Steel City Cowboy

Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Clothes and New Friends

When I started working in the world of Open Source software, it was kind of a revelation for me. All of the introvert qualities that had made it hard for me to talk to strangers or to feel comfortable in a large group situation were completely flip-flopped when I was on an Open Source "mission." I guess you could call me an introvert prone to topical extroversion.

But I've now noticed that this effect has spilled into another realm: politics. Every single time I wear my "I voted for Obama!" shirt while I'm out and about, people are so friendly to me, and I'm friendly right back. (Oh, you say, you didn't vote for Mr. Obama comrade! Wrong, sir! Wrong I say! How I marked my ballot in November is immaterial to whether or not I voted for Mr. Obama. That's history, which pales in comparison to current state of mind and intentions. In my mind right now, I voted for him, so please don't bring up the past.)

What's cool is that wearing gear that shows your loyalty to Mr. Obama puts you into an instant brotherhood. When I'm wearing that shirt, people will just come up to me and start telling me all kinds of neat stuff I didn't know before, personal stuff, stuff about George Bush I never would have guessed at. It's so cool. And "those people" (you know who I mean -- you'd probably not want to go to their neighborhood but they sure knew how to vote!) seem to acknowledge me too. I mean, they don't actually say anything, but I can tell by the way they're walking that they're thinking "Yeah man, he's cool." It's like we both know that, even without saying a word, we're sticking it to The Man.

The other side of that coin is that I can now tell who it'll be cool to talk to in public at a glance. Wearing a shirt that shows your loyalty? I know for a fact that I can walk up to you, start talking about anything (and by "anything" of course I mean "any approved thing" -- there's some stuff you just don't mention!), and we'll hit it off. It's almost like being a little kid again. "Hi I'm Frank. I like cheese." "Me too! Let's be friends!" Boom, done. It's that simple.

This way, it's easy to figure out who you should talk to and who you shouldn't. So I'm going to encourage you to show your support and loyalty for Mr. Obama openly. Maybe a pin we can all wear or some kind of uniform. Armbands are relatively unobtrusive. Just something that will let us know who's cool and who isn't.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The Pressure Is Off

There are a lot of pressures in a man's life. One of them is the notion that you have to keep doing better and better professionally in order to keep pace with everyone else. You must constantly be moving forward. Another, and this one applies especially to people of high skill and elite education, is the pressure to strike out on your own: create a new business or bring to market one of your great ideas, and in turn prove jobs and add wealth and goodness to the world.

I'm so very happy to note that with Mr. Obama, that pressure is finally off! No one is getting promotions or raises. No one is going out on a limb to start a small business. Simply by keeping my job and not taking a pay cut, I'm ahead of the game!

As we look ahead to the playing field being leveled by force (hatchet, axe and saw!), it's nice to know that the pressure on people like myself to excel is gone. Good riddance.