What Would Clint Eastwood Do?

Sep 05

TimePatton

I got some great advice from George Patton today. No, really.

Okay, so technically it wasn’t directly from him. It was in one of those “Inspiring Quotes” on email. Sometimes, they inspire me to unsubscribE, but I resist the urge because I do get gems like this:

“If you tell people where to go, but not how to get there, you’ll be amazed at the results.”  
—George Patton

Now, I’m pretty sure I get what the general means: you ask subordinates (Attention, privates!) to accomplish a goal, then allow them to go about it in their own unique ways. Not sure how this would work for “Invade Sicily,” but you get the point. Sound advice for the office, or even the home.

“Honey, I’d really like you to find some way to keep your underwear off the floor and into the hamper.” I suppose that reaching this goal would involve the opening of the lid and the throwing in of the said items, but hey, that’s no longer any of my business. I just have to state the objective and sit back, waiting to be amazed by the results.

Think of all the other applications:

“I’m really hungry and too tired to cook, so could you go to the kitchen and cook up something?”

Well, maybe not that. Unless you’re prepared to eat sardines and saltines. Again.

ClintEastwoodHow about: It would be really nice if you could fix the wires on the VCR.

No, not that either? You say the last time you suggested that the TV went out, your smart clock outsmarted you, and your toaster wouldn’t work?

Okay, let’s go to Plan B. Another interpretation of the quote, which you might find much more inspiring, and does, in its own uniquely skewed way, involve that man of the hour, Clint Eastwood . . .

Tell someone where to go.

Literally. Or do I mean figuratively? You know what I mean: tell someone off and see what happens. But don’t tell them how to do it. So I guess you could say, Go to hell, but you shouldn’t mention the hand-basket part.

I have several people on my To Tell List at the moment.

There’s the receptionist at the doctor’s office who put me on hold forever, not for the first time, then promised to call in the Rx, then didn’t, then said she’d call back as soon as the doctor was finished with her patient. After two hours, a lot longer than the doctor spent with me (after waiting in the office nearly an hour), she was annoyed when I called back. And she didn’t call the pharmacy until later, when I had to be home waiting for the Cable Guy. Don’t get me started on that.

You want to tell the receptionist where to go because you’re angry. But you don’t do it because it involves a doctor, and consciously or subconsciously you think that you’d better behave or you’ll pay some price too terrible to think about.

Besides, there actually might have been an emergency every single time you called or sat in the office, and the receptionist may be new/overworked/not properly trained/all of the above. So you say nothing. Or very little. You mention how long you’ve been waiting, all the promises broken, the time wasted. But you don’t actually tell anyone where to go.

Should you?

I guess it depends on the circumstances, but sometimes it really just feels so good to let ’em have it. Even if you can never go back to that deli/dry cleaner (wait till you get all your clothes back)/shoe store. Well, not the shoe store. You have to draw the line somewhere. But you get my drift.

On the other hand, should you tell yourself where to go—in the opposite direction? Lately I’ve been trying to do an Obama whenever I get riled. That is, stay cool no matter what. Not sure it’s working. Feeling a bit miffed around the edges in general (no pun intended, George), and that’s not good. Maybe I should invade Sicily.

Simpson_EastwoodBut speaking of the president, what if I took out all this repressed aggression on Clint Eastwood? Obama surely won’t—not in the same way that MakeMyDay Man came after him. And Clint very decidedly, in his own weirdly unique fashion, did tell Obama where to go.

I don’t know. Do I really want to mess with Dirty Harry? Hell, I’m having trouble dealing with the receptionist.

What do you think, folks? We know what Clint Eastwood would do.  
But what about me?
And what about you: Are you too cool for school, or do you let it rip?

Eagerly awaiting your comments. . .

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