complaints, condescending twatbags, nostalgia

The home of the Whopper…

This morning, I woke up at about 3:45am. For once, it wasn’t because of Arran. I think my body has simply gotten used to being up in the wee hours of the morning. Also, I ran out of Advil PM. It’s probably good that I don’t have any Advil PM, since my body could probably use a break from it. Once I started moving around, it was time to drop my morning deuce, which totally woke me up. So here I sit, at about 5:30am on a day when my biggest plans involve vacuuming the house (a chore I HATE). I could be sleeping, but I can’t sleep. I’m all bright eyed and bushy tailed. By noon, I’ll need a nap. That’s my usual mode these days.

I spent last night watching movies from around 1980– specifically, Little Darlings, Meatballs (from 1979), and Private Benjamin. I couldn’t help thinking that those movies are now about 41 years old. I remember when they were in the theaters. Yeah, I was a little kid at the time, but I have a long memory and I had cable TV. I downloaded so many movies yesterday, which I tend to do when I’m super bored. Boy, was life in the early 80s blissful, even if we did constantly worry about nuclear war with the former Soviet Union.

I’ve been bored as hell since Bill has been away. And now it looks like he’ll be back tomorrow, as originally planned. So I have one more night to watch shitty movies and have potato chips for dinner. Yesterday, I had a burger for lunch, but I was forced to use a German hamburger brioche (and seriously, they can and DO do better than this…)

Where’s the beef?

You have to be a certain age to get the above joke. In the mid 80s, the Wendy’s fast food chain had a very popular ad campaign and their slogan was “Where’s the beef?” The commercials starred Clara Pellar, who went on to appear in the film, Moving Violations, a movie I thought was funny when I was 12. It was so funny to me, I saw it twice in the theater with the neighborhood pervert, who used to show me porn and told me his groin was “The home of the Whopper”. “Home of the Whopper” was the slogan for Burger King when I was a kid. It was on the facade of every restaurant. But when I think of it, I’m reminded of our neighbor, who had stacks of men’s magazines that he didn’t mind sharing with the little blonde girls who lived next door (I wasn’t the only one, or even the first).

My burger yesterday brought back memories of this ad in sharp relief. The burger was kind of small, but the main issue was the humongous bun. Like I said, this isn’t necessarily typical of German hamburger buns. Our local Rewe has another kind that is much better– better than the American buns and Bubba Burgers at the commissary that our German neighbor covets.

I had the burger for lunch because there’s not much else in the house and I can’t be bothered to go to the grocery store. I wasn’t in the mood to eat the leftover chili I made over the weekend. Bill is more of a chili fan than I am, though I’m better at making it than he is. I made it over the weekend because we had all the stuff for it and it’s easy. I put it on the stove and let it cook for a few hours. No muss, no fuss. I’ll probably have more of it today.

I woke up this morning and started reading the daily news. I stumbled across a couple of news articles that aggravated me. The comments were even more annoying. If you’ve been reading this blog, you know that people get on my nerves for a lot of reasons. One thing that really irritates me are people who are free with their opinions, but their opinions are only based on headlines and not actual content. So many people react to headlines without reading first. And then I waste time reading their outrage about something that was covered in the article and it would have spared them (and us) the irritation if they had simply taken a minute to read– even if all they read were comments by people who did take the time to read the article before popping off with uninformed opinions.

Another thing that vexes me are people who feel the need to opine with eloquence, yet haven’t taken the time to learn proper vocabulary. I can’t tell you how many times someone has reacted with outrage that someone’s “flaunting” the COVID-19 rules. The word they should be using is “flout”. And, you know, I get it… a year ago, when COVID-19 was a new nightmare for us all, most people had little reason to use a word like “flout”. We didn’t have rules like wearing face masks and social distancing and all of the rest of the shit we’ve had to deal with over the past twelve months. And truthfully, the words flaunt and flout are fairly similar, both in spelling and meaning.

BUT– it’s been a year… and one would think that anyone with a computer and Internet access could take a moment to consult an online dictionary. Here’s an interesting discussion of the difference between “flaunt” and “flout” according to Merriam-Webster. While you will probably find that flaunt and flout are similar in meaning and the dictionaries will even say so, there is a difference in the meanings of these two words. When you’re “flaunting” something, you’re showing off without any regard for what others think. Whenever I think of the word “flaunt”, I’m reminded, of all things, of an episode of the 80s era sitcom Gimme a Break, when the nerdy character Julie Kaminsky gets all dolled up in an effort to join her prettier sister’s sorority. She takes off her glasses, puts on a sexy dress, makes up her face, and prances around… and says, “I’ve got it, and I’m going to flaunt it.” (11:00 in the below video)

If you’ve got it, flaunt it, Julie. Atta girl.

To “flout”, means to ignore convention, disdain the rules, and show contempt for regulations. From the above article I linked:

“…if you decide that you just don’t care what people think, and that you are going to use flaunt to mean “treat with disdain for convention” you are flouting that prescribed usage; if you do care to observe the distinction, and make sure that everyone knows that you know what it is by using flaunt and flout all the time, then you would be flaunting your knowledge of a usage prescription.”

And while most native English speakers will understand you if you say, “That idiot on the plane who refused to wear a mask was flaunting the rules,” many educated people will silently disdain you for incorrect usage. If they’re already on edge and really cranky and irritable, like I am, they might even write a derisive blog post. Merriam-Webster’s excellent article adds,

“…although we include the recent sense of flaunt, this does not mean that we are suggesting you use it in such a fashion, and most copy editors, usage guides, and grammatically inclined pickers of nits would judge you for doing so. Some of them might even snigger. We never would do such a thing. But we might raise our eyebrows, make a quick note on a citation slip, and record your usage as evidence.”

They would never do such a thing, but I certainly would. That’s because all of the virtue signaling busybodies are annoying the fuck out of me, and I don’t even meet them in real life. I stay home most of the time, and rarely encounter other humans, so no one gets the chance to chastise, confront, or challenge me for my habits. Instead, I just run into them online in the comment sections, where people suggest jailing anti-maskers for LIFE on attempted murder charges. I think that’s taking things a bit far, don’t you? I mean, what’s next? Bringing back drawing and quartering? Shooting rule breakers in the head? Exiling them to Siberia or some penal colony in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?

It’s nonsense, and I’d really like for these people to just fuck off. I mean, I get that people are frustrated and angry. It sucks when you do your part to follow the rules and other people “flout” them. I will also agree that freaking out on an airplane is bad behavior that needs to be addressed. But I am also tired of people who have tunnel vision when it comes to other people’s opinions and can’t have a reasonable discussion without folding their arms, thug like, and suggesting that people who resist, or even just state that they hate, wearing face masks ought to be beheaded or something.

In my neighborhood, no one wears a face mask unless they’re about to get on the bus or go into a shop. People are mostly belligerently cooperative here. I mean, many people do hate the fucking face masks and they don’t pretend not to. I suspect that as soon as someone in charge says we don’t have to wear them anymore, the Germans will be discarding them with much gusto. In fact, I regularly see them discarded on the ground when I take my walks. There are rule breakers in hyper-anal-retentive Germany, too (hyper-anal, except when it comes to the nude spas… which I really miss. 😉 ) But they do cooperate, and wear the fucking things when they are required, for the most part.

I actually like that attitude. Germans get that there are rules and they understand why the rules exist. But they don’t have to like them, and they (with some exceptions) don’t try to shove them down other people’s throats. Here, there is a spirit of community, and people do things more for the common good– for the most part, anyway (unless they are my ex landlady). But you don’t see too many chirpy people preaching about how the masks work or showing off their Google School of Public Health knowledge while they berate the anti-mask “flaunters”. Here, cops will write tickets for the rule “flouters”. Or, at least that’s what I’ve heard. I don’t go into public unless I’m forced. I don’t hear or read too many speeches about how face masks work, even online. It helps not to speak German.

I keep getting ads from the airlines and cruise lines, trying to entice me back on board for a trip somewhere exotic. Sure, they want butts in seats or in staterooms, paying fares and revving up the economy. But you know what? I hate wearing face masks. Flying was a big enough pain in the ass before the face masks were ever a thing. Now we have people saying we ought to wear two masks, and so many folks are bragging about how they’ve been doing that all along. And I just think that as long as the face mask rule is in effect, I won’t fly (or cruise) unless I must. Like, if we have to move back to the States or elsewhere and flying or sailing is our only option, okay. I’ll put on a mask and get through it. But I am lucky enough to live in a place where we can drive to a lot of interesting locales. We also have a nice new Volvo that can get us there. That’s what we’ll do, because frankly, I don’t want to pay money to have to deal with the rule “flouters”, anal retentive law enforcement, travel officials, or other overbearing folks who think rule breakers should be disemboweled or something, and masks on planes are here to stay forever.

You may think it’s just fine if I don’t travel on public transportation. I would even agree with you. But I guarantee you that if enough people feel the way I do, something will have to be done to make flying safe without forcing people to wear masks. Otherwise, business will suffer, and we can’t have that. I don’t want to spend money to sit on a plane with flight attendants and other passengers acting like hall monitors, watching everything everybody else is doing with Gestapo like attention to detail. I’d rather stay home, and out of any altercations.

I keep reading about how many people won’t fly unless the masks are vigorously enforced. But it also goes the other way. There are also many people out there who won’t fly as long as the masks are required. In my case, I figure that if the masks are necessary, it’s probably not that safe to use public transportation anyway, at least for non-essential travel. If I’m in my own car, not only do I not have to deal with other people’s bullshit, but I also am the master of my domain. And I don’t have to share arm rests, endure dirty looks (except from other drivers), smell other people’s farts, or have some busybody scrutinize how well my face mask is fitted or the quality of it, like people scrutinize other people’s kids in their car seats.

Let me just add, as I close this post, that I don’t tend to post these thoughts on social media. Why? Because invariably, someone who thinks they’re smarter and more evolved than I am will try to tell me how life is. They won’t actually read or listen to my thoughts on this issue. Instead, they’ll cross their arms, close their minds, and call me “childish” or “foolish” or explain how masks protect everyone else from my cooties (Yes, I KNOW!) I don’t need to read or hear that shit again!

I’m thinking about the future, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing to do. Otherwise, I might consider how much I’m hating the present and decide it’s really no longer worth the effort of hanging around here. I have to have hope that this situation will improve sometime… and to me, that means not having to wear a fucking face mask or having some twerp getting in my face about what I should or should NOT be doing or wearing in public, when being maskless was just fine only thirteen months ago and had been fine for my entire life up until March 2020.

For the time being, I will simply do my best to stay out of the way… and perhaps find other things to read. And it may take a long time until I come out of exile, since Germany’s Astra Zeneca vaccine roll out is like a really bad case of constipation and I am at the bottom of the priority list on the Army posts for a Moderna vaccine. At this rate, maybe I’ll get the shot by Christmas.

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healthcare, mental health, modern problems

The latest scary British PSA and the enlightened double maskers…

My friend, who is American but lives in Britain, just shared this scary PSA from the British government about the importance of adhering to COVID-19 guidelines. They are asking people to stay home, wear masks, wash their hands, and do as they’re told.

I don’t deny the importance of doing the right thing.

Even though yesterday, I wrote about how I don’t think curfews are a good idea, I do think staying home is important. It’s important to stay away from other people as much as possible to help curtail the spread of the virus. However, many people are caught in an impossible situation. If you look at the comments on YouTube for this video, you can see how people wonder how they’re supposed to pay the bills if they heed this advice to the tee. Many people are still going to work away from home because they’re deemed “essential” and, if they don’t go to work, they won’t get paid or stay employed. It’s enough to drive a sane person mad.

As I watched the above PSA, I was reminded of the 1970s, when my dad worked at Mildenhall Air Force Base. We lived in base housing, but got local television rather than the Armed Forces Network (AFN). I distinctly being a small child, watching British TV. They were famous for their scary PSAs. A couple of people on YouTube made entertaining videos about that phenomenon some years ago. These were done long before COVID-19 was a thing.

The Brits are pretty good at scaring the hell out of small children.
A few more… nightmares! Did the children learn their lessons?

It’s not just the Brits who are being scary, though. A few days ago, I read an article on The New York Times about people who have now decided to “double mask”. My immediate reaction to that article was utter annoyance. I’m not gonna lie. And, just as I suspected, there were many insulting virtue signaling comments from people who apparently lack any understanding of human nature. There are still many people out there who won’t wear ONE mask, let alone two. There are some who will wear them, but not properly. And yet, the virtue signalers are now shaming anyone who refuses to don two of them or doesn’t want to put peer pressure on everyone to wear two.

Here in Germany, cloth masks are now outlawed, as of today. I mean, yes, you can wear them, but they’re forbidden in shops and on public transportation. If you go into a grocery store wearing a cloth mask, it’s very likely that the cashier will tell you to GTFO. In Bavaria, FFP2 masks are required for local trains and buses and for shopping. I don’t actually have a problem with requiring “better” medical masks. From the beginning of this nightmare, I have only used surgical masks, which are still okay in most parts of Germany. I never thought the cloth masks were effective. I don’t have a sewing machine, and even if I did, any mask I could make would not be as good as a disposable one made by a company that is in the business of making them. Also, as I’ve mentioned before, I have no desire to wear “cute” masks. I don’t want them to be fashionable, because I want this to be a temporary thing. Maybe I’m fooling myself for having that wish… It’s beginning to seem like we’re never going to get our lives back.

What I don’t understand are the people who insist on telling everyone else how great they’re doing, following the rules, and how they were somehow more enlightened than the rest of us. So many people on the Facebook link to The New York Times’ piece are posting about how they’ve been wearing two masks the whole time. Others are posting about how they can barely stand to wear one mask. Those who are being truthful about how they’re struggling with this new way of life are being insulted and berated by unsympathetic people. Then there are the sarcastic ones making jokes, some of which, I must admit, are hilarious. I try to encourage the jokers. We need humor to get through this. I know if I can’t laugh, I’ll definitely cry, and that will lead to a loss of hope. A loss of hope will lead to darker things. Poor Bill has been such a trouper, listening to my non-stop bitching. He would have made a fine therapist.

Below is one comment I spotted… one of so very many.

Keep making fun but the doctors I know have been doing it since April. The nurses have to as well as we continue to wear masks long after they expire, we cover with a toss away to keep the larger droplets off. Most of the publics masks are thin and just for show. If you have a good one it will last longer by covering it with a toss away or a washable. At least we hope…. And if you are vain, then the cover makes it nicer looking. I will never understand the psychology behind antimaskers. The defiance, lack of self preservation, And ignorance is perverse. But for anyone who has real concern for themselves and others, this is smart, not something to ridicule.

To the above commenter, I would say that people need to laugh and make fun. If they don’t laugh, this situation will become truly overwhelming for a lot of people. This complete change in lifestyle is a huge challenge for many. I think those who are willing to do what they can, even if it means they just wear one mask, should simply be congratulated. Change isn’t easy, and shaming and lecturing people isn’t helpful. Neither is scaring the shit out of them with frightening PSAs. Here’s another comment from a true COVID-19 martyr who clearly deserves the gooiest of cookies…

The one time I flew during 2020 I wore a surgical mask, covered by a cloth mask, and a plastic face shield over both of those. Didn’t take any of those off from the time I entered my ride share to the first airport & the time I walked out of my destination’s airport before switching to clean masks before entering my parents’ car once outside & away from everyone. Even on my layover, didn’t take any of the masks off. 🤷‍♀️ It was super uncomfortable during my 12+ hour trip, but it protected me & my family I was visiting.

I’ve mentioned before how disconcerting I think it is when people won’t let others say what’s on their minds. It seems like if you aren’t cheerleading for all things that will theoretically stem the tide of COVID-19, you earn yourself a good self-righteous smackdown from someone who is apparently committed to doing all the “right” things (but is probably actually a hypocrite). It doesn’t matter what your feelings are or that it’s taking a toll on your mood. If you’re not with the program as the “experts” present it, you’re definitely part of the problem. I think people haven’t stopped to realize that the experts are changing their minds daily. Not too long ago, masks were not even recommended. Now they want us to wear two at a time. And people are claiming that even though less than a year ago, the U.S. Surgeon General actually tweeted a request that people stop buying masks, they’ve been wearing two masks at all times since last spring. I call bullshit.

Hmm… well, the experts’ thinking has definitely changed on this since late February 2020. So how is it that regular folks know better than the Surgeon General did last year? I guess we’re all public health experts now.

I notice that in this piece I wrote back in June, people were a lot more tolerant of those who have health or other issues that make mask wearing problematic. Now, if you’re not willing to wear two or three masks and a shield or a visor and gloves or whatever else, you’re a selfish asshole who deserves to die. Seriously, I’ve seen many mean-spirited comments from people who post responses like “RIP” to those who dare to admit they aren’t on the bandwagon. Some people are posting that they have trouble breathing with the masks. They are quickly told that trouble breathing can’t be their experience, even if it legitimately is. I mean, we’re all different, right? Just because you can wear two or three masks at a time, does that automatically mean everyone else can do it, too? Are we all the same?

Wow… all of these enlightened people!!! To that last commenter, I would like to say that it’s not really helpful to compare prior generations to this one. You can’t miss what you never had, and all generations have their challenges.

I don’t like the face masks. I have never made a secret of that. I stay home most of the time because I hate wearing them. I am fortunate enough to be in a situation in which I can do that. When I go out, I wear a mask. Just one mask. If I have to upgrade to a FFFP2 or a N95, I guess I’ll do that. But I refuse to jump on the shame train and turn into an insufferable asshole because of COVID-19. I have compassion for those who get sick, even if it’s supposedly their own fault. I think it’s hard for most of us to fathom how horrible this sickness is until it affects us personally. And some of us will do everything the right way and still get sick. Right now, God only really knows.

It’s probably a good thing I’m not on Stuttgart Friends anymore…

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rants

God forbid I say that out loud…

Today’s post is a bona-fide rant. And no, I’m not “mad”. I’m irritated and annoyed, as usual. This is just a vent.

This morning, I read a very depressing (to me) article about how to train children to wear face masks. The tips were in The New York Times, and they were accompanied by pictures of adults trying to coax little kids into tolerating masks at school. Even though I don’t have children, and thus, have no skin in the game, I read the article and looked at the pictures. Then, against my better judgment, I left a comment on the Facebook page for the New York Times. I wrote “How depressing.”

It is depressing to me that small children have to worry about coronavirus at a time when they should be free to explore their environments, interact with their peers, and learn lots of new things using all of their senses. It is depressing to me that many very young children are going to be taught to fear germs before they even know how to count or recite the alphabet. Some of them will still lose friends and loved ones to the virus even though they wear masks, wash their hands, and eschew playdates. To me, that’s sad, even if I understand why children are being forced to “mask up” and can’t freely go play with their pals on the swings.

But God forbid I should mention that out loud. I knew that when I posted, and sure enough, along comes a busybody to remind me of what’s “important”, because we all need a member of the thought police to slap us upside the head and remind us of how “wrong” our thoughts are…

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get it. We have to remind ourselves of the doom and gloom that is happening daily right now, thanks to COVID-19. Thank GOD for masks. They will save us all. And thank God for the lady who set me straight. Thanks, I needed that. /sarcasm

If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s some all-knower who can’t simply let people make a statement without adding some obnoxious one-upping, thought policing, virtue-signaling comment of their own. And it’s not just the issue of masks that get this treatment, either.

For example, today happens to be the one year anniversary that we learned that our sweet, loving, amazing dog, Zane, had lymphoma. I remember how I felt one year ago, when Bill took Zane to our local vet because I had felt swellings where his lymph nodes were under his jaw. I hoped it was an infection, but knew deep down that it was cancer. And Bill brought Zane home to tell me the news. I knew that Zane would be dead very soon. I commented on Facebook that I was very upset and my life “sucked”.

Sure enough, I got lots of responses from people telling me that my life doesn’t suck. One person argued with me about my statement. Another person told me to “buck up”. Still another said I should “get a grip”. After a few comments such as those, I posted this:

This was my admittedly snippy response. That was a legitimately AWFUL weekend.

I seem to remember that the evening that we learned about Zane’s cancer, we also spent responding to a truly ridiculous letter from our former landlady’s lawyer. Precious time that we could have spent with Zane was spent with Bill writing in German that, “no”, we didn’t steal a refrigerator from the ex landlady and we can prove it. And “no”, Americans don’t routinely clog up toilets with toilet paper. Hers was the only toilet I’ve used in my 48 years of shitting that has ever routinely clogged up, and I have taken dumps in MANY countries. It is sad that we had to spend an evening on that bullshit instead of enjoying sweet Zane’s company. But God forbid I say that out loud, either.

One week after I posted the above status, Bill and I drove Zane to the vet for the last time. Sometime during the night, he started bleeding internally. I don’t know for certain, but I think he had tumors in his spleen that had ruptured. When we awoke on August 31st of last year, Zane looked like he had grown teats. They were full of blood. I do take comfort that his last week was relatively pleasant, as cancer deaths go. He spent the week enjoying the outside, agreeable temperatures, sunshine, eating what he wanted, and being with his people. But losing him hurt me a lot. I still think of him every day. This is the first time I’ve lost a dog and not replaced him soon afterwards. Some of you will remember that a few months ago, we did try to give a new dog a home as the COVID crisis was beginning. Our attempt to take in a dog ended in senseless tragedy. Guess I should “buck up”, though, because things aren’t so bad.

Dealing with COVID-19, a year after losing Zane, is depressing for different reasons. The world has changed so much in such a short span of time. I think people want and need to talk about it. Many aspects of the pandemic world are, indeed, very depressing. But if you dare mention it out loud, you run the risk of some asshole reminding you of what’s “really important” (in their minds). If you acknowledge that small children wearing face masks is abnormal, you have to brace yourself for an upbraiding by self-important twits who have to contradict you. You know what? Fuck those people. I have about had my fill of dealing with them.

I have a feeling the one person who “laughed” at my comment to the busybody did so because he’s also sick of dealing with this type of person who can’t just let people just express a thought without correcting them. Honestly, I think people like the woman who retorted to me are the reason we have people like Trump in charge. Most folks don’t want to be lectured to or told what is “right” by holier-than-thou people. And, as much as I now identify as more of a liberal type, I also understand that sometimes preachy liberal types are “insufferable” and tiresome. I can understand why that makes a loudmouthed cretin like Donald Trump seem refreshing to certain people.

I remember sometime last year, I wanted to issue a complaint to USAA about their two-factor authentication system. I would have done so privately, but was unable to find an email where I could send my feedback. So I posted my comment on their Facebook page. Sure enough, someone had to come along and contradict me. She couldn’t just let a fellow customer voice a valid complaint. She had to discount my comment by praising USAA, and reprimanding me for daring to make it in the first place, even though I’m a paying customer, too, and have a right to voice my concerns.

I know people don’t like complainers, but there has to be room for criticism in every situation. Nay-sayers provide information about what could be improved about something. Take the face masks, for instance. Lots of people are just fine with them. They happily strap them on before they do anything, from shopping to having sex. Some are even expressing delight in how they can make them fashionable and how the masks might help them avoid getting sick as they also hide their resting bitch faces. They actually enjoy smelling their own breath. They probably enjoy the smell of their own farts, too. And you know what? That’s fine and dandy for them.

But there are other people who have legitimate issues with wearing face masks. For instance, there are people who have trouble wearing them because they wear hearing aids and the ear loops on most masks knock the hearing aids out of their ears. Some people feel claustrophobic or super anxious when they wear them. Some people need to be able to read lips and can’t because of the masks. Some people make their living or just really enjoy playing woodwind instruments or singing. And some people literally lack ears! I’ve actually known a couple of people in that situation. One was a guy whose ears were deformed due to years of wrestling and being grabbed by his ears. Another was a man who’d lost part of his ears at war. Yes, there are masks available that tie in the back, but in the case of the war veteran, that was also problematic because he also had arthritis in his hands.

These people have needs that should be considered. They don’t need to be shut up by self-righteous dipshits who can’t simply let people have their say without a virtue-signaling, “one size fits all” rebuttal. People have a right to point out why masks are problematic for some folks and should strictly be a TEMPORARY measure. If no one complains, what incentive do we have to make things better for everyone— not just the cheerful, super responsible, self-righteous types who revere the masks?

It’s not normal, natural, or fun for most children to be forced to wear face masks. Really young children are just starting out in the world, learning how to socialize and communicate with other people. I do think it’s depressing that they have to be “trained” to wear a mask, which will hinder their ability to communicate, instead of being allowed to interact with others the way generations of people before them have been allowed to. I can make that statement without failing to realize why the masks are currently necessary and needing a fucking lecture from some stranger about how people are getting sick and dying of COVID-19. DUH. I’ve gotten the news. It’s on EVERY channel.

I can also make a statement about being really upset about my dog dying and my life temporarily sucking without some twit reminding me of how good I have it (especially since most of the people making those comments have NO IDEA what my life is actually like– they can only make assumptions).

People need to let people say their piece without contradicting them with their own virtue-signaling bullshit. Although to be fair, there’s a reason why I rarely bother posting comments on newspaper articles. It’s mainly because I hate dealing with people like the woman who corrected me this morning with her parental wisdom. Thanks, lady. You sure set me straight. I learned something new from you and am suitably chastened. Now run along, pick out your favorite mask for today, and let me go back to being my cranky self.

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rants

Three chords and the TRUTH…

Special thanks to Mary Ellen for the inspired blog post title…

Yesterday, as Bill and I were on our way home from the Eifel, we were listening to my iPod and Merle Haggard’s hit song “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink” came on. It occurred to me as I listened that I could probably play that song. It’s basically three chords repeated over and over again. Granted, I’m not skilled enough to do the guitar solos yet, but I sure can follow the chord progressions. They aren’t hard. They don’t even require a capo.

Yesterday afternoon, I finally picked up my guitar again, having taken the weekend off from playing it. I turned on Merle Haggard’s classic ditty and made my first attempt at playing along. Sure enough, I was successful. I felt momentarily self-congratulatory, then realized that song could be my own personal anthem. When Mary Ellen wrote “Three chords and the truth”, I realized that could be a fun song title… And it’s also high time I wrote another one of my famous parodies, particularly since I am getting so fucking tired of Facebook.

Yes… Merle Haggard has it going on.

Maybe that’s what I’ll do today. Bill went in to work, since our Internet service is uncharacteristically fragile right now. He needs to be able to use his Internet connection without fear of being bumped. The house is empty, except for Arran. Maybe it’s time I wrote a song… and even played along with it. My playing is still so rough that it might not even be recognizable as a cover of anyone else’s song. And I can make up some funny or wry lyrics about life.

It might take me some time to accomplish this little project. I can probably come up with the lyrics quickly, but the music and guitar playing will take time and effort. But why the hell not? I’ve always wanted to write a song. And I am soooo tired of reading most Facebook posts. It’s not even fun anymore, since most of it is either about some kind of social justice issue or another tutorial on public health matters. Much like Merle Haggard’s song, it’s basically the same three chords played over and over again, with only slight embellishments and variations. Lately, I’ve been especially irritated by the following meme that’s floating around.

Seriously? If you want to judge me, I don’t give a fuck. Why should anyone? How about I judge you for spelling “judgment” like a Brit when you’re clearly from the United States?

To be clear… I did spend the whole weekend complying with the face mask requirements, just as I have the whole time this stupid virus mess has been going on. However, I haven’t actually worn the mask much because I have been staying home instead of mingling with sanctimonious idiots who make it their mission to judge what other people are doing instead of focusing on their own damned business.

Is it a bad thing that instead of going out and mingling with people while wearing a mask, I sit at home and play guitar and write in my blog? Is it a bad thing that I’d rather be in the privacy of my own home, unharassed by virtue signaling busybodies, than out and about with other people’s eyes on what I’m doing and “silently judging me” for it? If I sit at home, my germs stay home. Man, I think living in America must really suck right now. Everyone is judging each other and acting like cops.

One really refreshing thing about living in Germany is that people here completely understand that the masks suck. They are willing to wear them because they are community minded people, and they want this shit to be in the past as soon as possible. But make no mistake… I haven’t seen a lot of cheerleaders here insisting that everyone else get on their goddamned bandwagon and react with indignant outrage when someone has the nerve to say something that counters the pro-mask narrative. The masks suck. They do. Deal with it, and don’t harass people for saying that the masks suck. If I want to complain, what’s it to you? Particularly if I comply as I complain? The best thing to do is to take your own public health advice, socially distance, and leave me alone. Edited to add: it does occur to me that I don’t see the cheerleaders here because I don’t make a concerted effort to read things that are written in German unless I have a really good reason to. I don’t need to be preached at in German, so that could be why I’m not seeing any hostile cheerleaders.

A couple of people on my friends list shared the above meme. I saw it right after I saw a thoughtful but irritating comic strip shared on a page called “Woman with a Brain“. This thing was originally posted on Medium.com, but now it’s making the rounds on Facebook. It’s not that I don’t agree with what’s written… it’s more that I’m really tired of reading this kind of politically correct lecturing shit on Facebook. It makes me wonder if the people who spread this stuff are hoping I’ll give them a cookie or something.

There’s a big fucking “smug alert” on Facebook…

When did social media become the place where everyone feels the need to “set a good example” for everyone else? When did it become the preferred medium for preaching to other people about how they should think and feel? Why do people feel like they need to take it upon themselves to “correct” other people’s behaviors and opinions, particularly when they are complete strangers? And why do people think that angrily confronting people, particularly when they are total strangers, is going to make them want to change their behaviors and opinions? In my experience, that kind of confrontation has the exact opposite effect. Moreover, when you point your finger at someone, there are usually at least three fingers pointing back at you. Isn’t Facebook supposed to be fun? There was a time when it kind of was… although it was probably at least four years ago.

I wondered if other people felt the same as I do; so last night, I asked my friends if Facebook is fun anymore. Quite a few friends responded with the simple word “no”. A few mentioned ways that Facebook is still fun. One friend went as far as to post a picture of me when we both waited tables in Williamsburg, Virginia. I will admit– that was fun to see! I was quite a bit thinner and had a cute, short, professionally done haircut, and a big smile on my face. However, make no mistake about it– that was one of the toughest times of my life. I was never so physically sick so often; I was taking high doses of expensive antidepressants; and although I was thinner, I was a lot more depressed and anxious than I am now. It was still fun to see those photos, though. I met some really good people during that time period and many of them are still friends today. Even when things really sucked for me personally, they didn’t totally suck.

That’s the kind of stuff I like seeing on Facebook– good memories with old friends, thought provoking articles, things that make me laugh or are entertaining… not the fucking lessons on how to wear a face mask, admonitions about how strangers are “judging” me on what I’m doing or not doing to “flatten the curve”, or how I should feel about #BlackLivesMatter or #BlueLivesMatter or any of the other social justice causes that are trending right now. Since I am an adult, no one else is qualified to tell me how I should feel, what my opinions should be, or how I should behave. You want to judge me for it or call me a “spoiled brat”? I can’t stop you. But I also wonder why you think I, or anyone else, should care about what you think about me. Frankly, your “silent judgements [sic]” should remain just that, and as long as they do, who gives a shit?

Bill says I remind him of Mr. Burns when I laugh. I must agree, he’s kind of right…

And that, my friends, is the truth… as I see it, anyway. So, now that I’ve written this, I’m going to see if I can write a song called “Three Chords and the Truth”. Wish me luck as I battle this second wave of “caution fatigue”.

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condescending twatbags, social media

Mask-misanthropy…

Face mask activism is continuing apace on Facebook and other social media platforms. Most recently, it’s become increasingly popular for people to post memes that say, “Wear a damn mask.” How do you feel when you see that meme? I know how I feel. When I see that meme, I feel aggressive, irritated, offended, and rebellious in response. I want to tell off the person who posted it. And I feel this way, even though I do wear the mask and accept that they might be helpful… not because I am convinced they will save mankind, but because they are required and I don’t enjoy being harassed.

It’s easier to wear a mask and get in and out of whatever needs doing in public, and then go home, than deal with aggressive, obnoxious, overbearing people who lack basic manners. But it sure doesn’t make me feel very good about living. In fact, it makes me wonder if it’s worthwhile to stick around this shithole of a planet. I mean, if this is the way people are going to be from now on, why bother?

I want to ask the people who post these memes if that’s really how they speak to their friends and family. Do they immediately swear at them and make demands? Do they really do this to strangers offline? If we were to meet offline, would this person snarl, “Wear a damn mask!” at me? That’s kind of the effect one gets, looking at those memes. They’re aggressive and off-putting. But then, people seem to be unusually aggressive and unpleasant lately.

I probably have this opinion mostly because I read comments. Judging by comments on social media, most people really are assholes and they lack the ability to have a respectful conversation with other people with different perspectives. Even so-called reporters of local news are becoming assholes. Case in point… this article shared on a site called Mission Local, which is apparently a San Franciscan news source. Writer Joe Eskenazi’s title is “Just wear a damn mask — and focus your anger where it belongs”. When I read that headline, I immediately feel angry and rebellious. I picture myself crossing my arms and telling Joe to go fuck himself. When you come at me with aggression, I want to respond in kind… and I’m basically compliant about masks. Imagine how the people who resolutely refuse to wear them feel about this approach. It probably makes them angry, too, and doesn’t actually inspire them to comply.

I did read the comments on Joe’s piece, though, and there was one person whose comments I agree with wholeheartedly. I thought the person was basically respectful and he made sense. However, Joe’s responses to him were rude and dismissive. Have a look:

Other commenters wrote this:

Notice how rude the responses are.

I think people on both sides of this issue have a right to be upset and angry about what’s happened over the past few months. I also think people have the right to be heard and responded to in a respectful manner. Ordering someone to wear the “goddamn mask” is not respectful or kind, and it begs a similar response in retort. When people are unnecessarily rude and aggressive to me, I am often tempted to respond that way myself. Fortunately, I usually stop myself before I go there. I don’t enjoy fighting with people, and the vast majority of people who are virtue signaling with this crap aren’t worth the effort, anyway.

I get that people are scared and frustrated. If I were in the United States, dealing with all of the craziness that is going on there, I might feel very differently about this issue. In fact, I might even be on the “wear the damn mask” bandwagon. But I’m not, and frankly these kinds of posts just make me feel berated, belittled, and like I’d rather not live anymore. That is a hallmark of depression, and depression is a serious but under addressed issue right now. The experts are starting to recognize that depression and COVID is a real thing. When I typed those search terms into Google, this is what came up:

Take a deep breath and think before you curse at someone… especially someone you don’t know. Consider whether or not your social media posts are about actually changing behavior or just virtue signaling and venting.

I read an interesting article about depression and COVID on The Atlantic. The author, James Hamblin, cited the case of one man who had closed down his acupuncture clinic and immediately suffered for it mentally. Falcone, the man Hamblin cited said, “I went into a pretty instant depression when I realized that my actual purpose was disintegrating. I’ve lost faith in myself. I don’t know if I can actually justify taking up space and resources.” I’ve actually felt this way myself for a good portion of my lifetime, so I really related.

Hamblin, who is a physician, lecturer at Yale Medical School, and a staff writer at The Atlantic, wrote:

After I confirmed with Falcone that he had no intent to harm himself, I recommended that he seek medical help. But given the unprecedented circumstances we’re all in, I’m not sure whether I under- or overreacted—or even what “help” should look like, exactly. The pandemic is a moment of historic loss: unemployment, isolation, stasis, financial devastation, medical suffering, and hundreds of thousands of deaths globally. Suddenly droves of people are being thrown into a state like Falcone’s, feeling lost, hopeless—in his words, “depressed.”

People have a lot of reasons to feel depressed and hopeless right now. Maybe that’s why people are being so aggressive and uncivilized about the issue of face masks. I’m seeing a lot of people who seem extreme on either side of this issue. This morning, there was a post– one of those annoying ones done on a background with stethoscopes– declaring that face masks will soon be legally mandated, like seatbelts, and implying that they should be. Against my better judgment, I posted that I hoped not, since I am counting on these measures being temporary. The poster came back and reiterated that the masks are like seatbelts. But they aren’t, really. It has always been dangerous to ride in a vehicle without a seatbelt. Not wearing a face mask has only been an issue for a few months so far. Moreover, it took many years to get the majority of people to wear seatbelts. If that ever happens with face masks, I hope I’m already long dead. I’ll probably become a permanent shut in.

I do not want to think of the rest of my life being like this. And my reality isn’t even all that bad. There are many people who have it much worse than I ever will. But this is not a pleasant way to live… and I wonder what the point is. Especially if the virus is here to stay and we’re probably all going to be exposed to it eventually, whether or not we’re wearing the “goddamn masks”.

Most people don’t mind wearing pants because not wearing them would be uncomfortable and embarrassing, especially during the cold months, when shrinkage would be an issue. I don’t think the face mask is quite the same thing, especially when it’s 90 degrees outside. And I hope wearing the mask is never as “essential” as wearing pants is. What good is a meme like this? Who will it convince?

We’re all in this together, and it’s better to try to be kind and empathetic than hostile and aggressive. Being rude, dismissive, discounting, and profane to perfect strangers just to get your point across is not likely to be met with success. I’m beginning to think that my “friends” who repeatedly post this kind of stuff maybe shouldn’t be my friends anymore.

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