Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ambivalent post (neither the first nor the last)

Yesterday, I was having an email back-and-forth with a friend. We were discussing ideas. I was feeling feverish, and in the midst of this, I got overly aggressive with my assertions, and lapsed into self-righteous ranting. It wasn't the worst of emails, but I knew the minute I hit "send" that I should have thrown the thing into the trash. I knew I'd gotten nasty.

It's a day later, and I still feel badly about it. This makes me wonder how people who are constantly engaging in this kind of behavior can live with themselves. Maybe if one does it enough, it doesn't feel so awful.

Unfortunately, I rather think that's true. Some folks are even proud of their mean spiritedness. The other day I was waiting in a drive-thru line and noticed that both cars ahead of me had nasty bumper stickers. One proclaimed, "I ♥ Haters!" The other one read, "I may be fat, but you're ugly, and I can diet." I just googled that one to make sure it was correct, and I got 188,000 results in .33 seconds. You can get a bumper sticker, mug, key chain, or coffee mug with this lovely sentiment stamped upon it. Let me ask you this: Why?

I know why I was mean yesterday. It was personal. We all occasionally go over the top when discussing subjects that are important to us. But, as far as day-to-day being a jerk for the sake of a laugh goes, I just don't get it. I was in some pain yesterday, and that does account for some of my poor judgment.

Is it possible that personal pain is what drives all the awfulness around us? Buddha would have said "yes." Suffering causes suffering.

Fear, insecurity, and jealousy certainly have something to do with all the offensive bumper stickers that I see on a daily basis. Around these parts, there are many variations on the "My kid beat up your honor student" bumper sticker. Is it wrong of me to point out the grammatical problem of "My kid is an honor student because they have better drugs than your kid"? There's probably a bumper sticker that makes fun of people like me who correct other peoples' grammar. I generally don't (at least not in person). However, finding a typo in another person's writing is what got me into trouble yesterday when I read so closely that I forgot an actual human being whom I care about had done the writing (and even if I didn't know the person, normally I would still try to be decent).

So, back to other things, because no one (I hope) would appreciate any more of my self-chastisement.

Gun rights folks seem to really like their bumper stickers. "Keep Honking - I'm Reloading" is #1 (with a bullet). This one really scares me: "Warning! Trespassers will be shot, stomped, violated, strangled, mutilated, kicked, beaten, and boiled alive. Leftovers will be fed to the dogs." I'm not making it up. You can buy this sticker here, here, and if you'd prefer the milder version, "Trespassers will be shot. Survivors will be shot again", well, there's 13,600 google hits for that particular warning.

I believe I've gotten the message.

I will not be posting it at the top of this entry.

Image note: George Morland 1763-1804 "Two Men Hunting Rabbits with their Dog, A Village Beyond" I wanted to find a nice painting of people hunting. Makes little sense, really. I found this, and thought it quite sweet (though, of course, the rabbits wouldn't agree).

Addendum: Y'know, it only just occurred to me that "I ♥ Haters!" might not be nasty at all. It might actually be simply delightful. Maybe the modern day Jesus would write that on a napkin when he's having supper with friends. Maybe we should all ♥ the haters instead of making fun of them like I am tonight, and make the world a better place. Maybe I should throw out this blog entry. Maybe not. Hey, I'm only human.


jmcleod76 said...

Or how about, "I still miss my ex ... but my aim is getting better!" Actually, though I find the sentiment horrifying, that one made me chuckle when I saw it a few months ago. The play on words is at least intelligent.

Melissa and I were talking about this last week, as we followed someone's massive phallic compensatory pickup truck, which had two giant middle finger bumper stickers on the back. "Is that really the message you want to go around sending to everyone in the world? You want every single person to f*** off? Really? That must me an exhausting way to live," my dear, insightful wife said to me. I agree.

As for the "I'm fat, you're ugly ..." thing, I think that, in some cases, that may come out of defensiveness. When I used to go home from school crying because I'd been bullied for being overweight, my dad used to tell me to say that same thing: "You just tell them that you can lose weight, but they'll always be ugly." Actually, if he'd said "assholes" instead of ugly, it may have been a slightly better sentiment, though I do believe people change. I was an asshole, myself, to some other kids in school. Pecking order, and all that. That's how we train each other for "the real world." Peck or be pecked ...

Julie H. Rose said...

You made me laugh with the words "massive phallic compensatory pickup truck."

"Nice truck. Sorry about your penis" is a real bumper sticker, probably not to be seen around these parts.

As always, you also made me re-think.

Btw, when I came home crying for being overweight, my parents would tell me to go on a diet.

PrintingHost said...

hey friend ...
thanks a lot for sharing such a great post which make me laugh though at the start of this day, my feeling was not so good, but with this writing I am feeling much release from that situation so I wanna pay special thanks for sharing..
Great job

Aylen Smith