Monday, September 21, 2020

Don't worry. Be angry.

I need to get something off my chest. Again. Times likes these call for two blog posts in one week. 

A friend told me that somebody asked if I was "okay" last week. Apparently, after reading my latest post ripping the president and asking some legitimate questions of his supporters, this yet-to-be-named individual expressed their "worry" for me because I "seem very angry."

That made me even angrier. 

To insinuate that something is wrong because I don't sit back and shut my mouth while the country goes to hell, is infuriating. I guarantee if I shared the political perspective of the concerned party, there'd be no worry at all. 

Am I angry? You're goddamn right I am. If you're not angry right now, you're either not paying attention or you're ok with how things are. I'm not sure which is worse. But I can assure you, I'm okay. At least as okay as one can be right now. I might say "fuck" and "goddamn" a lot, but I'm good. 

In fact, I'm more okay than I've ever been, because I finally know what side I'm fighting for.  

Worried about me? Come on. Those that really know me, know I couldn't hurt a fly, literally. I see a spider in the house, I scoop him up and let him outside. I'd stop traffic to help a turtle cross the road. Babies and dogs love me because babies and dogs know things. The train station scene at the end of Planes, Trains and Automobiles makes me weep uncontrollably every damn time. I know right? I sound like a guy somebody should be keeping an eye on. Hurry, call the angry-old-man hotline, we got a live one here!

I might be outraged right now, but not enough to raise any red flags. And I'm certainly no danger to anyone else, including myself. For somebody to "worry" about me because I speak my mind and use a few off-color words when referring to the douchebag in the Oval Office, is irritating beyond explanation. 

Whatever. The point of this post is not to talk about my perceived anger issues or point out that I'm pissed off about what somebody else thinks. The point is to fuel others to speak up for what they believe, even if they know it might trouble somebody else. Because it's only gonna trouble those who don't see things the way you do.

(And yes, I'm talking to those who don't think the way I do, too. Go ahead and speak up. I can always just shut you out.)

Lastly, I want to thank the person who voiced their concern. You have inspired me to voice even more of my angst. I appreciate you. And I'd probably stop traffic to help you cross the road, too. Always know that I'm here if you need me. Because if you support the divisive incompetence currently in the White House, it might be you we need to "worry" about. 

Have a great fucking day! Dammit, there I go again with the rage. My bad.  
JS
 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

America, I have questions.

I'm tired of it. I'm done. I can't do this anymore. This is bullshit and most of you know it.

If you follow me on social media, you're well aware that I've never held back when given the opportunity to share an opinion. It's who I am and how I deal. I've pissed people off. I've lost friends. I've gained new ones. This post will probably alienate the already alienated even more. Sorry about that. Kind of. Mostly, I want to understand some things better, get some of your wheels turning, and maybe even change a mind or two.

But if none of that happens, at least I'm getting some stuff out. It's the therapy I need right now. It's been four years of this horse shit and I've had enough!! I never thought I'd let politics dig its claws in this deep. But it has. And I blame Trump. Which really means, I blame us. Because we did this to ourselves. But I know we can do better.   

Spoiler alert: If you're a true Trump lover, you might want to stop reading right now. Because I'm gonna let some shit fly. This ain't no Facebook post. This is an all-out, no-holds-barred rant and release.  

And here it goes.

For the ever-fucking life of me I can't figure out how 40% of the American population can still support the assclown currently sitting in the oval office. I'd have a hard time figuring out how even one person could, but 40-fucking-percent?! Come on. What happened to us? Are we so tethered to our personal, political and religious beliefs that we can't be human long enough to see more than two inches in front of our own faces? Are we really this biased, racist and empty of empathy? Are we really this dumb? Or blind? 

I believe in a two-party system. This country needs both Republicans and Democrats. I'm not here to belittle anybody for their support of a particular party. Both parties have their issues. And both parties have their share of lifelong politicians who either stopped giving a shit or never really did. This rant isn't about which end of the wing you choose to live in. This rant is all about Trump. 

So, without further ado...

Trump has zero — and I mean zero — redeeming qualities. He lacks any and all leadership traits. His incompetence is mind-boggling. He can't string a coherent sentence together much less come up with a plan to lead a country. He's a bully. A narcissist. A racist. And quite possibly, a sociopath. He's crooked as the day is long. He's a con who will do whatever it takes to benefit his own. He's incapable of the job he's in. And what's worse, has no interest in becoming capable. He's a horrible businessman who tries to run the country like a failed casino. He's a pathological liar, a chronic cheater and shitty golfer. And he tweets too much.

And that's just the stuff they can prove. He's shown us time and time again who he is and what he's willing to do to get ahead. 

So what is it? Why are there still so many, some whom I've always considered good human beings, still planning to vote for this asshat?

Seriously. I want to know. 

Is it all about the 401K? Are some so concerned their retirement might take a slight hit that they're willing to throw every ounce of human decency and integrity out the door? Does the stock market really mean that much to them? Do these people even know how the stock market works? Will money really matter if we give up who we are just to have a little more? 

Sure, taxes might change under a Democrat. That's how it works. But are enough of us really that impacted by those changes? If you make over $400,000 a year, congratulations. I mean it.  You deserve every penny. Especially if you worked hard for it. Sure, your taxes will go up, but you're still gonna make a shitload of money. Are you so afraid of losing a few bucks that you're ok with four more years of this shit? Maybe if I was one of the one-percenters I'd understand. But I'm not. And neither are most of you. 

Is it about abortion? I get it, it's a tough issue. Even for the non-right-leaning crowd. But is supporting a misogynistic pig who's probably paid for several abortions himself, the answer? I'm not big on religion, but I did grow up in a God-fearing household and went to eight long years of Catholic grade school, so I know a little bit about what being "Christian" means. Treating others the way you'd like to be treated is one of the biggest tenets of being a good Christian. Pledging your loyalty to a guy who is anything but Christ-like, feels more than a tad hypocritical to me. Besides, the abortion laws aren't going anywhere anytime soon, even with a Republican in office. So, help me out here. How can you follow Christ and still vote for this douche? Makes no sense. 

Is it about patriotism? Am I un-American because I don't support the POTUS, even if the POTUS is a shitty human being? I don't think so. I appreciate everything I have, and I realize I might not have these same things if I lived somewhere else. But goddamnit don't tell me it's my duty as an American citizen to respect the office. Fuck that. I was brought up to respect those worthy of my respect. Trump isn't even close to worthy. Come at me with something else, because that one ain't gonna fly. And please, stop with the "my president" bullshit. It's embarrassing. 

Are we even more racist than I want to believe? Do we really think that white people are superior? Do we seriously want to do whatever we can to make sure that privilege stays intact? How do so many of us not see, or care about, the bullshit that goes on around us every single day? We're all just people living on the same big planet in an incomprehensibly massive universe. We all matter. And at the same time, none of us really do. It really is that simple. You, me, nobody, is more important than anybody else. We're all in this together, like it or not. It is what it is. Someday, every single person on the face of this floating rock will be dead and gone. Shit, some day the floating rock will be gone. If you think you or your country are superior in any way, you're foolish. So stop it. 

Is it an anger thing? Do some voters want him in office because they like the way he stirs shit up? Would they be lost without that anger? I know I'm guilty of wallowing in my own mire now and then. I've occasionally been too comfortable with my own pain, and there have been times in my life I thought I needed that pain because at least I was feeling something. Letting go of that "something" isn't easy. Maybe the way Trump fuels the flames is reassuring to the really angry. Maybe he justifies what they feel. Or, maybe some people are just big enough assholes that the only guy they can relate to is another big asshole. 

Are we dumb? Maybe a big part of our population isn't that smart. I have a feeling that a major chunk of his base has no idea why they support the guy. They probably couldn't tell you one thing he's done for this country, or for them. The sad part — so many of those standing behind him are exactly the people he cares the least about. The guy with no teeth, no job, a truck that doesn't run, living on a paltry disability check because his left leg went south, and sporting a MAGA hat over his flowing mullet, is the last guy in the world Trump cares about. But that doesn't seem to matter. Trump is his man. Maybe the confederate flag hanging from the front of toothless Tom's trailer is the only answer we need.   

Is Biden the problem? We went through this in 2016. Let's not do it again. I get it, Joe's not a perfect candidate. There's no such thing. And I realize most people vote along preferred party lines. But can't we make an exception this one time? I happen to believe Joe will make a pretty decent president, because he seems like a decent dude. And he's temporary. I had a friend put it perfectly: "Joe isn't necessarily the vehicle of the future. He's just the guy driving the car out of our current hell." That's it! Can't we all just get in the damn car, get out of hell, and hope for better down the road? Joe might be boring and predictable. But boring and predictable sound pretty fucking good for a while. He won't fix everything exactly the way we all want it, but he certainly won't continue to break shit at an alarming rate. 

Are people just shitty? Maybe more of us are just bad human beings than I care to admit. Nobody's perfect. Especially me. But I want to believe that most of us are good. Good people can't really want more of this, can they? Is it just me, or has the number of shitty people gone up the last few years? Maybe Trump gives people an excuse to be the shitty person they've always been. There has to be more of us than there are of them. I refuse to believe anything else.   

What else am I missing? I truly don't get it. I want so badly to understand. Support who you want, but tell me why. There's gotta be something in you that makes it ok to vote for another four years of this. If this comes off as self-righteous, so be it. I want to believe that all decent human beings know what a decent human being is. And Trump ain't it. Simple as that. And stop with the "But Joe did this..." Nope. Not even close. And save your "I don't need my president to be my moral compass..." Also, nope. I think the last four years have proven that a leader of an entire country needs to be a good human because they set the tone for the entire country. Period.  

I can tell you with every ounce of who I am, that I don't think we'll survive another four years of this. And that's not hyperbole. Now, I'm not saying the world will literally end. (At least I hope not. The Brewers haven't won a World Series yet.) But I do believe the country as we've come to know it, or always hoped it could be, will end. Another four years of this brokenness might not be fixable. I don't care which side of the fence you're sitting on, none of us should want that. 

Let's do better, America. Please. The way things are right now, better shouldn't be that hard to do. 

JS 

  






 

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

I know I'm scared. You?

I’ve never been through anything like this. Most of us have never been through anything even remotely like this. This is a big deal. A life-changing-big deal. And I’ll admit it — I’m scared. 

I’ve been scared before — 9/11 and the day Trump got elected immediately come to mind. (I’m just talking world events here. There are plenty of things in my own life that have scared the shit out of me, but this isn’t about just me. This is about the bigger picture.)

Like both of those events, this one will have a permanent impact. The world is never going to be the same. People you care about could die. The way we go about our daily lives will change. Forever. That’s not hyperbole. That’s reality. 

But what’s really setting off my panic buttons about all this? That’s a good question we should all be asking ourselves. If nothing else, knowing what we’re scared of can make a little bit of the fear go away. At least that's what the shrinks say.

Here’s a quick list of what’s keeping me up at night:
  • I’m not so much scared of getting sick. I’m still young-ish. If I get sick, chances are good I’ll recover. I’m more scared about losing people who might not be able to recover.
  • I’m scared about losing my job and living in the streets. With no Netflix.
  • I’m scared by the mind-boggling thought of hundreds of thousands of people dying in a short span of time. Those stats just don’t make sense. Maybe because I won’t let them make sense. 
  • I’m scared to think about what the world might look like once this is all said and done. If it is ever all said and done.
  • I’m scared Chipotle will shut down and never reopen.
  • I’m scared I’ll never be able to go to another rock show or movie theater.
  • I’m scared by people who hoard toilet paper. Seriously, toilet paper? The last thing on my mind in the middle of an apocalyptic meltdown is wiping my ass. Hoard some goddamned baked beans or canned meat for the love of survival! Who cares if you die with a dirty ass?! Stop it. Right now!!!! Thank you. There, I feel better.
  • I miss sports. A lot. 
  • And I’m scared shitless by the lack of leadership at the top. Now more than ever we need the reassurance of a steady hand at the wheel. What we’ve got instead is an egotistical bully incapable of feeling an ounce of empathy and he's driving a crazy train off the rails at full-fucking speed. I don’t know about you, but I’d feel a whole hell of a lot better if we had someone in charge we could trust. Or at least somebody who gave a shit about something other than his own re-election.
But it's all gonna be ok. Because like a lot of people, when I get scared I get a little angry, too. I get stubborn and pushy. I get what I call an “edge” to me. That edge—probably more like a defense mechanism—is what gets me through. It gets me out of bed every morning when I know the day ahead will look and feel a lot like the day before. And the day before that. 

That edge provides a buffer between what’s going on outside my door and what’s going on inside my head. I need that edge to survive. Without it, I’d go insane. Literally. Some days I wonder if that’s exactly what’s happening. 

That edge has gotten me through a lot in my life. I hope it’ll be enough this time, too.

I think what’s got me so uneasy is so much of this is out of my control. Sure, I can stay home and wash my hands 398 times a day, but other than that, I just have to sit back and watch this thing run its potentially catastrophic course. The best thing I can do is hope for the best. 

Maybe it’s not as big of a deal as my overthinking brain thinks it is. But I tend to believe the medical experts and scientists who say it is. 

I was telling my wife the other night that I’ve felt something big coming on for a while now. I’m not a psychic or a conspiracy theorist, just an overthinker. For the past few years there’s been something in the air saying something isn’t right. The world has been way out of whack. The uncertainty is almost tangible. Maybe this is our wakeup call—a brutally blunt warning that we better do some reevaluating. Maybe this is the world’s way of correcting itself after being so off course for so long. What goes up, must come down, right? The boiling point has been reached. It’s tragic that so many lives will be lost while the planet tries to right itself. But that’s what it feels like is happening. At least to me. 

So, where do we go from here? Great question. My plan is to do my best to take things one day at at a time. I’ll stay home and keep washing my severely chapped hands. I’ll have good days and days void of all hope, but they’ll even themselves out. I’ll keep my edge and try to stay strong. I’ll make more of an effort to be more positive, if for no other reason than to make it easier for my wife to live with me. I’ll do what I can. Because that’s all I can do. 

And even though this is all scary as hell, I truly believe we’ll get through it. And I hope we’ll be better for it. Eventually. 

I encourage you to find your “edge” and do what you can to get you and the people you care about through this. And remember to be nice to each other—from a safe distance of course—because we're all in this together. Like it or not. 

Stay home. Stay healthy. And stop hoarding all the toilet paper. Assholes. 
JS

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

What If?

What if we stopped trying to be somebody we’re not?

What if we didn’t give as many shits about what people think?
What if we realized that people don’t think about us as much as we think they do?

What if everything we’ve ever been told to believe in never existed in the first place?  
What if right here is all there is?

What if dogs could talk?

What if we stopped trying to make everything so black and white?
What if we all moved just a little bit closer to the middle?

What if it wasn’t all about the Benjamins?

What if we wasted less time on the things that don’t really matter?
What if we realized only a handful of things really do matter?

What if we turned off the nightly news now and then?
What if the internet was broken and we didn’t know how to fix it?

What if Elvis was never born?
What if Elvis is still alive?

What if we reminded ourselves more often that this is all temporary?
What if it was all gone tomorrow?

What if we weren’t so fucking scared of what we didn’t know?
What if we asked “why not?” instead of “what if?”

Just wondering.
JS

Sunday, June 25, 2017

We All Got Reasons.

Where there’s a who, there’s probably a how.

Remember that bully on the playground who thought it was funny to knock the smaller kids off the merry-go-round? It’s possible he was just an awkward kid going through an asshole stage. But maybe his rage was fueled by the daily ass-kickings he took from his never-sober dad. And maybe his dad is the reason he’s spent most of his adult life in and out of rehab.

What about that girl in high school who couldn’t seem to keep her pants on? Sure, she might’ve just been your run-of-the-mill slut. But maybe she hated herself, and her total lack of self-esteem left her searching for ways to feel wanted, and the only time that happened was when she was on her back.

That dude at work who always seems to have something else going on when you invite him to team happy hours. You know which guy I’m talking about. The one who always eats lunch all by himself. Maybe he hates everybody. Or, maybe he’s battling severe anxiety and the never-ending struggle to get through the day leaves him too mentally drained to deal with people.  

Then there’s that guy who didn’t get married until he was in 40’s. He’s probably some kind of weirdo, right? Or, it could be he’s an overthinker with deep-rooted trust issues who for years found it easier to live on his own, inside his own head, where nobody else could get hurt.

See where I’m going here? Reasons. We all got ‘em. Every single one of us. Some have more than others. Some are more severe, some are more subtle. But they’re always there. 

Now, I’m not suggesting that reasons are excuses. Reasons are reality, excuses are made up. And in many cases, reasons can be fucking brutal bastards with the power to beat you down. But with some hard work (and the right prescription meds) you can get your reasons to sit quietly in the background, only doing as much harm as you allow. 

The real reason I bring it all up is this: you can’t get through life without having a few reasons of your own. But, when you take time to realize that everybody else has them too, you might be a little less quick to judge — others and yourself.  

All that being said, some people just suck. And there’s really no reason for that. 


JS

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Say What You Gotta Say

Today I’d like to talk about having the balls to have a point of view. 

I spent much of my life too scared to speak my mind. Mostly because I’ve always been way too worried about what others would think. I’d never say what I had to say because I didn’t want to stir the pot. Or ruffle the wrong feathers. Or lose friends. My deep-rooted need to have everybody like me prevented me from speaking up.  

Thankfully, those days are gone. Now if I’ve got something to say, I’m probably gonna say it. (Sometimes to a fault. Somewhere along the way my filters malfunctioned. But even if those filters were working full force, the current state of things would certainly test their fortitude.)

Let me be clear here. By no means are my viewpoints radical or offensive. At least I don’t think so. My personal beliefs don’t cause others harm. And I don’t live on the extreme end of any of the spectrums. So it’s not like I’m haphazardly spouting militant theories. I’m just a thinker with things to say.

And sometimes what we say can rub some people the wrong way. 

But get this: I’ve learned that if somebody out there has an issue with what I say – or with me in general – that’s ok! Because that’s their right. (Seriously, there are times when I have an issue with me. So I get it.)

But I can’t let what others think stop me. I’ve lived long enough, seen enough and been through enough shit to have my own point of view. I’ve earned my voice. So have you.

So go ahead and say what you gotta say. Even if I don’t like it. I’ll get over it.

And so will they. Those who truly give a shit about you will put up with your point of view, even when they vehemently disagree with it. 

I recently thought about turning my voice down a notch. But I realized if I did that I’d go right back to that silent, skittish place I used to live in – a place where the only voice I had was the one in my head. Nope. 

So my new motto is this: Be respectful. Be civil. But be heard.

That’s all any of us can do. It’s your right to share your voice and speak up for what you believe in. You’ve earned it. 

Unless you believe in having sex with farm animals or that dinosaurs never existed. Both of those beliefs are pretty fucked up and you probably shouldn’t talk about them out loud. 

JS

Friday, December 9, 2016

Does Anybody Remember the Golden Rule?

An obnoxious, self-absorbed bully who’s treated people like shit his entire adult life will soon be the leader of our still-great country. I still can’t believe we did that to ourselves. But we did.

Once the shock of the election wore off, and I shoved some more anger further down the hole, I started to think about where things are headed. And how things seem to work now.

Here’s what I think.

We’re taught from an early age to treat others like we want to be treated. To show respect and general concern for those around us. To use manners and common decency. But now, as a slightly past-middle-aged man with enough time under my belt to see the world with wide-open eyes, I’m starting to really wonder if any of that still matters.

Maybe our parents were wrong all along. Maybe it’s not about treating people with respect. Maybe you have to be a dickhead to get ahead. And maybe the Golden Rule doesn’t mean shit anymore.

You see it every day. People in high places with absolutely no sense of self-awareness. And no real desire to have one. The sole purpose of their oblivious existence is to keep climbing their imaginary ladders, not one bit concerned with who gets a foot in the face on their way up.

More and more it feels like we live in a world where being an asshole gets you a trophy. But is it the asshole’s fault? Or those of us handing out the trophies?

I’m hoping my cynical assumption that the douchebags are taking over is just me overthinking, again. I’m hoping there’s still room here for those of us who still believe in respect and empathy.

And I’m hoping with everything I got that most of us can still recite the Golden Rule.

But seriously. That guy? I still can’t believe we did that to ourselves.

JS