Monday Night Punchiness

It feels like we’ve reached a critical point in this country.  Sure, people were less open-minded fifty years ago, but people were also less self-righteous, and less likely to complain EVERY single time some little thing happened that didn’t go their way.  In the push for “acceptance” for everyone, many people have taken it to mean, It’s now acceptable for me to be an asshole.

Obviously, I agree with tolerance/acceptance for everyone, regardless of religion, sexual orientation, race, gender, etc (assuming it is not harming someone innocent.  Like, I’m totally against dirty old polygamists and virgin sacrifices, or whatever…)

But unfortunately, this has paved the way for any asshole who feels like turning a mild inconvenience into something personally “offensive.”  Take for example, the case of the Max Begley and his mother.  What on earth could possess an adult  in their right mind to send hate-mail to the mother of an autistic child because they found the noise the child makes to be a “nuisance?”  Granted, this particular case occurred not in the US, but in Canada.  However, this type of behavior seems particularly rampant in our country too (US).  It seems like trying to spin any given situation by basically pitching a fit or making a scene in the preferred method of selfish, self-righteous people for getting their way, on even the most trivial of matters.  Complain.  Complain louder.  No one is allowed to give rude or selfish people a perhaps much needed punch in the mouth; if they did, they’d get sued.  Everyone pretends to be so goddamn sensitive…as an excuse to be a dick.

I know it’s a juxtaposition of my usual mostly liberal character to say this but…

Sometimes I miss the good ol’ days…

"...Da fuck you say?"

“…Da fuck you say?”

[insert Batman sound effect]

[insert Batman sound effect] BLAM!

related articles:

https://alienredqueen.wordpress.com/2012/06/14/when-the-interwebz-attacks/

 

http://www.thestar.com/life/2013/08/31/the_law_of_good_manners_you_cant_legislate_decency.html

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Things Not To Say to A Grieving Person (Me, At Least)

Obviously, when it comes to death, everyone handles it differently.  Though the stages of grief may be similar, every person’s individual experience with grief is unique.  Differerent people find comfort in different things.

Death can be a touchy subject for many, myself included, and that means finding the right thing to say to a grieving person can be hard.  In the wake of losing another acquaintence from high school, I have been reflecting once again on society, people, and the role of social media in the grieving process.  Many people are clueless when it comes to tact, even in their everyday life, but especially in times of other people’s sorrow. Often, even well meaning people unwittingly say the wrong things.

My personal policy is ‘when in doubt, keep your mouth shut.’

Unfortunately, a lot of these people don’t have any doubts about the stupid things that may come out of their mouths.

As I said before, everyone finds comfort in different things, so to say that all grieving people would be annoyed or insulted by these things would be presumptuous of me.  But I will say, when I’m grieving, I do sometimes want to smack people who say certain things.

So here are a few things I try to make it a point not to say to someone who has lost someone else.

1) Who died? – Especially with the emergence of social media sites and “smart phones”, people seem to have forgotten some very basic manners.  If you must look in on your friends’ grief when they post about losing someone, there are waaaay more tactful ways to ask about their loss then “who died?” (Yes, I actually saw someone say this, this morning.)

2) They’re in a better place-  Oh, really?  That’s nice.  Personally, I prefer being above ground to below ground.  Oh, you meant Heaven?  Well, that’s sweet of you to say.  Really a nice thought… except, I’m an atheist, so…yeah, that doesn’t comfort me a bit.

3) At least they’re not suffering- Yeah, you may be right.   Maybe their long battle with cancer is over, or they no longer have to fight their addiction…  Or maybe they were just out with friends last week, having a grand old time, smiling and laughing, enjoying their life until it ended, perhaps suddenly and unexpectedly.  You know… not suffering.  

4) She/He’s lived a good long life-  Yup.  In fact, their life was maybe so awesome and good that they (and the people who loved them) will probably miss them like crazy, and wouldn’t have minded them sticking around for a bit longer.

5) Heaven has another angel- Um… like I said…atheist.  But even if I wasn’t, humans don’t become angels when they die, do they?  I thought angels were created by God before humans ever existed.  Maybe I’m being ungracious, and people are just saying things like this to find comfort in what is likely a very confused and upsetting time. But, again, to me at least, these types of sentiments ring a little false.  They offer me no comfort, and in some cases, not a little bit of annoyance.

6) The good die young- Yep.  But, then again, so do pimps, drug dealers, and, often, rock stars.  Chances are, the deceased was none of the above.  We all have light and dark.  The fact that there seems to be no rhyme or reason to who lives and who dies is part of what makes death so hard to accept.  And please, don’t say

7) It was part of God’s plan

Not to me, anyway.  I might not be able to restrain myself from smacking you and then telling you it was in God’s plan.

I have also heard some people say that they hate it when people say “If you need to talk…”

I personally don’t think that would bother me, unless the person saying it never seemed to notice my existence before my grief.  Some people just thrive on other people’s drama.  And maybe grieving people get tired of talking.  If you feel you must say something else, asking your grieving friend or relative “what can I do (for you/ to help)?” may be reasonably safe, and then leave them the option of what telling you what it is specfically they need (and it may not be someone to talk to…)

Basically, unless your grieving friend opens one of these avenues of conversation (for example: indicating they believe in Heaven, or mentioning that they are glad their loved one’s suffering is done) the best bet when addressing someone who is in mourning is to just say, “I’m sorry” and not much else.

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                              In Memory Of Greg Knapstein (1981-2013)

The Senile Stalker Strikes Again!

So, just recently I regaled you all with tales of my senile stalker.  Strangely enough, a small (eensy, weensy, teeny) part of me feels a little bad for talking smack about him on my blog and with my neighbor and whatnot.

And then he goes and pulls some shit like he did tonight and I practically can’t help myself from venting  writing about it.

As I may have mentioned before in my other article, he got basically told off by the maintenance man for bothering the ladies around the apartment complex and just generally being a creeper.  Following that incident, there was a small period of reprieve where he was pissed at me I guess because he assumed I had set the Maintenance man on him (which would indicate that despite his dementia, he is at least marginally aware that I’m getting tired of his bullshit.)

Who knows?  Whatever.  Anyway, in that time period, the only person he felt at ease bothering was my middle aged neighbor (we’ll call her Marie, for anonymity’s sake.)  He’s been “setting up camp” there more and more, asking telling her when he needs her to drive him places (he’s a menace behind the wheel,) and “hanging out” in her living room, waiting for me to show up to visit her or bum a cigarette.  I avoid visiting her when I know he’s there, or else I’m in and out as quickly as possible, usually sachaying sideways out the door so he can’t stare at my ass.

Earlier today Marie gave me a small bag of flat breads she had gotten at the store, as she had gotten two and would not be able to use both before they were outdated.  So this evening, I tried out an idea I had for basically turning them into giant cinnamon toast rounds.  As I often do when I cook a new dish, I took some over to her.

The old man was sitting in his usual spot in the love sofa.  I went in with the plate of food and asked her for a smoke.   She was out of her store-bought cigs but offered to roll us some.  I didn’t feel like waiting and being under the Old Fart’s scrutiny the whole time, while he lamely attempted to engage me in conversation.  So I handed Marie the plate and said, “I just wanted to bring you this,” and I left.  She knows I avoid being around him, so I know she isn’t insulted and usually understands when I need to cut short a visit or make a quick getaway.

As I walked back in my apartment, hubs was getting ready to go out to smoke.  It was still nice out so I put the baby’s shoes on and took her outside too.

Not five minutes later, Marie came out the door with her smokes in hand.  At first I just assumed she had heard us outside and came out to talk and give me a smoke because I had left her apartment without one.

She proceeded to tell me that when she went into the kitchen to get her tobacco to roll the smokes, the Old Man picks up the half a cinnamon flat bread on the plate that I had given her and proceeds to help himself to two bites.

She said after that she just walked out the front door, and she tells me all of this, I realize she’s really pissed off, so pissed off in fact, that tears are standing in her eyes…which of course pisses me off even more.  She just didn’t even know what to say to him.  She was pissed, but also feels badly for him because he is old and sick, so she’s probably more tolerant of him than she should be, considering that in his twisted mind, tolerance is almost like tacit permission.  This is a man who seems to think that me returning a wave to him to be polite is indicative of the fact that we might have a romantic future.

I mentioned (more to make her feel better than anything) that she should just cut off the part he ate and the rest would be fine, and she said “He picked it up with both hands.”  Now depending on how germ phobic you are, this may or may not seem like a huge deal… unless you’ve seen him carrying around his ratty, crumpled tissue and repeatedly dabbing at his nose, or worse, seen him sitting in Marie’s apartment mining for nose gold and flicking his findings out into the air.

I even offered to go into her apartment and “take care” of the situation for her and get rid of his rude, imposing ass.  Believe me, I would have let him have it.  But I think maybe he actually had his hearing aid in tonight and heard the three of us outside talking shit, because he came outside a few minutes later…  but not before helping himself to some of the cornbread that was in her kitchen.

~Sigh~  I told her that she can’t keep letting him get away with that behavior.  In fact, I think sometimes he does certain things to see just how much he can get away with.  I understand he’s ill, and maybe not playing with a full deck, but there comes a time to draw the line.   How long do we allow his behavior to make us uncomfortable because “he’s sick?”

One thing is for certain; my tolerance for his passive-aggressive tendencies, his manipulations, his advances, and his bad manners are about down to zilch now.

STFU- Violence and Taking Responsibility

We are living in a world I almost don’t recognize.  Or maybe I just wish I didn’t recognize it.  We live in a world where parents can murder their own children and then lie about it while a whole country looks on.  We live in a world where a man can murder his pregnant wife, and where kids go to school and shoot up the place, with reasonable expectations, or even plans, of dying.  A place where people do drugs they know could lead them to acts of cannibalism and violence and kids feed firecrackers to dogs.

And if everybody whines enough- about their jobs, their parents, society- there’s even a chance of getting away with these horrible crimes.  Or being paid money.

All of us “normal” people are clamoring for an explanation, an end to the violence.  So, after quite a few conversations in this vein, I have decided to blog my ideas on the topic.  Now let me start with a disclaimer:

The following is my opinion and is based on all my education, experience, discussions, and observations.  While I do have a BS in Psychology and Sociology, I am by no means an expert.  Nor is my opinion rooted in theology. I’m not going to tell you everything would be “fixed” if we put God back into the schools.  The problem facing America (and many other industrialized nations) is complex, therefore the answer will also be complex.  For each act of violence there may often be “mitigating” circumstances.  Sociological causes (basically, how society influences the behavior of individuals) and psychological causes have been suggested.

I was abused as a child so I … [blah blah blah]

or It’s because we are so poor that I had to [blah blah blah]

I’m not even going to say these things aren’t sometimes factors.  However, I think there is way more flagrant violence than can be accounted for legitimately with these excuses.

And I can’t tell you how it burns me up, every time some school kid goes on a rampage and then it comes out “he listened to heavy metal,” or “he played violent video games.”

So let me tell you what I think a BIG part of the problem is…

Lack of accountability.   Yup.  That’s it.  Every time a parent sues someone over some little transgression, they are teaching their children that if you don’t get your way, you can basically bully someone into doing what you want.  Really, what are frivolous lawsuits but attempts to legally bully someone?

And any time a kid shoots at someone or kills his parents or a sibling, there’s a whole league of people waiting hand the kid his excuses on a silver platter.  I feel like this kid who took a shotgun to Perry Hall High is a perfect example.  He has seen on television how he can walk into a school and shoot it up, make whatever inane point by doing so, and then escape facing any consequences by killing himself or having the cops kill him.  I’m not saying TV is at fault.  I’m saying he has learned that he can “make a statement” dramatically because others have done it before him and there have been no real consequences.  After all, what consequences can you expect if you’re dead?  But the whole point is that people have been led to believe that they are entitled somehow.  I am all for equality and compassion and tolerance of others, but the country has gone so far down the Politically Correct road, that now everybody feels like they are owed something, and every time someone wins a lawsuit over some dumb shit, it reinforces the idea of non-culpability and entitlement.  

Every time a burglar gets bit by his victim’s dog or cuts himself on his victim’s kitchen knife and then wins a lawsuit about it, our own legal system is enforcing the idea that you can not only escape responsibility for your actions, but actually profit from them.

Casey Anthony is another example (barf.)  This bitch led a whole nation on an emotional hunt for a child she already KNEW was dead.  At this point, let’s even assume she didn’t intentionally kill the baby.  She willfully covered it up and lied repeatedly about it.  And really, she’s basically gotten away with it, with a slap on the wrist, a butt-load of attention (which I’m sure she loved in all her sophomoric twisted-ness), and probably an even bigger butt-load of offers for made-for-tv movies and interviews and whatever.  It’s sick.

How about the newest thing, bath salts?  After several documented cases of cannibal-like behavior resulting from the use of bath salts, this asshole  is deemed “not competent” to stand trial for being found in his bedroom with a dead pygmy goat.  A pygmy goat he stole, allegedly raped, and then butchered.  Well, by all means, let’s cart him off to a mental facility for 6 months, let him out, and then when he does the same thing to a human victim, maybe THEN he’ll be competent to stand trial.

My bad. I thought if you willingly ingested mind-altering substances, you were held responsible for any illegal actions you might commit while on said substances…

So, basically, he was crazy before he ever took the drugs?  Oh, well than that’s different.  Next time, just don’t let him out without his leash and everything will be fine.

And please can we just stop with the over-simplistic and ignorant answers to the problem?  It’s not Marilyn Manson or violent video games and movies.  I am a 31 year old mother and a wife and I have listened to metal, watched horror movies with a passion, and played video games since…forever.  I’d not stomp a spider, let alone kill a person in cold blood.  By the time a child gets to the appropriate age for such games and films, he/she should be old enough to know right from wrong and real from imaginary…and if the kid is still young and still learning these delicate worldly ideas, then maybe the parents should be held responsible for allowing said child access to media that is too mature (violent) for them in the first place.

It’s not lack of God in the schools.  Thanks; I’m not religious, yet my code of ethics and my level of tolerance is undoubtedly stronger than many so-called religious people.  God hates fags?  Really?  Did he tell you that himself?  Didn’t he also say “judge not…”?  Last time I checked, God doesn’t preach hate.  

(And here’s a real mind-fuck… How many church “people” have you heard of who disparage the violence and sexuality in today’s music and TV?  Okay, now, how many church officials have you heard of who have been caught molesting children? My point here is not necessarily to disparage religion, but to point out that there are many good people who are not religious, and many religious people who are not necessarily good.   Also, as indicative of the above passage, a lot of people hide behind religion as a way to justify hate.)

It’s not our DNA or our “killer” instinct…  And even if it was, the whole idea behind being human is that we have higher thought processes, and here’s a novel idea– the ability to exert self-control and make conscious decisions.

I’m not saying my theory holds the key to the ultimate solution.  The things that drive people to violence are varied and often complex.  Violence could never be completely eradicated.  But we can start by adopting a lower tolerance to it.  This starts at home, and it’s up to the legal system to enforce the idea of consequences and accountability out in the “real world.”  Let’s not forget that the rules appear to be different for folks with fame/and or money.  Kids see their pop culture icons getting away with all sorts of crap.   The little girls who used to be in the Mickey Mouse club are crashing into people with their cars while they’re drunk and yet some people are worried about a video games corrupting kids?

Get your head on straight, people.

And this may sound counterproductive in combating violence in society…but have you ever met teen that was so obnoxious you couldn’t help but think maybe their parents should have smacked them around more during their formative years?  I know I have.

For instance, if I ever saw MY kid run into a pregnant lady and then give her lip when she said something about it, I’d cuff ’em right in the ear (this happened to me at the public pool when I was pregnant.)  The other day I saw a lady (and I use the term loosely) allowing her dog to shit in a common public area.  When I asked her if she planned to pick it up (she had no bag or anything with her) she gave me a raft of shit (no pun intended.)  How hard is it to understand that I don’t need my small child trampling through your dog’s mess?  Is it untoward for me to request she pick up after the nasty little beast?  This woman, this huge she-beast who lives with her adult daughter on HUD assistance had the nerve to tell me I needed to get a job!  All because I called her out on something she knew was wrong in the first place.

Apparently, as there are no consequences for being an asshole (you’d get sued for knocking the teeth out of someone being disrespectful to you now,) people feel free to throw courtesy right out the window.

Seriously, ignorance aside (even though it drives me absolutely batshit,) I fear for my child in this world.  It makes me want to move my family to some isolated mountain in Montana or something.

Anyway, sorry if I sound preachy.  This stuff really irks the piss out of me, and I pretty much feel helpless to do anything to change the majority of it.  I can teach my kids solid values and responsibility, but there’s no way for me to force the rest of the world to act like civilized human beings.  I just have to arm my kid with knowledge and then hope for the best.  And that scares the crap out of me.

English: McDonalds' sign in Harlem.

By the way, while we’re talking about “responsibility,” it’s not McDonald’s fault that you’re fat.