Friday, December 30, 2016

Home for the Holidays

But in this world everything is upside down. That which, if it could be prolonged here, would be a truancy, is most like that which in a better country is the End of ends. Joy is the serious business of Heaven.

- C. S. Lewis

Mr. Lewis famously laments, as I hope I have captured as much by the quote above, and I am paraphrasing Mr. Lewis very poorly, that the trouble with our world, if we are feeling it properly, is that we feel guilty when we take a moment to enjoy it. He then asserts that the glory of Heaven is that we enjoy good things, every good thing, things brought on only with melancholy by our human holidays, for all eternity and rightly. And I think he is on spot with that attitude.

We feel pain at the holidays (especially as they end) because there is a happiness about them which does not really belong here. We were pretending that all is well when all was not. Not all of our friends are here; not all of our family; not all of our happiness. Yet we pretend.

We are in Plato's cave facing the far wall and not the projector. We have a mere glimpse of how things should be. Yet that gives us a glimpse of how things will be.

So I find happiness in this fading holiday season. If it is but a glimpse of what is to come, then what is to come is splendid.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Business relationships

I had a long phone conversation this morning with an old friend who owns a plumbing supply company. We talked a bit about the past, especially about how Detroit isn't as bad as its reputation and about how it seems to be rebuilding well enough. His business and mine are both in the city, though he has me trumped. He is the fourth generation owner of his; I'm only the third generation of mine. But we're both glad we stuck with Detroit.

Jeff's grandfather began their business 97 years ago. It was at the same location until last year, when he moved into a better building less than a mile away from the original. We're in our second place too, but we've been where we're at since 1960. But what struck me the most this morning was that we've developed a long business relationship. We've done business back and forth since 1945.

It got me thinking about the number of other long term relationships we've been in. There are plumbers I sell to where we're each the third generation: grandfathers dealt with grandfathers, fathers with father, and sons, sons. I find myself impressed with that thought. To be around helping each other over 60 or 70 years through new generations is I think something to be celebrated.

Long terms with people; long term with Detroit. I'm rather proud of that achievement.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

I bet readers will judge this article

I am a conservative; that point I've never hidden from anyone. But what's more, I am also in the eyes of many the worst kind of conservative: a social conservative. As such, I am frequently told that I must not judge. If by that charge the accusers mean that I cannot judge people as good or bad guys I will readily agree. Yet they don't mean that. They only mean that I must not judge actions with which they sympathize. And to that I readily do not agree.

To begin with, isn't arguing that we should not judge in itself a judgment? If it is, then isn't the idea intrinsically contradictory? Doesn't it pull support right from under itself? It is simply an entirely untenable position, especially with questions of God or right and wrong. If God doesn't judge, or at least expect us to act certain ways, then why did he bother about those pesky Commandments?

That is perhaps the most critical point in having to make judgments. From that idea, we surely must see that the concept goes all the way down. It would be awfully hard to be a good parent if you could never judge the actions of your children. Society could never make the first law for the simple reason that laws make judgments. Indeed if judging is wrong then how might I ever decide which contractor to repair my home or car, for in the act of choosing Mechanic Sam ahead of Mechanic Kyle I have judged Sam's talents superior to Kyle's. But if any sort of judging is wrong, then my car shall never get fixed. No; we simply must judge actions (and histories and abilities) if we are to get on in this world.

It is interesting that those who assert that we cannot judge never condemn judgment over things they believe good. No one ever says after a compliment, "Don't judge me!" Yet if judging is wrong, then judgments about what is good are as invalid as judgments about what is bad. At that point, as with picking our mechanic, we couldn't get anything done because even a good judgment would be, by obvious inference, out of the question.

The bottom line is that non-judgmentalism is an impossible scientific, philosophical, theological, or even merely practical position to hold. But I bet that won't stop the no judgment folks from judging my words here, will it?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Don't go Mungo on anyone

No, Mungo! Never kill a customer! -from Monty Python's Dirty Fork sketch

Those are certainly words to live by. I have never come close to killing a customer. At least, so far as the police know. But I have snapped at a couple of them.

Several years ago during a period when we were extremely busy and running about one week to ten days behind in repairs a guy walked into the old barn. He had a machine which wasn't running and wanted me to take a look at it. I said I would, but that if it required anything serious he'd have to leave it and I'd get to it as soon as I could.

I followed him out to his van and he produced a little General Sewerooter Junior which had wires hanging out of the motor in a terrible jumble. A real bird's nest, my Pops used to say. It would have taken an hour simply to sort everything out, to get all the wiring back in place so that I might then start diagnosing the real problem. I shook my head and said to the man, "You're going to have to leave that with me."

He began, "Well all you have to do is,"

But I cut him off right there. "Then you do it," I replied, admittedly rather harshly.

"I beg your pardon?"

"Then you do it," I repeated. "If it's all that simple, why are you bringing it to me? Why don't you have it done already?"

To this day I stand by that. Why are you bringing it to me if it's so danged easy? Why are you wasting both of our times?

I didn't kill him, but I haven't seen him since either.

Monday, December 26, 2016

The day after Christmas

Today is December 26, the day after Christmas. Boxing Day in Canada and many of the old British Dominion countries; a day of extra sales in these United States.

I can't speak for Boxing Day but I can speak a bit about the consumerism of my own nation. As if five weeks of bacchanalia wasn't enough, immediately after the Holiday to end all Holidays (so far as the merchants seem to think) we are told that that isn't all. Stores were opening this morning as early as 6 AM because there's still bargains available to slake your lust for ever more and ever newer baubles and bells. We lament the tax and spend tendency of government; we encourage an earn and spend mentality on our selves. I'm not sure the one's any better than the other.

Take a breath, America. You surely have everything you need and a great many things you simply want, and a great many of those unnecessary. Why not sit back on the 26th and enjoy all that? Revel in the wonderful times and even, yes, the nice things you got for Christmas. Be happy in your family and friends. Don't go after the Next Best Thing. There will always be another once you settle into that shallow mentality. It really only becomes a kind of Hell, keeping up with the Joneses.

Take a breath. Enjoy the leftovers and seek more conversation, more interaction with your family and friends. WalMart and Best Buy won't go out of business if you don't taste of their wares today. Your family and friends will of necessity go off on their own. Be with them now. Your computer simply can't be made made that much faster and the picture on your new TV can't be made that much clearer. But the rest will go all to quickly and all too certainly.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Merry Christmas 2016

Christ by highest heav'n adored

Christ the everlasting Lord!

Late in time behold Him come

Offspring of a Virgin's womb

Veiled in flesh the Godhead see

Hail the incarnate Deity

Pleased as man with man to dwell

Jesus, our Emmanuel

Hark! The herald angels sing "Glory to the newborn King!"

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Karen Carpenter and the Detroit Tigers

You know how one song can often get stuck in your head for it seems like days on end? For me lately that song has been Close to You, sung by Karen Carpenter. It really is a nice little soft rock song, and I genuinely like it. Usually. But not after hearing it over and over in my mind during my waking hours of the last several days. Even at that, I used to hate it even more.

While it's almost certainly only my childhood psychology of the time at work, back when most major league baseball games were on the radio rather than television it seemed as though every time my beloved Detroit Tigers were in a rain delay the first song the emergency deejay played was Close to You. I came to despise that song, because when I heard it meant that I was trying to listen to baseball and the game was under a weather suspension.

It's nothing against Karen Carpenter, who had a lovely voice. It's surely one of those things which just stick in your mind for whatever odd reason. Karen Carpenter singing meant the Tigers weren't playing. I realize that that isn't even her fault. She had no control over what some radio station in Detroit played when it couldn't air sports.

Still, even right now, even about 46 years later, even three months before the next baseball season, I'm mad hearing the song solely in my own mind because it's means no Tiger baseball. I suppose that's little more than self imposed Pavlovianism. But man, I can't wait til the tarp's off the field.

Friday, December 23, 2016

The Sophie Stare

As many of you know, I taught adult education for 23 years. One of my favorite students was Sophie, a woman who had returned to academia in her sixties to finish her high school diploma. She had had to quit school as a teenager to work to help her family, and wanted the achievement of a diploma. She worked diligently and earned her sheepskin.

But perhaps the best thing she ever did for me as my student was help me maintain discipline. You see, while we catered to adult students we took in regular high school students who needed to make up credits to graduate on time. They didn't necessarily have the best academic ethic (they would not have been making up credits if they had) and could at times be as disruptive as high schoolers could be.

One evening two young men were sitting at the back of the classroom while Sophie had taken her usual seat front and center. The guys began to whisper to each other and chuckle lowly, and soon become enough of a distraction that I had decided to say something to them. Yet right before I could, Sophie set down her pen and turned around to glare at the guys. It took a few seconds, but when they noticed her staring them down they picked up their pens and got back to their schoolwork.

This pattern repeated itself two more times that night. The guys would get a bit rambunctious and Sophie would turn to face them, whereupon they'd sheepishly return to task. And after that night they never gave me any more trouble.

I had to ask Sophie how she did it. The elderly Polish matron squinted her eyes at me and said, "I give them the grandma stare."

I had never actually faced the Sophie Stare myself. Judging by its effect on those two lads, I'm glad I never did.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Double negatives are a no-no

Pink Floyd says that 'We don't need no education', but I think they do. They're using a double negative.

Thank you, thank you. I'll be here all week.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

This election got it right

I love the electoral college. It speaks to me.

Go on, carp about how Hillary won the popular vote. But we are the United States, you must remember. United States. Emphasis on States. Why should California and New York tell the rest of us how to live?

That's the forgotten, or ignored, part of the equation. The two largest fragments of our country are not our whole country. The rest of us, indeed together with them, we are the whole country.

Damn the popular vote. We are not one nation. We are a union of sovereign States, each with an existence which does not depend on the opinions of our other, sister, states. The vast majority of our sister states did not want Hillary Clinton as our President. So she is not.

And that it how it should be. The majority should not rule without the consent of the minority in their true rights. I believe someone named Jefferson said as much. The Electoral College allows the minority to be fully and completely represented in these United States. Indeed, it checks the power of the majority by ensuring that power will be diffused. It has surely been diffused this past election year.

Freedom is only won when power is properly checked. Power has been properly checked this election cycle.

Monday, December 19, 2016

You're pre-approved to read this blog!

Long time readers know that I've created something of a list of useless words and terms. Today I shall add another such gem: pre-approved.

We've all gotten credit card offers that boldly insist we're pre-approved for the card. This morning as I drove past a car lot it had a huge sign which said that every one was pre-approved for credit if they bought a car there.

What in blazes is it supposed to mean? 'Hey, you there, random person, you are pre-approved for this. Why aren't you filling out the forms already to see if you actually get approved?' Because after all, isn't that what pre-approved means? That you can do something which you could already do anyway?

Either advertisers these days are incredibly stupid or unimaginably brilliant. They seem to be counting on their targets to be stupid anyhow.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Live by definition

In accordance with their textbooks, they are always in motion; but as for dwelling upon an argument or a question, and quietly asking and answering in turn, they can no more do so than they can fly. . . . If you ask any of them a question, he will produce, as from a quiver, sayings brief and dark, and shoot them at you; and if you inquire the reason of what he has said, you will be hit with some other new-jangled word, and you will make no way with any of them. Their great care is, not to allow of any settled principle either in their arguments or in their minds, . . . for they are at war with the stationary, and do what they can to drive it out everywhere. -Plato

We live by definition. Many folks will disagree with that even as they call us conservatives evil and racist and sexist, as if those terms had obvious definition. It's interesting to wonder whether all they're doing is living under an unclear definition themselves. It would seem so, despite the fact that, very often, they assert that they live under a banner of no definition.

What purpose can that serve? For starters, all it really does is put them into the category of relativists. All kinds of fun can be had with factoid, but we'll set aside for now. There's a more ominous idea at work under the auspices of no definition. If actions cannot be defined, then no human action can be called wrong as there would be no definition to fit it.

That's why so many folks now believe that marriage can be between any two (or more) people who love each other. It takes away from marriage by making the term meaningless, that is, without definition. It throws the point into the realm of love, whatever that means, as it is also a term rather loosely defined (if defined at all) these days. How many of us actually consider what love might be, or what it actually might demand of us? Very few, because it is now a term used merely to justify what we want to do and with whoever wants to do it with us.

Words mean things. They are the way in which we can most effectively communicate, and they can only be effective when we define them well and true, and hold people to those definitions. This is hardly a new concept. The ancient Greeks insisted that we must define our terms before discussing matters; more recently, Rush Limbaugh opined that, well, words mean things. If we are truly serious about understanding other people and other cultures then we have to be able to understand what is being said by ourselves and our culture. If we are really serious about ending war and injustice or even merely making our local community a better place, then we must admit that our words must be well defined in manners comprehensible and acceptable to all rational people.

If we do not do this, then we are not talking. We are not understanding. We are merely making noise.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Marty, Disney XD, and the Cartoon Network

I spend a lot of my TV viewing time these days watching cartoons. It seems that one of my favorite cartoons from when I was a kid, Scooby-Doo, has been rebooted. There's more emphasis on humor and the characters look somewhat different from their initial incarnations, and Scooby's English is much too clear. Still, it's been entertaining, and I look forward to more episodes.

The fact is that in recent years I've found myself drawn (rim-shot!) more towards new cartoons than most any other type of new entertainment. Family Guy and the like exempted, the new shows are on the whole quite a bit more clever than comedies such as found on major networks in prime time, and particularly more clever than whatever Seth McFarlane may conjure up. I think in part that's because they have no pretense about drama of any sort, an illness which seeps into almost all live action comedies. They're just trying to be funny. I like that. I like comedies to just be comedies.

I wonder too if it's that the recent cartoons aim higher than simple children's shows. Dan Povenmire and Swampy Marsh, creators of Phineas and Ferb (perhaps the greatest episodic cartoon ever) have said that they weren't drawing for children but simply didn't want to forget a segment of their audience. They had each before worked on The Simpsons and the aforementioned Family Guy and wanted to create something which entertained without being quite so raunchy as adult oriented animation had become. Let's face it: too many adult shows in general have become too reliant on easy, low brow humor rather than fully attempt genuine wit.

Jimmy Neutron and The Fairly Oddparents began my animation rebirth, although several years after each had debuted. Phineas and Ferb likely sealed it, so much so that I look for new cartoons far ahead of any other new show. Penn Zero, Wander Over Yonder, Gravity Falls (not a full on comedy but often funny, and smart without pretense) all are high on my list when I'm seeking new episodes as I channel surf during the evening. And of course the new Scooby-Doo. I still snicker at one particular joke from a recent episode. When Fred was asked if he feared heights he answered, "No. I fear widths."

Too funny. I look forward to more.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The gift

Mom has told on herself a few times in her life. One time it amused Dad quite succinctly.

As Dad told it, they were sitting at the kitchen table. He was doing the Sunday crossword puzzle. She was sorting out her money, laying it in piles as she counted it out. A few dollars here, a few dollars there. But she was counting it all out loud.

This for the kids: Bill's book, Marty's baseball game, Susan's doll, this and that as she mentally but aloud went through her Christmas list. She ended with, 'And this for Bill's chair'. And Dad began to laugh out loud.

Mother was buying a recliner on layaway for the old man. She had let out the secret.

It was maybe the best Christmas gift Pops had ever gotten. But only because Mom had given it away a few days before December 25th.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Tis not the season

It's official. I'm calling it right now, just like an election.

After shoveling snow off and on for over 24 hours, after clearing it from my home and my work, and after digging three cars out, I'm calling it.

Winter sucks. And it's only December 12.

Christmas aside, it is no longer the most wonderful time of the year. Nope, not by a long shot. Spring cannot get here quickly enough.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Bill Cosgriff and the adult movie house

The Globe Theater used to be on Grand River near Trumbull in Detroit. In it's heyday in the 1940s and 50s it was a typical, general audience, neighborhood movie house. By the 1970s however it had devolved into an adult theater. And now you have the necessary background information to understand today's story.

Back when he was still in high school, Pops and his friend Ben decided to go see a movie at the Globe. For whatever reason, when Dad got to where he had decided to sit, his Catholic training inexplicably kicked in and he genuflected before entering the row of seats. Ben, walking behind him, didn't see what he was doing and plowed straight into Dad. They both fell over, and the two of them then rolled down the length of the aisle, all arms and legs and trying desperately stop their free fall. It only ended when they hit against the wall at the bottom of the movie screen. Pops always told the story with a great laugh.

Fast forward to about 1974. Dad was very active in the Church and at that time was President of the parish council. He had become close friends with then Pastor Thomas Smith. One evening after a council meeting he and Fr. Smith were talking over a coffee and Dad decided to tell him the tale. He ended it with the usual hearty laugh, but then saw that Father was sitting quietly, staring daggers at him. Come on, Padre, Pops thought, that's a pretty good story that deserves a laugh.

But after a minute or so of awkward silence Father Smith finally asked, "Bill, what in God's name were you doing in that place anyway?" He only knew it as the X-rated movie house and was, properly so far as he misunderstood the circumstances, appalled that Dad had went there.

But once Pops explained that this had happened twenty years earlier, Father did agree that it was a funny story. And at that point it gave Dad's tale a whole new, and also funny in its own way, dimension.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Talking curling

All we did last night was talk curling. Yep. That's all we did.

We talked about the shots we missed and how that did not help the team. Yep. We did that.

The others of us, when not lamenting our own obvious and blatant fouls, assured the other guys that they didn't hurt our efforts all that much. If at all. Yep. We did that. Because that's what curlers do. We tell each other that they did okay.

Yep. It's what we do. It's the curling mindset.

I think we'd be a better world if more minds were set that way.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Crossing the street should not be life threatening

I have a very simple request this morning to all drivers: if you're going to use your turn signals, you gotta mean it.

As I prepared to walk across the street this morning, at a corner of Buchanan Avenue and Wesson in Detroit, I looked to my right then left as I should. I saw a black PT cruiser approaching on Buchanan with its right turn signal on. It was obviously slowing down too. I took that to mean that he was turning right onto Wesson. I looked back to my right one more time and started crossing the street.

That's when that PT Cruiser shot in front of me. He only missed me by inches. I'm still not really sure how he missed me at all; it was honestly that close.

Pedestrians and other drivers depend on you using your signals correctly, buddy. I don't appreciate that I trusted your obvious intent yet still came within inches of being sent sprawling. Or worse. If you were turning too early, could you at least have let me on across, or even tap on your horn? And while I'm ranting anyway you might have had the dignity to stop and apologize and make sure I was all right. You must have seen me jump backwards. You might have heard my yell. But you probably didn't, did ya, and that, if true, is the whole trouble. Pay attention when you drive, mac.

Just use your signals and mean it, drivers, and pay enough attention to the roads to actually see what's going on around you. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The second slash double

I'm gonna tell you what. This was one of the best curling matches I ever played in, and I didn't do nuthin. The guys did it all.

They hit the line, they swept like all hell, they called the weight; they made the game. That they made me look good in the process well, I appreciate.

Every time I needed a shot, they supplied it. Every time I needed a hit and roll, they called it and swept in into place. Every time I needed a sweep, they put my rock exactly where it needed to be. They made this game.

It all turned in the second end. I called a slash double for three on my last shot. Even I, when spying it from the throwing end of the ice, wasn't sure it was there. I threw it anyway.

Brian, my vice, calling the line as he should, from that far end of the ice, made a non call. And it was a perfect non call. I wanted him to yell sweep from early on, fearing I was inside, yet he did not call it. I wanted a sweep when my stone was near the hog, the line which a stone must cross to be legally in play, but he did not call it. I wanted a sweep when my thrown rock was within two or three feet of a guard, a rock which might deflect a stone from its target, and he did not call the sweep.

And we missed that stone by fractions and made that slash double for three.

That is the greatest non call of my life. Brian saw it, and said nothing, as a vice who saw the line perfectly should have.

You, sir, are the man.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Raking in the winnings

Some guys, when they dream about hitting it big on the lottery, think they'll retire early and take big, bucket list trips. Others say they'll build that mansion on the hill and host fancy soirees entertaining foreign dignitaries. A few will shower family and friends with jaw dropping gifts. The better ones among us may even vow to become great philanthropists, helping the poor and ailing. For me, the first two words which spring to mind when I fantasize about coming into money are: lawn service.

I hate yard work. Despise it really. I like a well manicured lawn and brightly flowered gardens and great green trees. But I hate the chores that go into creating and maintaining them. I hate mowing the lawn and planting foliage and mulching gardens. And this time of year, I hate raking leaves.

Why can't we just let them rot on the ground? Isn't that simply nature's own recycling measure? Freddie the Leaf wants to become compost. He takes a bizarre, sublime, cloying delight in the thought. Shouldn't we stay out of the way and let him and his brother and sister leaves go back to be with Mother Nature as they wish? Isn't that what she wants too, to bring them home so that she can fashion them into more and greater leaves next summer?

I say, who am I to stand in Momma's way?

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Buying a dog's favor

For some reason, my son's dog Gaspode and I don't quite get along. I think I'm a likable guy. But as dogs can often sense things about people which people can't sense, perhaps I should tread lightly there. I think, though, that I have found the chink in Gaspode's armor. We each share an affinity for potato chips.

I discovered this during Thanksgiving weekend. My son's family were in town and brought Gaspode along. On Wednesday night, as I munched on wavy potato chips, I offered the dog one. He took it, tentatively, and crunched it down. I offered him another. He took that one less tentatively. Still, he wouldn't quite let me pat his head.

The next day I upped the ante. I bought a bag of sour cream and onion chips. Gaspode walked with uncertainty to our kitchen when he heard me open the bag. He stood in the doorway, staring at me plaintively. "Rule one, dog,' I began, asserting that I was the alpha male, 'I get the first chip'. I ate one. Then I offered him one. He took it gratefully, and waited patiently for another. I had a second before giving him his second. We alternated a few more chips each before I put them away. Gaspode, though, was still slow to let me pet him.

By Friday morning, every time I walked into the pantry he would follow at a safe distance, obviously hoping that I would give him some chips. Yet even when I'd give him a couple or three he remained unwilling to let me touch him, although he had reached the point that I could pet him. He wouldn't wag his tail though. It was getting to where I was almost insulted: sure, I can feed you, but I can't pet you and not get a bit of adoration in return? And geez, I'm supposed to be avoiding potato chips, on doctor's orders, and here I am eating more of them than I have in months trying to curry a dog's favor? I'm risking my health for you, Gaspode.

I'll have his loyalty next time though. Yes, I will. I'm going to go nuclear on him, and he will become my friend. When he visits for Christmas, I'm having honey barbeque potato chips. I defy him to not wag his tail at that.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Throw them stones

It just gets into your blood. There's no other way to describe it.

I thought about not curling last night. It's been a bit of a rough week, and as I drove home from Toledo during the afternoon I was thinking, aw hell, maybe I won't curl tonight. Another player was on stand by, and the border (I curl in Canada) can be a hassle later in the week. It would have been easy not to curl. But I went on and curled anyway. I had missed last Thursday for Thanksgiving, and one Thursday before that due to car trouble. So I curled.

I'm glad I did. We caught the breaks and won, and the skip and sweepers made me look good. Go ahead: insert your favorite Marty and others make Marty curl well joke right now. I don't care. I can take a joke, and the guys did make me look as though I had a vague idea of how to play.

Few of my friends believed me when I insisted a couple years ago that I thought I was done with the game. Yet at the time, I really thought I was. I wasn't playing well. I was too intense, and it was affecting my attitude which of course will affect your game. But I was advised by a good friend to simply relax and remember why you curl.

That advice helped beyond my expectations. It got me back to the root of the game, and that was throwin' them stones. There's just something that gets into your blood about throwin' them stones and makin' them curling shots. Just relax and throw the stone.

It's a really satisfying feeling, I tell you what. I'm glad I kept playing.

The duck's back theorem of life

There are a few things he said which I try to live by. I was reminded of one such thing a few days back.

I was quoting a repair to customer A as customer B walked in. Customer A feigned a heart attack when I told him the price. He then turned to B and said that I was killing him. I jokingly told B that he may as well leave, that I wouldn't need his business after I was through extorting customer A.

Anyways, A says he'll think about it and leaves and I began to deal with B. To my delight, B being familiar with what A wanted, he first remarked, "I don't know what his problem is. That was a very good price you gave him." I said thanks. It's always nice to hear that you're actually an honest businessman. He continued, "How do you put up with that?". referring to customer's A's gyrations.

"Water off a duck's back, my Pops used to say," I told him. You can't let obnoxious stuff like that bother you. Let it seep away.

I try to remember that, because customers, hell, people in general, can be hard to deal with. Myself included, quite frankly. You just have to strive not to let it bother you. That whole incident was over in about 40 seconds. Why should it bug me? Okay, arguably I am letting it bother me right now, but to a purpose. I'm using the incident as an illustration. Don't let those things trouble you. Let them flow away like water off a duck's back.

I don't think it a bad way to conduct yourself at all. And by the way, A came back the next day and paid my price with no more issues. I like to think he realized he was being treated fairly after all.