August 25, 2002
Cravings

Growing up, I always learned that there were wants and needs. You need food, medicine, and a roof to live under. You want magazines, stereos, and televisions. Apparently my education both at home and in school neglected the third level of desire – which goes by the name of “crave”.

I was originally skeptical of the actual existence of the word. After all, “cravings” have been wielded as one the most unforgiving weapons against men since the beginning of time. I was sure that the word had been created by women as a cruel joke to husbands and boyfriends the world over. But alas, I looked-up crave in the dictionary and one definition was:

2) To need urgently, require.

Ouch, this was a direct blow to my theory. There was indeed a level of desire beyond wants or even a basic level of needs. It was true, cravings were somewhat of an emergency need. But, wait, there are two more definitions. I scanned the first next:

1) To have an intense desire for.

Ahh, so this definition downgrades cravings to a level of desire beneath needs and above wants. But I am still unsatisfied. I mean when was the last time that you were sitting around a bunch of guys and heard the words “I am craving french fries right now”? Guys don’t crave ice cream, chocolate, candy, or fattening foods – they just want them, and eat them. Simple as that. And after all, isn’t an intense desire just that, an intense desire? There’s no need to make up another word for it. But to women, cravings are omnipotent and undeniable. You never know where one will strike.

The third definition:

3) To beg earnestly for; implore

Exactly! Cravings are not desires, they are excuses to eat junk food and make it all seem OK. They are mandates that send many guys off of the 3am-Jack-in-the-Box-run plank. Next time I hear the word used… I’m not buying it. I’ll let her make the trip to Safeway for pickles and peanut butter.

Posted by alex at 02:34 AM
August 21, 2002
Miscommunication

Miscommunication

When I was in school, people used to chuckle at those in pursuit of a Mass Communications major. It was deemed as an easier road than the Sciences. The subject matter was supposed to be inferior to even Political Science or English. I myself am not quite sure what exactly was covered in those popularly attended classes, but I am a bit confused by one thing…

Why has communicating with one another become such a science that we need workshops, seminars, and college level courses to be successful at it?

Now I am not knocking the Mass Comm majors, I am after something much bigger here. Let’s start with the dreaded job search. Many students spend hours on end proofing their resumes at the career center, and all to decide if they should use the word “created” or “constructed” (ed. Note: I always preferred “made appear”). To make matters worse, entire business classes were dedicated to the interviewing process. I had friends that agonized over what to wear, things to avoid saying, and possible answers to give when asked “if a tree falls in the woods…”

Or how about once you get the job? At work you are expected to wear a suit and prepare colorful Powerpoint presentations in order to relay information between one another in an accepted manner.

To me it is all a game. I don’t know who created it, or when I got signed up for it, but I don’t want to play. I would like to put on my resume, “I plan to write my thesis for a couple of hours this afternoon, why don’t you come down and watch me work.” Or how about telling the interviewer, “What’s my worst trait? At about 5pm I get pretty itchy to check my Fantasy Baseball team, but you can bet that I’ve done more work from 9-5 than Mr. Last Guy to leave the office over there.”

OK, so these forms of communication aren’t practical – but are the types that we currently use very realistic? I think it is easy for us to become programmed in life. You have to preserve an image for certain people to pay attention to what you are saying and you have to follow certain rules to communicate. But I think that it would be better if we said a little more of what was on our minds, and if the people we were talking to really knew where we were coming from.

My solution to the problem is admittedly oversimplified, but it is a step in the right direction: Whether it be an interview, a work meeting, or any other formal meeting – there should be a tradition that time is spent bullshitting. Sure it would be time consuming, but the length of the “formal” parts of the communication would shrink. Each person would gain a base level of mutual understanding that would either galvanize the relationship or terminate it. Either way, the net efficiency of the communication rises dramatically, even as the individuals are acting more naturally.

There is more to explore on this subject, but I am out of time… but hey, don’t tell your boss I said it was OK to wear the “F*** you” neck tie to work, OK?

Posted by alex at 09:47 PM
August 20, 2002
The Water Welcome

Go get a glass of water. Any kind, as long as the glass is clear – no writing or pictures on it. Set the glass of water down to your right, but not too close to your computer. I am not going to be responsible for your new Dell.

Now, what color is the water? I am not waxing philosophical here; I am serious. Mine is grey, red, black, purple, and a little bit green. Mine is not blue. My guess is that most people’s glasses of water are not blue.

What’s my point? We all know that the sky is blue, the grass is green, and tree trunks are brown. Yet none of them really are. If you look closely enough, you’ll find 10 other colors that really define each subject. Once you start looking at things around you this way, it becomes contagious. You notice things that other people see too, but aren’t prepared to fully take in. You come up with random thoughts and wonder if anyone else has noticed, or even cares.

That’s what this particular section of AO is all about: The interesting perceptions I make that likely range anywhere from worthless to whimsical. They say that geniuses are tortured by their thoughts. Well, I guess that my not being a genius allows me to be entertained by mine. I look forward to others’ reactions to the postings in Random Walks, Left Field Thoughts, and hope they are at least entertaining as well.

Now if you will excuse me, I think my basketball is talking to me. AO

Posted by alex at 10:41 AM