bad TV, complaints, politics

I fell down a rabbit hole yesterday…

After a short training session with Noizy the wonder dog, I decided I wanted to relax with a little TV. I pay for Netflix every month, but I don’t watch it very often. I decided to see if there was anything on there I wanted to see. I think I did see a show about a month ago– it was British and kind of contrived, but entertaining in a pseudo American kind of way (however, I no longer remember the name of said show)…

I decided to try again with another show, called Doctor Foster (2015 and 2017). This show, which so far has had two series, is kind of loosely based on the Greek myth, Medea. It’s about a female doctor named Gemma Foster who suspects that her husband, Simon, is having an affair. What aroused her suspicions? A blonde hair on his scarf. Next thing you know, Gemma is losing her shit.

A patient comes to her complaining of not being able to sleep. Gemma doesn’t want to give her sleeping pills. But she soon realizes that she can trade the pills for a spy. She recruits the patient to spy on her husband. Sure enough, he’s fucking someone else… his business partner’s daughter, who is about 22 years old to Gemma’s 37.

I guess I’m an old fart according to the people who wrote this show… and Bill is regularly fucking other people.

I should mention that Gemma (played by Suranne Jones) is smoking hot. She’s tall, well-built, and dark, with brooding eyes and a willowy, fit figure. More than once, the men on the show mention how “hot” she is, “for her age”… Wow. But still, despite being a well-paid doctor who is smoking hot and the mother of Simon’s son, Tom, Gemma isn’t enough for her randy husband. Apparently, men are completely incapable of being faithful. Seriously, they literally say this in the show.

Anyway, Simon’s lover, name of Kate, is pregnant. Guess who breaks the news to her? Gemma… who has somehow managed to finagle a doctor switch, quickly figuring out that the guilty blonde is the pretty girl sitting in the waiting room. She has Kate take off her trousers and top, remarks on how “fit” Kate is, and draws blood and urine.

Now… all of this is a bit contrived for my liking, but I have to admit, it’s kind of addictive viewing. I like British TV because it’s about as trashy as a lot of American TV; I can understand what is being said; and the humor is often witty. But this series, which won awards, is pretty far-fetched and ridiculous. I still binge watched the whole first season yesterday and have seen a couple of the episodes of season 2 today. It beats reading the news and the comments, which apparently I “kill” myself over, according to a regular reader.

The other alternative, besides playing Sims 4, practicing guitar, working on my latest jigsaw puzzle, or writing fiction, is trying to read my latest book. For some reason, I usually fall asleep when I read, even when the subject matter is interesting. I didn’t used to do this. I think it’s partly because I don’t sleep through the night thanks to Bill’s early wake ups and because Germany is entering the cold, dark time of year that makes me want to hibernate. The book I’m reading is about hellish doctors during the Nazi era. It’s very interesting, well-written, and personal, since it comes from a woman who was a court reporter during the Nuremberg Trials. But I get through a few pages and drift off.

I am glad we have the new dog, though. He gives me a reason to go outside and work with him. He’s making strides. A few days ago, he was absolutely terrified of the leash, to the point of submissive peeing on himself just by seeing it. Today, I put it on him and brushed him thoroughly. I could tell he enjoyed the brushing, even if he didn’t like the leash. I think he likes the attention, and the brushing probably feels good to him. I’m sure it scratches the itches, so to speak. He needs to be brushed, though, because he’s shedding a lot and we’re not quite ready to try a bath.

I also got him to take some roast beef from my hand. This dog isn’t very food oriented at all, but he has learned that beef and pork are tasty. He wouldn’t take the treats on the leash, but happily enjoyed them after we were finished with our session. And he also sit twice on command, without my having to touch him. After two times, he was too overwhelmed to continue. But… this was another big leap. I put the leash on the outside table with the brush and shedding blade and I saw him sniff it. I hope that means he’s realizing the leash isn’t to punish him. Maybe soon, he will see the leash as a great thing, as Arran does. I look forward to taking them both on a walk.

And finally, this morning, I watched this video about Kanye West’s ridiculous presidential campaign. The man has clearly lost his marbles and needs to get back on his meds.

Hard to believe, the election is so soon… any way it goes, it’s going to be a weird aftermath.

The mask crusaders continue on, trying to shame people into wearing masks. I really think it was a mistake to promote the idea that masks only protect other people. Even if that’s technically true, I think they should have been promoted more as a self-protective measure. I think people are more likely to cooperate if they think they’re doing something that is in their own self-interest.

Americans, by and large, are pretty selfish people. We’re big on individualism, personal freedoms, and pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps. We don’t want to be told what to do or lectured, even if mask wearing makes sense. I see so many people fighting with others about the stupid masks. Frankly, I think that’s a waste of time. Getting on a moral high horse doesn’t inspire cooperation, even if what you’re saying is “right”. Unfortunately, it’s going to take people getting very sick and scared before everyone is on the bandwagon.

As for me, I continue to stay home most of the time. I’m sure I’m not alone. When you stay home and watch bad TV, you don’t need a mask, nor do you hear a bunch of carping from other people. I’m sure that staying home isn’t what is best for the economy, but it is what is best for one’s health. Because even if you wear a mask, you can still get sick. Mask wearing just helps slow down the spread of the virus and keeps the hospitals from getting overwhelmed. On the other hand, I might wind up with other health problems from staying home.

This has definitely been a very ODD year. It’s going to be one of those years that changes everything, kind of like 9/11 did. I hope 2021 isn’t worse. I definitely relate to today’s featured photo. According to Ancestry.com, I come by that relation honestly.

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complaints, condescending twatbags, modern problems, musings

This blog SUCKS.

Years ago, I used to listen to a lot of comedian George Carlin’s old comedy albums on cassette tapes. I can’t remember exactly where I bought them. I think I might have bought the first one at Ames, a discount department store that had an outlet near my home in Gloucester, Virginia. I remember I paid about $7 for it, and thought that was a lot of money. I kept buying George’s albums, though, because he was a genius, and because I related so much to his routines.

As he got older, I liked Carlin’s comedy somewhat less. He often seemed angry and disgruntled. His humor seemed fueled more by dysthymia than goofy observations, and the really bitter routines he was doing, say circa 2006 or so, just weren’t appealing to me. I would feel depressed after listening to them. I do remember liking the very last album he did. On that one, he seemed kind of like a funny grandpa. But I specifically remember disliking his album, Life Is Worth Losing. It just seemed very negative. I wondered if George was feeling alright, but I didn’t feel compelled to criticize him for his material. Some people liked it a lot. I just wasn’t one of them at that time.

Wow… this is weirdly relevant today. I’m glad George missed out on COVID-19 and Trump as president.

One thing I have noticed about a lot of “funny or entertaining people” is that under the surface, they often suffer from depression and anxiety. They have learned to be funny to mask how they really feel through humor. A lot of comedians suffer from alcoholism, addiction, and other mental health problems. They make sharp and witty observations about the world that make other people laugh. But underneath that humor often lurks someone who also badly needs a laugh. Sometimes that need comes out in the form of negativity, passive aggression, or mean-spiritedness.

When I was 16, my mom and I saw the Tom Hanks and Sally Field film, Punchline. Field and Hanks were two aspiring comedians. Hanks was a seasoned performer who almost always killed ’em at his shows. Field was a bright-eyed newcomer who had a knack for being funny, but not the skill. One of the most memorable scenes from that film is in the below clip, in which Hanks’ character suffers a meltdown on stage. The audience gets to see the other side of the comedian… the masked sad side, that doesn’t come out very often. In the heartbreaking scene below, the comedian “dies” on stage. He sucks. But he really only sucks for that performance. On other days, he kills. Hanks shows the humanity behind performance artists, who so many times are people who have been through a lot, yet aren’t allowed to show it.

Punchline… this was a good film. It was the first one I ever saw in a theater that was rated R. I was 16 years old. A lot of funny people are sad and angry deep down inside.

I can think of two comedians from some time ago who killed themselves. One was Richard Jeni, who was absolutely hilarious. He shot himself in the face in 2007.

One of his most memorable routines. He died too young.

Another was Ray Combs, who was best known as the host of Family Feud. Before he was a game show host, Ray Combs was a funny man. He used to warm up crowds and was so popular that he was recruited to take over Family Feud from Richard Dawson. But underneath that funny exterior was a man who was tormented by demons. It got so bad that he had to be hospitalized and, in fact, he died in the hospital by his own hand.

He kind of lets the mask slip on this 1994 episode, his last as the host of Family Feud. On “Fast Money”, Combs says “I thought I was a loser until you walked up here.” Ouch.

Even non-famous funny people often hide depression with jokes. When Bill and I first got married, he worked with a colonel at the Pentagon who was absolutely hilarious at parties. He would tell jokes and stories and make witty observations. But then, if you got him alone, you’d realize that he was actually a pretty grumpy person. He’d snap at people or make rude comments. I strongly suspected he might be depressed, because if you listened carefully to what he said, he was actually quite miserable, even if he was also funny.

Those who know me offline know I have my funny moments, too. I laugh a lot and I’ve been told I have a great sense of humor. In the 1990s, I had a boss who told me that I was one of the “happiest” people he’d ever met. But the irony was, I had just been diagnosed with depression. Inside, I felt really yucky, even if I was cracking jokes and being snarky. It’s more socially acceptable to be funny and sharp witted than depressed.

Which brings me to the title of today’s blog post. Every once in awhile, I get comments from people who presume to tell me what I should or should not be writing about on my blog. Last night, I got one such comment from a regular reader who has a habit of being critical. To be honest, I’m not sure what draws her to my blog. I’m not sure what draws anyone to my blog, since it so obviously sucks. It’s basically an open diary of things I think about. But this person comes back repeatedly and, more often than not, has criticisms for me. She’s not the only one, although she’s definitely the most persistent.

The Internet has more than two knobs on it… but you can still change the station if something isn’t appealing.

Some people seem to think I want or need constructive criticism on my blog. A couple of years ago, I got a very rude comment from a different woman who told me I needed to “let things go” regarding my husband’s ex wife because she thinks I come off “bitter and petty”. Wow. What the fuck was she doing reading my blog if I came off that way and she was irritated enough to tell me? Just “change the station”. Move on to the next Web site, and leave me alone. To her credit, I think she did just that, because I pretty much let her have it, as did several commenters. She never commented again, and believe me, I don’t miss her.

I don’t get paid to write this blog. I write it for myself, mostly. If other people want to read it, that’s fine. But I don’t write it for you… I write for me. And if I want to write about TMI subjects, I have the right to. If I want to write about annoying exchanges on Facebook, I have the right to. If I want to complain or be negative or snarky… that’s my right. You have the right to keep scrolling if what I write isn’t appealing to you. I know that not everyone is going to like me or what I do. Fortunately, there’s plenty of other stuff on the Internet to read.

I could add to this list.

It wouldn’t be possible for me to know what every reader wants to read, even if I were that eager to please everyone who happens to stop by here. If the truth be told, I am feeling a bit depressed and angry lately. Like everyone else, my world has been altered a lot in 2020. I don’t have it nearly as bad as some people do, but like everyone else, I’m feeling overwhelmed by the changes of the past few months. It’s frustrating to see people on the Internet who refuse to notice what is right in front of them and cheerlead for people like Donald Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the rest of the right winged nutjobs who are taking our country back to the Dark Ages. I know I’m not alone in my frustration. Yesterday, I wrote about one trolling session I had with a guy named Justin. Believe me, I scrolled past plenty of others without engaging. But I chose to respond to Justin. Then, because I thought the exchange was funny, I decided to write about it.

From that post, someone decided that I “kill myself” over comments. Lady, that’s definitely not true, but even if it were, I don’t understand why it’s your concern. It’s my space. It’s my blog. You are here as a guest. If you don’t like what I write, please go somewhere else. And please stop trying to read my mind. It’s beyond offensive, and it’s making me consider turning off comments and/or going private.

Lots of people don’t like me. That’s the story of my life. Lots of people think my blog sucks. Plenty of people have advised me to “let things go”, which frankly, I think is an extremely shitty thing to say to someone. What right do you have to discount or invalidate other people’s thoughts and feelings, especially on THEIR space? You have the freedom of choice, especially if you’re American. If you don’t like my stuff, simply choose another Web site and leave me the fuck alone.

As I wrote in 2018:

I have two other blogs that are generally positive most of the time.  If you truly want to see a generally more positive, less TMI version of my writing, you’re welcome to check out my music blog or my travel blog.  You can easily find them.  But no one is forcing you to read this blog, and frankly, it matters not a whit to me that you think I’m “snotty, petty, and bitter.”  I don’t even know you, and won’t know the difference if you think I’m a bitch.  The fact is, I know the truth about who I am and so do the people who love and care about me… and there are still a few out there who think I’m alright.  So, thanks for the “constructive” criticism, but really… no thanks.

The above still applies today. If you don’t like my style, there’s the door.

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complaints

No, I’m not hiring.

When you write a blog, it’s only a matter of time before your site gets noticed by spammers. Sometimes the pitches are infuriating. Sometimes, they’re laughably ridiculous. All the time, they indicate pathetic desperation and a lack of situational awareness.

A few days ago, I got an insulting comment from a guy who purports to be a business communications specialist. This guy, “Richard M. Miles” has a Web site and appears to be hoping people will hire him to help them write content. Mr. Miles is on Linked In, too, and is apparently American, which makes him somewhat of an oddity in the spamming world. He includes his CV on his Web site, along with the invitation to contact him.

In fairness to Miles, he was commenting on a post I wrote last month about how layouts aren’t my forte. I was asking regular blog readers if they thought I should change my template again, along with suggestions for what would work best. I suppose he could make the case that I “asked” for advice. However, I was asking for layout design tips, not writing tips. His comment was that my post was “faaaar too long and wordy”.

Really? This is how you aim to drum up business?

Based on this one patronizing comment from Mr. Miles, I can ascertain that he didn’t read more than that one post, which actually wasn’t that wordy compared to most of my stuff. If he had read more than that one post, he would know that this is a personal blog. That means the posts come from ME, and are in MY voice. My blog is not meant to be “professionally” written, and certainly not edited by someone who leaves comments like the one he left for me. He doesn’t have a clue about me, or the people who regularly read this blog; nor does he know my purpose for writing it.

Brevity is a great thing if you’re writing for business. Time is money. But this blog is not about making money. If I was writing a blog for a business and was short on time, maybe I’d be more interested in what he’s selling. But this blog doesn’t get that much traffic, and even if it did, it’s not a money generator.

I blog because I enjoy it, so I’m not looking for any help with my writing. Maybe my posts are too wordy, TMI, and long for some tastes, but I still have people who visit regularly and some who even seem to enjoy my stuff. Those who don’t enjoy my writing can simply move on to their next station on the Web.

I think Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez could serve as my role model better than Richard M. Miles can.

I was going to forget about my run in with Mr. Miles, but then I got a laughable pitch from someone named Lylah. Lylah claims to be from El Salvador, but according to Statcounter, she’s really from China. She wants to help me write my travel blog, but take a look at her comment and notice how poorly written it is. Even if I wanted to pay someone for content or even just have them write a “guest post” for free, I would never post what she’s offering. Besides, she appears to be selling spamming services more than anything else.

Sorry Lylah, but your writing, at least in English, sucks. I have never written anything entitled “Sursee”. Also, I am not a “Sir”, as clearly indicated by the title of my blog.

I know it’s silly to complain about these posts. Spammers are gonna spam, and there must be some level of success in their efforts, since they keep doing it. However, Mr. Miles’ post wasn’t in the spam section. He apparently has a WordPress handle, which I have now blocked. I had a good laugh at his comment and wondered what his motivation was for leaving it. Did he think it was helpful? Did he think it was welcome? I might have been more inclined to consider his advice if we’d previously connected somehow. If he’d read a few posts before leaving his comment, I might have been more impressed with his “tip”. I might have even taken it to heart instead of just scratching my head.

What Miles did was akin to the guy who leaves Chinese take out menus in your mailbox when you have a “no advertising” sign on it. Or someone who butts into a conversation about politics with an unrelated topic, say, about oral hygiene. Or someone who tries to sell pork and shellfish to Jewish people. I really am puzzled, and wonder if this is the way he successfully generates business. His resume makes it look like he’s been hired a few times, but this method of introducing himself and getting his CV out to the masses is strange to me. He did get me to look at his CV, but not for the “right” reasons.

Anyway… I guess it’s a good thing I don’t do this blogging shit for money.

Arran woke us up at about 3:00am, so I am unusually sleepy this morning. He had a touch of indigestion and threw up foam all over a blanket. I’m now washing all the sheets, which I had planned to do anyway. Laundry takes forever over here, though. My machine has a short cycle, but I don’t use it for the sheets, despite being “filthy” and a terrible housewife. I am tired, though, and it’s kind of cloudy outside. I’ll probably end up taking a nap as I wade through yet another book about Trump’s horrendous character.

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complaints, condescending twatbags, rants

It’s just… like… my opinion, man…

I was a bit irritable yesterday. It started as I cracked open my eyes for the first time and read a post in the Duggar Family News group. Someone had posted a screenshot from Jinger Vuolo’s Instagram page. It was from the church she and her husband, Jeremy, are now attending.

Someone’s comment was “How about everyone stay the F home, Jinger?”

Another commenter wrote:

why. This is a virus. We never shut down Before. For viruses. The flu has killed more. The cdc said they gave wrong numbers less then 1%have died. If your not ready stay home. Stop the control

Now… as most of us who have been watching the news know, COVID-19 is not like the flu. A whole lot of people have died of the coronavirus. It really is a scary thing. BUT… there are still people out there like the woman I quoted just above this paragraph who have a different perspective. I don’t agree with her, but I think she should be heard and not automatically and summarily dismissed, even though most everyone else disagrees with her opinion. The original commenter immediately piled on this woman with derision.

“Wow! You are grossly misinformed.”

When I see a comment like that in response to someone who dares to say something that goes against the grain, my hackles go up a little. I know what is to follow will not be productive. What followed was a lot of insults and sarcasm, and even some new “Facebook groups” made solely to insult the woman who said COVID-19 is not as bad as the flu. I think this is how we get people like Donald Trump in charge.

People who are “woke” and “know better” are shitty to people who don’t share their opinions. The people who feel shat upon become disenfranchised and insulted, and they lash out by voting in loudmouthed buffoons like Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell, who promise to speak for them. And can you blame them? In the case of Trump, maybe… although time after time, Trump supporters have said they like him because he speaks like and for them (even if the reality is, he disdains regular folks). No one wants to be treated like they don’t matter. People don’t like it when you insinuate that they’re stupid. And besides, if you don’t listen to opinions that don’t match yours, how can you learn what the other side of an issue is?

I see one somewhat “nice” comment in this thread. The rest are mostly shitty, and the insults continued for a long time in posts I didn’t feel like copying.

For the record, I am with the people who say COVID-19 is much worse than the flu. However, I’m not a fan of the whole “gotcha” phenomenon surrounding most controversial topics these days, and the complete lack of civility people have when they disagree with each other, especially online. It’s no wonder we have a bunch of people who get so unhinged that they freak out. I’m not sure what these people were trying to do when they responded, but in my experience, insulting and being sarcastic to people doesn’t change their minds. It mostly makes them more entrenched in their beliefs. Yes, I agree that COVID-19 is deadly, but is it really necessary to be so shitty? Why not respond with a modicum of respect, at least at first? If they respond with snark and shittiness, then perhaps you can fire back in kind. But I advise only a little bit of return fire, because those kinds of arguments are truly a waste of time and convince no one of anything.

Awhile later, someone else shared this picture of Candace Cameron Bure, whose husband of 24 years was photographed caressing her boob.

Some Christians apparently lost their fucking minds over this…

Candace Cameron Bure said, “For all you Christians that are questioning my post with my husband’s hand on my boob, my husband of 24 years, thinking it was inappropriate, it makes me laugh because it’s my husband,” she said in a video on her Instagram stories. “We have so much fun together. He can touch me anytime he wants and I hope he does. This is what a healthy, good marriage and relationship is all about so I’m sorry if it offended you.”

“I’m actually not sorry,” she added, laughing.

CNN actually ran a story about this. I guess it was a slow news day.

A long thread then ensued, with many people writing about what a creep they think Candace Cameron Bure is. I read all kinds of comments from “triggered” people who wrote everything from claiming that Candace is an “attention whore” (hello– she’s an actress! It’s kind of her job!) to one person writing that s/he felt that Candace was putting down the choices of unmarried people. Like– she’s been married for 24 years, so it’s okay for her husband to grab her breast in a photo. But it’s not okay for people who aren’t married to grope each other in public. I sincerely doubt Candace woke up one morning and thought to herself, “What can I post online that will bait and trigger the non-Christians out there and make them feel badly about themselves?” However, some people thought that was what she meant to do and were venting about it.

Personally, as someone who is not all that invested in Candace Cameron Bure’s beliefs or even her acting career, I think it’s awesome that she addressed the Christians who were reaching for the smelling salts over her boob groping post. So I wrote this:

She is so much cooler than her brother is. (17 likes so far)

For that comment, I got a bunch of responses from women who felt the need to “correct” my opinion.

You can see my final response, which some people evidently thought was funny. I wrote:

All I said is that I think she is so much cooler than her brother is. It doesn’t mean I admire or emulate her. I mean, being way cooler than Kirk Cameron is a pretty low standard, isn’t it? Anyway, I don’t really care to argue about this. If you think she’s an abusive bigot or out of touch, that’s fine with me. We don’t have to agree.  

See you later. I’ve got to go frost my bush.  😉

Frosting one’s bush… that is a Carlinism. George Carlin had a routine about keeping people on their toes. He suggested going into a hair salon and asking the stylist to frost your bush. I think of it as sort of a more interesting way of saying, “I’ve gotta go wash my hair.” In other words, this is an unproductive conversation and I’m out of it.

At 8:20, he talks about having one’s pubic hair streaked… God, I miss George.

Interesting side note. When I was growing up, a lot of my contemporaries had crushes on Kirk Cameron, who was at that time starring on the ABC sitcom, Growing Pains. Yes, I also watched that show, but I much preferred Family Ties, and not just because I looked so much like Tina Yothers. And I never had a crush on Kirk. However, I never thought he would go from teen heartthrob to super evangelical Christian. I don’t agree with his beliefs, but as long as they don’t affect me personally, I don’t really care too much about them, either. It’s not like he’s friends or family. Same thing with his sister.

It irritates me when people feel the need to correct other people’s opinions. It’s one thing if a person is passing off harmful opinions as facts. I guess I don’t blame people for feeling compelled to address the woman in the first example I posted, although I think people who haven’t gotten the COVID-19 message by now are just going to have to find out for themselves.

I just wish those who feel the need to be corrective would do it in a more constructive way that leads to dialogue, rather than resorting to petty insults and blocking communication. I would rather see people trying to convince people in a positive way, rather than just being rude. While they probably won’t change minds either way, I do think that those who want to “correct” others would be more successful if they allowed for a meaningful conversation rather than angrily calling people out for not being with the program.

Ah, The Big Lebowski. I tried to watch this film twice and didn’t like it either time. But I do like this line.

In the second example, I simply wrote that I think Candace Cameron Bure is much cooler than her brother is. As far as I’m concerned, she really is. But I will admit, I don’t obsess over her career or her personal life, nor do I pay attention to her child rearing methods. I did read one of her books and I remember her as a child actress. I don’t watch her on TV anymore, but she does seem to be a lot more moderate than her brother is. As I explained, that doesn’t mean much, and it certainly doesn’t mean I need to be taken to school. It’s just my opinion, man.

I don’t enjoy getting into petty spats with people, especially online, and especially with strangers. I think they’re mostly a waste of time. Some readers who follow my personal Facebook page may recall the post from last year that I shared yesterday. It was about two American people who wanted to tell me about how life is in Germany, even though they’ve not been here. In revisiting that post, I realize that I did engage with one of those people for a lot longer than I should have. I left that exchange with her still insisting that her anecdotal evidence was superior to my actual, real life experience. But you can’t argue with people who just don’t get it and refuse to see it. And if it’s just their opinion, you’re probably facing a losing battle. It’s not the most productive way to spend a precious Saturday. You’re better off frosting your bush at the barber shop.

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complaints, language, psychology, rants, religion

“Fike you!”

You might say today’s post is a bit of a rerun. It involves a certain relative of mine who has been “trying to clean up [his] vocabulary.” In his quest to quit cursing, he’s taken to replacing letters in certain swear words in an attempt to “improve” his language. Why he feels compelled to do this, I don’t really know. I can only guess.

I know I’ve written about this before. In fact, I’m just now looking up when I last wrote about this topic. I see it was exactly two months ago to the day– June 30, 2020, when I wrote about how my cousin referred to “chicken shot” instead of “chickenshit”. But that post was about a memory I found on Facebook in which he and I had butted heads over a National Rifle Association ad. This cousin– I routinely refer to him as “Timmy”, although that is not his real name– got into an argument with Bill and said that his argument was “chicken shot”.

Naturally, I rolled my eyes at that, since I think it’s a waste of energy to clean up one’s language in such a way. Words and language usage do matter, of course, but I personally don’t believe in “bad” words. All words, even the really offensive ones, have a legitimate usage somewhere. Every word can be used in a non-offensive way. That includes the infamous “n-word” that gets people riled up. Try reading a slave narrative without encountering that word. Try listening to Stevie Wonder’s brilliant song, “Living For the City” without that word. Even certain episodes of 70s era sitcoms employ the n-word in a way that is useful. Sometimes the right word really is one that shocks and offends. Aside from that, I have a serious problem with black and white thinking on almost any subject, as well as issues with authority. So when it comes to language use, Timmy and I will probably always butt heads.

But never mind the n-bomb. I don’t want to get into that discussion today. I want to write about my cousin’s use of the non-word, “fike”, and how it makes him seem kind of “fake” to me now. And that makes me sad.

Um… we all know you meant to say “fuck”. Just fucking say it already!

I don’t understand using a non-word like “fike” when it’s clear that one actually means to say “fuck”. In this instance, Timmy wasn’t even swearing. It’s not like he was saying “fuck you” to someone, trying to debase them. Even our sweet grandmother, a woman I never once heard utter a “bad word”, sometimes quoted her mother, who would swear on occasion. In my mind, Timmy wasn’t cursing in the above example. He was quoting someone else. Mind you, he also referred to using a weapon on someone who was cursing. Frankly, I prefer someone who swears, to someone who is overly casual about using weapons. Isn’t it a bit “fucked up” that Timmy writes that he would have shot more of them for using “bad language” and taking pictures? But he wants to clean up his “vocabulary”… Hmm…

Seems to me that if you change letters in a word so that it no longer spells the bad word, but it’s obvious that the bad word is what you really meant, you’ve actually accomplished nothing in your goal of “cleaning up your vocabulary”. The thought was still there, and we all know what your intent was. If Timmy really wants to upgrade his vocabulary, he should say something else or use a different, but legitimate, word in the “bad word’s” place. But I suppose that’s too much to expect from someone who thinks that guns are less offensive than four letter words are.

You see, Timmy used to be a lot of fun. Yes, he got into trouble a lot, mainly because he drank too much, got into fights, and brought his guns into places he shouldn’t have. He’s a bit of an adrenaline junkie, too, and I think that influenced him to put himself in situations that made life more difficult for him and his loved ones. But when he was younger, he was free-spirited and loving. I remember him as kind to me when I was a little girl. He used to be one of my favorite relatives. I rarely got to see him when I was growing up, because he grew up in Texas and I grew up in Virginia. It was rare that his parents would bring him and his brothers to Virginia for our annual Thanksgiving shindig.

Years later, when my uncle retired from full time work, he bought a home in Virginia and resettled there with his wife, who passed away about ten years ago. Timmy and one of his brothers followed their dad east. I got to see and know my cousins more… at least the ones who came east. For awhile, Timmy was still fun. But then one day, he publicly declared himself an alcoholic and found religion (although I’m not sure he’s found Jesus yet). And now he’s drunk on religion instead of booze. I’m glad he quit drinking. His drinking legitimately got him into trouble. But it seems that he’s now traded alcohol for being a religious wingnut.

I find Timmy hard to talk to nowadays, mainly because he’s adopted this holier-than-thou smugness and seriousness that he didn’t used to have as much. He won’t say words like “shit” or “fuck”, and he’ll get upset when someone curses on his Facebook feed, but he’s ruder than ever in the way he talks down to people. I’ve seen him do it to Bill, but he is especially condescending to women– particularly women he thinks are too liberal. It’s clear to me that he looks down on people who are liberal and thinks he’s “smarter” than they are, to the point of not being willing to listen respectfully to what they have to say and learning from them, even if he disagrees.

Bill and I were talking about this yesterday. Bill thinks that sometimes, when people decide to change their lives by giving up vices such as drinking alcohol, they feel like they have to make amends for everything “bad” they did in the past. They worry excessively about offending God somehow, and they start going into overdrive, trying to become “better” people. But they don’t really recognize or change their behaviors, nor do they realize that by trying not to offend a perfect being (God), who should be above being “offended”, they annoy everybody else. They just change their obsession to something they think is more acceptable. In Timmy’s case, I think he traded boozing, cussing, and partying with being really pious, to the point of being obnoxious and insufferable.

I know that people involved in addiction recovery have a term known as “dry drunk” syndrome. Basically, it refers to a person who has stopped drinking or using drugs, but is still engaged in the negative behaviors and psychological maladies associated with their addiction(s), except for the drinking and/or drugging itself. One thing I’ve noticed among the alcoholics in my family is that they tend to be very controlling, overbearing, angry, and smug. That quality doesn’t go away when they stop drinking, although if I’m honest, I’m not entirely sure that any of the alcoholics in my family ever permanently gave up the sauce. I know my dad was never able to. But they know they have a problem with booze, which only adds to the guilt, frustration, and “demon” load they’re already bearing.

One thing I’d like to tell Timmy, though, is that carrying weapons and “shooting” people who swear and take pictures is not Christlike behavior. It’s all well and good that he wants to clean up his vocabulary. If he really means it, that’s commendable. But I would much rather hear him let loose with a blue streak of cursing than see him champion gun rights people who have no qualms about shooting people they think are “punks”. And to be very honest, I suspect that Timmy has certain people in mind that he wouldn’t have issues with dispatching somehow. He would never admit it, of course, but I know he holds certain people in disdain. Again, it’s not very “Christlike” behavior, nor is it an admirable attitude. I’m sure God appreciates that one of the world’s flock has decided to say “fike” instead of “fuck”, but I’m sure he’d rather Timmy cuss than be violent. But I suppose not taking take the Lord’s name in vain is easier than not wanting to be violent.

Anyway… I know that Timmy really meant “fuck” when he wrote “fike”. And seeing him write “fike” is annoying, especially when he claims he’s only trying to “clean up his vocabulary”. As a self-identified English language snob, I wish he’d simply find a more creative but legitimate way to say what he means and mean what he says. And I wish he’d stop glorifying guns as he proclaims his love for Godliness. It’s just a load of horseshit… or “chicken shot”, if he prefers.

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