“Shut up, Pee Wee. Let the adults talk.”

After being kind of downtrodden over the past few days, I was in a playful mood last night. Bill and I had dinner, and we were drinking wine and talking about the day’s events. I spotted an article on the Army Times’ Facebook page about retired Admiral William McRaven’s recent op-ed piece for the New York Times. I will admit that I haven’t read the op-ed or even the story the Army Times shared. I only read the headline. A lot of people do this, including me. I don’t like to encourage people to make comments about an article they haven’t read, although I did notice this quote, which is what made me take interest in the first place:

“As I stood on the parade field at Fort Bragg, one retired four-star general, grabbed my arm, shook me and shouted, ‘I don’t like the Democrats, but Trump is destroying the Republic!’” McRaven wrote in a New York Times opinion piece.

I felt like Bender last night.

Instead of reading the article, I felt compelled to read some of the Facebook comments in response to the story about Admiral McRaven. I’m not even sure why that was. There are times when I can’t resist reading the comments posted on the military news sites. Sometimes, they’re hilarious. Sometimes, they’re infuriating and borderline moronic. I can think of other subjects that I’d definitely be more excited about than McRaven’s op-ed, yet I still felt like seeing what the military masses had to say about this. Sure enough, some guy last night, obviously a person who also never bothered to read the article, made some comment about how he didn’t like McRaven because McRaven didn’t think he should be allowed to own an AR 15.

An AR 15 is, of course, a weapon expressly designed for killing people. And, in case you haven’t noticed, we have a huge problem with gun violence in the United States. Lots and lots of people have died– many of them children and teenagers– because of the obsession some people have with owning firearms. The AR 15 is a prominent culprit in a lot of those mass shooting deaths. And yet, many people– typically southern, “God fearing” white men with Trump proclivities– feel they must own one of these weapons.

If I had been in a more serious and contemplative mood, I might have tried to have a reasonable discussion with the guy who is annoyed with McRaven for wanting to take away his big gun. But instead, I was just really bored by his attitude, which is shared by so many people who claim to be Christians, yet enjoy destroying people and things with their macho guns. I suggested that he go play with his (preferably loaded) AR 15 and let the adults talk.

Just as I expected, the guy came back and immediately accused me of being a Clinton loving “lefty” who watches The View. Rather than trying to correct this guy– because obviously he doesn’t know me or care about my opinions, and has drawn his own wrong conclusions– I wrote that he was a “load that should have been swallowed” and that must be hard. In fact, it’s probably the “hardest” thing about him. Yeah, I know. Not very nice. Not kind or respectful. Kind of a cheap shot.

I don’t know what got into me, really. I don’t often respond so disrespectfully, even to people who clearly deserve it. But as I was typing my rather nasty and déclassé response, and before he’d even had a chance to see it, the guy posted that he went to my Facebook page (creepy)… and I skipped over the rest of his long-winded comment until I got to his last sentence… which read “And I hope that pisses you off.” Then, after he read my gross comment about how he should have been swallowed, he made a comment about how I lack “class”.

Well, okay… I’ll own that. It’s not “classy” to tell someone they are a “load that should have been swallowed”, although I’ll bet a lot of military men have no issues whatsoever saying stuff like that to each other– it’s only nasty when a woman says or writes it, right? Then Bill jumped in and wrote that I’m not a Trump or Clinton fan– which is the truth. I’m also quite centrist in my political leanings. Meanwhile, I was wondering what information that man might have gleaned from my Facebook page, given that most of it is pretty well locked down. He might have seen the name of my blog, which probably really disgusted him, since he likely believes education is wasted on women. He probably saw a lot of pictures of my dogs, too. From that, he’s incorrectly gleaned that I’m a clueless bimbo who watches morning TV and aligns my views with women on a talk show.

Bill said he went on the guy’s page and noticed there were a lot of pictures of sunrises in Florida, along with weepy comments wondering how anyone could doubt there is a God in the face of such natural beauty. I wonder how this man could profess to be a God loving person who cherishes all of the things God made, yet he wants to own a weapon expressly made for killing human beings. Didn’t God create man? Doesn’t this God loving “load that should have been swallowed” value the God-created beauty in his fellow man? Does he only love the scenery God made? Or just people who look, think, and believe the same way he does?

Shut up, peewee.
I am not ashamed to admit that I was channeling Mr. Vernon…

Anyway… he came back with another retort, but by that time, I was losing both my patience and interest in trolling him. I posted, “Shut up, Pee Wee. Let the adults talk.” And that was about the end of our enlightened chat, because it was getting late and Bill’s eyes were drooping.

Maybe I shouldn’t be proud of what I did last night. I don’t regularly bait people like that. It’s not often I engage people on Facebook anymore, because it’s usually a waste of time. I’ve found that most people are set in their opinions, and being behind a keyboard emboldens them to be disrespectful. Disrespectful people piss me off, so I don’t bother arguing on social media because I want to protect my peace. I’d rather rant about this stuff in my blog for those who actually want to read it. But last night, I was in a rare mood. It was all about fun and games. I was laughing maniacally as I insulted this poorly endowed Trumper who tried to appeal to my ego by accusing me of being a View watching “lefty” and lacking “class”.

Who gives a shit if he thinks I have no class? I think it’s far classier for a person to tell someone they are a “load that should have been swallowed” than it is to admire weapons that can kill dozens of people within seconds while simultaneously professing to love God. As Rhonda Vincent once sang, “You don’t love God if you don’t love your neighbor.” And I don’t think I need to waste time on diplomacy with such a person, particularly if I have a bee in my bonnet and a belly full of beer (or wine, as the case may be)!

I am not a particularly religious person, but I do admire great musicians. Rhonda Vincent and The Rage rock! And dammit, if you honestly profess to love God, you shouldn’t want to own weapons expressly designed for destroying God’s creations– especially your neighbors. On another note, this video makes me want to go home to America and listen to live bluegrass.

Although I don’t think being overtly rude is generally the right way to behave, there are times when it’s more productive to simply have fun with these types of people. I can’t change their minds with reason, so I might as well have a good laugh. I’ve found that one of the quickest and easiest ways to piss off a gun toting Trumper, particularly those with military ties, is to make fun of their sexual prowess, or lack thereof. Then, after I make a really nasty comment that would never disgust them if it came from a man, I simply ignore everything they say and accuse them of needing a big gun to compensate for their small dicks. They usually then try to retort, but I reiterate that they can’t satisfy anyone with their little peckers and that’s why they’re so mad at the world that they need a big gun that makes big explosions. If they had someone who would happily blow them, maybe they’d be less bitter about life and hell bent on blowing up stuff. Who knows?

An even better and potentially more effective way to piss off this type of person is to simply agree with all of their insults with just a hint of sass. I’ve seen many an insecure boy/man melt down into rage when they think I don’t take them or their insults seriously. However, I will admit that I have to be in a certain mood to do this. I do have a fragile ego myself and I’m a long way from saying “fuck it” to everything and everyone… But sometimes, it’s so much fun to fuck with Trump lovers! The trick is, just don’t respond to anything they say or write as if you take them seriously. Then sit back and watch the fallout. It’s hilarious! And before anyone reminds me of what Rhonda Vincent sings, let me remind you that unlike Mr. AR 15 God lover, I don’t profess to be particularly “Christian” myself. God doesn’t dip His pen of love in my heart that often… but when He does, it’s usually when I’m listening to bluegrass.

And I will admit, when I hear this, I love God, too.

music, musings

My special brand of shitty sunshine…

I sort of casually follow the Confessions of a Funeral Director’s Facebook page. I’m not sure what got me turned on to it. I probably saw a post or two shared by someone else and it resonated. Maybe I just thought he was a cutie patootie. He is a good looking guy, not that I get a lot of crushes anymore.

Last night, I happened to read a post he– that is, Caleb– shared about why he writes. He started it off with this: “Speak and write about your scars, not your open wounds. That’s the axiom you’re supposed to follow as a writer.” Those two opening sentences really hit home for me, since I have occasionally gotten complaints from people that I “share TMI” in my blog. Some people have said I’m “inappropriate”, and have offered the unsolicited advice not to publish certain things, because it makes me look like an ass.

Well, folks, if the truth be told, sometimes I am an ass. However, I think most people are asses at some points in time. Nobody’s perfect. I used to try to be a certain way because I felt like it would make me more likable to other people. I was also encouraged and pressured to be that way by other people, namely my parents and sisters. But then I realized that being something or some way I’m not makes me less than authentic. It’s also exhausting and depressing.

Caleb, the funeral director continues with this: “Burnout, secondary trauma, PTSD, depression, fear, disassociation, social anxiety . . . these are all a part of my concoction of diagnosed open wounds (more on the diagnosed part of things when I’m feeling up to talking about it). And these wounds rarely have time to heal when their source is your job. For some of us, like me, writing from our scars isn’t entirely possible because some wounds just remain . . . open.

Boy, oh boy, can I relate to that passage. I write about my pain. I’m not sure if it helps make the pain go away so much as it helps me to process it in some way. Some wounds are slow to heal. Some never completely heal. I would imagine that as a funeral director, Caleb gets a fairly regular shot of pain to the psyche and sees things that may make him think about his own mortality. Like me, he writes to process.

I thought Caleb was really profound with his comments about “scars” until I read what he wrote next: “…I love spreading my darkness and pain around the Internet. SEE MY PAIN AND WALLOW IN IT WITH ME!!! I’m basically becoming the Grumpy Cat (RIP, beloved feline patronus) of the funeral industry, here to give you the pleasure of seeing transparent online suffering.

Oh my God, YES! I totally relate. People have asked Caleb why he doesn’t just “quit”. I wonder if they mean caring for the dead, or writing about his experiences. In the next paragraph, Caleb sort of indicates that they mean “caring for the dead”, which can take a huge emotional toll on a person. He says he stays in his job because he’s good at it. He knows he can help people. And maybe, he says, he “might have a slight Messiah complex.”

I see this place as where I spread my special brand of shitty sunshine. I know I have written things that others have found entertaining, informative, or even thought provoking. I’ve also written offensive things that upset people. I own it. Some writers love to write only positive, uplifting, wise things. Me? Sometimes I feel kind of like Alison Krauss when I write. She sings a lot of sad songs and they really resonate with people. I once read that she likes to record songs that make people feel like crap. She even put it that way, although she was kind of joking. Alison Krauss, for all of her sad songs, has always struck me a bit as a frustrated comedienne.

Alison Krauss channels Michael McDonald in a tragic song that makes people feel like crap… and love it.

At a concert, Alison Krauss told a story about how she’d wandered into a used record store in Nashville and found an old song by Michael McDonald called “It Don’t Matter Now”. The prospect of recording it was exciting to her, because “we don’t want anybody listening to us feeling good!” I see from the link that the reviewer attended a 2005 Alison Krauss and Union Station (AKUS) show in Seattle. I remember that year, Bill and I also saw AKUS, only we caught it in Richmond, Virginia. I also remember her telling that story. We were in the nosebleed seats, because that was during our “poor days”. Alison doesn’t seem to be recording as much these days, but her comments about singing songs that make people feel like crap have always resonated with me. If you were to meet me in person, you may catch me on a day when I’m being hilarious and entertaining. Or you may catch me when I’m feeling depressed and mad at the world. Maybe I’m like this because I’m a Gemini… or maybe I’m simply nutty. So far, I haven’t actually hurt anyone by being who I am. Maybe I’ve hurt people’s feelings, but people have hurt my feelings, too. I think it’s very hard not to sometimes hurt people. As long as it’s unintentional, I don’t think it’s a problem.

For me, writing is kind of healing, even if I’m writing about an open psychic wound and express emotions like anger. Anger, by the way, is not a negative or toxic emotion in and of itself. Sometimes anger can be very empowering and motivating. If we were all peaceful and placid every day, why would we be motivated into taking action when action is warranted? If a person lets anger turn them into someone who does destructive things, like slashing tires, getting into fights, or drinking themselves to death, that would be negative. But writing about being angry or depressed– expressing anger on paper– is not, in and of itself a destructive action… even if someone reads the words and gets upset about it. Reading someone else’s words is always a choice, especially when you’re accessing their “place”. In my case, it’s my blogs. I can write things down, but I can’t control other people’s reactions. And, unless I make everything private, I can’t control whether or not they choose to read this stuff… my special brand of shitty sunshine, which is sometimes very hot and bright, but also stinks.

Maybe Joni Mitchell?

Anyway… reading Caleb the funeral director’s thoughts on his writing, which he admits is sometimes kind of depressing to read, really hit home for me. Some of us are just grumpy and we exorcise our crankiness by writing. It beats slashing tires or driving drunk, and it’s quieter than singing.