Monday, December 12, 2011

Late Night thoughts from Greg

I must admit.  I’m weird.  I’m an introvert, yet the leader at my workplace.  I’m colorblind, but enjoy a good Van Gogh or Picasso.  I hate to write, but am a freak about grammar (and can pull off a pretty-stinkin’-good essay when called upon).  You could say I don’t hear as well as some would wish, but I enjoy Bach, Beethoven, and other sorts of Classical music- which I air-conduct at the same time.  I’m left handed, but am no right-brained individual. 

People often wonder about introverts and think that they are (a) jobless, sitting in a basement, playing X-Box or (b) computer programmers, IRS auditors, and analysts (not the TV types).  For me, introversion involves working in public, leading staff and meetings, and handling customer service issues; which thankfully, are few and far between.  I even enjoy a good party every now and then.  Most not-so-psychologically-educated types would say, “That sounds like an extrovert”.  My wife would tell you that I can put a good front- a REAL good one.  When people find out I’m an introvert, there is generally shock.  “No way!  I had no idea!”  What they don’t see is after the party, or after work.  I am exhausted, not necessarily from physical exertion but from the actual interaction of party guests, customers, etc. (A good blog post for introverted leaders, go visit  When I am “tired” of people (use the term “tired” very loosely), or “peopled out” one could say, I shut down.  When I come home from work, I really and truly feel for Megan, because I, pretty much, require a “reboot”- which entails about an hour or so of doing and thinking nothing.  I say all this not to say that I don’t enjoy or like people or wish I had a basement with an X-Box.  I love people, but, to me, they take time and energy (that I don’t always have). 

I don’t usually tell friends right off that I’m colorblind.  I guess I’m odd in a certain way, and yes, it’s clinical- I did learn my colors- I just can’t tell you what they are.  I am perfectly content telling a stranger that I’m colorblind, probably because it makes for an interesting story at a party (“Hey, Joe, I met a colorblind person today!”).  I guess you could say I’m color-deficient, not so much colorblind.  I see colors- lots of colors.  Just not the way you may see them.  I may see A LOT more orange, blue, green, and yellow than you will EVER see in your lifetime.  I relegate my color “knowledge”, as I choose to call it, to about 10 or 15 colors.  More than that and you’ve got me tuckered out.  I have a real thing about the color brown.  My mind may tell me, “Greg, it’s BROWN!” but I cannot get myself to say it.  I will default to green, because it couldn’t possibly be brown.  The only things in my life that are brown are dead leaves, tree trunks, old rusty cars (or is that red?), poo, and of course, brownies.  I know what color the sky is, the grass is, that car, your hair, your shoes, ___________, as long as it’s in my little color wheel of colors I’m comfortable enough to acknowledge.  (On a more serious note) I guess it all stems from mockery I faced when it came time to color (because that’s what happens when the dog eats your lesson plan, teacher) in elementary school.  So, I colored “brown” things green, and red things orange, and purple things blue, because heaven forbid I color a blue thing purple and be accused of not knowing my colors (as a Highest Honor Roll student).  The first optometrist who treated me for general vision issues stared at me incredulously as if I didn’t know my colors when he rendered the test.  He told me, “Look harder, how do you not see that?”  I learned much later (at a job where I worked for an optometrist) that you really don’t have to look hard at all.  If you don’t have color-vision deficiency you will see a 36, if you have it, you see 12.  On a lighter note, my freshman year (high school) art teacher painted my color wheel project for me.  That was one project I didn’t have to worry about.  Pretty simple.  But art!  Oh my goodness, do I love a good painting.  I see lots of paintings (prints more so than paintings) throughout the day.  Most are pretty good.  But I just have something for “Starry Night”.  I’m sure most people do, but for a color blind person it looks pretty good.  I also enjoy looking at pictures of Santorini, Greece.  That’s nice on a color blind person’s eyes. 

The last time I blogged was well over 2 years ago.  My most notable blog was on a recent page-not this one- called Baby Bumps and Heath Ledger (we had seen The Dark Knight while Megan was pregnant with Rylan).  I still refer back to that from time to time.  It was quite funny.  Anyway, I will be the first to admit that I am no Ernest Hemingway.  Goodness, that man had a way with words.  In 8th grade, every Friday in English, we had the opportunity to let our minds melt out onto paper in what we always affectionately called “creative writing”.  My problem was that I never, in all of 8th grade, completed a story.  I had one story that went for 10 pages, then trashed it because everything came apart.  I started using “then” A LOT to drag the plot along.  By then, I knew I was done.  Thankfully, we never turned any of our creative writing assignments in.  Looking back on it, I think it was our teacher’s way of taking a day off.  I had an assignment in 9th grade that blew my teacher away and earned the assignment from the whole class as “suck up”- which earned me the right to grade their grammar homework for Mrs. Johnson.  I guess you could say I learned some valuable skills that helped me through my formative education years in that class.  Even though I do not like to write, and it has taken monumental inspiration to drag myself here to write a blog post, I have certain quirks with words.  I’ve been told I’m pretty good at writing. I know that statement immediately invokes criticism of too many commas, not enough semi-colons, too many parentheses, and the like.  But, all that aside, I’m quirky with words.  I do not like double negatives, subject-verb disagreement (He don’t?  Are you kidding me?!), the extreme usage of punctuation (really?!?!?!?!?!), incorrect usage of punctuation (you don’t use an ellipsis to invoke a pause in thought, that’s what a hyphen is for- or to tie two words together), and ending sentences with prepositions (phrases are perfectly acceptable).  I have a thing about contractions in professional emails as well.  I avoid them like the plague for the very reason that I think professional emails should not have contractions.  I’m not entirely sure where I heard that, but it seems to work okay.  My staff probably hates it, but I correct double negatives and subject verb disagreement ad nauseum.  I admit, I’m working on it, but it still grates on me.  I once dated a girl who put an “L” in vacuum, dropped the first “R” in frustrate, and yes, put a third “I” in mischievous (there’s only two- I PROMISE! ß1 exclamation point).  Spelling is a BIG quirk of mine.  It always has been.  I went to an elementary school that graded penmanship (that’s how well you can write with a pen and paper) and spelling.  I totally bombed a quiz, though; over the proper use of the words “lain” “lay” and “laid”.  Funny thing was that whatever you missed on a spelling test you had to take home and re-write 10 times until you spelled it correctly (“Really?”  Yes.).  We had words to look up in a dictionary and write out their meaning (yes, their, not there, or they’reß that’s another quirk), as well.  I’m not saying that you must speak like Shakespeare around me (I never was good at poetry), and I will try my hardest to be gracious if you make a grammar goof.

Music.  I love music.  I must thank Mrs. Theresa Cornett, my 3rd grade teacher, who “taught” classical music appreciation once a week after lunch- as well as 3rd graders could learn it.  We would sit down and listen to movements by Beethoven, Bach, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, Handel, and Strauss.  When I get the chance to watch Little Einsteins, I enjoy the mess out of it.  I took band in middle school, becoming proficient at the cornet.  My “D”s were always a bit sharp, ‘cause I could never kick out that 3rd slide at the right time.  I love to air-conduct in the car (by myself- sorry babe).  Unfortunately, we don’t have a jazz station in Texarkana like we did in Dallas.  Nothing kills the stress of rush-hour like Brandenburg Concerto #3 or Handel’s “Water Music” alla Hornpipe.  That’s music!  I don’t look the type (at least I don’t think so) that traditionally loves this kind of music.  There really is not much I don’t like.  I can listen to Vivaldi, Michael W. Smith, Top 40, Country, and even (gasp- how can I utter this- or write it) rap- in small doses, and I prefer the spunky 80s/early 90s stuff.   

Finally, people are oft confused when they see I am left handed.  Truly, I’d like to say I’m not really ambidextrous (not ambidextrious ß put that into Word and you get the squiggly underline that says “You spelled that one wrong”), since I look like an absolute buffoon eating with my right hand.  If you want to see a 1st grader’s handwriting, just put a pen in my right hand.  Thank you, Mrs. Cox and Mrs. Papazian, for not forcing me to switch hands in preschool and kindergarten.  If you want to see me throw like a girl (you never will), make me throw with my- left arm.  I can do most other things with both legs.  I earned the nickname “Boomer” from my Dad during soccer.  I was always strong with my right leg, but the left was there if I was caught in a pinch.  The biggest surprise most people find when they discover I am left-handed is how left brained I can be.  Oh, I’m right-brained a lot of the time, but, like soccer, the left is there in a pinch when I need it.  I’m sure most people are like that, but I had been told by those outside my primary sphere of influence that I was destined to be a musician, artist, or author- none of which really, to an 8 year old mind, made any money in life, and therefore did not deserve super high aspirations.  I study sitting up, not laying down.  I’m not fanciful; instead, I love details.  I generally go from parts to the whole (typical left-brain dominance thinking) in my planning.  I plan out the budget the way I wish it to go, apply the mighty dollar, and make my cuts.  I usually do an outline first, though I can usually write a paper, on the spot, then write an outline to go along with it, if the teacher needed an outline first (lucky me, then my paper was done too- no one told me this until college though). 

I’ve realized something in the last couple hours I spent writing this.  First, my headache went away (I know I didn’t say I had one, but it’s gone now).  Second, looking at the last paragraph, I admit that I am not a typical right-brain dominated individual, but I sure love right-brained things.  I love words, pictures, and music- things which drive left-brained people nuts.  Right-brained individuals tend to be your more introverted types, of which I am, though I try not to let it master me.  I guess I could say I’m weird because, really, I’m normal.  I feel confident to say I’m balanced- like a good cup of coffee- in a place where you’re told to fit into one mold or another.  I guess I could encourage you to say break out of your mold.  Try some air-band in the car on the way home.  Break out an excel sheet, throw some numbers up, and see what you can do.  Send out the wife/husband and kids, and sit quietly in your house-just you-or, throw a party and see how long it takes for you to get “peopled out”.  Go to an art museum for the heck of it.  Act like you’re enjoying the paintings even if you’re not, or try painting for yourself (with oil and canvas- not the computer).  Who cares if it looks like 1st grade watercolors?  Balance works everywhere in life, except with Jesus.  Go all in on Him.

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