The Age of Profanity

I strongly suspected that America was going down a shabby little side street when penis size became a major topic in the republican presidential debates. Little did I know that was only the tip (sorry) of the iceburg. Things were about to get a whole lot worse.

In the interests of full disclosure, when provoked, I have a bit of a potty mouth. The majority of my adult life I’ve worked in male-dominated career fields, and it’s hard not to have some of the vernacular rub off on you under those circumstances. I also feel that words are words. If you choose to endow them with emotions, that’s your choice. But there are some lines that I still try not to cross. I try to avoid direct confrontations of any kind, and gender-based derogatory terms.

For example, in 52 years of life, I never once used the word “pussy”. Now it’s in the news, on the radio, even in the name for the hats that many of us proudly wear on our heads. It has become part of the vernacular. It doesn’t even make me flinch anymore. I kind of wish that it still did. Thanks, Trump.

I am so far removed from pop culture that when Trump tweeted something about “Easy D” I had to look it up. Oh my. Well, now…

I can’t imagine a scenario in which I’d use that term. I’m not even sure he knew what he was saying. (I doubt he does most of the time.) If nothing else, this presidency is educating me. And based on his support of Betsy DeVos, he isn’t even in favor of education!

But I must admit that the latest one made me roll my chair back and howl with laughter. When Daylin Leach called Trump a “fascist, loofa-faced shitgibbon”, I wanted to kiss him on the lips. I had never heard that word before.  I hope shitgibbon becomes part of the American lexicon. It just makes me so happy.

This is the world we live in now. If any other president, whether I voted for him or not, had been addressed in such derogatory terms, the nation would have been horrified. How dare anyone soil the dignity of that office?

Well, Trump does it every single time he tweets about SNL or Nordstroms. He did it when he was recorded being himself on that bus. He makes a mockery of the presidency. So when Daylin Leach mocks him, I can do nothing but cheer.

Welcome to 45. May we make it to 46 with our sense of decency intact.

no-cussing

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Spiritual Purging

Apologies in advance if you’re reading this over breakfast, but have you ever felt so sick to your stomach that you just knew that the only way you were going to feel better was if you threw up and got it over with? Sometimes that toxic, acrid, roiling source of your misery just has to come out in order for you to move on. If your body needs to purge itself, there’s really no point in trying to resist.

Just so we’re clear, this is not a blog entry in support of bulimia. A physical need to vomit is entirely different from a psychological one. Having said that, though, there will be times in your life when you need to do a spiritual purge.

I crashed headlong into that need recently. I was subjected to such a profound level of injustice that I left the situation feeling as though I had been dragged behind a chuck wagon through a cactus patch. Naked. I felt so emotionally beaten down, bitter, cynical and hopeless that I was practically paralyzed into inactivity. While my inner child threw a tantrum, I just sat motionless, defeated and deflated, and shed more than one frustrated, furious tear.

What this boils down to is another form of grieving. I was grieving the loss (yet again) of any sense of justice and equity and decency in this world. I was grappling with the concept that some people operate without even a hint of a moral compass, and that ethics are only for those people who are sufficiently evolved to see their value.

I can practically hear my mother’s voice telling me that life isn’t fair. As true as that may be, it’s cold comfort in times like these. No, what I had to do was figure out a way to accept the fact that this monumental, steaming pile of bullsh** was to forever be part of my reality moving forward. If I didn’t accept that, I’d go mad. Worse yet, I’d be incapable of writing because I’d be eaten up by the sheer inequity of it all.

Fortunately, I have friends. Friends who will allow me to spiritually purge these toxic elements from my very soul. So what follows is a conversation, more of a verbal vomiting that, when all is said and done, made me feel much better.

Friend: “Have you ever considered how unhappy some part this man actually is?”

Me: “He’s a pathetic, sociopathic, tiny fraction of a man. He isn’t unhappy. Sociopaths have no feelings. He is entirely directed by the lizard part of his brain. He will lie, cheat, steal, and do it with a smile on his face. He has no moral compass or any sense of equity or compassion.”

Friend: “Okay….”

Me: “He is a waste of human flesh, a blight on humanity, and an embarrassment to the universe. I would have more respect for a blood-bloated tick that I had just pulled off my dog’s anus. How’s that for constructive anger?”

Friend: “That is actually good because I am a safe witness. Nice use of creative language…Got any more choice words that are vivid? Release it baby! It is blocking your other writing… And that ain’t cool.”

Me: “He’s the pus from the pimple of a diseased corpse. I wouldn’t give him a bucket of my spit if he were on fire. To say that he’s a cancer on society is an insult to cancer.”

Friend: “Keep it coming…”

Me: “His spirit smells worse than Roquefort cheese.”

Friend: “Get poetic baby…”

Me: “He climbed into the gene pool when the lifeguard was out to lunch. Somewhere there’s a village that has been deprived of its idiot. He is the slime at the bottom of the toxic waste dump that is his soul.

Friend: “Oh my…anything more?”

Me: “He has a face that frightens children. Okay, I’m laughing now. Damn you! And I have an idea for a blog.”

Hooo. That felt great. Thank God for friends. They are such a treasure.

charmander_by_silvergage

True

Standing there in the parking lot after the delightful little neighborhood weekly drag show, I was thinking about what a strange grouping we made. There was frumpy vanilla straight ol’ me, probably 15 years older than everyone else in the crowd. Then there was my best friend, R, a reserved gay male as big as a Mack truck. And then there was Bobby. Sweet Bobby. Mildly retarded, full of energy, never met a stranger. He kept flitting off into the crowd to hug people, then he’d come back for a time, only to disappear again. He may not have been Einstein, but Bobby was all heart.

The parking lot was crowded, because the thing to do after this show was mingle. So mingle we did. Before long, one of the headliners, wearing a peach silk bathrobe, cut through the crowd as if parting the red sea. She wanted to meet me. I haven’t a clue what I had done to deserve such attention, but there you have it.

But for some reason her idea of flirting was to pick on Bobby. She made fun of the way he talked, the way he moved, and the things he said. She intentionally confused him and laughed about it. She expected me to laugh along with her, like a comrade in cruelty, but I didn’t. She invaded my personal space and offended my sense of compassion.

The next day, R and I were discussing our night out (as you do), and he said, “That girl was really into you! What was her name?”

“True,” I said. “Her name was True. I remember that distinctly because when she said that, I remember thinking, ‘False’.”

“Why, because she’s a tranny?”

“No, darling, because she was a b****. I don’t care if you’re L, G, B, T, Q or purple with pink polka dots. If you’re not a nice person, I’m not going to like you.”

See how inclusive I can be?

Peach silk

Why Are We Shocked?

As more and more women come forward with rape allegations, it’s becoming increasingly impossible to maintain any warm and fuzzy feelings for Bill Cosby, America’s favorite dad. There’s nothing worse than having an icon fall from grace, but there you have it. It happens all the time. Not only are none of us perfect, but quite a few of us are, frankly, despicable.

And Mr. Cosby certainly isn’t helping his case by showing not only an utter lack of remorse, but a litigious response to the scandal. But that shouldn’t shock us, either. This is a pattern that most scumbags follow until the pressure becomes too great. That’s why I never take remorse seriously. It’s rarely a natural and sincere reaction.

And then you have the Honey Boo Boo scandal. There is a reason I never watched that slow motion train wreck of a show. But to hear the allegations that her mother is dating the man who sexually abused this child’s older sister makes me sick. But again, why are we shocked? A certain percentage of mothers are horrible. They put their own misplaced desire for love ahead of the welfare of their children every single time. It has been forever thus.

We’d like to think that the human race is civilized. No one wants to believe that the veil between us and violence is wispy thin. We want to maintain that illusion of morality and decency. But rape and abuse happen. As a matter of fact, I haven’t known a single female who hasn’t been abused, either physically, sexually or emotionally, at least once. The actual chaos in which we live is obvious if we only care to acknowledge it.

On some level, we all know that. And yet no matter how often we see human beings behave deplorably, we can’t quite seem to get used to it. I kind of wish we would, though. As sad as it would be if the entire world became more cynical, I think we would be more apt to take appropriate action if our utter shock did not dull the edge of our outrage.

falling

[Image credit: jakkijelene.com]

That Certain Something

The older I get, the less I care about the physical attributes of a potential partner. Anyone who is obsessed with washboard stomachs and full heads of hair when they’re pushing 50 is not being realistic. Certainly, be well groomed and have a grasp of personal hygiene, but I’m not expecting a hard body.

What attract me most are those qualities that you can’t always detect at first glance. Intelligence peppered with a sense of humor. Curiosity. A generous nature. Compassion. Kindness. Decency. A willingness to make a fool of oneself for loved ones. Integrity. Not taking oneself too seriously. A willingness to kill spiders if you hear me scream.

Am I asking too much? I don’t think so. I have all those qualities. Maybe what I’m looking for is me. But seriously, I see glimmers of that person everywhere. In the man who clearly adores his disabled child and would do anything to make her smile. In the guy who volunteers to help build a house for Habitat for Humanity. In the professor who gives that riveting yet entertaining TED talk.

It’s the way you live your life that will move people. Just be yourself and pursue your passions. Embrace your life. It will show. There’s no more powerful pheromone on earth than that.

PheromoneRes72

The Gift of Friendship

I watched my laptop hit the floor and I heard it break. I stood there for a minute, not wanting to actually open it up and look, wanting to hold on to a few more seconds of being a person who had a computer, and knowing I was about to become a person who didn’t have one.

Upon closer inspection, I discovered that I had actually bent the battery. I didn’t even know that was possible. And the screen was shattered and partially separated from the keyboard. It was a lost cause. So that was it, then. I was done. No money to replace the laptop, which meant no more blog, no more extra income, nothing to keep me sane during the long, lonely graveyard shifts on the bridge.

Oh, how I cried. And I felt kind of stupid being so devastated over an inanimate object, especially at this time of year when I’m even more conscious of the pervading, insidious societal urge toward crass consumerism, but I have come to rely on my laptop, and I honestly and truly had no idea what to do.

Then my friend Ray stepped up and loaned me one of his old ones. What a relief. While it didn’t solve the problem, it took the pressure off until I could figure out what to do. And it kept me connected and working and writing. Ray kept me going, as he so often does. I’ll always be grateful for that.

So I trundled on like that for a while, but I knew I couldn’t use his laptop forever. Not that he was putting any pressure on me at all. Quite the contrary. It’s just that I needed to have my own computer. If I was going to risk dropping something on the floor and destroying it, it should be something I own. But I was still at a loss. It’s not like a big sweaty wad of cash was going to drop out of the sky.

And then a miracle happened in the form of my friend Martin. Martin, who I’ve known for seven years, but only in the virtual world of Second Life. I was lamenting my situation to him, and he offered to buy me a laptop. Just like that. He said, “I can afford to help you, and I want to.” That generous. That kind. That rare. My instinct was to turn his offer down. It was too much. But he wanted to give me this gift. He wanted to, and I needed help.

So here I am, writing this on my brand new laptop! A laptop given to me by a true friend. The thing itself is not what’s valuable, even though it’s fantastic and a complete life saver. No. It’s the love behind it, the decency, the unselfishness, the spirit of giving. Every day when I use this laptop, I will think of Martin and what he did for me, and I’ll remember that there really are people in this world who are willing to go the extra mile, the extra thousand miles actually, for a friend.

I hope someday, when my head is actually above water financially, I can pass on the bounty to someone else in their time of need. In the meantime, though, I will do my best to be there for friends in other ways, such as being a good listener and a source of support, and I can delight in the fact that with friends such as these, I’m rich in the only way that truly matters.

So I’ll leave you with this quote from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life: “No man is a failure who has friends.”

Happy Holidays, dear reader.

Simulat with Art

[My dear friend Martin in Second Life, standing in front of one of his artistic creations. I’d include a picture of my friend Ray, too, but he’d kill me if I did.]