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The Telephone Game Is Alive and Well

8 Nov

It never ceases to amaze me that in the current era of instant information we still  misconstrue the facts in a major way.  At times it seems as if the media is more susceptible to publishing inaccurate information now more than ever.

Take last May’s assault on Osama Bin Laden for example.  The day after he was killed in Pakistan I read in great detail accounts on how the mission played out.  According to former Seal Team 6 commander,  Chuck Pfarrer, the details about the assault widely reported by the media were grossly inaccurate.

It was initially reported that one of the helicopters involved in the raid crash landed at the beginning of the mission forcing the Navy Seals to enter the complex and make their way upstairs from the ground floor where they encountered Bin Laden on the third floor.

Not true says Chuck.  The helicopter didn’t crash until Bin Laden had already been killed and in actuality, the Seals entered the complex from the roof top as planned.

I won’t regurgitate everything reported, you get the point.

So how is it possible that the media would get details about such a historic event so mixed up in this day and age?

It’s quite simple.  We are in a big damn hurry.

We live in an instant gratification society. No longer do we take the necessary time to understand information before we decide to forward or report it.  Once we figure out the details are wrong, it is too late to retract what we said because we don’t want to look foolish.

How often does this happen in our daily lives?  Think about how many times a day you respond to something without completely processing what it is you are responding to.  Are members of the media or our elected leaders that much different in this regard?

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>People With Microphones

23 Jan

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Last night I attended a fundraiser dinner/auction.  Watching the auctioneer made me start thinking, why do every day average people’s  personalities change or intensify when they are given a microphone and asked to address a crowd in a social setting?  Sometimes for the better, other times for the worse.  Occasionally  the microphone has a bizarre mind control power that convinces the person holding it they are ten times funnier than they actually are. On the flip side this bizarre mind control power actually makes the audience say “I never knew Johnny was funny.  He’s killing it!”

Take wedding receptions for example.  This is a great way to watch this phenomenon in action.  Will the speaker give you an A+ performance or fail miserably?   Everyone shoots for an average grade of a C because all they want from the experience is to hand the mic back still possessing their dignity.

Although rare, the A+ performance is worth the price of admission, usually a toaster or some other house hold need that the wedding couple registered for.  The A+ performance starts with a great opening line that grabs everyone’s attention.  One of my good friends was able to pull this off.  He receives the microphone after the short and tender toast from the bridesmaid and proceeds to tell everyone to refill their drinks and plates because we were going to be there for a while.  He continued with his performance sharing story after story embarrassing the groom and many others in the audience.  The trick was that the stories were revealing and humorous but not awkward and uncomfortable to the audience.  We’ve all been at the wedding when the speaker attempts to be funny by sharing a story that includes an extremely personal bit of information about himself or the groom and you can actually feel everyone in the room gasp for breath at the same time.   

I had to include hollywood’s classic example below.  Kids, earmuffs.

Last night’s  MC/auctioneer was definitely committed to his job and gave 100%.  This was my first time at this annual event and something tells me that our MC had served in this roll before.  Clue #1:  The person doing the introduction looked directly at the MC and stated, at least three separate times mind you, that they were going to work very hard to finish the auction by 7:30pm.  Clue #2:  His first comment was centered around the fact that this year he had a microphone so his voice would be in better shape at the end of the evening.  I know what you’re thinking,  amazing deductive prowess Adam!

He had the opening very well choreographed starting off by playing to the crowd with the old I’m wearing the color of a certain team that is playing your favorite team this weekend in the playoffs.  As planned, this statement elicited several playful boos from the audience.  This is a well used tactic and has its place if you move on rather quickly.  Our MC, didn’t posses this knowledge however.  Five minutes into it he had changed shirts three times and somehow threw in a cell phone call from God.  The phone call had an awkward feel to it because no one really knew if it was real until he said it was from God telling him to change his shirt again.

Once we got into the actual auction he seemed to find his stride and started moving through the different items at a nice pace.  I give his overall performance a C-.  There were moments of awkwardness but for the most part he held onto his dignity.  I am planning on attending next year’s dinner to see where he’ll stack up.  I get the feeling that every year adds to his “celebrity” status and he fills the need to top himself.  This is largely due to the polite compliments he undoubtedly received afterward that were misconstrued as feedback of a successful performance. 

Side note/question about charity auctions:

How inappropriate would it be to bid only one cent higher on a silent auction item you really want?  Would the fallout be worth it? 

That Girl: Sassy McSasserson

17 Jan

This week’s profile will focus on the female side of the sport fan spectrum.  Did you think you were safe ladies?  Seriously?

We’ve all seen her at sporting events.  She’s typically in the age range of 19-25 and has had a few adult beverages so she’s feeling pretty confident VERY confident about herself.  You can easily identify her by looking for the following traits:

  • She has no concept of what is actually going on on the field or court.
  • She is constantly texting and talking on her cell phone and every non-verbal sign is showing that she is now bored with this event and everything associated with it.
  • She typically only interacts with one or two other females next to her.  Everyone else present is inconsequential and only there to serve as background.
  • She can be seen pointing at different “background”, whispering something to a member of her clan and then laughing.
  • You can tell she has carefully selected her wardrobe for the event.  It is very rare that it includes an item bearing the home team’s logo.
  • She has the uncanny ability to look at, more appropriately through individuals, portraying the following without uttering a word:
    • 1.  You have a lot of nerve attempting to speak to me.
    • 2.  What you’re saying to me has absolutely no meaning to me whatsoever.
    • 3.  You can leave now.

Normally, Sassy does not affect your experience at a game unless for some reason you initiate any interaction with her.  Here is an illustration of such an encounter.

This particular individual had become bored with everything so she, along with her cackle, decided to participate in tearing up multiple programs into confetti and throwing them up in the air.   After some time had passed the group was confronted by an event security staff member and asked if they would like to join the group responsible for picking up trash at the end of the game to help clean up the mess they were making.

Confetti/Sassy Girl initially gave the look mentioned above and never uttered a word.  The staff member gave up with a look on his face saying “I give up.”  As the staff member walked back down the aisle Confetti Girl whispered something to her friends which produced some giggles and the encounter ended.

What happened next is Sassy McSasserson at her finest.  Upon the end of the game the clan was exiting the stadium.  It just so happened that they had to pass the event staff member that lectured them about shredding the programs as they were leaving.  In an extremely rare occurrence, Confetti Girl initiated an encounter.  As she approached the staff member she gave her best glare and said to the staff member, “Have fun cleaning up the confettiiiiii….”.  She elongated the last word of the sentence so she could proceed to turn around and walk backgrounds while saying “confettiiiiii” thus giving her the ability to use the look for a prolonged time.

Classic.

That Guy: Werbeach Ball Man

12 Jan

As I’ve stated in the past I’ve observed some pretty unique trends in people, particularly in sporting event crowds. The “That Guy” series will take an in depth look at some common and unique personality types that I have witnessed.

Leading off is Crazy Beach Ball Man or Werbeach Ball Man. The next time you are at a sporting event and a beach ball starts getting passed around the crowd pay attention to its journey. If you are able to witness the end of its journey you will see a shocking transformation occur.

Everything begins innocently enough.  It’s a beautiful day, the crowd is in a good mood.  In general, it’s a great day to be alive.  Someone decides to seize the day and inflates the beach ball they’ve smuggled into the stadium to begin the age old tradition of bouncing a beach ball around the crowd.

Most people don’t pay attention to how long the ball passes from fan to fan, some ready and some unsuspecting.  Hijinks and laughs are shared by all as it reaches oh so close to the end of its random journey.  Eventually, the ball makes its way down to the field where inevitably it reaches a stadium staff member.

This is when all the innocence of such a harmless activity is taken away and a light hearted moment can turn very very dark.  Once the ball reaches the staff member it is custom to dispose of the ball.  Typically, the ball is punctured and thrown away in the closest trash can.  Heaven forbid this lethal object should ever return to the crowd where it can inflict a great deal of harm and pain.

Sometimes a few half-hearted boos ring down on the minimum wage employee and the moment passes.  However, if there is a Werbeach Ball Man lurking things get extremely interesting.

Not even the most highly trained eye can spot this elusive creature before its ugly transformation.  They are typically smiling and having a good time hoping the colorful orb makes it there way.  The moment the ball is taken away from the crowd this beast cannot help himself.  His smile turns into an evil menacing sneer,  the corners of his mouth start to froth, and his face gets extremely red and then you hear his call……

“YOU A$$@^%&!  &*&% YOU!  YOU SUCK!”

The transformation is complete.  A simple man enjoying his favorite team loses control over a $1.99 yellow, red, and blue inflatable toy.

Like wolves, Werbeach Ball Man can travel in packs.  In this case not only do you have multiple people losing their minds over an item that can be easily replaced at your local Walgreens, but you have an environment ripe for A CHANT.

“A$$@^%&! A$S@^%&! A$$@^%&!”