With a new year soon upon us, and another Festivus just behind us, Bert has fallen into a reflective state again. Perhaps it’s the symbolic turning of the calendar, endings that beget new beginnings, that make me pause like a reindeer on a rooftop. Maybe it’s sitting inside a warm, seventy-degree house and staring at a tree of memories captured by ornaments, crystallized in time and signed and dated on the box by my grandmother. Possibly it’s the Festivus pole in the corner, standing shiny and proud in all its aluminum glory.
Or, most likely, it’s the fact that many of you are attempting to ignore some of your relatives this holiday season by pretending to be busy on your smartphone, and, like a turkey vulture hearing the whir of tires, the squeal of a ground squirrel, and the post mortem silence, I stole the opportunity to grab your attention with a timely publishing of a holiday-themed blog post. Sounds like a Festivus miracle to me!
In my reflection, I came up with a number of things I’m hoping for, either this holiday season or in the coming new year. I spent a lot of time thinking about these, time too little and too late for those looking to purchase wrapped gifts in hopes of buying my love and affection, but fret not for I have no problem accepting gifts of the belated variety. So, without further delay, but absolutely with an imagined drumroll in your head, I give you…The Betterman Holiday Wish List.
First of all, yes, it’s ironic that I am typing about my desire for a “think-to-text” feature that would relieve my fingers of the very duty to which they are now reporting. At least I think that’s how irony works, anyway. I’ve been gun-shy in proclaiming so ever since falling on my face in competition with Alanis Morissette.
I also realize I’m being a bit whiny given I could at least use the “talk-to-text” feature that my computer already has, but the microphone tends to mistranslate more words than my fingers do, so I’m holding out until I get the whole enchilada.
Where it would come even more in handy is with my dumb smartphone (sorry, Steve Jobs). As great as these devices are, they still fail to account for my neanderthal fingers when it comes to using a touchscreen. Trying to place my cursor to a proper spot for a routine cut-and-paste is like trying to specifically touch only the ass of a fruit fly without brushing a nearby wing. And I swear to Beelzebub, if there is a hell, and I’m unlucky enough to find myself there someday, I’ll be asked to type “I have fat fingers” ten thousand times on an iPhone 4 like Bart Simpson used to write on chalkboards in detention.
One more final benefit here…every time someone says “What’s the matter?” and I don’t want to talk about it, they can figure it out while I continue avoiding the conversation. Seems like a win/win…what could possibly go wrong?
Non Experts Stop Trying to Be Experts
People want to be experts in things almost more than they want to be trolls on Twitter. Sometimes those two hobbies actually go hand-in-hand. To steal a line from Craig Ferguson, let me explain…
My brother was telling me about his shoe-buying experience today. He had seen an actual expert that had prescribed him some custom insoles for a foot injury and sent him off to a sporting goods store to buy the prescribed shoes to fit said insoles. When he arrived and explained what he was looking for, the employee said “You probably have flat feet,” and proceeded to recommend other shoes, re-diagnose his issues, and tell him how to run his life (pun intended).
“You know, for one out of a hundred and fifty Americans, flat feet is the number one cause of foot pain. You probably have flat feet and don’t know it. Most people have flat feet. My cousin has flat feet, and her feet hurt, like, all the time. If your foot is flat, you probably have flat feet.” At least that’s how I pictured the conversation.
It’s nice to know things, but a little humility goes a long way.
Car Dealers Stop the “I’m Crazy Insane!” Schtick
“We went crazy with inventory this year, and if I don’t clear it all this month, I’m going to go insane! My accountants think I’m nuts! But I’m overstocked, overbought, and we gotta move these cars before I jump overboard! I’m losing money hand-over-fist, my boss is going to fire me, my wife is going to leave me, and my kids won’t respect me, but if I can sell a hundred cars this week for only a dollar down, I’ll be a hero with my customers, and that’s all that matters because I like sleeping in the showroom better than my house anyway; the smell of new vinyl comforts me like a pacifier dipped in whiskey and Benadryl! So come on down to Crazy Joe’s Car Shack, and make my, I mean your, dreams come true today!”
I want to take a moment to speak directly to any and all owners of car dealerships that have ever recorded one of these commercials. Do you really believe that the best way to convince me to purchase or lease a certified used vehicle is to convince me that you’re certifiably insane? Do you realize that I actually turn off my radio and/or TV every time that I hear your voice, a voice which I recognize faster than Stairway to Heaven on an episode of Name That Tune? Do you actually talk like that at home around your wife and kids, and do they walk out of the kitchen just like an unimpressed car shopper leaving your showroom? Then you might be an annoying car salesman…and a redneck.
Carl Spackler from Caddyshack once caddied for the Dalai Lama, who was a long hitter, by the way, probably longer than John Daly. As a result the groundskeeper Spackler got “a little somethin’, you know, for the effort.” It wasn’t money, but on his deathbed, he would receive total consciousness. So he’s got that goin’ for him. I want that for Christmas, but I don’t think Buddhists celebrate. I guess I’ll just keep meditating for another sixty years.
Drop Tribal Politics and Bring Back Civil Discourse
Here’s a thought: instead of trying to defame and discredit others and score political “wins” at any cost, how about you create laws and policies that actually improve people’s lives so they have a real reason to continue to vote for you and give you the privilege of working for U.S. citizens in their federal government? I don’t know, that’s just the opinion of this registered independent looking for someone credible to vote for the next time we hold democratic elections.
John Lennon Gets His Wish
For my last and final holiday wish, I just wish that John Lennon could finally get his wish, “and the world will be as one.”
Believe it or not, we all have more things in common than we have different. It is possible to improve all of our lives at the same time without taking away or excluding. Life isn’t always a zero-sum game, and often we’re better together than we are apart. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.
Thanks for Reading This Year
Along with throwing my holiday wishes out to the universe, I also wanted to throw my gratitude to you, the ones who have read this stuff over the course of the last few years. I’ve always said I’d do it all the same even if no one ever sipped a drop of my word stew, but it sure does help when you do.
It’s still a cozy little community here at Bert Betterman, but a rather neat thing happened this year: the silly little words, cartoons, and podcasts I put together started reaching thousands, rather than hundreds, of people.
Okay, technically that happened late last year with a couple reaching a thousand hits, but now there are a number of posts that have gone over thousand island, and one of my old favorite posts, Is Death Really Inevitable?, somehow rose to the top of the most read list, closing in on the 4,000 mark as I type. Another favorite of mine, Extroverts Are From Mars, Introverts Are From Venus, is still close behind in second.
A couple of podcasts I had the huge privilege of recording, Beyond Physical Therapy with Jon Schultz, and An Interview with Holistic Health Coach Diana Steven are right up there closing in on 3,000 hits. I couldn’t be more grateful to those two as well as Kim Waltman and Mr. Scott Palmer for indulging me and giving me a chance to introduce The Bettercast to the world. I also want to thank Kim Garin for allowing an old fashioned interview. Her words speak for themselves in any medium.
I should also thank my baby...and apologize for eating him. Sorry, baby.
I also really enjoyed digging into a series on personality, the two parts of which have also made the top ten list to-date, Personality 1: Discovering Myers-Briggs, and Personality 2: Bert’s Personality Revelation. Those were probably two of the most fun yet most difficult and uncomfortable ones to share, but totally worth it as they seemed to have provided enjoyment and/or insight for those of you who read them.
Speaking of which, I’m going to sound sappy now, but every time someone likes, shares, or comments – oh man, especially comments – it gives me a giddy little dopamine boost that few things compare to. Knowing someone found your thoughts interesting, valuable, or, even better, funny…well that there is a true Festivus Miracle.
Thanks everyone, and see you next year.