Monday, June 1, 2015

Flake? Here's my take

Wondering what to do about people who annoy you?

In "PEOPLE WHO NEED TO DIE," author Victor Rook has the answer.

The year is 2021. Folks are fed up. Thirty percent of the population must go. Having already exterminated murderers, terrorists and rapists, the authorities now permit selective homicides of everyday people in order to reestablish a tranquil society. Apply for official sanction and you can whack somebody who annoys you.

Preferably by using some ghastly method.

Kindhearted and diabolical at the same time, Rook uses fiction to devise clever ways to exterminate bad drivers, Internet trolls, litterbugs, and (an especially deserving target) Black Friday shoppers here.

Rook combines humor and horror in conjuring up imaginative ways to rid the world of these people who need to die.

Perhaps without intending to, Rook also opens up a world of possibilities. Almost everybody knows some category of person who deserves to be stomped.

But one category is missing from Rook's treatise.

The flake.

In his fantasy/horror tales, Rook unfortunately provides no fictional way to wipe out people who are flakey. And it needs to be done. The world is being taken over by flakes.

To find one definition of a flake, click here.

I knew you'd look it up. You had to. You're not a flake. After all, you're reading this and supporting my work so you couldn't be flakey.

Could you?

Here are some examples of flakiness:

1. "Guess where I am."

Yeah, I know everybody does this but...

Why would anyone ever send an e-mail message that doesn't include his name, address, phone number, and e-mail address? People who would never omit this information from a business letter send messages asking me to call but providing no phone number, or asking me to ship but offering no address.

This is not the place to deal the privacy card. Anyone can find out where you are. Your contact information doesn't need to be secret.

My estimate is that this costs me about 300 hours of work time very year, or about 20 percent of every work day. I don't want anybody to mandate what ought to go into an e-mail message. I just want a little common sense and courtesy. Otherwise, you may find yourself in Volume Two.

2. Distracted walking.

A recent Washington Post article only touched on this colossal irritant. The article is here.

I don't get the thing with hand-held devices. With my own eyes, I watched a guy walk into a tree because he was looking down and texting. Think you're in control of that device? It's in control of you. There is no communication so urgent that it cannot wait until you're sitting down. I don't mean you, of course, but you know who I mean. Yes, it can wait.

3. "Track me down."

If somebody owes you money, whether it's for work performed, or purchasing your product, or whatever, your chances of collecting are directly proportional to the amount (the smaller it is, the less likely you're ever going to see it) and inversely proportional to the size and prestige of the debtor (one of the nation's largest publishers has owed me fifty bucks for two years).

Don't make me chase after you to collect a few dollars. Oh, I don't mean you, of course. I mean the flake. Honor your commitments. That way, you can stay out of Rook's sequel, if there is one.

4. Hands in pockets

This is mostly a guy thing, not applicable to women. The lowest level of The Inferno, and the harshest punishment fiction can mete out, must be reserved for men who stand or walk with their hands in their pockets.

I've actually seen a prominent person stand at a podium and put hands in pockets while addressing an audience. This is a way of signaling that you don't count. Get those hands out of those pockets. Or become one of the deserving.

The bottom line:

We all make mistakes. But let's do better. We may not succeed but we can strive for integrity, dignity and common sense. Well, maybe not common sense. And I know this doesn't apply to you, but:

Don't be a flake. Thank you very much. Oh, and click here.


  1. Bravo Bob!

    Well explained, and I look forward to the time (if that day ever comes) where we can reclaim some decency, civility and order....long since missing from our supposedly modern society!

  2. Thanks, Bob! I tried to fit the rest of those types in the "Absolute Idiots" short story in the book. Sounds like I can do a book 2. Don't forget, spammers, horrible bosses, and mean neighbors also get whacked off in People Who Need To Die. I enjoyed the post! Vic