– Why are the trucks breaking down?


To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

Down here in Florida we have a lot of problems with trucks breaking down, particularly those used for delivery or maintenance. It seems every time you make an appointment with a driver to drop something off or a workman who is scheduled to perform a task for you, they can never seem to be there on time and blame the truck for breaking down. Does this happen elsewhere in the country or is it something unique to Florida?

By my estimate, all of our roads should be littered with truck parts strewn everywhere. No wonder Detroit needs a bailout since it appears they no longer know how to make a workable truck anymore, nor do the Japanese, Koreans, or Germans. I would love to be in the truck repair business as they must be making a mint.

“No Tim, you don’t get it; there is nothing wrong with the trucks, they’re just using this as an excuse.”

Really? Gee, why can’t they just call and reschedule? That would be more respectful of the customer who wouldn’t waste time waiting on an air head who is probably going to do a ding-dong job for you anyway.

Maybe its just me, but I tend to have more respect for a person who admits a mistake as opposed to fabricating an excuse. After all, who does he think he is fooling? Me? Hardly. In our culture we tend to look at the admission of a mistake as a sign of weakness. I don’t. To me, it’s an admission that a person knows his/her limitations and is asking for help. I would rather know this as soon as possible as opposed to waiting for a calamity to strike and suffering the consequences thereof. It is a Bryce’s Law that, “The longer you delay admitting a mistake, the more expensive it will be to correct.”

Think about this, which is worse – the mistake or the excuse? It’s the excuse, right? After all, it’s only masking a mistake and means you are wasting precious time trying to uncover it. What’s so terribly wrong with admitting, “I screwed up” (I would use something stronger, but you get the idea). This is like saying, “I’m human.” I learned a long time ago that nobody is perfect, least of all myself; and, as humans, we all make mistakes in our walk through life. It is inevitable. It bothers me though that we tend to cover it up as opposed to admitting we have a problem. Consider this, the last guy who was perfect, they hung on a cross.

So, you have a choice, if you’re going to be late for that appointment or have a problem fulfilling an obligation, don’t fabricate an excuse; let me know ahead of time so I can plan accordingly. Either that or fix the damn truck!

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:   timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Evil Within Our Midst

– Have we really evolved as a species?

Of our 44 presidents, the most prolific writer was John Quincy Adams who maintained a detailed journal of his life, from boyhood until near the end of his life. Adams’ presidency was unsuccessful, but he served Congress afterwards as a dedicated public servant. He also had a keen eye for the world around him, be it social, political, economic, military, religious, or whatever. Being somewhat pious, Adams came to the conclusion, “man is born inherently evil.” This struck me like a thunderbolt.

As humans we are proud of our technology, marvel at our massive cities, consider the artfulness of our entertainment, and have conquered the land, sea, air and space. From this, we believe ourselves to be sophisticated and an advanced civilization, well beyond those of the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Carthaginians, Persians, Chinese, and Romans. But are we really? We still practice the obscenity of war, and we certainly do not observe the golden rule of “Doing unto others as we would have others do unto us.”

In other words, I see nothing in our history that would lead me to believe we have truly evolved as a species. Sure, we now have air conditioning, smart phones, and High Definition TV, but I fail to see how we are any more noble or moral than our predecessors.

good and evil

In the Middle East we see genocide, where Christians are singled out for extermination by ISIS. In Gaza, Hamas terrorists have vowed the extermination of the Israeli Jews, as has other Muslim factions. They put human shields around their missile launchers and fortifications in order to gain martyrdom and draw world sympathy to their cause. Beheadings and mass executions are now commonplace in the Muslim world. Decapitated heads are hung in public for the world to see and photograph for social media. Such atrocities were practiced well before the birth of Christ. One can only conclude the Muslims are a primitive and barbaric race. It doesn’t take a genius to pull a trigger or blow yourself up. It takes more integrity not to do so.

Russia stands poised to flex its muscles and snatch the Ukraine in the same manner as Nazi Germany snapped up the Rhineland, Austria, and Poland under the ruse of “repatriation.” This gave them the momentum to conquer the rest of mainland Europe, north Africa, and invade Russia. No wonder Europeans tremble as they watch the Ukraine helplessly.

During World Wars I and II, atrocities were performed by just about every army. In both wars, the German soldiers brutally raped and murdered Russians, and the Russians did likewise to the Germans. These two countries were certainly not alone in terms of brutality and savagery. It has been going on for centuries. We saw it in our Civil War, we saw it when Japan invaded China, and we now see it in Afghanistan, Muslim Africa, and chemical attacks in the Middle East. Let us also not forget the work of the Serbs, the Khmer Rouge, Idi Amin, North Korea, Mao’s Great Leap Forward, and Stalin’s purges, to mention but a few. Such heinous crimes against humanity, and the total disregard for life in any form, is essentially no different than pre-Biblical times.

On a more local level, it has become commonplace to hear stories such as a man throwing a baby out of a moving vehicle simply because it was crying; mothers snuffing the life out of their children; sexual predators, people sadistically decimating innocent animals, not for food, but for sport or simple cruelty. We viciously attack each other for a variety of reasons, such as domination, intoxication, a word spoken out of turn, or even as a game. Are these acts of God or man? The answer should be rather obvious. In addition to the perpetrators, we encourage evil by saying or doing nothing.

Evil knows no boundaries. It doesn’t observe borders, politics, race or religion. It is universal. So much so, one has to wonder where have all the champions of peace gone? Where are our role models and leaders; our Gandhis? Even Sadat was assassinated for promoting peace. Certainly there must be some good in the world, but the media doesn’t promote it with the same gusto they do for the horrors of the world. And as the American military diminishes in size and scope, evil is emboldened.

Like Adams, I believe we are born evil, but have been given the rare ability to rise above it, our intellect. However, just like any animal, we have to be trained to be good and we have done a horrible job of doing so, be it by our parents, teachers, friends, neighbors, co-workers, or the media. Both good and evil reside within all of us and it is a matter of our conscience to determine which path to follow.

Education is perhaps the best deterrent to evil, as it tempers the conscious, as does age and experience. Unfortunately, many people take education for granted or fail to understand its value and prefer living by basic instinct alone, thereby allowing evil to fester.

As sophisticated of an animal we like to believe we are, Samuel Clemons (Mark Twain) was correct when he observed, “Man is really the most interesting jackass there is.”

He continued,

Well for example I experimented with a cat and a dog. Taught them to be friends and put them in a cage. I introduced a rabbit and in an hour they were friends. Then I added a fox, a goose, a squirrel…some doves…a kangaroo, and finally a monkey. They lived together in peace. Well next I captured an Irish Catholic and put him in a cage and just as soon as he seemed tame I added a Presbyterian, then a Turk from Constantinople, a Methodist from the wilds of Arkansas, a Buddhist from China, and finally a Salvation Army colonel. Why when I went back there wasn’t a single specimen alive.

Maybe God made a mistake when he picked man over the monkey.

We do not want to believe evil is as pervasive in our world as it is, but it is much closer to us than we think. It is not just restricted to the evening news. It is always waiting for us, be it in the Middle East or just around the corner.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

The Elements of Leadership


– Is it as easy as one, two, three?

I have always contended leadership is an essential trait to become an effective manager. Whenever I mention this, many people disagree and claim it has nothing to with management whatsoever, which is perceived as nothing more than overseeing the activities of others. In this instance, I believe they are confusing supervision for management; the two are certainly not synonymous, yet I concede many of today’s managers tend to practice a Theory X form of micromanagement whereby the supervisor makes all of the decisions for the workers top-down. In contrast, I believe managers should manage more and supervise less, representing a bottom-up approach whereby employees are trained, delegated responsibility and allowed to conquer projects without someone breathing down their necks. From this perspective, management is substantially different than supervision.

From my experience, there are three essential elements for leadership:

* Must be able to read a map – meaning they have a sense of direction about them or what used to be called “vision.” Not only does the person know where to go, but how to get there. This usually means the person is better educated or is highly proficient in certain skills enabling the person to conquer problems.

* Confidence – whether it be true or fabricated (aka “bluff”), the person exudes self-confidence in how to succeed, thereby creating believers and followers. True confidence is preferred as opposed to fake which may lead people down the wrong path, thereby causing them to lose respect for the leader. Workers need to believe the manager knows the proper course of action for success.

* Strong interpersonal skills – to articulate objectives, review plans, delegate responsibility, and review progress. A good leader knows how to motivate workers, whether through communications or by example. Such skills requires some industrial psychology to properly motivate people. A sense of politics doesn’t hurt either.

Some of the best managers I’ve met over the years possessed these three basic elements. The good ones though are also not afraid to admit when they are unsure of themselves and smart enough to seek the counsel of others. Failure to do so has caused managers to go into a self-destruct mode.

Finally, let us be mindful that not to lead is to follow. Today, we are hearing a lot about “leading from behind,” not just in government, but in business as well. This is a disastrous trait in a manager. It means you are more willing to follow than to lead. If you are paid to lead, lead; if you are paid to follow, follow, but do not ever confuse the two.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

American Inventions

– How technology changed the country and the world.

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

If you were to ask young people what they consider the most influential inventions that affected America, they would likely respond with the PC, Apple’s iPhone and iPad, or perhaps the new Google Glasses. This reflects the erosion of our sense of history. I would argue even though these inventions are interesting, their development was inevitable and the natural byproduct of earlier inventions. Understanding America requires more than just the memorization of important dates, such as 1776, but also the inventions we created along the way. Our inventions ultimately dictate who we are, for they were devised to solve particular problems and to remain competitive in the world community. They also reflect our resourcefulness and determination to get things done by rising above the status quo.

For historical purposes, I have assembled the following list of arguably the greatest American inventions. These ideas and devices not only impacted our country but the world at large. In addition to enhancing productivity and business, they also influenced our society.

There are far too many significant inventions to list here. Instead I was interested in identifying those which had a profound effect not just on business, but socially as well. For example, Franklin’s lightning rod was useful for curbing lightning strikes and ensuing fires, but it did not affect the social conscious of the nation. Eli Whitney’s cotton gin greatly enhanced the output of cotton in the South, but it also encouraged a dependency on slavery and contributed to the outbreak of the American Civil War. There were many others, but I wish to point out those which positively influenced the American character.

Steam Engine (1781) – True, the first steam engines were introduced in Spain and England in the 17th century, but it was James Watt’s engine that provided the first practical implementation which would be used in railroads, ships, and other manufacturing and agricultural applications thereby becoming an important cog in the Industrial Revolution. In addition to improving output, the steam engine improved transportation, thereby making us a more mobile society by connecting the country. Train service also improved communications by expediting mail service. These effects would later be emulated by the introduction of the internal combustion engine.

Morse Code (1836) – The electric telegraph was another invention derived from Europe and preceded by the optical telegraph (signalling). The first practical implementation though came in 1844 with the first long-range telegraph between Baltimore and Washington, DC where inventor Samuel F.B. Morse sent the famous expression, “What hath God wrought,” a phrase from the Bible’s Book of Numbers. This was all made possible through the use of Morse Code, a standard system of dots and dashes which transmitted text messages. In reality, Morse Code was invented by Morse, American physicist Joseph Henry, and machinist Alfred Vail. This system revolutionized communications. Messages and news could be easily disseminated in seconds as opposed to days. This kept the public informed of current events and allowed business decisions to be made more readily. The Trans-Atlantic Cable bridged North America with Europe, thanks to Morse’s standard language. The telegraph may be long gone, but Morse Code lives on through Ham Radio operators. Remarkably, the system is still faster than newer techniques, such as text messaging.

Baseball (1845) – although historians argue over the origin of the game, baseball’s roots were likely derived from “rounders” in England. Nevertheless, the rules and game of baseball are uniquely American. The beauty of it is just about anyone can play it, assuming you can run, catch, throw, and swing a bat. It is also a thinking game with subtle strategy and secret communications, thereby making it an ideal spectator sport. Unlike other games played on a rectangle and scoring by taking a ball or puck to an end zone or net, baseball is played on a “diamond” which is actually a field defined by a 90 degree angle. To the outsider who has never played the game, baseball seems confusing at first, but with a little patience, the quirks of the game can be quickly learned. Because of its popularity, baseball has been dubbed America’s “National Pastime,” and a welcome diversion from the tedium of life. Aside from the United States, it has become popular in Central and South Americas, Japan, China, Australia, Europe, and elsewhere.

Telephone (1876) – Alexander Graham Bell was awarded the first patent for the electric telephone in 1876. As with other technologies listed here, others were active in its development, but Bell was first. The telephone revolutionized communications not only in America but throughout the world. Whereas phones were originally placed in a key location in a town, it propagated to households and businesses, and eventually to just about every individual on the planet. A boon to communications, the telephone also affected the populace socially. For example, the phone has been an indispensable tool for teenagers for many years and was likely the driving force for developing the “smart phones” of today.

Phonograph (1877) – Thomas Edison’s “talking machine” provided a handy tool to entertain people who were not proficient in the use of a musical instrument. Interestingly, the cylinders of Edison’s machine ultimately became the hard drives of today’s computers and smart phones, all based on circular devices for storing and retrieving data.

Radio (1885) – Again, experiments were conducted earlier, but it was Edison who received the first radio patent. For a long time, radio was the principal means of communicating with the public. It revolutionized news reporting and entertained the public. More importantly, it introduced the technology which would ultimately be used for television, radar, and today’s cell phone towers.

Tabulating Machine (1890) – Herman Hollerith is credited with inventing the tabulator using punched cards. This was fostered by the 1890 census which was desperately in need of a better approach for counting. Hollerith’s invention not only proved useful for the US Bureau of the Census, but for business in general. It was the precursor of the modern day computer and was eventually used for accounting, inventory, and just about anything requiring counting. The machine also gave birth to a new company which would influence technology and business for years to come, IBM. Tabulating machines were used until the 1950’s when the computer finally replaced them.

Electric Power Distribution (1882) – although Edison did not create the light bulb, he invented the first power grid in New York City to use his electric lamps, thereby turning the darkness of night into light (Pearl Street in Manhattan). The effect was dazzling and changed our social life at night. Candle power was no match for Edison’s electric grid, something that is with us to this day.

Assembly Line (1901) – the concept of routine assembly using standard parts has been around for centuries, but it took Henry Ford to mechanize it to produce his line of automobiles, thereby revolutionizing the process of manufacturing. This is one of the most important concepts to emerge from the Industrial Revolution. It’s been used to produce everything from automobiles and airplanes to a multitude of electronic devices and just about every consumer related product imaginable, including the smart phone. By doing so, the assembly line made it possible to make products affordable for just about everyone, thereby creating a middle class.

Air Conditioning (1902) – Willis Carrier was the inventor of “electromechanical cooling” which was originally intended for companies with products requiring climate control, such as printing, photography, and chemicals. This technology was eventually used for general business comfort, as well as in automobiles and homes. The air conditioner had particularly affected the South where temperatures during the summer would prohibit work and sleep. The advent of the air conditioner was a major contributor to people migrating to the South, including yours truly.

Airplane (1903) – The Wright Brothers are credited for “the first sustained and controlled heavier-than-air powered flight.” Like the Steam Engine, it had a profound effect on transportation and communications, although it devastated passenger rail service. By conquering the sky, we made the world a smaller place to live, accessible to just about anyone. It has helped forge business relationships overseas, thereby improving commerce, and made America more aware of the world around us.

Credit Card (1950) – the credit card traces its roots back to air travel cards which would allow you to “buy now, pay later.” The Diners Card became the first charge card, which was quickly followed by Carte Blanche and American Express in the 1950’s. BankAmericard, which would evolve into Visa, would follow, as would Master Card, and Discover Card much later. Prior to this, the concept of paying for merchandise with anything other than cash was unimaginable. Today it is just the opposite as most transactions are recorded by credit cards. Its only drawback is that it is probably the single most significant cause for people to go into debt by over spending.

Computer (1951) – I realize people will argue the ENIAC was the first computer as commissioned by the US Army in the closing days of World War II, but it was the UNIVAC I (UNIVersal Automatic Computer) which became the first computer to be used for commercial purposes. Both machines were invented by J. Presper Eckert and John Mauchly, two pioneers who exhibited great foresight into the world of computing for many years. The product they produced set the stage for super computing and mini computing, ultimately leading to the smart phone, the PC, and the Mac. Without the likes of Eckert and Mauchly, there would not have been a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. The computer has touched our lives like no other machine before or since. It is probably impossible to think of an industry or person who remains unaffected by the computer.

Internet (1969) – This was developed as a project for the Department of Defense to communicate with universities and research institutions. Today, it is the lifeline we all use for e-mail and to traverse the world wide web. It is also used to purchase merchandise, send/receive phone calls, transmit live photographic images, secure our homes, search for a mate, social networking, and more. And, No, Al Gore most definitely did not invent the Internet (he was 21 at the time and still in school).

U.S. Constitution (adopted 1787, ratified 1789) – This is perhaps the most brilliant invention in our history. Some would argue it is not unique. True, many of the concepts were derived from earlier political philosophers (e.g., Sir Edward Coke, William Blackstone and France’s Montesquieu, not to mention the Magna Carta), but the Constitution was the first practical implementation of such ideas. Fortunately, the authors of the Constitution were well versed in history and political philosophy, including the ancient Greeks and Roman empire. What makes the Constitution unique is its three separate but equal branches of government, its checks and balances, its bicameral system of Congress (two chambers), to act as a Republic as opposed to pure Democracy, and the Bill of Rights which enumerates the rights of American citizens. They were also wise enough to make it modifiable, so revisions could be added.

James Madison was the principal author of the Constitution and would later serve as our country’s fourth president. Madison and his Virginia colleagues came to the Constitutional Convention prepared and introduced the “Virginia Plan” which served as a template for the Constitution.

The Constitution superseded the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union which was our first governing document produced shortly after the Declaration of Independence. Whereas the Articles of Confederation simply stipulated how the various states would work together, the Constitution was to be more definitive in terms of devising a federal government. It took two years for the Constitution to be ratified by the thirteen states, a miracle in itself. The “Federalist Papers” were written and distributed to explain the rationale for the various parts of the Constitution, thereby selling the idea to the country.

The fact the U.S. Constitution has stood the test of time (225 years) and survived a bloody Civil War is a testament to its merit. It has also been emulated by states in the union and other countries, including Mexico and the Philippines. So brilliant is the document, I cannot imagine today’s Congressmen as being able to devise anything remotely better. As an aside, it is the Constitution which includes the provision for protecting intellectual property such as the inventions listed here (Article One, Section 8). Without such protection, our volume of inventions would be much less.

All of these devices have had a deep-seated effect on the American character. It defines who we are, what our values are, how we conduct business, and how we socialize as a people. We must recognize for every new invention we can expect some sort of social adjustment or change in our perspective or thinking and, with rare exception, there will likely be legislation enacted to control and tax its use.

Make no mistake, we have been influenced by our technology since the founding of this country, and way before. As such, it is important to remember when these inventions were created, the people who invented them, but more importantly the rationale for their creation. Without a sense of history, we would likely not understand the direction of where our technology and world should be heading.

author, freemason, business management, from the edge
Freemasonry From the Edge

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

When a Trust is Broken

– What should you do? Forgive or reciprocate?

broken trust

There is perhaps nothing more demoralizing to the human spirit than discovering a broken trust. What makes this particularly painful is when a person believes another has his/her best interests in mind and will defend them. This can be between two friends, business associates, school, in sports, in politics, or even within families. Inevitably one or both parties are surprised, thereby creating resentment and a rift between people inevitably ensues. If a lie is discovered, a promise broken, cheating, not being treated fairly, playing politics, an insult, or whatever, it can do irreparable harm. You may forgive, but you will never forget and it is unlikely you will ever treat that person the same.

We deal with such indiscretions in our own unique way, some through anger, some through humor, some through reciprocal action, or some simply ignore it. Frankly, I do not understand the latter alternative. I realize some people may violate a trust simply to get nothing more than a reaction from a person, which is perhaps the worst reason for violating a trust. However, the violation is plain and simply an insult to your honor and should be dealt with accordingly.

“Don’t get mad, get even.” I am not suggesting you stoop to the level of the person committing the indiscretion, but to simply return the favor more effectively than your antagonist. One way is to publicize the foul thereby discrediting the other person. Another is to report the person’s actions to the proper authorities, possibly even taking it to court. Aside from committing a similar foul to the other party, which I do not necessarily recommend, another option is to simply withdraw from the institution and leave the offender to his own devices. Understand this, by breaking the trust, the offender has already exhibited his feelings towards you. Forgive if you want, but the other person should instigate the healing process. Obviously, some things can never be forgiven.

Read: The 80/20 Rule

I had a friend from Brazil who moved to the United States and was surprised by our dependency on lawyers to solve numerous petty offenses. When I asked him how he would handle someone who had cheated him, he replied he would simply throw a brick through his company’s front window. He rationalized it would probably cost the company more to replace the window as opposed to paying him back. I’m not sure I would agree with his approach but I certainly can understand his sentiments.

Whatever approach you use, first and foremost have confidence in yourself. Stand your ground and do not reduce yourself to the other person’s level. Some people go into a state of shock when the indiscretion initially occurs. They do not necessarily think clearly. Just simply take note of the facts involved with the situation, such as the time, date, place it occurred, and the people involved. Think through the problem, and devise a suitable solution. Regardless if it is forgiveness or retribution, consider the ramifications before deciding on a course of action.

This reminds me of the animosity between George Bernard Shaw, the famous playwright, and Winston Churchill. The two hated each other. Just prior to the opening of one of Shaw’s plays, he sent an insulting note to Churchill, “I am enclosing two tickets to the first night of my new play; bring a friend… if you have one.”

Churchill had the last laugh though by responding to Shaw, “Cannot possibly attend first night; will attend second, if there is one.”

Samuel Clemons (Mark Twain) came up with an interesting approach for clearing out the riff-raft in his life; he sent an anonymous telegram to a dozen of his friends saying, “flee at once – all is discovered.” They all left town immediately.

When someone breaks the trust, be sure to return the favor and do it with a little class.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see: timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

The Age of Darkness


– Are we still seeking truth and knowledge, or are we pacified by the status quo?

The “Age of Enlightenment” was a period beginning in the 17th century where people began to question the status quo through discussion and reason. This led to many scientific discoveries and fueled the arts simply because people were encouraged to challenge the status quo and exchange ideas. Such discourse was made possible through free speech and the proliferation of the printing press thereby providing a convenient means to record ideas and convey information. Freemasons also had a role to play in this, although historians might argue otherwise, by providing a venue for the thinkers of the day to meet and talk. Some of the principals of this movement included Voltaire, Montesquieu, Franklin, Jenner, Mesmer, Mozart, Haydn, and Frederick the Great, all of which were Freemasons in search of knowledge. Many others followed and by doing so the arts and sciences were revolutionized, new trade routes were explored, new countries were colonized and founded, commerce and agriculture flourished, and political reforms enacted. It was an inspiring period.

Compare it to the last 100 years where we have witnessed great changes in transportation, business, communications, medicine, and other technologies. We have explored space and landed men on the moon, multiple times. Along the way, we have also been forced to endure several wars around the globe, and survive economic catastrophes. Today, our space program is a mere shadow of itself, our military has been reduced in size to the era of pre-World War II, a religious powder keg still exists in the Middle East, the nation’s economy can be described as fragile at best, and we are still dependent on other countries for energy. We have also witnessed some not so subtle changes in our government and the media, suppressing the exchange of ideas, thereby challenging our freedoms. The Age of Enlightenment has been replaced by paranoia. Others now dictate what is proper for discussion and enforced by the spin of the media or by autocratic rule. Political correctness tempers our tongues and forces people to accept the status quo. Even the Masons now fear censorship for discussing subjects not approved by their grand jurisdictions.

Today, we could convincingly argue we are embroiled in an “Age of Darkness” where people are forced to go underground to whisper their views and ideas. Bureaucratic rule and excessive laws are aimed at regulating the behavior of people, not to protect their freedoms. Is such rule needed to control an overly populated planet, or is it nothing more than a zeal for domination? I suspect the latter. Instead of being allowed to ask questions, we are now expected to accept everything at face value by the government and the media. This does not bode well for people seeking enlightenment. I can appreciate the need for secrecy on certain matters, but I value candor more, where we seek and learn the truth as opposed to being treated like cattle.

When “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Robertson made his views about morality known in an interview for GQ magazine, including homosexuality, the media called it “shocking,” thereby causing A&E, the network for the show, to suspend him indefinitely. Fans of the show rebelled and forced A&E to lift the suspension. This was not the first time Robertson butted heads with A&E executives who bleeped “in Jesus’ name” during his prayers. This is a prime example of how expression is repressed in this day and age.

Enlightenment represents our thirst for discovery, invention and innovation, and to “boldly go where no man has gone before.” In order to continue our quest for enlightenment, freedom must be safeguarded, particularly the rights of the individual. It cannot succeed under a regime of repression, where Big Brother is watching our every move, listening to our every word, and judging our political correctness. The governing powers understand it is difficult to control people who possess the thirst for knowledge and expression. Consequently, they create an environment to restrain the human mind. Criticisms and different viewpoints are no longer tolerated, just blind faith. New ideas or methodologies for improving the human condition are also not acceptable, just the status quo.

So, where can the thirst for enlightenment be found? Certainly not in our schools where students are only encouraged to memorize facts, not to think for themselves or learn to speak their mind. This makes them more manageable. The thirst can only be found in those who truly appreciate the need for freedom and are willing to fight for it; that we do not simply want enlightenment, but resist all efforts to repress it.

Enlightenment represents hope, and darkness our demise. Enlightenment represents freedom, and darkness our enslavement. Our predecessors were cognizant of this, but I fear too many people today have found comfort in the darkness of the status quo. As for me, I vote for enlightenment.

I wonder what our founding fathers would say. In today’s world they would have likely been rounded up, their properties confiscated, and hung in public before they could have written one word of the Declaration of Independence. Such is the fate of those resisting the Age of Darkness.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific), and KGAB-AM (650) of Cheyenne, Wyoming. Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

2013 Year End Wrap-Up

My most popular columns this year.

As you know, I write on a variety of subjects, such as management, systems, technology, social issues, politics, and observations of our changing world. Sometimes my work is instructional and informative, other times it is controversial or humorous. I certainly hope it isn’t boring. By the number of subscribers I have, their comments, and the hits I have on my web site, I do not believe this is the case.

For my year-end column, I decided to look at my statistics and see which were my most popular articles and speculate on their popularity. Herein, therefore, are my “greatest hits” for 2013.


This was written in December 2012 as a fun piece describing our ancient adding machine, marveling at its simplicity, and questioning why people tend to discard office equipment as opposed to maintaining it (in our case, for 42 years and still chugging away). I was surprised by the thousands of people who read it. It caused several of my subscribers to reminisce about such equipment. Typical comments included, “Sure wish most items would last nearly as long,” and “Yeah! They sure don’t build things to last any more.”


Written in June of last year, people from around the world read this article on a daily basis. Overseas, Europeans reference this piece regularly, particularly people in the United Kingdom. In an age where we tend to believe government is incompetent, my article piqued people’s curiosity as to whether government can do anything right. I also received considerable reader feedback on this one, including a woman from West Virginia who wrote, “It has come to the point that I no longer believe a word the government says. I don’t trust the media either.”


Beginning last April, I published an eight part series encouraging people to think about and openly discuss morality in our society. This, of course, became my book, “Stand Up for MORALITY!” The comments from my readers were encouraging. The subject became a hot button topic on the Internet and caused me to produce a presentation on the subject.


I originally wrote this column in December of 2011, but it is still actively read on a daily basis. The article considered what our world might look like today if General Lee had won at Gettysburg and captured Washington, DC. This stirred the imagination of a lot of readers who commented accordingly.


Earlier this year I devised a series of mini-posters based on our popular “Bryce’s Laws” which are axioms on life, both personal and professional. Four posters were made available, including: Life, Management, Information Systems, and Project Management. These small posters can now be found in offices and cubicles around the world.


This was another piece I wrote towards the end of last December. Like the others, it has been frequently read all year. Basically, it is a comparison of today’s welfare state versus the the early American slaves. Although it was considered controversial, I received a lot of positive comments from my readers.


This was a technology related piece I wrote describing an interesting means to publish a book. Although it requires an author to be savvy in desktop publishing, it is a great way to free yourself of the yolk of publishers. Someone at Amazon should be thanking me for writing this.


This has been a favorite subject of mine for quite some time. It examines how people develop their political beliefs, e.g., Why does a person become a Democrat or a Republican? This generated considerable discussion from my readers. Bottom-line, I think I was on to something in terms of people’s personalities ultimately dictating their political preferences.


This article described the various factions who are truly teaching moral values in this country, regrettably it is not the parents.


This column was touched off by an incident I experienced at a company whereby I observed how people treated others callously. This too resulted in considerable feedback from my readers who experienced similar situations. Regrettably, I am seeing more and more of this in the corporate world.


The article was a precursor to my series on morality. Basically, it contrasted the moral values of capitalism versus socialism.

In terms of my columns, 2013 will probably be best remembered as my “Morality Year,” where I openly questioned the values of our culture, particularly how they are formed and taught. I consider the erosion of our morality in this country a serious problem, something that may very well lead to our demise. Maybe I’m an alarmist, or maybe I am seeing something people are glossing over. I have always believed in the Bryce’s Law, “You cannot treat a patient if he doesn’t know he is sick.” Since I started researching this subject, I found morality is something most people take for granted and never discuss. This is why I found it important to bring this to the attention of my readers. I just hope people were listening.

I want to thank all of my readers who commented on my columns this year, both in print and on the radio. Although I may not have time to respond to everyone, rest assured I read all of your comments, both good and bad. Thank you. It’s nice to know people are listening.

Happy New Year.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

The Meaning of Christmas

It is certainly not about the commercialization of the holiday, or Santa.

He arose in the morning groggy and disoriented. He didn’t know where he was or recognized the surroundings. It was a small room, very neat and clean, with a sofa, desk, and big bed. Anyone would recognize it as a hotel with all of the amenities. He had no memory of how he had gotten there. Sunlight peeked between the curtains. The television was playing a Christmas gala, complete with classic holiday music. The entertainment was broken up by the occasional commercial where announcers were promoting everything from toys to clothes, jewels, and automobiles. Each announcer admonished viewers to hurry as there was just one day until Christmas.

“Christmas? Where am I, where have I been?”

He slowly stood up and went over to the window and opened the curtains to look outside where the grass and roads were covered with a thin layer of snow. It was cold, but not frigid. People could be seen walking on the streets carrying packages, cars moved quickly along a boulevard, and pine trees were adorned with tinsel, bulbs and lights. He didn’t recognize any of it which confused matters further.

He washed himself in the bathroom and then spotted some clothes neatly folded on the sofa, complete with shoes and socks. The clothes fit remarkably well. The shoes, which were actually a set of leather and rubber boots, also fit comfortably. He combed his hair before putting on the jacket and wool cap hanging on the chair at the desk. He unlocked the door and stepped outside into the cold air and surveyed the area around the hotel. Nothing looked familiar; did Europe look like this?

A woman dressed in a heavy black coat passed by him and greeted him good morning.

It was English, but the accent wasn’t recognizable. He replied, “Good morning,” to the woman who hurried away before any other questions could be asked.

He watched her hurry down the street heading towards a large building where several cars were already parked. A sign in front read, “Springdale Town Mall.” He was curious and thought people at the building might hold some answers. So He followed the woman to the mall, crossing the street carefully as it was busy with vehicles. The traffic lights seemed strange to Him, as well as the lines on the street, along with the the commotion of the cars and their horns. As He approached the entrance to the mall, He could hear the sounds of Christmas music coming from the mall’s PA system in the parking lot. In between songs, announcers touted their products and admonished shoppers there was just one more day until Christmas. He really didn’t grasp what was going on.

He entered the mall which was the largest structure He had ever seen. Inside was a cavernous multitude of lights, more music, and thousands of people circulating. There seemed to be hundreds of shops offering a variety of wares; toys, cutlery, sporting goods, jewelry, and many other goods. Virtually all had signs in their windows promoting sales and reminding shoppers there was now less than a day to Christmas. He paused by an electronic store where many television sets were displaying Christmas shows. The shows were mesmerizing and He became somewhat intoxicated by the sights and sounds emanating from the televisions.

He wandered the mall examining the various stores carefully. Each was decorated in red and green colors, with wreaths, and the smell of pine and sweet candy hung in the air. Electric lights, snowmen, and miniature railroads offered animation. Gifts were wrapped in a special type of green and red paper and ribbons. All in all, it was a feeding frenzy of shopping. He wondered what the purpose of all this activity. There were several signs mentioning “Christmas,” but He didn’t make the connection.

There was the smell of food in the air which caused His stomach to growl in hunger. He passed the mall’s Food Court which featured several restaurants offering a variety of strange looking ethnic foods. He watched cooks prepare Japanese sushi and Chinese cuisine, none of which He recognized as something edible. The Mexican restaurant smelled of spicy hot peppers. The only restaurants which somehow resembled familiar food was the Italian restaurant, although He balked at pizza, and the Greek restaurant featuring gyros and souvlakis, both offered on pita bread.

He asked the clerk for a gyro as it appeared to be made of lamb. The young clerk prepared the meal accordingly, complete with French Fries and a cola drink.

“That will be $5 for the gyro special,” she said.

He looked perplexed by her request but quickly figured she was asking for money of which He had none. He tapped his trousers with his hand and heard the distinct click of metal. He reached inside his pocket where He retrieved some coins valued at $2 each. “Will you take these?” He asked.

The clerk took three of them and presented him with a $1 bill saying, “Here is your change. Thank you. Next!…”

He walked away from the restaurant with his tray and found an empty table to sit and eat. He studied the $1 bill carefully. He had never seen paper money before and didn’t recognize Washington’s portrait. He ate the gyro hungrily. He enjoyed the taste of cooked lamb as well as the pita bread. The French Fries seemed peculiar to him though. He picked one up and inspected it carefully. Nearby at other tables, people were eating them. He then broke one in half and tasted it, and it was good, even though He didn’t know what it was. “A French Fry? Hmm…,” and He ate the rest. He examined the cola drink suspiciously. He took a sip and found the taste medicinal in nature, and the bubbles tickled His nose. Spotting a nearby water fountain, He emptied the cola down its drain and replaced it with water which tasted remarkably clean to Him.

He saw others dumping the trash from their trays into the garbage and followed suit. The meal had served its purpose and He felt refreshed. He then returned to wandering around the mall. The music and hubbub was beginning to give Him a small headache.

It was mid afternoon when He came to the center of the mall where He sat at a bench on the second floor. He marveled at the immensity of the mall and as He looked down to the bottom floor He discovered a long line of children waiting for someone named “Santa Claus.” Dozens of children waited patiently to sit with a fat man dressed in a red and white costume. He assumed the man was elderly as he wore a white beard with matching color hair.

An elderly woman came and sat on the bench to rest her feet. She was loaded with several packages and looked tired from her trek around the mall.

“Excuse me, but who is that man down there?” He innocently asked the woman.

She looked down to see the object of His attention.

“Are you kidding me?” she said, “It’s Santa Claus and his elves talking to the kids of course.”

He said, “I’m sorry, I am not from around here. What is a Santa Claus?”

She looked at him inquisitively but gave him the benefit of doubt. “He is actually called by many names, St. Nicholas, Kris Kringle, and many others around the world. He is considered the patron saint of Christmas and is best known for delivering presents to children on Christmas.”

“Christmas, there is that name again,” He thought.

He watched the children one-by-one visit with the old gentleman. Some appeared timid and scared, others enjoyed a good conversation with the man, others were loud and animated, demanding certain presents on Christmas Day. It was all rather unclear as to the purpose of the meeting with Santa other than it was an outlet to promote the purchase of more gifts. He was amazed by the length of the never-ending line and requests for more gifts.

The greed and opulence of the season was too much for him to stomach any longer. He took his leave of the mall wanting to head back to the safety of the hotel room. Unfortunately, He became a bit disoriented and couldn’t find the same door from which He entered, and exited on the opposite end of the mall where nothing looked familiar.

He had spent considerable time at the mall and it was now late afternoon with long shadows and the sun beginning to set. All He could see were rows of neat wooden homes adjacent to the mall. He was unfamiliar with the architecture and wanted to take a closer look. He entered a subdivision and was amazed how orderly the houses were aligned and well maintained.

As the sun set, decorative lights were switched on and lit up the houses and the adjacent trees and shrubbery. Various statues of snowmen, Santa Claus, and angels were also lit and music could be heard in the air. There also seemed to be reindeer everywhere; on top of houses, pulling sleighs, or metallic statues on front lawns, some were animated appearing to be grazing. In was very reminiscent of the storefronts in the mall.

He walked several blocks in amazement as the houses turned darkness into light. Other people also walked the neighborhood in order to see the decorations. Cars began to enter the streets where they moved slowly so parents and children could admire the decorations. As pleasant as this all ways, He was at a loss as to what it all meant.

As He exited the neighborhood, He was presented with two large structures, one with a crucifix atop it, and another with the Star of David. He was appalled by the crucifix and began to wonder if people still practiced the tortuous custom. The large cross stopped Him in his tracks and He began to tremble. He noticed the other structure bore the Shield of David, a symbol He was familiar with through Judaism.

It was nighttime now and both buildings were active with people, the Temple celebrating a Bar Mitzvah, and the Church preparing to celebrate Christmas mass. Being more familiar with the Shield of David, He approached the Temple, where people were exiting for the evening. Still inside was the rabbi who was bidding goodnight to the attendees. He worked his way to the rabbi, a middle aged man who appeared to be of good nature.

He said, “Rabbi, I am a stranger to this area. As I have walked around the village I notice there is a fascination with ‘Christmas’ here. I would like to know more.”

The Rabbi smiled and said, “Well stranger, you are actually in a good place to learn. I would like to sit down and tell you more, but the hour is late and I have another appointment. However, I recommend you visit the church next door where they are getting ready to celebrate Christmas. I am confident they will tell you the full story tonight.”

He took his leave of the rabbi, who locked the Temple after He exited. Many people were entering the house of the crucifix, men, women and children. As it appeared to be safe, He overcame his timidity and reluctantly approached the church. At the door, He was warmly welcomed by greeters. The inside appeared to be a place for religious retreats, with several rows of pews, and an altar at the front.

As the service began, the congregation rose to its feet and began to sing, accompanied by an organ. He was startled by this, but found the music strangely comforting. He looked about and saw everyone singing in unison, along with a choir which sang as one. The pomp and circumstance was impressive. He looked on in horror as a small boy walked slowly down the center aisle carrying another crucifix with an effigy of a person nailed to it. The boy proudly presented the cross at the front of the congregation before placing it in a stand. He was bewildered by the display and was prepared to turn and run, but something inside him told him to stand his ground. After the entrance of the clergy, the music stopped and everyone returned to their seats.

The minister welcomed everyone to the evening’s Christmas celebration. This was followed by a sweet celebration enacted by the children of the church who were dressed in colorful costumes. The minister narrated the story of the birth of Christ and the children acted out the story. He listened intently. He heard the names of Joseph and Mary, which were well known to him, as well as a place called Galilee. He listened to their story of the birth of their savior. Aside from the shiny costumes and some obvious literary liberties, it was a story He knew well, and his spirits perked up noticeably. He was no longer afraid but felt quite at home.

After the play, the minister asked all first time visitors to rise and be recognized. One-by-one he welcomed each visitor, asking who they were and where they were from. The minister finally asked the stranger to introduce himself.

“I am known as Jesus of Nazareth,” He said.

The minister thought He was mocking the congregation and quickly confronted the stranger. Anger was in the minister’s eyes but before he could utter a harsh word, He said, “I am a stranger to this area,” and raised his hand in peace to shake the minister’s.

It was only then the minister saw the scars from the crucifixion. There was something in the stranger’s demeanor and eyes that made him realize he was now in the presence of something special. The minister froze until He placed his hands on him in comfort. The minister smiled and knelt to his knees. The congregation didn’t quite comprehend the situation, but followed the minister’s lead and knelt.

He said, “Please rise, you are all my children. I’m not sure why I was sent here but I believe it has something to do with the meaning of Christmas, something I didn’t quite understand until I witnessed your pageant.”

“Yes, this is your birthday, your eminence,” the minister replied.

“I have been among you this day and have witnessed many things, most of which I do not understand, particularly the greed of this day. I hope they are not using this day to celebrate such a weakness.”

The minister was embarrassed, “I am afraid a lot of people have forgotten its purpose. It is not about shopping, it’s about You.”

“In my time, we celebrated birthdays by the breaking of the bread. We didn’t have opulent presents. Instead, we offered our love, fellowship, and trust to others. If this is truly my Birthday, let us celebrate likewise,” and loafs of bread appeared in His hands.

Jesus moved to the altar and broke the bread into small pieces for everyone to consume. The minister assisted by pouring wine.

“Here, eat and drink. Do this for the remembrance of Me. My message is simple: I love you unconditionally. You may not believe in me, but have confidence that I love you. Do not dwell in hate. Practice love and do unto others as you would have others do unto you. It’s really not that difficult, is it?”

As the last morsel of bread was consumed and wine drunk, He turned and disappeared into the ether with the exclamation, “Remember!”

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  2013 YEAR-END WRAP-UP – My most popular columns this year.

LAST TIME:  ALL IS FAIR IN LOVE AND WAR…AND POLITICS – How the office of the president has been reshaped.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Dave Ettl & Lance Tormey (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Understanding the Pecking Order


– Do you know your place?

To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

You would be hard pressed to find an institution that does not have a “pecking order” delineating authority through superior and subordinate relationships. The order ultimately dictates the authority we assume and our duties and responsibilities. Companies, both large and small, have some form of hierarchy with a leader at the top and the workers underneath. Nonprofit organizations also have such an order, be it a religious institution, fraternal order, homeowners association, sports club, a charity, or whatever. Any formal organization incorporated under the state requires certain positions, such as a president, vice president, etc., thereby suggesting a chain of command. Informal groups will also have a pecking order, including gangs and organized crime. Such orders are a natural part of life and we should all be cognizant of our position.

Although job descriptions typically define the pecking order in any corporation, there are other attributes delineating relationships, such as seniority and skill level. Whereas seniority is based on tenure at work, skill sets distinguish people by proficiency, e.g., expert versus novice. In other words, we have learned to respect the wisdom and experience of our elders, that they may know something we do not, along with the talents and abilities of people. However, years of service is not always a good yardstick for measuring competency, which explains why we also consider skill levels.

In schools, the pecking order is typically defined by grade level, e.g., senior, junior, sophomore, freshman. However, this may vary as defined by the maturity and capabilities of the student. For example, I have seen freshman step up to leadership roles in school clubs and sports. In the absence of a qualified senior leader, leadership defaults to the person who steps up and is willing to assume responsibility. The same is true in just about every other organization and it is referred to as “personal initiative.”

In families, the pecking order starts with the parents and typically works down the line of children by age. Again, if a child shows signs of particular skills or initiative, and an elder child does not, it is possible for the younger child to climb the pecking order. In the absence of parents, who are unavailable to exert leadership, children will supersede the authority of the adult and establish their own rules and make their own decisions, a rather unhealthy situation, yet a reality in today’s world.

Man is a social animal and, depending on the situation, is always looking to exert his will over others, usually for his own personal benefit. The idea everyone in a body of people is equal is simply ludicrous, at least for administrative purposes. There always has to be a leader, someone in a position of authority who assumes responsibility to establish and enforce rules of conduct and make ultimate decisions, if for no other reason than to break ties. Without it, there is chaos.

As a member of any institution, you would be wise to know your place in the pecking order and, in order to maintain harmony, do not try to break it unless necessity calls on you to do so.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mon, Wed, Fri, 12:30-3:00pm Eastern), KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays, 6:00-10:00am Mountain), and KIT-AM 1280 in Yakima, Washington “The Morning News” with hosts Lance Tormey & Brian Teegarden (weekdays. 6:00-9:00am Pacific). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Freemason Tim Bryce.

Personal Peccadilloes

– Why we behave the way we do under close quarters.

Holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas typically bring members of the family together, as does family vacations and anniversaries. Inevitably, family members open their homes and share quarters with loved ones traveling from out of town. Perhaps you’ll go home to see your parents and stay in your old room or stay with one of your siblings. Such close quarters are certainly appreciated, but they also have a tendency to drive people crazy, both the host and the guest, regardless how much we love our family.

As creatures of habit, we all have our own unique set of nuances we like to live by, particularly at home. Such habits may seem insignificant, but we begin to feel inhibited when we try to live in close quarters with someone else. In other words, we have to be on our best behavior and cannot truly relax as we normally would. To illustrate:

* Meal time can be awkward as people have different eating customs. For example, some people will eat a hearty breakfast, others something simple, and some not at all. Some like coffee, others want tea or just some juice of some kind. It all makes for some awkward moments for people in the kitchen. Some people like to eat strange snacks and consume beverages during off hours. What is normal to one person appears strange to others. The time at which we eat can also become an issue, as well as the types of food and restaurants we like. Trying to plan an evening dinner to accommodate everyone’s tastes and timetables can become as complicated as planning D-Day.

* In terms of bathroom decorum we have to observe different customs of using the shower, the “facilities,” towels and trash, and general cleanliness. Some people are slobs, others are neat freaks, neither of which are compatible.

* Even the act of washing clothes can become awkward. Some people like to wash small loads, others large. Then there is the matter of the water temperature and the amount of detergent to use. I realize it sounds rather petty, but such nuances drive some people crazy.

* Then there is the matter of what clothes to wear for certain occasions. Regardless of how old you are, your mother will inevitably comment, “You’re not going out dressed like that are you?” Even the comfortable clothes you want to wear around the house comes under scrutiny.

* Maintaining the bedroom can also become a problem. Some people like to live in pigpens, others are more tidy. Believe me, the differences between hosts and guests are considerable. Some hosts insist on sacrificing their own bedrooms to allow their guests maximum comfort. Inevitably, guests cannot relax in fear they may do something wrong in the inner sanctum, and hosts toss and turn uncomfortably on sleep sofas with metal bars sticking in their spines. It’s a no-win scenario no matter what you do.

* There are many other idiosyncrasies observed, such as talking too much or too little or at the wrong time, smoking, imbibing a drink, eating too much or too little, what you eat versus what you don’t, how you exercise (or not), how the coffee is made, what vitamins and medication you are taking, what you watch on television, what time you rise in the morning and retire at night, even how you drive your own car.

We all have unique peculiarities we like to live by and when we get together with family members we try to bite our tongues for the sake of harmony. However, I’ve observed some people are more accommodating than others. If you are the guest, you have to respect the wishes of your hosts, and; if you are the hosts, you have to tolerate the nuances of your guests. Compromise is the order of the day in such situations. You do not want to become an intruding pest regardless of the role you are playing.

In the end, we are all greatly relieved when the family disperses and everyone returns home. Guests are delighted to return to the routine of their own domain, and hosts are relieved to see their households return to normal.

We don’t really want to become pests to other people, but because of our peculiarities we cannot help it. Perhaps the worst thing though is to overstay your welcome and get under the skin of your family. If you are going to be in close quarters for an extended period of time, let me suggest you do it on neutral ground, such as in a hotel in another city, or on a cruise ship, where someone else will be charged with looking after your foibles. Otherwise, it is not uncommon for family members to start bickering amongst themselves, gossiping, and animosity inevitably grows into rage. This is why we should avoid “family” restaurants; there’s a fight at every table. Such is the price of our personal peccadilloes.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

For Tim’s columns, see:

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.