Tuesday, May 16, 2017

This assumes, of course, that I have heart....

Alternate title: wherein I answer a flippant blogging prompt with a dignity entirely unworthy of the exercise for vaguely satirical purposes and (of course) my own amusement.
...the prompt being: 
Five Ways to Win My  Heart
I would like to point out straight away that I'm very grinchy, and due to the commercialization of Christmas my heart is unlikely to grow three sizes anytime soon. 
However, though my good opinion once lost is lost forever,* it's not that hard to earn my good opinion. Here's a cheat sheet:
1. Be Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock.
Obviously this one is never going to happen, because even Cumberbatch only pretends to be the world's only genius consulting detective with devastating good looks. Did I say I'm easy to please? I lied. Moving on:
2. Live your philosophy. That is: be consistent. 
I don't care what your philosophy is.** I don't need people to agree with me, but they need to agree with themselves, and have the cojones to actually follow through on it. 
3. Engage in nerdity.
This requires some explanation: I don't really care what your area of expertise is. If you can make a living by being really enthused about organic chemistry... awesome. If you flip burgers, or fix computers, and spend your free time regaling me with legends of the old Klingon Empire... also awesome. (Maybe?) But have something you can think about deeply, something that you can be creative with, talk to other people about. Care about something.***
4. Even if you don't believe in objective morality, act as if you did. Or rather: even if you think that the rules don't apply to you because you're extra-awesome or something... follow them anyway. 
I'm not talking about an honestly held philosophy here. What I mean is: I don't want to hear about how your sloppy, neo-Nietzschean tripe entitles you to do whatever you want. No one ever thinks 'Well, there are simply superior beings out there, that naturally know better than me, and therefore they're well within their rights to oppress me, and to act without regard to societal norms or any bourgeois notions of morality' and so it always implies that you're somehow better than other people, which, even if it were true... if you say it, you're not just a jerk, but an idiot. Jerks I can tolerate if they entertain me and don't trip little old ladies, but idiots and I... we don't get along.

5. Care about your work
You may not like your job. That's okay. You are not alone. It's a safe bet that most people, throughout most of history have hated their jobs. Seriously. Who wants to scythe grain, and then winnow it, and then grind it, and then cook it, all pretty much by hand? And that's if you're lucky (that is, if you don't have a catastrophic hail/rain/drought, and a local warlord doesn't come by and burn your fields, or press you into service, or tax you to death, and there isn't a plague that year).
My point is that in the grand scheme of things, serving coffee is not so bad. I've done it. I hated each everloving second of it, but it didn't kill me. So I'm not denying that some jobs suck. Some jobs are thankless, menial and demeaning. Some of them shouldn't even exist. But that's not the fault of your coworkers, or your customers (if you work in a service industry). It's probably not even the fault of your bosses.
Obviously if your job involves landing my plane or handling nuclear warheads I have very personal reasons for wanting you to care about your job, but I'd like for you to care about what you do regardless. 
Because even if what you do doesn't "matter," you matter. You are connected to other people, whether you like it or not, and what you do affects them. So this isn't about being a good secretary/garbageman/hairdresser/economist/president, this is about being a decent human being. Thinking you're above doing something (whether it's something that you're paid for or not) is a fantastic way to make yourself miserable, even if you're lucky enough to not transmit your misery to anyone else. So please don't do that. 
N + 1This one is somewhat obvious, so it's not on the list proper: Don't be a jerk. Think about other people. Hell, just think
That is: Don't litter like a jerk. Don't smoke while I'm trying to swim laps in the pool. Like a jerk. Don't leave junk lying around on the floor where little old ladies can trip over it. Like a jerk. Don't call people names. Like a jerk. When you have the opportunity to screw stuff up without suffering the consequences: Don't screw stuff up. (Again, if you do it when you're going to suffer for it, then you're not only a jerk but an idiot.)
See? Not hard. I'm actually super-easy to please. 
*This is basically Jane Austen's subtle way of calling me a judgmental bitch from beyond the grave. 
** Okay, not true. I care a little bit. Okay. I care a lot. But I also know that trying to beat sense into people's heads never works. At least if people are consistent maybe they'll eventually see that they don't like the implications of their philosophy/religion/world-view. (I live in hope.)
*** Of course, being a snob, there are some subjects for obsession that I consider better than others. The (obviously and necessarily incomplete) ranking goes thusly: 
Mathematics > everything
"Real science" and/or literature > having a useful trade/hobby, e.g. being a knowledgeable outdoorsman, mechanic, jam-maker (I don't highly value jam myself, but it fits the criteria, perhaps that's another blog post), quilter, chess-player etc.
Elaborate Star Trek-type universes > Star Wars and weird/dumb hobbies (e.g. Renaissance fairs, bird watching, stamp collecting etc.) 
Weird hobbies >  reality TV or cat memes
**** This seems like a non sequitur but it's really not. Also, stop using the word "boobs." Because it's horrible. No really. I'll even allow you to say "bosom" if you promise to stop.