Editor’s Note: We live in superstitious times. Actually, that’s a silly and pointless comment ... all times are superstitious. It’s simply a matter of which myths and legends you choose to believe in and how strongly. Here, I’m mainly dealing with little ones. Just the ordinary crap that makes our lives what they are — the silly little things most of us seldom think about.
Minor Mythologies of 2019
Here in the 21st century, we view most ancient cultures’ mythologies as primitive, quaint or fantastic. From Thor, Gilgamesh, Zeus and Anubis to Achilles, Cuchulain, and Romulus and Remus, we find these legendary figures entertaining, but have no real stake in the veracity of tales about the mischief of Loki, the labors of Hercules or the deeds of Egyptian pharaohs in the afterlife.
such metaphysics have little to do with our day-to-day living. What affects us
most are the minor myths — the little things we believe in, for no good
reason, that eat up our time, such as the modern legend of “customer
service.” Businesses claim to practice customer relationship management (CRM),
which makes them “client-centric,” but anyone compelled to enter the first
48 digits of pi into his phone and navigate a maze of recordings, before
listening to 45 minutes of elevator music while on hold, knows the CRM business
model is merely the computerization of consumer inconvenience.
robotic message, “We are currently experiencing unusually heavy call
volumes” (do they ever have periods of “unusually light” call volumes?) is
as misleading as the repetitive, automated affirmation, “Your call is
important to us.” Both are components of modern technology designed to keep us
away from customer service reps, who are, I suspect, three Sherpas in Nepal,
whose full-time jobs involve the Himalayas. It’s comparable to the whimsical
doormats emblazoned with the words “GO AWAY!” in red, uppercase letters.
And, in the words of Michael Corleone, “It insults my intelligence.”
insulting are cable and appliance installers who promise to show up sometime
between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. Do they ever arrive anywhere near 10:00? When
they do get there, isn’t it usually at 3:48, after you’ve taken the day off
and waited six hours? They probably spend those six hours working the phones —
disconnecting customers who’ve just given them all their information, so that
those callers will need to repeat that same information to the next rep an hour
speaking of waiting, what happened to the myth that punctuality is a virtue?
Just try arriving at 8:30 to a party that starts at 8:30. Your host, dripping
onto the floor and wearing a bath towel, will probably mutter something about
being “fashionably late,” and look at you like you brought pork chops to a
vegan potluck dinner.
ago, I had a friend who always ran 45 minutes late. To find out why, I once
drove to his house at the time he was scheduled to pick me up. I found him in
his underwear, strumming a guitar, with shaving cream drying on his face. After
years of waiting in restaurants next to empty bar stools, I’ve realized some
people have a sixth sense that enables them to arrive everywhere a few minutes
later than I do. No matter how hard you work at tardiness, you’ll never
often have this talent as well, and mine always makes me wait. I’ve dabbled in
purposeful delay, but I still end up pacing downstairs, while she’s upstairs
doing god knows what. Even if we both walk out together to the car, before I can
back out of the driveway, I find myself sitting there, shivering and waiting for
the heater to come on, while she’s back inside changing her shoes, feeding the
cat or relocking the doors.
emphasis on locking doors results from the myth that life in 2019 is
unimaginably dangerous. We live in the safest period of America’s history, but
we behave as if Connecticut is the Wild West. Unconvinced by crime statistics,
today’s parents see murderers, kidnappers and molesters behind every bush, so
they hover over their children, scheduling their lives so they’ll know where
they are every minute of the day.
this makes sense, I have a bridge you might be interested in. It spans the
border wall Mexico is now paying for, and you can cross it on the same winged
steed Mohammed rode to ascend into heaven.
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