Know What I Can’t Understand?

How anyone could want to hurt someone else.  That’s what I can’t understand.

These people set out to harm other people, either physically or emotionally.  Somehow they think it’s fun.  Somehow they think what they’re doing is right.  Of course it’s not.  But they do not seem to understand that.  Day to day, some people set out to deliberately hurt other people in the simplest, smallest of ways.

I’m not saying I’m perfect, either.  I’m not saying I’ve never hurt anyone.  I’ve hurt people.  I certainly didn’t do it on purpose and I’ve felt terribly badly about it afterward, and I’ve done the best that I can do, while still being truthful, to make it up to the person.  Unfortunately, sometimes there’s nothing you can do.  Sometimes you can’t make things right with the person and still be honest.  Sometimes the person is just determined to stay hurt.  That’s a terrible situation to be in, but occasionally unavoidable.

But I cannot understand deliberately setting out to hurt someone else.  Not that I haven’t wanted to do so.  The truth is, on almost a daily basis, I want to hurt someone.  Someone will irk me so much that I want to just punch them, or slap them, or stab them, or say just the right thing, in just the right way that it will get under their skin and make them feel small and worthless.  This makes me less of a man and I’d really like to see it change, but it’s true, nonetheless.  I’m grateful, however, that I am man enough to keep my mouth shut and keep my hands to myself.  There’s no benefit to hurting someone else.  It doesn’t make me a better person.  It doesn’t elevate my worth in any way.  And if I need to hurt someone else to make myself feel better, well then, I’m a really sad human being indeed.

I hate hurting others.  It makes me feel horrible.  And I hate seeing anyone or anything hurt.  When I’m watching late night, or cable television and those awful animal rescue commercials with the Sarah McLachlan song come on, I have to fast forward over them so I don’t see those poor animals’ faces.  Today I drove by a dead animal on the side of the road and I felt badly because it had been hurt.  I hate seeing children cry.  I hate when someone feels helpless and alone because someone has mistreated them.

I simply cannot understand how harassment and abuse is the solution to anything.  I can not comprehend how treating someone this way can make the person doing the harassing feel good.  How someone can wake up in the morning with the determination to harm someone else is beyond me.

When you consider the number of teen suicides and attempted suicides over the last year or so, all because those children have been bullied by people who made it their goal in life to belittle and humiliate the victim, it is simply incomprehensible that anyone, particularly adults, could behave this way, but it happens just as much among adults as it does children.

So, if you’ve been the victim of this kind of abuse or harassment, what have you done about it?  What have you done to make it stop?

And if you are, or have been guilty of abusing or harassing someone else, please dig deep and really think about what is damaged within you, that you feel good about your behavior.  I promise you, you are in the minority.

 

Advertisements

Not The Only One

I read a post on another blog this morning that I thought bore some sharing.  The post is, at least in part, about the civil and economic unrest in Greece, which, to be honest, I’m not very well informed about, but more importantly to me, the post included this paragraph:

I did not like the word faggot used there. I don’t like it that it’s acceptable by somebody in the public eye to use words like that to berate others in the year 2012. I don’t like it that well-known people can go on TV and use this and other similar words without anyone complaining about it. I don’t like it that racist and homophobic language are equally acceptable. That people can feature in mainstream media, using words like faggot (poustis), sissy (aderfi), nigger (arapis) and ape (pithikos) to describe others. Whether it’s done in a serious or a ‘humorous’ way. I loathe that no one calls them out on it.

I say, here, here!  It’s time more people stood up to this!

The entire blog post can be read here.

Now, I’m Not Saying I’m Not Wearing Underwear…

For about a week now, the hosts of my favorite morning radio show have been promoting National Commando Day today.  Sometimes the tangents they go off on are not… the cleanest.  They stated that when a woman goes commando it’s called climando.  I think that’s disturbing.  (Which begs the question, why did I include it here?)  I know what that means and I’d prefer not to think about it.

Anyway, I wondered what this National Commando Day thing was all about.  I mean, it seems like every day is some sort of national day of something (though I have no idea who decides.)    Today the LOLCats seem to think it’s National Popcorn Day:

courtesy icanhazcheezburgers.com

But can we have competing national days?  Am I supposed to kick back and watch a movie while eating disgustingly over-buttered popcorn while not wearing any underpants?  I’m confused.

I did a search for “National Commando Day” on Google and the first item in the results says National Commando Day 2009.  In 2009, there was a National Commando day, but it was July 31st.  Later I found there was also a National Commando day on July 29th, 2010.  Nothing on 2011 and certainly nothing about today.  The link points to www.nationalcommandoday.org/ a website that focuses on bringing attention to Prostate Cancer and the need for early detection.  OK, I can get… ahem… behind… that.

The next relevant result was for GameStop.  September 20, 2011 was a GameStop-declared “National Commando Day”, but it clearly was not the same thing.  Apparently, that was the day that Gears of War 3 came out.  I’m not so sure I’m amused by their use of “commando” for their purposes, but that’s just me.

There’s a link to a Facebook group for National Commando Day, but it’s the same organization and it appears to refer back to the 2009 date.  And there’s a link to a site called http://www.prostateconditions.org/ which then has a link back to National Commando Day.org.  Nothing about a 2012 event.  There is, of course, a link to “going commando” on Wikipedia and not entirely surprising, there’s a link to the Sarah & Vinnie podcast from just this morning discussing National Commando Day, where supposedly, all of the on-air personalities of the show were going commando (or climando – ew) today.

At one point Sarah & Vinnie mentioned something about Betabrand which I’ve never even heard of before this week.  A quick search for Betabrand on Google reveals that the clothing manufacturer (who happens to be here in San Francisco) does make a product called Couch Commando Drawstring Pants.

Okay!  Now I get it.  I just click on the link to Betabrand’s website.  Apparently, I’ve had it wrong all along.  Today is actually Intergalactic Commando Day.  Here’s the deal.  According to Betabrand’s website, lots of authoritative, know-it-all types (like the Farmers Almanac, among others) agree that today, January 19th, is the coldest, most brutal day of the year, here in the northern hemisphere.  A quick downward swipe on the face of my iPhone tells me it’s about 50 degrees outside, so…  I guess I’ll take their word for it.  The challenge is:

On this auspicious and frigid date, men around the world (and beyond) are encouraged to spend the day 100% underwear-free. Our modest goal is 100 million participants: a massive, free-balling force of spirited gentleman dedicated to showing Old Man Winter who’s really boss. (Tropical commandos are welcome to join this effort in spirit.) In addition, Betabrand is asking all available women to report for spot-check duty in order to enforce the (un)dress code.

It’s actually a joint effort with an organization called Veterans Expedition.  I’m not really clear on what Veterans Expedition does, and I’m tired of reading other websites instead of writing on my own, so I’m just going to say that it’s an organization that does something that benefits Veterans, and that’s never gonna be a bad thing.  Anyway, for every purchase of Betabrand pants that occurs(ed) on January 18 & 19, 2012, they will donate $10.00 to Veterans Expedition…

And now I have jokes about what the crossed purposes of prostate cancer screening and Veterans Expeditions might be and exactly what kind of expeditions we’re talking about, going through my head and begging to get out my fingers, which… no!  Just no.

Anyway, as I said, I’m not saying I’m not wearing underwear, but…  anyway you look at it, it seems like it would be for a good cause…  😉

Sopapillas and Pita Bread

I was going to write a riveting, brilliant, startling revelation of a post, today, about my improved emotional well-being and something that I’ve been giving a lot of though to recently.  It was going to be a amazing and you were going to love it.

But now I’m just pissed off and it’s all your fault.  Yours and yours and…  well, not yours.  You didn’t do it.

It’s all this bullshit I’m seeing everywhere I turn about the bills before the house and congress about censorship of the internet.  I’m just sick of it.

No!  You know what I’m sick of?  I’m sick of vigilante activism.  That’s what I’m sick of.  Occupy this.  Black out that.  Come on!  You want to educate people, then educate people, but this is ridiculous.

Last night I watched a really weird LGBT movie called “The Lost Coast”.  The movie was strange, but it had some really good moments in it.  Early on one of the characters picks up a photograph in another characters apartment and says, “Is this the lost coast?”  I didn’t even know the lost coast was a real place.  (Turns out it’s somewhere north of where I live, here in California.)  I did what I always do when I don’t know something.  I Googled it.  This was last night; about 9:00.  The first result, as is so often the case, was Wikipedia.  So I clicked on the link and the page loaded, and then just as I was starting to read about the lost coast, the screen went black and an annoying message popped up, whining at me about internet censorship and “Imagine a World
Without Free Knowledge”.  There was no way to acknowledge the message and move on.  Just, “nah-neh-nah-neh-nah-nah.  You can’t read my pages.”  Last night.  It annoyed me, but I found what I wanted to know elsewhere.

Today, as I’m reading through the blogs in my reader, I find post after post about these bills and how wretched and horrible and awful the bills are.  Now, I usually open the blogs and read them on people’s sites.  I’m not at all sure that reading in Google Reader counts toward people’s page views on their blog stats and while we like to pretend we’re cool and don’t care about such things, we’re lying.  We all care.  So I like to make sure it counts.  (This, by the way, is the reason you have to come to my blog to read the entire post… just in case you were wondering.)  Anyway, half of these posts have come through just fine in my reader and I could read the entire thing if I wanted, but when I clicked on the blogs themselves the blogs are blacked out “in protest”.  So, I can read teh whole damn post on Google Reader, but I can’t read it on your blogs and show you I’ve been there.  Vigilante Activism Fail!!!

It’s not that you wrote blog posts about it.  They’re your blogs.  You can write what you want.  Personally, I’m annoyed by the glut of posts on the subject, but at least by writing about the bills you’re making an effort to educate me.  It’s the “blacking out” of the pages “in protest” that’s got me pissed.  By the way, I haven’t read any of your anti-sopapilla bill blog posts.  I’ve even dropped a couple anti-pita bread bloggers from my line up.  Enough is enough!

I sent a link to a particularly funny lolcat to K this afternoon.  The lolcats did it right.  There’s a screen that pops up in front of the page and tells you to beware the bogey monster and then at the bottom it asks you  if you’d like to learn more.  You can click a “learn more” button and, imagine that, learn more.  Or you can click on the “no thanks” button and get on with your life.  K wouldn’t look at the lolcat because she wasn’t willing to click the “no thanks” button.  Her loss.

Look.  I get it.  Censorship is bad.  We don’t want these bills to pass and if someone presents me with an unoffensive petition to sign, I’ll sign it.  I sent the e-mails to my representatives.  I’ve done my part.  And the truth is, I don’t really understand what these bills are about.  What is internet piracy?  How are these bills supposed to make things better?  I. Don’t. Know.  What I do know is, blacking out or otherwise inconveniencing half of the internet, isn’t serving any purpose.  I guarantee you the talking heads in Washington, do not care that I couldn’t look up the lost coast last night.  The vast majority of them have not looked for a single website that happened to be part of this ridiculous protest.

IT.  DOES.  NOT.  WORK.

Dreaming

I work for a company that purports itself to be big on diversity.

Actually, I guess I shouldn’t say it that way.  We rank 90% on the Human Rights Campaign‘s 2012 Buying for Workplace Equality guide.  The company provides Domestic Partner benefits, financial benefits for adoption services.  We allowed same-sex couples to visit their spouses in the hospital before it was federally mandated.  Our physicians are trained and encouraged to respect other cultures and their alternative belief systems in regard to medical care.  Periodically, we are required to attend sensitivity and cultural diversity awareness training.  So, I guess they are pretty big on diversity.

It is for this reason, that I find it fascinating that I AM NOT OFF WORK TODAY.  What the hell, man!?!?  I think if the mail doesn’t run and the bank is closed and kids are out of school, I should not have to work either.  Whatever.

The truth is, I think the significance of this “holiday” is lost on a lot of people, these days anyway, and as the time goes on, it will be lost on more and more people.  Not because Martin Luther King Jr. doesn’t matter.  Not because what he did for this country isn’t invaluable, but because as time goes on and we age, it’ll be harder and harder for the surviving members of our population to imagine what this country was like before MLK did his thing.

I remember learning about Martin Luther King, Jr. in school.  I remember the first time I heard the “I have a dream” speech:

I have a dream that one day…little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I looked around my classroom at the faces of the non-white boys and girls in my classroom and I thought, “how could it ever have been different.”  Certainly I was naive, but I couldn’t imagine a world where people were mistreated for their differences.  It’s funny how things change.

In my book, there’s a scene when Calvin (the lead character who is in no way based on my own existence and any similarities that may exist are entirely coincidental – *whistle, whistle, whistle*) has gone home to visit his family for Thanksgiving.  His sister Haley picks him up from the airport and as they are chatting on the way to their mother’s house, she tells him she’s dating a black man and “mom doesn’t know.”  It was something Calvin should not, and would not want to, tell their mother.

In reality, my sister did briefly date a black man in college and she never told my mother he was black, largely because of her reaction when our older brother dated a black woman when he was in college.  Our mother insisted, and for the most part, I really do believe, that she is not prejudice, that she doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with interracial relationships, she would just rather her children not engage in them “because of the hardships you’ll endure because of them.”  The fact that my brother’s girlfriend was also, “a witch” and that her brother turned out to be gay (while attending a Christian University), were certainly not points in her favor…

I can’t help but wonder what my mother’s reaction would be if I ended up married to a black man.  Would that be two strikes against him, or has even she progressed enough not to care about race any longer.  The fact that he would be male, would be problem enough for her.

Anyway, a world where black people were not treated as a welcome and equal member of society was just unimaginable to me in my naive, teen years.  I didn’t think discrimination existed in this country any longer…  And then I realized I was gay and it was a whole new ballgame.  But that’s a different story.

I knew my commute would be light today and I was glad for that; I was running late yet again!  As I rounded the corner to the parking garage entrance I thought how nice it will be for the garage not to be so full for once.  Once again, naiveté rears its ugly head.  Nobody parks in this garage but employees of the company for which I work.  Today is not a holiday at the company for which I work.  The garage was as full as ever.

At lunch, I had two errands to run; buy cat food and pick up a library book that’s on hold for me at the branch by my house, four miles away.  I bought the cat food first, three miles in the opposite direction…

So like I was saying, if the mail doesn’t run and the bank is closed and kids are out of school and the library is closed, I should not have to work either.

Whatever.

What is the Deal

Watch this video from my favorite Christmas movie.  Don’t worry, it’ll open in a separate window.  I tried to embed it but the person who posted this set it up so it couldn’t be embedded and it was the only clip I could find with the crucial line in it.  If you don’t have much time, skip ahead and watch from 3:03 to about 3:30.  (Thanks a lot, Christmas Dave for ruining the flow of my blog post.)

Go over to YouTube and watch the clip.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.  I’ll be here when you get back.

Finished?  Great.  Now allow me to branch off into a seemingly completely unrelated topic, only to loop it all back around in then end…

I’ve got a bit of seemingly minimal crap going on in my life.  But of course, “a bit” of seemingly minimal crap can pile on and amount to one big pile of smelly, unpleasant…  stress.

The apartment I have lived in for the last four years has only one built-in source of heat.  It’s a small, gas-burning fireplace with asbestos (probably not asbestos) logs that glow when hot to make it look like they’re on fire.  The flame itself only resembles a smoulder and offers no ambiance to my apartment.  The fireplace gets pretty hot right where it is and according to “them” is supposed to be sufficient to heat my whole apartment.  In reality, it s about 85 degrees at the fireplace and about 65 degrees 8 feet away.  Plus, the fir place puts off an obnoxious odor that gives me a headache.  I choose not to use the fireplace and in the meantime, it is freezing in my apartment.

Yesterday I went to the Orthodontist for what was supposed to be my take-my-braces-off appointment.  Last month, the younger Dr. Tinloy (it’s a father and son practice) told me to pay close attention to my teeth over the next month and see if there was anything else I felt needed to be corrected and this month we’d talk about taking the braces off.  Realizing that literal perfection is not a possibility at my age, without extraction and implants, I’m pretty happy with the way my teeth look these days, but I did notice that the back teeth on the bottom are not in-line with the rest of my teeth.  I didn’t know if it really mattered, or if it was worthwhile (or even possible) to try to correct, but I didn’t want to look back on this experience in a couple of years and wish I had stuck it out and gotten those last two teeth straightened out.  When I pointed this out to the older Dr. Tinloy yesterday, he agreed that it could be done and even said he did think it was worthwhile.  So here I sit with braces still on my teeth and in some respects tighter than they’ve ever been.  I’m aware that after only one year and nearly finished I’m better off than most and my threshold for pain is pretty high so I haven’t had a lot of discomfort, but they’re a hassle and I’m ready to have them off.  In the end though, I chose to continue with the process and finish what I started.

Some time in the last month or so, some ne’er-do-wells managed to sneak some contraptions into the self-service check stands at several of the local Lucky’s grocery stores.  These contraptions record and somehow transmitted or conveyed the information from customer’s credit cards to the ne’er-do-wells who have been using the information fraudulently and causing a lot of trouble and heartache for the owners of those cards and the banks they’re attached to.  Sadly, I frequent two of those Lucky’s grocery stores and while, fortunately, I have not been a victim of any identity theft, or bank fraud, my bank, proactively, decided to cancel my debit card because I shopped at those stores.  They sent a replacement, which I received yesterday, but for several days I was without access to my money…

This was not as much of a hardship as it could have been, because, well…  I really don’t have any money.  I have $38.00 in the bank until payday which is this Friday.  I need to do Christmas shopping (soon, since most of my gifts are going out of state) and I have bills that are coming due soon, but for the moment, I’m OK, financially speaking.  Still $38.00 isn’t much and I would certainly prefer to have more money just hanging around…  I suppose we could all say that, though, no matter how much we actually have “hanging around.”

For a few weeks, ever since the very sniffly, coughy, non-hand-washy DMV worker, I’ve been struggling with cold-like symptoms.  First it was a couple of weeks of running nose and sniffles.  Then just as that was dwindling away, I started coughing… TWO. WEEKS. LATER.  The cough has persisted.  It’s not constant, though it is a nuisance.  It’s not productive and despite my best efforts it’s not offering any kind of relief to the irritation that causes it in the first place.  While I have not been short of breath, I have had a hard time getting a full, deep breath and when I try, it just makes me cough some more.  Also, after nearly three weeks of coughing, I have muscular pain in my chest and back when I cough.  Monday, I finally broke down and called my health care provider.  I wasn’t sure there was any point in me going in – I don’t go to the doctor for the common cold…  though maybe I should.  After a conversation with an “Advice Nurse” it was determined that I could probably make do with a “phone appointment” and a little while later, I spoke with a doctor who, after discussing my symptoms said, “it sounds like you’ve got bronchitis” and proceeded to put in three prescriptions for me; two inhalers and one bottle of pills.  Now, what I’m about to say is going to sound really ungrateful, so let me just specify that I KNOW I’m luckier than many people when it comes to health care coverage and yet, even for me, an employee of my healthcare provider, costs have gone up.  Everything is relative and compared to the coverage I used to have – $5.00 for prescriptions and $0.00 for everything else – the increased expenses suck.

Remember that my ATM/Debit card was cancelled and I did not have access to the $38.00 in the bank.  I happened to have very full jars of change on my dresser which I took to a coinstar machine and cashed in.  It gave me enough cash that I should have been able to get through this week without any fears of running out of lunch money.  My three prescriptions on Monday night cost me $45.00 and I had to pay another $1.00 for parking.  I had $49.00 cash in my pocket.  Suddenly, I didn’t have any more money for the week.

Monday, I reminded K of a task she needed to complete for me this week.  It’s a task that will take her all of 20 minutes to complete and normally she wouldn’t have to do it right now, but she’s on vacation next week and I’m taking another two weeks stay-cation starting at Christmas.  What she needs to do for me needs to be done and announced before I go on vacation, therefore, she needs to do it this week.  Her response?  “See this is why I asked you last week if there was anything else I owed you.”  After thinking of a number of less friendly things to say, I simply said, “You’re welcome,” and left it at that.  I chose not to make her attitude, my problem.

Yesterday, I had about an hour and a half between my Orthodontist appointment and my bi-weekly appointment with Deb and while I was at home I had a thought that caught me a little by surprise and when I expressed the thought to Deb, “With all this stuff going on, I’m not stressed out about it.  I’m doing just fine,” I got a mental picture of The Grinch in the scene above…

To paraphrase a little bit, “I’ve got all this crap going on, and I’m fineWhat is the DEAL?!?!?”