John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Corporate Iron Man Triathlon

jyb_musingsI propose the Corporate Iron Man Triathlon

On the Monday following the actual Iron Man.

It will consist of 112 conference calls, sitting through 26.2 PowerPoint presentations and finishing with 2.4 hours of continuing education credits.

And in the spirit of the real Iron Man competition, the individual contests will lead to no particular destination but just be a test of endurance.

And, of course, wearing cool gear will matter more than it should.

I have already started training!

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Skydiving

jyb_musingsMy son just went skydiving…And didn’t tell me until after the fact. 

“My son?!” I exclaimed when my wife and daughter told me. “I cannot believe my son—my flesh and blood–could muster the nerve to jump out of an airplane! I could never do that!”

To which my daughter Maggie wryly replied, “At least he’s not doing the kinda things you did when you were his age!”

Game, set, match to Maggie.

A good and loyal sister –and best family comeback of the year.

And, yeah, super proud of my boy!!

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Instant Personality Test

10303467_10154373371790515_6291638683637281803_nMy new instant personality test. 

You are driving along in no particular hurry to get anyplace and notice your gas tank has just over a quarter tank of gas left as you are about to drive by a service station. 

What do you do? 

1) If you pull over and fill up, you are typical and are probably a responsible person who doesn’t leave things to chance but carries an extra jacket (or even blanket) in the car during the winter. They will likely be suited for middle management level positions. Or own a gas station. And likely coach little league and teach Sunday school. They sometimes teach courses in “How to” do things. And have fond memories of being a Boy Scout and even remember the hand sign that shows you are a scout.

2) If you keep driving and figure you’ll get it filled up next chance, you are probably a procrastinator and don’t know why. Oh, you say you know why and can list a dozen different reasons to others why you procrastinate but none really ring true. You are often late and some people think you are reckless at times. But those same people find you charming and fun at other times. Still other people find you irresponsible and unreliable and when you try to be charming and funny around them they may smile but will make the gagging expression by pretending to put their finger down their throat as soon as you leave. There is a certain adrenaline rush these individuals get from procrastinating and taking unnecessary risks. These individuals are often well suited for being an entrepreneur or CEO or entry-level assh***s who hop from job to job and borrow money from people who get gas earlier than they do.

jyb_musings3) If you drive past the station and then get nervous and do a U-turn and drive back to fill-up, you are a very tentative and indecisive person who can never remember where he was driving in the first place or why and is probably still out driving right now but still has at least a quarter tank of gas wherever you are. But not much else.

4) If you drive past the station but make a note to fill-up soon and later that day stop by a service station to fill-up, you show strong leadership capability and the ability to asses situations on “the fly,” and make bold decisions. These people aren’t as much fun as #2 and often feel like an older male family member who acts like he or she knows it all but can get on your nerves easily. They are almost never the smartest person in the room except occasionally when they are in a room by themselves. These individuals seem to be good at fewer things than they imagine but they compensate for it by an assured smugness that propels them into much higher paying jobs than their skill set could justify. You feel bad for them so just play along and let them think decisions they make (like not getting gas now when it is easy and right there but delegating it to later in the day) are really wise and make them destined for leadership roles.

5) If you read this and are horrified that you would ever be driving with a gas tank this low, you are a great supporting cast member and loyal employee. These people have great skill for being the number two person who does most of the important work. But when these people have dinner parties they, naturally, play it safe and serve ordinary hors d’oeuvres that don’t look very good or taste very good either and tell stories about how they “averted disasters” recently–but others find these stories a little tedious and overly-dramatic. Especially the story about the time they were driving with less than a quarter tank of gas but somehow made it home anyway. But friends eat their hors d’oeuvres anyway–and compliment them– because they appreciate all these people do for them.

6) If you don’t understand the question because you have never had more than a quarter tank of gas, you probably have the most job options off any personality type but they are all minimum wage level jobs and have little future in them. You go to the gas station almost daily but only put in one or two gallons at a time because you fear if you fill up the entire tank, you will feel like a poser and fraud and like you betrayed your peers who like the idea of surviving day-to-day even though it’s much easier than they want to believe and doesn’t take nearly as many stops to gas stations. But it’s a pride thing.

7) If you don’t own a car and just use ride sharing services and ride a bicycle most places, you don’t count for this personality test. But you are probably pretty cool. And aren’t missing out on very much.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Has this Ever Happened to You?

10440762_10154361866075515_5869913408984617896_nHas this ever happened to you?

“Unbelievable!” is all you can say.

You walk out of a coffee shop back to your car and notice a new and severe crack down the rear right side that wasn’t there when you parked. You utter in frustration, “Oh man! How did this happen?” startling a women walking in with heels so high the break in concentration almost causes here to fall.

Not wanting to cause any injuries you stop talking out loud to yourself as your mind starts racing about how much this is going to cost you to fix and how unfair it is since you just got your car fixed less than a month ago for something else that wasn’t your fault (even though it really was your fault).

jyb_musingsAnd then you realize your car is actually in the space behind the car you are fixated on and is just as you left it 20 minutes earlier.

And you pull out feeling the universe is, after all, a pretty fair place. And like you got your first good break of the day already and it’s not even 730am.


John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Miniature Cars

10389605_10154346724520515_1184003438670753102_nTwice in two days I have seen these new miniature cars.

They make me nervous but I wasn’t sure why.

10303873_10154346724605515_2012575358965154725_nBut I think I just figured out why.


Some days…like today…you will be feeling the perfect combination of older, calmer, more experienced and confident…and at the perfectly timed moment in a conversation you will open your mouth to dispense, finally, what everyone else will instantly realize is indisputably as wise as it is correct…and just as everyone is looking at you in anticipation…you will draw a complete blank.

And you never saw it coming.

jyb_musingsAnd fortunately, graciously, you will forget most of that horrifying experience in about an hour-and-a-half.



John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Ease and Comfort

jyb_musingsI am all for ease and comfort. I am a fan of both, in fact.

But an irtitating feature in new cars is that every time the driver plops into the driver seat, the seat begins moving automatically to “self adjust” into just the right position for the driver.

The entire experience starts and ends in about 4 seconds and is supposed to be some sort of luxury addition. But it scares me every time I get in my car and I then wait impatiently as I am manuevered electronicly back and forth until I am delievered into, what my car believes, is my “optimum seated position.”

First, I feel like I am not going to be doing a lot of different tasks other than driving while seated in my car so there really isn’t a need for multiple position options. I’m not going to sun bath or take an eye exam or anything like that in my car. The only time I need to reposition my seat is when I have dropped something under it and can’t reach it. And no need really to move the seat then. I have been squating beside the driver seat and sticking my arm under it to successfully find things for 35 years without a complaint.

Which leads me to the real reason I think I resent this new “automatic self- adjusting” driver seats. I fear they are manufactured by the same company that makes those stair case
seat lifts. And that my car seat is just a starter version.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Cyclist Warning


There are cyclists all over the roads today. I am not sure what is going on but think it is like when birds migrate South each year in massive formations–except people are doing it now. 

They apparently are travelling South for the summer and are on bicycles instead of flying. 

Warning because they aren’t as coordinated or organized as the birds but there are about as many of them.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: If life could only be like this….

jyb_musingsA Public Service Request: Ok, everybody. A few simple requests. Lately, traffic has been really irritating me.

I am in a silver Avalon with Jefferson Co plates. If you see me out driving and I am trying to switch lanes, please just let me in. I am in a hurry and am going to assume you aren’t. If I am behind you and seem to be tailgating you, it isn’t a coincidence. I really need you to speed it up or get in the slow lane. OK?

Also, some people who don’t absolutely have to be out driving today, I would really appreciate it if you could stay in and not congest traffic around me—at least between now and 9am and again between 530-630pm and, finally, between 1230-130pm in just the Louisville Metro area. If you live outside of this area, I don’t mind you driving today. But need you to be sure to avoid Metro Louisville.

And please no honking or waving gestures or shaking your head at me if I do something driving that you disapprove of. That hurts my feelings. Especially no honking when a light has turned green and I haven’t accelerated for several seconds. This is just my way of getting back into “driving mode” after stopping.

Oh, and if you are tailgating me, be ready to slam on your brakes at a moment’s notice. I know you want me to speed up, but that’s not going to happen –especially now that you are tailgating me. And please know that even though I may not give you the finger, I am still thinking it.

Feel free to wave hello or smile when passing. Or just give me a nice thumbs up. Then I am going to need you to stop distracting me.

Sound reasonable?

Thanks very much in advance! I think this will really help my frame of mind today.

Have a great day!

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Talking in cars while waiting in traffic

jyb_musingsCar talk is different than other conversations. Both the driver and passenger are looking forward and not at each other. Mostly anyway.

It’s not as intimate and more informational.

And both passenger and driver are captives in any conversation.

Earlier today I was stuck in traffic across from a couple about my age. The man was driving and had a grayin…g beard and glasses that somehow seemed fogged.

The woman also wore glasses but had holders on hers so they wouldn’t fly off. She waved her hands animatedly when talking and seemed either to be describing something important to her or venting about something that frustrated her.

The man was basically motionless and emotionless. He preteded to be watching the traffic and concentrating on driving but we were stuck at a standstill in traffic and there was nothing for him to do except listen. But he seemed mostly to be pretending to listen. He wanted her to think he was listening but also wanted her to suspect he may not be listening.

It was his way of communucating that although he cared about what she was saying, he didn’t care that much– and thought she was probably over reacting. She seemed to be getting more dramatic and demonstrative the more he seemed only to be pretending to listen. It was her way of saying, “What I am saying is actually a lot more important than you think it is and you would understand that if you would listen closer to what I am saying.”

As they both kept starring ahead out the windshield.

Then the traffic cleared. And we drove on.

But I suspect their  conversation continued.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Patting Myself on the Back

I did excellent work the past hour and fifteen minutes “working” one of the emergency exit doors on my flight from Clevelend to Charlotte, if I may say so myself.

My exit door, I am pleased to report, was “without incident.” And this is the third time this year I have taken on the responsibility of manning the emergency exit door in the event of an accident or emergency landing.

And it is not a role for the faint of heart.

Why do I compliment myself? Because frankly I have found it to be a thankless job. Not once has a member of the flight crew thanked me for my able, focused and fastidious work in this flight leadership role. Not even an “atta boy” wink or appreciative thumbs up gesture.

Should I need the affirmation to take on this kind of role? Probably not. And as long as I can give myself the occasional Facebook shout out for my aviation safety, that ought to be enough.

jyb_musingsAnd even though you probably weren’t on any of the three flights with me when I was in this important role, just know that if you had been, you would have landed safely and soundly. Thanks to the work of the crew and their volunteer staff, including me.

And although this isn’t a nice thing to say, the person opposite me working the other emergency exit, in my opinion, didn’t have her heart in it and hadn’t really read the flight rules and protocols and lied to the flight attendent when she pretended she had. At times I felt like I was doing her job as well as mine! As far as her side of the plane went, let’s just say we got lucky tonight.

The Recovering Politician Bookstore


The RP on The Daily Show