Winter Safety Tips

It’s been a few days of snow and ice here in Memphis, Tennessee. I’d like to offer some Winter Safety Tips that I’ve found helpful as I’ve negotiated our recent winter wonderland.

The Prime Directive: Exhibit patience towards yourself, your schedule, and your fellow humans. (This is good even when there is no winter wonderland.)

When walking on snowy, icy walkways:

  • No Airpods. Yes, the walk will be unbearably quiet and you’ll start making a mental list of Winter Safety Tips. Here’s the deal: Your momma told you to wear a hat when it’s cold outside, and your hat will mess with your Airpods. If one falls out, you will never find it because they are tiny and white. 1
  • Step down, not out.
  • Don’t lift Foot #1 until Foot #2 is solid. Think about your foot placement like astronauts think about their tether.
  • Put your 15 year old formerly hip messenger bag across your shoulder, and make sure it’s directly in the small of your back. Improved center of gravity, less swing to make you imbalanced, and if you fall, all the unnecessary crap you carry in there might save you a broken hip.
  • Emulate my superior balance and jungle cat reflexes and you’ll be fine. Years of marching band would have helped here.

Bonus tip for driving:

  • Your absurdly large SUV and/or truck can unquestionably start moving on icy roads. Your absurdly large SUV and/or truck has questionable ability to stop moving on icy roads, especially when you are behind me or in the lane next to me. Slow down. (See “The Prime Directive.”)

Sales Call

I get a lot of cold calls. Today I heard a voicemail from someone with whom I’ve never spoken at a consulting firm I’ve never heard of wanting to tell all about the “race horses” they have available at their firm. 

I am really used to sales jargon, but this was a new one for me. Like they have all these hotshot thoroughbred geniuses of IT consulting (a.k.a. extracting your money), and they can’t wait to tell me all about their prowess at rocking out and recontextualizing my paradigms. I adjusted my Cheese Tolerator yet another regrettable notch higher and moved on. 

I then accidentally heard the message again and realized that the person said “resources.” Oh, right. Dehumanizing, but certainly more mainstream. 

The fact that I thought “race horses” was even a possible term is sad, and it indicates that the Tolerator may have to stay at the new setting. 

Know Your Limitations

Words of wisdom which I mentally revisit from time to time:

Freddy, as a younger man, I was a sculptor, a painter, and a musician. There was just one problem: I wasn’t very good. As a matter of fact, I was dreadful. I finally came to the frustrating conclusion that I had taste and style, but not talent. I knew my limitations. We all have our limitations, Freddy. Fortunately, I discovered that taste and style were commodities that people desired. Freddy, what I am saying is: know your limitations. You are a moron.

— Lawrence Jamieson, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)