Sunday, September 21, 2014

Repost: Tazi's Corner #39 - Social Media Does Not Excuse Bad Manners Or Other Indiscresions

Dear  Readers,

This week, while perusing the social media sites, I have seen everything from a video of a man in his early twenties singing about how much he loves to smoke pot to a comment from a woman of similar age making threats against those who would “aggravate” her. A little deeper digging showed that each of these people seeks to work in positions of the public trust – police work and as a medical provider. Do you think either of them would stand a chance of getting a job in either field if this information showed up on a pre-employment media search? Do you think either of these people would be proud to hear that their mothers-in-law viewed this information? I can just see it now!

“My, Sparky, I am so proud of you! That chant about how much you love to smoke pot was truly inspiring! Now, about that inheritance I was planning on leaving you…”

“Griselda, with that temper you would make a wonderful match for my son! A mentally and emotionally abusive wife is exactly what he needs!”

Social Media does not make you special. Announcing through your Facebook or Twitter feed that you are in a bad mood so people should just lay-off or look out does not give you the right to address someone with a stream of expletives and then expect them to let it go without apology because, after all, you did warn them on Facebook! Singing about how much you love to smoke pot will not make you immune to drug laws; rather, it will probably expedite your prosecution for possession of a controlled substance! Being a member of any interactive society – in person or online – requires that certain protocols be observed. Among dogs and cats, a certain amount of ass-sniffing is required; among humans the expectations of basic courtesy and abidance of the law are the norm. While, judging by the populations of inmates vs. free citizens, most laws are still being followed, but the rule of common courtesy for all has fallen by the wayside.

Although I have not done any research into the actual topic, I am certain that most humans do not want their butts sniffed. So why would they act like a dog in other ways, barking to show people how tough they really aren’t? It is not the barking dog that you must fear, but the silent, snarling dog that bares its teeth. In a human sense, announcing that you are in a bad mood and telling people off with expletives does nothing but show the world that you are at best a tiny little person, incapable of socializing with others; at worst, mentally unstable. In the animal world, you would be judged a menace to society and “put to sleep”. What would happen in the human world? What would happen, indeed…?

More and more social media is becoming the yardstick by which a person is measured. Your LinkedIn profile is not the only online presence that potential employers can see; they find ways to access a person’s Facebook page, Twitter feed, and Instagram pages. You may sign a contract insisting that you will obey your employer’s drug-free office policy, but that picture of you smoking a joint speaks louder than your pledge to eschew illegal substances; if you call in sick to work on Monday, make sure that nobody has posted pictures of you partying like a rock star all weekend. Although we do not have much control over what other people post, we do have control over what we post – including the language we choose to use when posting.

Adulthood 101 teaches that this is a bad idea!
Potential employers are not the only ones watching what it posted to social media feeds. Friends, family, future business contacts, loved ones, and people we don’t even realize are watching can see what is posted to our social media sites. Is your site representing you as you would like to be seen? Did you inadvertently tell off your husband's favorite cousin with your blanket "Leave me the $%# alone" status update? Or worse, the sister-in-law you fought with last week?

The errors of youth are commonplace and practically universal, but there was a time before social media when these errors could be buried in the past. Now, with the ever-advancing means of social media, these follies are also being committed by people who are old enough to know better - and are being permanently preserved. Is this what you would like to leave for posterity? Think before you post...and remember your manners. Just because you are posting on a social media site is no excuse for acting like a putz.


Ask Tazi! is ghostwritten by a human with a Bachelors of Arts in Communications. Tazi-Kat is not really a talking feline.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Personal Views On Santa Claus Have Mom At Odds With American Traditions

Dear Tazi-Kat:

I am a devout Catholic woman, and the mother of a three-and-a-half year old daughter. I have taught her the story of Christmas, but not of Santa Claus; rather, I have shared the history of St. Nicholas, Bishop of Myra (the man upon whom Santa Claus is loosely based).

This year, "Jillian" started attending pre-school/day-care a few days a week and I have noticed that many of the children are started to ger excited about a visit from "Santa". At three-and-a-half, I realize that my daughter is too young to spill the beans to these children that Santa Claus is not real, but I am concerned about what to tell her if she starts asking me about Santa Claus. Furthermore, I am concerned that she will repeat whatever I tell her to her classmates, and I do not want other parents to be upset with me or Jillian for ending the tradition for their children. However, I simply will not have my child believing in such nonsense!

My husband says that I am worrying about a bridge that will not be crossed this year, but I know that by next year Jillian's speech will have developed enough that she will be better able to voice her thoughts. I would like to nip this whole Santa problem in the early stages, before the materialism that has taken over Christmas takes a hold of her; my husband says to let it go for now. What do you think we should do, Tazi-Kat?

Mary, Mother Of Jillian

Dear Mary, Mother Of Jillian:

Although it is admirable that you seek to teach your daughter the true, religious meaning behind Christmas; you must understand that not everybody celebrates with the purity that you celebrate. You call the tradition of Santa Claus "nonsense", and you are well within your right to an opinion; but many would disagree with you. I fall somewhere in between, taking the Willy Wonka view that "a little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men".

At three-and-a-half, your daughter is very impressionable, so I can understand your concerns that her views on Christmas will be warped by the materialism that Santa Claus has come to represent in our American society. Should your daughter express confusion over Santa Claus, explain to her that not all people believe the same things as you and her Daddy; and that not everyone celebrates their December holidays with Santa Claus. This should be enough to convey to her that Santa is not a part of your celebration, while preventing her from ending the tradition for other children. If your daughter's pre-school is a secular one, she probably has classmates of various, non-Christian faiths; so she will not be the only one who does not celebrate with Santa, and should not feel singled out of the crowd.


Friday, September 19, 2014

An Unlocked Door Is A Burglar's Best Friend!

Dear Tazi-Kat:

I am a widowed woman who lives with my elderly mother-in-law, "Millie", so as to assist her around the house. This arrangement allows her to stay in her own home, and helps me to feel more secure - both financially (I do pay rent, but much less than I would pay for a private apartment; Millie has no mortgage) and personally. My problem is my feelings of personal safety are starting to dwindle.

About six months ago, Millie and I brought home a shelter cat, for companionship and to keep the field mice that have invaded our yard in check. Since we do not have a pet-door installed, we must personally see to letting "Bruiser" in and out of the house. Millie does not sleep well at night, and has taken to letting Bruiser out in the middle of the night - and then forgetting to lock the door behind her when she returns to bed. When I wake up in the morning and find the door unlocked, I am completely unnerved; and I find that Millie's bad habit is now affecting my sleep. Whenever I hear a strange noise in the night I am petrified that someone has entered the house to rob us.

I have mentioned my concerns to Millie, but she just pooh-pooh's me, as if I am acting like a scared child. Tazi-Kat, my late husband was a police officer. He always insisted we keep the doors locked against the risk of home invasion; and passed this lesson on to Millie and her late husband, as well. He would tell me that most robberies occurred due to unlocked doors and windows, and as a police officer he saw more than his share of heartbroken homeowners who wished they had taken such simple precautions against theft and other crimes!

With the holidays so near, the annual rise in home invasions is set to occur, and I do not care for our house to be on some burglar’s hit-list! Do you have any advice on how to get Millie to see the seriousness of the situation?

Not A Scaredy-Cat!

Dear Not A Scaredy-Cat:

You do not say how old Millie is, just that she is "elderly"; but with age can come stubbornness. Millie is probably very set in her ways, so trying to get her to develop new habits is going to be an exercise in futility. However, if Millie's forgetting to lock the doors is a new habit - did she ever follow her son's advice about locking doors? - perhaps she should be screened for illnesses that affect memory - Alzheimer's, senility, dementia, or other issues that will escalate if not caught and treated early. According to WebMD, early signs of these diseases include difficulty exercising good judgment and sudden changes in personal habits.

As for the problem of the unlocked doors, perhaps a pet-door would be the solution to your problem? They are relatively easy to install, as well as inexpensive. A pet-door for a cat - even one as large sounding as one named "Bruiser" - will not be anywhere near big enough for a human to squeeze through, so it will not compromise your safety. Some pet doors also come with locking mechanisms, so you can secure them if that is your preference. As for wild-life finding their way though it, once Bruiser starts using it your friendly neighborhood squirrels and field mice will give it a wide berth; so this should not be a cause for concern, either.

-- Tazi-Kat

P.S. I compliment you on your wise choice to adopt a shelter cat! Although most people want kittens, you don't know what kind of cat they will become! With a grown cat, you know the personality of the cat you are adopting. (Yep, my Mommie lucked out when I chose her! She got herself a top-of-the-line quality feline who loooooves to snuggle!).