Enlightened Conflict

recovering from WTF

November 19th, 2016



They <Democrats> are our intellectual and social betters. They didn’t lose because of their positions.

They lost because they think we are misguided fools and they didn’t do a good enough job of educating us.




A sarcastic RedState Commenter






I scan all news outlets from bleeding heart liberal to scary Armageddon right.

The main thing I have noticed is that Trump has sucked the oxygen, and intelligence, out of all media <social, cable and ‘mainstream’>. It is an event unlike anything we have seen before.


He does nothing, says nothing of any consequence, maybe throws in a random insanely juvenile tweet or two … and it sucks all the oxygen out of anything & everything. This is like the OJ in the Chevy Blazer but the Blazer is still driving in its 18th month.


All I can conclude from this is that he is an attention whore who loves any attention and will do nothing to calm the attention storm <because he could stop the insanity if he wanted to>.


And this leads to me to what I am referring to as the “ongoing WTF hangover” and how Republicans and Trump surrogates <and, yes, they are different> keep on suggesting ‘get over it, he won.’


That is crazy.

doom sucks negativity divide unfair

And, worse?

It shows a lack of insight into what happened.


This is not about being a sore loser. This is not about not accepting a loss.



This isn’t even really about politics.


This is not that they lost … it is about who they lost to.


So, please, all those who say ‘he won get over it” take a deep breath and think about it this way.


If this had been Romney versus Clinton and she lost … yeah … people would have been bummed … frustrated … but not protesting or standing up and asking the VP to think about ‘the people’ with concern and a tinge of fear.

Romney is sane, a good man with some policies you could agree with, and some to disagree with, and he clearly stated what you could expect from him <none of those things can be checked with Trump>.


If this had been …






Rand Paul

Cruz … okay … maybe less so.



Yeah … people would have been bummed … but not really concerned with what was going to happen <okay .. maybe with Cruz> … certainly not protesting and asking the VP to think about the people with concern and a tinge of fear.





I am not going to suggest Clinton won the popular vote and bla bla bla … but there is this absurd Republican stance that “the people have spoken and the winner is clear.”






Clinton: 63,049,607 votes … 47.9%


Trump: 61,610,484 votes … 46.8%


Everyone else … maybe 8 million+ votes … 5.3%


Trump didn’t even win enough votes to beat W. Bush … and, boy, does Bush look good now <George W. Bush 2004 62,039,073 … Donald Trump 2016: 61,610,484>.


My point?what-stupid-shock-wtf-surprise


They are acting like the 72 million <or so> people who did not vote for Trump didn’t wake up the next day saying “WTF just happened?”


They are acting like maybe let’s say 20% of those who actually did vote for Trump, maybe 12 million people or so, didn’t wake up the next day saying “Holy shit … uh oh.”


They are acting like 28% of those who didn’t vote at all didn’t wake up the next day and saying “WTF happened … holy shit … I fucked up <because I would vote for Hillary if I had the chance today>”

                           (research conducted with non voters by international paper)





The Wake Forest football team could beat Alabama one weekend.

99% of the people would wake up the next day going “WTF happened?”

Maybe 90% of the Wake Forest fans would wake up the next day and say “Holy shit.”

But pretty much 99.9% of the people know Alabama is a better team.





WTF doesn’t just fade away.


In fact … it has a number of levels.


wtf-20-times-a-dayThe farther the WTF edges toward true outrageousness the deeper the WTF.


The farther the WTF edges toward sheer shock the deeper the WTF.


The farther the WTF edges toward real disbelief, as in “how could someone so unqualified assume such an important position that could affect my life, career and country”, the deeper the WTF.


And then … when the WTF wears a cloak of “oh shit” … well … it is the kind of WTF that is not tied to the loss but rather to the “WTF happens now.”

It is that last one that lingers … and lingers until there is a better sense of ‘what will happen.’



As I have stated … not all WTFs are created equal.


And it is absurd to not understand that and stupid to diminish it. Especially if we are talking about the majority of the population and the WTF candidate didn’t even gain 50% of the population to raise its hand and say “yeah, I think you can do the job” <let alone I think “you can do a job I want”>. Compound that with the truth, a cold hard fact, that more people actually believed someone else should do the job … well … ‘get over it, he won’ just doesn’t hack it.


I can guarantee you one thing … no real business leader would sit in their new corner office going “well, I won, they just need to shut up and line up outside my door and love me and my plans.”   




I know.


We have all seen it in business … there may be nothing worse than when the new leader ignores the WTF or is oblivious to the WTF.


It doesn’t happen often … but most of us have seen it <if not on just a lower management level>.


Treating a ‘WTF happened’ attitude as if it doesn’t exist is just not good leadership.




Cultures and people, in general, don’t like vacuums. In fact, their presence compels us to fill the vacuum … well … mostly with shit.shit well nuts


People do not like to extrapolate. People do not like to guess.

And when forced to … well … we come up with shit.

Oh. And shit multiplies fast and is sticky.

Cleaning up shit is not just a messy job it can almost be an impossible job.




I am no business leader genius but even I know when you assume a new leadership position you do not assume everyone knows who you are, what your plan is and what you want to do.


Silence creates a vacuum which, until all of us every day working schmucks fill it with our shit, is only filled with uncertainty, questions and maybe a little fear of what’s next.


Silence only does one thing … increase the initial WTF factor. It does not diminish it.


To diminish the WTF factor you need to fill the vacuum with something other than shit, vague shit and bullshit.


Set the agenda. State the plan.

It gives even the skeptical & cynical a measurement stick and something to hold on to beyond a simple ingoing “WTF attitude”.


Once again … this inherently leads me to my latent disdain for Trump as a business person. Trump has no idea how to lead nor does he understand, or have the experience, how to positively build an organizational culture nor does he show any signs he knows how to lead.

He is solely a purely transactional operator. That is not a leader.



watch uh oh shit bad day crisis businessSo … Mr. President elect Trump.


Maybe you should not consider this a win but rather a promotion where:


  • About 100 million of your 200 million employees are, at minimum, skeptical you have the temperament or the skills to have earned that promotion.


Let’s call these the “WTF employees.”


  • About 72 million of your 200 million employees unequivocally did not believe you were deserving of the promotion.


Let’s call these the “WTF … holy shit” employees.


  • About 40 million of your 200 million employees were so indifferent as to whether you got this promotion or not that they most likely had no clue who you were when it was announced.


Let’s call these the “I don’t give a fuck” employees.


  • About 60 million of your 200 million employees thought you should get the promotion … but … uh oh … about 30 million of those employees didn’t think you were actually qualified or had the temperament for the job … they just didn’t like the alternatives.


Lets call these the “oh shit, what happens next?” employees.



So, Mr. President elect Trump, time to grow up and lead.euper into giving a shit bad decisions



And Republicans.



Maybe you should consider you fucking won because 28% of the other team decided not to show up on game day because they thought their team was going to win easily.


Maybe you should consider the fact that about 100 million adults or so are fairly sure your nominee is an incompetent asshat with the maturity of a spoiled teenager and no discernible moral compass.


Maybe you should consider a sizable portion of your own elected party woke up the following morning fairly sure your nominee is an incompetent asshat with the maturity of a spoiled teenager and no discernible moral compass <and said ‘oh shit’>.



Maybe you should consider the harsh fact that around 72 million adults clearly stated they had little interest in the ‘Republican mandate’ and another 68 million or so adults were indifferent <they did not even vote>.


In the end.




I am not pissed about losing I am pissed I have to worry whether the winner is actually competent enough to keep the country out of the shithole.


wtf-per-hour-24-7I am clearly one of the “WTF” employees.


And, no, this is not about politics … this is about leadership and leading a country.


So maybe everyone should consider taking their proverbial heads out of their proverbial political asses and recognize the country is suffering from a major case of WTF … and deal with it rather than ignore or diminish it.



what did we do before Life Coaching?

January 15th, 2013

“… life coaching is quickly becoming one of the leading tools that successful people use to live extraordinary lives.” – some Life coach

“WTF.” – Bruce


I just received an email advertisement for “new year, new you” life coaching.

Call me naive … call me cynical … call me whatever you want … but what did we do before we had “professional” coaches for Life?


And is there a minor league in Life that coaches coach in where they accumulate a win/loss record and then eventually get hired in the Life major leagues to coach?

<that was sarcasm for the folks who didn’t get it>


Life coaches are claiming … “coaching is quickly becoming one of the leading tools that successful people use to live extraordinary lives.”

I did some research and most Life coaches believe “having a life you love starts with gaining clarity on your values, enabling more meaningful choices and consistent action.”


I may take issue with some of those things. Or maybe I would debate the prioritization in the hierarchy of Life needs. Or maybe I will just scratch my head and say “WTF” again.


Apparently <part 1>… through these intense workouts … these coaching sessions … people <oops … clients> identify what is most important to them and align their thoughts, words, and actions, accordingly with the help of this Life coach.

The coach works with you to identify what you want personally and professionally. And even better?  They support you in achieving a life that you really want and love <gosh … they better … don’t you think? … didn’t they just help you ‘align your thoughts, words & actions’?>.

Apparently <part 2> If you hire a Life coach … your commitment to your life through coaching offers a means for more balance, joy, intimacy, energy, financial abundance, focus, and action in every area of your life.

<sign me up>


I am sure <relatively> that most Life coaches mean well. And in some cases they may actually help. But before we had Life coaches <who we have to pay I assume> it seems like most of us schmucks had to do with 2 basic things:

  1. Friends. I don’t know about everyone else but I probably have a long line of friends just chomping at the bit to give me some ‘life coaching’ if I gave them the opportunity. Are they professional Life coaches? Heck. I don’t know. It seems to me most of us are not amateurs at living life. Life plays a pretty tough game with everyone <at least it seems to me>. I am not sure what makes a Life coach more qualified at Life than anyone else … but regardless … talk to enough of your friends and inevitably they will ‘coach’ you <whether you actually want it or not> … and most likely it is shit you already know in your own head. You just need to hear it out loud maybe for affirmation or maybe simply because an expert is always someone in another town <or in another head>.

All that said … if a Life coach takes payment in a cold beer at my favorite bar maybe I would hire one … until then? I will submit myself to the painful <but typically useful> coaching from my own friends.

  1. A mirror. I am fairly sure just about everyone has a mirror in their bathroom which pretty much insures you gotta stare at your mug every morning. Maybe even every night before you go to bed. Now. That life coach staring back at you in the mirror doesn’t always say “and, dammit, people like me!” but it is a fairly good judge of character & actions. And, frankly, most of the time that face in the mirror, just like your friends, knows the truth … and what is the right thing to do <or just simply what to do>… it is more about actually doing it.

All that said … I am not sure there is a more painful & harsh discussion then when you take a moment and ask the person in the mirror ‘what the fuck am I doing with my Life?” … but I have to tell ya … no matter how painful that discussion is … it is best made with yourself.


I get financial planners <not everyone is good with money/finance and these experts actually have expertise>.

I get professional therapists <they got snazzy diplomas hanging on their walls and they actually have studied how to help us schmucks>.

I even get landscape ‘coaches’ <they know how to keep plants alive and actually makes things look better>.

I just don’t get “Life coaches.”

As I started with … WTF.

As in “why the fuck would I want someone else tell me, excuse me, coach me, on how to live my life?”

I hated it when my parents tried it out on me when I was a kid and I certainly doubt I would feel any differently now.


If we start talking about Yoda as a Life coach?

I will be first in line to learn the Force.

Until then?

May the Force be with you <in your life without a Life Coach>.

one year today

January 24th, 2011


It’s been a year now since Tigger (my dog) left me and went to the Great Dog Biscuit Factory in the sky.  He would have been 16 now.

Let’s just begin with its been one year and the good news is that the pain I experienced when he died has passed.

Looking back at that time, for a short time, it was crippling emotionally.

He was an extension of my personality. He was a part of me.

Today? Yeah. It still hurts on occasion. But it was an intense grief then. Now it is just a lingering occasional pain.

I guess it is natural. And in my own head I have resolved it wasn’t silly, crazy, or overly sentimental to feel so strongly at that time. He was a significant and constant part of life. He was a huge source of comfort and companionship, of unconditional love and acceptance, of fun and joy … if not maddening sometimes.

In his death I truly did learn how important he was to me.


And I did learn that people who don’t understand the pet/owner bond do not understand the pain.


I did learn that locking away grief doesn’t make it go away.

I did learn to not avoid grief by not thinking about him but instead I reminisced about the good times.

I also learned some things that I didn’t really pay attention to when Tigger was alive.

I learned that coming home was a major event … no matter how long I was away. I had become so used to anticipating Tigger’s welcome when I arrived that coming home was something to look forward to (even though I didn’t consciously think of it).

But now it is insanely silent.

I learned that coming home is no longer a major event.

I no longer experience that special sense of anticipation, heightened awareness and unbelievable greeting when I put the key in the lock and open the door.

All that said.

Suffice it to say the death of a beloved pet is traumatic. I certainly recognize Tigger’s death was.

He was family.

He was my best friend.

He filled a big space my life.

I would like to think wherever he is that he is young and rambunctious and tigger-bouncy and chasing sticks and endlessly running with other border collies.

I would also like to think one day he will hear a “tigga-boo” and he will stop whatever he is doing.

And there will be that one moment of stillness when the body is solidly motionless and head up  alert and the brown eyes are unblinking and the tail wags once or twice as he spots me coming over the hill. And he will sprint as only border collies do and my good friend and I will finally meet again.


I know I am not done grieving for my old buddy.

It’s taken me awhile but I have learned to accept my feelings. It still feels a little odd because you would think a pet should be somehow insignificant or less important than the death of a loved one. And, yes, a dog cannot be compared in any way to a human. But it doesn’t make the deep grief and the profound sense of loss any less.

It is what it is. And certainly not trivial. And certainly not done in my head yet.

I do know I still look for him on occasion.

I do know I have had some troubled moments (just those random things that life throws at you at times) where the empty space beside me feels as big as the grand canyon.


I do know I haven’t said goodbye yet.


And even when I do reach that point … just a quick note to my buddy … “Tigger, look for me one day, I will come home and we can be together.”

and to close this.

just a short note written by someone that seemed appropriate today.


Do not stand at my grave and weep.

I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow,

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain,

I am the gentle autumn’s rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush,

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and cry,

I am not there, I did not die.


NOTE: This is most commonly attributed to a Mary Frye (and believed to have been written around 1932); however, nothing is known of the author.

sadness is sneaky

May 27th, 2010

i know i have lost

So. If you have lost something loved here is a warning: moments of sadness are sneaky.

Just when you think you’ve filled the hole of the loved one’s loss with all the great memories you turn a corner and, well, it’s kind of sneaky. It’s not that something smacks you in the head and you crumble with sadness. Instead it is a simple little “something is missing from this picture.” And with every additional step that thought crystallizes a little more and a little more. Than what was only a glimmer of a thought becomes a more well defined space. It gains some edges. It becomes an empty space in the perfect silhouette of what you lost.

It doesn’t mock you.

It doesn’t try and get your attention.

In fact it exists in another dimension.

It is simply a space where what you loved is doing whatever they would be doing without acknowledging you.

What makes that moment worse is you just want them to turn and let you say something. But they are just there .. without you .. filling a space where they used to be. And you are without them.

But you are with them.

They just can’t see you.

And it kinda sucks. And then the sadness hits. This time like a very sharp knife in your gut.

And all you are looking for to make the pain go away is to be able to say one more word.

Or maybe one little touch.

I think the ache of the moment .. where your chest tightens a little .. your head gets a little fuzzy .. it isn’t that you miss them .. and it’s not regret .. I think it’s you miss being able to say something. And be heard. And having them acknowledge. And make the moment real instead of a memory.

But. It isn’t real.

So all you do is stand there.

And say things in your own head.

Maybe even say something out loud.

The sadness lives in that moment because it is just an empty space looking at you.


These moments don’t come as often as they used to. But they still cut quickly into the space surrounding it when they do appear.

And they are sneaky. Very sneaky.

But. I don’t know that I would like them any more of they were obvious or I could prepare better.

I imagine the hard part is that I know being some places will automatically increase the potential to trigger a moment of sadness.

Most of you know this post is really about lingering thoughts about my best friend of 15 years. My border collie Tigger. But. I don’t really believe sneaky sadness is that discerning in its choice of types of relationships.

My situation certainly isn’t unique (other than it is mine) but I believe those moments are so damn sneaky with me because as one friend said ‘… he was everywhere Bruce was.’

So. Empty spaces that sadness can sneak into are everywhere.

I guess the good news is that when I eventually fill up all those empty spaces those memories will be everywhere.

But sadness is sneaky.tigger NC grass

Enlightened Conflict