Sunday, February 28, 2010

Hopes and dreams are shattering apart and crashing to the groud.....

February is over. That is a relief. Nobody likes February anyway. It is the redheaded step child of all the months. It isn’t even really a month. There aren’t even 30 days. How does that count? Not to mention that it is generally the most bitter and cold month of the year here in Wisconsin. The month of March is the start in the right direction. Spring is coming. The days are getting longer. Baseball is on the way. Let’s say goodbye to this depressing winter.

March won’t make life any less stressful for me, but that isn’t a surprise to me. The next several months are going to be my own doing. I have some goals to accomplish, both at work and in my personal life, that are going to make my blood boil at times. Frustration will stack up like a plate of flapjacks at an IHOP. However, in this case, it won’t be topped off with whipped cream and syrup, figuratively speaking. I am going to have to finish my main entrĂ©e and get desert as my reward.

Yeah, I do know that I was vague. Sometimes a guy just needs to type things out so he better understands them for himself. If you are close to me, you know what’s going on. If you don’t know what is going on with me, but think you should, well then, you aren’t as close as you think you are. No need to be offended. We all have that going on in our lives. Shit is happening and not everyone is going to know about it.

I slept for nine hours last night. It was fantastic. One of the best feelings in a while. It definitely put a charge on the proverbial batteries. I assume that I’ll be going into work with a smile on my face and a foot ready to kick some ass. That doesn’t happen often for me. Generally I am a miserable mess whenever I step into my cube. It is like a small prison made of push-pin ready walls. Then once the day starts, the florescent lights beam down on me with the heat and intensity of an interrogation room. Call after call and I am being grilled any number of health care debacles. It is an inconvenient time to be working in the health insurance industry. People are pissed off and the first person they get on the phone is going to be villainized.

It is a daunting existence when you are seen as the villain while all you have ever wanted to be is the hero.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Frustration haunted my day...

Many of you probably know that I work for a major medical insurance company. It is no secret that the job is not the most enjoyable. Today gave me a real prime example of why I occasionally am tempted to just say “fuck it” and walk out of the place. People are crazy. Not just the ones with mental problems, but the ones who operate as functional members of society. They all seem sane as can be, but once you get them a little pissed off about their health insurance, their eyes turn to fire and they want to drink some fucking blood. I am really not exaggerating. Two things people are passionate about are money and the well being of themselves and their loved ones. Add those two together and you get some Linda Blair puke spewing bat shit crazers (yes, I did make this word up).

Now, I’ve been yelled at by people more times than I could ever imagine to count. It is nothing new to me. Usually it makes the day interesting. For the most part it doesn’t bother me because I can just hit the mute button and chuckle to myself about the nut job trying to make their case about something they didn’t take the time to research. I get that it happens with all customer service jobs. I would be on the street if all customers were happy and didn’t have issues. However, my real gripe in this all comes when people have the audacity to scream and you and then deny that they are even doing so.

They aren’t blatantly saying that they aren’t shouting. These are the people in denial as to where they are directing their rage. They tend to give you a plate of fresh bullshit and say “Now, I’m not directing this at you. You are just earning a living” or “I understand that you are doing your job, so I am really pissed off at your company”. Today a woman screamed at me at the top of her lungs about how I work for greedy pigs that sit in a board room conspiring to find ways to not pay her claims. She also added that congress needs to get off their asses and do something about it rather than be worried about a black president. Sure enough, this blossom of joy made sure to tell me, while still yelling, that it wasn’t personal, she wasn’t directing it at me, and that she was really only furious at the company.

Bull fucking shit. I don’t want to hear that line of crap. If she was in person at a department store service counter shouting and talking the way she was, she would have been arrested for disorderly conduct or some other related offense. It doesn’t matter what your intentions are, but when you start yelling directly at a person, you have made it about them in some regard. You are uncorking your capsulated bottle of pissed-off right at them. Sorry ma’am, but while you are talking to me, your words are directed at me. You are disrespecting me and there isn’t an acceptable excuse for it.

The only reason someone yells at a complete stranger is as a means to scare or intimidate them. They yell to appear as the superior beast, in order to obtain the advantage. It is why a lion roars or a snake hisses. For all these people to always say that they aren’t meaning to take it out on me or that they are not directing their hostility at me is nothing but a farce. They are hoping that I have some shit trickling down my leg and will run screaming to someone so that we can bend over and appease them. The bad news for them is that the world of customer service is not a jungle and we don’t play by the rules of the wild.

It baffles me as to why people will treat customer service representatives so poorly. I am certain that they would be calling security the second a customer walked into their place of employment and starting screaming that they were a bunch of crooks. They’d probably file a complaint with the local authorities if they got dozens of calls everything with expletive language and wishes of failure by the hands of the government. I have no idea what compels people to just unleash on people and treat them like utter shit. It rarely gets them anywhere. If it has ever been successful outside of a Wendy’s I would be shocked.

Ultimately the idiot customers of the world need to spare me their delusions. Stop insulting my intelligence. You are yelling at ME, not the people I work for. Let’s be honest about it and then shut the fuck up.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dear Olympics, you aren't as amusing as Ron Fucking Swanson

Many people have been watching the Olympics. That’s fine. Some people like watching the endless hours of sports they wouldn’t watch normally. People should probably stop being delusional and acting as if they’d give a damn about (insert random ski event) at any time between the quad-yearly events.

What the Olympians do is amazing. There is no doubt that they kick some ass at what they are doing. I by no means am saying that the athletes aren’t legitimate or they don’t deserve some recognition. I am saying that I can’t genuinely follow them just because there is nothing else to watch.

That’s partially my point of this entire blog entry. The past week has left a void in my life. Quality television has been at an abysmal level this past ten days. All I ask for is that my favorite shows air some brand new episodes. The biggest problem of this all is that the best show on television airs on the network that is banking their year’s budget on the success of the Olympics. That means I have to wait until next week to get my fix.

Hold on one second there, tiger. You are probably assuming that I am talking about “The Office”, “30 Rock”, or one of those ever stale “Law and Order” shows. Well, it is safe to say I am not referring to “Law and Order”. I can’t watch more than ten minutes of any of those shows without feeling as if I am watching a rerun. “The Office” has been off its game since the middle of last season. They’ve taken their lovable Jim Halpert (John Krasinksi) and turned him into an unlikable tool job. In fact, I’d rather watch Sarah Palin in a geography-bee than see Jim try to play manager again. It was awful and uncomfortable and not the kind of uncomfortable that “The Office” did exceptionally well.

Now I can’t really say anything critical about “30 Rock”. It is as funny as one could ask for, but I just don’t think it is the best show on television. The show now firmly in my crosshairs as the best is “Parks and Recreation”.

Now I don’t mean it is just the best comedy. I mean that it is the best show on network television period. That is saying a lot from a guy who has been in love with “Lost” for the past five year. Right now I can’t think of one show firing on all cylinders like “Parks” currently is. Now I know what you are saying to yourself. “Wasn’t Parke and Recreation that bland Office rip-off?” I can’t say that you are wrong with such a statement. Season one was a six episode heap of disappointment. Amy Poehler’s character of Leslie Knope was a lite beer version of Steve Carrell’s Michael Scott. To put it simply, “Parks” had not found its own identity and was set to get dumped real quick if it didn’t gain some momentum.

The season premiere of its second season brought a creative spark from this mockumentary comedy about small town government. The show found its own niche in taking plausible situations any small town citizen could relate to and adding its own twist. In other words, it became something to identify with. “Parks” became the kind of show that was funny because you’ve been there before.

Perhaps the biggest improvement in “Parks and Recreation” is the character development. They have created a cast of characters so diverse and amusing that anyone could deliver the punch line. On top of that, the show has become self aware of all the characters’ flaws. They know that the character of Mark (Paul Schneider) is a little boring, so they poke fun and exploit that fact. Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari) does some douche-bag things, but not to a level where he is a caricature. However, you forgive those indiscretions when he has moments of brilliance such as DJ Roomba (go ahead and youtube that). Even the “minor” characters have a lot to show. Andy (Chris Pratt), April (Aubrey Plaza), Donna (Retta), and Jerry (Jim O’Heir) are just gold whenever they utter a line.

Amy Poehler deserves a lot of credit for transforming Leslie Knope from a half-witted deputy director of the Pawnee Parks department into a competent and occasionally overzealous woman of politics. Once her character wasn’t written as a complete dunce, the show found its groove. It was no longer a show about her weekly misadventures. Leslie Knope became the solid anchor for chaos and tomfoolery to ensue around her while occasionally being misguided by her own ambition. Now she is the one rolling her eyes at the ridiculous bullshit she sees around her rather than being the one we roll our eyes at.

Let’s cut to the chase, folks. All that stuff I just raved about is as true as true gets, but all of it pales into comparison to the most awesome component of “Parks and Recreation”. This pillar of kick-ass is known as Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman). Ron Fucking Swanson, as he once dubbed himself, is by the far the best written character on television. He is a bad ass. He is funny. He likes bacon, especially when it is served at a strip club breakfast buffet. In a nut shell, he is the epitome of an awesome and iconic character that we will remember for years to come. He is the guy you end up quoting every Friday morning. For example, let’s take a gander at some of the best lines uttered by Ron Swanson:

“I got my first job when I was 9. Worked at a sheet metal factory. In two weeks, I was running the floor. Child labor laws are ruining this country.”

“On my deathbed, my final wish is to have my ex-wives rush to my side so I can use my dying breath to tell them both to go to hell one last time.”

Regarding his ex wife: “Every time she laughs, an angel dies. Even telemarketers avoid her. Her birth was payback for the sins of man. But you know the worst thing about her? She works for the library.”

“I would prefer that she ask me for my permission so I could say no. I like saying no. It lowers their enthusiasm.”

Try to tell that those aren’t gems. If there is one character that will get you on board with “Parks and Recreation” it is Ron Swanson. Trust me on that.

I think I have summed up my points on why “Parks and Recreation” is currently the best show on television. They are on a real roll right now. The show is topical, witty, and carries the occasional does of heart. That’s rare for a television show these days. Perhaps we should all embrace it before NBC cancels it for some stupid reality show about people getting married to their pets.

You laugh now, but it is not impossible. NBC is capable of everything. Right, Conan?