In which white people make terrible decisions

I seriously thought Ralph Northam’s stupid lying racist ass was the dumbest thing I was going to encounter this week, I really did. He issued what I thought was a pretty decent apology the night that the blackface/Klan picture broke, and I almost– almost– thought that maybe he shouldn’t have to immediately resign.

Well, fuck me for giving a racist a second’s benefit of the doubt, because the very next morning this asshole is not only trying to take back his admission that it was him in the picture, he “defends himself” by saying he wasn’t in blackface that time but there was this other time that he did it and man, isn’t shoe polish hard to get off your face?

So fuck that guy. He can go. Ain’t nobody gonna miss him.

(I won’t be entertaining a lot of debate on this point, for the record. We can lose everybody who ever wore blackface, period. I don’t give a fuck who you are or when you did it. I can’t believe that not only am I still having this fucking conversation, but it’s like the third time in a few weeks.)

And then I log onto Twitter for a moment during my lunch break and I get to play the Dead or an Asshole? game, since Liam Neeson is trending for some fucking reason. A wise man once said that the Internet plays a game where every day a new person is chosen as the Main Character of the Internet, and you win the game if that person is never you.  So, Liam lost the game today.

And Liam’s story kinda had me fucked up for a minute, you know? Because– and stay with me, here, because I’m phrasing this carefully– I very much do get the feeling that something terrible has happened to someone you care about, and you weren’t able to do anything about it. I very much do get the idea that in response to that trauma he went a little crazy for a little while. That’s not the problem.

No, the problem for Neeson is that he phrases this whole thing in terms of revenge, which … uh, randomly walking around with a club in your pocket and hoping that somebody black starts shit with you isn’t actually revenge, Liam. That’s racism. It’s not revenge when somebody does something to you or someone you care about and you beat the hell out of somebody who maybe sorta looks like the person who did it. That’s not what that word means. And from what I’ve read, he didn’t seem to recognize that distinction at all during his deeply weird interview for a movie that I already wasn’t going to see because I can’t tell if it’s a revenge fantasy or some sort of weird, fucked-up Fargo-level black comedy shit. Nothing about Cold Pursuit was worth this shit. Nothing.

I mean, ultimately I think Neeson’s gonna skate on this, because the story basically just boils down to I had some terrible racist thoughts for a while that didn’t lead to any actual actions, and that’s not enough to have a serious effect on his career unless it turns out he’s got some stories in his past where he did do some shady shit. I’ll call it 50-50 that that happens, we’ll see. But … dude? Why the hell did you decide to tell this story in the first place? This is shit for your shrink, not a goddamned junket interview!

We also watched the first half of the Netflix Fyre Festival documentary last night, a process so horrifying that my wife legitimately looked over at me and asked if I was okay a couple of times. It’s not even Tuesday, y’all, and I have had enough stories of stupid white people to last me until next Black History Month, thanks. We can be done now.

In which white people are still the absolute worst, plus some light whining

Pictured: an entitlement of wypipo

I’m doing the thing where I’m trying to make something I said on Twitter a bit less ephemeral by putting it here: I want a change in the rules. If white people are going to keep calling the police on black people for fucking existing in public, well, you go on ahead with your white self and keep doing that. But once the cops have investigated, when it turns out the black person was walking his dog, or taking his damn kids to the park, or buying groceries, or having a barbecue, or whatever goddamned normal-ass thing that black people are allowed to do unless white people are nearby, once the cops have investigated and determined that, yeah, that check for $1000 from this dude’s employer is really his check, and maybe y’all shoulda figured out that your average check cashing fraudster isn’t likely to volunteer two forms of ID and his fingerprint and just cashed the damn thing?

Once the cops figure that out, that accused black person gets five minutes in which he or she cannot be arrested or prosecuted for anything they do, up to and including stealing and detonating a nuclear weapon, if there happens to be one close enough. And the white people don’t get to run away. They gotta stay there while the five-minute rampage happens and if that five-minute rampage involves a white ass getting beat then maybe you shoulda thought of that before you called the cops, you dumb racist cracker motherfucker.

A story of what may actually be the last time I tried to cash a check: I am a high school student, and I have helped out an old lady down the street from me by mowing her lawn for her. A very old lady, who has rewarded me by writing me a check for, supposedly, $25. The only problem is that $25 check is so illegible that I’m the person she handed it to and I can’t decipher my own name, nor can I really honestly figure out how the scrawl in the little box says $25.00, and there is no way any human could possibly look at the part that counts, where you write out the amount in prose, and see “twenty-five dollars and 00/100.” She’s very old and palsied and this check looks like a toddler scribbled on it. There are no recognizable words. I need y’all to realize that I’m not exaggerating here.

I briefly think about not taking the check anywhere at all and just not worrying about it, and then take it to her bank, because there’s no way in hell my bank is touching the thing. And the teller not only agrees to cash it, but she asks me what the amount is supposed to be, and then prepares to withdraw that amount, based on nothing more than my say-so.

Now, okay, this was 24 years ago at minimum, and shit’s supposed to be more secure now. But there wasn’t even the vaguest suggestion of suspicion on her part. Because: white boy.

And then it turned out the check was NSF, and I told her just to throw it away, because … nah. The whole thing was skeevy and even in high school $25 wasn’t enough money that I was gonna go to too much trouble to get it. It’s possible my dad ended up covering it; I don’t remember, but I didn’t end up ever cashing the check.

I have been doing make-up standardized tests all week, and by all week I mean basically every minute of my day other than lunch or advisory. On the one hand, this has been kind of wonderful, because it pins me in my room and people can’t pull me out of my office to make me do stuff, and it exempts me from things like hallway duty, which can be obnoxious. On the other hand, I have literally spent 24 solid hours out of the last three days in a damn near silent room with somewhere between eight and thirteen sixth graders all taking a test as I “monitor” them, and I am so bored I might die.

I mean, given my job’s definition of “exciting,” don’t take me whining about this too seriously, because there is a big difference between boring and stressful and given the choice I will leap joyfully into boring’s arms every time. But …. man. I gotta do this again tomorrow? Really? I’m playing music or summat during the test, because I can’t take the quiet any longer. It’s fuckin’ unnatural.

How to be an Asshole Without Even Really Trying

63319040.jpg…okay, I know I said I wouldn’t be around much today, but I want to write this down before I forget about it and it won’t take long.

On my list of things to do today was an eye doctor appointment to get fitted with contact lenses so that I can see while I’m swimming.  I’ve worn contacts before; I tend to flip back and forth between contacts and glasses every couple of years or so.  I left with a pair of sample contacts in my prescription and, after thinking about it for a bit, decided to go for a swim.

Why did I think about it?  Because the thought you don’t have a replacement pair, so if you lose a lens in the damn pool you’re going to feel pretty stupid rolled through my head, and I almost decided to give my eyes a couple of days to get re-used to the lenses before swimming.

But I didn’t!

As I was swimming, getting reasonably close to my number of goal laps for the day, I noticed a youngish black kid standing rather nervously at the shallow end of the pool.  There was one open lane and one person in each of the other three, and he was being kind of weirdly fidgety about getting in.  I stood down at the shallow end and gasped for air for a minute or two, waiting to see if he wanted to share my lane, and then swam down to the far end.

As I got down to the far end and turned around, he climbed into the pool, using the ladder, in my lane.

And right about there, at that exact second, I adjusted my goggles and knocked a lens out of place.  It wasn’t out of my eye, but it was seriously not in position any longer, and it wasn’t comfortable at all.  I fiddled with it for a second, realized my chlorine-soaked hands weren’t doing me any good, and bailed.  From the deep end.

Leaving my towel and flip-flops at the other end.

And, as it was starting to hurt, didn’t quite run– the floor’s too slippery for that– but made for the men’s locker room at as high a rate of speed as being half-blind and in bare feet could allow.

It took two or three minutes in the bathroom, maybe, to get the lens back in place, at which point I thought fuck it, I was pretty close to the number of laps I was going to do anyway, and I think I’ve pushed my luck enough.  I went back into the pool area, grabbed my flip-flops and my towel, and went off to the hot tub.  Meanwhile, this kid’s swimming– not in my lane, notably, but sharing the one next to where I was.

It wasn’t until I was in the shower a few minutes after that that I realized that, as far as he could tell, the fat white guy had practically jumped out of the pool and fled as soon as the black teenager had gotten in.  Fled so quickly, in fact, that I’d forgotten to take my shit with me and had had to go back and get it.

So, yeah, that could have gone better.

(Note that I’m fully aware that I am not the center of this kid’s universe and that he probably barely even noticed I was there.  But if he did?  Shit.  It ain’t like I can track him down and apologize.  “Hey, that thing I did, that you might not have even noticed and looked really racist if you did?  Contact lens.  I swear.  Wanna go share the pool so I can prove it?”)