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Top Four Frustrations of Social Media


Love it or hate it, social media is here to stay. No longer is there need for verbal conversation with a person in the same room when you can use your phone to send short text messages and Facebook pokes. Twitter helps you reduce your thoughts to 140 characters all the while being completely anonymous. Yep, social media is here to stay. People have whole relationships on social media and may never meet in person. As it changes names and form, it imbeds itself so deeply in our lives that our physical interactions are reduced even more. Social media reminds me of the end result of a bad sci-fi movie of the future with an electronic dependent civilization. Since it is here, I must admit I am one of those who embraces and uses this form of communication. I am probably promoting this article on at least three forms of social media besides this blog. Yes, I drank the Kool-Aid and became one of the collectives.

Now, just because I use social media, doesn’t mean I completely agree with all of the things that go along with the medium. One of my biggest pet peeves is the equivalent to the chain letter from high school only on social media. These little annoyances pop up from your trusted friends who feel the need to spoil your day with a guilt trip call to action in order to save this cute little kitten or some other equally emotional cause. All you have to do is share this link on your timeline, twitter feed, or Google page. By doing so, you become the manipulator of the next guilt trip.

NEWS FLASH: Posting something on your wall never saved that damn kitten.

Now that we have cleared up this little mess and put it to bed, let’s take a look at a few other areas which annoy the hell out of…well, me.

  1. NO, in fact, I do not want to play Candy Crush. I have an addictive personality and if you get me started on a game, I am likely to lose track of the rest of the world for a couple weeks until an intervention is carried out. Please keep that silly invite to yourself as well as your new high score. Candy Crush is the new Farmville on the annoyance meter. Stop playing and look up from your phone. There is a whole world out there to explore. Read a book or something.
  2. I have seen this meme. If by seeing, you meant it has been shared by every known person on the internet. I will admit it was funny the first three or four times, but you are late to the funny party and should have gotten the hint when you also have seen it over and over the past month.
  3. Stupid over hereSpeaking of memes, whoever is creating memes needs to get some new pictures. Can we agree to retire the following images:
    1. Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka – just creepy on so many levels
    2. Patrick Stewart’s Captain Picard- yes, it was funny to have his raised hand captioned with a vulgar word the first fifty times.
    3. Lawrence Fishburne’s Morpheus – I get it, you have a choice between the two pills, how about giving me both- we will act like this never happened.
    4. Any Victorian Era Sketch – who ever dug up the old Hallmark cards and started throwing insulting phrases, commentary on drinking habits, and “how I really don’t like you” phrases should be committed to a room with every meme plastered to the walls as a form of punishment.
  4. What constellation are you? What character in Game of Thrones are you? What horrific monster are you? What type of idiot are you? Oh, the last one is the only one that I think should be played. Yes, the annoying “What <fill in the blank> are you?” chain post. I do not care about which character you are in any fictional television show. Want to know a secret, neither do the rest of your friends. We have already figured out what type of idiot you are – the one that plays silly Facebook games.

I am sure there are many more annoying things about Facebook and social media in general, but I should wrap up here to allow my blood pressure to come back down to normal. Besides, it is my turn on Words with Friends. Did you see my high score posted on Facebook?

Until next time…

jerry b.

© 2014

 

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2014 in Editorial, Humor

 

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Why?


“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood, sweat, and tears.”…Simon Sinek

I am not a difficult person. Really, I try not to complain much, I work as hard as possible for as many hours as it takes, and I usually am flexible. Everyone has motivation and motivation is what keeps them engaged in what needs to be completed. Discovering and capitalizing on someone’s motivation is the key link between happy employees and corporate growth. In my case, it isn’t money that gets my blood pumping. Nor am I excited by a sense of accomplishment, as many people can accomplish formatted tasks. What makes me willing to get out of bed in the morning is the “Why” of the company in which I work. What is the “why”? I am so glad you asked because without your question, this article would probably have to end here. So, let’s explore the “why”, shall we?

“People don’t buy WHAT do you do, they buy WHY you do it.”…Simon Sinek

start with why coverOver the years, I have worked for companies where I know exactly what they do, how they do it, and have been a part of teams which produced the end results. In other words, I was there to get a paycheck. Once the interest or challenge waned, it was time to move to the next project or company. Oh, the life of a consultant. However, I have also been on a job where what the company or team did was not as important as why they did it. Those situations are the inspiration for me to come to work each day with the desire to do everything in my power to make it successful. Simon Sinek discusses the why in his book “Start with Why”. Haven’t read that book? Well, you should because it dives into the motivations of successful companies such as Apple Inc. and Southwest Airlines, which were not just founded on their why but shared it with the world. They created a culture with their customers which then pulls them in making them want to be a part of the culture. Customers purchased these companies’ products not because it was the cheapest, as anyone who purchased the new iPad or a MacBook Pro in recent years can attest, but because they wanted to be involved in the culture of the company, the WHY. This idea is the difference between collecting a paycheck and being driven to success at work. Instead of me rambling on about the benefits, I would suggest reading Sinek’s book. Now back to my point, stay with me here.

What happens is the company that started with a powerful why surrenders to the what they do? When process, the all-powerful bottom line, and goals become the driving force, the company forfeits the culture which made them strong. The work environment becomes a place where procedure reigns supreme and organizational structures hold higher importance than the morale of the teams. In short, the business loses its soul and with it, the hearts of the employees.

why2In the fast-paced world we have with instant gratification and everyone- gets- a -trophy, who cares about the soul of the company? Well, I for one do. I am a customer of many of these businesses. From airlines to fast food, I have to interact with a person who is getting a paycheck and not actively participating in the company. The bored, slack-jawed mannerisms make every interaction with another person in business infuriating.

The time of pride in one’s work seems to be lost forever, leaving only the collection of the meager paycheck remaining. . Even in this, there is contention as the entitlement mentality has infected all aspects of our culture. Not only have our companies lost their why, but our culture has as well. We are no longer going to work because we love our jobs (why), but because we just want the paycheck (what). Where once we would proudly answer “I am a (fill in the blank)” we now tell people what we do, “I push papers all day”. To add insult to injury, we are passing this new legacy on to our children who will grow up with an even darker view of the world around them.

So, what do we do? I wish I had the answer for everyone. It is a personal quest you must embark on to find the answer to why you do what you do. Only you can answer the why. Maybe, there is a remote chance, a sliver of hope if you will, where everyone seeks out understanding and searches for why, it may become infectious. Maybe, it will change the world around us. Maybe, you will walk into work and each of you will have a new sense of why we do things and not what we do. Maybe…

Until next time…

jerry b

© 2014

 

 

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2014 in Editorial, Life

 

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Airport Diaries #3: Rules of Engagement – Part 1


Airplane diariesOk, it is that time again. Time to pack the bags and prepare for another exhilarating journey to an exotic location. Well, in all honesty, it’s another business trip.  So, take the exotic out of the equation. Many flights I take these days do happen to be of an international flavor but mostly they consist of getting on a plane, traveling long hours on said plane, extended times in cramped cars with questionable drivers, and finally rushing to get back on a plane. Between these moments, there are business meetings, smiling, late night dinners, and wishing I was back in the hotel getting a little rest from the jet lag. However, while that may be exotic to some, for me, it is more of a routine of step one, then step two, and so on.

When getting ready to depart on one of these engaging affairs, the best strategy is to scan the crowd of those waiting to board the flight. It is a mental game of who- would- you –wish- gets- the- seat- next- to- you and which ones you hope are furthest from your seat. Will it be the guy with the nervous shakes and cold sweats as if this is his first trip? Maybe it will be the couple whose giggles indicate they will spend at least some portion of the flight striving for their “mile high club” membership. Whoever it is, please please don’t let it be the family of six with the kids running around the seats smacking each other and screeching . Oh, the game of “please don’t be the person next to me,” can be quite amusing, if a little precarious, while waiting for a flight. For that matter, I don’t want most of these people to be in the row in front, behind, across the aisles, or anywhere within three rows of me.

As we board the airtight flying cylinder, let me warn you of a few little rules – well maybe more like suggestions- I take quite seriously. I would print them off and hand them out to the masses waiting to join me on my flight, but the last time I attempted this little public service, the nice TSA agent had a conversation with me. Therefore, I am submitting this little list of flying etiquette for your review. Consider yourself served.

  1. The first rule, umm suggestion, would have to be: Don’t wear a bottle of cologne, perfume, baby oil, or any other fragrant application. Keep in mind an airplane is a self-contained, airtight, pressurized, flying vessel in which we will be locked in and sharing air for the next ten hours. A little over-zealousness with the fragrance and the entire plane full of passengers on board will smell just like you, and btw-you stink. Instead of putting on an extra dab, or handful, of your favorite olfactory enhancement to cover up the fact that you have not showered the entirety of your trip, do something novel…SHOWER.
  2. Be Prepared! You know you are getting ready to board a plane. Have your boarding pass ready, know your seat number, and get any of the essential belongings out of your bag in advance before you waste our time blocking the aisles as you look for you micro MP3 player which happens to be in the bottom of your hastily packed carry-on. The rest of us joining you on this plane would like to get going to our destination and rid ourselves of the presence of the other 300 souls traveling with us. Ok, I will admit if I was not locked in this tube with you, I probably still would not like you very much anyway.
  3. Speaking of carry-on luggage, the sign that shows the allowed carry-on size is not a suggestion, it is based on the fact that the engineers of the aircraft did not plan for passengers bringing a bag big enough to smuggle small children out of the country as well as your trombone. For the record, I have seen a full brass band try to get all their instruments into the overhead compartments. They were shocked when the last three members were asked to check their carry-on. Keep it simple, take only what you need, and check the rest people. We would like to have a place for our bags too.
  4. When we finally sit down, I should warn you of something quite important to the comfort of all parties involved. I really do not want to have a conversation with you. I do not want to know your name, where you are from, or where you are going. The flight is not a mixer to meet new friends. In fact, how about we just agree to coexist until the doors open upon landing. It is not personal, but actually practical. If we do not speak, then there won’t be that uncomfortable realization that we do not like each other and are stuck together for the next ten hours. See, very practical.
  5. One final note before the doors close, this is not your living room and the chair your ass will occupy for the remainder of the trip is not your lazy-boy. So, please refrain from spreading out as if you are the only person in this row. Last time I checked, I paid just as much as you to have for the microscopic space the airline chose to rent us. You stay in your seat and share the armrest, dammit!

At no point is flying confused with a wonderful event. It is a practical means to an end. While on the plane, set aside your selfish persona and think about the other passengers. As mentioned, a few things will help this horrible form of paid torture be a little more pleasant for the rest of us.

Until next time…

jerry b

© 2014

 

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2014 in Humor, Travel

 

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So Addicted To, The Things You Do…


“I’m so addicted to
All the things you do…
…It’s not like anything
When you’re loving me”

Addicted…Saving Abel

I am an addict. Yes, that is correct, I will admit it to the world. I can’t stop myself. My addiction impacts life by bringing strife into my personal life, causing some unwanted attention at work, and is something I cannot bring myself to change. My life is inconceivable without the instant gratification my addiction gives me. So, here today, I publically announce my problem in hopes of taking the first steps in coping with my addiction.

<clears throat>

“I am addicted to my smartphone. Yes, I said it. I have a problem and admit it. “

addicted to dataI do not know if there are other smartphone addicts out there. I am sure there are a few closet addicts hiding their problem better than I do. My smartphone is like an extension of my arm, constantly in my hands as I look through email, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and all of the messages arriving through the millions of chat programs. My thumbs are in a constantly flurry of motion. Recently, I changed phones and while I miss my previous one dearly, I am excited for the new addition, I mean, the phone I have started using. The phone gives me a feeling of being connected to everyone around the country, world, and across the house. Yes, I have sent messages to my wife while she was upstairs and I was downstairs. I see it as being efficient even though some may call it lazy. I embrace technology and accept its multitude of uses.

Looking for a support group to help me with my smartphone addiction, I searched the internet-on my phone. What I  found were some really cool discussion groups along with some sites my computer firewall blocked (not sure what those may be but I find that scary). However, my search was in vain as I did not find like-minded people. Maybe the other smartphone addicts are unaware of their problem or are not willing to admit to their problem. Let’s see if I can help others realize just how much their smartphone is a part of their lives, then I won’t feel so alone when I do look up from my phone.

You may be a smartphone addict if:

  • Your office at work was completely remodeled yet you were unaware of the changes due to walking around reading your phone-when did they add the new section?
  • You do not realize someone is speaking to you unless they first make a “ding” noise.
  • You have a mental image of what Siri looks like and wonder what it would be like to spend some time with her in person. 
  • You have a panic attack if your battery drops below 30% without a charging cable. 
  • Your response to every question is “there’s an app for that”. 
  • You plan your vacation based on your cellphone coverage as well as making sure you can carry all your phone accessories in the carryon compartments. 
  • You purchased a phone for your six-year-old so you can text with her from across the room. 
  • Your nightmares are about having to use a “flip” phone to text. 
  • You break out in a cold sweat at the very mention of “data usage restriction” by your phone provider. 
  • You are reading this post on your phone instead of a computer.

Being a smartphone addict is not necessarily a bad thing. I would venture to say that if you believe you are not addicted to your phone then you are in denial and should just learn acceptance and take the first step to recovery. I am seeking others like me so that we can meet in the dark basement of a community center, drink bad coffee, and text message our stories to each other.

I am easy to find walking down the street because I am the one who is laughing at the latest meme viewed on my liquid crystal display as I walk out into traffic. Please do me a favor and text me a warning. I may not listen to your shouts as I read the latest tweet.

Until next time…

jerry b

© 2014

 

 
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Posted by on January 30, 2014 in Editorial, Humor

 

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Office Monologue: LUNCH!


Office MonologueAh, it is lunchtime at the office, a designated time when you get to leave your worries and work behind for a brief moment of reprieve. The massive amount of coffee is no longer filling the nutritional needs of your over-stressed body. Some real substance is needed in your body to energize your mind, after all you have a busy afternoon finding all those new and exciting ways to slack off. Part of the daily ritual is to lock your personal items in the vault, umm, I mean desk drawer, and then loudly profess to all within earshot, “I am going to LUNCH!” This is usually followed by repeating the statement to everyone you pass in the hall on the way to your company’s designated “no work” zone called the cafeteria.

After the battle for the microwave has been waged, the quest begins for a private table that does not wobble like a tilt-o-whirl and upon successful conquest of said table, you settle in to respond to the book that has been calling your name- it is finally time for lunch. What better time than the mid-way point of the day to tune out the world and leave all the stress behind for just a short period of time?  You breathe a sigh and settle in for lunch until you see the shadow blocking your reading light. If you ignore the person behind you they might go away. If only you had that kind of luck.

Then you hear the dreaded questions, “Hey, are you on lunch? I just have a quick question. Mind if I sit down? ” You wonder if the sandwich paused between your lips and spread of food-like items before you might have given them a little clue that yes you are at lunch. With only a brief hour of the day to get a break from the monotony of your job, why would they believe you would want to spend your time sitting across from them answering questions that most likely could be answered a mere 43 minutes from now?

As they sit uninvited across from you, you slowly lower the sandwich back down to the plate without a bite taken and give them the best “go away” look you can muster all the while mentally running through all the responses which could potentially get them to leave you to your lunch. Which responses should we pull out of the mental grab bag today?

  •  “I don’t mind at all. As long as you don’t mind me coming to your house when you are having sex with your wife and giving you an update on the request you are about to make. I hear from the last office party, that she really likes to put on a show for strangers.”
  • “Lunch? Oh no, I was considering giving the sandwich to those kids on late night television. I always say, “Why give them 50 cents a day when you can give them a whole sandwich?”
  • Closing your eyes tightly and muttering, “He isn’t real. If I ignore him, he will go away like all the other imaginary people. Oh I miss my meds.”
  • “Sure have a seat.” As you slowly gather your stuff and walk away.
  • “I am a little congested today. I hope you don’t mind my chewing with my mouth open.”
  •  “Am I at lunch? No, I usually sit in here with food in front of me to conduct my meetings. I find that it helps people to feel powerful when they can keep me from eating my food.”
  • Reach across the table to grab their tie and wipe your mouth. “Thanks, we have been out of napkins.”

Most likely your lunchtime annoyance will continue to sit down not waiting for a response from you. However, with a few well-placed responses, you could eventually gain a reputation around the office, which will leave your future lunches free of disruptions. Just think of all the fun you can have tormenting them throughout the conversation they have wrought on you. A good rule of thumb is to remember all the manners your parents taught you and then do the opposite. Hopefully, you will get your point across.

In the end, your lunch is lost to a work conversation, though your co-worker is no doubt baffled by the smirk you have had on your face the entire time. It is time to look for a better place to have a little break. Maybe you could reserve a conference room to hide in while at lunch. Wait, there is a supply closet that might have room for a chair and tv tray. That sounds promising.

Until next time…

jerry b

© 2014

 

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Humor

 

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Tributes to “Winter’s Geniuses”


doctor-evil-polar-vortexMost of the country is blanketed in snow and temperatures are dipping deeper than a seasoned pole dancer. We have even given this period of cold an unofficial name, Polar Vortex. OOHHHH doesn’t that sound menacing? To me, it sounds like something Doctor Evil might say with his little pinkie at the corner of his mouth. So let’s face it, we all know it is cold in North America. Many can look outside and see the four-foot ice sickle pulling their gutters down. Why is this tremendous cold happening? It is winter.

As I was enjoying the peace and quiet of my home on this winter day (actually, I was going nuts with cabin fever and trying to figure out a way to escape), I was perusing YouTube when I came across an old favorite series of commercials put out by Anheuser-Busch, “Real Men of Genius”. Now, nothing brings back good times like former Survivor lead singer, Dave Bickler’s over-the- top spoofing of 80’s music layered over the announcer, Pete Stackler. Each commercial pointed out those underappreciated professionals and, my personal favorites, the people who have a very unique take on life.

Need a refresher on the commercials? Check out what I found on YouTube for “Real Men of Genius”.

Today, I want to show my support and appreciation to some of our cold weather real men (or women) of genius. In honor of some iconic commercials, I tip my hat to you cold weather friends. This is for you. (Cue cheesy 80’s music)

  • You have the cleanest driveway on the block. Thanks to your diligence in shoveling the snow to clear the path. Never mind that you moved mass of amounts of the fine powder into the cleaned street, forcing the rest of us to drive through your discarded piles. Never mind that our cars spin out as you wave hello. Damn, your driveway looks so nice. We salute you mister driveway cleaner.
  • The forecast may be for a slight chance of snow but you will venture out undaunted. You rush madly through the grocery store clearing the shelves of bread, eggs, milk, and Little Debbie cakes. You will not be trapped in your house without an eggs sandwich and a frosty glass of milk. Never mind that most of the food is perishable or that you are lactose intolerant. This does not stop you from buying a year’s supply just in case. We understand as we have to fight you through the aisles to get our groceries. Here’s to you mister compulsive snow storm shopper.
  • In a cloud of black smoke and howl of oversized tires, you venture out onto the streets. The blizzard will not stop you.  You have waited all year to have a chance to show your snow-driving prowess. Beware simple SUV and front-wheel drive cars because a real vehicle is flying down the road at incredible speeds weaving in and out of traffic. Your bumper is so high, another ice-age would only be a challenge for you.  However, stopping is the one thing you are unable to do in your jacked-up joy with the colossus center of gravity that you spent your entire life savings on.  Yes, we will smile at you as our mere mortal vehicles slowly pass your overturned monstrosity on the side of the road and think “how cool” you really are to us. We salute you Mr. Monster truck driver.
  • What would we do without our car thermometer? You earn the bragging rights to the lowest temperatures posted on Facebook. Twitter followers will retweet your image to millions- you will go viral. You know we love the little minus before the numbers, or even better when it is so cold the thermometer only says “ice”.  Yes, it is that cold. What would we do without you to tell us how cold it is? You are better than the over-paid weather man for giving us the low down. Here’s to you mister dashboard temperature picture poster.
  • Each year, you share your opinion on how you wish for warmer days, no more snow, and more sunshine. Though you have lived here all your life, you seem surprised by the winters. You need to be heard. As the temperatures drop and the snow begins to fall, have no fear, you will be there to make sure we all understand how you do not like it. We truly appreciate your droning on and on every day between November and March about how miserable you feel. And really appreciate that you stay in town during the winter just to tell us how much you don’t like it instead of taking vacation during this time and denying us your sunny disposition.  Just know we appreciate all you do. Here’s to you mister cold weather complainer.

Feel free to add your list of favorites to winter’s unsung real men of genius. I am sure you know some more.

Until next time…

jerry b

© 2014

 
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Posted by on January 10, 2014 in Humor

 

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Broken Promises


Broken-promisesThe exchange of presents is completed and the recycling bins are brimming with the discarded holiday refuse. The holiday feast has been consumed with the appropriate gluttony. Most of the crazy store sales have ended. For those of you who are reading this, the world did not end and you survived another holiday season. It is time to look forward into the New Year with excitement and hope.  Time to make the New Year’s resolution.

The New Year’s resolution has roots in ancient civilization. The idea of resolutions originated in ancient Babylon where promises were made to the gods of the time. Promises were made to return items borrowed and pay the debts to the debtors wiping the slate clean. Throughout the centuries, new creative ways to wipe the slate clean of the past and begin anew emerged. Modern resolutions tend to focus on improving our physical health with an over-priced gym membership or the reaffirmation to breaking nasty habits like smoking, drinking, or waking up next to strangers on a regular basis instead of being about a commitment to others. In other words, we make a conscious effort to begin each year setting ourselves up for failure. Now, that sounds healthy, doesn’t it?   

Looking Back to Look Forward

Before you declare your life changing commitments for the coming year, take a few moments to look over your resolutions from the previous years. Did you invest in the gym membership that went unused after a few weeks? Did you proclaim that this is your “last cigarette” only to go out a few days later to buy another pack? Maybe you promised to have a more positive view on life as you complained that it would be doomed to failure? Year after year, the same promises are professed only to be given up within the first six weeks of the New Year.

According to the infallible resource of Wikipedia, “eighty-eight percent of those who set New Year’s resolutions fail despite the fact that 52% of the study’s participants were confident of success at the beginning.”

I do not know how you feel, but if I failed in something 88% of the time, I might rethink my methodology. Personally, I would like to have six-pack abs and the endurance of a twenty-something year old, but the reality is the time and investment required to achieve these resolutions would only be possible if I was independently wealthy or unemployed. The former is not likely in the fore-seeable future and the latter is, shiver, not something I would hope for anytime in the near future.  

With New Year upon us, now is a good time to look at the exaggerated resolutions made in the past and learn from the mistakes. Start with something small and achievable to build upon in the years to come. Yes, it would be great to give more time to charity, become more pious in your devotions, or spend more time with family but let’s face it, if you have not been doing these things before now, you are probably not going to magically start just because the calendar year has changed. Try this for a resolution, become more realistic. Trust me, once you start down this path, you will have fewer issues with disappointment and less public humiliation.

One of the major issues with New Year resolutions can be rooted in the idea that you will change everything about yourself. In a manic moment, a decision is made to become something that you innately are not. If the resolution can be rooted in your reality, the chances of success are likely to increase. To be successful it is time to change your perception of the commitment. This year, make a commitment not to make a resolution. Instead, begin with setting easily achievable small goals. A subtle shift in your expectations could mean the difference between the embarrassment of explaining the failure in your publically proclaimed resolutions and the actual achievement of your goals.  Instead of professing, you will drop five clothing sizes, how about starting with something a little more realistic, like not having that second (or third) portion of dinner? Refrain from swearing off drinking and maybe just plan on curbing your Friday night drunk fest that leads to the walk of shame on Saturday morning. The little things mean the difference between utter humiliation and potential success.

For the readers who have already gone out and purchased a new workout outfit, signed up to the over-priced 24-hour gym, and scheduled your personal trainer congrats. For those that are planning to swear off the booze, I raise my glass of New Year’s cheer to you. We will look for you around the end of January and have the barstool saved for your return. To all the smokers that are planning to quit, please make your intension clear so we can avoid you and your surly mood for the next few days. I wish you all the best of luck and just know that we are secretly taking bets on the outcome.

Until next time…

jerry b

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2014 in Humor, Life

 

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