Dale Carnegie - corroding my soul


I am driving an auditor from China around this week. Its quite time consuming, but interesting. She told me today that Indians have a higher status than Chinese in America. It's something I've never considered. I ask her why she thought this and she said that there are many Indian engineers and programmers but all the Chinese work in restaurants. I pointed out that if she went to other cities, esp.California, she would probably see many people of Chinese decent doing all sorts of things. Funny how her one trip to Detroit has colored her perception of the whole country. In the same vein, I'm sure that I might start thinking in generalities about China if I went to Shanghai or someplace.

My sister-in-law is a doctor and works in medical research for the AMA. I told her about my passing out problem. Here's what she said:

Based on your history and (what I am going to assume is), a normal physical exam (ie. regular heart exam, normal pulses etc.), I would have to agree that you have "neurogenic syncope" YIKES! also called "vasovagal syncope" DEAR LORD NO! or "common fainting." Oh.

The fainting is due to low blood pressure (I've always had low blood pressure) and is brought on by 4 factors: environmental (hot and crowded rooms), emotional (stress), physical (dehydration) and positional (sitting down for a long period of time).

Guess what activity takes place in a hot and crowded room which also makes me stressed, prohibits me from drinking water and requires me to sit for long periods of time? Anyone? Anyone? That's right, it is the dreaded and loathed Dale Carnegie class. I am working on getting a doctor's note from her on AMA stationary. How could my boss argue with that? Stupid Dale Carnegie, ruining my life!

And speaking of DC, I had class this morning. Today we were to give a two minute speech on our greatest achievement. I talked about my 9 year saga for a bachelor's degree. Other people, the one who won awards, talked about things like one of their kids having cancer, how their wife couldn't get pregnant, and one guy actually talked about how he didn't kill himself. OK, I feel really bad for these people, but how is that an achievement? And, just to prove that I am totally heartless, do you have any idea how painful it is to watch a succession of middle-aged men cry at work? I really do feel really, really bad for them. But I don't want to see them cry. Couldn't they have picked another topic? I especially didn't need to hear about the guy whose wife had a miscarriage at 19 weeks. There was graphic detail about the baby and what happened and I was already close to passing out just by being there and he was crying and I felt really bad but I have never been so uncomfortable in my whole life and what is this, therapy?

We also - no joke - learned the nursery rhyme "Duke of York", complete with hand gestures. You know, because that's a useful thing for business people to know.

I swear that my greatest achievement is not kicking the instructors in the teeth.

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