Good News

Talk About A Bad Day — This 1960s Telephone Operator Tells All

16458827959_7573341640_mBad days at work — we’ve all had them. Most of us have heard tons of advice on how to deal with bad days. I remember hearing somewhere along the way, you can write down your feelings in a letter — and then destroy the letter.

This poor lady should’ve followed that advise.

Let me set the stage. I found the letter on microfilm from a 1960s edition of a community newspaper which means I can’t link to it since it doesn’t currently exist online — and I can’t reproduce it in its entirety since that probably violates some copyright laws — so I’ll just highlight the best parts.

The lady, let’s call her Maggie, is a telephone operator who has had her fill of, among other things, people who ‘cough, sneeze, and clear their throats in our ears,’ jumps right into her formal complaint against consumers at large — saying, in the second paragraph of her letter to the editor,

“Some say we are slow. Unfortunately, they don’t realize the main thing that slows us down is themselves. They seldom know the number they want and in the time it takes us to reach information, we could easily take three more calls, sometimes more. I feel they are just too lazy to write it down — it’s easier for them to let us do it.”

She continues a few paragraphs later by adding,

About half the time we answer a call, we have to painfully extract the needed information from them, for they are carrying on a running conversation with someone else and could care less that we are talking to them.

And don’t even get her started on area codes. Even though area codes were first introduced in 1947 — it apparently took a little longer for them to be integrated in small rural areas like Preble County. Maggie said,

They have no idea what an area code is for and they don’t use it. Without the area code you usually end up with a recording in Dayton.

But, even though Maggie is clearly frustrated with her customer base, she is pragmatic and offers a solution as she closes out her letter.

Those who complain so much should apply for a job here, for I’m sure they’d find it an enlightening experience.

Categories: Good News, Humor

Tis The Season For Laughter

christmasWhen my daughter was about two year’s old, I had to have a colonoscopy and as I was standing at the kitchen sink trying to drink the vile liquid prescribed to purge my body, I gagged. My daughter said, as only a toddler can, ‘Dad, you can do it,’ repeating to me the phrase her mom and I used whenever she had to take liquid medicine.

What, of course, I did not want to explain to my two-year-old was: I did not need a pep talk and I knew ‘I could do it.’ I just didn’t want to because it tasted awful and I knew what would happen in less than 30 minutes after I drank it.

But that’s the innocence of youth.

Finding a way to laugh through life’s irritations and problems is one of the keys to a fulfilled life. Fortunately, humor exists in plenty of places. Here are a few to lighten your day.

Get a Job

The Reader’s Digest has compiled a list of dumb things people have done in job interviews. They kick off the list with this one:

“I swear this is true: Someone threw his beer can in the outside trash can before coming into the reception area,”
Anonymous HR professional

Possibly nothing is funnier, though, than letters to Santa from children. Here are two lists to enjoy.

Funny and touching Christmas letters from children in the 1800s, 1900s (Read entire list):

I am a bright-eyed little boy and am trying to be good so that you will remember me on Christmas morning. I would like very much to have a bayonet, a gun, a sword, a sled, a watch, and a chain, a pair of rubber boots, a snow shovel, some books, a slate, some nice warm stockings, a little penknife, a candy cane, and a pair of mittens. I hope you will not think I am asking for too many things, for I do not wish to be thought greedy.

Dear Santa, please can you make me prettier than my best friend? (Read complete list)

Dear Santa,

Why did you give Richard a PlayStation 2 and not me? Do you think that’s fair?


Categories: Good News, Humor

24 Years Ago I Married My Best Friend

15718547731_f71552e91a_oOn Dec. 15, 1990 I stood before a Justice of the Peace in a Richmond, IN courthouse and exchanged vows with my wife-to-be, Amy. We were ready to face the world together and had it all figured out, even though, in reality (to quote Lean on Me)we didn’t know nothing.

Although, I don’t pretend to know why some marriages work and others fail, I think ours has been strong for three simple reasons:

Mutual Respect. Amy and I are definitely not who we were 24 years ago, both of us have changed. Outsiders can debate whether the change has been good or bad, but it has created a bond between us. We both respect each other’s intellect, work ethic and commitment to personal growth. While we do not always agree, we have always listened to — and respected each other’s opinion. Two people can never challenge — and bring out the best in each other — without differing opinions.

Community TheatreTime Together. Our careers have created situations where the schedule has not always been conducive to a high-quality marriage. Sometimes, the schedule was severe enough that we saw each other only for a few moments each day. But, despite this, we always found a way to spend time together — and it isn’t always an elaborate affair. For this year’s anniversary we simply started the day with a great lunch at the Fuji House before watching a Christmas play at the local community theater.

Sense of Humor. Both of us are witty and, in life or marriage, laughter really can be the best medicine. I’ll admit, though, that after repeating the same one-liners for more than two decades, Amy doesn’t laugh at them as much as she used to. However, when I use fresh material, I can (almost) always get the laugh. Our life together has seen its share of hardship — from fertility issues to layoffs — but through it all we have maintained a sense of humor. Laughter can make tolerable even the most unbearable situations.

Will we get another 24 years? Who knows.

But, one thing I do know, if I would have looked through a crystal ball in 1990 and have seen everything, good or bad, that would transpire in our lives together  — I would have gladly said, I do.

Categories: Family History, Good News | Tags: ,