Sunday, June 22, 2008

A measure of a person

Spot says that one good measure of a person is to watch whom they ridicule. If a person makes fun of the comfortable, the pompous, or the sanctimonious, chances are that he or she is a good egg, somebody you'd like to know.

On the other hand, if they ridicule the do gooders, the sick or dispossessed, or the poor, you've probably identified, well, an asshole.

It is a rule that is virtually foolproof.

Do you have some examples, Spot?

Why yes, grasshopper, Spot has a couple of recent examples of the latter category from our very own hometown newspaper! Let's look at them.

First up is Jim (he hates that) Lileks, who writes on Friday that people with toxic bosses are just wussies:

It would be like Mary Tyler Moore skipping work because she had menstrual cramps. Mary did not let that stop her. Ever.

But no, not us! Now we call the office and complain of Existential Fatigue or Twitchy Kidney Syndrome because the boss has halitosis that could melt cloth socks and insists on telling you limericks that have the word "Nantucket" in them. Weaklings! Slackers!

It may be helpful to Jim or his readers to point out that he undoubtedly meant Mary Richards, the character that Mary Tyler Moore played in a sitcom. Mary Richards is, of course, an imaginary person, who did, Spot will admit, show up every week for her television show. No word on whether the real Mary, who is afflicted with juvenile diabetes, had a perfect record, too. Jim concludes his column with this:

At the risk of doubting a Study [finding that bosses can make people sick], one might suspect that some people are not actually sick, but feigning sickness to avoid dealing with the psycho-in-chief. If that's the case, it puts a different light on the study, and might mean that Minnesotans are quite deft at convincing their employers that they're a sweaty gurgling heap on death's stoop.

As anyone who's ever faked a sick day knows, it takes a certain amount of thespian ability to sound sick without sounding like you're trying to sound sick. So if we have more people calling in sick, it means we're doing a pretty good job of pretending we're ill.

We also have one of the highest concentrations of theaters in the United States. Related? Don't know. I'll wait for the study.

Sweaty gurgling heap, indeed.

Second on the list is Katie's column this morning, which Spot has already mentioned. Katie finds that mothers - in her own community, no less - who are trying to do something to improve the environment of the planet where everybody, including Katie, lives are worthy of her contempt.

Spot? He'll go with the EcoMoms of the earth every time.

Boys and girls, Spot has kind of a corollary to his rule. It's especially good for single people who are looking for someone they might like to spend more time with. When you're out with someone for the first time, pay attention to how they treat the waiter or waitress, or the persons standing in line with them at the theater, or the pedestrian a little slow to clear the crosswalk.

You would be surprised at the insight you will get.

One final thing. Spot's Dad, may he rest in peace, was a great sports fan. He always said, "Spot. You root for two teams. The home team, and if they're not playing, you root for the underdog."

Those are not only words to live by, but words to choose your friends by, too.

A thump of the tail to the Mississippifarian.

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