Observations from a guy who just doesn't get it. Before I even get started, some (guess who?) will say, “It's because you're a man.” It's good to get that on the table right away, because in my experience there are more women than men who don't get it, but think they do, and then refuse to discuss it. Not surprisingly, I found a taxpayer-funded $17 million National Science Foundation study in 1998 that proved conclusively that women not only don't get it but would never have gotten it, even if it was free. However, they can and do purchase it regularly, especially when it's on sale.

Now to the serious stuff.

  1. I just don't get why people who call and leave a voicemail and a return phone number say the number so fast that you can't understand it, much less jot it down. And if you really need to call them back, you have to go through the blasted message several times to get the numbers. I feel like screaming, “I KNOW YOU KNOW YOUR #@#&# NUMBER, BUT I DON'T!” But I don't scream anymore because it scares others in the office.

  2. As I have said before, I just don't get why businesses have automated phone systems other than to get their customers back. One all-too-common experience for me is to call a business, and the first thing the sweet automated voice asks, “If you know your party's extension, please dial it now.” Well, I don't know it because people don't tell me; they don't put it on their business cards; and truthfully, the only people who probably know the extension are their family and friends. But I digress. So I go through the menu spelling the name using Q for X and Y for Z as if anyone I knew had the name Xiratas or Zepetous. Anyhow, I get the name spelled out, and the voice says, “I'll connect you.” Noooooo! Give me the extension number first so I don't have to go through this time-consuming gyration again because nine times out of 10, the person is not taking their calls. Oh never mind!

  3. I just don't get the people driving cars and talking on cell phones. I am not against the practice, but I have observed these traits of the majority of users:

    • They are not ready for traffic to stop and then can't get moving again.
    • They typically hold the phone in their left hand and lean against the door like the cool dudes back in the 1970s.
    • It is virtually impossible to make a right-hand turn faster than three mph and not run over the curb.
    • And who in the world are they all talking to at 6:00 in the morning?
    • I can't even imagine texting while driving, since talking while driving is a major handicap for most people.
  4. I just don't get why the government doesn't get it. Whether it's global warming (quietly changed to climate change because the world is freezing), healthcare reform, bank and auto industry bailouts, stimulus packages, cash for clunkers and on and on — where do they think the money comes from, or do they just not care?

  5. Finally, I just don't get how our president, or anyone else for that matter, can get the Nobel Peace Prize without having done anything to earn it. To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize in the past but, nevertheless, I am both honored and humbled to accept the 2009 Heisman and Butkus Awards. Hoorah!

Don Frendberg,
Executive vice president / COO