Writing Blog Tour

Yes, that's right, a tour. Of blogs. Buckle up and get ready. Are you ready?

Okay, I'll take your silence as a yes. So, I'm not sure how this thing got started but a wonderful writer friend of mine, Megan Stolz  (who you can check out by clicking on that there link) invited me to be part of this writing blog tour. I figured that since nobody really reads my blog (mom and dad you don't count), it couldn't hurt.

The Jerry Maguire Effect

I heard a story the other day about this phenomena that a researcher dubbed "the Jerry Maguire effect." Apparently, according to the researcher, we humans are making judgements about people all of the time. If you're like me, you're thinking, well, duh. (Sometimes I am boggled by the things scientists spend their time looking into.)

In the study, the researcher recorded 64 men and women reading a paragraph that included the word hello. The hellos were then extracted from the paragraph and 320 other people rated the hellos on ten personality traits, including trustworthiness, confidence, aggressiveness and warmth (hence, the Jerry Maguire effect, i.e. "You had me at hello").

Guess what happened? I know you're dying to know, so I'll tell you. Most of people rated the voices the same way. Voice "A," for example, was rated as the most trustworthy by the majority, and voice "B" was the most aggressive and so on down the line for all the traits. (They never did say what the percentage breakdown was, only that a "majority" rated them the same).

If the first part of the study was a big, fat duh, the second part was certainly a surprise. Sure, we all judge people on what we see, so it stands to reason that when we only have a person's voice to work with we'll make all kinds of assumptions about them simply based on what we hear. (Apparently, this rapid appraisal has some evolutionary root. You know, the whole friend or foe, stay or flee, kind of thing.) But who would've thought that we'd mostly agree on what a confident voice sounds like? What a trustworthy voice sounds like? Not me.

Hmmm, I wonder what would happen if we recorded the hellos of all the members of the U.S. Senate?  Would any of our beloved senators be rated as trustworthy? Now that would be an experiment! (As a side note, no way in hell that Mitch McConnell, Harry Reid or John Boehner would've ever been elected solely on their hellos, because I'm pretty sure that the three of them are in a stiff competition for most annoying voice on the planet.)

Or no, wait, I wonder what would happen if we had all 100 Senators and all 535 members of Congress listen to the hellos and then rate them on the ten traits, the same way that the researcher had. What would happen if we did that?

Huh, what's that you say? That's a big, fat duh if you ever saw one? The answer is obvious--there'd be no clear majority, there'd be gridlock, there'd be grandstanding and deal making.

I guess you're right. Why didn't I think of that? Hellooo?

Rain, Rain Go Away

It's raining. Again.

I think there's probably something wrong with me because whenever it rains like this, I feel like it might never stop raining. Like it'll be this dull, grey forever.

The same thing happened during the polar vortexes this past winter. I thought, O my God it's so cold, and it'll be cold like this for the rest of my life. I could barely even remember what it was like to not be cold. Even inside of my house, I had to wear thermals so that my feet and fingers didn't feel like blocks of ice.

Because, you know, according to the body's hierarchy of needs, the extremities are way at the bottom, so the blood draws away from them to the core. It wants to take care of our core. I've always thought that this was really neat, the way that our body protects itself. Preserves itself. The way that everything is about survival. We are all just trying to survive. Even inside of our homes. Maybe especially inside of our homes.

Then why can't my brain remember that the sun is going to come out and that it's going to get warm again? Maybe it's not my brain's fault. My logical brain knows that nothing is permanent. Everything is always in motion. Right down to our cells--osmotically striving for balance. No, I'm not talking about the definition of osmosis that people are always using when they say things like I'm not going to study, I'm just going to sleep on my textbook so that I can absorb the information. I'm talking about the other definition, where molecules pass through a membrane from an area of high concentration to low in order to equalize.

Constant movement. We like balance. Our bodies like balance. Our bodies work to get to that place of balance until it seems that it's a lost cause, then they'll just try to protect the core, which is why I walk around most of the winter with cold hands and feet, even with the thermals. Sometimes I get in bed and put my foot against Lindsay's leg just so I can hear her squeal. Also, maybe I want to remind her that she's lucky that her body temperature is high enough that the blood hasn't withdrawn from her extremities. That, and it's just nice to touch something or someone warm when I'm so cold.

Every once in a great while, I'll be in my thermals and my body is cozy enough that it feels like it has enough warm blood to spare so it circulates all the way down to my fingertips and my toes. I'll be in a haze of comfortability, enjoying the fact that my body does not feel that it needs to protect my core. And you know what will happen? Lindsay will be the one who is cold and she'll get in bed and put her cold hand right on my stomach as payback for the ice cold foot I put on her leg the night before.

Maybe she wants to remind me that it's not nice to disturb someone when they've reached that state of homeostasis, that maybe we should just let a person enjoy the rare haze of comfortability, or maybe it's not that deliberate. Maybe she, too, thinks that it's nice to touch something or someone warm when she is so cold.

I just hope that it stops raining soon, because my psyche sure could use some sunshine right about now.

We Don't Get HBO, But if We Did

I went to this reading last night where I met this girl. She was a friend of a friend. There were introductions. I said hello with all the politeness that my mother and father instilled in me. I smiled. The girl seemed nice enough, but maybe a little bit weird.

If You're Like Me, You've Spent a lot of Years Listening to Racist Bullshit

“Oh no,” I said to my wife the moment I saw the Coca-Cola commercial that aired during the Super Bowl.

“What?” she asked, glancing over at the T.V.

She was in the kitchen tinkering with something, counting on me to alert her if anything good came on. We’d already rewound to watch the Stephen Colbert ad for Wonderful Pistachios where he cracked his head open, revealing a smaller pistachio colored Colbert face. Hilarious.