By Dr. Jeffrey Lant
Author’s program note. For this article Maria Mendez’ recording of “What a difference a day makes” (released 1934) is a must. You’ll find it in any search. engine. And, by the way, Maria is right: the difference is you!
Have you noticed there’s a “day” for everything… for artichoke growers… pizza makers… midgets… apples… moms and dads… you get picture.
However, after exhaustive research ( at least an hour or two) I have discovered an absolutely crucial activity which has not, so far, been granted its own special day.
Thus, I am herewith proposing “International Get If Off Your Chest” Day.
This day was inspired by my nephew Kyle who graduated from college in May 2011. As is customary (at least the graduate so told me) I donated some bucks to the young buck… then sat back (like millions of generous parents, relations and friends) for the effusive letter of acknowledgement, thanks, and gratitude.
I have waited for weeks now (along with those millions cited above) and have received nada, zip, absolutely nothing. It occurred to me that all of us long-suffering folks need an outlet for our chagrin, irritation, and soon-to-be righteous wrath and rage.
But, let’s face it, a special day for the good people who sent money (so far unacknowledged) for commencement would, I think you’d agree be (perhaps) a tad over specific…. even if we extended its focus to be any slothful, lay about graduate of any institution.
So, I put my thinking cap on and brainstormed… to see how the parameters of this holiday could be suitably extended so that more sins of omission and commission could be added.
Then I thought of a no-longer-quite-so-dear friend…let’s call him Thomas Frederick Byrd III… because that is his name. Tommy (for he is not always so formal) borrowed 10 CDs from me, what, an eon ago, making the usual sincere, look-deeply-in-his-eyes promises that “they’ll be returned, Scout’s honor, in a week, ten days tops.” As I said, and as I must reiterate here, that ample deadline has long been exceeded…. hints to Tommy (even quite a lurid one) have gone unanswered… and now the bugger won’t answer my calls. The holiday must be extended to include these miscreants and scoffers.
Tommy’s non-return of my very best CDs is venal compared to William Wilder’s misdemeanors. He put the touch on me for 200 Yankee dollars; I don’t know what I could have been thinking of. I should have listened to Polonius (ok, he’s a trifle windy) about borrowers and lenders. Bill Wilder used to be one of my best friends; now I can hardly think of him without apoplexy… for, of course, he is now in the witness protection program… and my beloved dollars with him.
Near crying at these acid remembrances of people who have let me down, in so remembering I have one “aha!” moment after another, each of which builds the case and need for this deeply sensible day.
There’s Tommy (seemingly a frequent miscreant sobriquet) at the convenience store who has promised me at least half a dozen times to charge back those mildewed strawberries. So far, no action.
There’s my cousin Clarabelle (and no she has no children named Howdy Doody) who has yet to return that lovely pic-nic basket with the (admittedly plate) silver handles.
This list, growing by the moment, represents in miniature just why we absolutely must have a day, perhaps even two, when we can let it all hang out. Such a day would of course feature politicians and the myriad of ways they irritate and abuse us every single day.
“Great idea,” everybody says so.
While writing this article, I have been tending a very busy phone. I emailed a few of my nearest and dearest to clue them in to my Big Idea. I told them their opinion was urgent and expected; my phone’s been ringing off the hook ever since with calls from people who have quite clearly mastered the superlative tense; without exception these bright folks want what I am proposing: a chance to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth about matters great and small with which less polite and perceptive folks have afflicted them. I am getting used to the constant huzzahs and raucous congratulations.
These, admittedly thrilling, have induced further cogitation on the issue. As I amble and ponder, new facets of this idea emerge and take center stage in my fervid brain; I am like a man possessed.
In addition to the specially designated “Off Your Chest” day… we need a National Registry where aggrieved citizens can post their complaints and miseries; given our digitized age it should be easy to cross-reference these, to create profiles and warning systems for people (even if our nearest and dearest) who have affronted not one, but many, and often.
And, remember, this registry, this most necessary warning system would not be a thing for just a single nation, no matter how grand, but for all the nations, even insignificant little San Marino.
Of course, there might be mistakes… or at least folks claiming they have been victimized.
I am a believer in fairness, a believer in fairness am I. As a result, there must be some means of checking the accuracy of all information and allowing folks to respond. Yes, that is only fair. Of course this will necessitate a very substantial staff; their workload, as is already plain, would be staggering. After all, nearly every person on this planet (except a few Trappist monks) have things they wish, indeed need to get off their chests… and I may be doing a disservice to Trappists who agree. If so, I abjectly apologize.
This is turning into a helluva lot of work!
You know, people like me with good ideas should be designated Super Citizen. After all, WE keep this country, this world, and, may I say, this whole solar system working.
I’m really ticked off now. My original simple idea has now morphed into a multi- dimensional nightmare. I’m over my head, for sure. All I wanted was to chide a few friends and get some bucks back and my very best CDs. Now people are starting to criticize me, yes ME, as some kind of dictator, FBI, CIA, looking-for-skeletons- -in-all-the-closets. Every time they do, I put them on my list for future SEVERE action. It’s what those friggin’ morons deserve.
I give up.
I’m ditching this idea and am heading in a brand-new direction. I’ve written Kyle’s thank-you note and sent him a copy so he knows what he said. I sent a gift card to Tommy giving him CDs he won’t give up anyway. And as for the 200 smackers, I’ll tell the IRS they are a charitable donation to people with incurable insensitivity.
As for me, I’ve sent this letter to the president reminding him the buck stops there.
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About The Author
Harvard-educated Dr. Jeffrey Lant is Dr. Lant is also a syndicated writer and author of 18 best-selling business books. Details at http://www.homeprofitcoach.com/listbuilding