Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Little Cynical

The other day one of my students and I were talking about very serious and complex issues (as I often do with my students, they are teenagers after all).  One of the items we were talking about was how to more easily chart and classify people (after all, isn’t that what life is about).  You see, back in my high school days, I carried a graph around with me wherever I went (I still have it by the way).  It gave certain people certain ratings and was very helpful in determining what could be expected of certain types of people. 

As we were talking, I decided that, similar to my high school days, it might be beneficial to come up with a very simple code to classify people.  After all, who really wants to take the time to describe a person in several paragraphs when one phrase or word might do the trick just as easily?

Let me explain.  Our chart is based upon how you react to people when they approach you.  For example, pretend I’m talking to the Mrs. and somebody approaches to talk to me.  How I react is oftentimes based on what type of person is approaching (sometimes my reaction is based upon how mad the Mrs. is at me in that moment, but that’s a story for another day).  Anyway, likes I was saying, when the person approaches, how I act says a lot about my perception of that person.   Do I get excited?  Do I start to look for the closest exit?  What do I do?  So, if I could describe my reaction in one phrase, I could then use that same phrase to describe the person to someone else.  Right?  I’m pretty sure it’s infallible.

Editor’s Note: Of course, if I were a better person, this list wouldn’t exist and everybody would be a Blue 
Bridge.  But I’m not, so it does.   

Anyway here is the chart.  The word in quotations marks is the descriptive word.

1. A “Shoelace”:  When this type of person approaches, you’ll tend to get really nervous.  In order to calm your nerves, you take a second to tie your shoe in order to gain your composure.  This could be a someone of the opposite gender (or same gender depending) whom you find attractive (only if you’re single of course) or maybe somebody who’s really famous.

2. A “Smile and Nod”: When this type of person approaches, you just keep your eyes glued to the floor because you’re so intimidated.  You just keep your head down and nod occasionally whenever anything is said.   Basically any adult (but especially my bosses) fits this description for me.

3. A “Blue Bridge”: There was some debate about which name to choose for this one, so I just chose both.  This is somebody who you’re just pleased as punch to talk to.  When they come, they have your full attention.  This is what one prefers to be classified as (well, this or a “Shoelace”)

4: A “Sunday School Lesson”: This person is just below a “Blue Bridge”.  What they say is interesting some of the time, but for some reason sometimes you just don’t seem to connect.  By all accounts what they’re saying is interesting, but sometimes, for some reason, it’s not.     

5. A “History Lesson”: In a conversation, this person only holds your attention in spurts.  If anything even semi-interesting passes by, your attention is usually gone.  Most of my students would classify me as a “History Lesson”.  You don’t mind them talking to you, you just hope they don’t expect you to really care.

6. A “Politician”: Right below a “History Lesson” and right above a “Cell Phone”, the whole time this person is talking, your attention is focused somewhere else; the lights on the ceiling, the book in front of you, the TV.  You’re not quite ready to take out the cell phone, but you really have no idea what the person’s last sentence was.

7. A “Cell Phone”: When this type of person approaches, you have your cell phone ready.  By the time they start talking, your texting away furiously (or at least, you’re pretending to).  Your desire is that this person gets the hint and doesn’t stay around too long, but you don’t want to make them feel bad by actually telling them this.

8. A “Neighbor”: This is the older version of the cellphone, but still a fairly useful term.  When this type of person approaches, you listen for a second or two, but at the soonest possible opportunity (without being too rude of course), you turn your attention to the person next to you.  Your hope is that if you don’t acknowledge them, eventually they’ll move on to another area in the room.

9. An “Appointment”:  This person is a step past a “Cell Phone”.  You try to be polite by saying you have an appointment, but you just can’t take the risk of them not getting the cell phone or neighbor hint, you just have to get out of there.

10.  A “Walk Away”: For this type of person, you’re not even worried anymore about being polite.  You just have to get out of there as soon as possible.      

After reading this, I’m really fairly certain these are essentially the only adjectives you’ll ever use again in describing a person.  You’re welcome.  Once people understand my classification system, it will make personal descriptions so much more simple and quick. 

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