A Piece of Advice: Be Accurately Specific

I’m a strong advocate for specificity. (Wow, that word is a mouthful. Spesss-if-issss-ity. Did I even use it correctly? I hope so. Good thing I don’t have a lisp.)

I learned the phrase “be more specific” from years of watching my favorite game show. I mean, you can’t just respond to a clue about British royalty without telling Alex Trebek the king’s name and number, after all. (Do you know how many Georges and Edwards ruled back in the day? Neither do I, but I’ll bet it was a lot.)

alex trebek GIF
Specifics make Alex happy.

Being vague leaves lots of room for misinterpretation. There are times, however, when being too specific can cause problems. (Like, for instance, my predisposition to being too specific with observations. Side effects can include mental anguish and brain implosions.)

This is NOT a hair dryer. This is a BAG. The hair dryer is in the bag, yes, but it’s a BAG. The bag should be labeled “BAG.” Oh, you say I need a vacation? I saw this IN A HOTEL. (Okay, okay…I’ll stop thinking now.)

However, I still believe it’s better to be overly and accurately specific. Never underestimate someone’s ability to misinterpret vague requests.

For example…

Do you like a good BLT? I know I do, but I’m not crazy about mayonnaise. In fact, I’m not crazy about putting much of anything extra on my burgers, sandwiches, or BLTs, and I’m always met with skepticism by the person on the other side of the restaurant window when I request NO mustard or NO ketchup. (I like what I like, so I’ve learned to deal with it.)

space GIF
Looks good, but I’d like mine without mayonnaise.

So, when I tried to order a BLT without mayonnaise once at a fast food restaurant, I expected questions, but I wasn’t really in the mood to deal with them. I was in a hurry, so instead of being accurately specific, I ordered with brevity and simplicity in mind.

I used the word “plain.”

Server: Can I take your order?

Me: Yes, I’d like a plain BLT, please.

Server: One PLAIN BLT? Plain?

Me: Yes, please.

Server: O…kay. That’ll be right out.

Well, they did indeed leave off the mayonnaise…and the L, and the T. It was a good bacon sandwich, although it was…missing a few other key components.

confused laura dern GIF

I learned a little something that day about being accurately specific. The sandwich was okay, but it needed a little TLC…or, more specifically, L and T.

Be more specific.

An Observation: Bacon and Hair Care

I’m an American. So, according to popular culture, I also consume mass quantities of bacon.

Do I like bacon? Yes, I do like bacon. I have my preference on how it’s cooked, though.

I like my bacon crispy. Crunchy, even. Something I can eat from the palm of my hand without worrying about cleanup.

I don’t, however, like my hair cooked in the same manner.

I found out this morning that a few little quirks my hair dryer had been showing off lately weren’t just little cutesy personality issues.

And it almost came at the expense of my safety.

First, it stopped midway through my daily drying. It had done the same thing a few times in the past, but it always revved back up to do its job. And since I’m a cheapskate, I wasn’t about to go buying a new hair dryer just because this one decided to stop working approximately 33.3333333% of the time.

As it started back up again, I turned my head upside down to add a little volume. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw what I thought was a bug.

Gee, I thought. This is the wrong time of year for lightning bugs.

I kept going, but then I saw a few more “lightning bugs” and realized that the stinkin’ hair dryer was throwing sparks. A couple of flashes of light and one teeny, tiny, toasty little spot on the back of my scalp later, it whimpered and gave off its last breath.

The smell was really interesting. (By the way, my scalp is fine. I just had one little spot that felt like, well, I had been popped with hot bacon grease.)

Classic case of burnout. Poor thing.
Classic case of burnout. Poor thing.

So, it was time to add an unplanned item to my “List O’ Things To Buy Today.”

You’re probably thinking, “It’s just a hair dryer. No big deal.”

Well, I have a few considerations to…consider.

First of all, I have really, really thick hair. Every hair dresser I’ve even been to has said the same thing.

“You have really thick hair.”

(That’s a lie. One of them said, “Your hair holds water really well.” I didn’t quite know if it was a statement, a compliment, or a sly plan by a doomsday prepper eyeing a plot on my scalp for water storage in the event of a disaster.)

So, whatever hair drying device I purchase has to have some serious power.

After a little bit of searching this morning after my regular grocery run, I think I found it.

Before...(It's a little breezy in here, isn't it?)
Before. (It’s a little reminiscent of that Maxell Cassette commercial from the 80s. Just add “Ride of the Valkyries.”)

My hair (and scalp) are in good shape now, thank you. Maybe I’ll see if I can revive the old hair dryer for the sole purpose cooking crispy, flame-kissed bacon.