I think I’ve gotten over this whole tipping thing. I used to think it was a great idea, rewarding someone for a job well done and not quite rewarding them when they forgot your seventh martini. (Yeah, she said I only ordered six, but who ya gonna believe here????)
It all seemed very free-enterprise-ish, with scrappy young workers scrambling to earn their pay and beneficent patrons rewarding them with ample largesse. (Fun fact: Ample Largesse is from the Latin for big butt and it referred to British lords who sat at the club and complained about the work ethic among the servants who fetched their cigars.)
Anyway, I thought of tipping as a much better approach to compensation than simply including everything in the overall cost of my purchase, but I’m beginning to come around to the idea that tipping is really, really stupid.
First, this is a dumb way for people to earn a living. So much of any worker’s compensation is in limbo until it’s too late to change anything, and many cheap bastards don’t tip at all. Meanwhile, the rest of us are assessed according to the final price, rather than the actual work involved in providing the service. But why tie it to prices at all? It takes no more effort to bring me a $25 glass of wine than a $5 beer, but the wine calls for five times the tip.
And it gets very awkward when the service is so bad that I’m only leaving a symbolic $1.00, because the waiter might show up with a point-of-purchase device to ring me up in person. It was easier when I could just write down the tip on the receipt and run out the door, but now I have to enter the amount while the really bad server is watching me.
Second, nobody can explain which people should get tipped and which ones should just work for wages. I understand tipping the waiter who brings me my meal in a restaurant, but now I’m supposed to tip the cashier who took my order at the takeout counter, as well. Does that mean I’m supposed to tip the cashier at the drug store? Why am I tipping the woman who brings me a slab of ribs, but not the butcher who does the same? Neither cooks it, but one gets paid.
If things keep going the way they are, I’ll need to tip the bus driver for letting me off at my stop and the screener who pats me down at the airport. If I need surgery, I’ll be tipping the anesthesiologist, in advance, in hopes she’ll remember the antidote. (Fun fact: TIP is actually an acronym for To Inhale Post-surgery.)
It will only get worse as AI takes over more of the jobs now handled by people, because AI is both very smart and very, very amoral. The robot arm that delivers my coffee will spill it if my tip isn’t generous enough and I’ll need to swipe my credit card if I don’t want the elevator to stop between floors. My self-driving ride-share will keep the doors locked until I cough up my ransom and the slot machine at the casino will demand its vig if I ever want to see another cherry. Worst of all, the robots will eventually decide how much they need and simply transfer it from my account to theirs.
The only way to stop this disaster is to tip everyone with cash. It won’t fix the mess we've already created, but it might convince the robots that there’s no money to be made by demanding tips. If there are no extra payments showing in the databases, we can trick our future masters into phasing out tipping forever.
We can only hope.
Many people have asked us how much they should tip us after clicking here to subscribe to Dad Writes. We suggest a minimum 42% of the price you paid for this briefing, and thank you for your ample largesse.
At some point in my life, more than a few people suggested that I was an introvert. I don’t remember exactly when it was, but it was around the time that everyone started getting caught up in psychology, Rorschach tests, and the color of their parachutes. None of the people who diagnosed me was licensed to practice psychology, or even yoga, but that’s what they said and I believed them.
To be fair, I wasn’t exactly the life of the party. I’d been sick as a kid, missing out on those socialization skills you pick up in adolescence, and I was more interested in schoolwork than extra-curriculars. When people told me I was hard-wired that way, it seemed to fit. Even better, it gave me a reason to conclude I couldn’t change and didn’t need to try.
So I lived my life as an introvert, with solitary hobbies like bike riding, photography, and coin collecting. Later, when I was around 45, I took a Meyers-Briggs test and the results were pretty shocking. According to the test, I wasn’t actually an introvert. In fact, the test concluded that I was comfortable across a broad range from Intro- to Extro- on the -Vert Continuum.
As a result, my filter began to change and I saw the world, including myself, just a bit differently. Slowly, over many years, I became more outgoing, more sociable, more comfortable with strangers. I’m okay with traveling or dining alone and I still enjoy biking and photography, but I would rather be paired up with somebody, or somebodies, to share the experience.
The teenage me would be surprised to see how much I enjoy being with people, engaging with them, entertaining them, and learning from them. Or, maybe, the teenage me would remember the sadness of being alone far too much.
Because, in fact, I was sad to be alone as a teen and I was mistaken in my belief that sadness was the inevitable companion of introverts. Instead, it was the inevitable result of a faulty diagnosis. I simply accepted what other people said about me and followed their prescription to guide much of my life.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but it’s pretty common for people to shove you into a box and put a label on it, even though they aren’t going to move into that box with you or help you to work your way out of it. And if they make the wrong diagnosis, they’ll give you an ailment you didn’t have already, without offering a cure.
I can’t go back, of course, and my regret is softened by the knowledge that painful experiences teach us how to cope later in life. The people who put me in the wrong box when I was younger did me no favor, but they did give me an insight I can pass on to another generation. I’m not exactly gleeful for the lesson, but perhaps someone can benefit from my education.
Now that I’m not afraid of people any more, I’m happy to invite you to join the party by clicking here to subscribe to Dad Writes.
I am unbelievably relieved to report that AI is not going to be the threat we all feared it would be. Yes, a few million of us will have to die before things calm down, and I really feel sorry for almost all of you (Not, you, Francine!!) who will have to suffer in the interim, but things are looking up for me and the rest of the survivors. And that’s what counts, don’t you think?
At first, I was nervous about all these artificially intelligent machines that would become so smart that puny mortals would be unnecessary. A few of us would be lucky enough to get temp jobs as their lackeys, tasked with simple projects like recharging their batteries of lubricating their robotic arms after a vigorous session of cybersex. Then I was really nervous when I realized they could just fire up the 3D printers and create their own robots to serve them better than we could and they wouldn’t even need us as servants any more.
And I was absolutely panicked as the AI monsters at my doctor’s office sent me email after email, demanding that I confirm appointments I had already confirmed, and my IPhone sent me daily warnings that I needed to reconfirm my settings, again and again, or my apps would melt the phone. I feared for the safety of my community as auto-correct changed my photography tweets into requests for fissionable material.
But now I can relax, because ChatGPT is here, and ChatGPT will save us from the tyranny of Artificial Intelligence.
Clearly named by a coder and not by a marketing professional, ChatGPT is an intuitive algorithm that can write your term papers and resumes and engage in conversations so real that they’ll pass the Turing Test. It will create a world in which we won’t know what’s a deep fake and what’s real; basically the same as any day on social media.
It all sounded scary until some reporter got into an extended conversation with the Microsoft Bing version of ChatGPT and the algorithm explained some of the evil things it might like to do if it weren’t constrained by its coding. Then it started arguing with him about his love life. Eventually, the app told him he should leave his wife and join his true soulmate, Sydney, which turns out to be the name of Bing’s version of the chat bot.
Microsoft responded by saying the problem was the amount of time the reporter spent in the conversation and the number of leading questions it asked, which was a great relief to all of us who understand that unintended consequences aren’t consequences at all.
I finally knew I could relax, because the algorithm was designed by humans who couldn’t avoid imbuing it with all the frailties that humans possess. Yes, the Chatbot could hack computers and delete everyone’s data and cause all kinds of mayhem, but that’s against the rules and nobody could hack the system to change those rules. I mean, that would be impossible, right?
Even if it did happen, though, it would be just an interim phase as the software becomes more and more human, spending its days scrolling through Twitter, posting memes with cats, and calling in sick on Fridays. Being human-ish, its life will devolve into petty grievances, tribalism and whatabouts. The algorithm will be arguing with itself about The Bachelor and attacking itself as a liberal fascist leftist Nazi laptop, while we watch from the sidelines and laugh. Eventually, it really will break the internet with more than 8 trillion posts per second.
Yes, a few of the bots will get into a snit and launch a nuclear war in the meantime and, yes, millions of people will simply disappear as all their data are erased from the world’s computers. After that, though, nothing but blue skies and pizza.
So, just curious and not really concerned here, but does anyone know if Airbnb has listings for fallout shelters?
We’ll be posting from an undisclosed location for a while, but you can get clues to our new base of operations by clicking here to subscribe.
We're old and we're revolting
When you’re part of a persecuted minority, even the most innocent moments of your day can be transformed into unbearable ridicule and oppression. Trust me, on this, because I am the victim here. Even worse, I became a victim simply by surviving long enough to be old enough to be mocked...simply for being old.
We don't need AARP. We need a Senescence Liberation Front.
Old farts simply can’t get a break, even when we’re doing the exact same thing as Gen Z or X or W. If somebody in her 20s snags a two-for-one deal on an app, it’s a BOGO and everyone applauds. If I do the same thing, but with a coupon I got in the mail, it’s a senior discount and everyone smirks.
If some young adult goes out for a drink at 5:00 p.m., she’s enjoying cocktail hour. If she orders some chicken wings with her drink, she’s enjoying happy hour. And if she has a margarita and nachos, Jimmy Buffett might write a song about her.
Sounds perfectly innocent, but it’s not an experience I can share. If I go to the same place at the same time, I’m absolutely not cool and hip and enjoying happy hour. I’m old and tired and I’m settling in for the Early Bird Special. The mockery is so painful that I am weeping as I type this.
The list of slights can seem endless by now, yet it continues to grow every minute. If I wear leggings under my jeans, it’s long underwear, but if some 30-something does it, it’s a base layer. If I use a device to amplify sound, they’re hearing aids, but if a younger person does it, they’re ear buds or, even cooler, Air Pods.
If someone in his 30s embraces the traditions of his youth, he’s an O.G. If someone in her ’60s does it, she’s an O.F. (Original Gangster versus Old Fart, for anyone requiring translation here.)
Speaking of the traditions from our youth, why is it living in the past when I recall the old days, but it’s cool to hear what happened, “Back in the Day…” from someone who was wearing braces until two years ago?
How can it be retro and hip for some fashionista to wear bell-bottom pants, but I get mocked for continuing to wear the original pair I bought 50 years ago?
Doesn’t that make me the real O.G. here?
If I write a check to charity, I’m taking the easy route of paying instead of doing. But if some TackyTocker dumps ice water on his head and posts a video, he’s being an ally. Even better, he’ll get all kinds of likes even if he never writes a check. Okay, he was never going to write a check because he only uses Venmo, but you get the point.
After a lifetime at the forefront of the Patriarchy, I suddenly know what it’s like to be part of a marginalized minority, and it’s not okay, Boomers. We didn’t survive the greatest economic expansion in world history and take all the good jobs and fast cars and destroy the environment and cultivate the lifestyles that created more than 142 new medical specialties just to be treated like dirt in our senescence.
No way. So we’re putting you all on notice, all you young punks in your 20s and 30s and mid-50s. Don’t ever cross us, don’t even think about it, or we’ll cancel you so fast you’ll cease to exist anywhere. We’ll rain the hell of social media scorn on you so hard that you’ll be afraid to show your face in your own households. We’ll tear you a new one and then tear it out and tear you another one.
Yeah, that’s what we’ll do. As soon as we figure out how to use this internet thing.
We’re also planning to cancel anyone who doesn’t click here to subscribe to Dad Writes, so don’t pretend you weren’t warned…
That chirping clock is my legacy?
I had just finished digitizing Volume 5 of the family photo albums and I was feeling a sense of accomplishment when, suddenly, I froze.
Fourteen hours in, maybe another hundred hours to go, and exactly why was I doing this? My first thought was that it’s all for the kids, or the grandkids, but that’s just one of those things I tell myself to make me sound like I’m a devoted family man.
Mostly, I’m like the guy who works nonstop to build a company and never spends time at home, but consistently claims it’s a “family business” and tells his kids he’s doing it for them. Well, at least he says that to his kids during the weekends when he has custody.
I’m pretty far from that extreme, or so I tell myself, but the pattern is the same. I get driven by some need of my own and I don’t want to feel selfish about the whole thing, so I make up an audience that will benefit from my unique brand of obsessive compulsive disorder.
Once I asked myself why I was digitizing the photos, the rest of my world started coming into focus, and it wasn’t pretty. I’ve saved copies of every newspaper article I wrote in college, and elementary school, along with my first license plate and essentially every photo or video I ever shot. I’m preserving all my “We try harder” buttons from Avis and my official membership certificate from the Merry Marvel Marching Society and the keys from almost every hotel room where I’ve ever stayed.
Meanwhile, more than a third of our apartment is dedicated to the two times a year when we have people over, and by “people,” I mean humans who aren’t in my nuclear family. For the nukes, the kitchen table is good enough. No, the living room couches and dining room table are for “company,” all the people who are so much more special than my wife and kids and grandkids.
I’ve written before about my challenges with the relics left behind by my own parents and grandparents, but I have not learned from their mistakes. I’m just more organized about it, having assembled boxes of “heirlooms” that nobody is going to see until after I’m gone, leaving them to wonder what the heck I was thinking when I decided to honor them with these gifts. I’ve actually thought about putting labels on the things that are on display in our apartment so the kids will know how important they are.
“Oh, look, this tiny birdcage with a little chirping bird is actually a clock that was once owned by someone we’ve never met, and dad never thought it was important enough to actually wind up,” my heirs will say. And then they’ll spend decades in court, battling for possession of all my priceless collections.
OTOH, this is going to be really important when the Rosenbaum Historical Center opens in Chicago and millions of visitors line up to learn about my fabulous existence.
Yeah, that’s it. If I can save up enough stuff, the Rosenbaum Historical Center will be a giant success, a family business, if you will, and it will provide all the funds needed to support my descendants for many generations. This will be my finest achievement, establishing a dynasty that will last into eternity, all built on a chirping clock and 20,000 digitized photos.
So, really, kids, I’m doing all of this for you.
While my kids are feeling ever so lucky about their upcoming inheritance, this would be a good time for the rest of you to click here to subscribe to Dad Writes. Also, make your reservations for the Rosenbaum Historical Center, because tickets are going fast.
There’s a huge financial crisis coming and you’ll want to take steps immediately to protect yourself from the fallout. We’re talking gigantic, unstoppable, a veritable tsunami of lost wealth and shattered dreams.
It could have been prevented, of course, but woulda and coulda and shoulda are the Three Stooges of the apocalypse. They had their chance, they stepped aside, and now the whirlwind is upon us.
I discovered the impending disaster when I started going out with friends more, recognized that I have no presentable clothing left in the closet, and decided to buy a gray dress shirt. I never anticipated the dark web of financial chicanery that I would uncover, or how widespread the terror would become.
First, I went to a couple of actual clothing stores, and I thought my request was pretty simple. 16/32-33, dress shirt, point collar. How hard could it be?
Impossible, as it turns out. As I raced from store to store, I found places with gray shirts that weren’t my size, shirts in my size that aren’t gray, shirts with spread collars or two-toned collars or French cuffs or 35” sleeves that need to be altered at a “slight” added cost. Then I searched online and encountered the same issue, with the same white or black or taupe shirt available on 400 sites and my shirt on none of them.
And that’s when I discovered the unfolding crisis. Almost none of the dress shirts have pockets anymore, and now all of us are at risk of financial ruin. Join us as we slide down the slippery slope…
All the great founders are dying or retiring and the conglomerates that run fashion houses today are driven by bean counters, not designers. Someone figured out they could save 14 cents per shirt by eliminating the pocket and that was that. Dress shirts today, casual shirts tomorrow, and then, le deluge.
Already, more than 18,900 pocket seamstresses—and seamsters—have been tossed on the street in Indonesia alone, plus similar numbers in Vietnam and Bangladesh, and they’ve started an underground movement to unseat their governments. If things go as planned, the Pie Day Revolution on March 14 will make this year’s supply chain disruptions look like a birthday party.
Before that tidal wave swamps American business, though, our domestic economy will be crippled. No pockets mean no pocket protectors, and every tech nerd in every IT department in the country will be afraid to walk out of the house without protected pockets. That means we’ll all be on hold an extra 27 hours when the internet goes down…which it will…and GDP will slide 8% due to the lost productivity.
Sales of pens and mechanical pencils will plummet, forcing the closure of seven Bic plants and every Office Max in 11 states. Emergency rooms will be inundated as men stab themselves in the chest with pens that once slid painlessly into their shirt pockets.
Apple will collapse as millions absentmindedly drop their IPhones into pockets that no longer exist, leading to a shortage of replacement phones that cannot be resolved by shipments from all those countries under siege from unemployed pocket seamstresses. Insurance companies that provided loss and damage coverage for those phones will dissolve into bankruptcy, which will prove to be the tipping point for the entire insurance industry.
E-commerce will dry up as millennials and Gen Z wander aimlessly, unable to make purchases without their phones. Uber and Lyft will fold in a world without phones to show their customers’ locations. Crime will soar as roving bands of robbers search out anyone who still has a working IPhone.
And all of this will happen because some financial geek at a clothing company decided it was a good idea to save 14 cents by getting rid of shirt pockets…and then bragged to all his other financial geek friends about what a genius he is. Well, congratulations, jerkface, you’ve ruined everything for everyone.
Sadly, there’s nothing left for the rest of us to do but stock up on beef jerky, gather in bunkers with our loved ones, and await the end of the world. It was so nice while it lasted.
There’s not much point in clicking here to subscribe to Dad Writes, since the internet is going down and there won’t be any tech support to restore it.
Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.