Happy Holidays from the Abyss
I recently updated by bio to include “singer” and “songwriter.” My dishonesty is your pain. This is where you pay for tuning in.
Behold, the newest member of the Abyss family. A humble little ditty called “My Christmas Song.” Be advised: You should not listen to this.
Fun fact: I was channeling Burl Ives when I laid down the vocal tracks.
Now please enjoy this, my gift to you. It’s the gift of time in the form of one minute of your life you’ll never get back.
A Tom B. Taker Christmas
There it was. In the mailbox. A legitimate Christmas miracle. It was as if a veil had been lifted from my eyes. Instead of darkness I beheld a world of twinkly light.
It was beautiful! I felt alive. I loved everything I could see. I sprinted out into the street and hugged the garbage man. He was beautiful. He looked really surprised. Maybe I should have worn pants but there was no time for that.
In my hands I held a Christmas card. It was even addressed to me. To me! Someone had sent me a Christmas card. A bona fide recipient of the Ribbon of Participation. I was finally somebody.
“God bless us, every one!” I yelled at the top of my lungs. I’d never felt a stronger sense of belonging.
Yes, it was time for a let down.
Magic: The Blathering
You’ll have to excuse the faltering nature of this post: My Facebook status is currently “Low on Mana.”
You know I like to think the Big Thoughts (har) and these mental excitations decidedly do not lead to good vibrations. In fact, more often than not, they lead to impasse.
Most people, I hear tell, have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other. Not me. I have a miniaturized and hovering Gandalf the Grey and he continually yells, “You shall not impasse!” For some reason, though, that’s not all that helpful.
What sort of big thoughts, you ask, oh helpful reader? Just wee trifling matters. Is climate change real and impacted by human behavior? Do vaccines kill my kids? Should girls be allowed to show a little shoulder in their high school yearbook photos? Will a little non-disclosed GMO kill me? Is it acceptable to harvest organs from poor people? Would raising minimum wage help or hurt the economy? Will we as a society literally swallow petroleum until it kills us? Does being armed to the teeth make society safer or more dangerous? Should politicians and people advertising products have to tell the truth? Does Earth orbit the sun or does the entire universe orbit the Earth? Does trickle-down economics represent the overall best solution for everyone? Why does Hulu Plus have commercials if there’s a monthly fee? Why does a good portion of the people on this planet feel it is acceptable for a 50-year-old man to marry a 12-year-old girl? Does Obamacare make our nation stronger or weaker?
It should be obvious my wee little brain is incapable of grappling with weighty issues like these (and many, many more). What to do? What to do?
Continue reading →
No Good, No Bad
When one is an atheist in small town conservative America, one learns to play things close to the vest. Maybe later, after getting to know someone, the truth may be divulged. But it is known that premature sharing comes with a significant amount of risk. It’s a lovely place where the wrong bumper sticker will get your car keyed.
One company in that small town, named after a biblical location no less, asked about my religious beliefs during a job interview. That was my first clue that the game was afoot.
Later, when applying for another job in that same small town, my due diligence ended up freaking me out. I didn’t particularly get a good feeling from my research and, thanks to the internet, learned the owners of the company were flamboyantly religious. I was on a quest to get out of the frying pan and into the fire, so naturally I didn’t let this slow me down.
Despite shouting his religion for all to see, the man was one of the most unethical business people I’d ever met. And that’s saying a lot. He was no slouch. Yet there he was, up on the high ground, at least in his mind, looking down his nose at everyone else. Compensate much?
When office discourse finally turned to matters of politics and religion, I defiantly let fly with my disclosures. His reaction was one of thoughtfulness and class. “Atheist, eh? I have a question. Why don’t you kill people?”
Although flabbergasted by the audacity, I still think I handled it with style and aplomb, especially considering the source. “You don’t kill people because God forbids it,” I said. “I don’t kill people because I choose not to. It’s my decision.”
Right and wrong. Good and evil. Yin and yang. Night and day. Black and white. Betamax and VHS. DVD and Blue-ray.
But now, after assessing more empirical data, I now think, perhaps, I was a bit hasty. It’s time to bust out with yet another theory. I got a million of ’em.
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That Logic is Gay
Humans tend to get into trouble when failures of logic fail to kill them.
That’s because a logic failure that doesn’t produce death is interpreted by our evolutionary brains as “success.” The more complex the logic the greater the opportunity for a false assumption of a logic win.
That’s all. Let’s explore
our sexualities together a simple example.
“Gay people can’t reproduce.”
That must make managing teh gay very, very easy. Simply cull from the herd anyone missing reproductive organs, right?
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Here’s to bad decisions, tonight is kinda special
An otherwise beautiful young person stood in court handcuffed and wearing an orange jump suit. Tearfully they addressed the court.
“I’m sorry for what I did,” they sobbed. “Fleeing the scene of the accident is the biggest mistake of my life.”
I do not doubt the sincerity. The young person was just sentenced to more than three years in prison. Also a mother, the woman was losing her son. I do, however, doubt the judgment. I doubt the assessment that the decision to run was the mistake. Sadly it was only the tip of a titanic-sized iceberg and wasn’t the first or last lapse of judgement on her part.
Where did things go awry? It was hours before the accident when a totally sober person made the decision to embark on an evening of drink with no thought process to address simple questions like, “How will I get myself home?”
The person who made that decision, although fully conscious, uncompromised and presumably rational, didn’t stop to consider the possibility of fateful events. Such planning didn’t rise to the level of being important. There was fun to be had.
Of course, we all know decision-making skills hit the toilet as soon as strong drink hits the gullet. That’s the way it works. No big surprise there. That’s why it’s prudent to make such important decisions and plans well before the alcohol begins to flow.
The record shows the young person didn’t exercise much care when it came to driving. Her driver’s license had been suspended at least four times since 2009. She had at least 12 convictions on traffic offenses (none DUII related) since 2007. Offenses included speeding, not wearing a seat belt, driving with a suspended license, and use of a cell phone while driving.
Without a plan and legally intoxicated, the decision was made. The young person would operate a motor vehicle while drunk. It would be a fateful night.
Meanwhile, not too far away, a bicyclist had a flat tire. In the dark and on the side of the road, he was then hit from behind by the drunk driver. He was sent to the hospital ICU unit. He suffered several broken bones, including both legs, a ruptured spleen and other minor injuries.
The driver did not stop. She did not render assistance to her victim. Her alcohol-addled brain deduced (rightfully so) that she’d get in trouble. It was her choice to flee. Apparently what she was unable to deduce was that her very best option at that moment was to do the right thing. And that was something her hobbled mind was unable to fathom.
It didn’t end there, though.
Later, once she was sober and presumably had her normal decision-making abilities restored, her next move was to take her car to a body shop in a calculated attempt to conceal what she had done. Luckily someone tipped off police and, finally, once she was left with no other recourse, she made a decision to take responsibility and turn herself in. It was a long time coming and had little meaning by then.
Once again, I conclude things like this come down to a lack of empathy and an inability to reason consequences for our own actions. Young people, it seems to me, are especially prone to this of late. The news reports are rife with hit-and-run cases. It almost feels like hit-and-run is now standard procedure rather than an aberration.
In this case, in addition to jail, the judge also suspended her driver’s license for five years. That feels woefully insignificant to me. Without significant consequences, behavior will not change. She should have lost her driving privileges for life. Not merely because she drove drunk but because of all the choices she made.
Prison isn’t exactly known as a system that churns out improved persons. So, apparently, our future has the possibility of this woman back behind the wheel. I do not like the thought of that.