Serious Notes On Focus Groups …

old man coffee cup

Sitting here this morning, working or thinking about what it is that I want to share with all of you.  As it is my custom, I do this first, then I go read the bus boards and the news feeds, this way I try and keep this neighborhood squeaky clean and positive in nature. 

This policy keeps me in an upbeat frame of mind and it works for me. 

Looking over some web pages and I find this:  Seven weeks ago I had a hysterectomy. That it was necessary, even after more than a year of compounding symptoms that something was wrong, was news I did not take lightly.

Whooooooooie, I mean back the truck up Sister, we don’t want to read about that! 

But there it is.  Now I am really searching for something positive and upbeat for the page this day.  May make it and then again, might not.  I am for lack of a better word … Aghast.  Why do people feel compelled to share their rancid history with total complete strangers.  Sort of like AA Meetings or Focus Groups that deal with life’s issues.

“Hi my name is Vern.” and the room responds with “Hello Vern.  Welcome!”

Vern shifts his weight from side to side, in his left hand a wrinkled up handkerchief, he rubs it on his hands, to remove the sweat.  Little rivulets of water cover his forehead, and he visibly shakes a little, then looks at the group and says … “I like to pop bubble-wrap.”

My company sent me to something similar back in the eighties, it was called “Anger Management” but I refereed to it as “Charm School.”  Rode the train up to Kansas City and the company footed the bill for the rooms and comped me.

First, let me emphasize this,
“I did not want to do this class or any other class for that matter.” 

It was this or unemployment compensation, which as I remember was a mere pittance of what normal people make for a living, so reluctantly “Mad Mother” (my Railroad Nickname) attended the meeting.

On the first day, we all sort of milled around in the hallway waiting on the instructor to show up.  A fine group of rule-breaking misfits from various locations on the railroad.  The instructor showed up, and opened the door and we started entering the room.  I was the last person to come in.  

For some reason, Mr. Congenial, the positive re-enforcement counselor, decides to single me out and boldly proclaims “We will get started if EVERYONE will be seated.”  Then gives me a look that would kill a goat.

And I thought to myself, “Hey, that is kind of rude.” 

So I said, “You talking to me ______ head?” and he says,”If you ever find time to get in here, we will start, have a seat.”  At that time I invited him to kiss the part of me that went over the fence last. 

Then it got strangely quiet.

Noticing a seat with a lot of clipboards, file folders, teaching materials around it, I made a beeline for the chair..  Ah-ha!  I have just found “my seat” promptly shot past him and I walked across the room and sat down in HIS chair. 

He doesn’t like this so he says, “You are in MY chair.” 

And I said, “Find another one Junior” and once-again laced it with some not so nice colorful metaphors. (We use ‘em all the time on the RR, no really, would I lie to you?)  As I recall, I implied his parents were not married or he was married to his first cousin, don’t really remember.  May have used the expression “girly man” a couple of times, as I said, I am not sure.

Then it came time to “introduce ourselves” around the room.  As it got to me  I said, “I don’t have a name and I don’t want to know your sorry A** anyway.  Just call me Mr. Mystery Man, that will work.” 

At that time, I was asked to leave, which really surprised me. 

It took 42 minutes to get booted, I thought I could do it a lot quicker than I did.  Company never sent me anywhere else after that, so I guess I proved I was sane.  So much for focus groups and hysterectomies early in the morning.

Where’s my ##@#$!!*!! Valentine’s Card anyway?

Oh, it’s the 19th … uh well ok, maybe next year.