Friday, August 28, 2009

Jaywalking Jive 8/28/09

Will we ever be more than fantasy? Will we ever be sweet reality?

Hurry and get your note book ready because September is coming and that mean all the quotes will be from D....
There's a Yiddish word, chutzpah, that has become popular in some circles. It means nerve, audacity, unmitigated gall. The most graphic example of chutzpah is about the teenage boy who murders his parents, is convicted of the crime and when the moment for sentencing comes asks the judge to be lenient with him because he's an orphan.

Many years ago there was a Candid Camera episode where Woody Allen, before he was famous and recognizable, got on a bus in Manhattan and asked the bus driver to take a different route so that he could get off in front of his apartment building and the bus driver obliged. It was a set up of course. The camera showed the expressions of the other passengers on the bus. One woman kept saying "Boy, have you got one nerve."

One of the strangest quirks of humanity is the belief some people have that they can alter the world to fit their own reality. It is as if the idea of adapting to the world around is not an option or has never really occurred to them. Whenever I see it or hear it, I'm always astonished. It is as if a person is saying what I'm doing is the most important thing in the world and the world has to get out of the way and let me do it. It's an unarguable arrogance.

When I was working as a classical music announcer in New York I would get a phone call about once a month from a woman who wanted me to change the music I was playing because it didn't fit her mood. "You see" she would say "I'm a writer (which she pronounced 'right tah' and that music your playing is not helping me with my work." It was always suggested to her that she buy a record player and play the music she wanted. After that she just hung up. How dare I not understand how important her work was and that I had to change the program of a major market radio station to suit her.

I shouldn't be too judgmental about her, because who knows what kinds of similar fantasies I carry around in my head about myself and my place in the world. Self-importance is a poisonous fruit for anybody to chew upon and, I guess, everyone has it to one degree or another. Let's face it, we are all much more in sync with ourselves and our own lives, moment by moment, than with anyone else's. But there is an extreme fantasy which when entered blinds people to the reality of the rest of the world. That fantasy causes a switch in the brain to flip to the off position.

With the dedicatedly self-important it isn't a matter of not caring what other people think of them. It's worse than that. It's that they don't care about other people at all. It isn't that other people are wrong, it's that they are irrelevant. I saw an actress one day who would not relinquish the only phone in the building to any of us who were standing around waiting to use it because her calls, as she said, were "important."

It's like the person walking down the crowded sidewalk who won't give space to another pedestrian coming the other way. That's chutzpah carried to the bully level. On the highway it becomes road rage. I could site hundreds of examples, great and small, of unnecessary, unjustified, self-righteous audacity. I'm sure you can also. But I'll close with one of my favorite jokes.

A Navy ship is traveling through the ocean at night. The captain is informed that there are lights ahead. He sends a signal saying "Steer your ship 10 degrees to the west." An answer comes back saying "Steer your ship 10 degrees to the east."

Now the captain is angry and sends another message "This is a US Naval Captain. Steer your ship 10 degrees to the west." But the answer that comes back says "This is an Able Bodied Seaman. Steer your ship 10 degrees to the east."

Now the captain is in a rage. How dare this mere sailor disobey him? He's just about ready to blow the other ship out of the water. But he sends one more signal. "This is a United States Naval Destroyer. Steer your ship immediately 10 degrees to the east." And the answer comes back. "This is a lighthouse. Steer your ship 10 degrees to the west."

DB Vagabond Journeys
Have yourself a peaceful weekend.
I plan to, if I can.

This is not a contest.

A young man out west took home 88 million dollars from the lottery.

Whether you play the lottery or not, if you suddenly had 88 million dollars, or the equivalent of whatever your currency is, what are the first three things you would do with it?

You have all summer to answer if you wish.

20 responses so far.



Bonnie Bonsai said...

I like the ending...hahaha

Self-importance, another route to a quick pitfall.

miss alaineus said...

lighthouse vs. boat. love it!


Dannelle said...

Somehow this was the best i have read in awhile! Perhaps it hits close to my situation- Great stories too!

Dannelle said...

Oh, and I still have last years quotes, so don't get funny and try to use one again! LOL

pacifica62 said...

Welcome back DB. Wonderful entry. I have been discussing this very same topic lately with friends and coworkers and you have given it the perfect label -- chutzpah. Perfect. I find it so difficult to work with younger people who feel they are entitled to whatever they want. They decide what they will do and not do and under what conditions. No work ethic, no team work. We older people accepted the rules and did our best to fit in. The young people these days make their own rules and expect the rest of the world to fit in. A big clash in values. However, they usually get what they want and do it their way. The scary part is that these are the very same people who will have a big say in what happens to me in my senior years. They will be the politicians, lawyers and doctors of the near future. Lord help us all.
Great joke !

Selchie said...

Ha ha nice one.)
I dont know about this thing called reality, seems like we all live in our own version anyway, so not quite sure how we ever manage to converge.

have a peaceful weekend lovely,


Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

Love the Naval Captain versus the yoeman at the lighthouse. Many parallels to real life in that exchange.

Beth said...

Love the joke! It always amazes me to see how some people think that their time is so much more important than yours. Hugs, Beth