Sunday, November 3, 2013

Life Is Give and Take, Part II

According to Someone in the Know

My wife and I are not imbedded members of any level of the social scene. Thus we were naïve as to what constitutes a proper response when we received a wedding invitation from relatives on our extended family tree. We had never met the groom-to-be, and have met the blood-relative bride-to-be on perhaps a half-dozen times. We decided not to fly across the country to attend the wedding back east, so we acquired a proper card and sent a reasonably sized check to them on September 19, 2012. They cashed it immediately.

Five months passed, and when we hadn’t received even a one-line thank you note, I was curious what to do, if anything. I contacted a more knowledgeable family member who had undoubtedly given a more generous gift, had attended the wedding, and was likely involved in her own social milieu.  When I asked if she had heard from the newlyweds, she said that she had received a thank you card a while back.

When I mentioned that we had not, that “someone in the know” emphatically informed me that the recipients are not expected to send everyone a thank you note so soon. Moreover, she stated it is considered proper for them to respond within a year because newlyweds have so much on their minds.

I also have much on my mind, and the next time I receive a wedding invitation, I will not rush out to acquire a card and write a check, even if it is only a reasonable one. Perhaps just a card will be sufficient, and I will decide on that, since now I am someone in the know.

Ironically, I received a call from the bride’s father on the anniversary of the date that the check was cashed. I casually mentioned that his daughter’s anniversary is approaching and I have a bone to pick with her. He intuitively said, “They didn’t send you a thank you, did they?” When I confirmed his suspicion, he was a trifle upset. A few days later I received a thank you card from him, and he signed his daughter’s name.

If I celebrate the couple’s nuptials at all, it will not be on the anniversary of their wedding date, but on the date when I receive their thank you note.

PS: After our grandniece’s Bat Mitzvah, the thirteen-year-old immediately sent us a thoughtful, hand-written thank you note for our gift.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

What In The Word?

After spending nearly two years working on my book The Oy Way, I took an overdue hiatus from writing, publishing and selling my effort. Now is a long overdue time to resume writing.

I have not avoided all of the steps in the writing process; in fact I have been engrossed in step one, i.e., collecting data to be used in this blog, the Ho-Ho-Kus Cogitator, and the Huffington Post. The material for my memoirs is buried in my head and within forty-two years of journals. Some chapters in the memoir have already been published in other print and online media, including what you will find here.

The “word” has been regularly massacred not only by recent arrivals to America who are trying to adjust to a new culture and a strange language, but also by would-be print and broadcast professionals, including a rookie news anchor on the NBC television station in Bismark, North Dakota.

He didn’t realize that his microphone was on when he uttered “F__cking sh_t” only fifteen seconds into his first broadcast. It was also his last broadcast there, and I wonder where you go after you have lost a job in North Dakota. Wasilla, Alaska?

You Language Is Bad
In a recent verbal battle between journalist Bob Woodward and Gene Sperling, White House Economic Advisor, Sperling, wrote,  “Bob, I apologize for raising my voice in our conversation today. My bad.”  Ah, the sad language used by those with a minimum command of our native English language.

What Do You Mean                                                                                                                                   We” White Man                                                                                                                                        Doug Gottlieb CBS analyst covering NCAA Basketball was on a panel with four African American men, when he uttered; “I don’t know why you guys ask me. I’m just here to bring diversity to this set, give kind of the white man’s perspective.
Sew What If a News Person                                                                                                                          Doesn’t No the Difference                                                                                                                                 The San Jose Mercury News covers the San Francisco Bay Area’s sports teams including the Golden State Warriors and their star Stephen Curry.                                                                                     
Their Warriors writer waxed eloquently about Curry’s work and wrote, “the best part is watching someone reap what he sewed.” I sent the writer an email, closing with, “Buy four now and wish that you, ewe, hew and you continue to write interesting articles so I can help my Spanish-born wife with her use of the English language.” The next day I received a sincere “Thank you” email in return.
Geographically Challenged                                                                                                                                The publication of a detailed map of North Korea came just weeks after Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt toured that country in January. On April 30th, Schmidt was a guest on the Charlie Rose show on PBS, and said, “North Korea is a pretty city.”
With a net worth estimated at $8.5 billion, Schmidt should consider taking a course in world geography.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Thirty-Five Miles Away,                                                                                       Yet Many Worlds Apart

I taught for more than twenty-five years at San Jose State University (SJSU) and have lived a bit longer here in Santa Cruz, home of the University of California-Santa Cruz (UCSC). Each university’s alumni publication encourages graduates to submit a short, updated biography on what they consider to be the most important, recent achievements in their lives.

SJSU is ensconced in the heart of San Jose and filled with students who are trying to get ahead in their working life, while UCSC has always been an ultra, liberal arts establishment. The relevant accomplishments students are proud of at each school in some areas, are quite contrasting.

James, 1980 UCSC  graduate, touts that he began taking feminizing hormones under doctor’s care and has chosen the name Ise Alexandra.”

There’s also a web site you can go to where you’ll find that Ise is pronounced “Eez,” and Eez is looking for someone to “step forward and sponsor surgery for a cost of over $20,000.”

Marie, a 1980 SJSU graduate, proudly proclaims, “She was named executive vice president of the world’s largest public relations firm.”

Allison, a 1990 UCSC graduate, was appointed a United States Magistrate Judge. “She lives with her wife and teenaged triplets in the Sacramento area.”

Shelly, a 1990 graduate in journalism and a 200i MPA grad at SJSU, is a lecturer at SJSU’s Department of Health Science.

To each, his or her own path, and the path of most resistance can be found in The Oy Way.