Check your texts and other lessons from 2016

Dorothy-RosbyI made at least one person mad in 2016. There might be more, but one was mad enough to say so. You know how when you’re introduced to someone named Rudolf, you’re tempted to say, “You do have a very shiny nose.” Or when you meet someone named McDonald, you’re overcome with the urge to say “Ee-I-ee-I-o” or “Would you like fries with that?”

You’re not? Well I am and I know I’m not alone. I’ve heard “We’re not in Kansas anymore” and “I’m going to get you and your little dog too!” so many times I nearly broke into a chorus of Somewhere Over the Rainbow just thinking about it. I’ve never minded. That other Dorothy seems to help people remember my name, and it beats going through life as old What’s-Her-Name.

But recently I met someone else with a movie name who, in a not-so-pleasant way, informed me that not everyone feels that way. I won’t say who, because he asked me never to use his name again.

Anyway, it’s just one of the valuable lessons I learned in 2016. And as I begin a new year, I like to take stock of everything I learned in the past one. Don’t worry; it doesn’t take long.

I didn’t learn how to make up my mind in 2016, but I did learn that I should learn to. Nine times out of 10, when my husband parks to run into a business, I choose to stay in the car. Eight times out of nine, I change my mind after he’s gotten out, taken his keys and locked the doors out of habit. I’ve learned the hard way, which is my main method of learning, that trying to get out of the car at this point sets off the car alarm. I’m not sure why. You’d think that if there were ever a thief in your car, you’d want him to get out.

I learned that loyalty doesn’t pay. Or anyway it doesn’t if you can’t find your loyalty card when you need it. I have loyalty and membership cards for every hotel, convenience store and fast food restaurant in the five-state region. I have the potential to save hundreds of dollars on buy-10-get-1-free punch cards. And now I know I should locate them before I get to the counter because the peace and goodwill of the season do not extend to someone holding up the line to look through their card collection.

I learned to break for lunch. Anyone who knows how I am about lunch probably thought I already knew that. But just because I don’t break, doesn’t mean I don’t eat. My almost daily habit is to eat lunch at my desk while I go through emails. If you were to shake my computer keyboard upside down, the equivalent of a four-course meal would probably fall out, though I doubt you’d want to eat it. I finally decided I might have time to break for lunch the day I was lunching on a turkey avocado sandwich and I absentmindedly opened an email with the enticing subject line, “Do you have gut yeast?” It included pictures.

And finally, in 2016 I learned to check my texts before I send them. Incidentally, I also learned that in 2015, and chances are good I’ll learn it again in 2017. Between voice-activated texting and autocorrect, texting is dangerous business. Readers get the wrong idea when you say, “I’ve been fine,” but your voice-activated text gizmo types out, “I’ve been framed.” Or you intend to say, “I love you,” but your text reads, “I loathe you.”

Don’t worry; I didn’t make that mistake, but I can’t print the one I did make. Let’s just say, I probably made another person mad in 2016.

(Dorothy Rosby is the author of several humor books, including I Used to Think I Was Not That Bad and Then I Got to Know Me Better. Contact drosby@rushmore.com.)

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