Archive for the ‘Perspective’ Category

Service of Perspective: No Right to Complain, Things Could Be Worse

Thursday, December 20th, 2018


It was only lunchtime and I’d already had one of those days in which bad news was followed by disappointment and I figured nothing else could go wrong but it did not only for me, but for several friends. I was paying for lunch at my favorite deli next to my office and the young cashier asked me “How’s everything?” and I replied with a sad sack expression, “Could be better.”


She smiled and said, “You are alive and you are in good health. That’s all that’s important.” I thanked and agreed with her. Her job was to stand in a drafty spot for hours, she spoke with a strong accent so she was most likely living in an unfamiliar city and I was complaining? I felt ashamed.

Some believe that everything happens for a reason and I have a vivid example to illustrate it. When a large antique desk didn’t sell at auction, we had it delivered back to our apartment. [Wood is “out” don’t you know.] We’d tried to sell it for lack of space but nevertheless found a place for it and kept it empty. When we subsequently moved boxes of belongings to the apartment we had just the place to store the contents–in this desk!

The same day the conversation at the deli happened a friend sent me this photo of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. [Photo below]. Looking at all those names and recognizing that I was to enjoy another Christmas with my dear husband and family my predicaments and frustrations shrank into perspective.

It is in this spirit that I will end the week.

Does it help you to pull yourself out of a glum mindset by acknowledging others have it much worse than you ever will?





Service of Independents

Tuesday, September 4th, 2012


I see irony in the fact that independents and undecided voters may determine who wins the presidential election because we have become a country focused so much on teams.

College and grad school work is largely accomplished in teams; people refer to their associates at work as teammates and then of course millions root for their favorites, which is nothing new.

In addition, many belong to clubs, organizations, churches and political parties.

sheep1One of the things my father repeated most often when, as a child, I’d whine that “all the girls were doing” whatever it was that he forbade was “that’s precisely why you won’t be doing it.” He was active in a range of sports from soccer to tennis and belonged to a range of teams, yet at the same time, he was obsessed about not being a sheep i.e. a follower. His outlook, a strict one, was annoying-to-painful but as a result, while a happy team player when appropriate, I’m comfortable speaking up and acting independently.

My bet is that wavering, crucial independents are driving President Obama’s and Governor Romney’s handlers crazy because they are trying to hug mercury. What advice do you have for these handlers? What do you suggest they do to get independents to vote for their candidate or to vote at all? Do the independents feel comfortable in their skin and do they recognize their power?


Service of Perspective

Monday, May 14th, 2012


Things are not always as they seem.

In Training

infoboothpennstaI was waiting for a train to arrive at Penn Station in NYC and with nothing else to do, I chatted with the Information man, who had no customers at the time. He shared what he described as two silly questions he’s been asked recently: “Is this Penn Station?” was one and “What time does the 3:22 leave?” the other.

I didn’t think that the questions were necessarily silly. If I was from out of town or from abroad, I might want confirmation of the first–it’s impossible to tell that there’s a railroad station tucked into this building from many vantage points–and if the 3:22 was listed as “Delayed,” the second question would also make perfect sense.

Convenient Stats

Financial advisor Ric Edelman told his radio audience the other week about how a major life insurance company diligently searches social security records to learn if any of its annuity clients have died. Why? To immediately cut off payments.

However, the resource is not used to find out if any of its life insurance customers are dead. There’s no benefit to the company to promptly paying recipients their due.

So how does this strategy differ from a bank that keeps a deposit for a period of time–it’s there yet you can’t access it giving the bank time to play with it? It doesn’t. Stockholders love this approach.

Safe Slime

hamburgerReuters’ P.J. Huffstutter and Robert Burgdorfer wrote “‘Pink Slime’ May Force BPI Corporate Staff Cuts,” noting “In March, a public outcry erupted over the filler for ground beef, which is made from fatty trimmings that are potentially more susceptible to contamination than other cuts of beef. The trimmings are sprayed with ammonia hydroxide to curtail the growth of pathogens such as salmonella and E.coli O157:H7.

“Sales plummeted when consumers became aware of the common practice in the industry, despite U.S. Agriculture Department and industry experts saying the beef was safe to eat.”

Philip M. Boffey wrote, “What if it Weren’t Called Pink Slime?” in an op-ed piece in The New York Times. In a taste test Boffey preferred burgers with the filler because they were “more tender.”

This conversation reminded me of my stint as an Air Force wife living in Turkey for two years, [eons ago], which I wrote about before, but it’s again fitting to mention here. We’d buy our groceries from the base facility and because of the length of time it took for foodstuffs to go through the system, hang out on hot runways and linger in warehouses before they hit the shelves, there were bugs aplenty in our flour, cookies, cereal, chocolate chips and such. We were told that the insects were perfectly safe to eat.

The bugs and ammonia hydroxide on fat to create “lean finely textured beef” might be perfectly safe, but are they appetite-whetting? Would a good PR job to change pink slime’s name to LFTB do the trick, as Boffey suggests is what BPI needs to do? PR can do plenty, but even the best can’t remove ammonia or bugs from food.

Can you share examples of instances of things that may not be as they appear because it depends on your perspective?


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