Posts Tagged ‘matt lauer’

June 11, 2012

Pardon my emoticon

9:22 am - Posted by Gregg

Photo Source:

Given that the presidential race is starting to heat up, I’m surprised that one of the biggest and most controversial topics has not come to light as part of the national debate: I speak of course as whether to or not to use emoticons when sending emails.

I must admit that I have always been a fan of the ‘smiley face’ – even before email became such a common part of everyday life. In personal, handwritten notes (and on greeting cards), I’m often adding a circle, two dots and a semi circle to indicate that I’m signing off with love and happiness (cue the nutty-crunch music)! Even when doing this handwritten version of the ‘little smiley guy,’ some people have teased me – with one friend even going so far as to simulate the sound my little smiley face is making (a sarcastic “Ehhhh” sound for those wondering).

With the onslaught of daily emails (both personal and professional), the debate has raged on as to whether using emoticons is immature, silly or a waste of time. Even The Today Show recently weighed in on the topic. Matt Lauer and others came out against the use of emoticons, noting that many consider their use very unprofessional and somewhat vapid (even titling their piece, “Are Emoticons the ‘Downfall of Civilization?”).

Recently, all of this public criticism and mockery began to take hold over my happy, smiley-faced heart. I noticed that I began to use fewer and fewer smiley faces and/or winking smiley faces in my emails. I was embarrassed that I was pro-emoticon and suddenly felt like I did back during my school days (like a fat kid who just wasn’t fitting in – both figuratively and literally).

[Insert frown-y face here.]

Then, one day, I decided enough was enough. I wasn’t going to let Matt Lauer or anyone else dictate that I was never to write another email with a happy heart and joyful attitude. Thus, my smiley face emoticons were reborn – and reintroduced into my daily missives to both friends and business associates. Why should I hide the fact that I’m in a good mood and want to wish whomever I was writing a happy day through a silly little emoticon? Thus, I’m now not only adding them to my emails, but also making sure even my facebook posts and twitter tweets feature a smiley face or even (gasp!) a heart from time to time.

Now mind you, I try not to overuse them. I don’t want them to appear meaningless or as part of my constant email persona. But I do sprinkle them in from time to time – in hopes they help to communicate the tone of my emailed message.

And no, I’m not trying to offend Matt Lauer or anyone else who is bugged by the little guys. But at the same time I want to be true to myself and to the joy in my heart – the joy I try to spread and encourage throughout my – and everyone else I come into contact with’s – day. The emoticons make me happy. And sometimes, they even communicate my sadness or frustration (with a frown-y or baffled face – see above).

Now that I think about it, it might be better that our current presidential candidates aren’t weighing in on what would surely be a lightning rod type of debate (in terms of potential divisiveness). I suppose that the non-emoticon users and I will have to agree to disagree. But even when disagreeing, I’m going to add a little burst of happiness in the form of a smiley face. Not just because it’s true to my nature, but because I really do want to lend a smile to whatever scenario (or email) I can.

[Insert happy face here.]

Where do you stand on the emoticon issue? Do you use them? Abhor them? Or are you neutral? Do tell by adding your comment below (with or without a smiley face – your choice).

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May 21, 2012

Victim mentality

9:38 am - Posted by Gregg

Photo Source: ETOnline

If you ask me, Christie Brinkley has a lot to be happy about. Not only has she maintained a long career in the public eye (something most models – even of the “super” variety – aren’t always able to do), she is also currently touring the country, reprising her Broadway role of Roxie Hart in “Chicago: The Musical.”

And yet, like me, you might have caught her late March appearance on The Today Show, during which she sobbed and sobbed about how unfair her life is and basically communicated that she is a victim. In fact, she spent so much time crying during the appearance, that she had to be re-booked since she was there to talk about “Chicago: The Musical.” (In other words, the show ran out of time during the initial segment due to her breakdown.)

Once again, Ms. Brinkley’s very public “He said, She said” divorce was being played out in public — even though the divorce itself had happened years ago.

Recently interviewed by the LA Times to promote “Chicago: The Musical” playing in the Los Angeles area, Ms. Brinkley once again fell into “Victim mode” when asked about her Today Show appearance by refusing to own her own behavior and, instead, blaming the incident on Matt Lauer. She told the interviewer, “The one thing that happened to me was I got hoodwinked on the “Today” show [on March 27]. I’ve known Matt Lauer for 30 years. I never expected him to do that to me. I was completely shocked.”

And her interview became even more of a pity party from there, since Ms. Brinkley went onto say that, “Each question was so inflammatory that I needed to respond because I couldn’t let it lie there as fact. I still tried to answer my questions within the confines of the rules I’ve applied to myself as well as the rules I’ve agreed to in the stipulations. And you cannot find a comment in quotes from me with any name-calling. The only thing I ever said when I left my first trial – and I said it really as a public service – we had to go through a forensic psychiatric exam that was assigned by the court and I was deemed normal and he was deemed a narcissist.”

Once again, Ms. Brinkley has brought up her divorce and all the people who, in her version of things, are causing her to have to comment on her divorce and/or breakdown about it in public. In other words, it’s always someone else’s fault and never her own. Now, I don’t know Ms. Brinkley personally. But if I did, I would wrap my arm around her shoulder, buy her a frozen yogurt (with her choice of toppings) and gently but firmly tell her to “Get the heck over it.”

Victim mentality serves no one except the victim. Because if you think you’re a victim, then you are a victim. Those of you who are familiar with my upbringing know that I was raised by a very abusive mother who did some unthinkable (and what many consider to be even monstrous) things. But that was then, this is now.

If I kept replaying all of the horrors that I had to deal with as a child, I would weigh 900 pounds and be living in a box (a big box, mind you) on some remote highway, under a bridge. Instead, at a certain point, I just accepted the cards (and parents) that I’d been dealt and decided I wasn’t going to blame anyone or anything (anymore) for my present day situations. And the day I took my focus off the past and stopped portraying myself as a victim, I no longer was one. Life started revealing all of the amazing gifts (along with some amazing challenges) that it had in store for me. And since I was no longer facing life situations (be they good or bad) with a victim mentality, life got very, very good (in general).

When I see people in Ms. Brinkley’s situation, I am reminded that hers is a mental state I never want to revisit – even when or if I’m in the midst of a very challenging circumstance. We never have to be the victim. When we make ourselves the victim, we can’t see the forest for the trees – to say nothing of seeing potential solutions, fixes and avenues for potentially transforming circumstances that we might want to change. Ms. Brinkley needs to realize that the only person “making” her cry is herself. Not her ex-husband. Not Matt Lauer. And certainly not me for calling her (and the rest of us) to task on this.

Let’s all check our victim mentality at the door and move into the next moments of life with curiosity, joy and gratitude. I promise you the world will open up. And anything you want to accomplish (whether weight loss related or otherwise) will suddenly be possible. One step – and one grateful smile – at a time.

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