Friday, February 27, 2009

The Personal Guarantee

I am a little surprised that in almost two years of blogging (our second anniversary is right around the corner!) there is virtually no mention of The Personal Guarantee. The Personal Guarantee (capitalized and italicized here for no particular reason, other than to add some gravitas) is a concept that we came up with probably more than 15 years ago. And by "we" I mean the four contributors to this blog plus winit and Diesel. And I think gettobob might have been in on The Personal Guarantee as well. (btw - gettobob - are you out there? You should be reading and commenting on this blog way more often. Can someone look into this?)

The Personal Guarantee, as the name implies, was and is invoked when the guarantor wants to communicate total certainty to the rest of the group.

Side Bar (to Open Bar): Dude - can you pick me up at the airport next Tuesday? I am totally stuck for a ride.

Open Bar: Sure, no problem.

Side Bar: Listen - you can't forget, ok? I have to be in court on Tuesday afternoon, so I need you to be there on time to get me back to the city. And you are a degenerate lowlife who I can't depend on for anything. I don't even like you that much, let alone trust you. And the only reason I am even asking you is because every car service in the tri-state area is booked that day, and every other friend we have has turned me down.

Open Bar: Dude, I personally guarantee I will pick you up at the airport on Tuesday, and I will be on time.

Side Bar: Oh. Great, thanks.
That's the beauty of The Personal Guarantee. Once issued, it leaves absolutely no doubt whatsoever. And, to maintain its seriousness, it is only used in situations where it is warranted ("I personally guarantee that I will get you a beer when I come back from the kitchen," would be considered a violation of the sanctity and significance of The Personal Guarantee). Because the thing is, once you issue your own personal guarantee, you have to follow through on it.

In the history of The Personal Guarantee there has only been, to my knowledge, one violation. *Someone else can fill in the details here if they can remember them.* I know that Diesel personally guaranteed something, it didn't come to pass, and there was a lengthy trial in my driveway, resulting in his guarantee privileges being revoked for some period of time. He may still be on probation.

The Personal Guarantee has been a useful device for settling debate, and giving reliable assurances on important and quasi-important matters. But it has only stood the test of time because we have all honored the rule that it be used sparingly. When The Personal Guarantee is thrown down, a hush falls over the room, and people take notice (well, we do anyway). Even amidst our many years of drinking and general debauchery, there have been few - if any - instances of casual use of The Personal Guarantee. Its sanctity has been respected by all.

Until today.

Chuck - locked in a bitter dispute with Open Bar regarding the order in which tags appear on the left side of your screen (alpha or numeric, with Chuck advocating forcefully for the latter) - has issued invoked The Personal Guarantee that his name will always appear at the top of the list. In other words, he will post with enough frequency, and include his tag in a sufficient number of posts so as to ensure that no tag has a higher number associated with it than his own.

As I commented earlier, this is an irresponsible use of The Personal Guarantee. Setting aside the obvious risk that Open Bar can just put up like 50 posts some night when you are in bed (he stays up late, you know), take a screen shot, and invalidate your guarantee solely as a matter of spite (and no, he is not above that), there is the distinct possibility that you will have other things to do, and someone will occasionally go in front of you.

I accept the possibility that Chuck fully intended The Personal Guarantee that was issued today to be taken with the level of seriousness that I have described. Perhaps he knows what he has promised, and will stand by it. But this is a dangerous game.

And that is why The Personal Guarantee ought not be used for a promise of such extended duration, nor on such an insignificant matter. It flies in the face of everything that The Personal Guarantee was meant to - and, to this day, does - accomplish. For shame.


The Notorious LJT said...

Well, as long as he keeps it up then there's no problem.

It is a heck of a commitment, though.

Open Bar said...

Taking what SB said a little further:

With Chuck having Personally Guaranteed he will remain at the top, what if one of the rest of us were to Personally Guarantee that before long, he/I would overtake Chuck on the tag list? These would be directly oppositional Personal Guarantees -- an unheard-of proposition! It's the unstoppable force meets the unmovable object.

ChuckJerry said...

I have every intention of staying on top of the list for eternity.

In order for this not to happen, someone would have to make a sudden and spiteful effort to take my name from the top of the list.

Note that the effort would need to be both sudden and spiteful. The only reason I would fall from the top of the list is if someone were to go out of their way to invalidate my personal guarantee. While it is not out of the realm of possibility, I hold all of you in high enough esteem to be confident that it will not happen.

I'm not sure why you say this is an "insignificant matter". Especially after I have personally guaranteed to follow through.

Open Bar said...

Well what if I did go back and tag all my short posts and classic videos? I haven't tallied it up or anything, but I bet it'd be pretty damn close. That wouldn't be spiteful, would it? I mean, you just did the exact same thing, didn't you?

The larger issue, which I think SB laid out fairly clearly, is the casual usage of the P.G. If you can just throw it around willy-nilly like that, then who are you to call anyone else spiteful for calling you on it?

Also, I seem to recall Winit having a blemish -- if not an official suspension -- on his P.G. record. Anyone care to recall those facts?

ChuckJerry said...

This has gotten larger than I suspected. I guess that's what passive aggression gets you. I was under the impression that every post had been tagged by its author except my posts. This issue of other untagged posts is throwing a wrench into my guarantee. It's clear that I made the guarantee without perfect information and have therefore left myseslf vulnerable to invalidation, thus conceivably rendering myself untrustworthy for eternity.

I do not intend to back out on my guarantee, but given this new shit that has come to light (I'm with the Knudsens), I would like to amend it. I'm not clear on the rules for that sort of thing, but this is my plan in an effort at complete transparency.

Given the scenario that no one goes in and retags posts, I will remain at the top of the list forever. Guaranteed.

Given the scenario that Open Bar, the one with a realistic possibility of overtaking me based on existing posts, chooses to retag his posts and, as a result, overtakes me on the list, then I personally guarantee to post with enough frequency that I will again overtake him, within a reasonable amount of time depending on how far ahead he is and with what I assume is the tacit understanding that we shouldn't water down the blog with frivolous posts, and once I do overtake him, to never relinquish the top spot.

That was a very long sentence, but I'm pretty sure it's not a run on.

Anyhow, clearly a ruling is required. Presumably from Side and Notorious. The main sticking point in my view being the fact that I made the guarantee with what I assumed was perfect information, when in fact it was not.

If the ruling is that I should have allowed for the notion that I did not have all the facts when making the guarantee and therefore the amendment is disallowed, then I understand that, and I'll just have to think of something interesting to say between now and when Open goes and retags his posts.

ChuckJerry said...

So, no comments about this?

I'm somewhat unclear at the lack of faith in my guarantee, and in the notion that this is a misuse of the guarantee. The suggestion that I'm taking this lightly is incorrect.

I'm even willing to rescind the amendment, which, according to the lack of commentary, doesn't seem to have been well received.