuggets then?” 

“No, I only want 2 but I have a coupon for 1 of them for free.” 

“Ok, so your order is 1 Whopper Meal, fries, Coke, and 3 4 piece nuggets.  That will be…” 

“Wait, I only wanted 2 4 piece nuggets.”

“Ok, 2 4 piece nuggets then.  Would you like to place another order using your free coupon?”

Stunned I stood there looking like a dog staring at a ceiling fan.  I wasn’t quite sure I wasn’t as clear as I could be so I stammered to try and explain it again. 

“I think you might have misunderstood me on that order.  I wanted to order 2 4 piece nuggets and use this coupon (waving it in air) to pay for 1 of them, not pay for both and then make a 2nd order using the coupon.” 

“Oh, ok, so you wanted 3 4 piece nuggets then?” 

“Ahhhhh……no, never mind.  Just fill the order but I would like to make 1 change before I pay.  Please drop 1 of the 4 piece nuggets.” 

“I thought you wanted 3 4 pieces?” 

“No, just the Whopper meal and 1 4 piece please. 

“But sir, you have a coupon for a free 4 piece.  Did you want to use that for the 1 4 piece?” 

“No, I would like to use it for an additional 4 piece as a separate order now.” 

“Sir, I can put it all under 1 order, that will save you some time.” 

Oh really Captain Obvious?  Meanwhile I have watched at least 4 cars go through the drive-thru.  Each one pushing the dagger a little deeper reminding me why I stopped coming to this location. 

I hand her my money for my Whopper meal and 1 4 piece nugget.  She takes it and walks over to start to assemble my order. 

“Ah Miss, can I have my change please?” 

“Oh, sorry about that.  I thought you wanted to place another order with it.” 

“Never mind, just please get me my order.” 

Meanwhile another cashier comes up to the register and promptly asks “Can I help you today?” 

“Yes, I have a coupon for a free 4 piece nugget that I would like to use.” 

From the assembly area: “I already got his 4 piece nugget for his order.” 

The newbie looks at me and says “She already is taking care of it.” 

“Now, she isn’t.  Please place a new order for me and use this coupon.” 

As the order comes up to be processed the original clueless wonder is stunned.  She whips around and says “How many orders of nuggets do you want to order today?  How should I process this new order?” 

“Just pack up the original order in 1 bag and then place the other item from the new order in the same bag please.” 

“But I thought you wanted 3 4 piece nuggets?” 

I feel like I am arguing with the voiceless kind of scary looking mascot for this place. 

“Just wrap up both orders and I will take them as soon as you can finish them.” 

“Sir, if you wanted 2 orders of nuggets you could have just ordered that in the first place.” 

“Oh, ok, maybe next time I will try and be a little clearer.” 

“Ok, I’m glad we cleared that up.  Did you want to use your coupon now on your next order of nuggets?” 

I felt like jumping in the fryer and ending it all but I promptly took my order, filled my drink cup and made my way out the door.

The bad thing is as I was explaining this story to my family they couldn’t believe my patience and the more people I tell this story the more people who have had similar experiences at this location.  How do they stay in business?


No fries in the bag?!!?

As I pulled into the local Golden Arched fast food establishment I had a feeling something wasn’t going right in the world that day but I continued on into the drive-thru lane.

I placed my order which consisted of a few items: 20 piece Nuggets for the kids, 2 hamburgers for me, 1 cheeseburger for my wife, a medium Cherry Berry Chiller (my new obsession), and 1 large Fry for everyone to share (since no one ever seems to eat their own fries).

I pulled up to the 1st window (to pay).  Total: $13.55.  I gave the person 1 $10 bill, 4 $1 bills, and a nickel to try and make everyone’s life easier and get back 2 Quarters.  This should have been my next sign to just pull away and consider my $14.05 a donation to educate the stupid of the world but I had people waiting for me at home.  I’m not sure if the genius behind the register was just stunned that I could do such advanced mathematics right there on the fly or he had a dial-up modem for a brain.  I swear it took him at least 2 minutes of staring at the register before he finally looked back at me and then the register and finally scrambled to gather up the advanced change that I should have received.  Meanwhile the 3 vehicles ahead of me have already pulled up, received their orders, and pulled away, making me ‘that guy’ in line holding up the rest of the orders.

I pulled up to the pick-up window and was handed my Medium Chiller (only filled 3/4) and soupy as a pop.  Figuring it was 99 degrees outside I didn’t protest TOO much, just a disapproving look.

“You’re order will just take another minute sir.”

Which makes me wonder how difficult of an order was it that I placed considering the advanced economic transaction I just pulled off at the prior window I would have thought they would have had time to cook a complete Thanksgiving meal already.  Oh well, such is life.

2 minutes later I am handed a large bag and told “Have a nice day.”

I ask “Can I have some ketchup for my fries?”  Which is odd since my usual question is simply “Can I have some ketchup please?”  Another sign of things to come.

She looked at me like I just asked for the secret to life.  “But you don’t have any fries in your bag sir.”

“I ordered a Large Fry.  Here is my receipt.”

“Yes sir, but you don’t have any fries in your bag.”

A long pause accompanied with an awkward silence and then she handed over 5 ketchups.

The warning sirens were going off in my head like we were at DEFCON1.  I pulled up as not to hold up the line any longer and opened the bag.  Guess what I didn’t find?  Just like Captain Obvious pointed out a moment ago “ fries in the bag.”

So I pulled around and parked and went inside with my fry-less bag and my receipt.  Walking up to the counter I said “I just went through the drive-thru lane and you shorted me a large fry.”  Holding out the receipt and the bag.

One of the older, maybe 20 years old, turned and glared at Captain Obvious and said “I told you the fries for that order were in a separate bag!”  Grabbing the bag and walking it over to me.  Apolgizing the whole time.

“Well I told him ‘there were no fries in the bag’!”

Upon getting home and setting out the meal and replaying the whole ordeal to the family the icing on the cake: a cheeseburger in a cheeseburger wrapper with…wait for it….no cheese.

Well at least we ended up with ‘fries in the bag.’

Stupidity stikes again.