GOING WELLNUTS

The Humor Blog for Well-Being

June 9, 2015

Planning Interruptus

My latest column from Miami Today, published June 18, 2015                      Cacophony; that’s it, this is what our lives have become. Instead of a melodious and carefully orchestrated sequence of planned events, our lives have turned into a random series of occurrences driven by immediate gratification and digital sounds, which is what the twenty first century will be remembered for. To say nothing of the fact that I always wanted to say cacophony, which gets in the way of any planning at all. There was a time when you could isolate yourself and engage in some thinking or planning. You could set a goal and try to pursue it through a series of rational steps. Today, you are lucky if you get 30 seconds of peace and quiet before your telephone beeps, your email alert pops up, and your electronic calendar reminds you to check Facebook, lest your friend has diarrhea and you are the last one to know it.   Instead of thinking about our future and planning ways to achieve it, we spend countless hours searching for the miracle app that will replace our thinking. To improve your well-being […]
May 24, 2015

Marsupial Kama Sutra

If there is anything I hate more than rats it’s big rats, which is what possums are. Possums feel at home in Coral Gables. They roam around like they own the place. So it came as no surprise when we discovered a couple of them nesting in our backyard. Next to our useless swimming pool (too short to swim, too cold to get close to it), we have a very expensive motor that cleans the water we never swim in, as well as a device that operates an amphibious vacuum cleaner that consumes more energy than the country of Benin. The motors are encased in a structure covered by a piece of wood. Whenever the submersible hoover gets stuck I muck around with the motor and pretend to know what the heck I’m doing. Imagine my surprise when I discovered not one but two possums relaxing next to the motors. They had brought leafs and sticks to make their own Sealy Posturepedic. They had apparently lifted the wood cover and managed to return it to its place, just to shock me. Ora and I debated what to do. We were really ambivalent about the whole thing. We felt for the […]
May 7, 2015

Do’s and Don’ts of Selling

“It’s Dick Cheney’s company, American made” said the shop owner, as he tried to sell me a backpack made by Haliburton. “And I’m supposed to like it because it’s Cheney’s company?!” I said, to which the owner, noting my displeasure, swiftly replied: “But it was a long time ago, don’t worry about it, he is not involved with the company anymore.” I can see somebody trying to sell me a product associated with Scarlet Johansson, but Dick Cheney! This exchange brought home for me what’s wrong with the American economy: Instead of plastering stores with pictures of Scarlet Johansson, they tell you that goods were made by Dick Cheney. No wonder we had a recession. A few days later I found myself in an optical store trying progressive glasses for the first time. The delightful store manager was telling me that my brain would get used to the blurry peripheral vision. “What if I have a car accident while getting used to them?” She said not to worry, “just bring the broken glasses and we will replace them.” That was the second revelation about American retail in a week: Optical stores fail to sell life insurance with progressive lenses, missing […]
April 22, 2015

Pet Friendly Florida

Florida is the most inclusive state in the nation. The Sunshine State welcomes not just people from all over, but also species that you’ve only encountered in nightmares, like termites, bats, snakes, and reptiles. If you want to live here, you need to know what you are getting into, though I have proof that the people of Florida are friendly to all these animals and insects. Take termites for example. After I signed the contract with the University of Miami, they broke the news to me: EVERYBODY has termites in South Florida. We promptly hired a reputable pest control company whose employees wore very nice uniforms and whose schedule was totally unpredictable. So friendly was this company to termites that for several years they totally ignored the fact that they had eaten 5 feet of fascia over our garage. Needless to say, up until that day I had no idea what fascia was, in any language. As I was trying to explain the situation over the phone to the pest control company, they kept throwing at me words like sheathing, soffit, rafters, truss, underlayment, fascia and dormer which made me feel like an idiot. Several google trips later, I was […]
April 22, 2015

Looks, Smarts, Money

There are two main threats to interpersonal well-being: insecurities, and INSECURITIES. People have a hard time getting along with others because they fear that at some point they will be wrong, and God forbid, they may have to apologize. People hate to be wrong, but hate to apologize even more. As a social scientist intrigued by these phenomena, I developed a mathematical formula according to which the “need to be right about everything all the time and never apologize” is inversely related to looks, smarts, or money.                The more insecure you feel about your looks, intelligence, or pocket book, the more you feel you have to be right about everything else in life. This is called a compensatory model. You compensate for your foolishness by feeling that you are right about everything.      Sometimes the need to be right about everything all the time is conflated with smarts. Take universities for example, where most professors think they are brilliant. In that case, our subjects compensate for being obstinate and underpaid by coming across as smarter than they really are, which only reinforces the need to be right about everything all the time, which makes universities as […]

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