We make holes in teeth!

Saturday, January 28, 2006


Truth, one of the 6 great ideas, is not as easy to define as you might think. Sure, there are things like "2+2=4". If you're not willing to cede that, stop reading, go outside, and start whistling to the aliens. For the rest of us, let's look beyond the idea of mathematical and scientific truths. Equations are true, gravity is true, and all those other things we can quantify in equations and laws are true. That's not the truth we care about. What I'm talking about is stuff like, "Murder is wrong." Or, "God you look stupid in that green shirt." Stuff like that.

What we have here is the fundamental question, What is true? From wikipedia:

"Standing beside these problems are the issues of how we know something to be true. The way in which one knows that one has a toothache seems different from the way in which one knows that the Earth is the third planet from the sun; perhaps one is subjective, and determined by introspection, while the other objective, and determined by a combination of shared observations, reasonings, and calculations. Similarly, some truths seem to be relative to one's position or background, while others appear absolute. Philosophers have diverse opinions on each of these issues."

Yes, perhaps one is subjective and one is objective. Or maybe, in studying this casually interesting topic, someone along the line decided that it was time to take it to a new level and ruin any fun people were having discussing this. Now we have entire studies on such retarded subjects as, "Is the sky really blue?" Yes fuckwad, the sky is blue.

I was faced with two undeniable truths this week. The first was at the train station one day. A woman pulled into the parking lot just as the train was coming into the station. She started running, entirely in vain because the parking lot is on the other side of the tracks from the station, and the train is so large you can't sneak in front or behind it, unless you're willing to run down 5 cars length of railroad and back. Probably a tough chore in high heels.

Anyway, this was the Hoboken which was running 15 minutes late, not the New York, which was yet to come. This line was a meager 3 cars, and it didn't block the walkway from the lot to the station. The woman ran across the tracks, then started walking to the train. Seeing several of us standing there, she asked me, "Is this the New York train?"

"Hoboken," I mumbled.


And this was when I uttered the first the undeniable truth of the week. "You got lucky."

Philosophically, subjectively, and objectively, this statement was about as true as it gets. "Tell me about it," she replied.

The second truth of the week came today, while mountain biking. We were blessed with an unseasonably warm winter day, with temperatures reaching 57 degrees at one point this afternoon. Not letting it pass, since I'm dying to get the biking season under way, I put the bike in the car and headed down to Chimney Rock. I should mention I was sick all week, some sort of chest or head cold taking me down for most of the week. In fact, the reason I mumbled "Hoboken" earlier in the story was because I was sucking on a cough drop at the time.

About halfway through the ride, I was taking a break in the midst of climbing up the big hill next to the quarry. I decided I liked the view there, so I stopped for a moment. My stopping had nothing at all to do with the fact that my heart was threatening to jump out of my chest and stick it's ventricle down my throat, forcing me to puke all over myself, while my lungs meanwhile were employing off-season paint scraping services to remove the phlegm from their insides. Really, not at all.

While standing there, the second instance actually since another breathtaking set of rocks was underfoot, another rider huffed and puffed by me, going up the same hill. Surprisingly, he did not stop to admire the soil, or rocks, or trees barren of leaves. What he did do was to utter the second undeniable truth of the week. "Not riding for two months really hurts when you get back out."

"Tell me about it," I replied.

Truth. The sky is blue, that woman got lucky the other day, and I am way out of mountain biking shape right now. Those are three undeniable truths for you.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I Can't Take Harold Anymore

I am generally someone who never uses the word hate, or its cousin "despise" when dealing with people, save for those very special few that you are bound by morality to label as such, like Hitler and Pol Pot. I think the word hate is a very strong word, and most people use it like a napkin, ready to whip it out at the first sign of emotional spillage. In this case, I am almost forced to pull out the big D word, despise. I can't bring myself to say hate, because it's too strong for this guy. Still, he's almost there.

Harold is someone I work near. I don't work with him, just near him, which is good because one of us would likely end up mutilated by the end of the day if I had to work with him. Chances suggest it would be me, since I believe deep down that Harold is clinically insane, and what chance do you have against a clinically insane person? Not to mention the fact I have no innate desire to beat people up, even though Harold violates the "personal noise space" mantra on a minute-ly basis. Overall, he leaves me specifically alone. But his world of annoying noise permeates everyone's sphere of existence so poignantly that you have to be deaf to not hear his bravado. Even then, I think deaf people probably take notice as well.

I imagine Harold is a lonely and insecure person, deep down. Maybe he just needs to be hugged. Who knows. What I do know is that his constant bravado and Everest-like noise level makes him an easy target of derision. The fact that he seems to be out to irritate every single customer he talks to is even worse. What? What's that? Yes, Harold is in a group that deals with customers, whom he interfaces with on an hourly basis. I have no idea how he hasn't been part of the mass layoffs which have wiped out 50% of the company since I arrived. It's not like I'm the only one with this opinion of him. Indeed, it's generally accepted that he is a boisterous wind bag who likes to listen to himself talk - even his boss thinks so.

He's one of these guys who says, "I'm about to drop a bomb on management," as if the previously dropped 78 bombs had no effect. He is tireless, I'll give him that. Perhaps he is descended from the squirrel. Sadly, those idiotic but determined animals get the bird seed 9 times out of 10, which helps explain how Harold has managed to stay with this company for damn near 20 years. Sheer determination.

In a vacuum, I know he's not a bad guy. It's just how he gets attention. And if I monkeyed in my cubicle on the other side of the floor instead of where I am, I would likely not care much about the guy other than the fact he walks down the hall as if he's got basketballs jammed up under his armpits. Really, the dude is like 5-8 and weighs probably 160 pounds. Are we to believe your lats & triceps are so large that your arms resemble helicopter blades? Didn't that stuff go out when you walked out of high school for the last time? When you were able to finally drop your arms and proclaim, "Man, I'm glad that shit is over. It hurts to suspend my arms like that for 8 hours a day. Let's get some beer."

Suffice it to say, I wear my headphones a lot. But I have to assume 20 years of irritating people has given Harold the ability to pierce even the most sophisticated noise dampening mechanisms. These $12 headphones aren't going to be of much use when trying to sooth my already tired ears. I've considered ear plugs, but then I might not be able to hear the phone ring, and from time to time, even those of us who program for a living need to interface with a customer or two. So I've got to remain available at some level.

In the end, I'm stuck with it. Short of killing the guy or killing myself, there's not a lot I can do. I might try moving, but then you never know when they're going to move someone else into your neighborhood. If it's not Harold, it's Mitch, who wines like an old Jewish lady most days - apologies to all the old Jewish ladies out there.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Fuck You Kenny, You're Not Getting Your $40

I'm sick of Kenny already. Yesterday things came to a head, and we had words. Well, actually Kenny had words, I mostly listened and tried to reason with him. You see, Kenny finally got hold of me via phone yesterday and demanded I give him his $40 back. Naturally, I refused. I have no intention to pay him $40. Kenny didn't like the sounds of that, and after a minute of stark raving mad ranting, screamed that he was going to my father to set things straight.

The problem is, I have no idea who Kenny is. He thinks I'm Jose, some Hispanic guy who owes him $40. I tried to explain his error to him. But not being the brightest bulb in ye olde deck, it never really got through. I think that deep down he knew I was telling the truth when I said that I, in fact, am not Hispanic, but in fact I am a white Polish guy (ok, only 25% but I assure you that I'm not Hispanic). The truth is, I imagine, Kenny was angry at being played for $40, so much that when I asked him if I sounded like Jose, he said that, "Yeah, you sound Hispanic."

I tried to explain that Jose gave him a fake number. But that just set him on a more intense rant. During his screaming episode, he suggested, rather bluntly, that he was not illiterate, which I suppose justifies his claim that this Jose guy couldn't have duped him by giving him a bogus phone number. I wasn't about to explain that the whole thing didn't hold water. If Jose had no intention of giving him back his $40, would he have given him the right phone number and later denied being Jose at all? Maybe Kenny knows Jose is a moron, and would never have thought to give him a fake number. Then again, who ended up with the $40? Again, probably wasn't worth the effort, since Kenny, well you know, he's not illiterate and all.

This all comes to fruition after months of Kenny leaving messages on my voice mail - my work cell phone by the way. He had never stated why he was calling. I always assumed that Kenny was a user and Jose was a dealer, just by the elusive way that Kenny left the messages. Sort of like, "Hey Jose this is Kenny...ah...gimmie a call back I could...could...ah...I really need to talk to you." Always sounded to me like he didn't want to say why he was calling. Figure that if it was about money, he would have screamed, "Give me back my $40 mother fucker!" Kinda like he did yesterday. I guess he lost his cool when he touched base with the idea that he wasn't really getting his money back, at least not from me.

So anyway, fuck you Kenny. I'm not giving you $40. Stop leaving me voice mail messages.

Accommodation in aviemore