Honor Code

8C500266-EEB4-46B5-9B31-4BF29D21C18CChris had no idea why he’d been summoned to the Dean of Students’ office. With some trepidation, Chris knocked at the dean’s door. “Enter,” he heard the dean say.

As Chris walked in, the dean removed his reading glasses, set them down on his desk, and looked at the nervous student. “Please have a seat, Mr. Atwater,” the dean said. Chris did as he was told.

The dean looked at Chris for a long moment. “Mr. Atwater,” he finally said. “You’re aware of this university’s honor code, are you not?” Chris nodded his head in acknowledgment. “And you, therefore, must know about the strict policy regarding plagiarism.” Once again Chris nodded his head.

The dean handed Chris his philosophy course term paper. Chris’ forehead started to bead up with perspiration. The dean then handed Chris another document. The title page had been removed, but the evidence of plagiarism was clear. Chris felt like he was about to pass out.

“Mr. Atwater, your term paper is identical — word for word identical — to this paper prepared by another student who took this same course taught by the same professor three years ago. How do you explain this, Mr. Atwater?”

Chris realized he was caught. “Sir, I admit that I hired a paper-writing service to write this paper for me. I know I shouldn’t have done it, but I have had some personal problems this semester and didn’t have time to get my paper written and submitted,” he confessed. “And the service offers guarantees against plagiarism.”

“Mr. Atwater,” the dean said quietly, “I suggest you seek a refund from the service. Or perhaps you can get them to give you a credit for the admissions paper you’ll need to submit to the next university you plan to attend, since your time at our august institution is over.”

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “identical.”

Turning Red

636D8873-B024-4850-9A28-A3C7D8B17DEBI wasn’t actually paying attention to my wife when she came home from shopping at the department store and was showing me all the things she bought at the cosmetics counter. I know it’s not nice to ignore your spouse when she’s talking to you. But seriously, cosmetics? You feel me, right?

But then, out of the corner of my eye I saw her pull something out of her shopping bag and I heard her say the word “blush.” Blush? She bought a cosmetics product called “blush”?

“Did you say ‘blush’?” I asked.

“Yes, blush,” she answered.

“Why would you buy blush? You have always been so self-conscious about how your skin turns red all the time because you blush so easily and so often,” I said. “So why would you buy something to put on your face to make it looking like you’re blushing?”

Her face turned a bright red as she started blushing. “Because, silly,” she said, “I don’t like it when I blush. If putting blush on my face makes it look like I’m blushing all the time, no one will be able to tell when I’m actually blushing, which means I won’t be embarrassed when I blush.”

“Honey, that makes no sense,” I said.

“But you shave your face every morning,” she said, “so no one can tell that you’ve got a beard.”

“But I don’t have a beard,” I said.

“Yes, that’s because you shave every morning. Same with me wearing blush. No one will know.”

“You know,” I said, “I think you make more sense when I ignore what you’re saying.”

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “blush.”

I Don’t Do Twitter

img_0928I don’t do Twitter. The closest to writing a tweet is once a week when Kat Myrman posts her Twittering Tales prompt. She shows us a picture and asks us to post about that picture using 280 or fewer characters. Not words, characters.

And you know what? It’s damn hard to articulately express intelligent, meaningful, and coherent thoughts in just 280 characters, including spaces and punctuation. It takes a lot of patience.

And speaking about patience, please be patient with me if you are a Twitter fan. I don’t have a Twitter account. So you may want to take my observations about Twitter and its users with a grain of salt. My opinions are based upon what I’ve read and heard about what others have tweeted, and the most likely reason I’ve read or heard about such tweets is because they’re so outrageous.

And that brings me to my impression that people tend to post the dumbest, most incoherent, and nastiest comments on Twitter. No offense to those of you who love Twitter. No doubt you are the exceptions and your tweets are intelligent, coherent, and articulate.

Still, how many times have you read or heard about a tweet from Donald Trump (the tweeter-in-chief) that causes you to do a facepalm? Or to just shake your head in disbelief?

And it’s not just Trump. So many people — from members of his administration to other politicians to movie stars and TV personalities — have tweeted such stupid, thoughtless, nasty, and/or incoherent tweets that they end up having to apologize, delete their stupid tweets, or walk them back. It’s a medium tailor made for people to post stupid things.

Because, it seems to me, many Twitter users tweet first and think later. For some reason, they feel that time is of the essence and it’s more important to get it out fast than to take their time to write something intelligent, articulate, and thoughtful. If that’s even possible in 280 characters.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that all Twitter users are stupid, mean-spirited, and thoughtless. But Twitter does seem to attract many who are.

Maybe I’m wrong. If you are someone who uses Twitter, maybe you can help me understand why Twitter even exists. What need does it serve?

Anyway, this is why I don’t do Twitter.

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “patience.”

Corporate Pep Talk

357B9AC6-B311-4610-B6CC-9A56F1778FE0All right, team. It’s time to get down to business. In full transparency, we are at a critical juncture and we need to do some big-time brainstorming and outside-the-box thinking. It’s time to take things to the next level and begin solutioning. We need to closely examine our corporate values and core competencies.

To that end, we are going to empower each of you to get out of your swim lanes, ladies and gentlemen. This is the only way we’re going to be able to move the needle.

We must get buy-in from all you that you will give 110 percent toward achieving our critical goals. We need to be out there on the bleeding edge, opening up our kimonos, and using our best practices to ideate scalable solutions.

Yes, our very survival in this dog-eat-dog ecosystem requires us to get all of our ducks in a row. We need to drill down and reach out in order to achieve the greatest leverage possible. It’s time for a real paradigm shift. We have to be data-driven because this is where the rubber hits the road. The net net is that we need to come up with the next big thing.

So you need to wrap your heads around coming up with our next-gen product offerings. I need each of you to step up to the plate, to be proactive, and to come up with some strong, customer-focused ideas that we can allow to incubate.

I want you to blue sky this without trying to boil the ocean. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s all about synergy.

Written for today’s one-word prompt, “incubate.”

What Ever Happened To Dungarees?

07F437D8-8C94-42A8-88A6-A5F0357806BEI walked into a department store a few days ago and asked the sales clerk if she could direct me to the department that sold dungarees. A wrinkle appeared on her forehead and she said, “Dungar what?”

Okay, that didn’t really happen. I wrote that as an excuse to use the word “wrinkle” for today’s one-word prompt.

But seriously, folks, are you familiar with dungarees? No, it’s not the native language of the people who live in the country of Dungar.

When I was a kid I wore blue jeans at home (we weren’t allowed to wear jeans at school), and when the knees in the jeans became threadbare, my mom would always say, “Time to get you a new pair of dungarees.”

Back then, dungarees referred to pants and overalls. The word is a relic of the British colonial presence in India. “Dungri” is the name of a particular type of thick, durable cotton cloth exported from India to England in the 18th century. It was originally used to make sails and tents. Eventually “dungri” cloth was used to make work clothes. Somewhere along the way, an extra syllable was added to its name, and became “dungarees.”

These days, dungarees is simply an antiquated term for what we call “jeans,” casual trousers made of denim, most often blue in color.

The term “jeans” is allegedly an altered form of the name “Genoa,” the Italian city that was once an important source of the cloth. Similarly, “denim” is a mutation of “serge de Nimes,” referring to Nimes, France, also an early source of the fabric.

The more you know….C473F332-E1A5-43BB-9744-A13BF9B5FC51