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On Tolerating Criticism....The "Sheesh" thread.

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Forum topic by poopiekat posted 850 days ago 1546 views 0 times favorited 61 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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poopiekat

3563 posts in 2339 days


850 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: humor criticism obnoxious

Nothing takes the wind out of my sails faster than having somebody utter their un-expert opinion of my work as if they know what they’re talking about. Recently, when shown a horrible decrepit picnic table that a relative had built, I offered only constructive praise, even though it looked like it was hacked out with a machete and nailed together with a rock instead of a hammer. This same relative, when visiting us, seized onto a piano stool I made, and verbally tore it to pieces, as if he was some kind of expert! It was brutal, and I was immediately put off by this bad behavior, and wondered to myself what motivates such an awkward and inappropriate lack of civility. Now, when they visit, I ask my wife NOT to point out the new items in the house I’d made since their last visit.
This seems to happen a lot, for me having to choke down unsolicited opinions about my work. I have no problems with contentious opinions about religion and politics face to face, but jeez, people your life’s work/hobby is a sacred cow and should never be critiqued for any perceived inadequacies unless the maker specifically ASKS for an honest objective opinion. I mean, the Mission-inspired parlor table in QSRO is SUPPOSED to have slat sides! I made it a specific size so that our cat could laze on it all day in the sun coming in the picture window, and the stereo components on the undershelf fit perfectly. Yet, once it became known that it came out of my workshop, the gratuitous criticism began, this time from two other relatives, people whom I thought highly of. Cripes! I don’t care how much somebody hates red oak! It’s a piece of furniture I lovingly made and gave to my wife.
What similar experiences have you had, when people you’d expect better from, start to nit-pick your good work? Especially when your craft item was never even brought to their attention in the first place? Share your war stories here! Thx.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!


61 replies so far

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2130 posts in 1714 days


#1 posted 850 days ago

Stephen King, in an autobiographical piece, gave a description of a horrible incident when he was a child. He had a rather obese babysitter who entertained herself by sitting on the face of her charges, farting, and screaming out “Pow!” He stated that, in later years, this incident helped him. After suffering through the humiliation of a 300 pound babysitter sitting on him, critics seemed to lose their intimidation factor. Conjure up this image when experiencing your next inflammatory critique and I promise you that the silly smile you will have on your face will pretty much irritate even the worst offenders.

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View RandyM68's profile

RandyM68

693 posts in 923 days


#2 posted 850 days ago

I can take and even seek advice, and criticism, from people that I respect. All six of them. Everybody else can kiss my, well, you know. I don’t have time to slap all the stupid ones, so I try to ignore most of them. But seriously, put some slats on that table!!

-- I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. I'm sorry,thanks.

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willie

456 posts in 1059 days


#3 posted 850 days ago

My wife’s sister’s husband is like that. He thinks he knows what he’s doing but he’s the only one. Several years ago he re-did his kitchen. It literally looked like a 6 year old did the work, it was terrible! We were there for a Christmas party and all night he kept taking cheap shots at me about how his work was better. I was a professional cabinetmaker at the time and he is one of those people that should have ALL his tools taken from him! I just kept my mouth shut so as not to start any trouble. He finally made the comment “Don’t you wish your work looked like this?” I had to tell him “If my work looked like that, I’d get fired!” He got pissed, but never gave me any more BS like that. He even had the nerve a few months later to ask me how to fix one of his screw-ups. I told him that he was the expert, he knows so much, fix it yourself. He doesn’t bother me any more!

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

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NBeener

4806 posts in 1779 days


#4 posted 850 days ago

David:

We learned that “squat-and-fart” technique in the Red Cross Babysitting Course that I took, as an adolescent. It’s pretty standard stuff, really.

If you LIKED the kids, you’d ask them to guess what you ate for breakfast, that day.

-- -- Neil

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2130 posts in 1714 days


#5 posted 850 days ago

Nothing like a pop quiz to keep them sharp. :)

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

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NBeener

4806 posts in 1779 days


#6 posted 850 days ago

And …. it helped ME improve MY listening skills.

Sometimes, the words “Raisin Bran ??” were VERY muffled.

-- -- Neil

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DrDirt

2368 posts in 2347 days


#7 posted 850 days ago

But Neil did that class teach how to properly breathe from the diaphram when you shout POW? :-)

Though FWIW, I always though Stephen King had to have one screwed up childhood to come up with SOOO many really creepy, get under your skin books.
It, Shining, Pet Semetary, Salems Lot…..

As far as work criticism, I haven’t had kat’s experience, only some who have mentioned that they would have chosen a lighter finish for THEIR home, rathern than a criticism of using Oak.

-- "If we did all the things we are capable of doing, we would literally astonish ourselves." Edison

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15671 posts in 2823 days


#8 posted 850 days ago

If someone whose opinion and knowledge of woodworking I respect were to criticize my work, it would matter to me. But coming from someone who has no clue what they’re talking about, it’s just a minor annoyance like the buzzing of a fly.

Now about that piano stool….. :-)

David, NOW I understand why Steven King made a career out of writing horror stories.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2130 posts in 1714 days


#9 posted 850 days ago

Yeah, you can’t just walk away from that. I, myself, blame my own occasional, disturbing thoughts on the fact that I was dressed like Bobby Brady when I was a child. We all have our demons.

I think the bottom line in criticism is that I look at root cause. If the person is trying to help me, the thoughts are given consideration. Even those without full knowledge have eyes and might see something I don’t. If the purpose is to let me know that they know more than I, real or imagined, then I let it go. And then imagine a large babysitter…

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

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jdmaher

277 posts in 1184 days


#10 posted 850 days ago

My experience regarding comments on my work is exactly the opposite! Whenever I show a piece I did to a relative or friend, they always gush “That’s beautiful!”, or – with incredulity – “You MADE that?!?”. Even new visitors to the house say similiar things.

Now, my work is really not good. Maybe, okay. And I’m not being a perfectionist (well, not too much). My eldest daughter lives with us just now, and when I point out to her the flaws in my work she always says “Oh, yeah. Now that’s gonna bug me every time I see it.” Welcome to my world!

It’s hard to get honest input. Still, I’d rather have my problem than uninformed and insensitive criticism.

-- Jim Maher, Illinois

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poopiekat

3563 posts in 2339 days


#11 posted 850 days ago

Thanks, all, for your fine replies! Now I have to get the image of a 300 pounder farting on my face out of my head! @Charlie: it’s here: http://lumberjocks.com/projects/24249
Y’know, it’s not just my own woodworking, but this phenomenon exists everywhere. Like, antique cars at the shows. For a few years I owned a ‘65 Chrysler 300L convertible. Nothing special, it was a ‘survivor’ car, with slightly tattered seats, a small bit of rust, and a few bits and pieces missing. There would be the few Mopar admirers, glad to see someone hanging onto an unusual vehicle, but there also was the endless stream of know-it-alls who for some reason had to tell me why THEIR car was better than mine… as if I cared! They’d look the car over, bring every minute flaw to my attention, tell me that it was supposed to have equipment that it never had, and for some reason these people never brought their exalted Mopar to any show, they were always in the garage waiting for some piece or other….yeah, right. There’s no prizes to be won at these shows usually, and I was glad that there was no competitive spirit to deal with…except for those few who just couldn’t enjoy the sight of an old-car lover bringing his pride and joy to an outing. Really took the joy out of it, a real buzzkill. I’d give them a number to call: #1-843-6572. none were hip enough to see that is the firing order for all Mopar V-8s heehee. Just testing!

Furniture lovingly made and placed in your home with a deep sense of satisfaction gets diminished the same way. Same with Equestrian events, dog shows, amateur sports, and craft shows in general. So what is it that makes people go off their rocker at the sight of other people’s nice things?

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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poopiekat

3563 posts in 2339 days


#12 posted 850 days ago

David Craig: Thanks for your insight! Beener: Oh, babysitting, at first I thought I read ‘pulmonary resuscitation’, ewww!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Jimbo4's profile

Jimbo4

1124 posts in 1368 days


#13 posted 850 days ago

poopiekat: I use to feel rejected, dejected, and confined myself to the group “W “bench whenever someone of the “know it all and better than thou” crowd exercised their attitude of utter ignorance on any subject they claimed to have an IQ above 38. My response to them is, “Go piss up a rope, and if you can do better, prove it !”
I have, as yet, to see anything “they” have accomplished. These are the same individuals who are only adept at critizing others for something they themselves cannot do.

-- BELT SANDER: Used for making rectangular gouges in wood.

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poopiekat

3563 posts in 2339 days


#14 posted 850 days ago

As I ponder further into this subject, there really is a lot of parallels in life. Years ago, I lived about 10 minutes from the ocean in Maine. My obsession for a while was surf-casting for stripers and bluefish. I enjoyed the company of a fishing buddy, but often would spontaneously pack and go by myself, and enjoyed the solitude of it. I could see them coming, these knuckle-head tourists from Massachusetts, getting right in my face with an interrogation list. If I indulged them and answered their dorkus questions, eventually they would start telling me how much better the fishing is in Cape Cod, bigger fish, more of them, etc etc, and what was I doing in Maine where there was no jobs, bad economy, and in general just get in my face. They would escalate their volley until I’d get annoyed, and my expression started to show it.

I’ll admit, I’m an introvert. I once scored off the grid in a Briggs-Meyers test in college. Perhaps I put too much significance in the words that come to my ears, by the disaffected, superficial people who cross my path. But I do take to heart the words spoken to me. I just wish these clueless people would step out of themselves and see how their careless words annoy others.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

3274 posts in 1799 days


#15 posted 850 days ago

Poopiecat:

The best thing to do….don’t invite anyone to your house to give you crap…...it works for me…..

I tell them if they don’t like things around here, don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out….!!!

-- " I started with nothing, and I've still got most of it left".......

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