Reflections on Life

Bob Cayne


Healthcare Advocate


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​December 14, 2018 Some folks talk about all the classy restaurants they’ve frequented, snazzy, candle lit rooms where quail eggs are served on a wedge of something from Tiffany’s.
I on the other hand talk about ‘10 Cent Beer Night’ at an Indians game played 44 years ago at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. Coating a hot dog that night with Bertman Ballpark Mustard  was like putting the tiara on Miss America. 
Joe Bertman began making the mustard in his garage in the 1930s. The stuff makes a hot dog taste better than filet mignon. For a long time it was only available in gallon jugs at their warehouse. I loaded up once a month. We even gave it away at Christmas. Now it’s in over 150 stadiums and sold on Amazon under the ‘Stadium Mustard’ brand.
As for the game that night, Cleveland played Texas. The crowd got plowed on dime beer and went berserk. The late Tim Russert, who was attending law school in Cleveland said, “I went with $2 in my pocket. You do the math.” Drunks got into it with some of the players and the dugouts emptied, players waving bats. Naked fans streaked the field and the Indians forfeited the game. That’s the Cliffs Notes version.
If you piled up twenty-feet of treasury bills they wouldn’t be worth as much as the Bertman mustard recipe, that’s how good it is. I collect great recipes; even if they come from concession stands. Look at it this way, how many Michelin Stars did Jacques Pepin accumulate when he cooked at Howard Johnson’s?
You didn‘t know he worked at Howard Johnson’s?  Deduct 10 points.
One of my neighbors told her friends, “I keep my sweaters in the oven because I eat out so much.” Most of us bought into the story until she hosted a party and made a marinated shrimp dish that made me forget where I parked the car, but I left with the recipe.
The prime rib chili at Pebble Beach belongs in the Golf Hall of Fame. Full enshrinement ceremony, please. I emailed the Tap Room for the recipe, but the chef gave me the cold shoulder. I called the manger and struck out again. I called back and asked  for the chef. I said, “It’s Valentine’s Day, you’re lousing up a marriage if you don’t come through.” It worked.
The marriage didn’t.
Sometimes it pays to be a math major. I asked a waitress if she could ask the chef for an exceptionally good salad dressing recipe. “I’ll try,” she said, “but the chef is quite busy.” Several minutes later she discretely delivered the goods folded small enough to fit the palm of her hand. When I got home and opened it I needed a calculator. The recipe made one gallon.
Time for some Stadium mustard. It’s unbelievable on scrambled eggs.

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Bob Cayne

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​December 14, 2018  Your best friend misses your birthday. Oh, no. How can that be? You’ve celebrated birthdays together for years. 
Should you mention it? Suppose you don’t, will you spend nights staring at the ceiling? Suppose you do, will that damage your friendship? Will you hurt their feelings?
Just a minute, time out, they hurt your feelings, didn’t they? Go for it. Bring up the subject. No stammering, go for it.

What if your friend tries to crawl out from under a rock with an excuse like this, “Geez, that hurts. Of course I didn’t forget, it’s just that I’ve been under a lot of pressure at the office and we’ve had our hands full at home. I know I should have called or at least sent a card, but I was swamped. I apologize.”
Hog wash.
You’ve been played. You didn’t buy into any of that baloney, did you? You’re not guilty all you did was broach the subject.
Your best (not counting tomorrow) friend has a classic covert aggressive personality and you’ve been manipulated. Trust your instincts. If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s a duck.
Well then, how do you deal with passive aggressive (actually, covert aggressive) people?
Look at the big picture. Do not think they are like you. Address your vulnerabilities. Focus on the one thing you can control–your own behavior.
Be prepared for another encounter. Establish boundaries. Know what you want. Be ready for consequences. Get support.
Be on the lookout for tactics: It’s hard to block a roundhouse kick if you don’t know what a roundhouse kick looks like or feels like.

Accept no excuses: “I don’t care why; the point is you were not there for me.”
Make a direct request. Only accept a direct response. Yes or no will do just fine.
Focus on win-win: It doesn’t force the other person to adopt a phony attitude like kindness or empathy. They get what they want if you get what you want. If they won’t say what they want, then you don’t want it either.
The touchy part isn’t about the covert aggressive person. It’s all about the future. Don’t get burned twice, keep your guard up, be skeptical.
Wait! That’s like fixing a roach problem by burning your house down. Trusting is better than not trusting in the long run. 
Consider this: Marcus Aurelius once said, “The best way to avenge yourself is to not be like that.”

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​​​​Terry Martin Ph.D​

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