Episode #764

September 23, 2023

My first job was at Foster’s Freeze.
I was hired to clean up.
Being raised in the 60’s I was never really taught to clean. My mother was a stay-at-home mom.
Cleaning was her job.

I was taught to always seek clarity when performing a task. 
I plagued my new boss with questions.

“What should I clean?”
“Where is the broom?”
“In the broom closet.”
“Where is the mop?”
“In the broom closet with everything else for cleaning.”

“What cleaning products should I use on the floor? On the counters? On the ice cream equipment? On the tables?”
“You know what?” said the boss. “When I hired you I thought you would be bright enough to clean without bugging me about everything. You’re fired.”

The boss had assumed that I was experienced at cleaning.
He assumed my plea for training was incompetence.

I learned a valuable lesson early on.
Always get a clear job description before accepting a job.
Be sure I have the skill set or will receive training to meet the job requirements.

When traveling in the South, this So Cal boy was wearing a tie dye Grateful Dead shirt, jean shorts and flip flops. My hair was long and my beard untrimmed. A man who looked like a farmer, 10 years my junior, stepped out of a beat up Ford pickup with gun racks and walked up to me. He wore a long sleeved button down shirt and Wangler jeans. His cowboy hat was well worn. His hair was shorn and his beard a scruff. He hid behind a pair of high quality Oakley sunglasses.

“Hey…” he said. “What’s with that shirt?”
My mind raced… I assumed that my tie dye offended him. Did he see my California license plate? What kind of trouble was I in?

“I’m a skydiver,” I said. “These are parachuting dancing bears and the hot air balloon they are jumping from has the Grateful Dead logo.”

“So cool,” said the man. “I’m Jed. Been a Dead Head all my life. Saw Jerry and the Dead in Carolina Coliseum in ’85.”
“I was there too,” I said in amazement.

We told each other Grateful Dead concert stories. I also found out that Jed is a confirmed Democrat. We had so much more in common than my assumptions had first warned.

After 9/11 several compound assumptions alienated 2-3% of the United States population. If you looked Middle Eastern you were assumed to be Arab. If you were Arab you were assumed to be Muslim. If you were Muslim you were assumed to be a terrorist and probably had something to do with the attack on 9/11.

My Muslim friends, without exception, were compassionate, humble, honest, generous, patient, forgiving, grateful, respectful, educated and courageous people. These characteristics were in no small degree due to their religion.

Thankfully, it was easy for me to assume that they were not terrorists, yet those very friends were assumed to be evil by others.

Avoiding assumption requires some elementary critical thinking:

  1. Know your own biases
  2. Listen, then listen some more before you jump to conclusions.
  3. Ask open ended questions, not ones where you think you already know the answer.
  4. Gather information before forming an opinion.
  5. When you catch yourself in an assumption, challenge yourself.
  6. Avoid generalizations
  7. Know each person as the individual they are.
  8. Put yourself in others’ shoes.
  9. Open your mind.
  10. Never stop educating yourself.
  11. Remember situations where your own assumptions led you astray.
  12. Be patient.

There is one thing you can assume:
Nothing is cast in stone.
Otherwise, if you assume, you make an “ASS” of “U” and “ME”.


“Skydivers Know Why Birds Sing” by Ricki T Thues is now available on Amazon.
It is a Love story of Rick and Paula Thues and their 35 years of Skydiving.

Click HERE to buy the paperback or Kindle ebook at Amazon.

Follow Ricki T Thues on Amazon HERE.

“Technically Human” by Ricki T Thues, the iMentor, is available on Amazon.
It is a compilation of selected episodes from this bLog which tell the story of Humanity through the eyes of the iMentor.

Click HERE to buy the paperback or Kindle ebook at Amazon.
The ebook version of “Technically Human” is also available on Kobo. Click HERE.
For you Barnes and Noble Nook readers it is available for Nook. Click HERE.
The “Technically Human” ebook is also available on Apple Books . Click HERE.




  1. Sharon+L+Pratt September 22, 2023
  2. Victor Spindler September 22, 2023
  3. Carol+Ross September 22, 2023
  4. Danielle L BARLOW September 24, 2023

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