Back in the 1980s, I remember reading a news story about a disgruntled man named James Huberty. Huberty had a bumper sticker on his car that read “I’M NOT DEAF, I’M IGNORING YOU.” At age 41 in July 1984, Huberty was known for being cranky and “sour” and raging at his wife, Etna, and their two daughters, Zelia and Cassandra. Originally from Canton, Ohio, Huberty had a degree in sociology, had learned how to embalm people in mortuary school, and often worked as a welder.
For some reason, on July 18, 1984, Mr. Huberty was in an especially foul mood. He visited a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, California and went on a shooting spree, killing 21 people and injuring many others. Huberty was the 22nd person killed that day when he was fatally shot by a SWAT team sniper.
The day before he went off the rails, James Huberty had called a mental health crisis line. The receptionist misspelled his name on intake as “Shouberty”. He had not indicated that his situation was an emergency, so his call was never returned. The morning of his shooting rampage, Huberty and his wife had taken their two daughters to the San Diego Zoo. Afterwards, they ate at a McDonald’s– different than the one where Huberty went on his spree. Later that afternoon, Huberty was leaving his home, and his wife asked him where he was going. He said he was “hunting humans” and that “society had its chance.” Mrs. Huberty never reported this behavior, bizarre as it was. A witness saw Huberty leaving his apartment and heading down San Ysidro Boulevard with two firearms. The witness notified the police, but the dispatcher gave the reporting officers the wrong address.
At 3:40pm, Huberty began his massacre. It went on for 77 horrifying minutes. Huberty discharged 257 rounds of ammunition before he was finally killed by a sniper. As he was killing people, Huberty declared that he’d killed thousands of people in Vietnam. However, he never spent any time in the military. A couple of years later, Etna Huberty unsuccessfully sued McDonald’s and Huberty’s employer, Babcock and Wilcox. She claimed that the unlucky combination of McDonald’s food and the heavy metals Huberty was exposed to at work had caused him to go crazy.
What has me thinking and writing about James Huberty today? I’m not sure. I remember when that shooting occurred. I was twelve years old, and my parents subscribed to Newsweek magazine. I remember reading an article about the massacre and seeing pictures of the horrified people who were involved in the attack. I didn’t remember the details of the shooting until I read up on them this morning. What I did remember was the testy bumper sticker Huberty had on his car– “I’M NOT DEAF, I’M IGNORING YOU.”
I’m feeling kind of like Huberty today. No, I don’t have any plans to shoot up a McDonald’s. I’m not that off kilter. I don’t own any guns and don’t feel like getting dressed, anyway. But I am feeling sort of testy. I think it’s a combination of being bored and being perimenopausal and hormonal, and spending too much time connected to electronic devices. My allergies are acting up, my boobs are itchy and sensitive, I’m ragging, and I’m hungry. On top of that, my Facebook feed is alternately riddled with annoying comments by overly helpful people and ads for “cute” face masks being marketed as gifts. How bizarre is it that a year ago, fashionable face masks weren’t a thing. Now we have people marketing masks with Bea Arthur and various dog breeds on them. And it just reminds me of how irritating things can be… especially when we have leaders who don’t really care and are only interested in lining their pockets and staying in power.
Back in the 80s, the phone was really the only device where people could invade your home and irritate you at will. Nowadays, we have email, a plethora of social media platforms, instant messaging, Facebook groups, and, of course, blogs. And when I’m already feeling irritable due to my special time of the month, I have less patience for people than usual. I should probably exercise some self-control and do something old fashioned, like read an actual book or watch television. The skies are cloudy this morning which means that there could be rain. I think I’d like that. The air is full of pollen, which is making me hack, wheeze, and cough, even though I’ve had no close exposure to other people and am definitely not sick.
Anyway… even though James Huberty was a total bastard for killing so many people, maybe the sentiment on his bumper sticker wasn’t such a bad idea. Perhaps it’s time I logged off and plunged back into the offline world. If I don’t respond to an unsolicited PM, “overly helpful” Facebook comment, or text message, just know– “I’M NOT DEAF, I’M IGNORING YOU.” But then, none of those novel modes of communication require the ability to hear. I guess that makes the sentiment expressed in Huberty’s quaint bumper sticker even more interesting.
Hope you have a healthy and annoyance free Monday, wherever you are.
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.
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…
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.
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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