condescending twatbags, modern problems

Wanted: The Perfect Nanny…

When I was in the second grade, our class put on a presentation of Mary Poppins. My part was “Narrator #3”. Story of my life. I remember that as we prepared for that play, we learned songs from Mary Poppins. One of the songs we learned was called “The Perfect Nanny”.

“Adorable, well that’s debatable, I’d say…”

Here are the lyrics:

Wanted a nanny for two adorable children
If you want this choice position
Have a cheery disposition
Rosy cheeks, no warts!
Play games, all sort
You must be kind, you must be witty
Very sweet and fairly pretty
Take us on outings, give us treats
Sing songs, bring sweets
Never be cross or cruel
Never give us castor oil or gruel
Love us as a son and daughter
And never smell of barley water
If you won’t scold and dominate us
We will never give you cause to hate us
We won’t hide your spectacles
So you can’t see
Put toads in your bed
Or pepper in your tea
Hurry, Nanny!
Many thanks

Sincerely,
Jane and Michael Banks

It seems like a lot of people are taking it upon themselves to apply for the position of “nanny” these days. And I’m not talking about working with children, either. I’m afraid that being behind a computer screen emboldens a lot of people to lecture others, particularly about their personal choices.

This morning, I read an interesting article about top dressage riders protesting the use of helmets instead of top hats in competition. I was interested in the article, because I used to own and show a horse myself. My discipline was “hunt seat”, which required the use of a hunt cap. In the 1980s, a hunt cap was a hard hat covered in velvet or velveteen. When I first started riding, they didn’t all have chin straps. After a few years, harnesses were required. I pretty much hated them, but eventually got used to them. People who rode Western had cowboy hats with no protection.

Me, a long time ago, showing my horse at the State Fair of Virginia. I wore a velvet hunt cap with a loose fitting harness that I found oppressive at the time. God, I miss having a horse!

These days, riders wear huge bulbous helmets that look more like something you’d see on a motorcycle. I’m sure they have saved people from catastrophic, life altering injuries or death. But they are aesthetically less appealing and may or may not be very comfortable to wear. I don’t know if they are or not. I’ve never tried one on, myself. I do kind of miss the look of the velvet hunt caps, even if they aren’t as safe.

Awesome dressage done in top hat and tails.

In any case, a large number of expert dressage competitors hate the helmets. They don’t want to wear them. They have sent a petition to the powers that be, demanding that they be allowed to keep their top hats for the highest echelons of competition.

And a more recent performance with the rider wearing a helmet.

According to Dressage Today, the petition reads:

“The top international dressage riders would like to make a formal demand to the FEI to keep the option to use the top hat in international competitions for Seniors. There has never been a serious accident at an international dressage competition, and the riders believe there is no reason to change that for senior competitors at CDI4*/5*, Games and championships on Grand Prix level.

“The top hat is an essential part of the identity of dressage. The dresscode makes us unique and we feel very strongly that the top hat remain as optional to use, but only at the highest level of competition. For awards ceremonies, the use of protective headgear can remain mandatory.

“It should be noted that there are other disciplines that are not required to wear helmets, and we feel that this inequality is not warranted. We urgently request that the FEI add this matter to the agenda for the next General Assembly, and change the rule accordingly. We believe it is the right of each individual rider to choose between the use of a top hat or protective headgear. This right cannot be revoked.”

As I have written several times in my blog, I’m not a big fan of people telling others what to do. I hated seatbelts when I was growing up. I’m not too fond of them now, but I comply with the law because it’s easier and because if I don’t, the car and Bill both turn into Pat Boone. I could choose not to comply and probably get the stink eye from Germans… and maybe a stiff fine.

Same thing goes for face masks. I hate them, but I comply with regulations. And I truly hope that either an alternative is designed or the COVID-19 virus is vanquished enough so that they become unnecessary. I find the masks depressing and uncomfortable and I can’t wait to see them gone. I don’t put masks in the same league as seatbelts and helmets. In any case, I don’t presume to tell other adults what to do. Nobody likes a lecture, and lecturing people is mostly a waste of time, anyway. All they do is piss off others.

I had to go read the comments on the Facebook post about the top hats. It was like reading another article about mask protesters. People were saying things like, “Wear the damn helmet!” And the other side came back with, “Don’t tell me what to do!”

I’m sure it makes people feel better to tell off those who aren’t following the rules. Personally, I like to think that adults are capable of making their own decisions. I feel this way about voting, too. I may completely disagree with your choices at the polls, but I figure you have your reasons for voting the way you do. I doubt a lecture from me is going to change your mind, and it’s none of my business anyway. I wouldn’t want you to lecture me about my vote… and as someone who sometimes votes third party, I sure have been on the receiving end of a lot of those kinds of comments.

I can see why dressage riders like their top hats. Maybe someone will come up with a design for a top hat that is safer than the old version, yet provides the same aesthetic. I do miss the velvet hats in hunt seat. They looked very elegant compared to the big helmets of today, although I will admit that the helmets are easier to keep clean and probably last longer because they can withstand the elements better. In that sense, they’re more practical, as well as safer. But I don’t begrudge those who like the old way. They have their reasons for feeling that way, and they should be heard without being ridiculed, insulted, or shamed, as long as they present themselves in a respectful way.

If you’re being rude as you present yourself, then all bets are off when it comes to the response you’ll get. That’s why I felt okay about telling that guy to go fuck himself after he accused Bill of being a “bad person”. If he had not been insulting first, I would not have responded in that manner… or at all, for that matter.

Just like Jane and Michael sing in their song about the “perfect nanny”, people don’t like to be scolded and dominated, nor do they like to be force-fed things that are unpleasant, even if it’s “for their own good.” I think it’s best to let people draw their own conclusions and hope they’ll make the smart choice.

Time for breakfast…

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condescending twatbags, politics, social media

Good riddance and GFY, “buddy”…

Today’s featured photo is a screenshot of signs seen posted in the United States. People are so delusional about Trump and his ilk. I don’t get it.

It always amazes me how quickly and easily people will sacrifice real life friendships and family relations over politics and religion. I’ve seen it happen repeatedly over the years, but ESPECIALLY since Donald Trump became our dear leader. In my 48 years on this planet, I have never seen a world leader as polarizing as he is. I have quit speaking to a lot of my family members over Trump (and they have quit speaking to me), and Bill has lost so-called “friends” because he isn’t a Trump supporter.

Trump has a lot of obnoxious cronies, too. One such man is Rush Limbaugh, who announced in February that he has lung cancer. I remember when the news came out, a lot of people were laughing and rejoicing about it. I wasn’t laughing or rejoicing, but I can’t say that I have a lot of sympathy for the man. I’ve been aware of him since the 1980s. My late father was a big fan of Rush’s radio show. I think Rush is an asshole, but that doesn’t mean I wish him ill. I just want him to go away.

Rush Limbaugh has made his name by being hateful and insulting. And yet our feckless leader has awarded him the Medal of Freedom and Trump supporters are shaming people for thinking Limbaugh kind of deserves what he’s getting… not just being sick, but being derided for being sick. As the “good book” says, “God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.

Anyway, ol’ Rush was in the news yesterday, saying that his lung cancer is “terminal”. A recent picture of him was included with the CNN article. Rush is looking pretty gaunt. I wouldn’t have recognized him.

My husband, who is a lot less temperamental and outspoken than I am and almost never posts on Facebook, shared this comment in response to the news:

I know what I’m about to say is the result of unskilled thinking, but this appears to be an example of Karmic Justice. The organ used to spew years of hate, vitriol, and self-centeredness will be his undoing.

I see nothing in this comment that rejoices in Rush’s ill health or impending death. I see no derision or mean-spiritedness. It’s just a simple and truthful observation. It seems almost fitting that Rush would get lung cancer, since his lungs have made it possible for him to spread his negativity for decades over the airwaves. But… as to the actual cause of Rush Limbaugh’s illness, I don’t know. It probably has nothing to do with karma and more to do with bad luck and bad habits.

A few minutes after Bill posted this comment, he got this response from a man he knew thirty years ago. This guy was a non-commissioned officer in the Army and someone Bill had always liked and respected.

Bill when did you become such a bad person? I really do not want to see your filth end up on my screen so I guess it’s adios buddy.

And then he unfriended Bill.

Well… I must admit that comment flipped my bitch switch. I don’t usually feel the need to take action on Bill’s behalf, but it was getting close to bedtime and I am really fed up with hypocritical people who follow people like Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh and then have the nerve to call my husband a “bad person” for making a valid observation on HIS own space. So I sent Bill’s ex friend a private message:

“Nice that you unfriended my husband for speaking his mind on his page. I am glad you unfriended him. Go fuck yourself.”

He did respond to me, but I didn’t bother to read what he had to say. I’m sure it was the usual tripe spewed by these types of mouth breathing fuckwits… a sarcastic remark like “Wow, classy!” He probably followed it with some mansplaining comment that I’ve read and heard a hundred times before from people like him, including my own father. Instead of reading more of that shit, I blocked him, because I have enough people like him in my life. I don’t know him at all, but I do know Bill, and I KNOW he is one of the most decent, kind-hearted, loving men ever. And he’s brave, too, because for thirty years, he put on a uniform and put up with self-righteous dickheads like his ex “friend”, running their mouths about the virtues of capitalistic Republican politics while they worked in what is actually a very socialist “government run” career.

Another one of Bill’s Trump/Limbaugh supporting friends shared this… You have the nerve to lecture people about not being hateful when you publicly support two men who regularly insult and abuse anyone who doesn’t kiss their enormous Big Mac built fat asses? Get the fuck out of here with that.

Seriously… if you’ve served in the military and get free health care for yourself and your family, live in government owned quarters (which not everyone does, but enough do), buy food at the commissary (again, not everyone does), and accept educational benefits paid for by taxes, then you are not so much against socialism, are you? Because when you’re in the military, the government pretty much owns your ass… and potentially your family’s asses, too, depending on whether or not your spouse chooses to live with you as you are moved from place to place for years on end.

While the military lifestyle is not for everyone, and not everyone who’s served makes it a career, enough people are fine with the conditions. The benefits and perks, especially for retirees, and all paid for by taxes, are pretty damned sweet. And I have yet to meet anyone in the military or a military retiree who would willingly give them up, although I am sure there are people out there who would. I do remember reading, several years ago, an op-ed written by a retired officer named Tom Slear who felt his military benefits were too generous. I also remember the outraged comments left for him by his “brothers-in-arms” who basically had the same sentiment for him that I did for Bill’s former “friend”. To be clear, I don’t fault veterans for having these generous government provided benefits and enjoying them. They have certainly EARNED them. But those taxpayer sponsored benefits aren’t exactly stellar examples of the Republican ideal, are they?

Bill was very dismayed that he lost a “friend” over his comment about Limbaugh. Like I said, this was a guy Bill knew early in his military career and for whom he’d had much regard and respect. The guy who posted the comment wasn’t really a friend, though. They were connected on Facebook, sure, but it’s not like they interacted a lot. And by doing what he did, he revealed his true lowlife character. Seems to me he could have just quietly unfriended or unfollowed, rather than resorting to publicly insulting my husband. That would have been the decent thing to do. Instead, he calls my husband a “bad person” and accuses him of spreading “filth”. Well, it may be unbecoming and unladylike of me to tell him to go fuck himself, but that is precisely what I think he should do. Clearly, he’s not grown up enough to hang out with adults on social media.

This was Bill’s very gentlemanly response to his friends… he only has 77 of them at this writing. He really doesn’t post on Facebook much, and when he does, he’s a lot more respectful than I am:

So I was just unfriended for being “such a bad person” for expressing myself on my own space. Any other takers? You might as well get it over with. Honestly though, I try really hard to respect your space. Why is it so hard to respect mine?

Ironically, earlier tonight I was reflecting on Dr. Manhattan’s words in “Watchmen”. “I’m tired of this earth, these people.”

Are these the words of a “bad person”? I think not. And if you’re a military veteran who truly supports freedom, then it’s beyond hypocritical to shame people for speaking their minds. I may not wish ill on Rush Limbaugh, although he probably deserves the derision he’s getting, but I kind of hope Bill’s ex “friend” falls into an open manhole. I don’t want him to get sick or die, I just want someone or something to knock some sense into him.

And RUSH got the Medal of Freedom? I think Michael J. Fox should get it.

I don’t like hypocrites, and I’m really tired of Trump and his cronies, to include self-absorbed loudmouths like Limbaugh who egg on divisiveness and spew hatred. I don’t wish for death and illness for most people because that’s not the decent thing to do, but if someone is nasty and hateful and becomes terminally ill, they probably shouldn’t expect a lot of sympathy. Pointing that out does not make someone “bad”; it makes them astute. And if you’re too dumb to see that, and want to publicly unfriend your old friends, then good fucking riddance. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

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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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condescending twatbags, politicians, politics

Fun with trolling men who have “correctile dysfunction”…

I don’t often troll people online. I think it’s disrespectful to screw with people, even strangers who ask for it. However, sometimes I do get a bug up my ass… or a bee in my bonnet. And I must admit there are times when fucking with the stupid among us is a lot of fun.

Yesterday, I was reading The Washington Post and ventured into the Facebook comments section. There, I ran across a man named Justin who referred to Kamala Harris as “kameltoe”. Below is the comment that caught my attention and provoked a response.

The mental illness joe biden has, will prevent him from being president and We will reject kameltoe like a bad glass of milk.

So I wrote this:

Don’t be a misogynist, Justin. It doesn’t suit you.

This isn’t a really mean comment. I figure Justin must be really scared, though. If you have to refer to the future vice president as “kameltoe” instead of explaining rationally why you don’t think she’s a good fit for the office, I figure you’ve got nothing. Moreover, he clearly doesn’t think women belong in leadership positions. He probably mansplains a lot.

Justin didn’t like my response. So he wrote this:

…neither does a pedophile dementia case for a president. Trump2020. You will see and I’ll make sure i remind you I said that in a few weeks.

Hmmm… Justin must be scared. He’s clinging to that bullshit Wayfair conspiracy theory like it’s Linus’s blanket.

Then he continued with this… not even two minutes after his last comment:

 I mean Nancy is already using the 25th to remove him. Geez 30+ nominees and down to creepy Joe, now Nancy wants to replace him with kamala who is a complete political failure. Your party has killed itself.

I must admit, I didn’t bother to read his comments as he was posting them. In fact, I am just now actually reading what Justin wrote. I was drinking wine and feeling sassy, so I just kept egging him on. This type of person can’t stand it when a woman backtalks him. There’s no point in actually addressing their non-sensical posts, either. And… he makes an assumption that I am a Democrat. I’m actually not registered with any party affiliation. I just decided to vote all blue this year because the Republican Party deserves it. So I responded thusly:

You really are drinking the KKKool-Aid, aren’t you? Poor baby.  😞

This is neither an original or particularly clever comment. I mainly posted it because, in my experience, Trumpers can’t stand it when you call them racist, even if they obviously are. I don’t actually know how Justin feels about people of color, but he made it quite obvious that he disdains Kamala Harris, who is a very bright, capable, black woman who could mop the floor with his feeble minded retorts. In any case, anyone who supports Trump obviously doesn’t mind racism, classism, or sexism. Justin bit on the KKK comment with this:

joe biden has direct ties to the KKK. He even read a eulogy at a klansmans funeral. There are dozens of photos of joe surrounded by KKK klansmen. Keep trying silly woman.

Really Justin? I don’t believe you, with your “correctile dysfunction”. So I wrote this:

Personal attacks… what a weak argument. Why not just see who wins?

Seriously. What good does namecalling do? Does Justin really think that being insulting is going to change my mind? He comes off as scared and desperate, and more than a little bit pathetic. Poor baby, indeed! But he still thinks Trump is a winner… and he can’t walk away gracefully.

we will, and I’ll remind you I knew that outcome already.

What if he doesn’t, Justin? What if Trump loses by a landslide? What will you do then, little boy? I was getting tired of chatting with Justin, so I decided to shock him. I wrote this:

Keep on commenting. It makes me wet.

Crickets! How do you respond when a woman you’re arguing with says something like that? Twenty minutes later, I wrote this:

Funny… I guess the prospect of making me wet was too much for the guy who referred to our future VP as “kameltoe”… I guess I don’t know my own strength.  😉

I decided to look up my new friend. It appears that he lives in Texas, is eight years younger than I am, and graduated high school. He really admires Donald Trump. He doesn’t seem to realize that Trump wouldn’t give him the time of day. Trump would think he was “disgusting”. In any case, here are some choice screenshots from Justin’s page. He’s not exactly a mental giant.

Anyway… I did think it was funny that telling Justin he was turning me on was enough to get him to fuck off. I don’t know what he’s doing reading the comments on a Washington Post article. He clearly isn’t a thinker. He hasn’t read this, from The New York Times

Several people who have dealt extensively with Mr. Trump have suggested that he takes a dubious, even disdainful view of his most loyal followers. He takes them for granted because he knows they would forgive him for anything: “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.”

“The people Trump despises most love him the most,” said Howard Stern, who hosted Mr. Trump on-air for years, in May. His voters, Mr. Stern said, are people he would not want in his hotels. “He’d be disgusted by them,” he said. “Go to Mar-a-Lago, see if there’s any people who look like you. I’m talking to you in the audience.”

Special thanks to the cartoonist, whose name I can’t read…

Yeah, that means you, Justin. Your hero thinks you are disgusting. So do I. Nothing about you makes me “wet”. I just enjoy messing with people like you.

Now… Donald Trump might very well win re-election. But if he does, you can count on him being impeached again. And honestly, people who continue to champion Trump will get the leader they deserve, although unfortunately, it will be at the rest of our expenses. I hope and pray enough people in the United States have wised up since 2016. I truly get being Republican, but we need someone competent and caring in charge. Almost anyone would be better than Trump is.

But… I must admit, it’s kind of fun watching Trump melt down every day, just as his ardent followers are. His ego can’t take the prospect of losing… and if he does lose, he may very well end up in a place he really doesn’t want to be. Either way, November 4th will be a hell of a day. Either way, it’s going to be rough going. I hope Justin is prepared.

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business, condescending twatbags, healthcare, Trump

The businessman’s COVID-19 lament…

I could write about a couple of topics this morning. I might even do just that, since it’s a rainy Sunday and I can’t think of anything I’d like to do today outside of the house. I spent a good portion of yesterday working on my latest jigsaw puzzle, which will probably be finished faster than the last two I’ve done. For some reason, it’s not as hard as the others have been, even though it’s 1000 pieces.

Anyway… I know people are probably tired of COVID-19 and politics, but I’m going to go there again today, mainly because I read a sad story in the Washington Post this morning. It was a businessman’s lament. The article, entitled ‘It’s like Trump said: The cure has been worse than the disease.’ kind of gave me more of an insight as to why so many people think Trump is “good” for them, despite all of his obvious shortcomings as a human being.

Mike Fratantuono is the manager of Sunset Restaurant in Glen Burnie, Maryland. He says that before COVID-19 struck, the restaurant was going to celebrate 60 years in business. Sixty years in business is a big deal, and that business has sustained four generations. But come September 30, 2020, it will cease to operate, mainly because it couldn’t survive COVID-19.

I know what a lot of people are thinking about the businessman’s lament. They’ve clearly expressed it in self-righteous and snarky tones in the comment section on Facebook. Lots of people have dismissed Mike’s sadness about losing the business, reminding him that people are dying and a restaurant is not worth more than a single human life.

I guess I see this situation differently, though, because my parents were small business owners. My dad ran a custom picture framing shop and an art gallery out of our home. My mom sold knitting and needlework supplies and she taught countless people how to do needle crafts (although she never taught me). They were valued contributors to the community. I grew up with so many people coming into our house to buy yarn or look at the latest print by local artists John Barber or P. Buckley Moss.

My parents worked very hard to run that business for over 25 years. Along with my dad’s Air Force retirement pay and my mom’s organist money, that business sustained them and me, when I was still a minor. In fact, I am a rare individual in that I grew up with total access to BOTH of my parents. They worked out of our home every day, so I was never a latchkey kid. I didn’t always appreciate having so much access to my parents, especially since they weren’t really all that into being parents. But it was a unique way to grow up. They were always there, and unlike a lot of my peers, I didn’t have any stepparents , step-siblings, or half-siblings. My parents were married for 56 years. My mom sold the business to a woman who went to work for my dad in 1989, and now she’s continuing the legacy, albeit without Mom’s needlework and knitting shop.

It’s true that businesses can be rebuilt, but if you’ve never built one and watched it flourish, you might not have any idea of how much it hurts to helplessly watch it fail, especially when it’s due to something completely beyond your control. Maybe some readers think Mike Fratantuono is “callous” for being so upset about losing the family business. But I think people should listen to him, because his words illustrate why so many folks are still voting for Donald Trump, despite the fact that Trump is an obvious sleaze. Trump gives businesspeople hope that their dreams, along with the hard work and money it takes to make them come to fruition, won’t be dashed. Trump’s words soothe their fears about the future. Maybe most of what Trump says is factually wrong or outright lies, but his words give business owners hope.

Now… personally, I am much more concerned about human rights and decency than I am the economy, and that is why I would never vote for Donald Trump. But I’m not blind to the concerns of people who are worried about business and the economy. Unfortunately, people still have to make ends meet, even if there is a pandemic going on. Bills have to be paid, even if a business isn’t allowed to operate because of a pandemic.

When a business like the Sunset Restaurant fails, it’s not just a tragedy for the people who built it. It also affects the many people who work there or supply goods and services to the restaurant. It affects the community, because without that business, there will be fewer taxes paid. And there will be people who need help to survive. Every time a business dies, more people will need help. They become food insecure, unable to purchase medicines, seek medical care, or pay their mortgages. They can’t afford things like the Internet, so their kids can attend school at home… if they still manage to keep their homes.

It’s easy to tell these folks to “buck up” and rebuild. It’s hard for them to do it. They deserve empathy, too.

Trump has done precious little to help people weather the storm of the pandemic. There was a $1200 stimulus check and some temporary aid. Other than that, zilch. I wish Trump supporters would see that they should be getting more help from the government, especially since the pandemic is no one’s fault. Sometimes people do need help, and our government should be providing it, to some extent. It’s not just to help individuals; it’s to help the country survive. Many times, people end up in bad situations through no fault of their own. The pandemic is one such situation that was not caused by anyone in particular, but it affects everyone.

I do think it’s too bad that people who are commenting on Mike’s plight apparently have no regard for what he and his family have lost. I think people on both sides of the political spectrum are seriously lacking in empathy. Of course it’s terrible to lose friends and family members to COVID-19. But it’s also terrible to lose them for other reasons, like untreated diseases for want of the money to pay for doctors and medications, or suicide due to the despair of losing one’s livelihood. Moreover, COVID-19 has had a terrible effect on the quality of life for a lot of people, and those who are indignantly calling out Mike for his businessman’s lament should stop and think about that. Not everyone can weather COVID-19 with friends and family, living in a comfortable home. Some people can barely stand to be at home, even if it’s a comfortable place to be. We all have different ways of coping with the pandemic and some of us are more successful at coping than others are.

It’s not lost on me that Bill and I have been very lucky. His work hasn’t yet been threatened, and we live in a country where there are safety nets for people who need assistance. Medical care is not extremely expensive here, as it is in the United States, and people have maintained a reasonable and respectful attitude about containing COVID-19. In the United States, I’m seeing a lot of polarization, and not too many people in the happy medium. Or, if they do exist, they aren’t speaking up.

We have people who think it’s reasonable for a woman to be tased for not wearing a face mask while she was sitting outside, distanced from other people at her son’s football game. And we have people who insist that COVID-19 is a hoax brought about entirely for political reasons, to topple Trump’s re-election. We have people saying that we should all quit practicing any precautions against the virus because it’s ruining businesses and spoiling everyone’s fun. And we have people who think those who are legitimately depressed because they’ve lost their jobs or watched their businesses crumble should just get over themselves and stop complaining because at least no one died (yet).

I think it’s completely reasonable for businesspeople to lament right now. It’s as reasonable for them to be upset as it is for family and friends of someone to mourn death caused by COVID-19. It affects everyone, doesn’t discriminate, and has changed everything in less than a year. That’s a lot for anyone to handle. We should all have more compassion and empathy for each other, and we should then work together and be understanding as we all try to navigate dealing with the virus… and Trump’s “leadership”.

Anyway… I hope Mike and his co-workers and family members can recover after this great setback. Sixty years in business is an amazing achievement. I have empathy for them, because losing a business is a difficult thing. For some people, it’s every bit as traumatic as losing a loved one is. Hell, I felt a great loss last year when I moved my blog and basically started over… however, I will admit that I think the new blog is better for a lot of reasons. At least now, most of the people who read and comment are here because they’re genuinely interested.

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