Atlanta Sheriff Roger Garrison Upset He Got Caught Wearing KKK Robes

Ain’t THIS some shit. Racist gets caught being racist, complains that discussing his racist past now hurts his family’s feelings.

Georgia Sheriff Who Dressed Up As KKK: Criticism Of Me Is ‘Sickening And Hurts My Family’:

Sheriff Roger Garrison dressed up in a Ku Klux Klan outfit when he was 22 years old — and now he wants people to stop talking about it.

A photo obtained by local TV station WSBshows Garrison and a friend in KKK attire, drinking beer.

The Atlanta sheriff insists that the outfit was meant to imitate a scene from the movie Blazing Saddles, and says that any criticism is not fair game. Garrison considers it a stupid move but says that the fury over the picture is “sickening”: “I don’t deny it was stupid, looking back now,” Garrison told the station, “but there again I say what 21 or 22 year-old in this world hasn’t made some stupid mistakes?”[…]

“I don’t espouse any of that. It’s just insane that politics digresses to this state,” he said.

The release of the photos comes at a bad time for the sheriff, who is facing a fight for re-election next month.

“I don’t think anyone who knows me is going to think anything of this,” Garrison told Atlanta’s CBS affiliate. “But it’s just sickening and it hurts my family.”

To the many black families living in Georgia, the outfit is far from a joke; the Ku Klux Klan are still a functioning white supremacist group with the aim of keeping white people separate from other races.

Garrison’s opponent is staying out of the debate, but did say, “it’s a statement that the suit makes and to call that a joke is – I don’t think a lot of people would laugh.”

 

RAEG! RAEG RAEG RAEG!

I am having a Samuel L. Jackson heat-inspired meltdown, clearly.

I have had it with all these motherfucking racists in my motherfucking state. GTFO.

Seriously. Do NONE of these people know how to say “I am sorry, I fucked up, I feel bad, I won’t do it again”? Hello? Any of them?

No, it’s all about how butthurt they are that they are being outed as racist motherfuckers in public because that might make their families feel all bummed and stuff, bu hu hu. Here’s an easy way to avoid shaming and embarrassing your family because you are caught being a racist asshole: Do not be a racist asshole.

I mean, how difficult is this concept? As the folks around here might say: don’t start none, won’t BE none. Don’t act the fool and you won’t get called a fool.

I take an extra measure of offense when people in my state reinforce these stereotypes. Like I don’t have to coexist with enough of these knobheads as it is.

HEY SHERIFF GARRISON: STOP MAKING GEORGIA LOOK WORSE THAN IT IS. WE STILL HAVE TO LIVE DOWN “DELIVERANCE,” YOU FUCKHEAD. YOU ARE NOT HELPING.

The KKK hate everyone who isn’t a white asshole. I am not down with people who celebrate white assholes.

Any “good” the Klan did was public relations bullshit to make their racist crap go down easier. It’s like loading up a spoonful of sugar to chase that slug of poison you were just forced to eat.

You can’t waltz into Wal*Mart and buy yourself a hood and robe off the rack. That shit is expensive. I saw a documentary about it. Some little old redneck racist granny in a trailer takes your measurements and all the badges and frills and colors and bullshit you want on your Omniscient Chameleon Battlegown and procedes to hand-sew a custom Racist Snuggie for you, with matching Racist Duncehood. These things cost hundreds of dollars. So, my question is: WHERE DID GARRISON AND HIS BUDDY FIND A PAIR OF THESE KLAN SUITS? You know what I think the answer is? I think that even if Garrison and his buddy were not actually in the Klan themselves, someone in one of their familes (or both) WAS and had Superlative Gecko and Extraordinary Snaildarter robes available to borrow. What do YOU think?

FUCK the Klan.

They are also the reason protest groups like Anonymous are not allowed to wear masks in public in some jurisdictions.

 

You know what? I was once 21-22 years old; here are some things I did not do and then blame it on being a dumb kid:

1. Dress up like a Klansman, ROGER GARRISON

2. Dress up like a highway patrolman, MITT ROMNEY

3. Get too drunk to behave myself

4. Drive drunk

5. Call someone a racist, sexist, homophobic or misogynist slur

6. “Forget” to use contraception

7. Vandalize shit that does not belong to me

8. Draft dodge (though I am a girl), MITT ROMNEY

9. Lie on my resume

10. Steal shit. No, I have never even lifted a tube of Chapstick from Walgreen’s.

11. Not pay my taxes (… *cough*)

12. Drunk dial

13. Forget where I parked my car / drive like an asshole

14. Blow off work (unless I was vomiting or contagious)

15. Mistreat pets or other animals

16. Wear offensive slogans on my t-shirts

17. Listen to shitty music

18. Hang out with idiots (if my friends were constantly idiotic, I got new friends)

19. Watch shitty television; life is too short and there are too many good books and non-shitty shows to watch (actually I went without watching TV at all for about 7 years)

20. Cheat on my significant other

21. Vote Republican

 

I could go on, but I get really sick of people trying to excuse stupidity on their youth. I managed to be a responsible adult human being and make good decisions, and I am far from perfect. It’s called considering other people and thinking of potential consequences.

And not being a damn racist.

 

 

On Bullying

In the dark days before The Internet and cable TV, you could get most of your information from only a few sources: your parents and relatives, your religious institution (if any) and its holy text (if any), the newspaper, the television (all three and a half channels of it), the radio, books and magazines, teachers, random crazy strangers shouting shit on street corners, and peers. That was pretty much it. Maybe you went to a film or theatre performance now and then and got dipped into the communal pop culture pool of references that others were also dunked into, maybe you were fortunate enough to be tortured by exposure to an elderly spinster teaching piano lessons or some weird dance class that put you on the fast track to an eating disorder and low self-esteem, maybe you belonged to some branch of Scouting (Boy or Girl) that forced you to interact with a bunch of other little assholes in your age group (often outside, for the added misery of sunburn, insect bites and physical activities that you were crap at and hated), but, for the most part, your choices were limited, mostly local, mostly biased and inescapable. Sometimes bathroom walls were educational in unexpected ways, even if it took you years to work out what all that was about.  Maybe you were an introvert and wanted more than anything to just be left the fuck alone and not constantly criticized and pressured and your parents decided that you had mental problems because you actually liked being alone and did not want to be forced to play with your little brother all the damn time and then you saw a shrink who tested you, told your parents you were extremely creative and had an IQ in the genius range and were just an introvert and “normal” (whatever the fuck that means) and maybe they didn’t stop treating you like a nut, but did add some pressure to excel at all costs because you were now officially too smart to ever fail at anything. If you were lucky or your parents were less neurotic and eager to find fault, maybe you skipped that step, and good for you. Anyway…this is the information with which you armed yourself against the world and tried to figure shit out independently.

No one had the basic common courtesy to hand you a list of rules or discuss basic human psychology and logical fallacies or urban legends or human errors or anything like that. You might get traumatized by old “health” films from the forties that told you all sorts of wrong bullshit things about how to be a good citizen (Spoiler: Obey authority and use deodorant), how marijuana will make you crazy and then you’ll be doing cocaine and heroin and shooting meth into your eyeball and then you’d die, what capitalism is (awesome and not flawed in any way) versus communism (Jesus hates it), how not to drive like a mad person (especially if you have been drinking), and how sex is bad, wrong and likely to kill you but when two heterosexual people love each other very, very much they get married and then they promptly start doing bad, wrong, potentially deadly things to each other such as the man puts his schvantz into the lady’s hoo-ha and babies start popping out like clockwork, bing bang bong, and then everything is peachy keen. As a bonus, your teachers are loading you up with American myths like George Washington and that stupid cherry tree and telling you that Newton had an apple fall on his head, you should never split an infinitive or end a sentence with a preposition, that we had nine planets in our solar system (sorry, Pluto, you got the shaft),  and telling you that the only important people who ever did anything worthwhile at any point in history were rich white dudes whose judgment could not be debated, even with hindsight. We handled reptiles without freaking out about salmonella, had peanut butter sammiches on the lunch menu (and no one died) and played with liquid mercury in science class (and no one ate any). Seriously, it is a wonder we didn’t all just expire from stupidity and ignorance and unregulated danger all at once.

So there you are, young person, you tabula rasa you, and you have a lot of information getting lobbed your way, and not one bit of it is likely to help you if some of your fellow feral dwarves decide that you are a good target for abuse. Your parents will tell you to be a nice young person and mind your manners and pull up your pants (you should) and turn down your shitty music (fuck that; put on headphones, yo). Your church or temple or mosque will give you a lot of confusing and contradictory advice and rules and then you’ll run into people who don’t seem to understand the Golden Rule at all. Books, if you read (you should), are good, but you have to pick decent ones to read, because Twilight sure as hell isn’t going to teach you anything of value. Magazines and TV programs and movies are going to make you want stuff you can’t afford, show you unrealistically perfect people who were Photoshopped and who you can never look like (especially during the Awkward Phase of puberty), and give you REALLY shitty advice. Teachers, they don’t want to know. They are underpaid and overworked and have 199 other students to try to keep orderly all at once, and they are mostly hoping no one shivs anyone or overdoses on crank in the loo. Your peers are totally self-absorbed with their own angst and problems.

Dude, believe me, I know how much all that sucks. You might just have to learn to cope without a support system or go against all your instincts and peer pressure and unspoken social rules and DEMAND a social support system come to your aid. Caveat: If that was easy, everyone would do it. So I’m not saying it is even a little bit easy.

Speaking personally, I was given the lay of the land pretty early on. My parents set me down when I was a little tiny kidlet and said, “Look, kid, if something happens at school, it’s going to be on you. Your teacher or peers pick on you? That’s on you. Don’t come crying to us, or we will punish you because it has to be your fault. I hope we have made this clear. If you were good, then everything in your life would also be good. Bad things are down to you not toeing the line.”  This included being beaten with a motherfucking belt if I brought home a C or worse on my report card. Now, don’t get me wrong. This is not an entirely misguided thing to do (well, the beatings were a bit over the top and counter-productive, but the forced studying for hours on the cold, hard, parquet foyer floor until my legs went numb when my brain would NOT grok fractions ended up paying off in the long run). We have seen what happens when some parents blindly take their child’s side in every school-related conflict, such as blaming little Johnny’s inability to, say, do his goddamn homework on Mrs. Othmar, his teacher. That does not benefit the precious snowflake in any way. At best, it creates a monster with a sense of entitlement and self-importance who doesn’t feel–or have to be–accountable for anything, and those little special snowflakes grow up to be shitty adults. We all know one. That said, sometimes shit goes down at school and it is absolutely 100% not your kid’s fault, but, hey, you already said you would never, ever come to your kid’s rescue for any reason whatsoever, so don’t be shocked if your kid spends hours a day being tormented or struggling with some concept or whatever and then says nothing but “fine” when you ask him or her, presumably not caring one way or the other, how school went. Because you eliminated yourself as an ally when it comes to anything school-related, and your kid is damned if she or he is going to tell you squat or ask for your help with any damn thing. If you are lazy, maybe that was the goal all along.

If you think I am kidding, here is an example. One of my elementary school teachers took me into a closet, fingernails dug so hard into my underarms that I literally (and I am not misusing that word) had half-moon shaped scars there that lingered on for about fifteen years. I was probably, to be frank, misbehaving in some way. I recall being thoroughly bored during kindergarten, first grade and second grade because, hello, I could read and add and subtract and make a fucking color wheel with paint and all that shit (I read the entire 1972 World Book Encyclopaedia before I was in third grade and I do mean the ENTIRE encyclopaedia) and if you think that you, even as a mature and socially groomed and polite adult, could bear sitting still for hours on end while someone made all the slower learners in class power through “the fat cat sat on the mat” and “if you have five apples and take away two, how many do you have left,” and goddamn fucking macaroni “art” (especially when Curtis over there is making rubber cement gloves, Bob is mixing his boogers with glitter, and Lynah is eating the entire pot of paste), then you are a better person than I am. I could not. I was not allowed to read a different book, or to work on another project, or anything. I had to sit still, listen to someone read the primer that I read from cover to cover three times on my first day at school, and I got so bored and sleepy that I got nap jerks and at least once fell asleep in my chair and then promptly fell out of it. I crawled under tables, just for a change of scenery. I chattered to other children. (This was not always well-received by the other children.) I made toys out of my school supplies and retreated into imagination. I was bored and under-stimulated. I was not, however, a truly bad kid. I was polite to adults and tried so very hard to be good. Eventually a smarter teacher got the bright idea to teach me something I didn’t already know and to give me useful work to do, and all went swimmingly from that point forward, but for a couple of years there I was SO FUCKING BORED and often dragged off to a supply closet to be shaken until my teeth rattled, and to have bloody furrows clawed into my underarms, because I was not mature enough to conceal that boredom.

When this topic came up in conversation not too long ago, my mother said I was simply a bad kid at the time and that I deserved every bit of punishment I received. (It is probably irrelevant that many of my elementary school teachers were and are also friends of my mom.) I look at my little nieces and remember doing exactly what they are doing now when I was their age, and I worry about them. They are smart. They get bored easily. They do not tolerate it well. I hope to hell that they won’t get the “whatever bad thing happens at school, it is always going to be 100% your fault” message, because, even now, they are intellectually curious and full of energy, and have a lot of spirit and self-esteem. I don’t want them biting other kids or running around like little hellions, but neither do I want them to be so thoroughly bored and desperate for escape that they resort to sliding under the table to count the gum wads. And then I especially do not want some pruney jerk to drag them into a supply closet and shake them until they bite their tongues just because they were fidgeting or chattering or wiggling around, and later, if they dare complain, they get to be told how it is all their fault because they are “bad”.

So, anyway, the topic of bullying came up recently over the family dinner table and I admitted that I had been given a hard time. Here’s where you’d expect your mom to say something like, man, that’s a shame, I am sorry you went through that. Nope. Because I went through a spell when I was about six years old when I was unable to curb my expressions of utter boredom and frustration, I am never allowed to complain about being a human piñata later on, because I had to have really been mean to those other kids first. (This is from someone who was not there, mind you. It also does not matter that some of those kids were not even in elementary school or middle school with me. It was still all my fault because I had the nerve to act like a six year old when I was six years old.)

It did not help that I was a year younger (I tested in early) than everyone else and short for my age, or that my female peers were dressed like little Marcia Bradys with little silver ball pierced earrings, long hair, cords, button-downs or turtlenecks and Keds while my mom cropped my white blonde hair into a Mia Farrow “Rosemary’s Baby” cut so short, hideous, and emotionally scarring that I have never had my hair short ever again. My hair was so blonde and so fine that I looked practically bald and then my mother overcompensated for the androgynous hairdo by dressing me up like a baby doll in itchy smocked plaid shortie dresses, uncomfortable and babyish bubble knickers, Buster Brown Sunday shoes, a big stupid bow on my head, and scratchy, droopy opaque tights that would give me wrinkly elephant ankles and inch down until the crotch was looped around my knees no matter how ladylike I strived to be. In other words, I was marked as a huge uncool nerd pretty much from the jump. My peers, when not kicking my ass or calling me ugly or just generally being obnoxious (because they, too, were kids and were acting like kids), treated me like one of those life-size doll babies that would “walk” with you when you squeezed their hands. Nothing like being treated like an entertaining pet, and having adults think it was just precious. No one likes being treated like a pretty object or toy or condescended to, and I may not have had the words to use to express how that felt, but I still felt it. I am sure that occasionally I was not in the mood to be some bitch’s doll, and that occasionally I was ill-behaved (because kids are), but no matter what I might have done when I was six years old, that does not justify my peers treating me like shit for ten long years after…especially those peers who weren’t even my classmates way back when. Well, my mom thinks it does. But she’s full of shit on this account, and all too eager to place blame on me for stuff I barely remember…but you know what? One of us was there, and one of us wasn’t. I am inclined to think that one of us has a better handle on what it was like. Also, I don’t care if I was a raging asshole as a six year old or not. That does not make excusing bullying directed my way for ten years (did I stutter? TEN YEARS) in any way. Unless you’re my mom. So, yeah, that says a lot about our relationship right there.

Allow me to stipulate that I probably misbehaved, I probably at some point annoyed another child, and probably, at some point, did something I knew darn well I shouldn’t do. In other words, again: I was six.

I have always learned quickly and learning how to deal with my peers was likewise a series of quickly-learned lessons that I then never managed to quite forget. Here’s one I shared not too long ago:  “A friend’s Facebook comment about her sproglet getting in trouble for saying “damp towel” in class reminded me of a similar situation that happened to me in third grade. I got frustrated while doing sums and imitated the cartoon dog Muttley (“rassa frassa sassa frassa!”) under my breath and got told on by classmates AND got in Big Trouble for supposedly using a word I did not, at that age, even know yet. But, hey, I learned a new word (if not what it meant) thanks to that stupidity. Lessons learned: A shiny new legitimate cuss word (NOW I know what “fuck” means! Huzzah!) and “my peers are rotten finks and I am better off not speaking around them or to them when I can avoid it.”

Your peers are looking for things to tattle on you about, so you better not rock the boat by being the weird kid who annoys someone by quietly quoting unpopular cartoon characters in class. At any rate, I wasn’t the kind of kid who looked for shit to tattle on people about or make fun of them for, and I could have. There was the kid who wore red socks every single day for at least two years. I was nice to him. There was the kid whose earwax was so built-up that it would occasionally dislodge on its own and make a thudding noise when it landed on his desk. I was nice to him. There was the popular kid who spent most of his time in class catching horseflies and slowly pulling the wings off of them. I honestly feared him. But I was nice to him. There was the weird but insanely rich girl who self-mutilated to get attention and liked to eat boogers, scabs and eraser rubber, which fascinated and grossed us all out. I was so nice to her, we occasionally had playdates. There was the girl whose buck teeth were practically horizontal, who had freckles, wiry black hair that was styled like Joanie Cunningham’s on Happy Days, and unflattering glasses, and she was far from slim, and she was one of the biggest bullies in class. I wasn’t nice to her, since I was a popular target of hers, especially on the bus ride home, when her sidekick (a girl so blonde as to be albino, with white lashes and the same glasses / buckteeth issues as the main tormentor) but I certainly didn’t go out of my way to be nasty. I ignored them. I ignored the fuck out of them. There were fat kids and kids with glasses and thin kids and red-headed kids and I said nothing to a single one, and occasionally did say “s/he may have red hair, but you’re rude and that makes YOU ugly” to some of the nastier kids. But, as I was a non-winner, having me, a loser, stand up for them did not endear me to my fellow losers. It chased off some of the more insecure bullies, but it didn’t stop the REAL shitheads.

Mostly I kept myself to myself. I got caught in third grade slipping off to the restroom with a stack of books almost as tall as I was. I was happily reading to myself and hiding in a stall to do it before I got busted. I was in all kinds of trouble, but, naturally, this is relayed as a “cute” story now. Back then, I got my butt beat for it. But, hey. Books became my refuge and I was one of those readers who can get SO absorbed in what they are reading that you can stand behind them shouting their name and not get their attention. Happened more than once.

I was also sensitive in about every way you could be. I didn’t like loud noises. Ugly art offended my eye. My clothing tags would raise bloody welts on annoyingly hypersensitive skin. I didn’t like being teased (I am still not particularly keen on it) and had to learn to shrug it off or ignore it. This is a skill that takes some time to learn, so for more than a few years I was a fun target for teasing and pranks and general jackassery. I learned how to put on a poker face and not respond AT ALL, which means I learned how to pretty much turn deaf and blind at will…which, by the way, is no fun for the person trying to get a rise out of someone. To give me a little credit, I knew I was handling things badly and taking stuff to heart that I shouldn’t. I could rationalize a way to shrug it off, but it didn’t stop the hurt feelings or rage or frustration. I also stuck to my guns: They could be jerks, but I didn’t want to be a jerk, too. As a target for verbal abuse or mean-spirited teasing, I became less and less fun, but I was still a viable target for far longer than I should have been because I rarely struck back. On the very few occasions I did respond, the person bothering me regretted it immediately. I was verbal and a quick thinker, and if you kept pushing, I just might say something to embarrass you back. But, like I said, those occasions were few and far between, and usually happened only if the person being an asshole made the mistake of not being particularly varied or creative with their taunts. It gave me time to construct an excellent rejoinder and to hold it in reserve to be deployed when there were plenty of witnesses around to hear it. Those who were more subtle or careful not to bother me around witnesses were harder to fend off. A lot of tormenting happened on the busses, where teachers were absent and there were plenty of equally bored kids, many of which were a lot older, who would egg on any kind of fighting just to have something interesting and entertaining to watch.

Ah, busses. There’s the question of where it is safe to sit and too many people who don’t want to share a seat, especially with YOU. There are gum wads and spit balls and loogies that go where they shouldn’t, and your belongings being snatched away from you and held out of reach, and random sneaky jabs in the ribs or neck or the back of the knee, and people to trip up and send flying up the aisle, shoelaces and ponytail ribbons to untie, little kids to torture and so on. The only safe seats are either right behind the busdriver (you baby!) or the very back seat (usually annexed by the older kids). Hoi polloi go in the middle and suck it up.

I’m leaving out a lot of details because some I don’t remember clearly (and I certainly don’t have any emotional charge over them anymore) and because I was BY FAR not the most tormented kid around. There were many kids far worse off than me. One kid on the bus was socially challenged in all possible ways (unattractive, easy to torment, not the brightest bulb, and unable to take a hint) and I understood what it was like to really dislike someone for being a human punching bag. I didn’t join in when this kid was called things (one thing I recall was “Fagatron,” which still makes me wince), but neither did I want to be his best friend, and he was DETERMINED that I was not only destined to be his best friend (because I didn’t actively abuse him) but also his GIRLfriend. We were the last two kids to be dropped off, so sometimes I would actually hide to avoid his attentions (and once the bus driver had to circle back to drop me off because I hid too efficiently and was reading and didn’t un-hide in time to get dropped off). He eventually clued into this and that method of escape no longer worked.  He would try to touch me inappropriately, he would not leave me alone, and I thoroughly regretted that I had ever stood up for him against the bullies. No good deed goes unpunished, and all that. He didn’t understand that someone being kind was not equivalent to someone wanting to be groped or bugged while reading or whatever. Here’s where the bullied (me) could have become the bully to pick on a kid lower down the totem pole than I, but I didn’t. The whole experience just convinced me that staying under everyone’s radar was the best course of action at all times. Say nothing unless spoken to, and then only respond if you are addressed by your correct name (not an insult, not a nickname you don’t like, not a gibe) and with some courtesy, and then only if the person addressing you is not a raging asshole. Those folks are not to be encouraged to use you in their games. At best, if you happen to encounter a persistent raging asshole, you drag your eyes reluctantly away from the book you are reading, fix them with an unsmiling, silent glare, and slowly look them up and down, not responding to anything they might be saying to you during this process. Then shrug dismissively and go back to reading your book and acting like they don’t exist. If you do this properly, you are officially no fun and might be left alone, or you might enrage them to the point where they actually hit you. This is when a bus driver might be arsed to get involved and drag the little thug off of you, so, hey, win-win. Those bruises and lumps will fade.

My default mode was quiet, polite, nose-stuck-in-book, talk-mainly-to-teachers. If you were pleasant to me, I was pleasant to you, but I didn’t give you endless chances to use me as a punching bag. If you were an asshole to me or someone else (and I witnessed it), your opinion and friendship were no longer of any interest to me. Your popularity was irrelevant. I LIKED being alone and never felt lonely, so fuck ’em. Some other bully-deflating techniques that were occasionally successful: Asking a nosy person why they think you give a shit about their unsolicited advice (trick is, you have to REALLY not care), or “why do you want to know?” when they ask you something that is none of their damn business. If they try to give you any bullshit about wanting to know you better or being your friend, when you know damn well that this is a TRAP and a LIE, treat that with the scorn it deserves. Then there was the “I’m sorry, could you repeat that?” when someone said something shitty to you. Bonus points if you timed this response to coincide with the arrival of a teacher. Casual bullies do not often have the ‘nads to repeat a shitty comment. This will not, however, work on shameless bullies. Know your enemy. I also found that responding to unsolicited nastiness with something like, “Excuse me, why do you think I care one little bit about what YOU think? Did I ASK for your opinion? Maybe that should have been a hint” to be somewhat effective.

For the most part, though, my occasional triumphs over shitty behaviors were few and far between. I made it clear I liked being left alone and had no interest in group activities (to the point of occasionally hiding behind the bleachers with a book, or wandering off into the woods, during PE class).  I had a few close friends and was satisfied with that and did not want more. I got a reputation for being a poet-bookworm and a daydreamer (guilty) and an artist who sidelined as a doodler-in-class (SUPER guilty, and you should see my English Literature textbook). I had to have an opinion crowbarred out of my mouth in class, and my teachers gave up trying to embarrass me for not paying attention when I managed to prove that I was paying enough attention to parrot back the last few things they said (and my notebooks were ornate masterpieces).

The biggest change, though, was the death of my father.

A lot of these defense mechanisms were only deployed after my father died (I was in 8th grade) and I got a huge dose of perspective. Tell me again, how does teenage bullshit or dealing with nasty peers measure up in any significant way with the death of a parent? They simply do not. I no longer had the luxury of being QUITE as thin-skinned (though my mother can still get under my skin with her “teasing”), I no longer had the energy to keep up with the changing tides of who was in and popular and who was out and a loser, I no longer gave a rat’s ass what some teenage asshat might think about me whatsoever. If I was ever a bit depressed about bullshit high school drama, all I had to do was step back a bit and say, you know what? This is NOTHING compared to losing my DAD. So FUCK THEM.

To be honest, my first two years of high school are almost a total blank: I was grieving (I still feel things very, very deeply and take a long time to get over emotional pain) and I am guessing I was about as responsive as a block of wood for the most part. Which is a type of weirdness that ordinarily gets you extra grief, but, if it did, I don’t remember it. For the first two years of high school, I put on the ugly preppy wardrobe my mother purchased for me that was not the least bit attractive on me, went through the motions, and managed to continue to breathe in and out and get through it. By junior year I was wearing my dad’s old Air Force jacket, jeans I had painted on, and some rather weird 80s clothing with, like, dolman sleeves or enormous cowl necks or strangely-shaped buttons. I was no longer even remotely interested in pretending I was giving a shit about fitting in, even with my wardrobe, and I was happier as a result.

Now, sure, I got the usual fake invitations to non-existent parties. Solution? I didn’t want to hang out with any jerks, so I returned their invites back with a polite “Sorry, I am busy”. I got the usual passed notes in class that, once opened, were nastygrams. Solution? After the first, I never opened one right then and there ever again. I either threw it out unread or put it in my purse if I was not 100% sure it was going to be shitfulness. I got called stupid names in the hallway. Solution? No response whatsoever. I got Secret Santa gifts designed to embarrass me. Solution? A polite thank you before I pointedly threw it out on my way out of the classroom (and I actually feel a little bad about that, now; go figure). My kindness to a fellow unpopular student resulted in him being just as nasty to me as everyone else in the popular crew he longed to be a part of but by which he had been rudely and pointedly and publicly rejected. Solution? I learned to be more careful about who I chose to be kind to, because teenagers are stupid and desperate for meaningless social advancement. I didn’t get a lot of abuse about my appearance, which made me very lucky, but occasionally there would be something. Solution? Break out that slow, mute, up-and-down raking of the eyes from the top of their head to the tip of their toes, look them in the eye, shake your head, scoff quietly under your breath and walk off. They will fill in the blanks with whatever part of their body they are most insecure about, and serves them right for trying to make YOU feel bad. Worried about who to sit with at lunch? Solution: Resolve not to give a shit, sit wherever you like (an empty table is a good bet), and your friends and non-assholes will come sit with YOU. (And this, friends, was the smartest thing I ever did in high school, because our lunch table was full of the smartest, wackiest, coolest Misfit Toys in school, and lunch was, as a result, enjoyable and not an exercise in misery.)

I spent most of my time with the people I knew were my friends and welcomed non-assholes at all times. I was nice to everyone, even assholes, but assholes only ever got the bare minimum of my time and attention. A smile when I walked past them. Maybe a “good morning” if I felt like talking. I would not go out of my way to communicate with them, but neither would I be openly rude. Some days it felt like all I did was smile or nod at unresponsive assholes who had spent years tormenting me or other kids, but that was OK. I valued being pleasant, so I was pleasant: I did it for me. I spent much of the rest of my time talking to teachers, and they proved to be far more interesting and informative than a bunch of tweens and teens. I learned more OUT of class, talking to adults, than I did IN class. If you are the school hackysack, try talking to your teachers. You don’t have to talk about bullying. Talk about what you are learning. It’s likely to be interesting. Also, you will get better grades. I’m just saying. The smartest kids in my class were the ones who were in the teacher’s offices having chats. You will learn stuff. Learning is good. Being dumb is not good. I don’t know how else to put it.

So, perspective (i.e., “nothing I have to deal with today at school is anywhere near as bad as Dad Being Dead, thankyouverymuch”), learning to distrust that other human beings are going to behave themselves cordially, keeping busy and creative by reading and making art and writing and THINKING a lot, listening to music, trying to appear as bland as warm vanilla pudding whenever possible in between one class or the next (in other words, not being the most exciting target), ignoring the assholes whenever possible, being somewhat oblivious because my mind was on other things and I was busy thinking about stuff, pairing up with real friends (safety in numbers), telling assholes to go fuck themselves (without actually saying exactly that) when I couldn’t avoid them, and spending a lot of time near adults (which, as a bonus, is an effective anti-bully forcefield)…that’s how I survived high school.

There are things kids know that parents often forget. You can’t tell anyone or it gets worse. You can’t avoid them, or they notice, and when they find you again, it gets worse. You can’t make friends with other victims, because it gets worse. You shouldn’t be a bully yourself, because then not only do you feel like shit for being picked on, you feel doubly like shit because you are a hypocite and hurting someone else. You know intellectually that the things you are being teased about are not really all that bad, but emotionally it hurts and you would do anything to make the things you are being teased about go away. If you’re fat, you want to take a knife and slice the fat off your body. If you are short, you would gladly hop on a torture rack and have someone stretch you. If you are weak and skinny, you wish you could lift weights until you faint from exhaustion. If you are flat-chested, you struggle with the decision whether or not to pad your bra and feel boyish and childish and unattractive, and if you have big boobs, you pretty much hate life and get really tired of people snapping or undoing your bra strap and being treated like a whore because your hormones kicked into gear early. If you are freckled, you want to put on an inch of pancake makeup. If you have “bad” hair, you want a wig or a perm or a dye job or straightening or extensions or an entirely new hairdo…anything to make it different. If you wear glasses, you want contact lenses, even if they give you a headache. If you have braces, you would rather put up with your crooked teeth, and if you have crooked teeth, you want braces so badly you could just die. If you are pale, you want to be tan and you’ll inevitably show up with orange palms and streaked ankles at one point. If you are dark, you might be desperate enough to buy skin lighteners and peels and risk ruining your face. Everything about you is suddenly not good enough, and yet WHO is telling you this? Who are THEY? How dare they? Seriously. They are stupid kids and you are fine the way you are. Work on what you can and what you want to, and say “fuck it” about the stuff you can’t change.

Look, I have no words of wisdom. I just know that we ask kids to navigate some complex social waters without many useful tools. It was probably a little better pre-Internet and cable TV. True, now you can go online and read that you’re not alone if you are being bullied. That has to help a little bit. On the downside, there is no time off from bullying in the Internet age. Your bullies aren’t restricted to trying to prank call you until your mother gets tired of answering the phone. Now they can call you on your mobile phone or text you, stalk your social media network homepages, make blogs and forums to discuss you (and other people they are bullying), and on and on. I don’t think we older folks realize that as bad as we had it, kids today can’t just go home and be free of the torment for a few hours. There is no downtime. If you are the bullied person, you can’t even be safe from it when you are at home. It gets you through your cell phone, through the Internet, through Skype, when you play a MMORPG…constantly.

Bullying was always bad, but now there is no time off from it. The ways kids torment each other are more nasty. They may have called each other “gay” when I was a kid, but, honestly, I don’t think most of us were fully clear about what that actually MEANT, and I am pretty sure no one actually knew any out-and-proud gay people or had any serious hatred for them. It was just something people said that made other people feel bad. I was never clear why it was such a horrible insult (and am still not clear about that, because there is nothing wrong with being gay). The bullying today is more violent. There are fewer stay-at-home parents around to watch over their kids when they come home from school. Bullies can follow you to your workplace if you have an after-school job. Bullies don’t have to blow up your land line and annoy your parents when they can attack you directly and BYPASS your parents.

Shit’s got to stop.

If I knew how to make it stop, I would. Saying “it gets better,” while that is true, is hollow. Dude, try to stick it out until you can go off to college. I was fucking popular in college and believe me, I would never have expected that and it actually took me three years to clue in that this was what was going on. But, in retrospect, it is true. I had more friends from more varied circles and groups than I had free time to accept invitations to hang out with them. I overheard people saying NICE things about me. I had people know who I was who I had never met. You never know. Maybe it was because I didn’t give a shit about popularity that it happened. But, hey, SHIT GOT BETTER. Try to stick it out until you can go away to college. Tell someone if you are being targeted. Block assholes online and don’t go to their hangouts online to read stupid shit about yourself. You do not want to be friends with people who say shitty things about other people or treat other people badly. You really, really don’t. Because it will eventually be your turn and it sucks. Resolve not to give a good goddamn about some stupid kids who don’t know who you really are inside, and what a good and decent and awesome human being you are. Their values are shitty, they treat people badly, they are acting like assholes and you really do not want anything from them whatsoever.

Keep learning and creating stuff and devoting your energy to getting the fuck out of your home town once you graduate so you can leave all the loser bullies behind. You don’t want to have to have perspective (such as a parent dying) forced upon you, so you’re going to have to find your perspective within yourself and keep an eye on your goals and what you want in life. Find allies, even if (or especially if) they are adults. Do your own thing. Shine on, you crazy diamond.

It gets better, not that this always helps to hear…and you probably think I am full of shit and don’t understand what it is like, but maybe, just maybe, I kinda do.

There Are Some Things I Won’t Tolerate Anymore

I don’t put up with people coming up to me and whispering words like “gay” or “black” couched in a complaint. So the *whisper* BLACK people in the grocery store blocked the aisle with their carts to say hello to each other? Sorry, those are rude people who HAPPEN to be black. Allow me to share a story about the WHITE people in my neighborhood who block the roadway with their cars to chat.

So you say you are Christian, but want to come up to me and be all judge-y and bitchy about people you don’t like? As a Christian, I am sure you will appreciate some words from Jesus about how you should judge not, lest ye be judged and loving your neighbor and being without sin before casting the first stone. Allow me, the heathen infidel, to share some of those scriptures with you. Because unlike you, I have read your holy book.

So you think it is funny to tell jokes that play on harmful stereotypes and myths about women or men or male-female relations? Pardon me if I don’t laugh about your Stupid Useless Husband or your Sex-hating Frigid Wife. HA HA, he likes sports and beer and can’t wash a dish! HA HA, she likes shoes and silly women’s magazines and can’t wash a dish, either! Man, that’s some kind of comedy. Excuse me if I don’t laugh, and just look at you with my head cocked to one side like a puzzled puppy. Because you aren’t funny. Oh, was that the punchline?

So you think it is fine to casually put your hands on me, even though we are not friends? Pardon me while I hold up your hand in the air and ask loudly which asshat this misplaced hand belongs to, because I found it touching my ass, and I didn’t say that was OK.

So you think it is OK to invade my personal space and make sexually aggressive comments? You will be pleased to discover that I carry a Taser with me and am willing to use it, because it is legal in my area. Perhaps you should back the fuck off.

So you think it is OK to fight with your co-workers, run off competent co-workers, be lazy, be stupid, and not do your assigned job tasks? How much do you like being employed in this shitty economy? Because I’m not doing your work for you, or taking orders from you, or helping you get out of your self-created jams, or teaching you more than once how to do a simple office task. If you can’t get with it, there are at least 100 hungry people out there who want and need a job and who will work, and you CAN and WILL be replaced. So fuck off with your attempts to tell me that my boss OKed you dumping shitwork on me. I asked, she didn’t, you’re busted, so do it yourself. You’re a pestilence.

So you Jehovah’s Witnesses think it is OK to wake me up early on Saturday morning to tell me my religion (or lack thereof) sucks and that yours is better and I should convert? How about I turn the sprinklers on? Is that a subtle enough hint? Because I have talked to you before and told you I am down with blood transfusions and holidays and have no plans to convert to your cult, especially as I have read your holy book and you, clearly, have not. I have asked you to leave me alone. I have posted “No Soliciting” signs, as has the neighborhood. That means religious soliciting, too. I have tried ignoring you. Now, if you are annoying and persistent enough to wake me up and get me out of bed, so help you, I will turn the goddamned sprinklers on you. I am sick of your shit.

So you think it is OK to lie about what our Founding Fathers said, to ignore Separation of Church and State, and be hateful towards women, homosexuals, minorities, the poor, the disabled, the elderly, the pregnant, the foreign, the non-Christian? How about we expose your hypocrisy at every turn and not vote for you assholes? How about we compare YOUR messages with the messages in your holy book? Will you go away, then? Do we have to get as nasty as you are, first? Really, what will it take?

So you think it is OK to treat gays like second-class citizens and deny them their equal rights? How would you like to be shunned because of things YOU were born with, like your height or baldness or eye color? Here’s a shocker: Even if it were true that gay was a choice, which it is not, guess what? Religion is also a choice. You aren’t born believing in one religion or another, you are raised by adults who teach you about their flavor of religion. What if bigots were denied their equal rights? You’d be shit out of luck, Chuck.

What are some things you won’t put up with anymore?

Your Lack Of Insight and Compassion Make You Ugly.

So the conservatives on social networks like Facebook and G+ are busily sharing this image around again.

If you shared this image, you are an asshole.

It pops up every two weeks or so, with a lot of “THIS IS SO TRUE LOL” and “THIS IS OBUMMER’S FAULT” comments from people who look, on average, to be about 15 years old.

Some typical responses:

Christine M A******: “Sad but true.” [She knows this because of her Learnings…in Social Studies 101 at Dead President High School.]

Ben H***: “Well, at least we’re not paying for all their health care….oh, wait a minute….” [Did you catch that “they” there? Who do you suppose he means?]

Julie Z*******: “I deal with these people everyday! They are pigs!” [“Pigs,” you say? Not like you, I’m sure, insulting people in need.]

Hey, people on welfare, conservatives would like you to know the rules. So here they are:

  1. If / when you lose your job, be sure to sell all your nice electronics and luxury goods immediately and make sure you are always dressed well in public (but not too well, because then you are clearly not in need of any financial assistance and will be judged for not immediately selling all your nice clothing, too).
  2. Cover up your tattoos, or people will snark that you are spending your welfare money on body art, even if you have had those tattoos for years, or a friend who is a tattoo artist who did them for free.
  3. Are your shoes nice? Better not wear them in public, especially while at the grocery store paying for food with food stamps, because you MUST have somehow magically converted those food stamps into enough expendable income to buy those shoes. Never mind that they were a gift, or you bought them years ago, or that they actually have huge holes in the soles and tattered insoles because you can’t afford to replace them.
  4. As a bonus, be sure not to have a job with flexible hours or work from home or work as a stay-at-home parent, because judgmental people will be on your ass and assume you are on welfare based on limited or non-existent evidence (even if you are not) and whine bitterly about having to contribute to social safety nets for the needy. That is right: You don’t even have to be on welfare at all, you can simply be out in public with your kid(s) during normal business hours and have total strangers assume you are on government assistance if you don’t look prosperous. Isn’t that cute?

But, hey, you know who will also be first in line with a hand out for benefits when they lose a job or fall on hard times, have family to house and feed, and qualify to receive them? That’s right: The same people who spend a hell of a lot of time claiming that people on government assistance are all undeserving and grifting the system and not really in need because they are, say, clean and are not wearing rags or being extra-careful to only appear in public while exhibiting visible signs of long-term poverty like, say, neglected teeth or unkempt hair and tattered sackcloth outfits.

Oh, you might also want to (5.) sell your car, too, unless it is a Piece Of Shit, because clearly no one receiving unemployment benefits or welfare could possibly have purchased a decent vehicle long prior to losing a job, getting a divorce, having unexpected healthcare expenses that devastated their finances, or just generally falling on hard times. You also don’t ever want to borrow a friend or family member’s car if you DO sell yours to make ends meet, because if it is even slightly nice or of recent vintage, you will be judged as not being needy enough for assistance of any sort.

Think this is an exaggeration? Some Republicans are busily trying to make it a law that if you own a car of any description, you will be unable to receive SNAP benefits (that’s food for the poor, if you aren’t familiar with the term) until you sell that car. This plan is Rush Limbaugh-approved, so you know it is empathetic and fair and kind-hearted and rational. (Yeah…no.) So while you are struggling to find work, and being told that you need reliable transportation to be hired (try to find a decently compensated job that does not require employees to have their own transportation), and being scorned for being unemployed, Republicans want to take your personal transportation away (while blocking any public transportation-related programs, mind you) or deny you help with food. Nice people.

Yes, you must sell everything you own that is even remotely nice, you must dress nicely (but not TOO nicely) when you are out in public, and you need to feel like a complete and utter failure before seeking help. Never mind that it is nearly impossible to get by without a mobile phone or reliable transportation these days.

Hey, poor person; hey, you unemployed person: your phone is too nice and isn’t there public transportation you could be using instead? Of course, anyone who has ever had to rely on public transportation realizes that it is unreliable, often late, sometimes fails to arrive at all, is almost always dirty and smelly and unpleasant, and if you need to get to work or home from work using it, then you get to hang out in unsafe places (often in the dark, and rarely covered to protect you from rain or heat or wind) by yourself (enjoy your mugging).

Of course, if you do wind up sitting on a sidewalk with a cup, these same assholes will walk past you like you are invisible or hiss “get a job” at you.

Also, if you are not white, these rules apply double to you. Because the majority of welfare recipients in the United States are white.

…Wait, what?

You heard me.

“According to the U.S. government, the majority of welfare recipients are white, live in the suburbs, have two kids, want to work, and stay on welfare an average of only two years.”

Who is the stereotypical Welfare Queen now?

You know what? People who post this kind of image and yuck it up and say “SO TRUE LOL HALLELUJAH YES”? Fuck ’em. Selfish bastards. (They better hope nothing bad ever happens to them…though, if it does, it will not be their fault, even though YOUR situation is definitely 100% YOUR fault.) Enjoy that DELICIOUS government powdered macaroni and cheese mix and generic peanut butter, you grifter, you.

I just want to kick people who make image memes like this really hard, right in the junk. I also wouldn’t be surprised if it was some neckbeard living in his parents’ basement and feeling all butthurt that his job at Wendy’s forced him to pay taxes. OH GOD HOW HORRIBLE HAVING TO CONTRIBUTE FINANCIALLY TO THE HEALTH AND WELFARE OF A SOCIETY WHICH YOU ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF EVERY SINGLE DAY. Golly, taxes sure do suck. I, too, wish I could be a selfish infant and never have to spend a penny on anything I don’t want to spend it on, even while I benefit from national parks and museums, Medicare, Social Security, FDIC insured banks, the Post Office, emergency services like firefighters and police officers and rescue services and 911 service, and public schools and public libraries, and funding for the arts and public broadcasting, and clean air and water, and interstates and bridges and tunnels, and safe food and medicine, and scientific advances and space exploration and national disaster preparedness, and weather reports and storm tracking, and garbage pick-up and sewage treatment plants and roads that are swept or plowed, and so on.

Oh, wait, no, I am not a big whiny baby who would rather live in Somalia where there is no government or taxes or welfare and everyone is so very free to just do whatever they want and they all live in peace and luxury and good health. (Except they don’t.)

Conservatives, it may fit your personal narrative and make you feel better about your courageous stance of denying the needy any assistance (while protecting tax breaks for corporations and toadying up to the wealthiest people in our country) and assuming that every single person on assistance is lazy and taking advantage of the system and so on, but I do hope you will remember to eat your words with a nice side of crow should you ever be in a position where you or a loved one need a little help from your neighbors. You probably won’t.

As mentioned above, I’m very familiar with the all-too-common conservative refrain that goes: “All MY problems are 100% not my fault, all YOUR problems are 100% due to bad decision-making and laziness on YOUR part, so while I deserve some help when I am struggling, you need to Learn A Lesson About Personal Responsibility and Pull Yourself Up By Your Bootstraps and Not Be A Beggar.”

Aren’t you glad that there are some liberal folks who are willing to lend you a helping hand when you fall on hard times? Because you and your conservative friends typically begrudge any kind of assistance to anyone…unless they are already rich or are a business…or unless it is YOU who needs some help.

The least you can do, if empathy and compassion are too difficult for you, is not be an arrogant dick about your extreme selfishness. Give it a try.

The newest “funny” anti-welfare meme circulating around Facebook by assholes who enjoy demonizing the poor claims that the poor are spending their welfare checks on luxury goods. O RLY? Do tell.

If you share this image, you’re also an asshole.

Some choice comments:

Boo H***: “Drink’n from the hater-aid :p”

Erica A*****: “LOVE this!!! fuck welfare!! SOLO WORKING MOM RITE HERE!!”

This person ALMOST gets it, but not quite: Lynn W*****: “‎^sad thing is, you should be the one eligible for it, @Erica A***** not the drug addicts that haven’t even bothered looking for a job in the past 5 years. It shouldn’t be looked at as a degrading thing, it’s supposed to be when people are at the end of their rope and have no one to turn to and need to put food on their families tables. But now a days, its become some sort of sick joke and I hate watching my checks deplete to pay for the depletion of the human race. Its sad really.”[Translation: I know nothing about poor people, but I am certain there are simply scads of them using MY TAX DOLLARS to buy drugs, even though statistics show just the opposite.]

Josh J****: “This is perfect!!! Haha!” [Translation: Mocking the poor is awesome! I am laughing right now! Tee hee!]

Sarah A***: “LMAO!” [Translation: Me, too! HA HA, you’re poor!]

Linda M*******: “You betcha!!!!” [Translation: Sarah Palin’s lack of compassion inspires me!]

Fay T******: “DAM !!! Loveit” [Translation: I am clearly a scholar and have put a lot of thought into the plight of the socially and financially disadvantaged. FUCK ’em.]

Kent V*********: “Hard to believe anyone would be dumbass to do that…but Im sure theyre out there!” [Translation: I know nothing about the subject, but I am certain that there MUST be some poor people out there buying iPhones!]

Jenn D****:  “Lmao very true…I know someone who gets help from the gov yet went out and got the iPhone smh. It’s crazy how much money is spent on people who don’t need it but feel entitled to it. They can try but it’s easier to not and get by in life with as little effort as possible” [Translation: I know ONE PERSON who gets welfare who bought a phone. Fucker doesn’t deserve that phone. I am horribly jealous. Furthermore, my sample set of ONE validates your sweeping generalizations about every other poor person on welfare.]

Anthony D******: “This is a must share” [Translation: I can’t wait to spread the HATE THE POOR message to all my friends and family members on Facebook! They will be so impressed with my deep understanding of social issues and taxes and welfare, and will admire me for my compassion and concern for those less fortunate than myself. Oh, HA HA, no, just kidding. FUCK the poor.]

Joe K***: “Yeh I know a couple guys this totally applies to- they both get SSI and the minute they get paid they immediately go bananas and buy a bunch of crap they can afford and dont need, then are broke 3 hours after getting paid. Then 2 days later they pawn the overpriced crap they splurged on (which they never should have bought in the first place) for beer & cigarette money… some people just never learn. They say insanity is repeating the same actions over and over and expecting different results. If you only get paid once a month and only get $700, for Gods sake, leave some of it in the bank for emergencies, groceries, bus fare, or in case you need smokes!!!!!!” [Translation: Joe knows TWO PEOPLE who are totally bad at managing money, so that means ALL poor people are the same! Great logic, Joe!]

Amanda C*****: “‎^^^ welfare is government assistants for people/family that cant get a job or need extra help…NOT FOR IPHONES lol” [Translation: I, too, believe this fairy story about people on welfare all owning iPhones. FUCK ’em!]

Scott H*****: “OMFG YES!!” [Translation: I, too, hate the poor and I believe this nonsense and I am so excited I AM SHOUTING ABOUT IT.]

Tamera H**********: “I see it SO MUCH!! I Phones, Tattoos, Alcohol, and always buying cigarrettes! Yet they need food stamps and a welfare check…Ohhh! I almost forgot the EXPENSIVE vehicles with spinner tiresss!!!!” [Translation: I do not understand how food stamps work, and I am a judgmental asshole. Fuck the poor, right in the ear!]

Andy C**: “capitalist or socialist it should be illegal to take more than your share or rip someone off….”

Andy C**: “only handicaped peoople need iphones, rest of people just play games”

Andy C**: “im sorry i meant retards” [Translation: I am an asshole.]

Rose P***-I*****: “This so true and soooo funny! I see this everyday!” [DO YOU NOW. Did you ask all those people for a glance at their finances, so you can make the determination that they have not spent their money in a manner acceptable to your sensibilities? I fucking doubt it.]

Katherine G******: “wtha about child support. i know someone who spend $2000 of child support money to buy gucci suit” [Prove it. I don’t believe you.]

Douglas K*****: “Just end welfare alltogether. If you do not work you do not eat…natural selection takes it from there” [Translation: FUCK THE POOR, IF THEY CAN’T GET A JOB, THEN JUST LET THEM ALL DIE.]

OH MY FUCKING GOD I HATE ALL YOU STUPID ASSHOLES SO FUCKING MUCH RIGHT NOW.

My (angry!) response:

“If you think someone on welfare can afford an iPhone, you are mentally deficient. It is more likely that they fell on hard times after purchasing the phone or being given the phone as a gift (such as being laid off or having a family member die, or dealing with medical expenses). Welfare checks do not come anywhere close to covering the cost of a new phone. Further, that person on welfare probably paid as much in taxes over the years as you have, if not more, so it is their own tax money being used to help them out when they have fallen on hard times. Try a little more compassion and a lot less of this bullshit “let’s pick on the poor” fantasizing.

I have also just been informed by someone who should know first-hand that sometimes the government hands out a cheap pre-paid mobile phone with 250 minutes on it to the very poor who can’t afford a landline, so they can look for work and communicate with officials handling their accounts. And yes, that phone does look, at a glance, like an iPhone, but it is not. It is a cheap piece of shit. They didn’t buy it, there are a limited amount of minutes allowed, and they do not own it; once off welfare, they have to give it back. (P.S. Did you know that about the pre-paid phones? I didn’t. I learned something new today.)

If you are on food stamps you can NOT buy non-food items AT ALL. No alcohol. No tobacco. No “hot” food from the grocery deli. No pet food. No toilet paper, toothpaste, shampoo, razors, aspirin, vitamins, etc. Just food. And some jurisdictions do not allow pre-prepared foods (like frozen dinners). Food stamps are distributed via debit-card like food stamp cards, they are not little pieces of paper you can buy or sell or trade for things. The average allotment per meal for food stamps is a dollar and change. Think hard about how well you can eat for less than two bucks, then do that three times a day for months on end.

Oh, people on food stamps can buy birthday cakes from the bakery, but I suppose they should just suffer in silence and not waste their food money on something as frivolous as a child’s birthday cake. Your anecdotal evidence of one or two assholes you know working the system does not indicate that every single other person receiving aid is likewise irresponsible or taking advantage.

There will always be stupid people who do not manage money of any kind well, but that is not an excuse to pretend that the poor, who are struggling to EAT and not be homeless, and to find work when work is hard to find (I have three advanced degrees, great references, a lot of skills, a lot of experience, and I send out a MINIMUM of 50 applications every single day and I have been unemployed, after a layoff, for almost a year…why & how would someone who has fewer of those qualities and advantages than I have manage get a job more quickly or easily than I?) and I hope that some of the most judgmental among you have to experience what it is like to fall on hard times through no fault of your own and to hear nasty comments about it constantly from uninformed, rude, thoughtless people like yourselves who think it is funny to mock the down-and-out and impoverished and to make snap judgments about them.

When and if it happens to you, I hope you will remember every single derogatory and nasty comment you ever made about your neighbors and fellow citizens who are struggling to survive, and I hope you will feel a little shameful about it.

Be sure to sell all your worldly goods, even if you have to take a financial loss (because poor people don’t deserve anything nice, right? and it is your job to assume that they spent “your” money on anything that isn’t completely crappy, correct?) and never buy anything but the bare essentials while you are at it, too.

Have some goddamned sense. So fucking rude.”

Then, finally, after a couple dozen more “LOL”s and “SO TRUE”s from these hateful morons, one guy finally, finally says something sensible:

Rick Penn: “If you think that “welfare” is now (or ever has been) a significant part of any sort of economic problem faced by the country, then you’re very easily distracted and you’re a perfect fit for the GOP. If you want to look at a welfare problem that actually hurts us in our wallets, take a look at corporate welfare. Those numbers are staggering, but you won’t hear about them at the Republican convention.”

Rick Penn, ladies and gentlemen, someone who has an ounce of compassion for people who are less well off than himself, who is aware of the real “Welfare Queens” in our society (corporations turning huge profits who are still getting generous tax breaks and huge corporate handouts, all while they are busily off-shoring American jobs and stashing a lot of their revenue in tax shelters) and who realizes that memes like this which are trying to demonize the poorest and least powerful among us are complete and utter mean-spirited, ignorant bullshit.

Well done, Rick Penn.

I shared the “Poor people are buying iPhones LOL” meme on my Facebook Wall and it sparked some more discussion:

Me: “Here’s the latest “let’s hate the poor and pretend that trying to survive on the tiny allowance welfare provides is a total picnic” bullshit circulating around today. These nasty assholes need a kick in the junk.

It’s not at all possible that the person with the phone purchased it before falling on hard times, or was given it as a gift, or is borrowing it. No, they assume that “their money” is supporting someone else’s ability to buy a fancy toy.

It also ignores the fact that most people on welfare are white single moms who are looking for work and who stay on welfare less than 2-5 years total, and that the people on welfare have usually paid their fair share of taxes for years and so it is their OWN money that they are being granted to help them out now that they have fallen on hard times. You can’t even GET welfare if you do not have dependent minor children, or if your household income tops $9,000-11,000 annually, which is actually far below survival level.

Insensitive compassion-free judgmental assholes. I am sick of their crap. I hope they all experience the “joy” of having to live on welfare and food stamps and see how much fun it is, firsthand. I suspect they won’t be quick to sell off their mobile phones or vehicles the minute they fall on hard times, either. I hope they also hear a lot of comments about how they are “clearly” cheating the system just because they are not dressed in rags and able to bathe regularly, and I hope they remember their previous bullshit condemnation and shitty comments and that they are all repeated back to them by other shitty people every single day while they struggle to eat, pay bills, and keep a roof over their heads.

In short, I wish for a swift dose of karma to the people who think that welfare is “free money” and a lot of fun and games. They are wrong, and I will be thrilled if I ever find out that some of the worst offenders wind up crying into their government cheese and powdered milk about it.”

Lee F****: “Seriously. What a bunch of raging douchebags.”

Xenubarb G*******: “If you have no landline, a cell phone is the option as pay phones are kinda scarce on the landscape these days.”

Lee F****: “Yes, and asking a prospective employer to call a pay phone probably doesn’t work too well, either.”

Cathy D*****-W*******: “to the judgemental a$$h*les…check that cell phone carefully. It may not be an iPhone. It may be one of the free cell phones provided with 250 minutes monthly to people on disablility, or welfare. Because many rely on a government issues cell phone because they have no land-line…and good luck finding a pay phone nowadays. Or for some people, coming up with the .50-1.00 for a call on a pay phone if you found one. […] this is one very mean-spirited cartoon. And, yes, I hope karma gives a major smackdown to ppl who are so petty.”

Lee, Xenubarb and Cathy ALSO get it!

Why do these people always rage about “their” tax money being spent to feed hungry people? Do they really think that everyone on food stamps has magically avoided paying taxes their entire life? Unless they are minor children, they probably haven’t!

Feeling smug that you have never been on welfare, and think you are qualified to make ignorant comments about poor people? Perhaps you shouldn’t feel so smug.

I’m here with two BAs and an MA, a great work ethic, good references, great skills, a great resume, lots of experience, Caucasian, healthy, whole-bodied, from an upper-middle class family. I send resumes out every day and I am taking paralegal courses online to get YET ANOTHER degree, all so I can get a job.

Anything remotely nice I have, I bought long before I fell on hard times or my family has generously given to me.

I did everything right: Went to school (twice! and now, THREE times!) and got good grades, paid my bills, paid my taxes, have never been arrested even once for anything, worked hard for my employers, and made responsible choices. I saved for retirement, I had investments, I had regular old savings and a checking account, I had medical insurance, I bought nothing whatsoever on credit, I own no luxury items, my car is almost 20 years old, I have been actively seeking work for months, my unemployment benefits ran out…and whereas I am not on welfare (I do not qualify, as I do not have a child), I am on food stamps. Without them, I would starve. I have zero dollars left to my name. Zero. As in none.

So you think about that before you judge.

If you think I’m having a wonderful time begging for financial help from my mother while simply trying to EAT on a regular basis and while being rejected over and over and over again as I look for work, you are out of your tiny mind.

I do not know how I will be able to buy my next tube of toothpaste.

It is scary out here.

I certainly do not own a fucking iPhone, but I do have a decent phone I was given as a gift six years ago. I suppose, if you squint and are very stupid, you might mistake it for an iPhone. God help the motherfucker who tries to claim that I bought that phone with “his tax money” to my face, because then I MIGHT just get arrested for turning him or her into a bloody greasespot on the ground.

Don’t be an asshole.

The Super Wacky Adventures Of Annoyingman!

Now that reality shows are almost inescapable and indicate no signs of going away any time soon, maybe we need to cash in on the annoying trend. How about a hidden camera show documenting the foibles and quirks of our least-loved neighbors? How about picking the biggest wanker on your block to be the start of his very own show?

Meet Annoyingman!

It’s a turd! It’s a pain! It’s ANNOYINGMAN!

EPISODE GUIDE: When last we checked in on Annoyingman, he was using a chainsaw to clear brush in his backyard. At 4AM! That kooky Annoyingman! Today Annoyingman is cleverly disguised in his Sekrit Alter-ego Identity, Will Erkus! What WILL Will Erkus do today!?

CAST:

Annoyingman (cleverly disguised as Will Erkus)

Annoyingman Crony #1 (Tard Boy, cleverly disguised as “Red” Nexon)

Annoyingman Crony #2 (Twerp Lad, cleverly disguised as Stu Piddass)

Annoyingman’s long-suffering wife, Brandine Erkus

Hundreds of innocent bystanders

Dozens of service personnel

Will: *belches* My lil’ heifer shore can cook, caint she, boys?

“Red”: Hail yeh, Annoyingman! Ah mean, “Will”! *slaps Annoyingman’s wife on the butt*

Stu: Well, ya know them girls is only good fer two thangs! Tee! Hee! Har! Har!

“Red”: Ooh. Whut’s that, Stu?

Stu: Cookin’ and…um…oh, I remember! Quantum physics!

*long, painful silence*

Will: Ah dun geddit, Stu.

Brandine: *exasperated snort, eyeroll*

Will: Oh shuddup, Brandine, afore Ah knock yer tooth down yer throat!

EPISODE PLOT SPOILERS: Annoyingman drives to a store. Camera pans across back bumper of raised truck bumper, showing charming misogynist, pinheaded, politically fascist, pro-Bambi-smiting bumper stickers, including at least two with farting themes. On the way, he litters, throws food wrappers out the window, drags his muffler along the road and manages to set a brush fire with a discarded cigar butt…but not before having a fit of road rage and running people off the road.

Camera shows that the store is about a block away from Annoyingman’s driveway.

Annoyingman slams into the store and leaves the front door open behind him. He manages to insult every female, minority and non-Christian in the store in his trademarked mangled grammar while buying the most enormous BIG-BIG-BIG-BIG-SO-VERY-HUGE! speakers the store has, cutting in line, paying with pennies and nickels, and then being scary and threatening until the installation guys are cowed into installing them immediately.

Annoyingman drives home blaring something irritating like country pop or Top Ten Modem Screeching Hits or gangsta rap or Justin Bieber and narrowly misses mowing down an elderly lady on a walker in a pedestrian walkway while spitting tobacco juice on a paraplegic Vietnam vet in a wheelchair. “Git a job, yew hippie!”

Camera shows drivers in normal-sized vehicles wincing at the volume of the horrible music. One of Annoyingman’s beercans whizzes out the window and cracks the windshield of a harried mother with two kids. “Git yer tubes tied, Welfare Queen!”

Annoyingman screeches across his neighbor’s yard, parks so that the rear of his truck is still blocking part of the road. He walks past his lawn art (a black lawn jockey, a Bend Over Bertha Buttz, a toilet bowl filled with dead flowers and a Tea Party sign) and goes out of his way to detour and kick a puppy. (*yip!*)

Show ends with Annoyingman having a loud, screeching, throwing-breakable-things fight with his wife after he is served a meal with a vegetable on the side. He manages to equate eating healthy things with being homosexual. God didn’t give him opposable thumbs and a semi-automatic so he could eat tofu! The whole world is goin’ to hell because there are too few Annoyingmen out there and too many commies, liberals, unChristian heathens, women, gay people who have the temerity to be happy, et cetera. “Now git me a beer, Brandine!”

Camera shows his miserable neighbors being kept awake long past midnight.

Oh, that wacky Annoyingman! Tune in next time, as Annoyingman talks with his mouth stuffed full of popcorn and has a loud argument on a cell phone during a movie and then joins a militia!

THE END

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: Annoyingman is not based on a real person. (Annoyingman is based on tens of thousands of real people. *cries*)