Drum roll… crash.

‘At least I’m not as bad as this guy…’, I confidently assert, handing my wife my MacBook so she can have a look…

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Of course in the pop quiz that follows I only get two right. Bass and Toms. (My wife is a drummer)

I should learn just to keep quiet.

Once upon a lunchtime dreary

..while I sat wondering, meek, (and not at all) leery…

img_2560.jpgIf a Hadeda really wants your left overs.. maybe you should just let him have them. Seems like a silly thing to loose an eye over. On the plus side I’m glad this happened to the table next to us… which meant I didn’t have to shrilly express my alarm in falsetto at the sudden addition of a plus-sized avian into my personal space… and then (potentially) inexpertly tumble backwards off my chair. All of which may have cast doubt on the (toxic) masculinity I’ve been at great pains to cultivate lately. I’ve actually never seen a Hadeda be this brazen before.

The guy who was seated at the table handled it with enviable poise uttering, ‘You cheeky bugger’… which I’m inclined to believe, is potentially the most British thing he could have said (under the circumstances) and I am unbelievably jealous of his cool factor. Is that an innate cultural thing? Like a German feeling serious physical discomfort when he’s running thinks he might be running late? In any event, I was impressed by his nonchalance. He then self deprecated even further post event (underscoring his Englishness) by telling me that it was nothing, and that the Gulls in Brighton (or maybe it was Bristol… something with a B) were especially predatory in relation to your takeaway dinner and he was quite capable of handling their antics. Which leads to me believe he has experience in matters such as these, possibly getting pugilistic with an impudent seabird in the past.

In any event, well played sir.

Great openers

I need to pee. Which, as opening lines go, probably won’t be counted among the greatest of all time. I was going to go with ‘Call me Ishmael…’, but apparently that’s been taken.

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation – Herman Melville

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… and while not a white whale of mythical proportions and foul temperament… It is a whale, snapped mid breach, with an iPhone, while (somewhat) inebriated. Which has to count for something.

In any event. I was just about to launch into a self-involved tirade about my day… heap some scorn upon those who vexed me… maybe break out some self pity, while seeming just sad (but not pathetic) enough to evoke some concerned comments…. you know normal blog stuff.

But now my bladder has laid waste to all these machinations and I am forced to tack against the wind. I use a sailing metaphor. And likely use it incorrectly. But since we are channeling Captain Ahab … and since this is my blog… I can decide to use an obtuse nonsensical analogy, as is my right, as granted to me by Matt Mullenweg and the power of Greyskull. Slash WordPress.

*Joey bounces off to go use the facilities*

Is it satire or sarcasm that’s the lowest form of wit? (the things I think about while vacating my bladder) I can’t remember…

I’m guessing sarcasm, but don’t they broadly mean the same thing? I feel I should probably know this. I have huge gaps in my tuition. (Most likely caused by brain damage)

My eighth grade English teacher, a diminutive (but violent) nun called Sister Mary-Joseph, used to punch me because I couldn’t identify clauses in a sentence… or the conjunction that joined them (still can’t). Likely a motivational technique that would be frowned upon in modern climes.

Under duress I would randomly point to non specific part of the sentence in the hope that I had guessed correctly and that I could sit back down. Unfortunately for me Sister Mary-Joseph recognized my duplicity and negatively reinforced me accordingly (with her fists).

This is my clergy abuse story. Fortunately I didn’t have go down on anyone…  and by association shallow a warm, viscous load of the ‘Holy Spirit’. So pretty mild really.

For the most part I think I turned out okay…

*someone in the peanut gallery starts laughing*

Except for knowing anything technical about the English language I mean.

And maybe some other ‘stuff’

Relationship advice

I fell asleep on the sofa… supine with my MacBook precariously balanced on my burgeoning midsection and my coffee fast approaching room temperature. I wish I could claim that I was doing something profound with the one hour of free time allotted me per day… that magical interval that spans wrangling your progeny into the bath (and then into bed) and your own personal REM sleep experience. But I wasn’t.

I woke up discombobulated and closing my laptop rampaged off to bed with the stealth like poise of a baby rhinoceros, navigating by iPhone light (so I wouldn’t fall over an errant German Shepherd sprawled out in the passage like some sort of Dinner For One-esque booby trap). After that I tried (unsuccessfully) to unfurl the blanket that my wife had (with advanced mathematics) somehow established herself in. (you know, so I could get just a tiny corner of warmth) After thirty seconds of furtive probing I gave up and the did married couples version of when someone tries to pull the tablecloth out from underneath all the crockery.

As you might imagine… that didn’t work out so well for me.

After a slew of cuss words that would make a submariner or death-row inmate blush and the hi-jinks of having to navigate the domestic version of Ninja warrior back into the living room… I wasn’t sleepy anymore. And so here I am, back where I started, not only more awake, but also wiser…

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I feel uniquely disposed now to offer (unsolicited) relationship advice. You know, having survived a situation where the outcome was not entirely clear cut.

Also you’re welcome.

‘I love the smell of commerce in the morning’

Every man is rich or poor according to the degree in which he can afford to enjoy the necessaries, conveniences, and amusements of human life – Adam Smith

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As an aside I think I would like to have a statue erected in my honor. I feel my scalp, devoid of any folliclular interference would provide a most excellent staging area from which countless generations of pigeons can defecate on my glorious countenance. If you guys can just wedge me in between Winston Churchill and Jan Smuts in Parliament Square outside Westminster that would be great. You may need to remove David Lloyd George. But I feel that’s not really a big ask. Also (if at all possible) I’d like to be wielding an ax. Thanks (in advance).

I started reading the Wealth of Nations last night. I decided to delay my commute home somewhat because of the inclement weather conditions (and the vehicular cluster fuck that this would undoubtedly cause) and went to the MALL instead. I found the Wealth of Nations wedged between Das Kapital and Steven Pinkers overly cheerful ‘Enlightment now’ in the Western Philosophy aisle at the local bookstore… So I rescued it. I am quite accommodating that way and also I’ve never read it. There is a huge Adam Smith shaped hole in the rusted out sieve that is my retention sphere.

Found myself, after two chapters flipping back to the forward to remind myself when it was written. 1776! I utter some profane utterance to underscore my amazement. It feels very familiar… but to appreciate it in its originality makes me a little giddy. Ha ha. I’m pretty sure not so long ago boobs (and the application thereof to my face) made me giddy… now its a three inch tome by a long dead Scot. How the mighty have fallen.

Blackface

I’ve really been giving this some thought lately. Well… as much as my paltry capacity to be able to deeply consider complex issues allows… and then post rumination (which to the casual observer smells a lot like something burning) occasionally manage to string two vaguely coherent sentences together, one of which will almost certainly express the heartfelt need to eat a sandwich.

I’ve really struggled with this. I think this is likely because of two reasons. One, I’ve never been discriminated against. And if I have been, I didn’t notice, either because I’m incredibly dimwitted (very possible) or that I am protected from such barbarity by an inflated sense of self that deflects these sorts of barbs away from my squishy core.

I think any overt act of discrimination towards me would likely evoke a sense of incredulity that my brain would immediately dismiss as some sort of aberration. I wouldn’t even know how to be offended. There is a bulwark in being an affluent white male that is difficult to emulate inorganically and difficult to circumnavigate without a trebuchet.

So there’s that. Problematic on the whole empathy front. I have to pretend to know what discrimination feels like… and I think we can agree that reality versus make believe are often quite far apart.

Two. My stoicism. When confronted by something to which I should (under normal social conventions) take umbrage with, I simply, eh… don’t. I mean I have to choose to be offended by someones actions… so unless they are punching me in the face (in which case a different set of problem solving skills come into play)… but people mocking me… would and should generally illicit some sort of ‘meh’ response. These things can’t really hurt you. Can they?

I started off by thinking about things that I thought were innocuous but for some or other reason I moderated my behavior not to do that something because of another persons feelings. I didn’t have to think very hard about this. I often moderate my behavior for my wife’s benefit. I resist the urge to scratch my testicles in her presence, I curb the desire to burp the alphabet, pee in the garden, pick my nose (and examine it) or pass wind in thunderous fashion and then hold her head under the blanket. I mean none of these things are inherently damaging, but I consider her… ummm… proclivities on the subject matter and moderate my behavior accordingly. I don’t tell her to get over it. Or to ‘toughen up’. Or negotiate. Or ease her into some sort of acceptance of the situation. I just don’t do it. That seems fairly considerate of me. But then again I kinda like my wife (plus that whole reciprocity dynamic we’ve got going on) As people decay out of my immediate social orbit I’m inclined to care less and less about their feelings.

But then what about basic civility and potentially just good manners. Menschkeit as it were. I believe this is important.  Of course now I run into degrees of scale where I have to remember who is offended by what and to what degree. Make fun of Mormons, totally fine. Make fun of Islam, bad. That one is pretty easy to remember. I mean either everyone (and everything) should be on the cards or no one right? Believing some humans ideals to be more sacrosanct than others doesn’t feel very egalitarian. Of course then again, its easy for me to espouse this kind of moralist equal playing field bullshit because… well… point one.

Let me think about this another way. Is it acceptable to don an SS uniform and a Nazi armband for a Halloween party? Weirdly that’s one is easy for me. I mean I suppose you could (you can do anything you want), but really, there are some very unwholesome connotations associated with that particular outfit.

Isn’t Blackface in the same ballpark? When I think about it that way, it starts to make more sense to me. Besides you can emulate someone of differing pigment without having to resort to tincture and shoe polish and thereby associate yourself with a practice that was on the whole meant to degrade a segment of humanity at some point in the past.

Case in point.

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Brody Shafer dressing up as Neil deGrasse Tyson. Kudos to him for a great choice.

Of course at this point when I’m almost there I throw a libertarian spanner into the works. If a pale skinned compatriot of mine were to don blackface because either he doesn’t know its offensive to some… or indeed has decided that everyone should just get over themselves, whose side would I pick..

*heartfelt exhalation*

Fuck. I’d probably inch towards the pale skinned compatriot. Not because I agree or endorse his decision… in fact I would likely find him quite loathsome (and likely tell him that), but perceived harm through his actions is so difficult to quantify… as opposed to actual physical harm…. so the decision comes down to defend this persons freedom to be an asshole or stand with the aggrieved.

Unfortunately I have to stand on the side of the asshole. Which sucks. I don’t think you can pick and choose your freedoms. I really do believe that.