In which I’m an asshole but I’m trying to stop

91f2oZK0TILI used to discover new books by going to physical bookstores and spending a pleasurable hour searching through the shelves.  That method is effectively obsolete now, as damn near everything I read is something I discovered online (on Twitter, more often than not) and added to my Amazon wish list.  Sometimes I end up at Barnes and Noble anyway, though, and for whatever reason every time I set foot in that place nowadays it leads to a blog post.

I came across Christopher Ruocchio’s Empire of Silence at some point in the past few days; I don’t remember exactly when, but comparing something to Dune is guaranteed to get my attention and I added it to my wishlist.  We ended up celebrating my birthday tonight with steak and book-shopping, and I happened to find a copy of the book on the shelf somewhere.  I wasn’t familiar with Ruocchio– I think this is his debut novel, but I’m not 100% sure, and he’s definitely a young guy– and my first thought upon seeing his author picture was … well, judgmental.  I’m not gonna bother saying how, but he’d done nothing to deserve said judgmentalness.

And then I noticed that his author bio mentioned his Twitter feed, and so I pulled my phone out and went to look at his Twitter, specifically to see if he was posting anything on Twitter that would give me an excuse to not buy his books.  And I came across this Tweet:

Here’s the thing: my opinions on politics are very very apparent from my Twitter feed, and still pretty goddamn apparent from my blog posts.  I am absolutely certain that there are some people out there who might enjoy my books but won’t/wouldn’t have given me the chance because of my politics, and that’s okay.  Anyone who doesn’t want to read my work for any reason whatsoever is absolutely free to not do so, as none of you owe me anything.

My personal rule on the politics of authors and various and sundry other artists who I support is You Don’t Want None There Won’t Be None.  I’ve never deliberately gone looking for someone’s political ideas before deciding to check out their work before, but there have definitely been some authors– Orson Scott Card and Dan Simmons come to mind immediately, and I threw away a John C. Wright book unread once I found out what a piece of shit he was, and I’m sure there are others– whose work I no longer read or never started because I find them to be such odious people.  But if you either keep your shit to yourself or if you put it out there you do it in such a way that you don’t immediately convince me that you’re a boil on the asshole of humanity, I’ve never been one to go looking for bullshit.  But if you put it out there, well, there might be consequences.

But that’s exactly what the hell I was doing– trying to comb this dude’s Twitter feed for a reason not to buy his book, because something about the way he looks set me off.

I don’t like the fact that I’ve turned into that person.

Long story short, I bought the goddamn book, which I was gonna do anyway, but as soon as I realized I was trying to find a reason to write this dude off and not buy his book I decided I had to buy it.  And I’m gonna try harder to rein in my own dickishness in the future, because this shit is ridiculous, and I don’t want to do it again.

Now I just gotta hope to hell I like the thing.  🙂

 

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:

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(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.

In which I melt down

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It has been an exquisitely crappy day.

From more or less the moment I woke up today, when I figured out nearly immediately upon waking up that our wireless connection wasn’t working, I have been thwarted in goddamn near every single thing I have tried to do today.  It’s been the kind of day where I start swearing uncontrollably into my phone and hitting the star key over and over again because Comcast uses a fucking voice recognition computer for their “help” line and there are no options that remotely match what I need. It is the kind of day where I begin one conversation with a customer service agent by telling her in my most polite available tone of voice (which is, despite my best efforts, still not very polite) that I am aware that none of my problems are her fault and I’m going to try and avoid coming off as a complete asshole but that I am this close to losing my shit altogether with her company.  It is the kind of day where I begin another conversation with another customer service agent for a different company by asking her what the main ingredient in tomato soup is, because I am completely exhausted by dealing with non-human-being agents and need her to literally prove that she is flesh and blood before I try and talk to her, and yes, ma’am, I am completely serious, I want the answer to my question please.

It is the kind of day where I take my son to McDonald’s for lunch, my son who is at home with me today because his day care is taking a field trip to a place where his allergies prevent him from going, my son who does not remotely deserve the surly, angry, stressed-out, swearing mess of a father that he has—it is the kind of day where I take my son to McDonald’s and McDonald’s is out of ketchup.  Because of fucking course McDonald’s is out of ketchup, why would lunch be any different from anything else that’s happened today?

It is the kind of day where a former student who I have remained in near-constant touch with for the five years since she left my classroom– a student who I have referred to as “my daughter” in conversation with others before because our actual relationship is a trifle too complicated to explain—the kind of day where that student is having a Very Bad Day, and I find that I simply do not have the mental energy or emotional capacity to help her, and treat her with a coldness she does not deserve or need.

It is the kind of day where I find out that the brightest student I’ve ever had in my classroom, a student I have not kept in constant contact with, who has just graduated from high school, is moving in with his girlfriend and not into a college dorm room because he cannot afford college and has no one in his family to help him navigate through it.

It is a miracle that I’m ending the day by typing this into this Word document on my desktop—because my internet doesn’t work, and my phone is out of data, and I need to stay offline as much as possible so I’m writing it offline—and not ending it in jail.  Because the fact that I made it through the day without assaulting anyone is frankly bordering on miraculous.

It is the kind of day where none of these problems are problems at all, because the monsters who we have allowed to take over our government are drugging children that they have kidnapped and are keeping them in concentration camps.  Concentration camps run by for-profit prison companies, on American soil.

And right now I have no idea how the fuck to cope with any of it at all.