complaints

Why I find obvious humor annoying and insulting…

Forgive me, folks. I’m a bit cranky this morning. I spent all day yesterday waiting for a delivery from Amazon.de. I ordered new contact lenses on Thursday last week and they didn’t get to me until Saturday. And because the weather was yucky, we hung around all day waiting for them. When they finally got to us, it was almost five o’clock. Then, when I opened the package, I saw that one of the lenses wasn’t the right prescription. So I had to order again and return the wrong ones… or really, I got Bill to return them. Yesterday, once again, it was five o’clock when the delivery got here. I spent all day waiting because I know that if I’m not home, it could be a hassle to get my parcel. I need my contacts or I can’t see shit… and wearing glasses puts me in a bad mood. We also have yucky weather today, so it doesn’t look like we’ll get a walk.

Last night, I was also feeling a bit grouchy. Sunday afternoon, Bill and I had lunch at a Georgian restaurant in Frankfurt. Georgia, as many people know, is a U.S. state. It’s also a country. If you want to know why there is a U.S. state named Georgia and a former Soviet country called Georgia, click here. When I refer to having Georgian cuisine, I mean I ate in a restaurant that specializes in cuisine that comes from the country of Georgia. If I had eaten southern food or “soul food”, I would have called it that.

In any case, just as I always do when I try a new restaurant, I wrote about it on my travel blog. I shared the link on Facebook. One friend posted this:

No grits? <ducking>

That was a dumb joke, but at least she realized and acknowledged it was dumb. She’s also someone who interacts with me often, so I felt charitable toward her obvious attempt at humor. I even laughed and pointed out that the restaurant had polenta, which is much like grits. Basically it’s the same as grits, only more refined and more often yellow. You can get yellow grits, but most people eat white ones.

Anyway, I thought the obvious joke had passed. But then I saw a comment from another person on a different thread that just consisted of pictures. It was– you guessed it– another obvious crack about the lack of black-eyed peas, cornbread, and watermelon (although the dish Bill had actually did have collard greens in it). And the person who posted it is someone who doesn’t interact with me very often. Usually, when he does, he makes silly jokes or schooling comments, which, for some reason, I find insulting and kind of demeaning.

Sit down until you think of something witty. I challenge you to be genuinely funny!

I don’t know this dude very well. We “met” on a now defunct online review site, where over about eleven years, I made about twelve thousand dollars writing product reviews. It wasn’t enough to live on, but when you consider I was just writing reviews of products I was using anyway, it was nothing to sneeze at. I know another guy who made $48,000 there, but he wrote thousands of reviews. The site had pretty high standards and an awesome community of talented and intelligent writers. A lot of them are still my genuine friends five years after the site sank into oblivion.

I remember from interacting with this guy on that now defunct site, learning that when he was a young man, he suffered an accident that put him in a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Maybe being in a wheelchair makes him feel like he has to compensate for something. But I also know that he did well enough in school to earn a doctorate in psychology. So he’s not dumb, and I would not expect him to make dumb comments. I can’t see that he’s in a wheelchair, so that doesn’t affect my opinion of him (and wouldn’t even if I could see him). And yet, he often makes stupid comments on my Facebook page that, for some reason, really annoy me. It’s almost like he thinks I’m dumb, and won’t understand basic wit.

So what am I supposed to do in such an instance? Should I just laugh along hollowly, feigning delight at the inept stab at humor? Should I just ignore the comment, inadvertently inviting him to try again later? Or should I let him know in no uncertain terms that I find that kind of inane comment irritating?

Well, because I was feeling cranky last night, I decided to let him know his comment wasn’t appreciated. However, because I was raised to at least try to be nice, I wrote “pay attention”. Seems like that would be a clue… but then he came back and explained his comment, which was even more insulting. So I wrote, “I think we both know that you knew I was referring to the country of Georgia, rather than the state. If you’re going to try to be witty, do better. You weren’t the first person to crack that joke.” Then I added a winking smiley, because I didn’t really want to come across as bitchy as that comment probably was. I just wanted him to quit being inane on my page.

So then he deleted his comments. I kind of expected him to unfriend me, too, but so far he hasn’t. It wasn’t necessary for him to delete his comments, but I suppose my retort could have been embarrassing for him, so maybe he deleted his comments to save face. I don’t know.

I am a southerner, and for most of my life, I was raised to be “nice” and tolerant. Unfortunately, I have found that always being “nice” can lead to undesirable results. At the very least, always being nice and overly forgiving simply invites more of the same shit. You have to teach people how to treat you, especially when they’ve “come to you”. It would be one thing if I had posted on his page. He posted on mine. Yes, he’s a “friend”, but does that give him license to be dumb on my time and try to “force” me to laugh at his corny jokes? Is there something wrong with challenging him to think of something more clever next time?

I felt like Spongebob, faking being an idiot for Patrick’s “parents”, who weren’t really his parents.

I probably would not have had this reaction had this person been someone I interact with a lot. Real friends can be dumb on my page, because I know they’re real friends who don’t think I’m dumb, too. People I don’t often interact with who make “dumb” comments seem to imply that I’m also dumb. Or, at least that’s the way it comes across to me, especially when I know the other person isn’t lacking in intelligence.

I realize that this reaction is one that comes from my own “psychological sunburn”, as the perpetually annoying Dr. Phil would put it. I am the youngest daughter in my family and still, at the age of 47, get treated like I’m dumb by some of my family members. My sisters, for instance, often offer me unsolicited advice or question my decisions, even though I’ve never been in any serious trouble… at least not so far. I’m also a blonde, and some people seem to think that a lack of melanin in one’s hair follicles makes them “dumb”. I’m not a dumb person, though, and it gets super old being treated like I am. Moreover, I don’t like it when people expect me to laugh when I don’t think something is funny.

As is my habit as an “overthinker”, I Googled to see if anyone else feels the way I do about obvious jokes. I found a couple of interesting articles, neither of which were about what I was researching, but both of which gave me some food for thought. The first one was from The Guardian. It was written by a woman who was tired of being expected to laugh at racist, sexist, and off color jokes. And she was tired of being asked if she couldn’t take a joke when she didn’t find the jokes humorous.

The other was written by a woman with type 2 diabetes who was tired of reading simplistic jokes about diabetes. She pointed out that type 2 diabetes is a disease that has many causes, but there is a real stigma attached to the diagnosis, particularly for young people. A lot of people truly are ignorant about diabetes and I, for one, don’t think it’s funny that so many people have it. But I know people make jokes about how eating something sweet is going to put them in a “diabetic coma”. I can see why those who have diabetes wouldn’t think that was funny.

Anyway… I suppose if I knew this guy better, I might try to explain all of this to him. I might tell him that when he makes really corny, obvious, lame jokes on my page, it’s actually kind of offensive. But I know that being offended by obvious humor is one of my many “issues” that stems from a typically dysfunctional childhood… I’m a workin’ on it. In fact, I’m even reading a good book about how to get over being angry. Stay tuned for a review.

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complaints

Social media is for assholes…

Sorry… it’s Monday morning, and I’m in a bad mood. I don’t recommend reading this post, unless you want to be in a bad mood, too. I woke up early and the smell of Arran’s food made me heave a few times. Then I checked Facebook and felt even crankier. It’s probably time for me to rethink being on social media. On the positive side, it does keep me connected to people. On the negative side, it keeps me connected to people. People get on my fucking nerves.

I have a laundry list of grievances this morning, mostly relating to social media and how grating it can be. I might as well start with Felicity Huffman. A lot of people are irritated that she only got 14 days in prison for her part in “Varsity Blues”. More than a few people hit the angry reaction in response to an article about Felicity Huffman’s sentence. Honestly, I don’t really get it. She’s not going to repeat the crime. She’s not a violent person or a career offender. And she’s taken responsibility and apologized profusely. What more do people want? Blood?

I have already stated that I think Huffman’s sentence is just. I still think that, even though people are pointing out other cases in which poor people of color got much harsher sentences for similar crimes. I am aware of formerly homeless mom Tanya McDowell’s 2011 case, in which she was sentenced to five years in jail for falsifying her address so that she could send her son to a better school. I think it’s extremely unfair that McDowell got so much time behind bars for her crime, although having read more about it, I have discovered that McDowell’s sentence wasn’t just because she falsified her address. McDowell’s sentence was the result of a plea bargain that included other charges, including some involving drugs.

For some reason, a lot of Americans seem to think jail is the answer to every societal ill. I think people lose sight of how many Americans are locked up and how warehousing people in prison ruins lives. Incarcerating people doesn’t just affect those behind bars; it also affects their family members and loved ones. Now, Felicity Huffman’s life won’t be ruined by her upcoming stint in prison, but the average person will have trouble bouncing back after being incarcerated. Locking people up is expensive for taxpayers, but it’s also a big business. Private prisons make money by keeping people behind bars. They aren’t in the business of rehabilitation; they’re in the business of enslaving people for profit while forcing them to wear used underwear.

So, while I understand people being upset by the disparity between Huffman’s sentence and McDowell’s sentence, I don’t think wishing more jail time for Huffman is the answer. Instead, we should fix the system that locks up people for committing non-violent crimes and profits off of keeping them locked up for as long as possible. But, I understand, hitting the angry reaction button on Facebook is a lot easier than actually doing something to rectify society’s problems.

Moving on

Yesterday, Bill and I spent the day together. It was a beautiful day, and we probably should have gone out and tried to do something fun, but I was feeling kind of tired and cranky. So we stayed home, and Bill baked a delicious Dutch apple pie. It was his first time, so he forgot to put foil on the edges of the pie crust. They got a little overly brown. Someone “helpfully” pointed out that foil on the edges would have prevented that. I have baked a lot of pies in my day, so I know about the foil trick. Bill now knows, too. The pie was still excellent, regardless. I probably should just focus on that, but instead, it was just the first in a series of unasked for help I received yesterday.

Did you ever notice how much people enjoy offering unsolicited advice? I’m sure most of the time, people want to be “helpful”. But, for some reason, it really chaps my ass when people offer “tips” I didn’t request.

For instance, last night, we were listening to the Eagles and I asked Bill if he knows what harmony is. Bill loves music, but he isn’t a musician. He didn’t quite get the concept, so I demonstrated it for him. We had kind of a cool conversation about harmony, so I posted about it on Facebook. I was really just sharing a “feel good” moment. Immediately, I got a bunch of suggestions about other bands or groups we could have been listening to. A little of that is okay, but this was a totally impromptu discussion that came about only because the Eagles were playing. I hadn’t prepared a lesson plan or anything, and wasn’t planning a lecture. We were just chatting.

And then, a guy shared a video of the song, “Hallelujah”. You know, the one written by Leonard Cohen? When I first heard that song on Shrek, I liked it. But now, it’s become so goddamned overrated that I just plain don’t care how great the harmonies are by some group I’ve never heard of. I don’t need to hear that song again… or, at least not for a very long time. The guy who shared the video doesn’t know that, of course… but I wonder what makes people feel like they have to offer “help” when none was requested.

I feel the same way about the version of “Over the Rainbow” done by Israel Kamakawiwo. It was poignant when it was used for Dr. Mark Greene’s death scene on ER, but then everyone was doing it and playing it, and it became super annoying. I’m sure the version of “Hallelujah” that was shared with me to demonstrate harmonies is awesome, but I wasn’t looking for more examples of great harmonies. I know Simon & Garfunkel harmonized well. So do Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young. So do a lot of other people. I was really just sharing a moment brought on by the Eagles. But I suppose it’s my fault for sharing that story in the first place.

People state the obvious…

What would the business owner have people do? Pee in their pants?

I shared this yesterday… which I actually shouldn’t have done, because it also annoys me when people use social media for preaching. To me, the point made by this picture is obvious. The person who owns this business isn’t really all that welcoming, after all. But someone commented that the restrooms are for paying customers. Got it, and in fact, my parents were small business owners with a bathroom that people sometimes made a mess in. But seriously, folks… when you gotta go, you gotta go. I would rather let someone use the facilities, than have them go pee in the street. And maybe that person who comes in to use your bathroom might actually decide to become a paying customer if you simply show them a little kindness and humanity. But then, as I type this, I realize how irritable I am this morning and how I probably wouldn’t be inclined to be that kindly myself.

Renee Alway is back in trouble.

I read this morning that Renee Alway, of America’s Next Top Model fame, is back in the big house. One of my most popular posts on my old blog was about Renee… and, in fact, a few people commented that claim to know her. I’m sorry to see she’s in trouble with the law again. This time, it’s for assault with a deadly weapon (not a firearm), two counts of infliction of corporal injury on a spouse or cohabitant, terrorist threats, a prior felony conviction, and a violation of parole. I genuinely liked Renee on ANTM, and I thought it was tragic that she fell into drug abuse and crime. I think it’s tragic that she’s back in trouble with the law now, although it doesn’t surprise me. But, you know? It annoys me that because some people are hellbent on making trouble for me, I have to keep my old blog locked down… at least for now. Maybe I’ll repost that entry about Renee, though, since I know people are interested in it. The comments were probably better than the article itself.

Ric Ocasek is dead.

Okay, so I know he was 75 years old, but I really like his music. It’s sad that Eddie Money recently died, too. Both of those guys contributed to the soundtrack of my youth, and losing them reminds me that I’m becoming an old fart myself. And I’m not really enjoying life as much as I should. Maybe I’m less upset that people have passed on and more jealous that I can’t join them. Being down here sometimes feels like a waste of time.

I looked up “roller fucking” on YouTube and got disappointing results.

I was hoping to find an old George Carlin routine about Olympic sports that didn’t quite make the grade. Instead, I got a lot of porn. It’s the same thing that happened when I searched for “bitchy landlady”. Instead of getting the results I was seeking, I got porn. Porn rules the world, y’all. And I am not interested in porn, although it might improve my mood.

Depression? PMS? Menopause? Burnout? A mixture?

I’ll admit, I am a bit irritable lately, for a lot of reasons. I think some of the reasons have to do with the onset of menopause. I felt very PMSy last week, and I should have gotten my period. It hasn’t shown up, but I have the symptoms of an impending visit from Aunt Flow. Add in the fact that I’m still mourning my dog while dealing with Arran, who has a bum foot. I have to take him to the vet again because he somehow cut his paw last week and was licking it so much that it couldn’t heal. He’s had a bandage for the past few days, and has substituted licking his asshole for licking his paw. I’m wondering if maybe he’s upset that Zane is suddenly gone and that’s made him nervous, or if we’re going to have another veterinary drama to attend to. Either way, the sound of a dog constantly licking his ass isn’t exactly peaceful or pleasant.

This video always cheers me up. I am a “bitchy” person today.

I think I’m also feeling a bit burned out on Germany. It’s not because I’m not happy with where we are now. It’s probably more because Germany is not really my home. I can’t even say that I miss the United States much, though. I don’t want to go back there… maybe I just need to visit my relatives and get a reminder as to why I’d rather be over here. But the idea of paying out the nose and being on a plane for hours on end isn’t very appealing, either. Especially since visiting my relatives is a risky proposition.

Bill is going to be away for most of this week. Maybe it’ll be a good thing. He’ll get a break from my irritable self. As it is, he asked me if I need to see a shrink. Yep… it’s a fucking Monday. I think I’ll go annoy myself with another episode of 7th Heaven and remind myself that at least I’m not a guy who made a name for myself playing an annoying minister on a popular TV show, only to be outed as a pervert years later…

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complaints

Do you mind? I wasn’t talking to you.

Happy Friday, everyone. I woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning, and I’m a bit cranky. I feel this way, even though it’s Friday, and we’re leaving town. Eh… I’ll get over it eventually… perhaps even after I’m finished writing this post. It’s another one of my venting posts, so brace yourself for negativity, inappropriateness, and bitterness. Here goes.

Recently, USAA has decided to employ an annoying new security feature on its Web site. It wasn’t enough for USAA to force its customers to answer their two security questions with every log in. Now, you must have them send a code by text or email. This is supposed to help thwart hackers.

One would think I’d be all for thwarting thieves from plundering my bank account, and of course I do want my accounts to be secure. However, this new system is really annoying to me, because they send a different code with every log in. The codes are usually on a time limit and sometimes they don’t come immediately. Sometimes, I’m not in a place where it’s possible to access private email accounts. For instance, Bill can’t get on his Gmail account when he’s at work, neither is he allowed to have his cell phone with him. I don’t want to have to go to my email account every time, just so I can access my banking information. Then, there are people who are low or no Internet users, like my mom. This new level of security could be onerous for a person like her.

Bill and I have a few joint accounts which are accessible from my account, but every once in awhile, I need to get into his USAA account. With this new system, they would be sending the code to his email instead of mine, which would not be helpful. That’s annoying, too, especially since we didn’t ask for this new level of security. By the way, Bill is fine with me accessing his account when I need to. Sometimes, he goes to places where he can’t get to it himself, so it’s good that I can. We’re married, and he trusts me.

So anyway, I have endured this new system for just under two weeks. Yesterday, I decided to make my displeasure known to USAA. I know… what nerve! But how to do it? I started with the obvious.

I went on their Web site and looked for a way to leave a general comment. I searched for several minutes for a simple email link or comment form. The only way I could leave a comment, though, was by using a form that restricted the subjects only to comments about investments or insurance. I could find no way to offer general feedback using a form; I would have had to engage in a chat, which is not what I felt like doing yesterday. Oh, I guess I could have also called them– or Skyped– but I didn’t feel the need to engage with a human over this. I just wanted to make my voice heard without a big “to do”. It seemed an impossible feat, which I’m sure is entirely by design.

Frustrated that I couldn’t send a simple, private comment to USAA, I went to their Facebook page. I left the following comment, which was answered by a USAA customer service rep, and then rebutted by another customer…

Who asked you?

All I wanted to do was leave a simple comment about the new system. I would have preferred to be able to do it privately, but since that wasn’t an option that I could find within a few minutes of looking, I posted on Facebook. I got what I wanted when the rep said he would forward my feedback to the right people. Whether or not he actually does it, I will never know. But it made me feel better to make my voice heard. This is how systems improve. If no one ever raises issues or complains, the system stays the way it is– inconvenient, annoying, and not functional for everyone. Speaking up is a very useful American value. It’s how things evolve.

But then, I get a comment from a total stranger, who feels the need to invalidate my comment with her praise. The new system doesn’t bother her; ergo, I should shut up and color, or… since I don’t like the new security measures, I obviously don’t understand them and need her to explain them to me. At least that’s how it seemed to me in my cranky, pre-caffeinated state of mind this morning. I was tempted to leave a response that matched my crabby mood, but decided to simply be blunt. Hopefully, she’ll get the message that I wasn’t talking to her and don’t necessarily value her input. She can always leave her own positive comment to USAA, which I guess would nullify mine.

I’m sure the lady who left her comment thought she was being helpful. I guess she thinks USAA needs someone to defend them from little ol’ me. She apparently assumed that I don’t know about two party security systems. She has no way of knowing that my husband has an advanced degree in cybersecurity and has already told me all about it, plus I can Google with the best of them. I get that. However, I find it very irritating when someone basically tries to tell another person to “shut up” by contradicting them, trying to school them, or both. I do understand that this is the way of the Internet. People are always going to “chime in” on these things and meddle in other people’s business. I can’t change that, and I know it. It’s still exasperating. Mind if I vent?

This probably wouldn’t have bothered me so much if it hadn’t been a running theme my whole life. People have been trying to shut me up since birth, even when I’m being polite. It only makes me more determined to communicate.

I’m sick and tired of people trying to silence other people whose opinions they either don’t appreciate or haven’t considered. And, maybe it’s childish of me, but I’m especially tired of people telling me how I should respond, what tone I should be using, and what my feelings should be. As a fellow member of USAA, I have as much right to be heard as anyone else does. Most of the time, I don’t even leave a lot of comments or complaints. When I do speak up, I’d simply like to be heard and acknowledged. To USAA’s credit, they did hear and respond to me, and quickly, too. Responses from the peanut gallery are not required.

Yeah, I know this rant probably makes me sound like a nut. Fortunately, I don’t go out unsupervised very often.

Sigh… ah well. I need to pack my bags and get ready to blow out of here for a much needed respite. With any luck, my Scottish friends will make me laugh with repeated and unapologetic utterances of random swear words as we walk down the street. Maybe I’ll find time to write. Maybe I won’t. Bless my sweet husband for putting up with his sourpussed wife.

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condescending twatbags

Feel better, Papa Smurf junior?

Do you ever run into Internet crusaders who feel it’s their duty to shame other people for the things they post? I do. For some reason, I have an uncanny knack for attracting overbearing older men who feel perfectly fine giving me shit for being irreverent. On my old blog, I used to post a lot about “Papa Smurf”, a guy I met on Epinions.com. I used to think he was nice enough, but then we became Facebook friends and I became the subject of his fondness for preaching. I finally got rid of him after I endured one too many Catholic tinged “daddy” lectures from him about being “inappropriate”, “irresponsible”, “hateful”, or “rude”. I believe my last two words to Papa Smurf were “fuck off”.

Tonight, as I sit here digesting the chemical laden Kraft Macaroni & Cheese I had for dinner, I am also ruminating on an encounter I had with some guy named Mike who follows Janis Ian’s Facebook page. Earlier today, she posted this. It made me laugh, and my immediate reaction was to post a comment…

I swear I’m not a violent person… although sometimes I say violent things.
Thanks for keeping me straight, Mike. I need guys like you around to keep me in check.

Now… keep in mind, I am certainly not the only one who responded to that photo, nor am I the only one who suggested a hammer. However, I noticed Mike didn’t comment on the first person’s “hammer” comment. That person was evidently a man and he wrote “Hammer time!” complete with a hammer emoji. Here I am a grey/blonde woman with blue eyes and I get Papa Smurf junior, a complete stranger, chastising me for expressing myself in a way he feels is “inappropriate”.

I will admit, there have been a couple of times when I have responded with mock outrage when people have celebrated depictions of violence. Like, for instance, I once annoyed some people on Cake Wrecks because they posted a picture of a wedding/divorce cake with a bride and groom cake topper, and the bride was holding the groom’s severed head as strawberry sauce flowed, simulating blood. My comment was that if the groom was holding the bride’s severed head, people probably wouldn’t find it so funny. For that, someone told me I should “rent a sense of humor”. Boy, if she only knew! It’s not so often people accuse me of being humorless. I’ve been accused of a lot of things, but lacking a sense of humor is definitely not one of them.

It was not so much that the wedding/divorce cake offended me as much as I just don’t like double standards. I doubt people would be amused at the sight of a divorce cake photo showing a groom cake topper holding a bride’s severed head. And really, if you think about it, it is kind of a gruesome and disturbing image… although perhaps it’s understandable, under some circumstances. If you’re having a party with your besties and your ex husband was truly a bastard, maybe it is appropriate to have a cake topper flowing simulated blood from a headless groom. I don’t know. My comment was just an immediate reaction. I had a feeling people would think I was being “overly sensitive”. Perhaps I was.

But maybe Mike has a point. Maybe I shouldn’t have blurted out, off the cuff, that someone should bash the slut shaming person in Janis Ian’s post over the head with a hammer. I guess I posted that because it’s frustrating to read and hear shaming and victim blaming comments from other people. In Trump’s era, it’s getting worse and worse, even though Trump is himself a crass, vile, disgusting pervert who grabs women by the pussy. Mike reminds me that people are watching and reading and some feel fine about correcting others– perfect strangers, even. He thinks I’m “hateful”. Ironically, if I’m feeling hateful, it’s not toward the person in Ian’s post. It’s toward condescending assholes like Mike. I know… one of many issues I need to work on.

Mike’s comment really annoyed me. It still does, mainly because I didn’t see him leaving chastising comments for other people. I have a feeling that if I were a guy, he wouldn’t have said anything. I note that he’s a pretty old dude… graduated college the year before I was born… and figures I need schoolin’. Why do I keep running into these people, and what can I do to discourage them from communicating with me? I would have happily told Mike to “fuck off”, but I know Janis Ian doesn’t like swearing on her page. I respect Janis Ian more than I do Mike, who seems to have a “Papa Smurf” complex.

I don’t often comment on things, mainly because of people like Mike… and other people who feel it’s okay to PM me with hate mail inviting me to “go die”. It’s almost always men who do this. It’s like they can’t stand it when a woman posts something “offensive” to their senses. I want to ask him if it makes him feel better to shame other people. And then I would like to tell him to fuck off. But, because I’m a “lady” and not actually that hateful, I usually refrain… the first time, anyway.

Edited to add: This morning, I saw that I got responses from Mike and Janis Ian herself. I decided not to read them, because it’s just too early in the day and it’s likely they would only annoy me and cause me to blog again. Instead, I’m going to write about something else. Sometimes, I think we should all practice the art of scrolling by… Stay tuned.

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