Monday, October 17, 2005

Conditioning 101

What's the best way to condition a person to not to take the high road? You lay a hot steamy pile on them after they give you a sincere apology for an offense. That's happening in my comments right now.

Imagine this: You're at a party and you pass by a room where you find an acquaintance with their hand in someone's unattended purse. Because you've just happened past in that moment in time and your eyes don't deceive, you accuse them of stealing. But, what you didn't see is that the "offender" saw the woman's wallet fall out when she set her purse down. Because of the food in his mouth, he couldn't get her attention, so to ensure the wallet's safety, he picked it up and placed it in her purse. You only saw his hand in the purse.

Before the "offender" can explain himself to you, you've already told everyone else at the party that he's guilty. Even a few your friends at the party question your integrity, because having your hand in someone's purse sure sounds pretty awful. Then the rest of the party-goers pile on the personal attacks because they trust you and your eyes as much as you do. The "offender" then sits you down to explain the situation and to your surprise, the explanation is extremely plausible. Not only that, but the purses's owner confirms that her purse has a tendency to spit out her over-sized wallet. She even thanks the "offender" for doing what she's had to do many times herself.

That's my story of the past few days, only my "offense" was being a little slow in completing a post.

Frequent readers know of some of the humor I occasionally write about my girlfriend. For my birthday, she bought me an Accelerated Free Fall. Best gift ever. I wrote about the gift being for me if the chute opened and the gift being for her if it didn't, mainly because of the hot/cold nature of our relationship.

This is where I made a dumb decision. I wrote a serious-sounding post a few days later that was essentially a farewell note, giving the appearance it was posted by a friend. (I've taken down the post for it's magnetism for different variations of four-letter words) At the end of the "note," I linked back to the above-linked post where I questioned my girlfriend's intentions, thinking it would be the tip-off of the joke.

I meant to leave the "note" up for a day while I arranged a new post that included pictures and video of my skydiving experience. In the meantime, I replied to e-mails from regulars who were on to me, so I thought it was going as planned. However, getting video and hard copy pictures scanned and attached to the post about the skydive was harder than I thought. Because the "note" looked awfully serious and there were some concerned people, it all became a very big deal.

Someone who knows about the relative safety of skydiving smelled something was up, and not knowing the rest of the story told in previous posts, made a bunch of calls and found out that I wasn't dead, that my hand was in the proverbial purse. He was rightfully pissed because the nature of the note and what looked like horribly tactless attempt at getting attention. A very pointed post followed and I still sweat each time I read it. Ouch. Party-goers then wanted to throw me in the pool, with a refrigerator attached to my back.

The person who "caught" me made a incredibly valid point that I hadn't considered, which I hope was the main thrust of his anger, one they he's probably had direct knowledge of - notes like the one I wrote as a joke have been written by soldiers since the beginning of time. Because of my material and virtual (blog) support that is apparent on this site, an explanation was necessary and a sincere apology for the appearance of impropriety against a segment of Americans unmatched in selflessness or seriousness.

Before I had the chance to explain and apologize, the whole party "knew" and they weren't bashful letting me know what they thought of me. After all, their source has every reason to be trusted. But they didn't have the whole story. While this is a great lesson in blogging, it's also lesson in knowing the whole story before telling all the people at the party who the 'thief' is.

Thank you to everyone who's stuck around or who'll continue coming back in the future. I promise that I will never again give the impression that I'm dead, even though many of you wish it really would happen.

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