I Fought The Law, and the Law Won

So it’s 4:30 in the morning and I’m awake and working. At my job. At 4:30 in the morning. It’s dark and all hell is breaking loose, business wise, in several of the major Asian countries I’m working with.

The problem isn’t entirely my fault, but it’s my team, and I manage them, so I take the fall because that’s what a manager should do.

The time zones are right, mostly, for talking to my folks already working through the end of what is their Thursday, pesky time zones being what they are. It’s really right timing for talking to my boss. Four thirty means noon-thirty in London and the meaty part of his day.

He asks me why the hell I’m up so early. Well, for one thing, I can’t sleep. For two things, there are emails scorching the inside of my email inbox. Someone’s gotta do something about it, and that’s someone’s gotta be me.

So we’re talking. My voice is still creaky from lack of sleep as I make my case. “I’m in over my head here,” I tell him, and he agrees to help.

I’m keyed up on adrenaline and buzzing like a pot of coffee and two five hour energy drinks dancing a polka across a vat of 1970’s diet pills.

The boss and I are puzzling through the problems. We’re working on solutions. I’m trying to answer as best I can and agree to find out answers to questions I don’t know.

So the boss is talking, going on a long riff as he’s wont to do. It’s good stuff and I’m listening hard. While I listen, I lean my chair back on two legs, perched there for a moment.

I say “two legs” but perhaps I should say “two wheels” because that’s really the case. I’m nestled into my worn but comfy home office chair. I do this all the time, go up on two wheels, while I’m thinking or listening or just because.

I’m listening. I’m “um hmming” and I’m very into the conversation when I guess the gods that rule gravity decide that it’s time they had a say in this situation.

With nary a wobble or early warning, I go from being semi-upright, let’s say a nice 10 degree angle, to staring at the ceiling, knees in the air, I’m-an-astronaut-strapped-to-a-solid-rocket-booster-and-ready-to-light-this-candle position.

This descent of Karenkind does not occur without some noise. And by noise I mean a bone-jarring rattle that travels in waves through my seventy year old domicile. I can hear the plumbing pipes rattling below the floor.

The boys who follow earthquakes over in their center in Palo Alto might have noticed a barely imperceptible blip on the screen while taking another sip of stale government coffee. Meanwhile, seismic waves are going off in my home.

The curious cat, a moment ago fast asleep, comes galloping down the hall to find out what’s the deal. The Good Man turns on the bedside light. I see the yellow glow at the other end of the house.

Over there in London, either my boss hasn’t heard or doesn’t care. He keeps talking. I lay there, knees up, and listen. And reply. I continue the conversation, because the last thing I want to hear right now is “what was that?” because I have no good answer. “I just fell over in my chair” doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in my capacity as either employee or human.

I half expect The Good Man to come check in on me, and am glad he doesn’t. I assume he hears me still talking and believes me to be all right.

Slowly, making the least amount of noise possible, over a period of several minutes, I slide out of the chair and slither into an Indian-style sitting position on the floor.

I finish my call. I hang up. I put my chair back upright and I pat its fake leather back as if to say, “we’re all right, big fella.”

I walk down the hall to go back to bed. The Good Man is snoozing with the light on. I place my iPhone on my bedside table, and as I do, I knock a stack of hardcover library books onto the floor. They make a sizable crash.

Apparently gravity and me are gonna tussle today. Being as how he has the law on his side, I think gravity is going to win.

I plan to give it a good fight.

Image found from Alex Huges Cartoons and Caricatures, a really fun site. I recommend a visit.

Oddly enough, this post actually sorta fits with this week’s Theme Thursday, which is book, so we’ll call it good.

Wednesday’s Got The Blues

The rain has returned in earnest here in the Bay Area. At this moment, there are swirling black clouds and wind driving rain into my office windows.

It’s sort of tough to take, though not unexpected, after the wonderfully sunny weekend we enjoyed (see flower photos a few posts down).

While on a conference call yesterday during which both my team and I roundly chastised a supplier, while on mute for a bit, I had occasion to vent my feelings about the return of winter to my empty marker board.

Herewith, my latest doodle.

Click to see larger size. In case it’s tough to read, the umbrella says “Spring”

In Defense of Frank Burns

Lately, I have been subjected to a series of long and longwinded meetings.

When my latent child brain is subject to boredom, fascinating things happen.

So, when someone in a boring meeting made a comment that reminded me of an episode of M*A*S*H, it got me thinking about the characters which led me to…

Maybe over the years, we haven’t given Frank Burns a fair shake.

Stay with me here. I have a reasoned argument to present.

Changing the point of view on this to second person to make it more impactful, here is my defense of Frank Burns and why we shouldn’t hate, but have empathy.

Here we go:

Take the characters and situation and place them in the real world. Imagine if you will:

1) You work a job that is both dangerous and complex, and you are responsible for human lives. Being a doctor is actually very important to you. That said, your two coworkers (who you are also forced to live with) are not only arrogant and disrespectful, they are also complete alcoholics.

And yet, despite being drunk a fair percentage of the time, including while at work, they are viewed as the fair haired boys. Your boss overlooks their obvious addiction and goes so far as to tell you to get over it when you bring their questionable behavior to his attention. And you outrank those two buffoons!

Deep down you know that you, sober as a judge, will never be as good a surgeon as they are while drunk on homemade gin. That knowledge chips away at your self-esteem every single day.

2) You date one of the hottest chicks in camp, which is a good thing. But as I’m fond of telling my guy friends, “dating a very beautiful woman comes with challenges.”

I mean, she IS smoking hot. Fer chrissakes, they call her “hot lips”…the trouble is, there’s been plenty of guys who have sampled those hot lips. Your va-va-voom girlfriend is a notorious flirt and will openly discuss her partying with generals and colonels around the globe, and you’re expected to just take it with a smile.

She expects you to be a good military man and constantly compares you to her legendary father. Then she lets your roommates slide on their non-military behavior because, she reasons, they are so good at what they do.

And you become acutely aware that this chick is WAY out of your league. A little neurosis sets in as you try to hang on to the hottest girl you’ll ever lay a hand on in your entire life.

3) You get zero support at home. Ok, yes, there’s that cheating with Hot Lips issue which means you are not without some blame. And yet, a nice word in the mail from the spouse would be nice. You’d like to think your own wife would be in your corner, but she’s not.

Neither are your parents. And you don’t have any friends. It’s a lonely old world stuck in a grimy tent with two hotshot lunkheads mocking your inadequacies on a daily basis.

4) People call you Ferret Face. To your face. It’s not your fault you were the big loser in the genetic Olympics and wound up with a weak chin.

5) Your hot girlfriend pressures you all the time about getting married. This, despite the fact that you told her from the start you weren’t looking to leave your wife. It’s a constant nagging pressure.

Then she goes off on R&R one day and comes back engaged so some big, tall, athletic bohunk with a strong chin and suddenly your only friend in the world is now off limits.

And this causes you to slip off your nut. You really do love the girl, but maintaining the girl has been more than a weak-chinned man can take.

6) If you can’t have love or respect, then it sure would be great to be promoted to Lt. Colonel. People would be forced to respect a Lt. Colonel. A Medal of Honor would be nice too. That would really shut them up.

7) You are probably an undiagnosed case of Aspergers, or at the very least are prone to vicious bouts of OCD. But you get zero sympathy. Meanwhile, the chronic addicts are lauded and celebrated.

It’s a pretty solid case. The more I think on it, the more I feel a little bad for hating Frank all of those years. Perhaps time has been kind to ol’ Frank.

You know, no matter what Hollywood would have us believe, in life, it’s never as easy as “that guy is the good guy” and “that guy is the bad guy.” We’re all the bad guy. And the good guy.

And Frank Burns is misunderstood.

Photo found several places on the net but unable to find attribution. Will include attribution or remove at the request of the owner.