Wednesday, April 20, 2022

Perspective, Son...

 "Unfortunately in this world of ours, each person views things through a certain medium, which prevents his seeing them through the eyes of others..." - Alexandre Dumas, "The Count of Monte Cristo"

"Electricity is really just organized lightning..." -- George Carlin

Perspective! What a fine gift, indeed. 

What a wonderful club to be used to get a whiny millennial to shut the fuck up, too.

These kidzzz today, I tell ya.

Discussing "how hard it is to be me these days" with a youngin recently, I had to remind the young buck that it has historically been the case that it has been hard to be anyone at anytime.

The list of complaints was, to be honest, not new to me; I've heard them all before. In fact, being twice as old as my interlocutor, I've lived the list. More than once. Primarily, his complaints are about money and (perceived) status. The new-and-improved version of the 25-year-old is obsessed with these, both as a practical matter, and also as a fool's errand of "keeping up with The Joneses", a trap we all fall into until we learn to not give a fuck what the Joneses are up to.

Who cares what the Joneses are up to? Does that put food on your table, or fix your aching teeth, or prevent you from striving and achieving? No, it doesn't. That game of keeping score by appearances and displays of wealth and status is one you cannot win. The safest bet is to not play it, at all.

Mind your own business. You'll be much happier.

And so it was that Easter Dinner saw me listening to my 25-year-old nephew getting into a half-joking argument with his mother that she doesn't buy him snacks that he likes. The idea of a 25-year-old depending upon his Mommy to buy him the juiceboxes that he likes or the right kind of flavored potato chips I wouldn't feed to a starving animal strikes me as preposterous, and so in defense of my sister, I suggested that he's old enough to buy his own chips and faggoty fruit juices.

And the laundry list gets broken out.

He wouldn't be living at home if he didn't have $200k of college debt to pay off. He gets up at 5 a.m. to go to a job he doesn't like -- a well-paid union job laying floor tiles in major construction projects -- and it isn't what he got his MBA for. He shouldn't have to depend upon Mommy and Daddy to pay his phone bill, as if they should feel shame at the prospect of not paying someone else's phone bill? It's not fair (oh, how many times did I hear this while he was growing up?) that he has to work 60 hours a week and "only" take home what I wasn't taking home in a month at his age.

How can one be expected to "save for his future" when the government keeps taking a third of his earnings in taxes, and then he finds himself somehow still having to pay the IRS at the end of the year (you're an MBA with a minor in Finance, and somehow you managed this? What the fuck did you claim, Boy?).

It's "really hard" these days -- apparently these days are somewhat more-difficult than, say, the days between 1941 and 1945, or 1861 and 1865, or 24 B.C. and 120 A.D. -- to take your (assumed) "rightful" place in society when everyone is in your pocket, when everything costs so much, and no one has any idea whether the world will still be here in a week, what with a New Ice Age Global Warming Climate Change or possible nuclear war on the horizon (ask those of us who lived through the 1970's and the Cold War how that goes, Sonny)?

So, I had to take out the hammer. The caterwauling was interfering with my enjoyment of the last prime rib I'm liable to see for quite some time, because cow farts, COVID-19 and Putin.

Try to explain the terms "relative" and "perspective" to a 25-year-old college graduate of the 2020's, and try to explain how fucking lucky he is to be alive at this time, in spite of our current problems, and see if you get anywhere. I think I did, but time will tell.

My discourse began with what life was in America while Nephew was still a distant itch in Daddy's scrotum.

It was 1985. The height of the Cold War. The United States and the Soviet Union had a gazillion missiles aimed at each other; people were starving in Africa; AIDS was everywhere (a pandemic!), and if you managed to avoid that particular horror, then herpes was an epidemic, as well. The country was still haunted by visions of ignominious defeat in War that were symbolized by pictures of American helicopters evacuating the Embassy in Saigon, and refugees desperately clinging to rolling aircraft as they took off.

A 70-year-old man, who many considered a prime candidate for adult diapers and a strict regime of Alzheimer's drugs was President of the United States. He was building more nuclear weapons, planning a 600-ship Navy, dreaming of shooting missiles out of the sky from space, and preaching that the Russians were "an Evil Empire". Terrorists were everywhere, pushing cripples overboard from cruise ships, taking hostages left-right-and-center, blowing up airports and discotheques (digress here to explain what that is).

Inflation was rampant; the Prime Rate was hovering somewhere near 20%; people waited in line to buy gasoline that was three times as expensive as it was just the year before not so many years earlier. In fact, you could only buy gasoline on any particular day if your license plate ended in an odd or even number.

It didn't even have ethanol in it.

Women were screaming for Equal Rights, as if they hadn't already had more of those than anyone else, if not exactly enumerated in law, at least provided by social convention. The Downtrodden were even more down and trodden than they are now. Communism was feared, not like today when it's considered the next, best thing to a trip to Disneyland.

The streets of New York swarmed with criminals and the insane. Most of them released on purpose as some sort of act of stupidity that was explained as "justice" or "caring". Race riots were less-frequent than they had been in the previous 20 years, but still occurring, and the rioters weren't being described as "criminals" or "an anti-social element" then, too, as much as their burning, looting, murdering were considered a righteous act of well-deserved outrage, much like the morons who have burned our cities these last two or three years.

Unemployment was a legitimate concern, as jobs disappeared or were shipped overseas due to the high costs associated with wages, regulation, and a lack of energy supply. And speaking of that energy supply, it came from places that bred the terrorists and warmongers so that we were, for fucking reelz, funding the people who were killing us and/or the enemies of freedom. Just like now.

I was 18-years-old. I had a job. I was making -- after taxes (claimed single-zero!)-- about $325 a week, despite losing a third of it to taxes before I saw it. That was considered "very good money" for a high-school graduate in 1985.

I had an apartment of my own. I was even able to save to buy my first car, two years later. That car cost me $5,800, brand new off the lot. 

My phone (which was stuck to the wall and didn't talk to me) bill and electricity bills rarely exceeded $20 a month. Maybe that, combined. There was no cable, no cell phones, no streaming services. So, if you really had to, you could survive without them in this day and age.

I had all the beer, tunafish, cold cuts and pizza a young man could want. No juiceboxes or Jalapeno/Cheddar potato chips, then. Prime Rib? In my dreams.

I didn't need to involve a lawyer in my romantic pursuits for fear of a retroactive accusation of sexual assault and/or rape. I was swimming in vagina because young, vigorous, good-looking and the only guy my age with his own apartment. They came and knocked on the door. No Tinder here.

No one gave a fuck if the headhunters in New Guinea couldn't swim or build boats if the oceans rose a fraction of an inch every decade. We weren't wasting our time taking pictures of our lunch and sharing them with the entire world (as if anyone cared that you were eating?).

In fact, if you wanted to take pictures you had to use film that you subsequently dropped off at a garishly-colored kiosk in the local strip mall and then pick up developed photographs the following week. If you wished to share those pictures with others everywhere on Planet Earth, you were shit out of luck, because 6 billion or so copies would run you a lot of money, not to mention the postage.

Never mind the trouble you could get into by having pictures of your genitals developed by same.

If you needed information, you had to get hold of these things called "books" We had a lot of them that were useful taking up space in libraries. The yearly delivery of the new Yellow Pages was a godsend. No electronic whore named Alexa to ask anything -- and subsequently be misled by -- because faulty or gerrymandered algorithms.

The world was supposed to be "running out" of everything -- oil, metals, air, plants, fish, money, everything except retards. For some reason the supply of retards is always inexhaustible and the Supply Chain never fails -- and we were all gonna die catastrophic deaths when our junk fell off because of Super AIDS, or the mushroom clouds formed over 'Murica from a Soviet "first-strike", or the planet would freeze, boil, perhaps fry, or we'd all suffocate because "the Rain Forests" were being cut down for timber and living space, and yet it seemed the only people who were truly starving and suffering all had flies on their eyelids, distended bellies, somehow managed to get Sally Struthers to beg for them and who all seemed to live on just one continent.

Just ask Geldorf.

But the world-wide concert that was ostensibly held for their benefit was a Cosmic Occurrence, even if Freddie died of Super AIDs not long after, and millions still starved in Ethiopia, and while people were crying about "racism" in a country that freed it's slaves, they were also crying bloody murder about the regime in South Africa (lots of anti-Apartheid songs, too!).

Why, it was a gigantic, televised and ultimately useless virtue signaling event, just like nominating a Supreme Court Justice on the basis of her being a woman, despite the fact she claims not to know exactly what that is, or appointing a gay man to a cabinet post because gay and then making a hullabaloo out of his "paternity leave".  A great, big, noisy, ostentatious show of absolute NOTHING that serves no good purpose except to give the moronic masses their daily required dose of dopamine.

Now the starving masses are sufficiently fed and have been dragged kicking and screaming from the Mud Age, so that a million "princes" can beg to use your bank account and social security number to funnel their money to a safe haven.

While their neighbors still starve in the millions, only with fewer flies, one expects.

So, the point I was making was that the more things change, the more they seem to remain the absolute fucking same.

Been there and done that, Whippersnapper.

Get off my lawn!

But you know what we DIDN'T do in those days? We didn't panic, for one thing. For a second thing, we also didn't double down on dumbfuck.

We didn't hand out billions so that functional illiterates could pretend to go to college, perhaps even flunk out or give up, and then never repay the loans.

We didn't invite three-quarters of the Third World into the country and lavish benefits upon them, almost granting them the status of Endangered Species. We certainly did not have American politicians openly conspiring to elevate the non-American over the American.

We knew the nightly news and daily newspapers lied; there was the obvious difference between the stories they reported and the experience of objective reality and observation.

We knew this because we went outside.

Few people believed anything wholeheartedly just because it was on TV. The stream of lies was also less intense for lack of outlets -- who often did at least try to take pains to verify something before it was established as "fact", sans "fact-checkers" who are no such thing -- unlike today's firehose of fucktard, reporting on things they haven't seen, experienced, or even know about from the safety of Mommy's basement, or shielded by anonymity and The Corporation.

We weren't encouraged to express our innermost, often-disgusting-and-disturbing thoughts to the entire planet in 280 characters of less. Stupid people were often told, to their faces, that they were stupid and should probably shut the fuck up, not get elected to Congress with bartending as their sole life experience. One could even reasonably expect that the mentally-deficient, after being publicly outed as a moron, might conceivably die of embarrassment, instead of being cheered and encouraged on by all the other fucktards in real time.

Life, as it were, has not really changed all that much from the perspective that we will all be born, we will all age, we will all die, some sooner than others, unfortunately, and we're all going to experience periods of our short time on this spinning ball of insanity where the facts of anger, frustration, confusion, entitlement, discontent, anxiety, even fear, might or will prevail. It was true of the billions who lived before you were born, and it will be the state of the billions who will follow you.

The world revolves around the Sun, the pace of life is speeded up by technological advance, opportunities present themselves or are lost, people will continue to do stupid shit because people are stupid, and even the best of intentions will have unforeseen results when idealism is not tempered by logic, or when the idealists repeat the mistakes made by all the previous generations of idealists because no one studies them -- mostly because no one made a movie, a meme, or can tell the truth about them for lack of knowledge -- all the same.

All you can do is to do YOU.

And if it is "hard to be me" then there are some simple solutions you can apply, once you wipe away the tears and blow your fucking nose. I know my sister didn't raise a shrinking violet; but apparently she has a raised an intellectually-lazy and wildly-entitled one.

The first would be to change your goddamned withholding. You're not married, you don't have kids, you live in your childhood bedroom and make a union wage (with bennies) that would choke a democrat, if they had any penchant for work or paid their taxes.

The second would be to stop fucking whining and put all that education to work. You've paid enough for it, so use it. Stop turning down opportunities because "they don't pay enough". At 25, your goal is to acquire good opportunities and understand that with the good comes the bad -- i.e. you have to pay your dues, and sometimes the sacrifice now results in unforeseen benefits later. Rather work in an air-conditioned office than to lay floor tiles on a freezing construction site? Then make it happen. It won't fall out of the sky and into your lap.

The third would be to pay attention to what goes on around you. Certainly use your brain when you vote. It isn't "the economy", or "the Cishet White men", or even COVID and Putin who are screwing everything up -- it's the monkeys who got voted into office and their enablers in the bureaucracy who are.

What you lack, Young Man, is perspective. That is something that only comes with age and experience. To this point, the only experience you've had is to be mollycoddled for 18 years, then sent to a five-year day care center with a basketball team, only to come out of the experience convinced that anyone who hasn't offered you six-figures, a corner office and a secretary with humongous tits and no gag reflex is somehow "holding you back", or "oppressing you". You're not worth more because you haven't done anything, yet.

Enjoy your life, and know that in the process of enjoying it, you will inevitably run up against The Sadz. Do something productive and necessary when that happens and things will change for the better.

Not perfect; just better. You can expect nothing more.

And 35 years later, you can have the same conversation with your nephew.

When you do, please remember me fondly.

And lose the juiceboxes, please.

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