September 16, 2014

How to Not Be That Guy


Although I went to Chicago last week to learn about patent prosecution, the most insightful lesson I learned on my trip had nothing to do with intellectual property law: I learned that, whenever possible, one should always strive to not be "that guy."

I learned this valuable lesson from a middle-aged woman in the back row of my workshop.

The thing is, she didn't look like "that guy." And that's the tricky part about those guys: they often don't look a lot different than you or me. In fact, sometimes those guys ARE you or me, and you don't even realize it until it's too late.

Now, I know that you didn't meet this woman in the back row of my patent proseuction workshop but really, you have. Because we all know "those guys." But just in case you're not sure which guys I am talking about, let me explain this woman.

It was the end of the first day of the two day workshop. We had just spent eight hours discussing biotech patent claim drafting, which sounds about as relaxing as it was. Basically, our brains were mush.

Now, I want to give this lady the benefit of the doubt here for her next actions: right after the instructor told us we were free for the day, she thought she better ask, "Do we have any homework?"

Maybe her brain was also mush, but that still is hardly an excuse for her inexplicable actions. Did she learn NOTHING from freshman year General Biology?

And I was not the only one who noticed; I whipped my head around so fast that I was able to catch a few death rays from the other attendees, bouncing off of the poor woman's face. Fortunately however, the instructor did not hear the question and thus we were able to leave homework free.

But it was not before the rest of the class learned that we were in the presence of "that guy."

Now, as a reader of my blog, I know that you are not one of those guys. But just in case lady in the back row somehow stumbles across my site, I thought I better give her some tips on how to avoid being "that guy" in the future. So, lady in the back row, this one's for you: ten ways you can avoid being "that guy."

1. For the love of God, don't ever be the guy who asks if we have homework.

2. Don't be the guy who needs change at a tollbooth.

3. Don't be the guy who doesn't understand how lines work. For example, having your head situated three inches from mine will NOT get you there any faster. Similarly, a line is not to be confused with the interstate; we do not need five seconds space between us and the person in front of us. I don't even know what you're trying to accomplish with that, but I can assure you it won't work.

4. Don't be the guy on the other end of the Comcast Customer Support line.

5. Don't be the guy who posts every single one of your workouts on social media. Not only are you humble bragging, you're making me feel fat.

6. Don't be the guy who shares his political views on Facebook. It makes passively stalking you a lot more annoying.

7. Don't be the guy whose shopping cart is perpendicular to oncoming traffic. How can you possibly think this is an acceptable arrangement?

8. Don't be the guy who talks to a girl while she's working out. Exception: If you are Zac Efron, and the girl is me.

9. Don't be the guy who doesn't get off to let other people get off the subway. If you're standing there, I cannot be walking there. It's just physics.

10. Don't be the guy who reads a blog post and doesn't comment. Uhh... I mean...