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How To Drive A Man Crazy

I was in Publix Supermarket the other day waiting to check out when I started to peruse the front covers of the highly informative and always accurate tabloid newspapers.

I must confess I was mildly surprised to read Paul Newman needed a Chimpanzee liver and a goat’s heart double transplant to save him. Lisa Marie Presley controlled the Colombian drug cartels. And the new Batman star Christian Bale only got the role because of his ability to hang upside for hours on end eat small rodents and use echolocation to find his way out of a dark cave.

All of a sudden as I was about to read 101 Ways To Drive Your Man Crazy In Bed I was jolted out of my trance like state. When I say 101 ways to drive your man crazy, I don’t actually mean your man. Although I don’t definitively know it wasn’t your man, I suppose it could have been, but I guess it wasn’t.

What jolted me rather rudely out of my reverie was overhearing the cashier say to the women she was serving something along the lines of:

“I’m sorry I don’t know, I’m only a cashier”

I looked quickly at the lady paying for her groceries to see what her response was going to be, and it drove me crazy (on the inside).

“Yeh I know, I suppose I should go a bit higher up the pecking order?”

The fact is, I have absolutely no idea what they were talking about. I guess the customer could have said:

“Can you tell me about Publix 5 year plan for growth. Whether their policy on environmental issues is going to impact shipping procedures to the extent where outsourcing for crucial long life products overseas becomes a serious consideration. The net result being an undermining of stockholder confidence because of fears that their ability to adapt rapidly to changes in market forces will be severely eroded?”

Or she could have said:

“Any idea whether they’ll be getting any of those raspberry M & M’s in again anytime soon?

It actually doesn’t matter what the conversation was about, that’s not the point.

What shocked me was that the cashier would say “I’m JUST a cashier” and the other person would respond with “I know” and then go onto to mention some mythical pecking order as the reason for concurring with her.

I’m not naïve enough to think that we live in a Utopian society where pecking orders, ladders and food chains don’t exist, of course they do. I also realize that people often think of themselves as “Just a nurse” “Only a waiter” and “Merely an ambulance chasing attorney” Well, maybe not the last one.

As the cashier greeted my with a cheery “Will plastic do?”

I said to her:

“You’re not JUST a cashier you know. You’re one of the people that keep this place running. Without any competent cashiers like you this store would have to close.

You’re usually the final person the customer sees or at least speaks to and you have the power to make their final impression of the store a good or a bad one.

That is REAL power the like of which Mr. Publix himself never gets to sample no matter how many board meetings he attends”

“Plastic’s ok then?” She responded.

People aren’t more or less worthy because of the job they do or the money they earn. Everybody has a role to play and everybody deserves an equal amount of respect for performing that role. When we start deciding on how important this person is or that person is based on what they do we risk losing site of the fact that we’re all equal.

Even more importantly, when we start to judge ourselves that way we’re in trouble, because it leads to a lack of self worth and a lowering of self-esteem. Your job is never your identity any more than the football team you support, the political party you vote for or the country you were born in.

Don’t let anybody, especially yourself, tell you you’re just anything, because you’re way more than that.


25 comments to How To Drive A Man Crazy

  • Tim says: “Your job is never your identity any more than the football team you support, the political party you vote for or the country you were born in.” Take away all that and what’s left? Just a guy in his shorts on the couch with a bag of chips watching the tube – except he can’t because his wife hid the remote :) Al Bundy, where are you?

  • mmmmmmmm, raspberry M & M’s.

    This is a great article; I agree with your assessment. How many CEO’s, professional athletes, and life coaches are there out there who are absolutely obnoxious people?

    The true worth of a human being is determined by their innate identity, not their job. In other words, how they treat their fellow man; how good their inner game is, which effects everyone around them.

  • I agree.

    At BlogherCon, I heard several people saying that they publish “just a personal blog” or “just a small blog”. It drives me crazy too.

  • Hi Tim, once I also felt that people underestimate me as an engineer. That reminds me to consider myself as THE engineer not an engineer. Taking responsibility as much as we can, and do our best within our capabilities.

    Very thoughtful message Tim! I like what you said to the cashier!
    Robert

  • Ali

    I’d add that if you’re a student, don’t let your subject define you — I think the trap is even more insidious as a student than an employee, as you tend to socialise with people doing the same subject. When I was an English undergrad, I found myself saying things like, “Oh, I’m useless with numbers…” — despite the fact I got As in Maths and Physics when I was 18! It was only when I started getting interested in self-development that I realised I needed to stop limiting myself like that.

  • @ Ken – I am that guy!

    @ B.F. – What if we even took that a stage further and said no matter how obnoxious they are, they’re still as worthy? It’s a tough Zen kinda thing to swallow and I struggle with it a lot, but I do see the value in attitudes like that. Maybe I’ll get there in about 40 years!

    @ Vered – Don’t go nuts on me Vered, you’re an oasis of reason in and desert of insanity ;-)

    @ Robert – THE engineer, I like it. I may use that with some of my clients, thanks.

    @ Ali – Now that’s what I call a positive attitude adjustment. I once got an F in art. When I asked the teacher why he gave me an F he said because he wasn’t allowed to give me a G.

  • Laurie

    A “G”? LOL! As a teacher I have felt the public in general profess the “Just a teacher” verbiage. After all we have the saying “Those that can, do and those that can’t, teach”. It was a lovely day when my mother-in-law, knowing full well that I’m a teacher, told me she believed those words to be true. Needless to say, we’re not the closest.

    Not only does the general public get caught up in this teachers are lacking mindset but teachers devalue themselves all the time. They never put their foot down with what is being asked of them to do. Here in Texas, teachers are not legal allowed to form a union (a liberal idea, I know) so there is no limit of what can be asked of them from their districts. If they valued themselves more, teachers could change their image and working conditions in time.

    Great blog! Men really get caught up in the money equals personal value mindset. Glad to hear your take on it.

  • @ Weirdly I have had more teachers as clients than any other single profession since I moved to the US. It saddens me the way they are treated, especially as the service they offer is so crucial to the future success of the country.

    The teachers union in the UK is one of the few major ones that Thatcher didn’t smash in the 80′s.As such the pay and conditions are better than the US. Still by no means great, but probably not as bad as similar deserving jobs like nursing.

  • Tim what did you say this post was about and what’s your fixation with monkeys?

  • @ Tom – I am appalled and shocked Tom that you don’t know the difference between a Monkey and a Chimpanzee. I actually have a general ape fixation that is not limited to monkeys alone you know.

    He just looked like he was saying “OMG, does that guy with the camera know I’m taking a poop? Oh well I’d better smile anyway”

  • Whenever I’m about to use the word “just” I stop and rephrase what I was going to say to take it out. My biggest one is “I just called to…” like an apology.

    But I’m learning! (see, I didn’t say “just thought I’d leave you a comment”)

  • @ Alex – That’s always the starting point, recognizing our own restrictive language. Quite honestly I wish Lionel Richie had thought like that and not just removed ‘just’ but every other word in ‘I just called to say I love you’ as well as the music too ;-)

  • Tim,

    As a first-time visitor to your site, I don’t think I could have picked a more perfect day! (But since I’ll be coming back regularly, we’ll find out…)

    The word “just” has been a pet peeve of both mine AND my husband’s. We used to waste so much time saying “I’m just going for a haircut,” “I’m just going to the market,” and hearing other people use the word – which made it sound like who they were or what they were doing was trivial or demeaning. So, we actually BANNED the word from our vocabularies! That was over 20 years ago – and we never hear it out of the mouths of our daughters. Though my little (17) one can cuss lie a sailor, she does not use the work “just” unless she is talking about fairness or the law!

    One more thing…I believe it was Stevie Wonder who sang “I Just Called to Say I Love You,” and not Lionel Richie. But is JUST a song, right? :-)

    Rita

  • @ Rita – Thanks for dropping by and I’m glad the post resonated with you. I actually hadn’t thought of it before, but apart from the other meaning of the word, is it every necessary? I don’t think it is.

    And yes you’re absolutely right is was Stevie Wonder. I still hate it though ;-)

  • Re: The song.

    I am in total agreement…but one must give debit where debit is due! :-)

  • Sal

    Tim,

    I am in complete agreement. I actually just did a blog the other day that who you are is not what you do. I enjoyed your blog, and look forward to reading many more to come! I got my feed set to get my fix.

  • Ali

    Great points about the word “just”. I often end up writing “I’m just emailing to thank you”, “I’m just writing to say”, etc, and I’m trying to get out of the habit too. Even worse is “I just thought I’d email to say” … I usually manage to catch that one and edit it out!

  • @ Ali – It’s a shame that we can’t edit our speech, although I’m sure Apple will come out with something that will do that soon.

  • This is JUST soooo true! :-) I’ve been noticing when I write my posts and comments that I’m constantly deleting THAT word.

  • Jan

    I couldn’t agree more. I fought for many years for people to see me as a person and not some job title.

    I was also guilty of saying , oh “I’m just a housewife” or “I just stop at home looking after the kids”

    Its taken me many years to believe in myself, value myself and see what I have to offer. I’m getting there!

  • Tim,

    It’s amazing to me, as I come back to read later comments, that such as small word can have such a big impact! Now THAT’s great blogging!

    Thanks,

    Rita

  • @ Davina – I think I’ve struck a chord here. Only thing is I’m now paranoid about using the damn word!

    @ Jan – Just a housewife! That’s a bit like, “I’m just a nuclear physicist that dabbles in brain surgery on weekends and runs a large charitable organization on my days off ;-)

    @ Rita – Thanks a lot Rita!

  • Did the cashier really respond that way?!

    Anyway – thanks for this post. It’s an important reminder for me because for the longest time, I would attach what I would doing for work/school as my identity.
    That’s def. not good for the self esteem. I don’t do it as much now but every so often, I find myself in that loop of thought.

  • @ JEMi – To be honest I’m not sure they were her exact words, but she’d obviously no idea what I was talking about. My guess is years of thinking she was JUST a cashier or whatever other label had been attached to her, had her accepting that it was ok, and that was just how it was.

  • Your post makes me think of the indian cast system, in India people are born into different trades or classes with no chance of escape. I suppose this is also similar to the medival thing when there was the lowely peasant and the rich and powerful lord, with some people if they are told something over and over they begin to think it is the norm. Just think what greatness the cashier could have achieved with a different mindset..