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October 29, 2011

Self-Absorbed vs. Normal Behavior

I've been producing a FREE newsletter at my website for over thirteen years. Note that I said FREE.

You'd think that since the product is for free that subscribers would have little foundation to complain.

What's more, I try to deliver week-after-week lots of tips that over time will save you thousands of dollars.

Realize that each week I open the newsletter with something that happened to me the week before. Almost always it has nothing to do with home improvement. I do this to help offset the constant loss of human interaction in our lives. Technology is eroding the old-fashioned conversations people used to have on a daily basis.

Here's the open to my most recent newsletter:

This past weekend I had the enormous pleasure to stroll down memory lane. I was in Bar Harbor, Maine.
Thirty-seven years ago I was there with my new bride of a week. This time Kathy stayed home to have some quiet time while I went up there with my oldest daughter Meghan. She wanted me to look at some land she's thinking of buying.
On our first afternoon there we went to Sand Beach in Acadia National Park. This is the place my wife got wife's remorse.
Kathy and I were standing at water's edge and I looked down. Right there was a round doughnut shaped object. I picked it up. "What is it," Kathy questioned. "Some DUMB *** (rhymes with bass) lost the eye cushion to his binoculars," I quipped.
Wanting to show her how strong I was, I tried to throw the part about a quarter-mile out into the surf. As it was sailing through the air, I got wide-eyed and looked down at the binoculars hanging from my neck. She saw me look. Can you hear Kathy's voice?
Without hesitation she blurted out, "I married a DUMB ***."
So last Saturday afternoon standing at the same spot, I tried to find the part. Surely Neptune would return it along with some of my dignity. Needless to say it wasn't there. It long ago was pulverized or went down a whale's blow hole.

On a very frequent basis I get replies from subscribers. Some are from people that have serious issues going on in their lives. Some are from people that are extremely self-centered, and some are from people you'd like to hang out with on a routine basis.

I got this from Pat, I believe a woman, whose email begins with pm2canoe:

"I'm not really interested in your personal life and travels. Take me off your mailing list."

When I get responses like this, it peaks my curiosity.

I responded to Pat:

"Can I ask you a question first? I'm trying to understand requests like this.

Can you help me understand why you would want to cut yourself off from *thousands* of dollars of FREE tips just because the format doesn't jive with you?

I'm trying to understand *why* a person would reject Free helpful information."

Pat retorted:

"Because I think your newsletters are obnoxious. All I expected and wanted were building, tool and trade tips. I don't care about you and your wife's "adventures". I have plenty of other ways to socialize and don't appreciate wading through your "social " issues to get to the "tips". Now, stop being a pest and go away!"


Just like Bill O'Reilly shows emails that express opposite opinions about the same event, you might enjoy these:

Marie Jones wrote:

Thanks for the delightful 'binocular eye-piece' story! It made be chuckle!!

Joann Ryan wrote to me inadvertently:

"Sue, I'm forwarding this to you because his intro story is so funny."

The lesson, I believe, is to be sure to take any prescribed medications you've been told to ingest and to think more of others than yourself.

What's your take on this?

Posted by Tim Carter at October 29, 2011 9:04 AM


Wow. I have a similar insight to share with you, Tim - but I am going to preface it with telling you that you are one of my favorite author's in the world and even in the history of the world.

Kinda' funny, since your subject matter is so mundane. You are joyful. Your writing is familiar, far-reaching and close to home all at once. Your intro stories are light-hearted and come from a heart that not only has wise experience, but a youthful curiosity and the way you share it is inspiring and contagious.

I have to agree with you that the evasively angry responder had to have 1) missed a dose of some kind of medication or 2) has completely gotten lost in an angry, mad world and forgotten that there are kind, happy people out there.

Either way, the attacked most often become the attackers. She chose the wrong venue to make the difference she was trying to make. You will move on with your joyful prose that 99.99999 percent of your readers enjoy, and she will ... well... let's just wish her the very best.

I work for a company whose name I will not mention, but suffice it to say that they are very generous with their employees, ensuring a fun, fresh, "think tank" work environment: Rock climbing walls, tee-pee's for brainstorming, etc. etc. They serve hot breakfast and gourmet lunch every day with choices of fish, meat, poultry and completely vegan menu's. There is always a host of beverages to chose from in the coolers and micro-kitchens conveniently located on all floors.

It's 5 star service for all the employees, yet there are always a handful of people that find a way to complain about how there was "halibut, but I wanted salmon". "The lobster tails were over-cooked". "The chicken still had the skin on it".

They literally say this out loud in the cafeteria, or by reporting it on a feedback form that we have online. They've lost sight of what it is that is actually being given to them and have reached that place that we all have within us, where inner-self is more important than connected-self. Gross.

I am glad that you have seen this from a "bird's eye view" and not taken it personally. Take joy personally, and leave the rest of it where it the clogged toilet that won't flush and can't be fixed. You rock. We love you!

Posted by: Lisanne at November 2, 2011 7:59 AM
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