I’m back in office (or, as I like to call it The Love Den) after a weekend of travel. Maybe I’ll do a travel post. Or maybe, like always, I’ll plan on it and never get it done. Anyway, this is my first post in a few days that wasn’t written by breaking my fingers on a tiny electronic keyboard on an iPad. As such, I’m pretty happy. -Ed.
Are things getting better or worse? My personal theory is that things have always been shitty and it’s a remarkably consistent thing. Were people more “evil” in medieval times or in present day? My guess is that both were about the same. The only difference is that we think things should be better today and when they’re not our brains incorrectly interpret the difference between reality and perception expectations as some kind of disconnect.
Our helpless brains then think things like, “Things are going to hell.” Only they’re not. The more things change the more they remain the same.
I remember when I was a kid. A service dog was something limited to blind and deaf people. These were highly trained animals that were rarely seen in public. And when they were nobody questioned their legitimacy. Why would we? What kind of freaking asshole would you have to be to take advantage of laws for disabled just because you want your pet to tag along when you go shopping or out to eat?
We also used words like “please” and “thank you” and held open doors for other people.
In today’s world an amazing number of us have no such ethical quandaries. We want something ergo the ends justifies the means. Period. The only criteria that must be met is that we want it. And, let’s be honest, that’s a pretty darn low standard to meet.
Park in a disabled parking space? I’ve never done it once in my life. A few months back I fell out of a boat and smashed my ankle on a rock while whitewater rafting. The damn thing still hurts like hell. I could have asked my doctor (if I had one) to fill out the paperwork for a temporary permit. Why the hell would I? I can limp the extra 20-50 feet just fine. What kind of an amazing prick must you be to think you are entitled to take a parking space from someone who really needs it.
I recently spoke with a person who freely admitted to doing it. And why wouldn’t they? In their mind there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. No recognition of ethical boundaries translated into no reticence about freely admitting what they had done. Their brain literally couldn’t comprehend their might be something wrong with such behavior. It would conflict with The Want.
This same person, though, had a major issue about people touching her dog. The dog is high strung and has a lot of anxiety. It doesn’t like to be touched except on its own terms. But when she took the dog out in public, like grower’s markets, strangers would pet the dog without asking and without permission. This was greatly upsetting to her.
Later, she took us to a public park where there were signs posted that said, “No dogs allowed.” It never crossed her mind that her dog shouldn’t be there. Run loose, doggie. Be free!
Her mind was literally incapable of discerning the reality of her beliefs and actions. Under one set of mores people were rude assholes for breaking rules and in the other she saw nothing wrong with her behavior. Both were able to sit comfortably in her brain at the same time and she never noticed anything wrong about it.
When I lived in San Diego I had a daughter who was deathly afraid of dogs. They would make her scream, shiver and become emotionally withdrawn. The fear may not have been realistic or logical but it existed nevertheless. As such, we didn’t take her to public spaces like dog parks. We’d search out public parks where dogs were prohibited. There was one of these near the ocean where we liked to go to fly kites.
There were other dog-friendly places. They even had their own beach. But invariably someone would show up and unload their dogs and let them run free. The dogs would rapidly approach us and the owners would say things like, “Don’t mind Fluffy. He would never hurt anyone.” Well I guess we have your word on that, don’t we? The word of a known criminal. Meanwhile the day was ruined, for us, with my young daughter back at the car and wetting her pants.
Well played. You get your dog area for backup and our space as your primary. You probably didn’t want to go there because there were too many dogs, right?
So are we bigger assholes to each other today or does it only seem that way? We certainly seem more narcissistic and masturbatory. But back then there less rule of law and other things in abundance like slavery, racism, gender oppression, genocide and more. Maybe as a society all we’ve done is redistribute the evil in new and interesting ways? Maybe the amount always must remain constant?
Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-do
I have another puzzle for you
Oompa Loompa doom-pa-da-dee
If you are wise, you’ll listen to me
Who do you blame when your kid is a brat?
Pampered and spoiled like a Siamese cat
Blaming the kids is a lie and a shame
You know exactly who’s to blame
The mother and the father
Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-da
If you’re not spoiled, then you will go far
You will live in happiness too
Like the Oompa Loompa doom-pa-dee-do
(My emphasis added.)
Like I’ve always said, parents are the absolute worst people to have children.
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The waitress approached our table, looked me directly in the eye and said, “Do you need change?”
Wait. What? You don’t even know me! How dare you?
I had to admit, though. She was right. I did need change. A lot of it. I decided to start with a slice of New York cheesecake (is there any other kind?) drizzled with strawberry syrup.
Luckily 2014 was right around the corner and I’d soon have the opportunity to issue false platitudes and reassuring justifications to myself and pretend that I’d try to improve.
Since she was there, I decided to ask her for her assessment and she gave me the following list.
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Transportation increases the odds of accidental fatalities. However, remaining stationary does not reduce the odds to zero.
–Tom B. Taker
In other words, getting from Point A to Point B can be inherently dangerous. Any method of transportation that moves your body through the physical universe increases the chances you’ll take it in the shorts. The moment you begin to move your odds of dying increase. This can take many forms. It may be a flight from Los Angeles to New York City. It might be your morning commute to work in your car. Or it could be as short of a journey as stepping into the bathtub. Or even just getting up out of your chair.
So you might think to yourself, “I’m not moving. I’m going to sit right here and remain safe.”
A nice thought. Except that death may still find you.
For example, you could be on the bed in your very own home when a sinkhole suddenly opens up and you’re just gone. Or, ripped from the headlines just yesterday, you could be standing in your home when the ceiling violently gives way from the impact of a jet aircraft. There are no reports of deaths on the ground in this latest incident, but a young boy did get nicked on his forehead. Come to think of it, the last time I wrote about this theory, I used the example of a jet aircraft engine landing on a house. As always I hate being right.
Being alive can be dangerous.
Maybe it would be a good idea to go for a walk, clear my head and think things over. (Hint: It’s not.)
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I can be naked in front of my cat without being self-conscious. I am secure in how my cat feels about me and I know that there isn’t any judgement or opinion there. Just pure love. And the feeling is mutual.
Then I worry. What if heaven exists? And what if I get there and find that my cat is waiting for me. And what if she can talk and we have fantastic conversations? And what if one day she says, “Hey, dude. You know all those times you undressed in front of me and I meowed? That was cat language for ‘ugly naked.’ We were trying to get you to stop torturing us. True story.”
I don’t think I would like that. Yeah, like I need more things to worry about.
The point is: Can you ever know what someone else is really thinking? And even when they tell you outright they’re still probably lying. It’s what we humans do.
So why should it matter what they think?