Category Archives: Society Sucks

Hangxiety Sucks

November what? The 26th? It’s late November? Already? The demons of Thanksgiving, Christmas, peak season at UPS, the hell of Winter, and the struggle of buying gifts is already upon us? When did all of this happen? I’m not ready for this. It was only a few weeks ago that it was July and everyone was miserable in 100+ degree heat indices. Right? 

Sober September was great enough and it was the happiest I had been in awhile. I’ve said before in some post before that surprisingly I don’t have anxiety when I’m not drinking. It has been so long since I’ve been sober for an extended period of time that I’d just accepted anxiety as part of my natural state. Sure, Jeremy is somewhat anxious, but it was never a crushing and terrible thing that I couldn’t work through until I made alcohol a part of my everyday existence. But here we are and I have no choice but to deal with it and work through it. Life is always a struggle to fight through your problems and this is mine currently.

Sober September quickly turned into Intoxicated October and Not-Sober November which is where I am currently. And it’s the absolute worst time of the year to realize that maybe you should stop drinking, that it does you no good, and that it’s a crutch you use to limp on by in life. Fucking stand up on your own and live up to your potential, right? But it’s cold and dark and work is hell and stress is high and despite any meditation on the matter I can’t help but feel that life and everything is spiraling apart hopelessly. Add in the second/third wave of COVID-19 looming over all of us and I don’t even think I want to attempt sobriety just yet. I just don’t think I can pull off during this point of my life. Maybe I’ll just camp out until things finally fucking calm the fuck down…eventually…whenever that actually happens…maybe January?

Anyways, hanxiety. It’s a term I found on Reddit a few days ago and it has struck me with its personal resonance. If you can’t tell, it’s a portmanteau of hangover and anxiety which makes its meaning quite clear: hangxiety is the anxiety you experience while being hungover. Apparently the Irish have a term for it (according to some random Reddit user): The Fear, which is quite fitting really.

(Note: here’s a link that is pretty damn informative about ‘hangxiety.’)

It’s comforting knowing there are terms so fitting to my current state used by a massive part of the internet population. It removes the ‘personalness’ of the problem — maybe it’s not a problem with you our your mind but with the alcohol use/abuse and is something chemical — which makes it a ton easier to deal with. When there are a bunch of people experiencing the same crap that you do you don’t feel quite as bad about it as if you were going it alone and thinking it was some issues with you a person or something. All of us borderline alcoholics are in this together, in some nebulous struggle against a molecule of all thing, and it gives you a feeling of camaraderie. It’s not just you going it alone and a ton of us experience this ‘hangxiety.’

Apparently hangxiety is a medical side-effect of alcohol use/abuse. It’s as natural as any other drug side effects and it’s not something to beat yourself up over. Sure, you’re drinking way too much and may have fucked up temporarily, but the next day side-effects are as much of an issue of biology and chemistry as they are to your possible drunken texts to your ex, if you sent them or not. As said before: don’t beat yourself up over things if you can help it. No one who is prescribed opioids beats themselves up over the ability to shit (as opioids stop you from being able to take a dump) so us alcoholics shouldn’t fret over the next-day anxiety, guilt, and stress that we always experience.

(Big Note here: obviously alcoholics and those prescribed prescription drugs are totally different, but I’m trying to say don’t personalize the side-effects of the drugs you’re taking I guess.)

Alcohol is a depressant, and as the brain and body’s way of dealing with this is to increase the ‘flight or fight’ response of your body so you don’t die. By drinking you’re basically slowing everything down and your body speeds itself up with its funny tricks so you don’t pass away. It’s a battle of chemicals; as you dose your body with things that slow you down, your body increases the things that keep it going like cortisol: the stress hormone. Do you ever notice how you wake up anxious, on edge, fearful, and terrified after a night of drinking? Thank cortisol and your super-effective brain and body for this. You’ve dumped a bunch of depressants into your system and your body is fighting it and what did you expect to happen? Welcome to the hell you’ve brought upon yourself. And you have nothing else to do but accept it with open arms and own it because it’s all your own fault.

This is the hell I’ve been in for about two months now, and despite being in this hell I’m surprisingly adapting just fine to it. It sounds awful, but I’m used to waking up after four or five hours of sleep totally stressed out and feeling guilty for some unclear reason despite not drunkenly texting my ex or doing other silly shit. Sure, I didn’t do anything to feel guilty over, but the feeling is there and ever-present and it feels real. It’s hard to shake a feeling of guilt despite knowing you’re not guilty of a damn thing. I suppose with this outside opinion from thousands of Redditors I’ve detached myself from the hangxiety in a way. Yes, I was drinking a bit too much and brought it upon myself, but the hangxiety itself is just a byproduct from my stupid life choices and not a problem on its own. I wasn’t guilty, a failure, or held some vague form or regret for any real reason: it was just the booze changing my brain chemistry.

It might be the functional alcoholic speaking here, but I’m getting to the point where I totally ignore and disregard my hangxiety. It’s just a passing feeling and if I fight through it, chill out, focus on being at peace with my life, and I find I can get through it just fine. It does seem like everything in life is a tradeoff, and if you do accept functional alcoholism into your life you can still learn some sort of lesson about stress, anxiety, and depression even if it’s at the expense of your greater health. I’m not saying people should willing drink to induce the temporary hell that is hangxiety just to deal with general anxiety, but damn if I haven’t been learning things over the past few months about dealing with stress and anxiety.

As for my hyped-up, hopeful closing statement: if you are a total drunkard who wakes up after a paltry three or four hours of sleep totally stricken by The Fear: you’re not alone. While I’m not facing the actual problem of alcoholism here, I am trying to give you some comfort over your hangxiety. It’s just a temporary side-effect of drinking heavily and if you give yourself time and turn your thoughts over to more comforting things you’ll find that you can fight through it. Don’t fret, don’t worry, it’s not a big deal and you can work through it. Despite you bringing these feelings upon yourself, remember above all else try to love yourself! No one is perfect, you can eventually work through your issues, but please don’t put extra effort into beating yourself up! Hangxiety, while awful and difficult to deal with in the moment, is just a temporary effect of alcohol on your brain and body and has nothing to do with your mental state, even if you might think it does. Hangxiety doesn’t speak to your mental state or fortitude, security, or safety in any way and should be totally disregarded. Don’t put too much emphasis into how you feel in the moment and try your best to work through it. Like me, you might find that it’s not a big deal at all once you face it and deal with it the best you can. It’s only a passing shadow, or something…

Maybe it’s best summed up by Sam’s speech in the middle of The Lord of the Rings movies:

“I know.
It’s all wrong
By rights we shouldn’t even be here.
But we are.
It’s like in the great stories Mr. Frodo.
The ones that really mattered.
Full of darkness and danger they were,
and sometimes you didn’t want to know the end.
Because how could the end be happy.
How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad happened.
But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow.
Even darkness must pass.
A new day will come.
And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer.
Those were the stories that stayed with you.
That meant something.
Even if you were too small to understand why.
But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand.
I know now.
Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back only they didn’t.
Because they were holding on to something.”

-Samwise Gamgee

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing also sometimes post stories.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

Political Propaganda and the Illinois Tax Amendment of 2020

The Most Boringest Post I’ve Ever Written…

Do you know what I’m going to bitch about here? Taxes. Yes, taxes. I might bitch about social media propaganda as well. Yay, right? Taxes, that thing that is as inevitable as death, the thing that got Al Capone tossed in jail because he avoided paying taxes, that thing that stresses everyone out at the beginning of each year because no one understands the US’s complicated and intricate tax law. Taxes. Yay.

Poor Phyllis. Strange that AARP is supporting the “Tax Hike Amendment”…

I thought I had a good segue lined up here, but I don’t. Anyways, lately on Instagram I keep seeing sponsored posts like this one. Something about Stop the Illinois Tax Hike Amendment. First off, this is unsettling because a few months ago I jumped ship from Facebook to get away from all the political shitposting/propaganda only to be greeted by this on Instagram. Luckily, this does seem isolated and for the most part Instagram is what you’d expect it to be; people posting pictures. Facebook has totally devolved into a political shit-tossing dump and even if it’s useful 10% of the time, the other 90% consists of people posting politically motivated shit in bad-faith arguments to ‘convince others’ about something that’s usually so dumbed down and logically flawed that it’s hard not to comment something picking it apart. Then the winds of shit really start blowing, Rand.

This Instagram image done got me all hyped up and pissy. Why? A bunch of reasons. The use of ‘trigger terms’ to make you think one thing. The poor old lady not wanting to pay more taxes. Something about “new powers to tax anyone at will.” Okay. The first thing about whatever this ad is trying to push is that it sounds too terrifying. No one wants higher taxes, duh, so why wouldn’t we all vote ‘no’ on whatever amendment it’s talking about? Hell, why did the Illinois State even put something so obviously dumb on the ballot for November when it’ll obviously be shot down by 90% of voters?

Oh wait, it’s because this image is flat-out propaganda sponsored by those who don’t want this amendment to pass, likely rich-ass Illinoisans. What does this amendment actually do?

Illinois, the state I reside in, has a simple flat income tax of 4.95%. Everyone is taxed at this rate no matter their income. I must admit it’s nice come tax time — you subtract any deductions, bust out a calculator, multiply your taxable income by 4.95% and, bam, there’s your tax rate — but this flat rate seems strange. If you look at the federal income tax, it’s a graduated tax, meaning the tax rate depends on your income, while our state has a flat rate. According to Ballotpedia, 11 other states have a flat income tax rate. Hmmm, that’s a strangely low number.

Speaking of Ballotpedia, they have a ton of information on this proposed amendment and if you’re a curious Illinois resident, check it out, do some research. It’s also interesting to see how the two sides speak about this amendment. The supporters, mostly democrats, have a PAC named “Vote Yes for Fair Tax,” while the oppositions, republicans and farmers, have PACs named “Say No to More Taxes” and “Coalition to Stop the Proposed Tax Hike.” Notice how one side claims ‘fairness’ while the other side claims ‘higher taxes.’ These are two totally different arguments. Will this amendment raise taxes? Maybe. Is it fair? Maybe. But these aren’t mutually exclusive.

Here’s a photo of the actual sample ballot and question regarding the proposed amendment. Surprisingly, it does a good job explaining what the hell the amendment actually does.

This doesn’t sound as bad as I was led to believe…

All this does is eliminate the requirement for a flat tax rate in the Illinois constitution. Is that fair? I don’t know, that depends on your view of taxation, but most other states do it this way. Is it going to raise taxes? Yeah, probably, but you’d also assume people with higher incomes, like really high incomes, are going to be taxed to death by Illinois while lower income households might see a small or moderate decrease. Is this good or bad? Well, it depends on what you think is good and bad.

My point here is that this is a subtle thing being voted on in a few months. It’s not the clear cut and dry “higher taxes!” that whatever PAC plopped this fucking ad up on Instagram is claiming. In my opinion the ‘fairness’ argument is a bit better because most people probably do feel that higher income households should pay more, but whatever. I was going to talk about that here, but that seems like it’d just make this an even messier rant. Maybe another time.

In a way this singular ad is representative of what is wrong with our current politics. An ad, one shitty ad on social media funded by people with money, can make people believe one thing when it is nowhere near true or accurate. They toss out a few trigger terms and bad words like ‘higher’ and ‘taxes’ and people immediately foam at the mouth, forming opinions from biases without even looking deeper than their Instagram/Facebook feed. That’s it. They’ll walk into the polling station, vote ‘no,’ possibly against their own benefit, just because something told them that “voting yes” will mean their taxes will go up. Like Billy Bob making $20k a year is going to be taxed at the same 20% that multimillionaires will be taxed at. No, probably not. But he didn’t do any goddamn research and follows right along with what is being spoon-fed to him by people that actually have reason to oppose the amendment.

My entire point is “Don’t be an ignorant voter.” When you see a political ad on social media or anywhere that claims something fucking ridiculously awful, look into it. Honestly I had no idea what this tax amendment was until I saw a ‘vote no on higher taxes’ ad and looked into it. Was Illinois trying to raise taxes? Was it really called “The Tax Hike Amendment?” No one would be that stupid to raise taxes with an amendment named that. When I found the actual proposal, I found nothing wrong with it. “Hey, wait, this is to eliminate the flat-tax rate. Fuck, I like that idea!” I’ve been telling everyone I know what the amendment does and suggesting they vote ‘yes’ on it. I guess that’s the end of my rant. Just don’t be a fucking troglodyte and do your fucking homework. Things you vote on do have real consequences, so go to the voting place knowing something. Don’t see the word ‘tax’ and vote no just because ‘tax’ is a scary word. Don’t think everyone in the government is trying to pilfer your wallet (but be wary at all times!). Don’t let social media sway your goddamn opinions. Google things, read about them, learn a little about taxes, fucking educate yourself.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics and shitty poems every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

Dipshit Family Members Suck (Part Two!)

Obviously this is a sequel to my last post. I didn’t think I’d have anything else to say about the matter but here we are. As mentioned in that post, I had cut ties with a few family members that I had simply given up on. They seemed beyond gone, beyond any sort of logic or reasoning, and a detriment to my own mental health. It seemed wise to just be rid of them than to worry about how the hell they turned out the way they have over the past few decades.

My cousin was one of them and I haven’t seen much of her recently since I have no contact with her on social media, but my wife is still friends with her. Yesterday I was downstairs, laying in bed, reading a book from The Wheel of Time series, and my cousin posted another one of her ‘protest videos’ on Facebook. It wasn’t just a video post but a live Facebook post of the protests. My wife told me about it and I rolled my eyes, trying to stay fixed on the epic story which is The Wheel of Time, even mentioning that I didn’t want to really see or hear anything from the video because I didn’t want to deal with any of it at the time. I was reading and any of my cousin’s shit could simply fuck off for the time being because I really wanted to know what the fuck Egwene and Nynaeve would do after the Amyrlin Seat discovered that, holy shit, maybe the Black Ajah were going to Tear to capture Rand and whatever-the-fuck-that-magic-sword-was-called and maybe it was an obvious trap but who gives a shit anyways? If the Black Ajah set a trap, fuck it, catch them in it and fuck their lives over. Anyways…

I know I mentioned her videos in the last post and I should admit that I never watched any of them: I didn’t need to. Her descriptive captions seemed to be enough to understand the gist of what she was trying to describe. “More protesters causing trouble!” “Urgh, looks like another night of problems!” You know, various shit like that. The subject of this post was captioned with, “Another protest in wonderful Rockford.” It’s all you need to know; she’s obvious opposed to any protests and sees them as a problem and an inconvenience. I mean they are inconvenient, and that’s the point of them, but the fact that she can’t see past that obvious self-centered fact was all it took for me to cut ties with her. But what did the videos actually show?

My wife played the newest one yesterday and as much as I tried to ignore it I couldn’t. The Wheel of Time ceased to hold my attention over the screaming of the Black Lives Matter protesters and the snide remarks from my cousin, her boyfriend, and the various other stereotypical white people grouped around them. It was a twenty-minute long video and it stole my attention after the first five-fucking-minutes. It was bland and boring where nothing really happened but was also peppered with a few subtle seconds here and there where everything seemed clear as day. Basically it was fascinating to watch.

There were a bunch of people along a street in Rockford screaming, yelling, with masks on, and holding signs. I don’t even recall what they were saying as it was all kind of a roar where you couldn’t hear much. Not that we have many protesters here in Rockford, Illinois and I’d estimate the number around fifty, but the shouts and screams seemed incoherent and unidentifiable. The cops were closer towards the camera as the protesters filled the far side of the street, and they kept the corralled mass away from everyone else and out of traffic.

My cousin, her boyfriend, and a few other stereotypical white people (along with the news cameras and such) stayed along the nearest side of the street, staring across at the protestors screaming, yelling, holding signs, wearing masks, and being all around pissed about shit. The white people spectators stood around passively drinking beers from plastic cups as if watching zoo animals in a cage or a sporting event. At this point I saw the first signs of the chasm separating these two groups. One group drinking beer and spectating, and the other totally fighting for equality and rights.

About five-minutes into this kinda boring video came the first gem from my cousin. She said, “I’m just out here trying to enjoy myself and these people are screaming and hollerin’ and making noise. Just trying to enjoy myself…”

It kinda reminded me of this:

“Come on, Walter. This is not a First Amendment thing man.”

Now, to give some background to this, her and her boyfriend were at the weekly “Rockford City Market” which is (as you can guess) a local market set up in downtown Rockford with vendors, shops, food, and drinks that happens every Friday evening in the spring/summer/fall. Apparently they went down there to “enjoy themselves” and were interrupted by the Black Lives Matter protesters who (obviously) saw this as the perfect place to have their voices heard by the passive denizens of Rockford.

From that point on the gems kept coming. At one point my cousin, upon hearing something from a protester, said, “Oh! And that isn’t racist?!” Her boyfriend at one point mentioned something like, “They don’t pay taxes anyway; why do they think they can stand in the street?” Obviously I don’t have to mention the typical ‘White Lives Matter’ lady who tried to get a chant started but failed miserably. She chanted the phrase about five times at the top of her lungs and no one gave a shit enough to join in. And as my cousin videoed this with her phone pointed slightly towards the ground as if she was hesitant to be seen obviously recording anything, her and her boyfriend kinda stood there and drank their beers and griped about the riff-raff across the street ruining their pleasant day.

And…and I can’t even tie all of this together into a nice bowtie where everything makes sense. All of this is so strange for me to actually see and try to process into feelings and words is really hard. It was very strange to see a family member of mine, in our own town, post a video during a protest and complain about that very protest. Like I don’t even know where to begin with how fucked up this feels to me.

I suppose my first gripe was with her “I’m just trying to enjoy myself, and…!” comment. There are a few things to unpack here. Firstly, she was down at The City Market on her own volition and was complaining about the protest there. After she said that I wondered why she was even standing on a corner videoing protestors if she was “trying to enjoy herself.” If you’re trying to enjoy yourself, stop videoing protestors and enjoy yourself! The cops kept the protestors out of The City Market area and there was no unrest that I could see in the actual market. Yes, people were screaming and holding signs across the street, but this doesn’t mean she couldn’t “enjoy herself.” If anything it looks like she gave right into the protests, walked to the corner, and tried to make some ‘statement’ about it. She wasn’t trying to enjoy herself; she found an opportunity to make a big deal out of protesters making loud noises and gave right into it making herself look like a total ass in the process.

Most importantly she seemed to hold her right to “enjoy herself” over the rights of others. You know, over the First Amendment rights of others’ freedom of speech. No, her right to “enjoy herself” seemed to trump the rights of anyone else who encroached on her even if they weren’t directly bothering her at all. It’s entitlement and feeling special about yourself: others are bothering you and how dare they do that!

This also ties into a comment that she mentioned on Facebook in reply to my wife’s comment (who totally blew up on her by the way); it was hinting towards ‘white privilege.’ She said “There are lots of black people who are rich and famous and black who have more money than me and really nice houses and cars. I don’t have all of that so how am I privileged?” and I couldn’t help but view the comment in terms of how she acted in the video. That was white privilege. The fact that she thought her right to “enjoy herself” was somehow more important that what anyone else deemed important. You know, those pesky First Amendment rights to free speech and protesting that all of us others have, and how dare those people exercise their rights and ruin her peaceful, drunken Friday at the Rockford City Market. White privilege, like racism itself, is subtle: you never notice it. White privilege isn’t all whites being rich and all blacks being poor. No one notices you’re white and says, “Hey, you’re white! We’ll give you a job because of it!” Or gives you a few $1,000 because you’re white. No, it manifests in mindsets like this and in subtle ways. She thought she was special, couldn’t be bothered to have her day disrupted, and shit all over a group of people over her own personal “inconvenience.”

It’s also shocking to hear her boyfriend mention something about, “They don’t pay taxes!” to a group of black people. This is the subtle racism that I’ve hinted at before — he didn’t say the n-word but you know exactly what he meant — black people don’t own anything, don’t pay any taxes, don’t pay for the roads, and shouldn’t be able to use the roads for anything. This one is somehow easier to deal with because it’s so goddamn silly, but still it shows the old racist view that ‘blacks don’t actually do anything for society so society doesn’t own them a damn thing.’ Luckily, this isn’t how society works. If your home is on fire the fire department doesn’t check to see how much you’ve paid in taxes. If you call the cops, they don’t check to see how much of your taxes went to the police department. If you need to walk/ride a bike/drive on a road, no one cares how much taxes you’ve paid because they’ve been build for society in general. There is no fucking ownership of the roads/police department/fire department/courthouses/etc. and the fact that someone is claiming blacks “don’t pay their share” misses on a few points. Do they even not pay their share [CITATION NEEDED]? And if they did, does it even matter anyways? No one is keeping track. The roads are for everyone’s use — the public’s use — and nothing else really matters.

Most shocking to me was the general crowd of middle aged white people standing across looking at the protesters, being “anti-protesters” if you will. They didn’t stand for anything except being opposed to what everyone was protesting about, just a reaction to whatever was happening at the time. Half of them had beers in their hands, kinda milling around with their phones out, just spectating and bitching. Of course no one had their masks on because COVID’s all a hoax anyways. They didn’t stand for anything and only were an opposition to the other side. There was a group of Black Lives Matter protesters across the street and they didn’t like it. They didn’t like the yelling, the ruckus, the trouble of it all. A sort of why can’t these people just shut up and deal with how life is? as they stood around and drank lite beer out of plastic cups. I recall seeing my cousin’s boyfriend (the legit white supremacist/alleged pedophile) wandering back and forth with his beer while wearing flip-flops. Having some idea how he feels — that whites are superior, blacks are loafing off the system, and maybe worse, maybe they should be enslaved, exported to Africa, or whatever else he thinks — and seeing him in a wife-beater and flip-flops was so ridiculous I guess? It’s hard to explain the mix of emotions I felt but it was so damn surreal. I didn’t know wether to laugh about the silliness of it all or to cry knowing we could be heading headfirst into a possible Civil War. Were these the real white supremacist? Were these the real racists? People that I’m related to? People with plastic beer cups lurking across the road from Black Lives Matter people? People wearing goddamn flip-flops on a Friday griping about how blacks don’t pay taxes and shouldn’t have access to the roads? This is the elite white race that feels threatened by other cultures? That thinks their society is being diluted and erased? Those who want their history and culture preserved? That shits on others for standing up for their own injustices? For fucks sake, what is there to be proud of?

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

Dipshit Family Members Suck

About a month ago I received a Facebook friend request from someone I wasn’t really expecting: my uncle, who is like 60-something years old. It apparently took him until 2020 to get on the Facebook bandwagon, and I don’t know how anyone in this situation wouldn’t feel mildly worried.

Some background on him: he’s a retired postal worker, a big fan of guns and shit, has a conceal-carry license, loves motorcycles, and is a raging hoarder. Literally his house is unlivable because of all the shit that he stores there and he lives with my grandma because his home is so packed full of junk. While I’m not a huge fan of stereotypes, just go with me here because they’re sometimes useful, if you were to stereotype him, what would you consider him? A raging environmentally-friendly liberal sympathetic to the BLM movement or some dumbass gun-toting right-winger? Not that politics seems to be too relevant here, but recall I’m talking about him being on Facebook. Political alignment is immensely important in regards to how people act on Facebook.

I was weary when he requested me as a friend on Facebook because like most people above 50, you know they’re just going to spam political bullshit and stupid memes all the time. It’s like par for the course and I was dreading seeing what he’d post. Luckily, he didn’t really post much of anything. He kinda stayed quiet and didn’t seem to force any opinions, whatever they happened to be, onto his fellow Facebook friends. Still, part of me was weary. To me, my uncle was the stereotypical Facebook fucking proto-nutjob; sure he wasn’t a nutjob yet, but if anyone were to become a nutjob, it’d be someone like him. It felt like he was a ticking time bomb where there was only a matter of time before he went off the damn rails. Given enough time for the propaganda to work on him, he’d eventually lose it.

He still isn’t too familiar with Facebook seeing how he acts on the site. I’ve always been fascinated with ‘social media norms’ and those who break them, clueless to how things are “supposed to be done.” For example, you never like someone’s picture from five years ago (unless they share it or something) because then it’d be obvious that you were fucking lurking through their pictures. Or sending messages to people you don’t actually know really well. Things like that. Social media has a new set of rules that differ from the rest of society and this fact is new for a lot of people. That being said, my uncle, being totally clueless about how people are supposed to act on Facebook, went on displaying his insanity in a new and different way: he sends direct messages to people.

I still haven’t actually replied to any of his messages, because he never actually says anything in them. Everything I’ve received from him has been images and videos that he’s shared. No context, just a string of images/videos/memes that randomly appear in my inbox. Whatever. At first these weren’t political and were like AC/DC songs and shit, but a week ago I received this:

Okay. Once again, zero context. I agreed with the image — I think America is going down a dangerous path where something bad is going to happen (especially in regards to the recent bullshit in Portland) — but some part of me thinks even if he does agree with the image’s sentiment that it’s not in quite the same way as I do. It almost seemed threatening in a way, either implying that people like me might get murdered by people like him or that us (if we did agree) would have to go murder Americans we didn’t agree with. While I waved it off initially, something about it stuck with me. I was almost certain my uncle had finally spent enough time on Facebook to discover the radical pages that spoke to him and was now spewing his bullshit to anyone he could. He’s always seemed kinda unhinged, but now with Facebook influencing him how much worse would it get? Remember, he’s a fully armed dude who always has a fucking pistol on him, even in the safety of his my grandma’s home and at kid’s birthday parties, and I really worry about someone like that finally snapping over being enraged by Facebook propaganda.

He also recently sent my wife and I a video about…well, I’m not sure, because I didn’t fucking watch it. She did though, and I think it was some congressman questioning Dr. Fauci about why shutting down a church in Nevada was okay but the shutting down the protests weren’t. It is kinda a good question — aren’t the protests helping spread COVID? — but the entire thing seemed like fucking propaganda. Like he’s doing us a favor by ‘enlightening’ us about some GOP senator grilling Fauci. Luckily she’s more courageous than me and actually replied to him saying that she disagreed with his shit, but still appreciated him as a person and a family member. And as for me, well, I just ignore whatever he sends because I’m a coward.

My Cousin

I think this post kinda got me started down the road to deleting the dumbfucks I’m friends with on Facebook. Shortly after posting it, I started to delete anyone that I disagreed with. I still have a few conservative friends, and one I especially appreciate. He’s one of the “old school conservatives” that is worried about how Trump has kinda taken over and dictated the direction of conservative policy. These are the people I can get on board with — someone I disagree with on policy but where I can respect what they’re saying — and these people are in short fucking supply nowadays. Basically as soon as anyone posted some silly AlL lIVeS mAtTeR bullshit I’d cut ties with them because there’s little to no factual basis or policy to anything they’re saying. It’s propaganda.

Fun fact and a fact that I know is kinda wrong: I’ve been a lot happier too. No one I know on Facebook has ridiculously different views with me and we all seem to be on the same page. It’s nice, I’m living in a happy echo chamber and while I know it’s wrong, I do feel better about the state of the world. Like I can live in peace thinking that maybe 40% of the US (and people I actually know and are related to) aren’t supportive of our proto-fascist president and his ‘secret police’ in Portland and other major cities. Like, hey, maybe the world isn’t such a bad place after all?

My cousin was one of the fatalities in my purge. She lives near downtown Rockford, near the BLM protests, and would constantly post videos of the protestors with really nervous-sounding comments like her apartment would be torched sounded like someone a few steps removed from these people right here:

The protestors don’t give a fuck about you because you’re not the goddamn problem. You’re not the police and you’re not systemic racism. No one protesting gives a fuck about your shitty apartment with absolutely nothing worth stealing and every post of hers screamed of a total misunderstanding about what the protests were actually about. The total inability to see anything from someone else’s perspective, that maybe people do have lives with different struggles than you. I didn’t want the implied ignorance or negativity so I deleted her.

A few days ago I received a message on Facebook Messenger saying something like, “Hey, I noticed we’re not friends on Facebook. Did you delete me?” And like my usual style I ignored it. Sure, I act like a hardass deleting people and writing corrosive blog posts about people but that doesn’t mean I actually want to have a discussion about why I deleted someone from Facebook. Once again I’m a goddamn coward and I fully admit it.

My mom came over to visit today and she mentioned that my cousin asked her about it. She said she didn’t know and seemed to shrug it off. She also filled me in to a few of my cousins other “beliefs” such that COVID is a hoax, it’s not that big of a deal, and that Trump is actually doing a lot of good for the United States of America. Apparently she constantly visits our grandma who is 89 years old, hugs and kisses her, and obviously doesn’t give a shit about wearing a mask at all; she bragged about the amount of stores she visited without a mask as if that made her a badass or something. What if she gives COVID to our grandma and she dies from it? Would she acknowledge it then or would there be more denial. “Well, she was old anyways…” While I’m on the shit-on-my-cousin bandwagon, let me also say she’s dating a guy who’s a convicted arsonist (and it was fun seeing him on TV right after I woke up one day like ten years ago) with a family of legit white supremacists. Not like subtly racist people: legit, proud, aware, white supremacists. I vaguely recall getting into an argument with my cousin’s boyfriend’s little brother on MySpace a long time ago because he was shitting on black people for some reason. Anyways birthday parties with that side of the family are kinda awkward to say the least.

But last night it kinda clicked in my head that I really don’t like much of my family. Honestly. My sister is cool, my wife and the kids are great, but everyone else in the extended family seems to be insane. And it seems as I feel wiser as time goes on they seem to lose their minds as time goes on. My cousin’s family is white supremacists and blatant Trump supporters and I cannot for the life of me figure out what they see in the guy. My uncle is crazy NRA fanatic who seems to be ready to fight a civil war murdering fellow Americans for some fucking reason. My dad told me a few of his brothers were also right-winger Trumpers and once again I cannot see what is appealing at all about the guy. My dad, who luckily doesn’t vote, also seems to be a Trumper who somehow started bitching about Hillary and Benghazi for some reason despite over 150,000 COVID deaths under our current president. None of these people think COVID is a real thing or a legitimate threat to them, once again my cousin bragging about not wearing a mask in stores! What a goddamn rebel! Part of me thinks I’m the problem, someone just as one-sided, blind, and biased as they are, but another part of me thinks that maybe I’m on the right path here. I’m trying to follow history and science and everything seems incredibly dangerous and serious currently while others seem to be either indifferent or even happy with the state of the country now. And it’s hard to realize that maybe the people you grew up around, who are part of your family, are some of the people totally on the wrong side of logic, history, science, and empathy. It’s not a good feeling.

An Associates Degree Is Useless

One of my goals during my vacation was to seriously explore other jobs. I currently work a part-time union job at UPS which I honestly feel is below my capabilities. I do think I’m intelligent and clever and working at UPS shipping packages seems so anticlimactic to what I think — and somehow know — my real potential is. The entire issue for me is how to realize this potential which I seem totally unable to do through insecurities or indecisiveness. I think my life can mean more than working a part-time job at UPS and I’m trying to find out what that more actually is.

(Big NOTE here on how I seem to be defining my self-worth based on what job I work. I know if you take this too far it’s dangerous — we’re all more than our jobs — but if you don’t take it far enough you’d be making the opposite mistake. There is no way I can be working at UPS in 20 years and feel happy about it. I just can’t. It’s inevitable that I’d feel like I squandered my life. If you are happy working whatever shitty job you have, great, I’m actually jealous of people that can do this. I think I’m hopelessly not one of these people.)

I started looking for piloting jobs to no avail. I have a commercial pilot’s license which means theoretically I can get paid to fly, but it doesn’t really work out that way in the real world. I can’t be an airline pilot (they require 1,500 hours) and I can’t fly a multi-engine airplane. Those alone cut me out of like 97% of all jobs. Did I find anything I could do? No. They all require things slightly above my current experience, like 1,000 hours, 2,000, or whatever. I have a commercial pilot’s license but can’t do a damn thing with it realistically. Luckily I knew this when I got the license; the commercial license is basically useless unless you know someone to hook you up with a job and mostly serves as a stepping stone to other certifications.

I checked out a few other places. Jobs at the local Amazon facility; maybe I could be a delivery driver or something? No. Nothing. The only positions opened were entry level grunt work warehouse bullshit (that I’m unwilling to settle for, especially since I worked there five years ago) or mid/upper management work that I’m nowhere near qualified for. There was nothing for me, me being the sort of not-a-high-school-kid but also not 40-with-a college-degree-and-work-experience. I’m someone caught between being a high school graduate and a college graduate.

Because I have an Associates Degree in Science. Yay?!

I checked a few other random places like Thermo Fisher Scientific. They had some more entry level positions (‘Associate Manufacturing Technician’) and some upper-level positions, but once again nothing that fit my shitty mid‐tier associate degree of science. Once again, I don’t want to work a job that someone with a high school diploma or a GED could do but wasn’t qualified to do any of the higher-level work such as what an ‘Organic Synthesis Chemist’ would do.

And onto fucking SpaceX if you can believe it. Why the hell not? Let’s see what jobs they offer. Once again there was the same split between entry-level work and expert work. Most of the jobs required a Bachelor’s or higher while a few remaining jobs only required a high school diploma with nothing in between. I could be a SpaceX ‘Barista’ but couldn’t be a ‘GNC Satellite Attitude Determination & Control Engineer’. I couldn’t find a single job mentioning an associate degree and felt trapped between the poles of being under qualified and overqualified for anything. 

Granted I only looked at a handful of jobs, but I feel this could confirm what my cynical friend has said about his own associates degrees: they’re glorified high school diplomas. They offer nothing in the way of benefits and only serve as a stepping stone to higher degrees. An associates degree is apparently only useful if you grab it on your way to a bachelor’s degree. And I don’t know how I feel about this.

I went back to school around the age of 27 or so after dropping out of college around 20. I wanted to say that I went back to college and actually did something with my life. And I did. I got my damn degree in the mail one day without the fluff and bullshit of a graduation ceremony. All that mattered to me was the degree and I didn’t feel the need to share the success with my friends and family. Who cares? It’s not a big deal really. I showed up, did the work, and got my degree. But when I found it in the mail one day I did feel something. The final realization that “I did it? I did it.” That I finally accomplished something in life after slacking for a decade. I didn’t know what I’d do with it at the time but surely I’d figure it out.

Cut to today. 34 years old and checking out random jobs and realizing my associates degree is totally useless. All that matters is the Bachelor’s and higher. I’m basically a glorified high school student with no practical life benefits to having obtained this degree. It’s not a good feeling to know what you’ve accomplished isn’t enough and there’s always more to do. Countless other people that are more accomplished than you that have life seemingly more figure out than you and get actually get through life. And here I am writing some shitty blog complaining about it all. Should I work towards a bachelor’s degree in whatever or keep trying to bullshit some piloting job? With no clear way forward, what do you choose? As always if someone has answers to these questions, please fill me in because I’m fucking clueless.

And if you found a good job with an associates degree, what the hell was it?

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

The 4th of July Sucks: 2020 Edition

Everyone who has a slightly racist uncle/parent/grandparent on Facebook is probably familiar with this image format and caption: some patriotic image with words like, “If you don’t like [random bullshit patriotic gesture] than you can get the hell out!” Respecting the flag, respecting our ‘customs,’ respecting our language (lol), and so on. It’s always about respecting something. I did a little work to find a representative example of one. Here ya go:

Yeehaw. Fucking immigrants derking er jerbs.

On this 4th of July, in the year of Satan 2020, I’ve been finding myself reflecting on the state of America. Do I hate the place? No. Do I hate what we’ve become? Yes. Do I think we have much more potential that we can live up to? Yes. Am I ashamed to be an American — sometimes yes and sometimes no — but I’m still an American and I feel like my opinion on the state of the country as important as any other citizens. Which is where my issue with silly memes like these begin.

Pictures like these and the others shared by your slightly-racist family members have a ton of implications to them. In the case on the one above, I find it strange that ‘democrats’ are grouped in along with ‘illegals’ which says a whole lot. To be a democrat you’re probably a citizen of the US, and grouping them with ‘illegals’ seems really silly. It’s basically saying that democrats are the same tier of American as illegal aliens which is a totally bullshit statement. Immigrants are a strange inclusion too because I assume they mean ‘legal immigrants’ because if they were illegal they’d be, well, the ‘illegals’ mentioned above. Meaning that being a citizen of the US who is also an immigrant makes them somehow ‘less American’ than the second-, third-, or fourth-generation Americans like most of us probably are.

What really bothers me here is the ownership of America that conservative like to claim. Like America doesn’t mean different things to different people and that they’re somehow the holders of the American Flame and Spirit. It doesn’t matter if you’re a citizen, if you’re not a conservative citizen somehow your view of America is flawed in some way. Like you just don’t get it, maaaaan. And fuck that viewpoint because I’m a goddamn American like any other flag-waving, gun-toting cousin-fucker in the middle of bumfuck nowhere, and my love for America is worth as much as theirs.

I’m also not a fan of the “fixed America” viewpoint that conservative love to stand behind. The image above (and all Facebook-Uncle-images really) seem to view America as something concrete. Like there are fixed customs, beliefs, and traditions that you need to respect and that any change to them is somehow Unamerican. I sometimes think this is the main conservative viewpoint: change is bad. America is basically perfect — the big-dick swingin’ country that controls the entire damn world — and any flaws that America does have are blown out of proportion. There is no need to move forward because America is something already perfect and moving forward is an insult to it. In short, why fix what isn’t broken?

It seems liberals like to view America as non-perfect, in need of some serious love and care and progress to become what America should be. I’m one of them and my view of America is a work-in-progress towards the ideals written down in the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. You know: all men are created equal; life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness; and so on. We all know what it means to be American — that you have a fair chance in the world to live up to your potential, that people aren’t biased against based on anything besides their merits, and that justice will be served against those that break those tenets — but any liberal realizes that all of that is a farce. America, to get to where we are today, had to do a ton of work, a ton of fighting, and America was nowhere near perfect in the late 1700s. In fact, the original America was ass-backwards from what was written down in the Declaration and the Constitution.

This conservative idea of what America is is flawed from the start because the ‘ideal America’ they envision is one that has been changed for the better numerous times since the signing of the Constitution. Hell, the Constitution even acknowledges that it must be fluid to keep with changing times, hence the amendment process. From the start, the founding fathers knew that change would have to occur, and change has occurred. Hell, the 19th Amendment — the document that gave women the right to vote — hasn’t even been around for 100 years! 18 year-olds couldn’t vote until 1971, and before the Civil Right Movement employers could openly discriminate against people by their skin color. Income taxes weren’t even a thing until 1909 and Social Security (a thing conservatives love to ramble about liberals ‘threatening’) wasn’t a thing until the 1930s, curiously passed by the raging and filthy liberal Franklin Roosevelt. And you can’t forget the Big One here: slavery. Slavery was totally legal until the 1860s. Think about it, the right to own other people as property was totally legal 160 years ago, and does anyone really think slavery is part of the ‘ideal America?’ My point here is that the America we all know and love — and the America that conservatives love to view as something fixed, sacred, and perfect — has been changing all the damn time.

I feel like the founding fathers had the right idea about freedom and liberty but just couldn’t pull it off at the time. As we progress as a society we find new freedoms that people do not have. Think of the most recent legalization of gay marriage; I don’t think the founders could’ve even thought about extending freedom to gays back in 1790 simply because it was the 1790s. We’ve come a long way since then, and trying to keep anything fixed in terms of a ‘real America’ seems stupid and useless from the start and misses the entire point of what America — the ideal America — should be.

So those are my thoughts on America this 4th of July. I love America despite being a progressive. I love the ideals that we were founded upon, but don’t think we’ve lived up to our potential yet. We don’t have the society free from bias and hate that the founders had envisioned. We’re closer than we were 100 years ago — women can vote and kids don’t have to work 15 hours in a factory — but with the Black Lives Matter protests, racism, and the rise of right-wing fascism we seem further away from the ideal America than we did ten years ago. American has been and always will be a work in progress with the path paved by dissenters and people who fight for what is right despite the popular views or dominant social trends of their times. Sometimes I feel like America is shit, like it’s going down the drain, like it’s all falling apart, but America is something I want to fight for. I’m goddamn proud to be an American.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

Reopening Sucks

George Floyd, the martyr in the recent round of protests against police brutality, was murdered May 25, 2020 (on Memorial Day), about exactly a month ago.

Conspiracy theorist always seem to get about the first 5% of things right before the next 95% of “facts” go totally off the damn rails. It doesn’t take a detective to realize that social media — and nearly all forms of media — are totally dominated by a fuckton of right-wing cultists spewing total bullshit about whatever topic is available to be bitched about. COVID, Black Lives Matter, vaccines, Trump, etc. But the 5% they’re right on, the first 5% that might be the jumping off point for some total craziness, goes something like this, “People listen way too much to the media. People believe whatever their told!” (The typo is surprisingly fitting here. Also pointing to the fact that they have their own forms of media that they blindly follow, i.e. a random dude on YouTube.) After that the craziness really ensues.

But fuck if they’re not right for that initial 5%. Not that the rest of their shit is right — COVID is a hoax, etc. — but the foundation seems true enough. As stated, George Floyd was murdered by police on May 25, 2020. And it’s hard to gauge, but as the protests around his murder really kicked off in late-May/early-June, America seemed to totally forget about COVID entirely. We’ve given up, decided it wasn’t anything to worry about, that we’ve beaten it, and we’ve decided to move on.

I partially blame the media, along with the 5% factual shit from above, for totally misleading the population, not on purpose but because that’s what they do for money/ratings. And I also blame the population for being so damn dumb that they only consider what is being reported as important, usually one big topic at a time. The world is a complex place and just because media doesn’t report on shit doesn’t mean it’s not occurring. Remember the Australian wildfires? Did those ever go out or did the media stop reporting on it as COVID ramped up? Remember the Brazilian rainforest being wrecked for farmland? Did we win that battle or did the media go silent? And was COVID conquered simply because the news pivoted to stories about protests and riots? You’d think so if you’ve only checked out Facebook or other social media. Everyone seems to be hopelessly fixed on the zeitgeist of the day/week and blindly follows it, whatever the media decides is important enough to report on at the time. I’m guilty of this myself, having written two posts about racism in the past week. As a blogger I feel I need to chase around “relevancy” in whatever form it takes, but somehow COVID has been lurking in my mind for awhile. Is it really over or did we just move the fuck on and decide we don’t want to worry about it anymore?

It’s obviously the latter: not that many people seem to be aware of it if it’s not constantly reported on. I had a COVID test about a month ago and was off of work for over a week until I got my results back. They were negative and I went back to work to find a slightly altered workplace. No one was wearing masks anymore and it seemed as soon as June 1st rolled around people stopped caring. The gas station I frequent for beer used to have a sign saying something like “A FACE MASK/BANDANA IS REQUIRED TO ENTER THE STORE” which disappeared when June rolled around. Another gas station, in the bumfuck redneck town of Winnebago, Illinois, had a sign on the door stating they required facemasks for all customers. I didn’t have mine so cautiously opened the door to gauge the reaction of people inside; no one had a mask on and didn’t seem to give a damn that I also didn’t have a mask on. No one gave a shit wherever I went after May ended. So I also didn’t give a shit which is probably the wrong thing to do.

“WHO GIVES A SHIT?! It’s an RPG boys, story doesn’t matter; it’s all about the action. Now let’s get down to business…”

-Videogamedunkey in his “Dunk Souls” video upon skipping the introductory cutscene and all the context of the game it offers. I’ve found myself blurting out “WHO GIVES A SHIT? STORY DOESN’T MATTER,” in regards to COVID recently.

I think in May our governor J.B. Pritzker tried to keep Illinois shutdown until July. He was then promptly sued because you know, rights and stuff — peoples rights to shop without a mask or work or something — and the court ruled in their favor. I still don’t know the details but it seemed Illinois would open up somewhat in June. Outdoor seating at restaurants, limited people in stores, with the stores opening at least among other things.

As a quick side note, I’ve realized that tagging these posts with “Pritzker Sucks” seems to rake in the views even though I support the guy. I won’t shit on him here because I think he’s done a good job taking COVID seriously, but I’m still going to tag this post with a “Pritzker Sucks” just to rake in those conservative views, and maybe anger some when they realize I like the guy and his handling of COVID. So yes, ironically, Fuck Pritzker. And Fuck Trump while we’re at it, but unironically this time. Thanks for reading right-wingers.

Social media has, along with the media, pivoted pretty strongly to being about riots. My knowledge of the news usually comes from trolling the front page of Reddit — anything newsworthy enough is usually upvoted enough to make it to the front page — or seeing the hyped-up dramatic shit I see on social media like Facebook. It’s pretty obvious, but in this environment COVID has all but disappeared. And it exits your consciousness where you’re not even aware that’s it’s still an issue. Luckily, gaps in the reporting still appear. I follow a chemist on Facebook and her main goal over the past few months appears to be to scream about COVID and how it’s still a threat. This doesn’t get reported but you know when a scientist/chemist is still screaming about something sciency, it’s still a problem. And even on Reddit the occasional post, like this following chart from r/dataisbeautiful, obviously show that COVID cases are still on the rise, especially in southern and western states. Let’s also not disregard the occasional r/news or r/worldnews posts with headlines like, “[State Name] has reported its highest single-day cases of COVID-19 with [number] reported on [date/day of the week].”

Something about seeing data in graphical form makes the trends instantly visible. It’s beautiful really. Source link right here boys.

COVID seems different as well because it’s a biological threat. Consider the Australian wildfires as an example; sure, even if the media doesn’t report on them they’re still raging, but this isn’t a direct threat to anyone in the United States or the rest of the world. In this case, ignorance is bliss and pretending like it’s not happening doesn’t really have a negative effect on the world. I think most news stories are like this — sure Trump conjured up a new stupid Twitter post to toss the media off his trail and allow the public to forget his last stupid Twitter post — but I doubt this has much an effect on anything. COVID? COVID, being a goddamn virus, doesn’t give a shit that it isn’t at the forefront of American knowledge because it’s going to do whatever the fuck it wants to do. In short, ignoring COVID — unlike ignoring Trump’s Twitter feed/the media’s reporting on it — will not benefit anyone. In fact it’ll only make the problem worse. As more people stop thinking that it’s a threat, the more that will let their guard down, and the more that will be infected. And they’ll go on to affect everyone else that’s let their guard down. And so on.

I find it strange that Americans have all but given up fighting COVID or being concerned about it. Shops, stores, and restaurants are opening back up. People are going back to work. States are opening up. Testing is still shit. But hey, it’s June, it’s summer, and people can’t wait to get out and live their lives that have been on hold for a few months. And holy hell is everyone ready to take off the masks that they claim they unironically Can’t Breathe in. We’re just going to ignore the climbing COVID numbers and pretend like nothing is happening. It’s the classic American way: close your eyes, plug your ears, and scream “La la la!” at the top of your lungs. Everything is fine. No, really. It’s fine.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

My Own Racism Sucks

This is the second part to this post. At the end of that post I said something like, “My main racist crime?: I don’t use checkout lines with black people as the cashier. Like subconsciously.”

That’s kinda a lie really. It was a clickbaity end to my last post, honestly, and I feel kinda bad about it in retrospect. I’m not nearly that twisted of a person — claiming to be against racism while not using any checkout lines staffed by African Americans — and my own reality is much more blurry than that. Let me explain a bit.

Everything else being equal, I’ve noticed I choose white cashiers over blacks, with the key phrase here being everything being equal. Obviously if a black person has no one in their line and some white person has three people in their line, I’d choose the black person. It makes sense. I’m pragmatic as hell and I think this is how everyone should be; if all races are equal (as I believe) you shouldn’t even use race as a deciding factor to which goddamn checkout line you use. White or black doesn’t matter because I just want to get the fuck out of Walmart as quickly as possible. Simply choose who has the shortest line and get the hell out of there! I’ve taken solace in my coldness in choosing checkout lanes but I’ve noticed something strange when these two hypothetical lines are equal in length. Whose line do I choose: the African-American cashier or the White cashier? Surprisingly, this is when my latent racisms really popped into view. I’d pick the white cashier over the black cashier for reasons that didn’t seem really clear to me. And I never even really thought about it; it was just something that happened. Something about the white cashier seemed more ‘familiar’ to me or something. But once I realized this the question then turned into “Why am I this way?”

When I realized this I was kinda shocked. Like I said, I try to be pragmatic as possible — which line has the shortest wait because I really don’t give a shit who checks me out — but I found it strange that race would somehow be taken into account in absence of anything else. And it’s a quiet, subtle thing that’s hard to really notice or process because you’re not aware that it’s happening, especially when you view yourself as not racist or anything, but yet, here was this tendency to pick a cashier with a skin color closer to myself. It’s kinda scary when you realize your brain works this way.

The way my brain works goes something along the lines of “familiarity”: white people seem more “like me” culturally and socially than others with a different skin color which is totally bullshit but how it feels in the moment. That’s my natural tendency, like it’s harder to ‘understand’ the cashier if they’re a different race then you are. Once again, total bullshit, but this is what my mind does. It’s strange to realize this almost naturally naturally occurs. It’s something deeply ingrained and something you naturally do without questioning it, with zero ill-will against anyone involved. It’s just how your brain seems to work.

And racism in this form is a natural thing I think: it’s a holdover from our caveman days like everything else we suffer from. Here in 2020 with all of the fancy technological achievements we have, we are still hopelessly biological cavemen hindered by all the shitty evolutionary holdovers we have from the good ole days. You know, shit like social approval, success, being accepted by the group, etc. and this is one of them. I have zero references here but we are a hopelessly tribal species where our brains inherently group people into those that are with us and against us. I think this doesn’t need much evidence really because whenever I see someone with a Trump flag in their yard I instantly count them as “one of Them” while someone with a Bernie sticker on their car is “one of Us.” Us vs. Them always. It doesn’t stop there either. Football teams, the Bears/Packers rivalry, Republicans/Democrats, Liberals/Conservatives, and so on. We cut up teams based upon silly shit all the time and it’s no surprise that separate teams — subconsciously and unknowingly — in terms of race as well. White/Blacks. White/Mexicans. Americans/Immigrants. White/Arabic. White/Asian. Those similar to us and those dissimilar to use; those of the opposing tribe. Those not totally against us but those who aren’t exactly like us. A different team and a different tribe. An old evolutionary holdover that doesn’t make much sense currently but something that we’re all susceptible to because we’re all hopelessly prehistoric cavemen in a hopelessly complex world.

After realizing this tendency, it’s natural to wonder how you can even solve the problem. There is no easy way forward because you’re so hopelessly biased. But it’s freeing in a way to realize how you are, and this simple realization gives you a way forward despite any clear answers to your questions. After I realized this strange trait about myself — even with no answer to why I was this way — I could move forward. Just knowing my tendencies allowed me to counteract them consciously. Now, all things being equal at shitty Walmart, I make a conscious effort to change my ways and pick an African cashier over a White cashier. I don’t have any great success stories about this because with such a subtle problem it’s hard to see any clear benefits to changing your ways, but there are a few side notes. Black people don’t seem to judge the fuck out of my alcohol purchases the way old White women do, and they seem to be much more open and honest about how shitty their lives are. Everyone working at Walmart seems to hate their lives, and it’s only the White people that seem to try to put a cover of dignity over how they feel. I seem to have found some honesty that doesn’t exist with the White cashiers always acting and lying about how they really feel, and even if the African cashier is rude as fuck it seems to come from a genuine place of frustration that the White’s don’t seem to have. You can’t help but appreciate this honestly. This almost seems like stereotyping in the reverse, or still grouping individuals into groups, but still. I think I’m growing as a person in this way.

So as my Facebook friend suggested, and as I took it in a way totally unintended, I’ve been self-reflecting on racism and have stumbled upon the fact that I am an unknowing racist, albeit in a totally undramatic way. And tying this back with my prior post about “subtle racism” I think this is a fitting conclusion to the post. The problem with racism is that it doesn’t fly directly into your face as racism — it’s quiet comments from family members/friends and in the tendencies we all hold even if we aren’t aware of them — and this makes racism hard to combat. While we’re all willing to shout down Nazis on the corner of the street, it’s much more difficult to shout down your racist neighbor who talks about “those people.” It hides in the shadows. It isn’t obvious. And if there’s one thing I’ve realized, it’s so quiet that it might reside within yourself as a tiny and unnoticeable form that you might not even notice that you harbor the demon. Search within yourself. We’re all equal, and ask yourself if you really might be the problem you’ve been fighting all along.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

Subtle Racism Sucks

This is a topic I’ve been mulling over writing about for over a year now and it simply hasn’t come together, until now that is. I’ve been inspired to write this post because of some random video a friend of mine from high school shared on Facebook of all places. As much as I bitch about Facebook it’s nice to see someone pull through with a post that is heartfelt, meaningful, and gets your mind thinking a bit.

So about that video. She posted a five-minute long video that was just her talking. This person doesn’t fuck around on social media and if she posted a five-minute long video of her talking I knew something was being said and I wasn’t disappointed. She hit the current situation (the protests, Black Lives Matter, the police, racism, #AlLlIvEsMaTtEr, etc.) clearly, directly, and it definitely hit hard. 

To sum it all up, she said something about self-reflecting about the beliefs we all hold. Easy, right? I’m not racist at all so there isn’t much to reflect upon. She also said the stupidly deep line that went something like, “It isn’t our black friends that need to solve racism; that is up to us to solve, because we are the problem.” Obviously not all white people are the issue and the ‘we’ is a generalization of the white race, but racism is inherently a problem with non-black people by definition. Well, I’ve never thought about it that way before; until now I’ve viewed the recent protests as a conflict between the cops and blacks — I’m not black or a cop so what can I do about any of it? But regarding systemic racism and me being a white person? Maybe I do have a part in it after all. Maybe I am part of the problem? Maybe I am part of the solution.

But I’m not racist, at least as far as I know. But here at this blog I try to remain as open and honest as I’m able and have been wondering if I’m part of the problem after all. One thing I’ve noticed about racism is that it’s really subtle; it isn’t people in the streets chanting that they hate ‘niggers’ or anything. It’s much more quiet and repressed than that.

Subtle Racism in the World…

I recall a conversation in college about PC culture. Political correctness if you’re unaware of the term. The question was this: does PC culture help eliminate racism/hate or not? Most of the class seemed to agree, thinking that if it was taboo to call blacks ‘niggers’ or gays ‘faggots’ that it would somehow solve the problem. If everyone is too scared to say the words in public, it’s like the problem doesn’t really exist. It never has room to grow into full-fledged hatred. I was one of the few dissenters, arguing that eliminating language or making it unacceptable didn’t remove the true feelings behind the thoughts; people will feel what they feel even if they can’t put it into words. To me PC culture was an utter failure because while it dissuaded people from being vocal about their feelings, those feelings still existed, and to me it felt like a ticking time bomb.

Racism still exists in subtle forms, and I really think this might be due to our heavy PC culture in the past few decades. I think of my dad and how any black man walking along the street is “looking to buy drugs,” or whatever. Not like any African American can actually enjoy a walk or anything: they’re always assumed to be up to something shady. Or the fabled, “He’s one of the good ones,” when a white person has one as their friend. As if blacks have to prove they’re “one of the goods ones:” implying that they’re bad or flawed by default. There are a few other examples about Mexicans being lazy or criminals, but I don’t have any specifics to add here. Once again, racism isn’t white people calling blacks ‘niggers’ or anything; it’s much more subtle than that and we overlook most of this closeted racism.

I suppose my worry with this subtle, quiet racism is that given the correct environment (basically our current environment…) racism like this can grow and fester like a disease. Sure, people can’t say the n-word due to political correctness, but what if it becomes the norm? What if hatred to other races becomes acceptable and even desired by the dominant social trends of the day? Then it becomes cool to call blacks slurs, to hate openly instead of hiding it within. It becomes public, a sort of demon that no one can stop, and this is the Real Racism — like 1930s German Racism — that I find so damn terrifying even if it doesn’t currently exist. I’m sure a large portion of the population feels these quiet but repressed feelings of hate where there’s only some fragile, poorly-fortified damn stopping these feelings from spilling over into the mainstream. And this damn is us quiet, timid, well-meaning people of the world.

My Facebook friend’s main point in her video seemed to be about correcting your fellow humans about subtly racist comments and actions that your quietly-racist uncle/dad likes to randomly spout out. Show that you’re not accepting of any form of subtle hate. Make a stand. Say something. Don’t make it okay. Sure, someone who blurts out, “That’s gay,” I would correct, but this seems obvious and easy enough to implement and only requires courage to actually speak up. But with self-reflection I began wondering if I had some subtle form of racism that I wasn’t aware of. And here’s where we get to the old blog post that I’ve never gotten around to writing: Yes, I’m prejudiced. Yes, I’m biased. And it’s in a way I’m not even fully understand. It’s also in a totally undramatic and seemingly harmless way that sounds stupid and pointless to write anything about. My main racist crime?: I don’t use checkout lines with black people as the cashier. Like subconsciously. Bear with me in this silliness; I’ll post the second part before the weekend is over. I promise.

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.

Dealerships (and Electric Cars) Suck: Part 2

This is an impromptu continuation of this post and is a post I didn’t think a continuation was necessary for. But, life happens, you’re aware of that. Shit happens, plans change, things go to hell, etc. And I don’t know why I ever expect anything to work out as planned. A friend of mine likes to expect the worst because then you’ll either be prepared or pleasantly surprised; I think she might be onto something. Damn me for being optimistic…

The plan today was to drive the twenty miles to nearby Belvidere, Illinois (a shithole I despise going to for any reason) to pick my shitty Ford Focus EV up from the dealership. It was fixed, or more precisely as they said, “We’ve fixed everything that could be wrong with it, *implied shrug over the phone*, so you can pick it up tomorrow.” We drove there, I paid the $427 for the repairs, and walk to car in the parking lot. I start it and everything looks alright beside the twenty-one mile range left on the car; they didn’t even bother to charge the thing! It’s about fifteen miles to our house so to be safe I planned to charge it on the way home. “Looks like I’m stopping at the park on the way,” I texted my wife. (A park five miles from out house sports two EV chargers.) Whatever. I’d make it work.

About halfway home on East State Street (the busiest damn street in Rockford: a big three lane road in both directions) the car popped the infamous”Stop Safely Now” warning. I was stopped at a traffic light — in the middle lane nonetheless — so there wasn’t much choice of where to stop safely. The car wouldn’t let me drive it anywhere else so I sat there in heavy traffic stranded in the middle of the tree lanes.

THIS IS GOING TO BE MY MOST USED IMAGE

Luckily, I trained for emergencies while learning to fly and feel confident in my ability to not panic and deal with the situation, so frustratedly turned on the emergency flashers and sighed. Here I am, I am safe, and what do I do now? Kinda checked the right and left lanes of traffic and wondered what the hell my options were. Call a tow truck? Push the car to the side when traffic cleared? Who the hell knew. Either way I was pissed and stuck in the middle of the road with a dead car.

Another high-quality image from r/THE_PACK, my most favoritest subreddit. AROOO MFER LET’S CRANK THE HOGS

I tried the typical “shut-if-off-and-turn-it-back-on” trick that is standard for troubleshooting anything and luckily IT worked. I waited until traffic was clear to the right and zipped into a parking lot. Old Chicago if you’re really curious. I probably should’ve went in and had a few beers to really think about this issues.

I pulled out my phone and called the dealership and one of the ladies at the desk answered. “How can I help you?” she asked.

“Yeah, can I talk to someone in the maintenance department?”

“Sure, is this involving an appointment or an issue with your vehicle?”

“Well, I picked my car up twenty minutes ago and it died on me halfway home…”

“Oh…I’ll transfer you then.”

“Thaaaaaaanks.”

Luckily Mike, the guy who gave me my keys twenty minutes earlier, answered the transfer. This was also a fun conversation.

“Hello, this is Mike, how can I help you?”

“Hey, this is Jeremy, the guy who just picked up the Ford Focus like twenty minutes ago. Uh, I made it about halfway home and it popped another “Stop Safely Now” warning in the middle of State Street and I couldn’t move the car at all. Luckily, I shut the car off and turned it on and it allowed me to drive but I mean I don’t want it to happen again where I need to have it towed. Should I just drop it back off to you guys?”

“Hmm…so it wouldn’t let you drive it at all?”

“No, not until I restarted it.”

“…”

“…”

“Yeah, it could do that again, huh?”

“Yeah, I have no idea what caused it. It seemed really random.”

“Well, that’s not normal. I’d say bring it back in and I’ll have a technician look at in on Monday.”

Since range wasn’t an issue anymore (because who gives a fuck if they get an EV with a dead battery) I drove like a maniac back to the dealership. I parked the car, sulked into the place, and handed my key back to them. Chris, the guy who fixed my car a few other times, seemed genuinely upset that I hauled it back twenty minutes after I had picked it up. That dude knew what he was doing; how about he fixes my car this time? Andy, the guy who handled my shit this time, apparently didn’t know what the fuck he was doing.

On the ride home with my wife, I received a call from the dealership. Already? I thought. It was one of the desk girls again asking how the service was that I received. Was everything okay with the car? So it was very satisfying to just monotone-plop out a reply of “Yeah, actually the car just died like thirty minutes ago and I dropped it back off. So, yeah…” Her reply went something like, “Oh! Well…we’ll get in touch with the service department and talk with them.” Yeah. Fuck you guys.

So now it’s a wait until Monday to hear anything about it, at the very least. It could take longer, who knows. Obviously, my entire weekend is shot now because this was the singular positive thing I was looking forward to to jumpstart my life. I’d get my car back, it’d be fixed, and I could get on with the other issues in my life, move onto bigger and more difficult things if you will. Maybe start flying again. Nope! Fuck you, Jeremy: life fucks you again. Que The Big Lebowski: “You see what happens?! You see what happens, Larry?! See what happens? This is what happens when you fuck a stranger in the ass, Larry!”

That rant wasn’t very much called for, but, still. I don’t even know. I keep thinking this entire car purchase years ago was a mistake. Some flawed thought of me trying to move into the future and be part of the leading wave of brave electric car owners. Those who walk the path before others comfortably take it up. I envision us as the covered-wagon folks traveling to California in search of gold in the 1800s. Pioneers and such leading all others. Taking risks. Being brave. Etc. I remember as a kid in like 1996 telling my grandmother that I’d own an electric car because they didn’t pollute as much, and when I bought the car I kinda remembered that moment. Yeah, I actually accomplished one of those wild childhood dreams somehow. I did it: I was an electric car owner for real! Wow!

But now? Mistake. The damn thing was a mistake. I bought the cheapest piece of shit EV — a compliance car by Ford, let’s recall the popular acronym Found On Road Dead — and I was paying out of the ass in repairs. But don’t EVs not have any moving parts? What wears out? What can wear out? Why is it so hard to repair them? That was my initial thought but this thing has been repaired more than the damn 1998 Cavalier I owned for more than a decade. Why? How? Wasn’t I doing the right thing? Wasn’t I saving so much money in gas? Wasn’t I cutting down on carbon emissions? Maybe, but at what cost to my own bank account and well-being? Maybe it’s just easier and cheaper to drive a shitty gas car and deal with the problems and upkeep with that.

So I’m feeling pretty beaten down again and heavily drinking because I really don’t care anymore. Give me some chemicals to futilely pick me up. It’s going to be another one of those weekends I can already tell…

Check out my Instagram where I post pointless artistic pics every whenever I get around to it.

Or my other blog where I sometimes post stories.

Or Wattpad where I have a Morrowind fanfic ongoing.

Or my Facebook page where I don’t do much of anything at all, but I do appreciate more followers.