Friday, July 02, 2010

725 Issues and Challenges

725 Issues and Challenges

We no longer have problems, we have issues and challenges. Good thing, too, because there are so many "solutions" every problem must by now be solved. The old fashioned among us surely remember when a solution was either a liquid of some kind (cleaning solutions, for example) or the answer to a problem (what is the solution to this equation?) Now, everything's a solution.

So, good. All problems solved. Or re-named. Or euthanized with euphemisms. And issues and challenges? Are these really unsolved problems in jargon's clothing? How often have you heard "he has issues..." or "I have issues with that..." or "we're one step away from bankruptcy, which is quite a challenge"? The first phrase means "he's nuts" or some variation of nuts. The second usually means "I disagree with that." And avoiding bankruptcy is less of a challenge than it is, well, a problem requiring a solution.

Here's a challenge: We're in Taipei and there's a young man sitting on the edge of a public fountain. He's holding a guitar and trying to finger an F major chord. This is the nemesis of all beginning fretted instrument players. F requires positioning that human fingers never were meant to perform. Eventually, with persistence, millions of players have managed. Old timers have worked out some shortcuts, which that fellow was taught during the conversation. Low and behold, he managed the challenge!

Challenge yourself on the finger board or the tennis court or the baseball diamond or in meeting your sales goals or in passing the trigonometry final. Challenging yourself to stay out of bankruptcy is something entirely different.

Here's an issue: Vol XXI No 21 on the cover of a magazine. Another: your child is your issue (his existence, not his behavior.) USMC General Order 21 is an issue.

"My car has an issue with the door handle?" No it doesn't. "I have issues with my neighbor because she leaves spent cigarettes all over the lawn." No you don't, you have a disagreement.

Challenge yourself to call attention to that euphemism when someone aims it at you. And please don't answer the challenge by saying "I have issues with that."


--Ed Koch has a saying about congressional hearings: "first they'll torture him, then they'll confirm." That's not an exact quote, but close it looks like what will happen to Elena Kagan, nominated as a justice of the US Supreme Court. Do they come any safer than Ms. Kagan?

--The bank lady says post-dating a check is a crime, so when you do it, the receiver has the right to cash it immediately, regardless of the date. This can lead to nasty surprises. Like overdraft fees.

--So if you pay electronically, you'd best not do so until the money's there in your account. And if you use paper checks, you'd best figure out how far in advance to mail the check so it gets there on the right day. Timing is everything.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2010

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