same root, very different outcome

humiliationHumiliation describes a strong feeling of embarrassment or mortification — like that time in sixth grade when your mother wiped your face and called you “honey bunny” in front of all your friends. Humiliation comes from the Latin word humiliare, which means “to humble.”
Am I the only one that finds it interesting how humble could evolve into the exact opposite?
A person in possession of humility recognizes their place in the world, does not overstate their existence, displays a modicum of reverence for those around and is prone to acceptance. This person, ideally, would be a total failure if he lowered himself to the point in which he deliberately embarrassed another person. It’s an almost perfect metaphor for the decline of modern society. The only flaw is that most people don’t display humility. A significant amount of people, much to my chagrin, are actually capable of great cruelty.
I was inspired to delve into this moral distinction by a post from a dear friend who is grappling with some powerful emotions, brought on by a handicapped parking spot and the chaos that ensued. https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/73254859/posts/1731630483
She was brought into a discussion in which a person with a Handicap placard on their car was confronted by an angry note on her car. You don’t look sick, save a space for someone who needs it (or something to that effect). This brought out so many questions for her. It is a big issue for her, she has an invisible illness, a handicap placard, and a high likelihood that it will happen to her someday.
Why can’t people mind their business?
Is it ok for a 9 yr old to verbally defend the parent?
Do people even understand invisible illness?
Why do people feel compelled to lash out?
Is it acceptable to respond emotionally, with possible profanity?
And perhaps most important…how would a genuinely good person handle it?
What impressed me about this post is that, of all of the important issues brought to the surface, her biggest concern was that she, if in this situation would react the right way. What is the moral high ground here? I have some thoughts on this.
If someone were to leave such a note on my car, I would be frustrated at the anonymous, passive-aggressive nature of it. If someone were to call me out personally as I stepped out of my car, in my nice reserved parking space, having the balls to walk “normally” I may have a different reaction. I would like to think that I would gracefully respond along the lines of “I don’t have to have an IV bag to have this spot”. But I may also respond with a firm “mind your own fucking business”. One is more acceptable than the other but the second one is not wrong, it’s just not productive.
The bottom line is that it’s not your journey, it’s the attackers. You can’t think for them, you can’t make them think at all and you can’t control their own lack of control when they speak. I go back to my original question, how does humility evolve into humiliation? It doesn’t. Humble people, who make up a small but significant portion of the population wouldn’t attack an easy target. Most people are not prone to humility, but instead are quick to speak while slow to think; ignorant, as in uneducated, about invisible illness; and too free to offer up unwanted opinions. Their ability to humiliate another is truly alarming. This is only a microcosm of society in general.
I told my friend much of what I have said here. That there are no easy answers, that in the end, it is up to other people to learn how to interact with the rest of the world. We can’t change the behavior but we can control how we react to them. I don’t think I helped her much. After all, she knew the answer. Telling someone off isn’t going to do anything to stop the problem. Not saying anything is like swallowing a bitter pill. What do you do?
My father always said of fighting “If you punch an asshole in the mouth, you may feel better but he’s still an asshole”. That is an unfortunate reality. To walk away is harder, especially when you have been victimized and marginalized. A strong person can do it but could not be faulted for lashing out. It doesn’t feel good no matter how you handle it.
So we go back to the other person’s journey. What makes people offer up unsolicited, hurtful opinions? A lack of empathy? A lack of knowledge? Poor upbringing?
D) All of the above.
People are mean, looking for a way to make themselves feel better about themselves, finding their voice by silencing another’s. The only way to change this is to be better. My friend started and ended with that. As a good person, she sought the means to deal with a bad person. Therein lies the answer. Slowly, one person at a time, answer bad with the good, negative with positive and eventually you will enact real change.
If we heed “be kind, for everyone you find is fighting a hard journey”, and follow Gandhi’s “Be the change you want to see in the world” we will see change. I don’t know how many generations it will take but it will happen.

the Apple has a worm

I made myself get an iPhone this year when my upgrade was ready with Sprint. I did it reluctantly, my entire family and the rest of the known universe has one so I had to see what the big deal is. I am not impressed. As a guy who doesn’t play games, use a ton of apps and spend all day glued to it my phone needs are not a high priority. I use the internet, emails, social media, the camera and make calls. That’s it. I lose a lot of calls, the blue tooth is not working right and every time it updates it messes everything up. Part of this may be that I’m not tech-savvy. I know my way around a computer but I don’t care much otherwise. I’m old-fashioned like that, when I graduated HS the internet was barely a thing. Because I’m old-fashioned, I also like talking to a person when I have a problem. After my experiences with Apple and Itunes customer support’s phone system and customer service, I officially hate Apple. I may be the only person in the world to say this but it’s true.

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Voice-activated computerized menus suck. Theirs is the worst. None of the options given by the computer have ever been what I was calling about and getting the option to speak to a representative isn’t offered. I find myself screaming “CUSTOMER SERVICE REP” into the phone before I finally get someone. With the exception of maybe twice I have been connected with a gum-snapping, Starbuck’s Venti triple-swirl, cinnamon-laced-wheatgrass-infused with tiger semen sipping person who puts me on hold for twenty minutes only to give me a different number to call.

Resetting my password was an act of Congress because they couldn’t tell the difference between my son’s account and my own. But I dealt with them. I had to.

Today, while shoveling snow in white-out conditions my phone apparently fell out of my pocket. I looked everywhere, under mountains of snow as if someone had sneezed the coke off of the coffee table at Robert Downey’s house. It’s gone. So I called my carrier for my options. Sprint told me that I can get a new phone for $473.99 (in other words pay off my current plan). I said, “what about my protection plan?”

“Oh, you have AppleCare?”

They gave me the number to AppleCare. Surprise, surprise they don’t cover lost phones. Ugggghhhhh. Either way, I have to pay $473.99.

My mother called her provider and asked about adding me to hers. Good news, they can add me on cheaper, their protection plan covers lost phones and they will pay $375 towards paying off my other plan. I asked them what the deals were. They offered me a great deal on a Samsung 8 Note. I love that phone. I said “Great, let’s do that. How do I get the $375 to pay off Sprint.?”

“Oh, I’m sorry sir. That deal only applies if you get the iPhone.”

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Day 13…a letter to my body

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Dear body:

We need to come to some kind of an understanding. We can go around and around about who started it but it doesn’t solve anything. You were broken at an early age so I gave up on you. I didn’t ask for a failing body, I didn’t inherit it. I didn’t ask for it. It just happened. So as I ate junk food, boozed and generally abused you I did it out of sheer frustration for being dealt a shit hand.

You have to admit it, eventually, I came to terms with our differences and began to treat you better. I began to feed you better food, less booze and I even exercised you.

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In our 30’s I took great care of you. But you were already broken. When we were 31 we got cancer. We worked together to kick it out for good.

When we were 40 we got a staff infection that almost killed us. If not for a routine bed check on the 6th floor we would be worm food right now. Do you know that I actually left you for 4 minutes? But some yelling doctors got us together again.

In our late 40’s you decided that you needed spare parts in order to continue running, Somehow we got you a new kidney part and you loved it. Sure you tried to reject it a couple of times, that’s normal. But I fed you drugs that made you stop. For a while you worked with me. Then you allowed the original defect to come back in the replacement part. Even after being so nice to you for 4 years you let me down again. Now we are sick again. The Dr said today that the new part only has 30% functionality left.

I am proposing a truce. If I promise to continue to give you good food, plenty of exercise and sleep will you make an effort to make that 30% last as long as possible? You see, there are so many things that I want to do and many important occasions, still unplanned but I hope to see them in my daily planner, at which my presence will be requested.

I don’t like our relationship, but I’ve come to grips with it. As I said I don’t blame you. Please work with me, consider my proposition carefully. I am sincere on my end. All I need is time. Precious time. I can think of a few people that will also be eternally grateful.

Respectfully,

The soul

Just people, that’s all

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“I love the Dollar Store.I don’t have to get all dolled up like going to a Wal-Mart”

anonymous internet meme.

I admit it, I am a Wal-Mart shopper. I see no need to pay more than I have to for toilet paper and socks. Yes, Wal-Mart doesn’t pay its employees very well and their lack of benefits may indeed be a burden on our health-care system by forcing workers into state exchanges. I always look at the flip side, they give a lot of people jobs that they might not otherwise be qualified. Yes, some of their employees are not qualified for much else. I said it. I just see people working which makes me happy.

I stopped in Sunday afternoon to use their coin machine. I had an ashtray full of change to cash in. Their machine takes 10% but I don’t care I’m not rolling coins. It occurred to me as I walked in that the holiday shopping season was in full frenzy and I had possibly made a mistake. As I waited for the machine to count my change I scanned the checkout area and it wasn’t too bad. I grabbed my receipt and headed for the line.

As I stood patiently in line, looking out of place I’m sure with no items in my hand, the woman in front of me abruptly spun around and said: “Savers is half off today.” She was clearly hammered, three sheets to the wind drunk.

I politely replied, “then why are you here?” I actually had no idea what “Savers” is.

She went on to explain that it is a store and that she had already been there, and called me “silly”. I looked politely around as she was talking and people were staring at her in righteous disapproval. Judging.

“My name is Janet, Merry Christmas!” she said thrusting her hand towards me. I introduced myself and returned the greeting. Janet motioned to the man behind her, who was dutifully emptying his cart onto the register belt as her husband. She went on to explain how she and Earl have no family and they will be celebrating early this year. Ignoring the opportunity to tell her it looks as if she has already started celebrating I let it go. Instead, I told her that she should be able to celebrate any way she wants to.

They checked out and started to leave and Janet turned and said goodbye to me. Once again everyone looked at this clearly intoxicated woman with disdain. I didn’t. My takeaway was that she was friendly and nice. Who am I to judge her? Unless she is driving of course. I wished her a Merry Christmas again.

Wal-mart is full of people, regular people who for the most part lack pretense. I’ll take that any day.

Day 10…a letter to the leader of the Country

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Dear Mr. President:

You are perhaps the most amazing story in political history. Your election shook the world. It was historic on so many levels and the shock waves still ripple across the world one full year after your election.

On election night I watched the results unfold with unbridled glee. Not because I was supporting you, (I did in the same manner as every other election I have voted in, I voted against a candidate, not for one), but because of the sheer excitement of it. I felt vindicated because I predicted your victory when no one in my circle did. I simply knew that the polls were not accurate. That many who were polled either gave no answer or lied. for fear that supporting you would cause them backlash or social condemnation. Therefore the numbers that predicted a Hillary victory were simply not accurate and the “silent majority” would speak with their vote, not their voice. As I sat on the edge of my seat I embraced the tumult that then unfolded.

Of course, I didn’t realize the chaos that would ensue. The reaction from the pundits was hilarious and expected. While required to maintain an “objective” expression they failed miserably, they couldn’t contain their anger at your election. No surprises there for me. But the country itself did surprise me and continues to do so. College students felt violated and clamored tearfully for “safe spaces”. Grown men and women cried in public and called for the immediate disbanding of long-standing election protocols. In short, millions of people lost their fucking minds when their candidate didn’t win. It is a sad state of affairs but it is very telling of the mindset of our country. Our youth is unaccustomed to not getting their way, our adults have lost the ability of reasonable discourse, and our country is hopelessly divided. If you do an absolutely amazing job in the next three years your popularity will never exceed 50%. Fortunately, you don’t care about any of that.

Mr. President, you were elected by a lot of people who didn’t agree with the direction the previous administration was going. They didn’t necessarily vote for you, but for the issues that you stood for and that, let’s face it you were a lesser evil to many. You are not an ideal candidate. You are not Presidential in the way you carry yourself. You are crass, you can be a braggart, you are not well-spoken and you are impulsive in your words and actions. I can only speak for myself, but I thought your competitor was corrupt, while I only find you imperfect. I compromised a lot of my personal convictions to vote for you in hopes that you will grow into the job.

As the country still reels from your win, and as your critics and enemies pull out every stop to destroy you please remember that you hold the most powerful position in the free world. If I love my country I cannot possibly in good conscience want you to fail. That would be commensurate to hoping the pilot of my aircraft will fail. Do what you said you would do, fulfill your promises because that is integrity. Please also remember that with integrity comes the ability to absorb criticism, be civil to your detractors and to act upright at all times. The insolent temper tantrums, name-calling, and dick-measuring need to stop. It is not, whether you care about this or not, representative of your office. Even if I didn’t respect you, you sit in the chair that many great men have before you. Act like it.

The country is not broken, but it is cracking. Everything you do can either help fix or further the damage. I’m counting on you. Put the damn twitter account away and charge forward.

A concerned citizen.

Day 8 of the 30 day challenge…a letter to a product/company

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Dear Candy industry:

Please don’t think that I don’t know what you are up to.

You are not doing it for health reasons.

You are not doing it to address the National Obesity and Diabetes epidemic.

You are not fooling anyone.

You are shrinking your product’s serving sizes and you need to stop. The “share size” peanuts M & M’s is what fat fucks like me call ONE serving. And there is absolutely nothing fun about excitedly opening a Snicker’s “Fun Size” and seeing a serving the size of a squirrel turd. What’s next, will we open the package and I’ll get a whiff of chocolate smelling air?

Please, for the love of God remember who made you. Fat kids who wanted to eat their problems away. I will monitor my own blood sugar thank you very much.

I thank you for your consideration in this matter,

 

A longtime fan

Day 7…a letter to a celebrity to despise

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Dear Kathy Griffin:

I just want you to know that you are a despicable celebrity. It annoys me to no end that there might be a person somewhere  that is influenced by you. Your spotlight is undeserved, your celebrity is unearned and your influence is as toxic as it is unexplained.

If you have read this far you are probably knee-jerking your way to dismissing me as a Trump-supporter. You know, the white-supremacist Nazi redneck hillbilly inbred gun-toting bible-clutching toothless moron label that you have attributed to about 61 million people that didn’t vote for your candidate. If you came to that conclusion then you are wrong. I am just a middle-of-the-road American citizen. I don’t fit into any molds, I don’t have an agenda. I just care about right and wrong. And I think that everything about the way you make a living is wrong.

I am a lover of comedy, all kinds. The ability to laugh offsets much of the sadness in the world for many. Those that know how to create laughter have a special gift. You possess no such gift. Your “comedy” consists of mean-spirited barbs and attacks. You viciously attack anyone whose name is recognizable to draw attention to yourself. But once we are looking at you there is nothing to look at. You lack substance, empathy, discretion and sensibility.

It is not all your fault, I partially blame anyone who thinks that you are entertaining enough to dedicate time to. There is no accounting for taste.

I have earnestly hoped that Natural Selection, Nature’s way of eliminating the weak and impure, would have taken you away by now but that was not to be. Instead of falling through the chain of Hollywood, finally being spit out of the bottom of the porn industry like you deserve you again rose to National attention by sporting a likeness of the President of the United States’ bloody head. Yea that’s funny. Regardless of political party, a civilized person cannot find that acceptable or funny.

That was wrong. And you were called out for it. You received tremendous backlash and you begrudgingly gave a bullshit apology that no one believed. But at least you did. I was resentful that people knew your name again but happy you did kind of the right thing.

Until you later retracted your apology, realizing that your fans had no more of a moral compass than you. And for that I will always hate you. It was bad enough that you are talentless and unfunny but you are now a liar who spit in the faces of the people that never deserved your unwanted attentions in the first place.

Please crawl back into the pool of primordial ooze that you and your bad dye-job climbed out of. And please, for the sake of all of us just shut the fuck up.

with disgust,

A decent citizen