10 Reasons Why

10 Valid Reasons for Placing an Underperforming Friend or Relative on Administrative Probation


Editor’s Note: I found this delightful little rant in the archives whilst looking for something else entirely, which is essentially how my life works. I don’t know what was in my craw back on this day, but it apparently had an aroma of bitterness. Enjoy…

1. The Phone Calls.

Why must you call me constantly like that? We just spoke two hours ago, which means you’re probably still wearing the same outfit and therefore our conversation will be limited. I know that nothing exciting has happened to you, because nothing ever does, even though you insist on talking about it. Here’s a handy guideline: If whatever you’re doing has not attracted the attention of a TV news reporter, don’t call me.

And that tracking device you apparently have, the one that signals you to call me at the precise moment when I am sitting down to watch “Big Brother”? Take a hammer and smash it, then burn the pieces. Yes, I have a DVR and I know that I can pause the show. That doesn’t matter. Just text me. So I can ignore it.

2. The Refusal to Listen to Me about Food

I don’t like okra. Let me try that another way: I don’t like okra. One more time: I don’t like okra. Would you stop making dishes that have okra and bringing them to my house? I’m not going to eat it. The second you turn your back, it’s in the trash. I have been telling you this for 50 years. Jesus, Mary and Jose Canseco.

Oh, while we’re at it. My partner? The one you’ve known for almost two decades now? He doesn’t like seafood. ANY kind of seafood. Never has, never will. Just because you might give it a fancy name or use a concealing sauce, it’s still seafood. Leave it at home, and don’t even mention it when you’re in my house. And stop suggesting “Red Lobster” every time we go out to eat. We can’t do that. What do you not understand? God.

3. The Great Holiday Travel Debate

Seriously, I really don’t care where we meet for Thanksgiving. Your house, my house, Jupiter. Doesn’t matter. What I do care about? Making a decision. Can we do that? Like today. Stop with the nightly conference calls where we all analyze every possible reaction by every known relative to each suggested scenario. This year, I just want you to call me, plainly say the name of the selected location, and then hang up. Wait, scratch that. Just text me. Two words or less. If you can’t get it down to two words, pick somewhere else for us to go.

4. The Evil and Vindictive Photo Albums

Why do you have old pictures of me looking like that? I was clearly not amused then and I’m certainly not now. The mere fact that you would hang on to these hated relics means that you wish me personal harm. There’s no other explanation. I don’t have anything in my archives that would cause you distress, and even if I did, I wouldn’t tell you about it or parade those things in front of other people. This is the difference between you and me. I just want people to leave me alone. You want to psychologically scar them.

5. The Tragic Personal Stories That Won’t Die

I don’t find anecdotes about my wretched childhood to be amusing. I was miserable, awkward and had no sense of fashion. Why must you share these tales with everybody you ever meet? They can’t possibly care, they barely know you, let alone me. If you just can’t help yourself, try to at least go with something light and charming, wherein I rode my first bike or rescued a bunny. Stop going directly for the sordid accounts that cause listeners to think “oh my GOD that boy was one geeky freak”. This does not help me with my self-confidence therapy. Or the inspiration to ever speak to you again.

6. The Way You Decorate Your House

How is it that we grew up in the same family and yet turned out so differently? Seriously, what happened when that makes you think that the things you put on your wall are okay? This is why I lie to people who see me coming from your house. I tell them I’m doing social work.

7. The Christmas Presents You Pick Out for Me

See #6. If you like it, I probably won’t. Go with that.

8. The TV Shows You Watch

If the wrestlers have to wear costumes and fake names, it’s not real. If “reality programming” is in the description, it’s probably totally scripted and not real. If it’s on Fox News, it’s most likely not real. (I think they get the weather right every once in a while.) If a woman is buffing a muscle car while wearing a bikini, the breasts are not real. If Sarah Palin is involved in any way, it’s not real. Are you seeing a pattern here?

9. The Way You Act in Restaurants

I understand that gas bubbles can be painful. However, there are discreet ways to remedy this situation, and none of these methods include sharing trumpeting body noises with the rest of the innocent folks waiting for a table at “Olive Garden”. Likewise, whilst at that table, swallow your food before sharing yet another inane detail of your life. And stop stirring your iced tea with your fingers. I know you didn’t learn that from me. The dang glass comes with its own spoon. Use it.

10. Your Misunderstanding About the Visiting Policy at My House

This is not a church. My door is not always open. It’s usually firmly closed, and double-locked. Do not show up at my house unannounced. If you do so, prepare for possible humiliation and dissatisfaction. Do not prepare to be let in. I love you all very much. I love you even more when you stay away long enough for me to actually miss you. Cheers.


Originally published in “The Sound and the Fury” on 08/11/10, minimally revised and updated with extra flair for this post. And for the record, I do actually like okra, I just picked a food item that many find a bit slimy, as we all have our quibbles about certain ingredients.


36 replies »

  1. I had a friend that constantly called me all through out the day. She called when I was at work and even called in the middle of the night when I was trying to sleep. She never had anything to say, just wanted to chitchat. I had to fire her as a friend.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. LOL – I can relate to everything on this list, especially #4, #5, and #10. At least I’ve made #10 more than clear, so I have no unannounced visitors. My adoptive family, though, are horribly guilty of #4 and #5…which is why I haven’t visited or spoken with them in about five years, now!
    Distance is sometimes a necessity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Distance is definitely a necessity. I do love most of my family (there are some clunkers, for sure) but if I had to be in the same town with all of them all the time, I don’t know if there’s enough medication in the world to get me through. Said with complete love and respect… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh, Brian! Are you my long, lost brother? This is exactly how I feel about my relatives. This is why we live far away from my in laws. No, don’t drop in on us. Please don’t suggest a group vacation or a group anything. I have no interest in you or being your babysitter. Good times…..

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The one that really spoke to me: their lack of decision making skills. OMG! Really? How hard can it be to decide on a restaurant, a movie, a flavor of flippin ice cream?! So what happens (as is this is my husband’s family I’m speaking of) is that I make the decision. Once I heard someone say, “Hey, we better decide something fast or else Christi will.” 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think I have a story out there (possibly in one of my books? I’m getting old and things fade) where the mass of family in my house had spent two hours trying to decide where to go eat. They never came to a decision and they moved on to how we could physically stack all of us in one vehicle for the journey to the place that hadn’t been decided. I had a small breakdown and bellowed something along the lines of “we are taking at least two vehicles, because if I have to be in the same space with all of you for five more minutes, I am going to lose my mind”. Silence ensued…

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Bahaha! These are fabulous. I love your excuse, “I tell them I’m doing social work.” I am stealing that one!

    As for people who try to force you to like foods you don’t like? I just don’t get it, and it’s very wearisome.

    Happy 2017 to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is perfectly timed for the end of the holidays–I’ve seen all my relatives, worn the obligatory happy face, and now I want them to all go away until the next time. So, like, why are they calling me?? New Year’s is not family time! And yes, please, text me so that I can say my phone died/my dog ate my turbo charger (yes, the one in the car, too)/I didn’t know it was unplugged… I have excuses for days. Just text me and, you know, I’ll get back to you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We have served our time! Let us be free and heal! And yes, texting is a wonderful invention. Since I worked in telecom for decades, people completely believe me when I say “well, sometimes the network gets overloaded and text messages don’t arrive on time or even just get lost”. Of course, any of my family reading this now will be going “hey, wait a minute”….

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Numbers 4 and 5 invariably result in a precipitous sacking. You and I have this administrative probation thing in common. I thought I was the only one who was this ruthless. There is something to be said about the cruelty of having the same boring stories about myself shared with me now that I am an adult. Anyone who starts a sentence with, “Hey, do you remember when you …?” is going to be shown the door. Also, the best part of being a grownup is that I can retain someone to tell someone else to destroy photos of me spooning mash potatoes at a dinner party. (Long story, and Google took my side on the matter).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Okay, surely you realize that, although we bonded forever with the first part of your comment, I am totally infatuated with the last two lines. Mash potatoes? Dinner Party? Spooning? My mind is reeling with the implications, and even though I totally support your life goals, I don’t know if I can go on without seeing the snapshots of you doing something with potatoes. (Side note: For the last couple of weeks, when I try to visit your site, I get a notification that your site is private and I have to request access. Was it something I said?)

      Liked by 2 people

      • Olivia Pope would be proud of the cleanup job I did on that potato snafu. I threw an epic tantrum though. I am sure the heat signature was picked up by orbiting satellites. I set my blog to private, as I’m not posting for the time being. You will have to request access if you’re interested in going through my archives. xo

        Liked by 2 people

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