On not being “political”

A quick recap: In the now-five weekends since school started, I have had two (2) weekends where students in my building lost younger siblings to gun violence– one who was playing with (or at least near someone who was playing with) a loaded weapon that went off, and another killed in a drive-by shooting at a birthday party. Last weekend, one of my former students apparently fired a shot or two at someone she had gotten into an altercation with at a bar, and then her gun went off while she was in the back seat of what was effectively their getaway car, going through the front passenger seat and killing her best friend, another former student.

Today’s horror involves a killing this afternoon at my local mall. I came across this Facebook post just now; one of those where you don’t know the person but someone you know interacted with them and so the post makes its way onto your feed. I would like you to direct your attention to the first two sentences, in particular:

Now, I don’t know this dude, which is why I didn’t respond to him on FB, and is why I’m cutting his name out here. He’s going through some shit I’ve never had to go through right now and I feel for him.

But God damn it, this impulse toward oh don’t make this political, when the problem is, oh, gun violence is completely the fuck out of control, is part of the god damned problem. This comes from the same impulse that occasionally leads to ignant shit like this:

And … nah.

You cannot “make” gun violence political. Gun violence is inherently fucking political. You cannot take politics out of gun violence. When we have a political party in this country that is literally encouraging its followers to stockpile as many guns as they can and the fucking person masquerading as our nation’s President is actively calling for gun violence in response to the results of our upcoming election, you can not take politics out of gun violence.

America has decided that it does not matter how many people die; their guns are more important than the lives of children, the lives of their friends, the lives of their families, whatever. That is a political decision. These folks literally don’t care who dies so long as they get to keep their toys and people with darker skin than them don’t. And the “be like Bob and Sally” bullshittery exists to obscure that, to hide the fact that for a whole god damn lot of people politics is literally a life and death matter and it is not only perfectly fucking okay but frankly the only sane decision to cut people out of their lives who have made the political decision that you are not human and your life does not matter. My white skin and manly cishet genitals are going to protect me from this to a certain extent but sooner or later these fuckers are going to get around to the atheists. This is not fucking theoretical to me. Not at all.

We are at the point where one of our two major political parties is actively courting fascists and white supremacists. Where actual fucking Nazis not only support the party holding the White House but hold positions of power within that party and are not actively shunned by those individuals who don’t yet identify specifically with them.

When you have one Nazi sitting at a table with eleven people who don’t mind that the Nazi is there, you don’t have one Nazi and eleven “adults” who don’t want to rock the boat. You’ve got twelve Nazis sitting at a table.

America is the world’s largest source of gun violence because America has made the political decision to be the world’s largest source of gun violence and Americans who disagree have not managed to summon the political will to stop them. If you are trying to skate around that to avoid fights and losing friends, you are part of the problem.

Adventures in barbershopping

The boy’s hair is getting into his eyes, and we have been threatening him with a haircut for a few weeks now, but higher-priority things keep getting in the way. This morning, as my wife is leaving to take the Great Old One to the vet for a check-up, she asks me if I can get his hair cut. Yes! I can do that, and for once we do not have ten thousand other things that need to be done today.

I call the place we’ve been using. Someone answers the phone.

“Hi, do you have appointments available this afternoon?” I ask.

“We’re open until three,” the person on the other side says.

That is … not what I asked, and something about her tone gets directly on a nerve for some reason. A moment or two of slightly confused but pointed questions reveals that yes, they’re more or less free all afternoon and I can pick whatever time I want, and I make an appointment for noon.

The correct response here, by the way, is something along the lines of “We’ve got open spots all afternoon, what time would you like to come in?” I feel like this isn’t a complicated interaction, y’know? Probably happens a few times a day, at least? I asked about appointments. If you’re wide open, say that. Don’t get snotty with me and tell me your hours as if they weren’t right there on the website I used to find your phone number.

We’ve been using this place for a while, because they’re nearby, reasonably priced, and kid-friendly. There has always been a bit of Jesusiness about the place, but it’s never been too terribly overwhelming; they sell shirts and the shirts have a Bible verse on them for some reason along with the logo of the barbershop. That’s been about it. I live in fucking Indiana; I’m used to it.

Today when I got there their front door had been redone to include the two images in the above picture, and, well, welcome to the Don’t Want None Won’t Be None zone, folks. If I were to deliberately design a logo for American Christofascism I could not do much better than a cross with a thin blue line graphic imposed on it. My rule for when I allow my politics to influence decisions that shouldn’t be political (like where should I get my kid’s hair cut once every two or three months) is that if you make sure I know where you stand, I’m going to judge you accordingly, and if you don’t, I’m not going to go looking for trouble. And these folks have now officially crossed a (thin, blue) line that makes it perfectly clear that my business isn’t wanted there, and they’re going to get what they want from here on out.

Now, note here that 1) I have never had any problem with any of the employees, and I’m not even certain who actually owns the place; and 2) I am perfectly willing to let this rule apply to me; I wear my politics on my sleeve around here and anyone who is, say, unwilling to buy my books because of that is absolutely encouraged to make that decision. Everyone is welcome to not spend their money on my work for whatever reason they like, regardless of what I might think of the reason. I don’t actually get to have a say here! It’s your money!

And, well, when it’s my money, if you’re gonna make sure I get greeted with Jesus and Blue Lives Matter before I walk into your place of business, well, I’m gonna keep on walking. Sorrynotsorry, I guess.

One way or another

…nevertheless, we persist.


giphyI had a stunningly easy day at work today, to the point where I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop and it never really did.  No drama, no nonsense, I had time to get shit done, which blows my mind– that never happens– and now I have tomorrow off.

My wife has to work and my son has school.  So I’m at home, by myself, on Election Day, trying my good Goddamnedest to keep myself distracted.  If there was some sort of drug I could take that could guarantee I could just wake up Wednesday morning and have the carnage already dealt with, I’d already have taken it.

I mean, I could make predictions, but I was literally the wrongest I’ve ever been about anything two years ago, so I’ve got no room left for optimism right now.  I also think I’m probably not capable of being surprised, but the world has a way of proving me wrong about that too.  I considered finding something, anything to volunteer for tomorrow, but to a certain extent I question my own ability to keep my shit together in scenarios where people are talking politics around me, and if I go volunteer for something it’s gonna be kinda difficult to avoid politics.   Better for my mental health to spend the entire day stuck in 1899 robbing caravans and hunting bears.  I gotta stay the hell off Twitter until at least 7 or 8:00; I will fail utterly in this goal.

More tomorrow, I suppose, if the world doesn’t end.

In which that wasn’t a joke

AngerIn the long run of things, this probably isn’t that big of a deal, but it’s still on my mind, so fuck it, I’m talking about it.  I work high-end retail, right?  We all know this.  So I’m working on the Fourth of July, just like a whole lot of other people.  I actually get it pretty well; normally big national holidays mean everybody has to work all day (and Wednesday is usually my half day) but we’re closing at six, so my Big Holiday Work Schedule is having to work a fairly inconsequential three and a half extra hours for the week.  I’m gonna survive.  Frankly, my birthday is the 5th and that’s always overshadowed the Fourth for me.  Call me unpatriotic if you like.

So dude calls on Wednesday to find out if whateverthefuck he ordered is in.  He’s not one of my guests– and, incidentally, my tolerance for putting up with even an iota of crap from people I’m not personally making money from has been declining precipitously lately– and I look his stuff up and find out that it’s in the store.  We had received a delivery that day; chances are it had just come in a few hours prior to the phone call.  I offer to set up his delivery.  As it turns out, the rest of this current week is full but all of next week (ie, the first week of July) is pretty much entirely open.  I tell him that and point out that we do deliver on the 4th (if we’re open, we’re open) if Wednesday works for him.

There’s a pause.

“You’re delivering on the Fourth?”

Another pause.

“You should be shot.”

Now, there’s really not much left to this story.  I told him everybody in the store was working that day but that I appreciated the murder threat.  He acted like he didn’t hear me.  I didn’t hang up on him or cancel his shit (although if I remembered his name, I might seriously jump in and reschedule him for, like, 2028 without telling anyone) and I sure as shit didn’t tell his entitled white Republican ass (argue with me, I dare you) to shut the fuck up and die alone and in pain like I probably ought to have.  He snarled at me that he wanted the 3rd, I scheduled it, got off the phone, and then sent this email to my regional manager:

IMG_7416.jpg

(I had, as you probably gleaned from context, just sent my RSM an email prior to getting that phone call.)

He wrote me back and told me he appreciated the laugh, apparently misreading the tone of my email, which was meant to be “this is fucked up, this guy is fucked up, I’m tired as hell of fucked up, and next time this won’t go as well,” not “here’s a funny anecdote about a routine thing that just happened to me.”

But yeah.  Maybe I’m taking shit too serious.  But these fuckers are getting more and more emboldened on a damn near minute-to-minute basis, and it’s just like a fucking Republican to get mad at the motherfucker who has to be at work rather than the motherfuckers who are making them come to work, and I don’t want anything to do with these entitled, violent, stupid assholes any longer.

Everything sucks and I’m trying to ignore it

DumpsterFire2I spent most of the day today in the car, driving from here to Fort Wayne and back (two hours each way) to get something done for work that I wouldn’t have had to do were I possessed of even a minor understanding of how geography works and the difference between west and east.  I spent yesterday mostly being exhausted into incomprehension and yet somehow still didn’t manage to get into bed until after midnight.

I have these crazy ideas that tomorrow I’ll get something useful done around the house, but I don’t think anyone nearby should hold their breath about it.  It’s supposed to be about a hundred and thirty degrees outside for the next couple of days so one thing I do know is that the lawn’s not getting mowed anytime soon.  The neighbors are just gonna have to look upon our jungle and despair; I’m not worrying about it.

One definite advantage about spending four hours in the car, he thought to himself before leaving on his road trip, is that it keeps me off Twitter and thus away from the news.  I can’t handle how fucked the world is right now and I’m trying to take a couple of days’ sabbatical from horror until I get my head back on straight.  So naturally all I did was listen to politics podcasts in the car.

I am not very good at news sabbaticals, apparently.  But I’m gonna keep trying.  If I can go three weeks without ingesting any carbs I ought to be able to ignore current events for just a few days, right?  You’d think.

Back to Dark Souls.  Anything I should be downloading or binge-watching that I don’t know about?  Tell me in comments.