Self-reliance in the age of technology

There are no other dads at the elementary school drop-off corral, it’s a maze of mini-vans and stress-masks with encouraging signs near the choke point closest to the school reading “Synergize”: the sign says synergize. In other words, be nice people and it will all work out.

But people aren’t nice, they’re stupid. They slow down right in front of you to read and respond to a text message right away, or they’re using voice recognition apps with their phones and barking into them in that urgent but self-conscious way like a crime scene in Hill Street Blues.

I know what synergize means even though it’s not a real word, it’s one of those corporate words made up by some DB like Steven Covey, as our school has adopted the 7 Habits and carefully knitted them into the kids so they’re ready to start making checklists and serve on cross-functional teams, to perform.

The irony is that I should be able to get people to do things as a former project manager but just like at work, no one listens to me at home either. They require lists and regular stand-ups to review their progress. And when they don’t do what they’re supposed to do it’s your fault, the project manager.

What started out innocent enough with my free time — to get closer to my dog — is slipping into something different now, as I’ve been talking more and more to her and believe she really understands me, is starting to govern my thoughts.

Last night I ran a search, “man turns into dog” to see what would come up, and learned about Therianthropy. I also developed a rash on the small of my back which I assumed was from my backpack rubbing me raw there, but when I got back into a deep spinal twist to examine it and could just about reach it with my chin, I had the urge to bite it for some reason. It seemed the rash was alive, colonizing.

As I was getting into the hot tub, Dawn said she’s concerned about me and wishes I would put down the David Foster Wallace and pick up something nice and fluffy, like Mitch Albom.

But I worked on a Mitch Albom project at work, which catapulted me back to conference rooms and schedules, and a lot of eye-rolling and sighing from the over-taxed people who had to come together and support a Mitch Albom initiative, which was to carry books in Starbucks stores, host reading events, and make sure no one fucked anything up because we were spending PR money on it, or maybe Mitch was, and the goal was to sell books and keep the condiment bars clean which is near impossible, like living with kids.

But I gave him a chance and read the book about people you meet after you’re dead and it’s true: the book couldn’t offend anyone, so millions of people read it and it sure was easy reading alright, which can make you feel proud you’ve accomplished something, you finished the whole book with nary a need to look anything up, but can’t remember anything BECAUSE NOTHING HAPPENED.

And so for my days and my writing nothing is going to happen either, but you can be damn sure you’ll feel different after for better or for worse. Synergize.

Categories: humor

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

15 replies

  1. You’re on fire. And it’s not just the rash.
    (Want to say things about Mitch Albom but, shit, like you say, the guy’s not doing any harm…)


    • No, the guy’s not doing any harm. I lost points just talking about him. But sometimes it’s worth it to spend points, and I have a few saved up for these fucks. I’m on fire. Get out the way I’m coming through. Might have a bit of a God Thing going now too.


  2. You cracked me up with that line about wanting to bite your back.


  3. So much here to parse and appreciate. I’ve been thinking a lot about doublespeak and jargon, all of which fall under the umbrella of obfuscating bullshit. Synergizing seems like I might need leg warmers and some sense of rhythm.
    Mitch Albom falls under the category of “things I’ve read in airports”. Enough said.


    • Obfuscating bullshit. Good god that sounds good. You make me yearn for Scrabble, now. I think I saw Mitch Albom speak at my office but don’t remember. I do remember seeing Stephen King, though. He has a kind of arresting look that’s hard to forget, especially after his accident. He came out all in black and his skin tone was bad, had those haunting, feral eyes. Mitch Albom had good teeth as I recall. And funny, I think those guys play music in a band with Amy Tan. What must they talk about?


  4. I liked that book, because nothing happened and I felt good after reading a whole book! If you turned into a dog, you would be less stressed. Why don’t you read some nice books about how great dogs are?


  5. A little patch of itchy skin you want to bite is nothing to worry about. You start to get concerned when you develop an affinity for flea-collars and urinating on the furniture.

    Liked by 1 person

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