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Fourth Annual “Airing of Grievances” 2020---COVID Style


I can’t believe it has been a year since my last entry of the annual “Airing of Grievance” Blog post. 2020 has seemed like a lifetime given everything that has transpired with the pandemic and COVID-19. As always, I will attempt to stay away from the cesspool of politics in this writing but you never know. I will say that it would be too easy to go there, and I don’t really need to because the “Ass Clowns” posing as journalist in the media do an excellent job of feeding the masses “red meat” on both sides of the aisle. They aren’t Red or Blue. It is all “Green” in today’s media baby. See, I am already breaking my rules.

A tip of the hat to Seinfeld and Frank Constanza continuing to give us Festivus. It is the gift that keeps on giving. As you faithful already know, we can’t get to the “Feats of Strength” until we “Air Grievances” so let’s get this party started. If you suffer from “hyper-sensitivity” this is the part where you close the post and keep on scrolling and then “Unfriend” me. I will try not to lose sleep. You have been warned that there is something for everyone reading this post to be offended by---that is the whole point.

Leading of this year’s blog is the NCAA, with special emphasis on the B1G 10. Here is the thing---I don’t care if you do or don’t play Football in the name of safety, but try making a principled decision and stick to it. The NCAA gave no real solid guidance (so shame on them), opening the door for the SEC an ACC to kick it down and do what they wanted. You knew they were playing even if there were biblical like disasters happening all around them. No shock there. Whether you agree with them or not they decided, and went all in on it. Have to respect commitment.

Back at the ranch in the B1G 10 offices they vacillated more than a politician that just looked at their polling numbers and realized their losing. They decide they were not going to play because of safety reasons. When they were pressured by some of their own institutions and realized that the SEC and ACC are for real, they back peddled like Deon Sanders when he could back up what run out of his mouth. They then penalized a school like Nebraska on their schedule for pushing the envelope on the issue. Again, I don’t care what decision you make---just make it. The B1G Ten tried to play both sides up the middle and instead of having it both ways they look like that stepped on a burning pile of crap that some kid placed on their porch.

Meanwhile the NCAA in conjunction with the BCS committee is back in Indianapolis on the “Red phone” with the Pope as he undoubtedly wired a church load of money via Western Union from the Vatican to them to make sure the “Fighting Rudy’s” made the Final Four playoffs. Its ok, we all love watching the same six teams fight for the Championship each year (NOT!!!). Why not use COVID as an excuse for a one-time trial for an eight team Playoff. God knows you hid behind the pandemic when it suited you. It doesn’t matter now. We always knew that the NCAA and its puppets, like the B1G 10 were money grubbing organizations that were going to “get theirs” no matter what it takes. This year they just pulled the curtain back a little more for all of us to see. A pox on all your houses.

It is the Christmas season and people that are close to me have long heard me harp on this next topic. I am sure many of you have experienced (like me) a brother, sister, or cousin bring a boyfriend or girlfriend to the Family Christmas dinner/gift exchange. It doesn’t really matter if they just met them twenty-eight days ago or not (Because they are TOTALLY in love). By the way, here is a newsflash for all you young and in love holiday couples-----just because you can find your soul mate on the Bachelor in six weeks doesn’t mean it translates that way in the real world just in time for the holidays. Anyway, you all know how it goes. Young Chance or Ethan comes in and tries to impress everyone in the family even though his only real job should be to say nothing at all and be the runner for drinks. It is pretty apparent from the jump that he is a “silk stocking filled with dung”. He gets to eat the good dinner and Grandma gives him a “Guilt Gift” because--- like trophies with kids today—everyone has to get one.

Then we get to the big ending where the holiday family picture gets taken, and the dude moves in like he is in a photo shoot for GQ.  Not so fast I say. You want to be in a family picture that I am going to be in then you have to put a ring on it  (I really think you should be married but I am getting soft in my old age). I have suffered this same scenario more times than Bill Murray did Ground Hogs Day. I have seen so many bad boyfriends over the years come through the turnstiles that I had to get an abacus to count them all (that is what we used Pre I­-Phone calculator back in the day for the young folks following at home).

So here is a Pro Tip for all of you in the same situation. If you have one of those families that just doesn’t want the drama and says that Ethan or Chance can be in the picture. Strategically place him on the end so that two weeks after the photo is taken, and he is no longer in the picture relationship wise, because it wasn’t love and he got the “Big Haircut”, you can literally crop him out of the picture so that your holiday family memory isn’t stained with the “Flavor of the Month” (People pay big money for this kind of advice and I want to remind you I am giving it away tonight).

If you happened to be that dude we are talking about and are reading this right now (and you all know who you are) then do yourself a solid and when they announce the family picture you hustle your ass to the camera as fast as you can and insist on being the guy that takes it so you can get some actual street cred with everyone that knows you are already a dead man walking. Don’t be that “Plus One” interloper that just gets the meal, the charity gift and a Hallmark picture with the Fam. Walk away with your dignity intact. Don’t kid yourself, lots of people think what I am writing here and are just too polite to say it. Let the line shine on this one.

Speaking of pictures. I have long loathed “Group Photos”. I understand the need to document places in time and they are a necessary evil but let’s discuss a few things here. Everyone has taken their share of these things, but it seems like every time it is time to take the next one no one remembers the rules. Vertically challenged (see how I didn’t say “short” there so as not to offend anyone) people to the front and tall people to the back. This isn’t being enforced to discriminate against you. Believe it or not someone figured out a long time ago that it makes the most sense if you want to see everyone’s face. I would like to be 6’7 someday myself so I could dunk but its not happening so let’s live with reality here and help expedite the old group photo process. Denial isn’t a solution on this one.

Once you have finally convinced the non-tall people to get in the front then even more fun ensues. All of a sudden, a group that you can’t get a peep out of in a staff meeting starts talking like they haven’t seen each other in years. Then you have the people in the back-playing grab ass like they are in the Rompa Room. The whole thing is a migraine in the making. Then you have to pray you have a cool photographer. Good photographers know this whole process is a pain in the ass. The worst is when you get some dude that thinks he is Ansel Adams and that this is the photo that will finally get him in Life magazine (more old people references for Generation Z and Millennials). Somehow, he missed Group Photo day in photography class and doesn’t realize that his only job is to get the short people to the front and make sure it doesn’t look like a mug shot after an “All nighter” at the local bar. “We aren’t building clocks here fella”.  There are enough filters now that they can even make me look like Brad Pitt so who cares about all this anyway. I feel my blood pressure escalating just writing on this topic. Probably why I haven ‘t put it in before now. One of the silver linings of COVID is that it has about killed group photos because of social distancing and stay at home orders. The ones that do happen are with masks on so at least you don’t have to smile, so we had that going for us this year.

One last Christmas topic. I know that I am going to get blasted back into the stone age for writing this one, because there are people I LOVE DEARLY that are violators of this grievance. I just want everyone to keep in mind that I went after my own Father in last years blog as a “Same Side Sitter” so this isn’t personal. I still love you but I just can’t get behind these Christmas/Holiday Family “Pajama Pictures”. As much as I love plaid and flannel it just isn’t landing with me.

These things are trending damn near as fast as “Baby Bump” picture updates (that is whole other topic by the way). I just don’t get it. Maybe I have become so calloused by living alone for so long that I have morphed into Pre-Spirit Scrooge and the Grinch all in one. It just isn’t working for me. In this crazy world who knows what it could lead to. Today its flannel. Next year the whole damn family is in Victoria’s Secret. It is a scary rabbit hole to go down. The four-legged red head that sleeps with me every night sleeps in the buff and I don’t think that is the end game we are looking for here when it comes to the pajama pictures and posts. I love you all--- but friends don’t let friends do pajama pics. Save that stuff for Snapchat or the Dark Web.

Got to talk about some COVID related stuff before we finish. The pandemic has caused us all to do video conferencing. You know them all well. We used to be a Skype video society and kids don’t even know what this now. The “check” is to money what Skype is to video conferencing now. We have Google Meets, Go To Meeting, Microsoft Teams, and Zoom to name a few. My grievance is this----TURN YOUR DAMN VIDEO ON when you are in a meeting. As sexy as a black box with your Zoom nickname on it is to stare at for sixty minutes---I am not ok with it. It is especially embarrassing for you if you forgot to put your “day time” name back after you did one of those after midnight “chats” the night before (I bet the video was on for that one by the way). The boss doesn’t want to see “Lover Boy 2020” staring back at him. Not cool.

While we are on video conferencing etiquette –it is ok to wear pants to meetings. In fact, people encourage it.  Also, please don’t go to the bathroom during the meeting. When things finally transition back to normal----Me thinks some folks are going to have a hard re-entry into the real world of meetings and interviews on the other side. Its going to be like a bad “Beaming” experience on Star Trek.  Be better and quit making excuses. COVID is an easy crutch to use right now, but that bow is going to break some day and exposure is real. I assure you. The bottom line is to turn on your video and suck up what the new world order is delving out here right now until we can get back to some normalcy.

The last thing has been on my mind for awhile but exasperated by COVID. Part grievance –part editorializing. We have to quit confusing “Communication” with “Being Connected”. They are two very different things. We have all these newfangled ways to communicate with each other through incredible technology but I am not sure it is working. There is certainly a place for video conferencing, social media, and other platforms supporting communication but it seems like less and less people can have face to face, big boy-big girl interactions (Pre-COVID as well) and I think that is very dangerous road to go down. I am as addicted to my phone as anyone (please feel free to join me on Thursday nights at my therapy group) but I can still work a room and like interacting face to face with people.

 As cool as it is to try and try and figure out your “interpretive dances” on Tic Tok or translate what your Insta pic is supposed to mean I just don’t think it is working. Me trying to determine what your “Selfie” is supposed to emote is not a winning communication plan.  No one is changing minds through “Meme’s” and “Keyboard courage” is a real thing. People will say just about anything though a commuter or phone these days but no so much when sitting in the same room (likely because you might get your ass kicked or punched in the mouth). COVID has exposed us on this and we better figure it out soon or just about everyone is going to hate each other. Its ok to disagree with people. Just don’t be a jackass. We can do this as a society. End of rant.

Well, I have probably worn out my welcome. Hopefully I have offended everyone reading. Feel free to share on social media or just do a dramatic reading by the Christmas Eve fire. 2020 has been one giant Grievance itself. We will get through this even if it has to be settled through “Feats of Strength”. Remember that Festivus doesn’t end until you “Pin me”. Happy Festivus, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.




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