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Archive for December, 2011

Having rashly committed to WordPress’s Post-a-Day program — which fell apart completely, in my case, by late January — I cannot resist their final topic for the year. printed below in its entirety:

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 Clearly I can’t count – what can’t you do?

Topic #347:

As the number above points out, my skills at counting leave much to be desired. As there are 365 days in a year, I’m 8 topics short for offering you a topic a day for the entire year How lame – I’m hanging my head in shame right now (Before you tell me it should be 9, remember there’s one more for tomorrow).

But this does offer us a good topic for the day: what ordinary skill are you bad at? Maybe its tying your shoelaces, or parallel parking cars, but we all have something very simple that we just don’t do very well. Write about yours.

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As a putative accountant (having earned my degree late in life, I never actually got to practice accountancy), I can’t claim to be bad at numbers — I had better not be!  But there is one skill I have often wished I could cotton onto, let alone acquire skill in it, and that is…tact.

How do people Do tact, anyway?!  Without exception, every time I fall all over myself doing my very best to be Tactful, people tell me not to be so blunt!  I once worked for a man who had Hodgkin’s disease (lymphoma), and thinking I was being sympathetic, I commented on how tired he looked — and he blew up at me:  “I don’t need to hear how awful I look!!”  OK, but when I look like death warmed over, I personally appreciate hearing about it — it confirms for me that I really do look as awful as I feel.  Clearly, “Do Unto Others” doesn’t always work.

About ten years ago, I finally decided that there was no point in my trying to figure out the Tact thing, and I thought, “They think this is being blunt?!  I’ll show them blunt!”  And I started saying pretty much what was on my mind.  Not as crassly as, “Geez, where did you dig that thing up?!  It adds fifty pounds to your face alone!” but, “It makes you look washed out/it’s not your color/it doesn’t do anything for your [name best feature].”

Somehow, I don’t get the Blunt comment anymore.  I don’t know if my bluntness shocks people into silence, or what else might be going on, but these days, nobody tells me not to be so Blunt anymore.  Which is a good thing because, face it — I’ll never get the Tact Thing.

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