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So what negative thing happened to my Psyche as a result of seeing the angry overly-physical mom yelling at the out of control unruly kids at the grocery store? I unwisely, rediculously, illogically experienced feelings of pride in my own parenting.
Now this pride was wrong-minded for two reasons, the first one having to do with a subject that I have touched on in my Judging article, to wit: I had no way of knowing what kind of circumstances that family had been in. There may be very good reasons why those kids were out of control and the mom had lost it – and, you know – there but for the grace of God go I.
But let’s say we could neglect that pride discouraging idea and assume that, no, there was no good reason for the Mom to have lost control of herself and her kids like that. Okay. There’s still a good reason why any pride I felt having seen that situation was foolish. Here it is:
Jamsco, should it give you any kind of gladness that you are a better parent than the worst parent you have ever personally witnessed?
And the answer comes back – No.
No, Jamsco, actually you should hold your parenting up to a somewhat higher standard. You should try to do better than just better than the worst.
So Supermarket Pride is pride where there should be none. Where you are comparing yourself to something everyone agrees is quite bad.
I think this is a fairly common problem in our culture (perhaps all of humanity) and it would be helpful to have this pointed out to us. But our culture does the opposite – it markets for those who want to experience supermarket pride.
So those who watch Jerry Springer (or used to – is it still on? And by the way, no, I’ve never watched it) watch it because they want to feel better than those losers who humiliate themselves on it. “At least I’m not that bad! Right, Honey?”
This is why half of the reality shows are popular. This is why we have so much glee when a famous person does something foolish publicly, or when a contestant can’t talk about student geography deficiencies coherently.
I used to think that Target did this intentionally with the Bratz dolls. Certainly no one would be so foolish as to buy something like that for a daughter. Target must be putting them on sale as a public service to help its shoppers feel like good parents because they don’t buy them. But actually this isn’t true; evidently there are some who actually buy them for their pre-teen girls.
Wait! Stop! You’re doing it right now! Yes, you – Puppet Reader! You feeling prideful because you don’t watch Jerry Springer or care about Britney Spears. Cut it out! Set the bar higher.
Watch out for and avoid Supermarket Pride. It will only bring you down.
I have been thinking about a concept that is a bit hard to define. If it caught on as an identifiable concept, I think it would help our culture. There ought to be a identifying word or phrase for this idea, and it should be catchy. But my creativity is failing me, so I am going with a phrase that only makes sense in light of the fascinating anecdote I am about to tell you. Here goes:
Years ago, when the Jamfam only had three kids in it, and they were fairly young, we were all shopping at the local large grocery store. We were at the cash register (we must have just got there), watching as our food and bagging it as it was being sent down the conveyor. when we heard a commotion coming out of the bathroom, not twenty feet for us – a mom was having difficulty controlling her kids. She was yelling at them. They were upset, loud, unruly, belligerent and disrespectful. They were not doing what she was telling them to do, and she was letting them and everyone within earshot know that this was the case.
At one point (this is the main detail that I remember), one of the kids (6? 8?) was complaining loudly and annoyingly that he didn’t want to be in the grocery cart. So she angrily picked him up and put him down on the floor. Too hard, as it turned out. He fell and began wailing at the injustice of what his Mom had done, remaining seated there on the floor. She yelled at him to get up and they began moving..
So up until this point I was assuming that they were just stopping in the bathroom on the way out, and the meltdown was a result of an over long grocery shopping trip. No. They were just starting.
So off she headed, right past us, dragging yelling kids, down one of the food aisles. We heard them for several more minutes after they were out of sight.
The plus side of being right in front of this event’s stage was that it kept our kids from being bored. Perhaps I should have told them not to stare with open mouth.
The downside is what happened to our psyche as a result of seeing this. But this post is already too long, so I will explain this downside (and why it inspired me to develop another JamsCoin) next week.
Here’s the continuation.
Def: RachelRay – n.
A person who gained fame in one area and has, for one reason or another, crossed over into other many other branches of mainstream media (such as headlines and magazine covers), but of whom only half of western civilization has of yet heard or knows anything about.
Person 1: Who’s this guy I keep seeing on Billboards, what’s his name . . Germee Bergen?
Person 2: That’s GeahrMel. The second ‘e’ is pronounced with an ‘L’ sound. He’s that guy who’s big in Xtreme Impact Tennis so popular these days. Oh, that’s right, you don’t have cable. He’s ESPN’s latest RachelRay.
Definition: Dogstar – N.
An artistic endeavor made possible for an otherwise famous person because of their fame and influence.
In a bookstore:
Person 1: What’s this? A children’s book by that guy from Frazier? Huh. I didn’t know he was an author.
Person 2: He’s not. He just convinced a publisher that his name might sell books. This is his Dogstar.
And by the way . . . good for them – If I ever get rich or famous, I’ll for sure be doing this.
As you might know, the word sophomore comes from two Greek words – Soph meaning wisdom and more, meaning foolishness. So it actually means ‘wise fool’.
This is a helpful concept. You can see why this might be a good name for a person in the second year of high school or college. Someone who thinks ’I've done this for a year, I’ve got it figured out. I’m so much wiser than those freshmen’ only to fail at something because of their overconfidence.
So a sophomoric act would be one where wisdom or experience brings overconfidence which results in foolishness. Wise -> Fool
So what would you call someone who did something foolish and was then able to pull out its repercussions with a little bit of wisdom? Morosophic?
The reason I ask is this is what I saw in my six year old son last Saturday.
The situation? (You see? doesn’t that sound smarmy?) The day before, I had taken all of the kids out on errands and one of the things we bought was a programmable coffee maker for my wife for Mother’s day (Noting, of course, that they should keep this purchase under their hats) and hid it in our trunk.
The next day, Saturday, the day before Mother’s day, due to bad engineering on the part of the coffee maker maker, Debbie ended up with coffee grounds all over the counter. So when she was out at Walmart an hour later, she bought a new one. The same one that I had bought 14 hours earlier.
When she got home, Barrett found me in the yard building our new garden and he said “Did you know that Mom bought a new coffee maker?” I had feared that she might, but I told him that we would figure it out and bring one of them back.
So here’s the foolish act: Barrett went in and said to her, “Daddy’s not happy that you bought a coffee maker” It was at this point that she figured it out, I think. She said “Why, did he already buy me one?”
Barrett looked away, thought for a second, said “I’m going outside now” and did so.
My son Barrett, Third son, Kindergardener, . . . Morosophe.
They say that new vocabulary words are like vitamins for the brain. They also say that there are, for each culture, concepts that the people don’t understand simply because they don’t have a word for it. Thirdly, my opinion is that there are some ideas that should be brought to people’s attention but aren’t because it takes too long to describe.
Welcome to a new topic category here at the Responsible Puppet – JamsCoin – where, as a public service to the great culture that we call American Life, I will provide new and timely concepts coined as a word or phrase. These contributions to the lexicon will be introduced here and then brought to the greater culture at large by you, Jamsco’s readers (Literally dozens have read this blog since it’s conception.) Join with me, won’t you?
I’ll make the first one a simple concept:
noun: Presenter, public speaker, or speech-giver, who, after spending time watching their presentation, you realize never actually looks at the eyes of anyone in the audience.
Have you noticed this? You’re listening to a power point presentation and you see that while they look at spots very near (just under, around or (most typically (over)) anyone listening to them.
A couple comments:
- I believe that some speech coaches suggest this to avoid stage fright. I don’t think I would.
- Askanser does not equal poor speech ability. I have found that these people often present well. Sometimes good presenters have no need for visual interaction.
- I (as a presenter) am a Anti-Askanser. I used to T.A. at the U of M and I would have hated to not to be able to see the responses of my listeners. But again this is not a sign of being a good presenter. In fact, in my case, it showed insecurity; I wanted to know the exact second that someone looked confused or upset.
Closely related to this is the Focuser – Someone who you realize rarely looks away from one person. This person is often a spouse, a fellow presenter, or a person in the audience that they speaker is unintimidated by.
Now I hear some of you saying, No, Jamsco, I’ve never experienced a presenter who could be described with these terms. What are you talking about? And sir, my answer:
That’s because no one has invented a term to describe the concept! But thanks to the Responsible Puppet, those days are over.