I am hearing impaired.

My name is John, and I am hearing impaired. I’ve told everyone at work this, but I’m not sure they take me seriously. There’s that time I shared a hotel room with a colleague during a conference. The first night he tried talking to me after I had removed my hearing aid and I didn’t know he was trying to get my attention until he raised his voice. “Are you really deaf?” he asked. Loudly, which is how I know.

Yes, I said.

“Oh, I thought you were just ignoring me all this time.”

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Image Credits: Wikimedia / JKSolomon

Happy St. Patty’s

Yeah, that’s not the way it’s supposed to be spelled. Right? I mean, according to this rather bossy website. But “Patty” appears to be in common use among both the ignorant proletariat and the mainstream media. Does anyone know what the Chicago Manual of Style says?

Honestly, though, this is a holiday where everyone celebrates the Irish by getting everything wrong about the Irish wrong and drinking offensive drinks. So why worry about the spelling? I mean, correcting the spelling would set a horrible trend.

Image Credits: Flickr / William Murphy

Parents are not your scapegoat

A guest editorial by an anonymous store clerk complains that he (or she) has sold far too many copies of GTA V to parents buying the game for their kids:

Last week my store sold over a thousand copies of GTA V, at least a hundred of which were sold to parents for children who could barely even see over my counter.

I’m suspicious of these numbers. They certainly aren’t enough to suggest a trend because there’s no information here on how many parents decided not to buy GTA for their elementary-school child. I consider myself a reasonably good parent, and yet I did not march into every GameStop in town to announce “my six-year-old is not allowed to play Grand Theft Auto.” Most aware parents probably also failed to do this.

So it’s not a study. It is anonymous, undocumented anecdote by an amateur Andy Rooney. Gamers, a favorite scapegoat for the pro-gun lobby, are just looking for a way to pass blame on. Games don’t kill people, bad parenting kills people.

So we’ll blame parents buying violent games for young children. But how does our store clerk know this is occurring? The clerk sees parents in the store buying a mature game in the presence of a young child and … speculates:

I mention things like a game having a first-person view of half-naked strippers or that the game has a mission that forces you to torture another human being. In response, I often hear things like, “Oh, it’s for my older son” or “All his friends already have it.”
Then I wonder to myself how often the youngest child watches the “older son” playing and if “all his friends” were to jump off a cliff…

Parents get this all the time and it drives me batty. Someone hears a child screaming in a restaurant, and they post something snarky about bad parenting to Facebook. A child doesn’t speak with the right amount of deference, and they go all “in my day” about how they were raised to respect elders.

Yes, there are bad parents. But you do not know a child’s situation or a parent’s skills based what you witness for ten seconds in the mall. You have no grounds to judge that parent, and you certainly have no grounds to judge the general direction parenting is taking in this country. Absent data, it’s just fantasy, grousing, and scapegoating.

More: I thought this comment was a great counter-anecdote.

Meta-thought on the Royal Wedding

Broadly speaking there are three ways you can respond to the Royal Wedding.

You can be excited about it, read about it, watch it, go to parties.

Or you can decide it’s not your thing and do something else. Like read a book, or write a blog, or make a handmade Shaker-style dry sink.

Or you can take to the Internets to whine your way through the next week or so. “God, is it over yet?” “Who the hell cares?” Etc.

That’s not only wallowing in your own misery, it’s also harshing everyone else’s buzz. Don’t like the mind-share the royal wedding is taking from you? Don’t give it. Go watch reruns of the New Yankee Workshop or something instead. And give the rest of us a break. We’re just trying to have fun here.