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The Guest
Refrigerator Door

Now we have some magnets from Bob, who is an internet-friend I've never met, but who sent this series...

rs-man.jpg (15447 bytes)


0062507249.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg (4762 bytes)

Becoming a Man:
Half a Life Story

Paul Monette

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17 November 2001

He was tall, even when I was standing up, but when I was sitting down, my forehead came about to his waist. Which put me at just the right height to notice that his zipper was unzipped. You know....that zipper. It's not that there was anything to see, of course, but once having noticed the problem, it was difficult to sit there in the repair shop discussing the problems with my transcription unit and arranging for a loaner so I could stop making excuses for not doing the growing pile of transcription.

What is the proper protocol when discovering that the gentleman with whom you are doing business is in danger of really letting it all hang out at any moment? Especially when your eyes are compulsively drawn to the site wondering if you should say something.

I am reminded of a time when I was working for a typing service. I happened not to come in on this particular day, but I certainly heard about it. We did a lot of typing for students and on this particularly warm summer day, a young man came in dressed in shorts -- and apparently nothing else. He sat in a chair in front of my boss, discussing a typing project he wanted us to do for him. All the while my boss was staring at his...uh..."endearing young charms," peeking out from beneath the short shorts. She was entirely too dignified to mention it to him, but it also made it very difficult for her to conduct business professionally!

It's always a big decision, what to do when someone has just--or is in the process of embarrassing themselves. Is it kinder to say something, or just ignore it?

I am famous for leaving the house with my labels hanging out and my shoulder pads askew (I never have mastered shoulder pads. I want to take a class.). Inevitably during the course of the day, I will feel someone's cold hand on my back tucking in my labels. I usually prefer if it's done by a friendly hand.

But think of other embarrassing events that we encounter among our fellow humans daily. You sit across from a gorgeous critter with perfectly coiffed hair, her makeup flawlessly executed, and when she flashes her Rembrandt white smile, there is that piece of spinach or lettuce trapped in her teeth. Do you mention it?

When the boss excuses himself to go to the men's room just before a power meeting and comes back with toilet paper attached to his shoe, do you take him aside and point it out to him, or do you let him meet the visiting big wigs in that condition?

The cyber equivalent of an embarrassing moment comes when a relative newcomer to the Internet suddenly discovers that there are kidney-stealing terrorists out there, ready to drug vacationers and leave them alone in hotel rooms, minus one kidney, said organ having been sold to the highest bidder in some foreign country.

Or they hear about the famous $250 Neiman-Marcus cookie recipe (I swear the first time I heard that story is was Mrs. Fields, but it's become permanently attached to Neiman-Marcus) and gleefully pass along the recipe for you to use.

Or they panic when they discover Senate Bill 602B and indignantly inform all the readers in their address book of the danger of having our e-mail taxed.

(I suppose they've stopped sending out the petition to the Taliban to grant the women of Afghanistan more freedom now.)

All in good faith, they pass along the warnings and what does an old timer who saw this story first back before every man, woman, and dog had his/her own web site? Do you just let it pass, or do you kindly give the innocent writer the address of the Urban Legends and Hoax web site, and gently let him/her know that before spreading widespread panic, or looking like an idiot (said much more gently, of course), they might want to check to be sure that the scare story was actually true.

I used to do that. I used to write my standard "I just thought you might like to know that there is a site where you can go to check and make sure things like this are really true" message.

It has amazed me how many people get angry with me for letting them know how they can avoid looking like an idiot. I've had more than one person blast me for trying to help them look more experienced on the web. I suppose there is no small amount of embarrassment involved in the anger, but you'd think that a simple "thank you for sharing" would suffice.

I don't offer to help any more. I just delete the latest petition unread. I also don't pass along cyber chain letter that warn me that if I don't send it to everyone on my address book, bad luck will befall me within 5 days.

Come to think of it, maybe that's why we had that plague of ants a month or so ago. I'm sure I forgot to send out one of the dozens of chain letters I get each month. Maybe next time I'll just pass it along anyway. It's a small price to pay for a plague-free life.

And I do try to check my labels and shoulder pads before I leave the house.

One Year Ago:
Some Days are Diamonds

(Club Photo has started deleting
photo albums after 90 days,
so the photos which were once there,
have been removed now)

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Created 11/9/01 by Bev Sykes