Friday, April 18, 2008

Don't Tip the Driver

One of the interesting aspects of working in a non-white collar job is the perception from those who enjoy your service that you do not need nor do you warrant a cash tip. Let's ponder this for a moment. When you visit an eating establishment and are served by the waiter, he or she brings your order, waits on you, serves you, and puts up with your pickiness and/or incessent questions about the fare or problems with the bill. In all likelihood, this type of service warrants a tip in the 18 - 20 percent range. Having frequented many eating establishments in my lifetime, I know how valuable a tip is to those who have decided to wait on me, especially those who are pursuing an education. I believe a misperception exists whereby those who are servers are deemed less important by those who are being served. To clarify, I'm specifically referring to a minority of the population who enjoy the benefits of service by others, but who do not care to reciprocate that service in the form of a tip. I consider it a gesture of kindness and good fortune to pass along to those who serve me a small portion, a small token of my appreciation. Ever heard the phrase "walk a mile in their shoes"? Try it sometime. Take a break from your regular routine, volunteer to wait tables in a restaurant or deliver pizzas, or drive a limousine. You will soon discover that the working poor are the heaviest tippers, while the elitists consider a handshake or a smile a tip. Now, I'm the first to admit that a good, fair verbal sparring match with a customer is worth more than a paultry tip, but those are few and far between. Besides, matching wits with someone is a difficult undertaking given the few minutes we share each others' company. Tipping is a time-honored tradition that should be taken seriously. Another misconception is that the quality of the service determines the amount of the tip. The baseline these days, I believe, is 18%, so anything less is considered an insult to the server rather than an indication to improve his or her service.

This reminds me of a scene from "My Blue Heaven" with Steve Martin. He's on an airplane en route to his final destination in the witness protection program, and he palms the stewardess a $100 bill for serving him a soda. At first she refuses, than accepts his generosity. His reasoning? "I tip everybody!" he exclaims. We should all take a cue from Vincent 'Vinnie' Antonelli and pass along the goods, no matter the service rendered.

Next time you receive service from anyone, tip them... generously. You'll make their shift no matter what and encourage them to do better. Do a "Vinnie" and make someone smile!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Thoughts on life, God, and religion

God is not pro-anything – to do so would take away choice and freedom

God cannot and must not be labeled with human attributes, human social ideas, human
philosophies, human religions, human anything…for God simply IS.

To obstensively insist on one religion above all others is prideful. Religion is a man-made system of rules, regulations, and dogmas that are set in place to relate to the Infinite Creator of the universe. Laughably, we applaud ourselves when we believe our religion is the only way.

The Bible tells me different. It does not say religion of any sort is the way to God. It says, Jesus is the Truth, the Way, and the Life, not Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, or any other form of religion.

Now, we must separate our Savior from the religion that was constructed around His life, His ministry, and His death and Resurrection.

To do so, I believe, will set us free from the bondage of religious wars, caused by pride and arrogance, as though one religion is superior to another. Nothing man does is superior to God… nothing, religion included.

People are leaving the Christian church in droves because they’re tired of the same old, prideful rhetoric that tries to sell their faith as a commodity, as a way for the “chosen” priests to make more money of the backs of the spiritually ignorant.

Religion and its enforcement has caused myriad problems within established societies, especially at the hands of those who claim to be direct communicators with God.