Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Pitfalls of a Perfect Life

I overheard someone use the term “A case of the Mondays.” Another person, when I asked them how they were doing, responded, “It’s Monday,” and expected me to think that was an actual answer to my question. I notice more and more how unhappy people are in their jobs and in their lives.

Sometimes I wonder if there are other people who experience life the same way I do. I highly recommend anyone looking for a way to be happy and content to adopt my style of living. I feel an almost constant flow of satisfaction with my place in creation. It is highly fulfilling. If you’d like more information on how to feel enlightened, send me a personal email. It’s pretty amazing. I’m not going to give you the whole entire “how to” on awesome living here on the blog. What I will do, is tell you the things to avoid that will throw you off of Doug’s path to Nirvana.  

Unlike most religions, there are only three major challenges or pitfalls you will face when you take on Doug-like living. In the spirit of full disclosure, here are those challenges you’ll face:

1.       Give a Penny; Take a Penny- Perfect concept. Helps me make exact change when I’m short, and gives me a place to unload small coins so I don’t have a bunch a pennies jingling around in my pockets all day.

If that was all there was to the system, it would be near perfect. But until we have robot cashiers, there will always be a glitch in the give a penny, take a penny system.


a.       Give a Penny- When the cashier hands me my change, I immediately sift through it to separate any pennies. I then locate the tray and discard the copper.

That’s when things get awkward. Inevitably, in our customer service world, the cashier’s instinct is to thank me. While that is nice of them, it is improper context for gratitude. I cannot, in good conscience, accept their thanks. I mean, it’s not like I’m giving the loose change to them as some sort of tip or something. So now, not only do I not know how to respond, I also feel unnecessarily guilty for not leaving them a tip, which, admittedly, would be out of place for a $1.89 transaction at a convenience store, but the thought is still there, giving me anxiety.

Really, I should be thanking them for providing a receptacle for my unwanted loose change. Upon receiving the thanks, I turn red and go into one of those responses meant to deflect the thanks, but these responses for me are never very smooth. They seem to contain just a few too many words to make any sense, and then I feel obligated to stay and explain myself. The explanation never fails to confuse and slightly annoy the cashier. And if there is a line behind me, it’s worse because I talk faster, make less sense, and feel even more awkward.

Finally, every now and then I’ll accidentally slip a dime into the tray. Well, now the dilemma. I don’t want to be giving up my dimes, but everyone looks at me like I’m a total scumbag when I try to “steal” my dime back from the tray. I usually just end up leaving the dime for fear of the judging eyes all around me. The only problem with leaving the dime is then the cycle begins again, and the cashier feels obligated to take the “thank you’s” up a notch because now mister big shot is leaving dimes. I can see it in their eyes, “Just like the rich, treating dimes the way the rest of us treat pennies. You disgust me!”


For me, at the point that I accidentally throw a dime in the tray, I look up at the cashier when they say thanks, I say sorry, and we both break eye contact, confused.

b.      Take a Penny- This side of the transaction is a little less stressful, but can be equally challenging. First of all, occasionally you get the cashier who looks disgusted at you for abusing the system, as if you are actually holding a gun and yelling “stick ‘em up!” then taking money from their secret stash set aside for their children’s college fund.

More importantly, there needs to be some sort of unwritten rule that we all know about how many pennies you can take from the tray. I’ll admit it; I have totally taken advantage of the system. If my total is $2.09, I will hand over a five dollar bill and then search through the penny tray in hopes of nine pennies (or better yet, four pennies and a nickel some rich a-hole left in there).

I realize by doing this, though, I am exploiting the system. If I clean out the tray, the poor sucker behind me is left helpless and will have to end up breaking a bill and the whole cycle begins again.

I propose a three-coin max on the take a penny side of the aisle. If you can reach your total with any combination of three coins, more power to you. If it takes more than three coins you’ll just have to break the bill. 


2.       Tip Lines- Have you ever looked down at your debit card pay slip at a self-serve frozen yogurt shop and been surprised to find a line for adding a tip? This is always the most confusing moment of my day. The appeal of these frozen yogurt shops is that I get to do all the work. I get to load my jug with as much cake batter frozen yogurt as physics will allow. I get to pile gummy bears and cookie dough chunks like I’m playing Jenga. I get to drench the whole concoction in chocolate sauce.

So when I bring my creation to the scale and delicately hand my card over to the overly bubbly teenager whose eyes get bigger as the scale reaches weights reserved for small dogs and newborns, what exactly am I tipping her for? She’s done nothing.

Here’s the kicker: I can’t not tip. I have a buddy that will draw one of those angry zeros with a line through them in the tip space, and I admire him for it. But I can’t do it. Nor can I tip something like a dollar for fear that the teenager will think I’m a cheap, patronizing douche. So now, I’m tipping something like 25% just so I don’t worry about the tip thing for the rest of the night.

Small business owners of America. Please, get rid of those unnecessary tip lines on the credit card receipt!


3.       “Just Pick them Off”- This occurs more frequently than you would imagine, and it is infuriating. Let’s say you love olives. You and I want to order a pizza, and you suggest olives. I then tell you I don’t like olives. When you respond, “Oh, you can just pick them off” it is very dickish. You are saying that because you like olives, picking through one’s food to remove olives doesn’t sound like a big deal, because for you, you don’t mind the taste residue that olives leave behind.

Let me explain something to you. YOU ARE AN INCONSIDERATE BUTTHOLE. Just because you like something, doesn’t mean the whole world is stupid if they don’t like it, too. And the other thing, trying to talk me into liking something is equally infuriating. Look, I don’t want to not like certain foods, my tongue just tells me which ones are good and which ones are no good. Why are you trying to diminish my good times by trying to force me to eat food you think I should like?

I’ve never understood that level of narcissism. “I like a thing and if the people I’m with don’t like it, tough. They can either get over it or starve.” Just so you know, I choose starve in every one of those scenarios, and it just makes me feel like I am completely unimportant and worthless in your eyes.


Furthermore, when I do choose starve as my option because you refuse to compromise, I don’t even make a big deal of it. So it is always unsettling when you omnivores then decide to make a big deal out of it and make me feel like I’m the rude one for not eating what you prepared. Stop being personally offended that I don’t like olives on my pizza, as if it is a personal affront to you.

That’s it. Those are the three challenges that can throw an obstacle in your path to enlightenment. Avoid these three social situations, and you, too, can enjoy Doug-style living. A life of carefree wonder and excitement. Gone will be the days of Sunday Night Blues or “Having a Case of the Mondays.” You’ll love your job, you’ll love your friends and family, and most importantly, you’ll love life.


  1. For being so enlightened you sure seem to carry alot of guilt/anger over very simple things - you need to get over it and live like me. If you need a penny take it quit worring about what the cashier thinks - if you want to get rid of your pennies dump them in the tray and say "you're welcome" to the thankful cashier. If you don't want to tip a worker at the yogurt place, don't, it's not like she/he can spit in your food. If you want your very own pizza with nothing on it order it and don't worry about sharing. Finally if you're having a bad day it's okay to say "it feels like a Monday" since it's universally accepted that Mondays are, by default, the worst day of the week. These are my rules of life and they have served my perfectly well for 50+ years. I'M HAPPY AND DON"T SAY I'M NOT!

  2. This was better and shorter than mine. You are right.

    Having said that, three hang ups isn't too bad, right?

  3. Considering your childhood - yes - only 3 hang ups is good.