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?
The problem is when your mind is limited, it’s really hard to be aware of how it’s limited. Because, you know, you’re not even aware. True original thought is so contrary to our ingrained pre-programmed mental pathways that if we actually had one it would bite us in the ass.
Perhaps heart attacks and strokes are merely the symptoms of people who’ve experienced an original thought. Hey, I’ll bet that’s an original thought right there. Ugh. What’s this tingling in my fingers? Oh, pretty rainbow colors. My head hurts.
Oops. Sorry about that. I’m back. Turns out it wasn’t an original thought after all. Just the same old thing that always when I happen to stand up too fast. I’ll try to be more careful so we can get this damn post over and done with.
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I was already full. Case in point: She was toting a box of leftovers but I was not. Mine had been crammed down my gullet. This scenario would soon allow me to put my advanced decision-making skills on display.
We walked into the shop and it was what I like to describe as “Portland cute.” The place was constructed to look post-industrial. This means concrete walls, vaulted ceilings with lots of duct work, lighting fixtures that hang all the way down from the ceiling and, of course, the pièce de résistance of the Portland eatery scene: the fake garage door. Those things are ubiquitous around here, perhaps even on par with the fedora and other trendy chapeaux.
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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?
Sometimes bad things happen to awful people. Sometimes awful things happen to bad people. Which is worse? Which is better? Which is more entertaining? It really comes down to a judgement call. We all see things in our own way. Vive la difference!
Gerbil trama is no laughing matter. Until it happens to people you don’t like. Then it’s popcorn time.
What’s the point of living through extreme circumstances unless it is to gain valuable perspective that will come in handy when the shit rains down on someone else?
This is a story about some awful people I know and some brief exploits of their gerbil. Grab some shredded newspaper and get comfortable. It’s story time.
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If you’re not like me, then what in the name of Zeus’ butthole are you doing here?
Let’s think about this problem mathematically. There are two possible conditions when we consider the question, “Am I insane?” One is insane, the other is not insane. (I guess there is also theoretically partially-insane but for the sake of this discussion let’s leave that out of the mix. For now. Mwuhahahah!)
With those assumptions locked in, let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work.
If one is insane, it logically follows that one will not be able to correctly deduce the state of their own state of insanity, therefore the activity is a complete waste of time.
Whee. This is fun!
Perversely it follows that even if you are sane, you can never be too sure, so you might think you are not. Yet another waste of time.
Thus I conclude that pondering one’s one sanity is probably not the most productive thing one might do.