Monday, June 23, 2008

Compensation

People often talk about “compensating for X,” where “X” is something like wind resistance, or gravity, or whatever. The basic idea is to adjust for any external or internal factors that could alter the expected outcome.
This morning I stumbled onto the concept of “compensating for being Jon.”As I was getting out of my car at work, I unlatched my seatbelt, and as it retracted it got caught on my cell phone case. So in order to get out of the car without pulling my cell phone case loose – or worse – I compensated for being Jon and did this sort of pivot as I got out, disentangling the seat belt from my phone case.
A lot of the irritations, cuts, contusions, and various other mishaps I run into in life are due to my failure to compensate for being Jon.
I have to always remember that at pretty much any given time I’m just one misstep away from some sort of painful real-life slapstick comedy routine.
Fittingly enough, on the day on which I put a name to the concept, I ended up failing to compensate for being Jon later in the afternoon when I was buying some candy from the vending machine.
I’d noticed that the one I’d bought was the second to the last one, and as my dad so often did with brownies or cake, decided to “even out the row” by also buying the last one.
On multiple occasions when purchasing that particular item, I’ve ended up having to buy two, as the first one would usually get caught, and the only way to set it free was to buy another. This wasn’t a problem, really, as, hey, even when it’s two for the price of two it isn’t really a bad deal. However, the last couple of times I haven’t run into that problem, so, failing to compensate for being Jon, I figured that I was in the clear. I wasn’t; the last one got caught. So I had to put another dollar in to get it out. Two for the price of three? Not such a great deal.
Tomorrow I head off to Kansas City until Thursday. I’m not really looking forward to it, but I’m not dreading it either.
After all, as they say, and as I often repeat here, no matter where you go, there you are, so given that it’s me traveling there, the destination doesn’t really matter.
I mean, really, for the amount of fun I would have, Hawaii, for example, could just as easily be Kansas.
That’s what I’m telling myself, at least.
When I worked at AOL we would periodically get alarms for access numbers in Kansas City, and the alarming software would display the name as one word: kansascity.
I liked to pronounce it as kan-ZASS-ity, and created a definition for it: it’s like serendipity, only boring.
I know, I know; I need to stop giving Kansas such a hard time. After all, I might just end up enjoying myself.
(Here’s where I compensate for being Jon and say “Yeah, right.”)
I was saddened to learn that George Carlin had passed away at the age of 71. He was one of my favorite stand-ups, and I’m sorry to see that he’s gone.
(One of my favorite Carlin bits was when he said something along the lines of “I guarantee that whoever coined the phrase caveat emptor (let the buyer beware) was bleeding from the rectum at the time.”)
In any case, I’m not sure how much blogging I’ll do from the road. I guess we’ll find out starting tomorrow.