Category Archives: Better Man

When the Levee Breaks

Today I experienced the classic flood of cleanup. I decided to take a vacation day, split between two afternoons. And the pent-up Karmic Garbage of several months began to wash away.

One of the worst gumption traps I face is the dreaded product return. I have a universal remote control from Monster Cable. As a way to get out from under the dozen-remote-curse™, a universal remote is a true miracle. That is, until it stops working. Mine decided to stop working back in October 2007. A full four months later, I’ve finally mailed the thing back. And the sad part is, it only took about 10 real minutes worth of work. As a packrat, I had a cardboard box, packing peanuts, tape, and a marker – ready to go. I even had the original package and all the components laid out. What was it that kept me from just getting it done?

Looking back, having successfully overcome another troubling bit of Karmic Garbage, I realize is was the phone call. The customer service people at Monster Cable are among the best in the business. No questions asked. “Just mail everything back to this address, reference this return number, and we’ll send you a new one”. What? That’s it? No back and forth describing every possible symptom that somehow get’s twisted into something I did and not a faulty product? Not with Monster – they want the customer to have an amazing experience, start to finish.

Strangely enough, this is the second good phone service experience I’ve had in as many days. We’ve been in our new house for about 6 months, but haven’t bothered to set up the TV. So now that the writer’s strike is over, it’s time to get caught up with The Tube. Again, I’ve been living in dread. I knew the cable company was going to give me the hard sell, when all I wanted was a list of prices and a little time to compare them to satellite. No such thing. They just quoted me the prices, even spent a little time tearing down their own website – which was the reason I had to call in the first place. Based on the no-nonsense and fundamentally HUMAN treatment I received, I’ll be calling them back this afternoon.

Boxes, phone calls, paperwork – it’s amazing how many rocks can be removed from the dam of procrastination in just a few hours, freed up by a vacation day. I can’t wait for tomorrow afternoon.

Give Yourself No Choice

Here’s a little tidbit that recently bit me in the backside. I’m coordinating the 50th year reunion for a group with which I performed in college. So I had the alumni magazine publish my contact information, and invited “all comers”. Well, they’ve started calling.

The problem for me is that I’ve been putting off building the roster. Other things inevitably came up. Well, now I have no choice. The word is out, the hall is booked, and they’re banging on the door. Time to get up from the fire and start working!

Stash stuff in your environment

Driving in to work at the military academy this morning, I really needed some chapstik. Normally I carry a chapstik and a USB flash drive in my right front pocket. But last night I delivered a lecture in my flight suit, and the stick was still in one of the sleeve pockets. Those sleeve pockets are just perfect for such small objects that need to be close at hand. Unfotunately, I don’t wear a flight suit to work any more.

This brings up a tactic for smoothing out all the daily disappointments and lost opportunities brought about by a distracted mind (I’m not going to say forgetful.) I like to stash stuff in all my normal haunts. At first glance this may seem at odds with the goal of crafting a life free of karmic garbage. But sometimes having more lets you DO more. I keep a small first aid kit in my desk at work, in the pickup truck, and in the basement shop. When you need a bandaid, you need it NOW. You can’t afford to stand around wishing you had a band aid.

So think about stashing stuff around your environment. Your mind will feel less cluttered, trust me.