Monday, October 17, 2011

Blow Darts

This summer, we analyzed the various types of crying and graphically illustrated the impacts on the criers and others. You ideally left the analysis encouraged to maximize the efficacy of your own tears by gaining the desired sympathy, while minimizing your display of patheticness.

Glaringly missing, was how to deal with others eliciting the various types of crying. While the least pathetic types of crying that cause little disruption to the surrounding environment can be politely tended to or ignored, what about the most pathetic?

In many cases of pathetic public crying, an innocent observer can walk away. But unless that inflatable escape slide has wings, or the life vest doubles as a parachute, there's no escape on an airplane. The same is true for other forms of public transit. So what's an innocent traveler to do?

The answer is simple: Blow darts.

Call me crazy or insensitive, but your child's ears popping are not my problem, the shrill in the seat behind me is. In such situations, if parents refuse a drop of cough syrup to put the kid out, offended public should be allowed to fire a simple blow dart tranquilizer. It may seem cruel at first, but we already offer the courtesy to our pets and our insane if they are inconsolably disturbed. If it's clear that the parent plans to let their child scream themselves to sleep anyway, what's the harm in expediting the process?

This simple solution can be applied across many other instances of extremely pathetic public crying. For instance, you should never break up with a knowingly dramatic significant other in a public place. But if you do make that mistake, you may find yourself in an unavoidable situation where you cannot simply walk away. It's only reasonable that you should have the option to relieve yourself, those around you, and the scream crying soul of their misery with a quick, harmless blow dart. They will wake up more calm, rational, and able for any necessary conversations or coping.

Other infractions may include:
  • Children throwing temper tantrums in grocery store lines
  • Drunk sorority girls sobbing in the middle of a bar
  • Non-athletes blubbering over minor sports injuries
  • Freshly-fired employees rampaging through an office
Of course, the protocol would not be heartless.  Certain excusable forms of public pathetic crying exist, where blow darts would be strictly prohibited. Funerals, weddings,  and substantial physical injury, for instance, each constitute safe situations.

Certainly this unconventional method would take a long time to socialize. But next time you find yourself in the presence of inescapable public sniveling, consider the overall benefit for the perpetrator, for yourself, for society, that a simple, mild tranquilizer could bring.

Plus, who wouldn't love to fire a blow dart? It's a blast. Not that I know from experience. This blog post is in no way an admission of guilt. Please contact my attorney with any direct inquiries.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Anyone who follows me via social media knows how much I LOVE Ke$ha. Okay…maybe we’ll call it tough love. OK – I can’t stand her.

I find a few of her songs acceptable, but ultimately have a grand vision where Ke$ha’s, Lady Gaga’s and Katy Perry’s personas get into a cat fight and are tragically trampled to death by overzealous gay men, sorority girls and high school students stampeding to save their favorite siren.

That said, I’ve procured free concert tickets to her show this evening in Chicago. I can’t pass up an opportunity for free music and people watching. Plus LMFAO is going to be there (which actually means nothing to me)!

If I’m going to go to a Ke$ha concert, I’ll be a good sport and try to blend into the crowd and evoke the spirit of the artist for the evening. If you, too, are going to the Ke$ha concert and want to be the best grungy-hipster-skank you can be, you can follow these simple steps: 

  • Step 1: Roll out of bed
  • Step 2: Don’t shower 
  • Step 3: Assess level of feeling like P Diddy – If low, listen to some P Diddy 
  • Step 4: Brush teeth with a bottle of Jack 
  • Step 5: Locate dirty clothes hamper, reach to the bottom, grab random clothes OR buy hot pants 
  • Step 6: If dirty clothes do not look unkempt enough, find scissors, dirt, glitter, makeup or any other materials that will make them look sufficiently raunchy 
  • Step 7: Find or buy a pair of tights; cut trashy holes in them 
  • Step 8: Put on heavy makeup (everything except lipstick/gloss) and smear across face 
  • Step 9: Purchase and apply turquoise lipstick and eye glitter 
  • Step 10: Find a necklace; add a Jesus charm or figurine 
  • Step 11: Replace any “S” in your name with a dollar sign anytime you write it all day 
Now that you’ve got the Ke$ha look, fill a water bottler full of Skol and Kool Aid to smuggle into the concert and you’re good to go. Live hot and dangerous.


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Last Will and Testament of Christine E Berka

In the event of an untimely death related to reckless or destructive activity, the testator has dictated the following:


To my mother, Sue, I leave all of the clothes and shoes that I bought for you so I could later steal them and hoard them in my closet.

To my father, John, I leave my keys, my wallet, my phone, my sunglasses, etc., assuming I haven’t lost them somewhere due to your poor genetics and behavioral influence.

To my brother, Scott, I leave my dignity and self-respect, because it is right to give to those in need.

To my brother, Kevin, I leave my brains, because it is right to give to those in need.

Honored Requests

Bailee Obrien, per your request, I leave you my liver. I cannot attest to the health, per se, but the working condition is flawless. At least for a couple of more years…

Chris Strupek shall receive 1 pair of handcuffs, fishnet tights and a “cutie convict” garter located in a plastic bag in my closet. Ask no questions.

My electric blue pumps in all of their awesomeness shall go to Mike Freimann because he called dibs. As a result, I also leave him at least a handful of people beating down the door for them.

Funeral/Burial Arrangements

Testator requests an open-bar service devoid of any religious activity other than her own canonization.

Deceased is to be buried with her Nine West shoe collection, Lou Malnati’s gift cards, a bottle of tequila, and a pack of sugar free Red Bull.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Types of Crying

True or false: You want to give every person you see crying a big hug?

If you chose “True,” you’re a dirty liar. But don’t feel bad—We’ve all experienced the urge to slap some sense in to some sense into a crying figure, we just feel guilty expressing it. But why? Are they ugly criers? Is there something in their tone? Do I see a hint of drool? Or maybe we’re just assholes.

Allow me to put that last statement to rest. They are many different forms of crying. With the assistance of some coworkers, I’ve created this chart that illustrates types of crying across two factors: Pathetic-ness and Sympathy Elicited. Overall, we determined that the best types of crying maximize sympathy elicited, while minimizing levels of pathetic-ness. Take a look, and maybe you’ll understand why that blubbering idiot just didn’t tug at your heartstrings.


Blubbering: Unattractive, loud crying. Characterized by mutters, truncated, erratic breathing, clinched facial expressions and hunched posture.

Hyperventilate-Crying: Forceful crying causing heavy breathing, resulting in the inability to speak or produce sounds even resembling words.

Scream-Crying: Violent crying accompanied with bouts of yelling or sometimes shrieking. May also include slapping, punching or other physical expressions of distress.

Silent Tears: Soft, inaudible crying that does not draw attention; May manifest only in a single tear rolling down one’s cheek.

Sobbing: Heavy crying with a large volume tears flowing steadily; Generally audible but not inappropriately loud.

Sniveling: Audible, but soft crying, also prone to muttering and erratic breathing; May also show signs of drool or mucus.

Weeping: A gentler version of sobbing; Involves soft, steady stream of tears with some times lightly audible signs of distress.

Whimpering: Soft crying usually including few or no tears at all; Often incorporates muttering and/or high-pitched sighs.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Twitter Cover Letter

Last September, I was not actively searching for a new job, but came across a post for a position at Twitter, and couldn't skip the opportunity to apply. 

I decided to get fancy and compose my cover letter for the position in tweets-140 character installments. I grabbed Twitter's background (this was pre-"New Twitter") to create the work of art below, and even ensured that each of the hyperlinks worked.

(Click image to expand)

I was proud of it, but Twitter was apparently unimpressed, because I never heard back. Maybe that's why I'm account service and not creative.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Planned Parenthood

It began as a joke to embellish my tomboy-ness about 5 years ago.  First with a flippant “I’m never having kids,” while passing an ill-tempered child in public.  After a few refrains, my friends doubted me, and I modified: “Fine, but definitely not a girl—Little girls are the devil.” 

My obnoxious mantras continued to churn, with more than a few eyerolls, to solidify into a fully-fledged life plan for parenthood.  The more I recount the plan, the stronger I buy-in to it, and the closer it moves to fruition.  Here it is—

I’m going to adopt a 6-year-old boy.  No, really. I’m doing it.  “Why,” you ask? The benefits are great. Consider that by jumping into parenthood with a 6-year-old, you can:

  • Avoid pregnancy, childbirth and all related plagues of that bitch, Eve.
  • Ensure gender
  • Pick a cute one
  • Administer personality and/or IQ tests, if necessary
  • Send him to school full-time
  • Evade career-limiting maternity leave
  • Have a walking, talking, potty-trained child
  • Delay parenthood for six years, and jump-in on a “normal” timeline
  • Have an adult child to entertain you and care for you when you’re retired and bored
At this point, whatever aghast listeners I am selling usually nod reluctantly to acknowledge the validity of at least some of my argument.  Thinking that I surely have not thought this through, they ask follow-up questions hoping to crumble a house of cards. They’re very wrong.  Examples:

Q: But you don’t really want to miss those adorable baby and toddler years, do you? 
A: Yes, I do.  They are only adorable when you can give them back so they don’t vomit on you and scream in your ear all night.  At least when a 6-year-old screams, he can communicate what’s wrong. 

Q: Wouldn’t you be nervous about emotional or developmental challenges that might come with adopting a child that old?
A: As already stated—A child that old is relatable with a defined, assessable personality. Best-case scenario involves some sort of return policy written into the adoption contract that I never have to use.  Worst case scenario will be my nanny’s or stay-at-home-husband’s challenge. I will not be the primary caregiver, given my goals to build a successful career and have a life.  And, all else failing, there’s always boarding school…which is decidedly less harsh when he’s not technically even my child, anyway.

See? I said it was thought-through. Read it a few more times and notice how the plan becomes increasingly attractive.  I’ve since moved to bartering for my pregnant friends’ unborn children. I figure, if they haven’t met the kid yet, I’m more likely to convince them to keep it for only six years, incubating in a safe, socializing family environment—Perfect!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Off-Road Rage: A New Metropolitan Epidemic

By Christy Berka
Published March 27, 2011

CHICAGO—An alarming new epidemic has been rising in the Chicago metropolitan area.  Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook have allowed the city’s officials to draw connections between commuter anxiety and outbreaks of verbal and even physical confrontation during peak transit hours.

Drivers are ever-familiar with the city’s rush hour traffic, and the harmful effects of aggressive driving, or “road rage,” sometimes caused from anxiety behind the wheel. Now, new research techniques have allowed for the study of online conversations across social networks that show striking similarities the in thought process and behavior modeling of those traveling without automobiles. 

Even more startling, officials have revealed strong correlations between non-drivers' aggressive statements during commutes with hospital admissions for such injuries as sidewalk trampling, railroad rash and severed limbs from elevator doors. 

Shedding light on what researchers have coined, “off-road rage,” the study offers explanations and highlights examples of traveler thought-process pulled from social networks:

Public Transit Rage
Rage across all forms of public transit brews when passengers violate the unspoken etiquette that exists on respective buses or trains.  Stand aside and wait for riders to unload, or get trampled. Don’t sit next to a single passenger when open seats are still available, or get glared at.  A tweet captured the inner-monologue of one Metra passenger at the start of her morning commute: “That bitch sitting in my seat obviously doesn’t know how this works. This is my car. That is my seat. #stepoff #illkickyourass”

Sidewalk Rage

For those who make the commute on foot, beware the path-driven who stomp the sidewalks, especially in heavily trafficked areas like Chicago’s Loop. People at risk include slow-walkers, groups of middle-aged women walking abreast and people carrying bulky loads.  One path-determined traveler threatened electronically: “Hey, Lady ahead of me walking & smoking—Maybe if you put out the cigarette, you’d waddle faster and inconvenience everyone less. #getouttheway”

Elevator Rage
Rageaholics show their true colors in elevators.  They typically target single-floor elevator riders, especially those returning to work after cigarette breaks or with bags full of fast food. One contentious Facebook post read, “This fatty just RAN to the elevator to stick a foot in the closing door and rode up ONE floor. In the future, we should require people to perform some sort of jig to make up for the missed exercise.”

With new research available and ongoing investigation underway, Chicagoland can take measures to prevent off-road rage. Commuters should heed this new trend and avoid behaviors known to trigger aggression. Simple adjustments can help keep tensions down and travelers safe.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Berka Consulting Client Outreach

Dear prospective client,

We here at Berka Consulting, Inc. believe that intelligence makes us smarter. And it is that intelligence we want to apply to your business challenge. By pairing strategic market insights with our associates’ refined business acumen, we can construct a plan to surmount whatever formidable business obstacles stand in your way. Each of our colleagues have years of experience manipulating data to best support whatever approach we’re recommending. No, the data may not lead to the implied conclusions we’re making, but we’re so skilled at skewing the perspectives of third-party viewers, you won’t know the difference.

You undoubtedly face a vast range of complex challenges, and we can help you with all of them. Thankfully, we’ve developed a single tool that we cleverly and methodically force-fit to every single one of them. But don’t worry, it will always seem as if we’ve created a process and solution tailored to your specific needs. And that’s exactly what we want you to think. Each of our associates has received very specialized training in mining seemingly useless data and turning it into what appears to be a well-structured, highly integrated solution.

Furthermore, we at Berka Consulting know that the most important kind of capital is thought capital. And that thought capital can be found in a range of different types of people. But we also know it always makes it better if the “thought capital” also has a pretty face. That’s why we factor physical appearance into all hiring decisions. You can be sure that the team you’ll be collaborating with throughout the rigorous analysis phase makes it easy on both your intellect and your eyes.

We look forward to delivering a customized, data-driven plan to put your business on track. Please direct all business inquiries to cberka2 [at] gmail [dot] com.

J Scott Berka
Berka Consulting, Inc

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Berka Consulting Welcomes Paige J. Deckert

I am pleased to announce the newest addition to Berka Consulting, Inc.  Paige J. Deckert joins the team with impressive qualifications and will be an asset to our organization's success moving forward.  Please join me in welcoming Paige, and you can learn more about her credentials from her application's cover letter below.


Miss Christine Berka,

I am writing to express interest in your position of associate senior consultant at Berka Consulting, Inc.  Though I lack the last name Berka, I can only hope that I can live up to the very high standards of wit and sarcasm set forth by you, your family, and those ridiculously good looking genes.

Though I appreciate your desire to have extraverted, judgmental people, I will use this as the first reason as to why I would be an important addition to your team.  The Meyers-Briggs test has notoriously low psychometrics.  Because I am getting my PhD, I can use fancy words such as “psychometrics,” and people believe I know what I am talking about.  Other fancy words include “antecedents,” “empirically validated theoretical model,” and “competencies.”

I believe that Berka Consulting should use best practices grounded in research.  When I say something such as “treat your employees better and it will increase their job satisfaction,” I have research to back it up (Graen & Uhl-Bien, 1995).   Research-based phrases can also be used to increase billable time from clients—“the specifics in our plan of action will depend on the context of your organization, to truly understand the situation.  As a result, it will require a site visit” (Johns, 2006).   “If you make work meaningful to the employees, job performance will increase.  It would be best to send a team to interview job incumbents” (Grant, 2008).  By using recent citations, clients will believe that we are on the cutting edge of management research, and our meaningless statements about business will have even more impact. 

As you know, I have 1.5 years experience in consulting.  Though the experience has been valuable, I will understand if you render in null in consideration for employment because of the affiliation with Penn State.  Nonetheless, I have gained learnings about how to work with the police, and people who want your money; I also have experience pretending I know what I am doing, while really flying by the seat of my pants (or skirt). 

I believe that I can contribute to the climate of the firm itself.  By wearing Nine West pumps in an array of colors, I can provide a degree of fabulousness that other applicants cannot supply.  They also serve a dual purpose, because they are excellent for kicking Berka siblings, or unruly clients.  Because of my education and experience, I can also help the employees Berka Consulting.  I believe it would be beneficial to pursue Nine West as the official shoe sponsor.  It has been shown that non-monetary incentives have a positive impact on worker motivation, (Jenkins et al., 1998).   Pairing with Nine West could enable the creation of a “shoe bonus program” at no financial cost to the company.  I believe my sarcastic and dry sense of humor would allow me to maintain a judgmental attitude required by the E _ _J, and is one of the things that has enabled me to hang with the Berka Clan thus far. 

I also have a knack for cooking, and can make pizza and cookies for meetings should the need arise.  Given my entrance into the world of home brewing, we could have a signature “Berka Consulting” brew on tap at the office.  Beer helps in negotiation with clients, and it has been theorized that a small amount of beer is actually a performance enhancer, rather than a performance inhibitor (Deckert & Maneotis*, forthcoming; Sari and I are thinking about applying for a grant to actually test this empirically). 

As you can see, I have an array of talents that could be utilized to better Berka Consulting, Inc.  I am invested in and committed to the future of this organization.

Paige Deckert
PhD Anticipated 2014

*Authorship determined alphabetically

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Berka Consulting, Incorporated is a global business consulting group specializing in world-class organizational strategy, communication, process and innovation.  We strive to create and optimize best practices in order to gain efficiencies and results across all of our premiere clients. At Berka Consulting Inc., we revolutionize businesses, so they can revolutionize the world.
Job Description:
As a Senior Associate Consultant you will be responsible for developing and maintaining relationships with a wide breadth of clients.  You will collaborate to fuse cutting-edge business trends with sound traditional practices, offering unmatched resources and solutions for improving revenue cycles and business operations. Throughout all, you will exemplify the unmatched strategic acumen and vision integral to the mission of Berka Consulting, Inc. and the success of our clients.  Primary responsibilities include client ideation partnerships; strategy visioning sessions; process reform and roadmapping; target market immersions; and enterprise communication management.
Qualifications include Bachelor's Degree minimum and E _ _ J Myers-Briggs personality type. Mastery of business rhetoric, the English language and meaningless, yet impactful business analogies. Proficiency in audience persuasion; demonstrated knowledge of elementary business facts and principles; and leadership experience with manipulating group discussions and meetings. Experience in performing arts or public speaking and European accent highly desirable.
Job title:  Senior Associate Consultant
Position type:  Full Time, Employee
Job reference code:  2011-0002
Job category:  Consulting/Business Strategy/Performing Arts
Location:  Chicago , IL
Please submit a written application demonstrating your qualifications
Competetive applicants published as guest bloggers here.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Jew, The Hindu, and The Blonde

About a year ago, two of my friends (really friend-acquaintances at the time, who both worked for the same massive corporation) and I had like revelations: We’re each 23, living alone in the armpit of America (central, IL). It was conservative, “family-oriented,” and it sucked. Hard.

We inventoried what we knew about each other:
  • Generally cool-enough people with whom to strike work friendships.
  • University of Illinois graduates (Read: Effing brilliant)
  • Geoff’s Jewish, Ujjval’s Hindu, Christy’s Blonde (sometimes with a capital “B”).

With perhaps a bit of a dice roll, we put our money on 7 and entered into a hilarious living arrangement.  Was it a sitcom, it would be some awesome fusion of The Bing Bang Theory, Three’s Company and The Office.

The pilot episode of The Jew, The Hindu, and The Blonde opens back when the Odd Trio decides to live together and signs a lease to their big new apartment.  Geoff and Christy con Ujjval, without Ujjval’s awareness, into occupying what is clearly the worst room.  Ujj remains indifferent when we decide to point out our coup.

Cut to the three of us chatting on the giant basement sectional, taking in the new scenery and cue Geoff’s actual quote, “Hey guys—You know how when you put a goldfish in a big tank, it gets bigger? Think that will be like us and friends?”

True to the tenor of the pilot and tone of the title, the ensuing Emmy-winning season would follow the threesome building a motley crew of friends and engaging in plenty of random hilarity.  And it would, of course, be sprinkled with derogatory slurs wrapped in impressive rhetoric. 

The Jew, The Hindu and The Blonde, Season 1 episode titles (all from true events):
  • The one where Berka bakes, and why it’s important to be cognizant of who you are telling to jump into an oven.

  • The one with all things “Ujjvallian,” and why a Marvel Comics poster and a futon fit so harmoniously in an otherwise barren room.

  • The one where Geoff defiles Berka’s cube to remove Cubs paraphernalia, and why childish Cardinals fans should be mindful of who knows where they sleep. 

  • The one where Berka eats an entire tub of cookie dough before Ujjval has a chance to bake any, and why Indians suck at booby-traps.

  • The one with the Little Blonde Buddha and why it’s much easier to give rather than follow sound relationship advice.

  • The one where Ujjval disses TBS, and why you can get away with saying things like that when you’re brown.

  • The one with all the domestic violence and why Berka’s nickname is Mike (Tyson).

  • The one with the Pajama Party, and why matching footie pajamas are a staple of every wardrobe.

  • The one with all the work-email banter, and why you should always be concerned about records retention and the “forward” button.

  • The one where the Blonde goes Ginger, and why Jewish people’s opinions never matter.

  • The one with the argument scoreboard, and why earnest chauvinism never wins a point.

  • The one with the Vegas Bombs, Buttery White Russians, and how only Indians are adept at intoxicating otherwise heavy-drinking blondes. 

  • The one with all the glamor muscles, and why roommates who never wear shirts are exiled to the dungeon. 

  • The one with the musical sing-a-long, obvious Aladdin typecasting, and why Geoff is a terrible tenor.

  • The one where Geoff and Ujjval participated in the same focus group, and why loose interpretation of the term “focus” is critical.

  • The one with all the animal nicknames, and why pandas are always down to party.

  • The one with all the Thirsty Thursdays, and why Friday mornings were never more regrettable.

  • The one with random jars of unpronounceable spices, and why eavesdropping on half-Hindi conversations is pointless.

  • The one with the SnowtoriousBIG, shovels, and how Ujjval learned the hard way that Bailey’s should always be kept in-stock.

  • The one with all the pizza, and why you should never underestimate the eating ability of former-fat-girls.

  • The one where loud-mouthed Jews make the best pitchers, and why vying for the win in work co-rec softball always leads to disappointment.
The Season 1 finale ends with a twist where the Blonde, being the least-likely suspect of the trio to leave central Illinois first, accepts an unexpected job offer in Chicago, gives two-weeks notice and packs her bags.  In order to engage in a lively send-off week of heavy drinking after a speeding ticket robs her of identification, she has her mother (who makes habit out of enabling her delinquent children) overnight her passport.  Identification problem solved, the fun week ends with a bittersweet goodbye.

The three acclaimed actors can’t be too sad, though.  They already know their contracts have been renewed for a second season, which is sure to bring more commutes, quarter-life crises and culture clashes.  At the risk of a wishful spoiler alert, maybe the Season 2 finale finds Jack, Janet and Chrissie in the same location, or dare I suggest the same apartment, again.

And because I know you’re wondering: Geoff is definitely Chrissie. Is Suzanne Somers Jewish? Irrelevant. I’m pretty sure he’s got a Thigh Master.

To Geoffrey and Ujjval—I will miss living with you guys.

Much love,
Christopher Robin; Little Blonde Buddha; Hamster

Monday, January 24, 2011

Berka Consulting, Inc.

Let’s lay it out on the table: Most consultancy is a joke.  My rationale is sound and I’ll prove it, but let’s begin with an example:

A handful of months ago, I attended a presentation to a cross-section of my company’s leadership on the topic of “Generation Y.”  Since Millennials, as a generation, are really quite the enigma and scientifically non-human, the event organizers invited a handful of young adult employees to attend for translation needs.

I could immediately see why we were invited.  The 26-year-old millionaire on stage was making groundbreaking statements, like how this new generation of employees and customers are “tech-dependent,” demand “instant gratification,” and sometimes come with a “sense of entitlement.” The Boomers in the room nodded vigorously in revelation and jotted thorough notes.  My fellow Millennials and I shot sideways glances at each other, obviously in unanimous thought: We really dropped the ball on writing books that characterize obvious traits of our own generation and pitching ourselves as consultants. 

We commiserated on the way back to our cubes and TPS reports that we should all quit our jobs and return to work for our employer as external consultants, enjoying a third of the work and triple the pay.  No but really—An internal contingency of young adult employees could provide not identical, but better perspective at no cost, with less receptivity from the organization.  But why?

Most obviously, consultants wield the power of some omniscient external perspective.  But to rake in the cash, they have to offer that (typically empty) perspective with flare.  At its heart, the Gen Y presentation consisted of two components: basic facts and a fantastic performance.  Without saying really anything new or of value, the energetic speaker knew his audience exactly and used all of the right examples.  I wish I were joking that his heart-wrenching anecdote at the close of his presentation left some attendees teary-eyed.

Many people try to replicate similar performances on a daily basis in the business world.  Those who fail fill up our Bullshit Bingo cards.  Those who succeed become consultants, and you pay them inordinate amounts of money to state basic business facts in an ostentatiously eloquent manner. 

After some careless consideration, I decided that my aforementioned degree in bullshit and flare for the dramatic positioned me well to go into consulting myself.  I am starting my own company, Berka Consulting, Inc., so I, too, can be a thought-leader in business common sense. 

Do you understand basic concepts like, “It is unprofitable for costs to exceed revenue?”  Do you follow difficult tactics for structuring work akin to, “You need to pair the right skill sets with the right jobs to maximize production?”  If so, consider bankrolling with Berka Consulting, Inc. Applications forthcoming.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Defective Face Girl

My defective face was best summarized by my physical therapist who, while twisting my entire lower mandible away from my skull, said: “Since you are bad at telling me when this becomes too painful, I just look for the vein to pop in your forehead.”  It was more humorously summarized by my older brother years earlier in the song he composed just for me titled, “Defective Face Girl.”  I can’t remember the lyrics exactly, but it went something like:

I know a girl and she has a face and it’s DEFECTIVE
She tries really hard but it still doesn’t work ‘cause it’s DEFECTIVE!
Defective Face Girl!
Defective Face Girl!

He would occasionally ditch his guitar mid-chorus to perform a wonderfully ridiculous dance (if you could call it that.)  And the verses went on, for some reason to the tune of the Batman theme song, covering with detail the two reasons for my facial inferiority.

1.     The giant unsightly vein in the middle of my forehead. 

It’s not present all of the time—only during laughter, embarrassment, anger or any other event causing my body temperature to otherwise raise above 98.6 degrees.  If you’d like to see it and haven’t, you could probably just try pointing it out and proceed with mockery, like my brother. He’d advise you duck or run immediately after.

To cope with residual emotional scarring and insecurity, I keep a running list of successful and/or attractive famous people in the fraternity of forehead veins. Some of them include:

  • Heather Graham
  • Rachel McAdams
  • Julia Roberts
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Tom Cruise
  • Robert Pattinson
  • Conan O’Brien

You know the other thing, guys? I’m really, really smart. Damn brilliant, even.  If you were as smart as me, you would need an inordinate amount of blood flow to power your extremely high brain functioning too. I bet if we go back in time, we’d find massive veins in the foreheads of Einstein, Da Vinci, Picasso, Michaelangeo, etc. Socrates and Aristotle each had three forehead veins. Fact. Look it up.

I’ll refrain from continuing so as not to appear overly insecure or desperate…If it’s not already too late…

2.     My malfunctioning jaw.

First of all, an education for all of those who say to me, “Oh, you mean like you have TMJ? Me too—My jaw pops sometimes.”

Friends, TMJ is only an acronym for the temporomandibular joint, itself.  So your empathy, while well intended, is actually like saying to someone who just tore an ACL, “Oh, yeah—I have an ACL too. It’s terrible.”  TMD, is the generic name assigned to any malfunction or problem with the bones, muscles or tissue surrounding the TMJ.   Though generic jaw popping and clicking do fall into this category, so do things like joint dislocation, immobility, deviation and osteoarthritis (my TMD). 

The good news is that the TMD has allowed me to exercise my long-restrained oral/maxillofacial surgeon fetish.  I just can’t get enough of them.  I also prefer to challenge myself with the high-class surgeons—Four Northwestern face doctors each wielded four different surgery recommendations, and four reactions of disbelief that I’ve never suffered from severe head trauma upon reviewing my x-rays.  But after years of medical promiscuity, I’ve decided to settle down with Dr. Four and begin battling insurance companies for surgery looming in my uncomfortably near future.

As an added bonus, surgery will also allow me to reclaim a post-operative spark with my physical therapist.  “What’s physical therapy for the jaw entail?” everyone asks. (Insert eyebrow raise or long pause here…Perhaps some inappropriate joke about choosing the wrong career path.)  Actually, it really sucks (Pun intended).  As I opened this post with, it is a painful hour of pulling, pushing, twisting and otherwise abusing my jaw to try to prevent my entire lower mandible from shifting to the right, disfiguring my face, and inhibiting rather unnecessary activities like talking or eating.

My jaw saga continues, with no pity party intended—I merely find myself recounting or referring to it often, so thought I’d post it here.  The real bonus is that I bet I can effectively convince my surgeon to just nip my forehead vein while he’s in there.  I mean, it can’t be an important one, right? Surely not…