Better late than hurried

I’m late with this week’s post. I was heeding my own advice and after all, it’s not like I’ve a contract with anyone other than myself to put any of this drivel out into the – what’s this week’s buzzword? – metaverse. (Words are interesting only to the point that people can make such a big deal out of them. In their own right, words, even buzzwords, are merely tools. The right strings of words conveying thoughts, hopes, promises, dreams, fantasies, humor…those are interesting.) (But I – all together now – digress.)

2 + 2 5 (11)I was heeding my own advice to take time at the start of December and see where the year has taken me, or started me toward, and what is left to do or want or need before this year becomes last year and next year turns into now. It’s my idea that the beginning of December should be a time spent reviewing the year, clarifying unmet goals, tidying loose ends left by the current year so we can meet January and the new year with the gusto they deserve! (Yes, those we my exact words. More on that in a few sentences.) We more often rush through December as if running away from the carnage left by the preceding eleven months. (More of my words. I like the carnage reference, particularly to address this year.) (Sorry, once again, I – say it with me – digress.)

As yesterday was the first of December (First of December?) (no, that would make it more special than it is, like the Fourth of July – just first of December), I looked back at my goals for 2021 and pondered what I could do in the remaining 31, now 30 days to exit this year on a high note. Yesterday was also a Wednesday and I usually write out my thoughts for the post and schedule it so they are there waiting to share your morning coffee or tea or juice with you. Isn’t that a pleasant thought? Anyway, yesterday’s Wednesday I was busy contemplating my year in review. (I also spent a couple hours in a dentist’s chair but that’s beside the point.)

I’m not sure I’d call my 2021 a rousing success, but I don’t think it was the downer many people may have experienced. Knowing what I know about worldwide pandemics, “return to normal” was not on my list of things to do for 2021, figuring to hold that for another 2, possibly 3 years. Not that I’m clairvoyant, but I was forced to study such things in school and even though school was (wow!) over 40 years ago, viruses haven’t changed. Well, actually, they have, and that’s why I didn’t figure to be completely normal this year. Not that I’m ever completely normal but that “things” would return to normal. (And again, I digr……) (Moving on!) My expectations for 2021 were modest and still I haven’t satisfied them all. The trick now is: which will be deferred to next year, which will be kicked to the curb, and which will be the focus (or foci) of intense and unrelenting effort at completion before the clock strikes midnight on the last day of the year.

What the goals are is not important. That there is a plan to deal with them is. Why now? Who cares? Does it matter and will it make a difference? In order, why not, more than you know, more than you know again, and it sure will!

You may think, and I am right there with you, that December’s concerns should be centered around shopping, wrapping and baking for the upcoming holidays, school concerts, football playoffs, and holiday parties. But, particularly for those working, December days are also filled with short staffing periods, overtime requests, year-end reports, and demands from “upstairs” that this, that, or something else get done, written, and “by on my desk” by tomorrow! Even at home there are demands as decorations don’t hang themselves, dinners don’t cook themselves, holiday linens don’t freshen themselves and festively decked out trees don’t grow on trees. All of this is packed into a month that those whose only jobs are to opine and posit tell us is for family, positive work/life balancing, and retaining (or regaining) our mental health. (Here’s a little trivia for you regarding December. Although crime in general typically peaks during the summer months, most murders are committed in December (U.S. Justice Department).)  So would it kill you to spend some time deciding how you want to spend your December.

And so this is why you didn’t get to read this with your morning coffee, tea, or juice.

To read how to prioritize, please visit my work site and the blog post, “Epilogue.” It opens with “If the year was a book, December would be its epilogue. Epilogues summarize and clarify, often wrapping up those loose ends in the plot the action left in need of tidying, or of characters’ untold dispositions.” That’s what I want December to be, or at least the beginning of the month – a time to summary the year and clarify our actions to come.

And finally, since I’ve already thrown your day off schedule, let me ask you to visit the rest of the web-site when you get there. Some of you may recall I mentioned the education foundation ROAMcare I partnered with a friend and former colleague to establish last year. We began the foundation to instill enthusiasm and energy in the workplace, particularly pharmacies and health care systems given that was our background. As we reviewed our material and considered comments, we determined the concepts we are presenting are suitable for everybody and have refocused our efforts to the general public. We are in the process of removing specific pharmacy references from the site and that’s actually one of the goals I want to satisfy this year. On our home page we encourage all visitors to “Express your resolve, refresh your enthusiasm, add passion to your purpose, and put more care into everything you do in your personal life, your professional life, your family life, and everywhere they meet.” I invite you to visit ROAMcare.org, read our blogs, listen to our podcasts, or visit our Motivation Moments and let me know if you found them useful or at least not a waste of time. Thanks!

A Prayer for Thanksgiving 2021

ThanksgivingPrayerI published the post below in 2017. The world has changed since but our feelings toward it seem about the same. That no specific events are mentioned may be why I can look at that today and not be surprised that it doesn’t intimate the world’s current events. I wonder if it would have been as appropriate in 1945 or will be relevant in 2067. I wasn’t here yet for the former and don’t expect to make it to the latter so I will concentrate on 2017 and 2021 and find we are still just as clueless. Pity.

So here is my tale and my prayer from 4 years ago. I will repeat the prayer a few times today. Hopefully I won’t forget to say it on some other days also. That would be the real pity.

Happy Thanksgiving – or maybe we start with just Happy Thursday. Non-holidays need prayers too.


Today is Thanksgiving in the United States. It was or will be likewise around the world. Everybody is thankful for something and most nations have managed to work in a holiday to legitimize the feeling.

I don’t know how others do it but Americans have been managing to delegitimize feelings quite efficiently lately. We’ll tout our tolerance and claim to accept all and then slur anyone who doesn’t feel the same and blur want for welcome. We support everything and everyone as long as it or they support us in the manner to which we think we should be accustomed. Our gratitude for what we have is matched by our appetite for what we don’t.

Sometime today while I think of all that I am thankful for I’ll manage to miss most of them. So will everyone else. Mostly we’re not bad people as much as clueless ones. Clueless to the differences between our reality and the one that’s really out there. And clueless to how much we rely on what we don’t even know is happening.

So when you give your thanks today that hopefully you won’t restrict to just today I offer you the prayer I started today with.

Heavenly Father, this is the day set aside to give thanks for Your surpassing goodness to human beings. Let me give proper thanks for my blessings  –  those I am aware of as well as those that I habitually take for granted. And let me use them according to Your will.

Happy Thanksgiving today and every day you think to be thankful.

Oh so close!

It’s been a couple weeks now, I was reading the daily headlines and took note of one, “Ginny Mancini Dies.” Of all the thoughts I could have had, the one I had was, ”Wow, she must have been 100!” and not hyperbolically. I knew Henry Mancini would have been almost 100 because my father would be almost 100 and they went to school together. As I read the obituary, I discovered she was close, but not quite. The former Ginny O’Connor was 97 years, 3 months old at the time of her death.

Today’s post is not about Ginny Mancini, nor is it about Henry, not even my father. It’s about 97 year olds and other peri-centenarians.

Undoubtedly you remember some of my best posts have to do with obituaries. Well, not completely true, but I find them fascinating even if I wrote about them only twice, and one of those two times rather obliquely. It really doesn’t matter who is the subject of the obituary, (not to me, but I won’t speak for the family), it matters what is said in those first few phrases. Naturally you can’t get to the meat of the matter without getting past the name and age. We already talked about those names (What’s in a (Nick)Name), so now let’s look at those ages. For the last few weeks, I’ve been doing just that, looking at the ages of those memorialized in the daily obituary column. I’ve discovered a really popular age for people to move on to Phase II, at least for the last couple weeks, is 97.

20200430_164951On one single day I noted seven of the 15 death notices were for 97 year olds. One of the others was 95 and another 93. The following day featured obits at four more folks aged 97 and one 98. Over the course of that week, I counted fourteen 97 year olds, three at 96, five 95, two who were 91, and the lone 98 year old. (Yes, I did.) (Really.) (So don’t believe me, I know I did!!) That’s a bunch of almost centenarians. During that whole week I also noticed one news article noting the upcoming 104th birthday of a local citizen and of one other joining the ranks of the century-folks. These weren’t just your run of the mill, “John Doe Turns 100” fluff pieces. They were in-depth discussions on the secret to long living, happy lives, and what’s the most surprising thing you’ve seen in your century of roaming the earth. That’s important to me and it’s equally important to me that I get to 100. I find myself fascinating and deserve to be interviewed too.

The surest ways I’ve found for a non-athlete, non-politician, non-celebrity type person to be queried on the state of the world are to win a Nobel Prize or turn 100. In my case, turn 100. But in that one week I spotted only two hitting the hundred (or better) mark while twenty people had their famous 15 minutes distilled to three minutes or less reading time for just getting oh so close.

You know, even considering how old I feel on a lot of days, especially after rising but before coffee, getting to even “just” 97 seems like such a long way away. I wonder what Nobel categories I could sneak my way into.

It’s that time again

Once upon a time they lived happily ever after (2)Did you notice we shifted time last week? Most of us. If you didn’t notice then you probably picked up on it if you were on social media, read any newspaper editorials, and tuned into a television or radio talk show as we once again took part in the semi-annual “why do we have to change the clock let’s stay on daylight saving time all year long” debate. Apparently in the last five days, traffic accidents have gone up 13%, hearts attacks increased by more than 50%, and two more glaciers have disappeared. I don’t know about the glaciers but the other stuff indeed I’ve read with my own eyes. Personally, I don’t care about whether we do or don’t have daylight saving time (and yes, that is the correct nomenclature regardless of the bazillion people who say daylight savings time). What I don’t understand is why if all these people are invoking that it is not natural to shift time twice a year are not also invoking a steady diet of natural, AKA standard time. Apparently they don’t want to be bothered with changing time but enjoy the extra hour of daylight at the end of the day rather than the beginning. The other thing I don’t understand is that 19 states have legislature pending to adopt year round daylight savings time and one to adopt standard time as the, um, well, standard time. That, by my rudimentary grasp of mathematics equals 20, and 20 from 50 equals 30 states who don’t care. Thirty is greater than twenty so invoking the age old democratic dictum that majority rules, let’s just leave it all alone. (Of course, exceptions to old dicta are made for former Presidents who can’t count.)

It’s that time again doesn’t mean the only thing we have to discuss this week is time. No, that’s just the warm-up. The main event is that it’s that time again to clear the desk of all the little sticky notes of stuff that has to be mentioned before the weight of them buckles the left front desk leg. For instance, did you know:

Pennsylvania’s state senate just passed a bill, now to go to the state house for debate, eliminating the need for a permit to carry a weapon, either open or concealed. Actually firearms, not all weapons. Apparently somebody has been reading only part of the Second Amendment again. From a news article, proponents of the bill said, “law-abiding gun owners should not need the government’s permission to carry a firearm.” I’m writing my state senator tomorrow insisting he introduce legislation saying that law-abiding citizens should not need the government’s permission to drive a car, own a car, practice law, medicine or cosmetology, be a nurse, pharmacist or barber, bury people, cremate others, or drive school busses filled with our future bullies, er leaders. And we certainly don’t need the government’s permission to set our clocks twice a year.

Also in the news: Dixie State University is close to changing its name, one often associated with the Deep South and slavery, but not without local opposition. It seems the name has a lot of support because the region has no history of slavery but that “Dixie” references its attempt to become a major cotton growing area outside the Deep South in the late 1800s. So now you’re confused also. Well maybe this will clear things up. The proposed new name of the college is Utah Tech University. Who knew Utah was a big cotton grower?

Circling back to Pennsylvania: An attorney was having difficulty navigating his way through the metal detector at the Allegheny County Courthouse. After removing his coat and emptying his pockets of wallet, coins, and keys, and still setting off the detector he asked the guard to “wand” him because it was his suspenders that were causing the alert. He knew that because he almost always is stopped there because of his suspenders. Apparently the guard was not impressed with His Dapper-ness and instructed him to take off his suspenders which the now less than dapper lawyer did along with the trousers said suspenders were supporting, and passed through the metal detector in socks, shirt, underwear, and apparently a good measure of attitude. The attorney was charged with disorderly conduct. A newspaper article detailing the incident reported the lawyer stated, “(the) security guard “got in my personal space” and demanded that he take off his suspenders or leave. (The attorney) said he was frustrated and did not want to be late for his pro bono work representing people in the family court.” Perhaps the next time he is off to do his pro bono work for the people he may want to invest in a belt. No word on if he was already late because he incorrectly reset his watch earlier in the week.

Happy Veterans’ Day to me and many many many many many others. Every now and then I have to remind myself that I really am a veteran. I’m not permitted to claim protected veteran status thanks to an executive order dating back to the Obama administration conferring said status only to those having served during combat or awarded the Armed Services Medal which was established on June 1, 1992. I was separated in March 1992 with no combat duty.

I think that’s enough although I could mention how Prince Harry claims to have forewarned of the Capitol riots, that Dr. Oz, an Ohio Native and a current New Jersey resident is mulling a run in the Pennsylvania 2022 Senatorial race, or that a cow closed a major roadway in England for an hour, a morning rush hour, while 10 police officers attempted to, ahem, corral the bovine. I thought cows jumped over the moon, this one jumped over the fence. And if that cow was planning on a trip to the moon, or at least to the International Space Station, she would be doing it in a diaper, just like the returning astronauts had to wear on their eight hour trip home because the toilet in their SpaceX capsule was broken. Not to worry that we didn’t get to these. There will be more time again some other time again for more of that time again.

Better to be like a cat on a hot tin roof than act like a little tin god

Do you know there is an actual, literal, honest to goodness dearth of tindioms? Tindiom? That’s an idiom with tin in it. There just aren’t a whole bunch of them. Those two in this post’s title, tin ear, kick the tin, and put a tin lid on it are about the lot of them. But why this fascination with tin anyway you ask. And that’s a darn good ask if you ask me. Oh, you did. Well, I went in search of a tindiom that I could twist about to title this selection because tin is the traditional tenth anniversary gift and this weekend The Real Reality Show Blog celebrates ten years of driving drivel through the ethernet. The first post of what would become one of the least read Internet offerings ever was launched on November 7, 2011 (at 6:11am) (EST).

It dawned on me that for all that time, through all those 926 posts, except that I encourage flu shots and am inordinately fond of groundhogs one day a year, you don’t know much about me. That’s okay, I don’t either. If I told you anything about me then it likely has little bearing to what’s happening with me now anyway. Then was a while ago. It was a cancer diagnose ago, a kidney transplant ago, a handful of trips to a couple oceans ago, too many surgeries to count ago, lost friends and neighbors ago, a career ago, 120 pounds ago, and three residences ago. And there are a handful of sinces since then too. There’s been new chances since, new career since, new purpose since, and new friends since. There are probably other agos and more sinces, but you get the idea. Ten years is a long time, even for an old fogie like me.

I could say, “Hi, How are you? It’s a pleasure to meet you. Let me tell you something about myself,” but you have to understand that by next week that something might no longer be relevant. Might be no longer relevant? No longer might be relevant? Well, the first thing you should know about me is that for ten years and 926 posts, I never met an infinitive I couldn’t split, a clause I couldn’t subordinate or a metaphor I couldn’t mix. I may talk a good game but when it comes to writing it, well, that’s a whole different kettle of ball games.

Before I was forced into an early medical retirement I spent over 40 years as a pharmacist working in hospitals and nursing homes and home care agencies, wrote more than a handful of management papers, presented at conferences across a couple countries, and rose very high in the management ranks of one company before it was merged into another then rose sort of high in another, yet when somebody meets me they want to know (and yes, this is true and I have indeed by asked this more than once) if there is a class in pharmacy school where we learn how to pour out of a big bottle into a little bottle and can I do it without dripping stuff all over the counter. Maybe, I don’t know. I never worked in a drug store.

Today I use what I learned managing hospital pharmacies to encourage those are likewise today engaged in any leadership, management, supervisory, or people directing role, that there is more to leading than just saying “follow me” and hope they come. I’ve partnered with a friend who’s background is similar in some respects, varied in other, and even more colorful in some to establish a leadership education foundation (roamcare.org) where we write blogs and articles (and hopefully soon, books), present podcasts, speak at conferences, and generally “refresh workplace enthusiasm.” That’s our motto: Refreshing workplace enthusiasm.

We’ve been doing our part to refresh people’s enthusiasm for a little over a year and it’s a hard row to hoe. Even ten years ago there was much less competition for attention on the interwebs and somehow, even the RRSB blog managed to gather over 800 followers. How many actually read it is suspect. When the email goes out with a new post, the entire post is included so there is no reason for somebody to go to the site or reader to enjoy my content, but I know emails are opened and I assume those are being read by loyal enthusiasts of whatever this is.  I’m fascinated with those who can publish their first blog and I’ll notice “1400 people liked this post” and 700 of them commented on it. Someday I hope our ROAMcare operation has as loyal readers as I and as many readers as others.

So there now, somehow I managed to come up with 900 words or so when I had nothing but I knew I wanted to use “tin” in the title – and managed to use it twice! Now you know, if you hadn’t already suspected, that I’ve been sitting down to write first a couple times a week, now at least once a week, (and for a fortunately very short time 5 times a week) for some 520 weeks with I think 3 or 4 weeks off when I was in intensive care and there was no available outlet for the laptop among all the electronic lifesaving doodads that were plugged in.

If I’m still around ten years from now I hope I can give you an update on the foundation. I suppose I should start now figuring out how to work “china” into that title. [sigh] Happy anniversary to me!

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Where the magic happens

Ordering in the court

It shouldn’t surprise me anymore, but it does. Americans (I’ll say we Americans because I do it too sometimes and no doubt you have also) like to brag on our intelligence and sense of right and wrong, and even sticking up for the proverbial little guy now and then. And then at some other now and thens we are reminded we are also the providers and consumers of the American justice system and its second cousin, the American legal system.

If the justice system is looking to right wrongs and support the little guy, the legal system is often looking out to maximize billable hours or its contingency in lieu of. You have certainly heard of the most recent legal tussles between the Kellogg accompany and strawberries lovers the world over, or at least the country over. Yes, Big Fooda is once again being called out for misleading labeling, calling their strawberry Pop-Tart toaster pasties strawberry when there is so little strawberry in them. The petition claims if the purchaser knew how little strawberry was actually contained in the pastry, she would not have made the purchase. Claiming she wanted more than just strawberry taste, she is seeking 5 million dollars in a class action lawsuit. (Hold that thought. We will get back to it shortly.)

This isn’t the first time Kellogg has been called out on its labeling practices. Its not even the first time this year. They are currently fending off accusations that their Frosted Mini Wheat cereal is more than “lightly sweetened.” This on the heels of a legal challenge than Kellogg-owned Morningstar Farms Veggie Hot Dogs, Veggie Burgers, Veggie Meatballs, and variety of Veggie [These and Those] contain an insignificant amount of vegetables and are thus misleadingly labeled. Kellogg is thus defending themselves against another 5 million dollar class action (keep holding) lawsuit.

Kellogg is not alone among Big Fooda in as targets of legal label interpretations. Post Foods found themselves the target of class action action, claiming there isn’t enough honey in their Honey Bunches of Oats and other products bearing the honey label to warrant being honey labeled products. Just this month the lawsuit claiming Subway Restaurants Inc.’s tuna sandwiches and wraps contained “anything but tuna” was dismissed. And in a rather unusual labeling lawsuit, McCormick and Company has just settled a class action challenge, offering $3 million to plaintiffs for adding the word “natural” to a variety of products. The argument was not that the so labeled products are not natural, but that the word was added only to justify a price increase as the demand for natural products increased.

Although you might be tempted (I certainly am) to blame the American legal system for class action suits, they go back to thirteenth century England. As the feudal system declined and capitalism grew, group litigation also declined until the mid-nineteenth century. While it was falling out of favor in England its use was simultaneously increasing in the United States. In 1942 the United States Supreme Court passed a Federal rule in civil proceedings allowing one person to file suit on behalf of a group of plaintiffs.

You would think this is a good thing when a group of people are injured or otherwise affected by the single, common action, allowing those wronged the opportunity to have their plights corrected, pains lessened, or be compensated regardless of how big and powerful the deed doer is. Indeed, many significant events in American history owe their existence to class action suits. Brown vs Board of Education (1954) establishing schools integration and foretelling the dismantling of “Jim Crow” laws and Jenson vs Eveleth Taconite Company (1984) defining unwanted sexual advances and intimidation as forms of abuse are two examples of class actions whose resulting decisions were felt and continue to be felt by more than the original group of plaintiffs represented by that single person.

At the same time however, class action has become a fees mill for those specializing in group litigation. Consider the McCormick settlement.  Three million dollars will be divided among all those filing claims up to $15 per claimant to reimburse for purchases made from January 2013 to September 2021- probably a more than fair settlement for something that caused no illness, injury, abuse, embarrassment, loss or life, liberty or the pursuit of well season foods. If the Pop-Tart suit is upheld, the class certified, and then won or goes to settlement, it is likely about the same results as the McCormick settlement will be seen. Clearly these are not financial windfalls for the plaintiffs nor are significant advances in food safety being instituted. But the whether there are significant life altering decisions as in Anderson vs Pacific Gas and Electric (which you might recognize as “The Erin Brockovich case”), or it’s just people getting particular about how much strawberry is in a Pop-Tart, the lawyers still get their percentage up to 40% – on the total settlement.

I wonder, if the legal fees were capped to 40% of each individual award, would those who specialize in “protecting” the little guy still want go all out to protect us from Big Fooda and their unscrupulous toaster pastries for about 7 bucks?

2 + 2 5 (10)

The Nose Knows

If this sounds familiar it is. I’ve asked this question before and nobody could supply a good answer so I’m putting it out there again.

What insanity has infested the minds of the people who name men’s toiletries and bath products?

This is important stuff! Forget pandemics, forget riots in the streets, turn all that social media energy aware from climate change and dictator of the week discussions. Arguing the merits of masks and vaccines mean nothing until somebody can adequately describe exactly what “hydrate” smells like!

AxeAnarchyAll this politically correct talk about gender neutrality and sexlessness and inclusivity hasn’t reached the men’s fragrance department. Women soaps, deodorants, shampoos, and other whatnots applied behind closed bathroom doors still make sense.  Who doesn’t know, or at least can reasonable imagine, what honeysuckle smells like? Women get rose oil, jasmine, green apple, and if you’re feeling a little adventurous, cucumber. Along with the aforementioned “hydrate,” men get “fresh,” ‘hi-def,” and “balance.” Women can relax under “waterfall mist” while men get stuck with “anarchy.” Not kidding.

There is a men’s deodorant fragrance “Strength.” My first thought is a bunch of sweaty guys in a gym lifting weights. And this is what I want to walk around all day smelling like? No thanks! There’s also a men’s deodorant called “Clean.” A little more to my liking, but as with its close cousin “Fresh,” aren’t those things that shouldn’t have a smell. I mean if it’s clean it doesn’t need a scent, right?

Whatever happened to the dye and fragrance free fad. Can’t we just have soap. Does everything have to enhance, isn’t it enough to just make ourselves clean and fresh without have to apply “clean” or “fresh” after washing?

Anarchy. Wow. Now there’s something I bet you won’t see a scratch and sniff sample of.

Brain Dump, Part Waytoomany

Ladies and gentlemen and all varieties in between, it’s another edition of Clear. Your. Mind.

Yes boys, girls and undecided, now it’s that time again to empty the mind of all the useless, senseless, often humorless, and always commonsense-less bits of information clogging my brain and causing cranial constipation.

I don’t know if this is a national thing or just for the locals here who have a hard time leaving home without loaded guns in their carry-ons. I noted a number of times the alarming rate that loaded handguns are confiscated at airport TSA security lines. After the security screeners snagged 5 loaded weapons in a 7 day period and 29 in 40 weeks, the local paper reported on the local office of the U. S. Attorney’s Office announcement that anyone henceforth found attempting to enter the airport secure areas so armed will be relieved not just of their rods but their permits to carry said weaponry.  Interestingly a poll appearing in the same paper indicated 35% of those questioned felt this punishment was too harsh. One comment included, “How will the district attorney feel when somebody’s family is hurt after he took away their protection.” Hmm, let’s see. These bozos, err, honest gun permit holders whom claim they meant not to carry a loaded gun through security, they merely forgot the guns were in their carry-ons. Yet we are to believe those bozos, err strong protectors of family sleep with their carry-ons under their pillows ready to defend family or fortune.

The defense in the trial of the bozo, err alleged future convicted mass murderer of 11 people and injurer of another 6 at the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in October 2018, wants anti-Semitic statements made by him at the scene disallowed because they were made while he was receiving medical care and is therefore protected health communication. Hmmm, and someone went to law school to come up with that.

A recent letter to the editor in one of the local papers expressed dismay at government vaccine mandates. Politicians have no business making medical decisions, then went in to express support and admiration for Texas Governor Greg Abbott for banning vaccine mandates. Hmm. Isn’t not doing something a medical decision too – or maybe bozos, err governors don’t qualify as politicians?

But the brain isn’t filled with only bozo-ish occurrences. I also have to try to eliminate the mental picture of girding my loins, which apparently is really a thing as noted in The Art of Manliness (oy), see 👇

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Press or Say…

I had such a variety of topics to pick this week, but to make a long story short, I had a killer phone call with an insurance company that deserves to be talked about. That’s right – an insurance company. Who  would have thought that anybody, anywhere, ever  would come away from a phone call with an insurance company and feel good about it

In general, insurance companies’ phone systems and auto-attendants are designed by the progeny of the Marquis de Sade. Everybody has gone through the drill at least once. Everybody who has insurance. You call the number and get a robotic message similar to this.

“Thank you for calling the Incredibly Misleading Insurance Company, your one stop for home, health, life, auto, renters, business, boat, builders, boat builders, long term care, after care, personal liability, personal property, and accident insurance. To continue un English, press one, para continuar en español presione dos, lietuviams stumti trečiąjį numerį, bizning o’zbekcha to’rtni bosing versiyasi uchun, moun ki pale kreyòl ayisyen peze nimewo senk lan, att höra dessa instruktioner i svensk press sex, aŭ se vi estas unu el la ĉirkaŭ tri homoj, kiuj efektive parolas Esperanton, elektu la numeron sep.”

Your make your selection and in a reasonable facsimile of the language you selected you get the following instructions

“To give you the absolute best in class service please make your selections from the following, but please listen to all options carefully because we changed this from the last time you called.
Press or say 1 to pay your bill
Press or say 2 to get your current balance due and pay your bill
Press or say 3 to hear outstanding claims and pay your bill
Press or say 4 to hear policy options and pay your bill
2 + 2 5 (3)          Press or say 5 to change add or change your policy or increase your policy limits and pay your bill
Press or say 6 to file a claim and pay the new higher premium we will assess you as soon as you press or say 6
Press or say 7 to request a copy of your policy or proof of coverage, pay the service charge for said copy and then pay your bill
Press or say 8 to hear these options again in a different order
Press or say 9 to (hehe) speak with a representative [chuckle]”

Naturally you need to speak to a representative or you would have used the website to conduct your business so you press or say 9, and you are told by the friendly cyborg:

“In order to serve you more efficiently please enter your 43 digit account number, 78 character alpha-numeric policy number, the last eight digits of your Social Security Number, your billing zip code, the number you are calling from, and the first three digits of your childhood pediatrician’s office street address.”

Surprisingly you manage to enter all the required information and the cheerful android tells you:

“In order that I transfer you to the representative to help you best, please tell me what type of assistance your need. Press or say 1 to pay your bill…”

…and on and on.

If you’re lucky, you remember that if you press 0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0 you will be immediately transferred to some unprepared service representative and you might get some satisfaction to the problem responsible for the call to begin with before they put you on “a brief hold” and you are cut off.

But today, I called my medical insurance carrier, specifically myMedicare supplement insurance carrier. And I got the following (the names are changed because I don’t want them to know I’m blabbing this all over the universe):

“Thank you for calling the We Really Do Care Insurance Company. I see you are calling from [repeats my number]. If this is [states my name], press 1, if not, press 2, en espanol, numero tres.”

I press 1.

“Thank you. How can we help you today? You can say “pay my bill,” “track a claim,” “ask a policy question,” or “speak to a representative.””

I said “Speak to a representative,” and in about 20 seconds a cheerful human voice answered. “Hi this is Friendly Frieda. The computer told me who you are but before I continue, please confirm your billing ZIP code.” I did that and in a little over 5 minutes I had all my business transacted. Whew!

That’s it. No drama. No rant. Maybe next week.

It’s time to shoot up again

There’s so much happening in the world, in the country in the state and I can’t do anything about it. Really, I’ve tried and the world/country/state hasn’t budged. But I can do something about me, for me, and help the world/country/etc/etc/etc at the same time. I can see it in your eyes! You know where I’m going!! Yes, you are 100% right. I’m going to get a flu shot. Much more fun than getting the flu. Trust me, I’ve had both. I was going to write a whole new post about flu shots but I’ve already done did that a dozen times or so, so I reached back to 2016 and pulled this one out. It’s still good stuff. Then after you read it, go get your flu shot. It’s about that time again!

Just Shoot Me

(From October 24, 2016, slightly edited to remove unnecessarily big words)

I’ve been shot. I suppose it was about 10 days ago now. I got my flu shot. I can probably count on one hand the number of years I didn’t get a flu shot all the way back to when I can remember doctors keeping lollipops on their desks for the good boys and girls who got their flu shots.

For years I worked in a hospital and getting a flu shot was just something you did every year. It went along with doing annual evaluations, decorating for Halloween, and renewing your parking permit. Everyone grumbled about it but everyone did it.flu

Now that I’m not working I have to remind myself to get a flu shot. And while I was busy reminding myself I thought I’d remind you. Get your flu shot.  If you are a southern hemisphere resident hold that thought for 6 months.

I never understood people who would come up with a dozen different reasons not to get a flu shot when it’s so effective at preventing the flu and when getting the flu can be so devastating. No, you won’t get the flu from the flu shot. You can’t get the flu from a flu shot any more than a zombie will eat your brains. The virus in the flu shot is dead – even more dead than an undead zombie. It can’t come back to life and infect you. What can happen is that you can get a cold or a fall allergy or a seasonal bacterial sinus or respiratory infection at the same time you get the flu shot but it’s not the flu.

You can get the flu in the same year that you get the flu shot if you don’t get it at the right time. Now is the right time. The flu shot doesn’t start working the instant the needle pierces your skin. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to work its magic on your immune system so it is at its peak in protecting you against a live flu infection. You should schedule your shot about a month before the anticipated beginning of the flu season. If you wait too long to get a flu shot and you are exposed to the flu virus before your body can adequately prepare enough antibodies to repel an assault you can get the flu. The high dose version of the flu shot may provide effective resistance a bit sooner but should not be used as an option to timely inoculation.

You can also get the flu late in the season even if you got a flu shot if the circulating viruses mutate more quickly than expected and if your immune system is weakened by age or compromised by other diseases or conditions. For individuals with compromised immune systems the flu vaccine should be active for about six months. If you have weakened immune system and the active flu season in your area is expected to last past March or April you might consider asking your physician if you should repeat the flu shot six months after your initial vaccination.

Sorry if this post sounded too much like a public service announcement. It’s probably just a result of those years I spent in public service