Holiday Smut

One of my book clubs determined, through a great conversation of great fun that shall not be repeated here (what happens in Book Club stays in Book Club), to read “holiday smut” over the break. I was intrigued. I have never read smut. I swore to never, ever read That Smutty Book Everyone Talked About a Couple Years Ago because I heard right off the bat that it was chock-full of really poor writing. (In fact, I’ve heard it’s so terribly written that I won’t even sully the wall of my blog with its title.) There are too many good books to waste time on sloppy writing, no matter how steamy it is. So when one of my friends offered to recommend a smut book for our December read, I jumped at it. The only smut book I really knew about was the best seller that was made into a movie. Which I also didn’t see because I don’t want to throw good money at poor writing in any form. So to have a smut book recommended for reading over Christmas? Perfect. A whole new genre to explore. I’ve studied the Russian masters, the English classics, the new Americans. Dostoyevske to Shakespeare to Capote to Kerouac. Spent a whole term on Chaucer freshman year of high school. Read Lolita in college because Sting sang Don’t Stand So Close To Me. Fell in love with Dorothy Parker’s wit. But through sheer subconscious purposeful intent luck, I have managed to avoid smut. It’s time to expand my horizons.

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Resignation

I am hereby tendering my resignation, effective immediately. I wish you all the best luck in finding someone who will actually get your stupid giant Christmas tree decorated in time for the 2017 holiday season. You may have to pay a higher salary, hiring this late, so I appreciate the predicament I am leaving you in but for my own mental health I must take leave immediately. It has been an honor horror working here.

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Adventures in Caffeine (Subtitle: Coffee: the Devil’s Drink)

Many of you who know me personally know that I have been decaf for years. Decades, even. I, unlike the vast majority of the population, do not need caffeine to be annoyingly perky in the morning. I’m just naturally someone whose peppy personality pisses off my colleagues who are more dependent upon their daily cup of joe to wake up and get going. Now that I’m older and my trusty Stomach of Steel that could consume anything my college self stuffed into it with nary a grumble has turned into a dyspeptic, grouchy old hag who is never pleased about anything, I can’t even enjoy a can of soda without there being…uh…repercussions. So, I ingest no caffeine on a regular basis. This hasn’t disrupted anything except that sometimes I just want an ice-cold Dr. Pepper, damn it. It’s not even for the caffeine. It’s because Dr. Pepper is the most delicious drink on the planet.

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The gift

I read a business book years ago called A Complaint is a Gift. The premise is that businesses should look at customer service not as a wearisome task that needs to be dealt with, but as an opportunity to better your organization while potentially creating brand ambassadors. The concept is so stunningly simple that it’s amazing more companies don’t adhere to it. Listen to your customers, admit your error, and graciously fix what’s wrong. This happens so little these days that when it does, customers are blown away and won over, often leaving even more happy with the company than if they’d never had an issue to begin with. “I will stick with this company, because they stuck by me.” What seems like should be a basic human value – treating others well – still clearly needs to be outlined in a business book. It’s a good reminder for all of us, though.

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