Assumptions

“My coworker is a slob. She says she cleans up after herself, but she doesn’t. I can tell. She has no respect for me, or for the job. She has a bad attitude. She can’t be trusted.”

Wow. I’d hate to work with someone like that! It must be so frustrating. That can’t be doing good things for your morale.

Here’s the problem with that assessment, though. It includes no fewer than 6 assumptions. The speaker is viewing those assumptions as fact. Let’s pull back the veil and look at the actual situation.

Your coworker isn’t more or less sloppy than the average person. You, in fact, are obsessive compulsive and hypervigilant. She does clean up after herself. It’s just that by the time you come along, several other people have been in the work area, and your coworker has no control over that. The state of the office is not a reflection of her respect or lack thereof. She actually loves the job and takes it very seriously. Her attitude is quite good, but she admittedly is on the defensive in your presence because her experience with you is that you are judgmental. She’s extremely trustworthy. (You might want to ask yourself if you find it possible to completely trust anyone.)

That kind of sheds a different light on the subject, doesn’t it? We all see the world through different lenses. We are the sum total of our past experiences. We all have our weaknesses and strengths.

Viewing assumptions as truths is life’s shorthand. It sure makes things go faster… but often in the wrong direction. As a coping mechanism, it does not serve us well. But it takes practice, being self-critical.

When is the last time you asked yourself what proof you had for a particular conclusion? How do you know people are thinking what you think they’re thinking? Have you asked? Mind reading is a heady power, but it’s the worst assumption of all.

Another assumption would be that I’m an expert at identifying my assumptions simply because I’m writing a post on the topic. On the contrary, I struggle with this concept on a daily basis. I’d like to think that I’m getting better at separating fact from fiction, but I suspect this will be a lifelong exercise in self-improvement, and one that’s entirely too important to pass over.

Assume

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Tall Tale Tellers

I’ve worked with several pathological liars in my lifetime. It’s a mental disorder that I struggle to understand, because there seems to be no emotional payoff. Do these people not realize that for the most part, everyone can see right through them? They’re certainly confronted enough. This causes them not to be trusted, and their social relationships are therefore not particularly stable. Telling whoppers is a self-destructive habit.

The thing I find most interesting about these people is that even when you catch them in their lies, when you hit them with the cold, hard facts, just as with Trump’s political base, they still will not change their stance. For example, one coworker claimed to have several masters degrees from a variety of Ivy League institutions. I looked up a few of the degrees in question, and these particular degree types were not offered by those schools. Ever. Showing him this irrefutable evidence did not even make him blink.

Their lies always seem to fit into several general categories.

  • One-upmanship. If you happen to mention that you’ve been to Spain, the pathological liar will have lived there. For years. During the civil war. And wrote a best-selling novel about his friendship with Franco.

  • Physical Prowess. Pathological liars can beat up every man in the bar and walk away without a scratch. They can also lift cars off of crushed orphans. Don’t even get me started about their sexual conquests.

  • Amazing Possessions. One coworker, who lived in a trailer with his mother, said he had an original Van Gogh hanging in his living room. He could never produce a photograph of it, though. And when in financial dire straits, he couldn’t ever seem to find a buyer for it.

  • Related to Fame. If you admire Barbra Streisand, the pathological liar will be her second cousin. Or he’ll have had dinner at Jacques Cousteau’s house. Or he’ll be in regular e-mail contact with Matthew Broderick.

  • Amazing Survival Skills. A coworker once told me that a tractor once rolled down a hill and crushed him beneath its wheels. He was able to extricate himself, though, and crawl 5 miles to civilization to get help. He then spent 6 months in a coma.

  • Success. It seems that these liars are always recognized by one and all for their superior intelligence, and often receive the highest awards. They also are promoted at young ages, and only make the best investments. And yet they aren’t any further ahead in life than the rest of us.

  • Generosity. “For Valentine’s Day last year, I gave my wife 60 dozen roses.” Yeah. Sure you did. And you support a thousand famine victims, too.

  • Victimhood. Perhaps the most insidious category for the pathological liar is that of placing themselves in the roll of victim. This is when these liars cross over to becoming con artists, because people who don’t know them well are naturally trusting and tempted to help. One coworker said he was living in a trailer in Florida without air conditioning and had no food. A friend drove 25 miles to his house with 6 bags of groceries, only to find that his cupboards were full to overflowing, and his air conditioning was on so high she could practically see her own breath. Another friend gave this same man a car. He was also the healthiest lung cancer sufferer I’ve ever seen. He never went to a doctor. He’s still out there somewhere, conning more people.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m sure Barbra Streisand has second cousins. There have to be a few truths mixed in with all those lies. But what are the odds? How many of us can consistently boast of both quality and quantity? Not me. That’s for sure.

The only theory I have is that these people don’t think they’re special enough without all these outlandish embellishments. They think they will only be liked if they improve upon their boring little lives, when in fact this isolates them even more. It makes them the victim of ridicule and the butt of jokes.

That, or they believe all their own fantasies and are too far gone to get back to the real world.

Either way, how very sad. Sad for them, and even sadder for those who get caught in their web of lies.

liar

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Faith Ain’t Reality

I admire people who have faith. Religious faith in particular is a quality that seems to have eluded me most of my life. I would truly love to be able to let go and let God, as the saying goes.

It has to be comforting to think that there’s a higher power who has ultimate control. It must be liberating to not have to think you are the primary decision-maker in your own life, that the buck doesn’t stop here after all, that some cosmic being is on your side, and therefore a large amount of the responsibility belongs to someone or something else. It would be so nice to guess that your fate has already been mapped out for you. That there’s a plan. What a weight would be lifted from my shoulders! I’d also love to think that prayer could solve my problems.

I just can’t do it. I like facts. I want evidence. Proof. Otherwise, how is it different from believing in unicorns?

I wish there were unicorns. I’d love to see a unicorn. I’d love to live in a world where unicorns wandered the streets. But I live in the real world.

Here’s what gives me comfort: we’ve learned so much about the universe and how it works that it becomes increasingly easy to not rely on the great unknown to answer the decreasing number of unanswerable questions. We know what causes eclipses these days. Nothing is devouring the sun.

Now, the trick is to maintain a moral compass when you technically don’t answer to anyone other than yourself. Perhaps that’s the kind of faith I need to nurture: the concept that humans have the maturity to be capable of morality without oversight.

Wish me luck.

unicorn

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What the Clouds Can Teach Us

When you go for weeks on end without seeing the sun or the stars, it’s easy to start to imagine that they’re not there anymore. (And I live in Seattle, so I know what I’m talking about.) The clouds seem to be pushing down on the earth, and there’s this free-floating feeling of claustrophobia that permeates the atmosphere. The world seems a lot smaller than it actually is

At times like this I kind of get a sense of what it must have been like to live in a world without advanced science. If all you can believe is what you see with your own two eyes, it would be easy to think that the world is flat. Magic must seem real. It would be much simpler to believe in a higher power when you yourself feel so utterly powerless. (And by that I mean leaders of any kind who are willing to tell you what you want to hear even though it’s based on no evidence whatsoever.)

But I can live with clouds, despite their ability to obscure and cause despair, because I’ve flown in airplanes above them, where the sun is still shining brightly. I’ve seen photographs of the big blue marble on which we live, and I know that the clouds are shifting and temporal. There is no need to make ritual sacrifices, as the sun will rise again without our help. Just speak that truth as often as you can. Spread the word. Let no one forget.

The scientific method has proven many things I cannot see. That may sound like faith, but faith is a belief in things without proof, often based upon the words of people who lived without science. And even those who choose that fundamental path rely on science every single day, even as they discount it.

If you’ve ever ridden in a car, used electricity, taken advantage of modern medicine, or communicated with anyone by any method other than smoke signals, you are benefiting from science. You cannot function in the modern world without it. But of course you still have the right to believe that it’s evil, if that’s what you really want.

But in the meantime, I will look up at the clouds and know with certainty that the sun is shining above them. And one of these days, I’ll see it again. Because when all is said and done, science prevails. It’s in the very gravity that keeps you from floating away.

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Andy Johnson: A Boil on the Butt of Jacksonville’s Progressive Community

One of the reasons I’m thrilled to be out of Jacksonville, Florida is that it’s an extremely conservative community. I often felt like a lone voice shouting in the wilderness when I lived there. Unfortunately, the most strident progressive voice in that town belongs to Andy Johnson, the moral equivalent of a scum-sucking catfish.

Strong words, I know, but I come by them honestly. This man tricked me out of $3,500.00 and I have the winning lawsuit and the subsequent lien on his house to prove it. Here’s a man who puts himself out there as the voice of liberal morality, and yet he blatantly disregards a court order to pay me back the money he took, and cares not one whit for the financial hardship this has caused me. That tells you all you need to know about the content of his character.

The thought that he used to be in the Florida House of Representatives leaves me slightly queasy. Our politics may be similar, but this man does not represent me. I’d be embarrassed to say he did. It’s enough to make me want to vote republican. Almost.

You can read the full and sordid details about Andy Johnson’s underhanded dealings here. Or you can get an abridged version of events here. You can get details on how he blatantly lied about the situation to a reporter and my documented evidence of it here. If you’d like to confront him about this situation, read my suggestion about that here. And if you’d like to buy my judgment at a discount and make a nice profit from collecting the money, read about my offer here. If you would like to talk about other nefarious deeds of his, do so here. If you’d like to read more about how my lien is ruining Andy’s credit, do so here. And for a log of all my articles about Andy, go here.

Andy Johnson

Andy Johnson in all his infamy.

Andy Johnson is a Heel, but I’m NOT Achilles

The downward spiral that has been my life for the past 5 years really started when Andy Johnson, former member of the Florida House of Representatives, stole $3,500.00 from me, and despite the fact that I won the court case and have a lien on his house, he refuses to pay me back.

Looking back, I can see that I let that situation get the better of me. As my circumstances became more desperate, I started making more and more foolhardy choices, and things began to snowball until I found myself in a deep crevasse of desperation, not quite knowing what to do with myself.

Why on earth would I give this man so much power? In retrospect it disgusts me. He has swindler written all over him. The fact that someone can’t even make it as a politician, which is already one of the lowest forms of life, says a great deal about his character.

The fact that I let his betrayal and thievery send me into the profound tailspin that it did says a great deal about mine. I am too trusting. I need to be more self-protective.

Most of all, I need to get some perspective. This man is pathetic. Yes, I am connected to him for as long as this lien can continue to destroy his credit. There’s no getting around that, because he’ll never pay up voluntarily. But other than occasionally spreading the word about who he really is, I shouldn’t pay him any further attention.

I’m starting to take back my life. He, on the other hand, will continue to sell his soul because he refuses to do the right thing. That makes me pity him.

No photo of Andy Johnson is connected to this blog entry. Frankly, I’m sick of looking at the man.

You can read the full and sordid details about Andy Johnson’s underhanded dealings here. Or you can get an abridged version of events here. You can get details on how he blatantly lied about the situation to a reporter and my documented evidence of it here. If you’d like to confront him about this situation, read my suggestion about that here. And if you’d like to buy my judgment at a discount and make a nice profit from collecting the money, read about my offer here. If you would like to talk about other nefarious deeds of his, do so here.

 

Andy Johnson Scumbag Central

As anyone who has been following my blog knows, Andy Johnson, former member of the Florida House of Representatives, stole $3,500.00 from me, and despite the fact that I won the court case and have a lien on his house, he refuses to pay me back. You can read the full and sordid details about his underhanded dealings here. Or you can get an abridged version of events here. You can get details on how he blatantly lied about the situation to a reporter and my documented evidence of it here. If you’d like to confront him about this situation, read my suggestion about that here. And if you’d like to buy my judgment at a discount and make a nice profit from collecting the money, read about my offer here.

So, what more is there to say? Well, quite a bit, actually. It occurred to me the other day, while discussing the situation with a friend (because I take every opportunity to spread the word), that someone who would do something so underhanded couldn’t possibly be working in a vacuum. This level of scumbaggery, in my opinion, is rarely an isolated event. And in fact, a few people have contacted me privately and intimated that he has done things to them as well. I will respect their privacy and not share the details here, but I am going to open wide a window of opportunity and offer to use this highly public and completely free forum to share your Andy Johnson stories, because cockroaches hate the light.

As much as it pains me, my Andy Johnson entries are often my most viewed entries on a daily basis, so rest assured your account will get a wide readership. It kind of feels like the most vitriolic parts of my blog are the parts that garner the most attention. I long to cut them out like a cancer, but feel the need to share the truth until I see my money, and since it seems like that will never happen, I guess I will have to rip the scab off my scar tissue every few months and continue to sally forth.

Having said that, I may as well go all out and become a central clearinghouse for all things underhanded with respect to this man, so if you have any TRUE stories about Andy Johnson’s nefarious deeds, please contact me. You can add short stories in the comment section below, or, if your story is as long and complicated as mine is, we can dedicate an entire blog entry to the subject if you would like. I only ask that all your information be factual or your personal opinion about those facts, because I want to maintain this blog’s credibility. And with all things Andy Johnson, the truth seems to be much stranger than fiction, so who needs to falsify?

I will state quite emphatically that all views and opinions expressed on this blog are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not necessarily represent those of the originator of The View from a Drawbridge and/or any/all other contributors to this site.

So come and get him people! The truth shall set everyone free except, perhaps,  Andy Johnson himself!

Andy Johnson

I wonder what he thinks about as he gazes quietly off into the distance like that. “Who can I rip off next?”

That Rage Place

Maybe it’s because we can now hide behind the relative anonymity of social media, maybe it’s because we find less and less need to look one another in the eye, but it seems to me that more and more people are going to that rage place with relatively little provocation these days.

A typical Facebook scenario: Someone posts something political. Someone responds from that rage place. “I am so sick of you people saying…” And the original poster calmly says, “Well, this is why I feel this way,” and posts links to informative research. Rage person responds, “I don’t care about your links and I won’t read them! You’re just stupid!”

I don’t get it. Why the hostility? And why is rage person behaving as if he or she has been personally attacked when no one forced his or her participation in the conversation in the first place? And why would you not want to read informative links? Why would you want to cut yourself off from available evidence? Even if you disagree, why would you not want to avail yourself of every possible detail if you feel so strongly about a subject?

Personally, I find people who are unwilling to be challenged to be highly suspect. It seems that these types of people tend to get their information from only one source, and that is always a bad idea. It’s lazy and irresponsible. And maybe that’s why they get so angry when you try to show them other sources of information. They don’t like to be prodded out of their lethargy. It’s comfortable there. “Don’t make me think! Just tell me what to think!”

Yes, it’s probably much easier to be fed intravenously, but I prefer to shop for my ingredients and cook my meal myself.

And if you disagree with me, well… you’re just stupid.

fury

Andy Johnson is a Liar, and I Can Prove It

Recently a journalist, Robert Montgomerie, contacted me about my most popular blog entry, Andy Johnson, SHAME on you!!! in which I describe in detail how this former member of the Florida House of Representatives stole several thousand dollars from me and refuses to pay it back. (For a shorter version of events, see Andy Johnson is a Swindler. To learn what he’s up to these days, see Andy Johnson is Back on the Radio. Heaven Help Us.)

According to Montgomerie, “There are a couple of other folks who are fighting back and forth with Johnson in public about the radio station and funding. It’s a rather slimy affair.”

So the sharks are circling. That doesn’t surprise me in the least. If any lawsuits ensue, I hope these people will contact me, because I can testify to Andy Johnson’s lack of character, and I would be thrilled to have that opportunity.

Especially now, because I’ve caught him in more lies. There’s nothing more pathetic than a con artist who can’t lie well. I honestly believe that he thinks that if he says something, it somehow becomes fact. The hubris of this man is beyond the pale.

Montgomerie, being a responsible journalist, decided to talk to Andy before writing his article. What follows are some excerpts of the conversation. These are all direct quotes from Andy Johnson.

“I have not done anything to stop this woman but I do not owe her any money at all. I lined up a roofer to fix her roof in trade with me and she would not let him do it. And, well, she and her boyfriend owed me about $10,000 for unpaid radio time. I guess you buy this stuff.”

“The lady can do anything she wants. She has already got more money from me than she claims I owe.”

“I AM fundamentally honest and decent and committed to doing unselfish things.”

Oh, where to begin.

  • The most blatant lie is that I would not let a roofer work on my roof. First of all, that defies logic. Why would I give Andy Johnson $3,500 to acquire a roofer and then refuse to have the roof done? Amongst the piles of evidence I supplied for my lawsuit against Andy, which I won, is an affidavit from Riggins Roofing. This is a matter of public record. If you’d like to see for yourself, it is case number  2010-SC-000516 in the County Court of Duval County, Florida. But for your convenience I’ll quote directly from the affidavit. “What he offered me was as follows: Free ads on his radio station for a certain amount of time. Because of the slow down in my company I was unable to agree to the deal and told him so…As far as I was concerned, that was the end of my company’s involvement in the situation.” This affidavit proves that when he took my money from me, he already knew he didn’t have a roof deal. That’s fraud.
  • He also sent out a second roofer to look at the place. Chuck Guerra of Shinglemasters Roofing. He was a decent and honest man, so I couldn’t let him make a decision about the situation without knowing the full story, so I told him the truth. At that point he told me he already wasn’t going to take Andy’s deal, because he felt advertising on his show was a waste of time. He had done it in the past and it had yielded him no business whatsoever. In the end, he wound up doing my roof, and he did an excellent job, but I had to pay him full price. Which means I was out that money in addition to the money Andy Johnson stole from me.
  • Andy also states he has not done anything to stop me. That’s a half-truth at best. What he should have said was that he can’t do anything to stop me. He has a law degree, and knows darned well that all I have to do to prove I’m not slandering or defaming him is to provide proof of what I’m saying, and I’ve got about a half inch thick pile of documentation, including the court judgment in my favor, that backs me up on that.
  • Another thing I have, among all those court documents, is a letter signed by Andy, dated December 24, 2009, which states: “Within 30 days I will provide either a signed roofing company document including a firm date for completion of a roof repair…or the return in full of the $3500.” Now, being trained in the law, if I had really and truly gotten more money from him than I claim he owes, don’t you think he’d have gotten documentation of that fact? Don’t you think he’d have bothered to show up for the lawsuit and provide such documentation, or, barring that, don’t you think he’d have provided it to the court in order to have my lien on his house vacated? Show me the receipts, Andy. Oh, but you can’t, can you? Because you and I both know you have never given me one thin dime.
  • As far as me owing him $10,000 dollars in unpaid radio time, that’s patently absurd. I’ve never been on his radio station in my entire life, and wouldn’t want to be. I’ve never even called in to his show, because I think it’s a joke. I’ve never stepped foot in that radio station. Now, if he’s referring to the radio show he allowed my ex-boyfriend, John Maycumber to have for one hour a week, called “The Spot”, he provided that to him in exchange for the fact that John worked for him for an entire year free of charge. He produced a ton of amazing and humorous and highly popular radio ads for him, and he screened his many crackpot callers for his talk show. If he feels that John owes him such a fortune, why hasn’t he taken him to court for it? Because he knows that claim is a steaming pile of horse manure, that’s why. And again, being trained in the law, he should know that common law isn’t recognized in the State of Florida, so any financial issues he may or may not have with John have nothing whatsoever to do with me.

If you are truly “fundamentally honest and decent and committed to doing unselfish things”, Andy, then you would comply with the law. A judge ruled that you owe me this money. Comply with the courts. Or do you think your fundamentally honest and decent butt is above the law? I guess your actions will indicate your real thoughts on the matter.

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Here’s Andy Johnson, acting decent and honest at a meeting of the “Southside Business [sic] Men’s Club.” Little do they know. But rest assured, I’ll tell them. (Andy’s the fat one, by the way.)

Andy Johnson is Back on the Radio. Heaven Help Us.

Yes, it’s that time again. My quarterly rant about Andy Johnson, the man who stole thousands of dollars from me and refuses to pay it back, despite my winning court judgment and my lien on his house.

If you want to get the full, ugly story of what this man did to me, check out my blog entry, Andy Johnson, SHAME on you!!! Or you can get the abbreviated version of the whole sordid mess here. But if you don’t care about this man enough to be bothered, and on most days I’m right there with you, suffice it to say that this guy, who tries to style himself as a pillar of the Jacksonville community, is in actuality a thief. As a matter of fact, I’ve recently caught him in some more lies. You can read about that here.

And now he is back on the local airwaves, attempting to perpetuate his own myth. I couldn’t be more disgusted. Here’s the irony. The reason he took my money in the first place was in a desperate attempt to remain on the air a little while longer, and in that he failed. Our airwaves have been blessedly devoid of his blathering for quite some time. But now he’s baaaaaack!

Another irony: in theory his politics and mine are quite similar. I’d love to be his cheerleader. I’d love to support him. But unfortunately I know the content of his moral fiber, and it’s flimsy at best.

What Andy doesn’t seem to realize is that he’s somewhat of a Jacksonville joke. A political has-been who sometimes manages to pay for a few hours on an obscure am radio station to blather on, no one really takes him particularly seriously.

The five views a day I get on my Andy Johnson rants are probably a larger, more loyal group than his listeners. If you listen to his show for any length of time you’ll realize that he spends the bulk of his time begging for callers.

Here’s a cool idea. On weekdays, from 2-6 pm eastern standard time here in the US, listen to his inane show at http://1600thebeach.com, then call 904-861-1026, get past his screener by saying you want to ask about some political foolishness or other, and when you talk to the man himself, ask him if he respects the courts and feels he’s a law abiding citizen. When he says yes, ask him why, when it’s a matter of public record that he has to pay Barbara the thousands of dollars he took from her, he hasn’t bothered to do so.

It would be so much easier and less embarrassing for him if he would just do the right thing and pay me, but yeah, eventually I’ll sell my judgment to a professional who will get the money from him and pay me 50 cents on the dollar if I’m lucky. Either way he will pay on that judgment eventually. But in the meantime, I’m rather enjoying spreading the truth about this man and hearing from others whom he’s bilked. And if it prevents even one more person from being taken in, it’s worth it. Let’s keep those lines of communications open!

New Andy Johnson Pic(This is Andy Johnson. Ironically, we’ve never met face to face. But knowing what I know about the man, even his photo makes me shudder.)