Tuesday, January 26, 2016

What is a father?

What is a father?

Is your father your friend? Is your father your mentor?  Do you know what your father is?
   If he’s your friend, then he’s a fool. A fool, who’s more interested in making you laugh. A fool who hangs out with you. A fool who never tells you you’re wrong.
   But if he’s your father, he might make you laugh-sometimes. He’ll tell you you’re wrong. He’ll tell you to clean your room and make your bed; to get up early and do your school work. He’ll have you pull weeds from around the bricks on the patio on a Saturday morning, while your friends are texting you about mischievous errands for the day.
   And he knows of those errands! He has been there himself, and you will not fool him. He may lighten up on the reigns to see you break a little, but he’ll be there for the error, and he’ll mend the broken days.
   Your father will give advice, lots of advice, and you’ll not listen—sometimes. But his voice will be in your head, when you didn’t jump-back on that curve ball, didn’t line up your fingers on the threads as the ball wobbles out of control. His advice will be there when your friends sneak some liquor out of their parent’s cabinets. His voice will be there when your friend, who’s drunk, gets behind the wheel. Will you listen? His voice will be there many times in your life as each day gets harder and more complicated to understand.
   Your father is a sculpturer, a man who molds another man with thoughts and words and actions. He will never be famous for his work. He may fail, break, die, but his triumph’s will endure. His failures will also endure, for you to remember, to never forget how the taller than life figure, could be brought down. On that day you’ll know he was not a god, or an unstoppable power. Just a man, who was never your friend, he was much more than that.

© Copyright 2016
Artemis J Jones

Opinion pieces.

Monday, January 25, 2016

"Ooohhh, shiny!"

Way back when I was a kid, (you know, like 100 years ago), I spent some time living with my biological mother, Judy. We didn't get along real well but I did learn a few things from her. Lessons I didn't even know I'd learned back then. One of those lessons recently came flying back at me while I was out with friends the other night. 
I hadn't seen some of them in months, some in a year or so, and some I met for the first time that night. It was a good night. There were about 10 of us sitting around eating, drinking, swapping jokes and stories, and catching up on lost time. It was like a family really. I was actually surprised when the conversation turned towards philosophy and religion. 

There we were, a group of people, all having had different religious upbringings and rationally discussing the differences or origins of major religions. That's a pretty impressive feat these days. Normally someone would be offended if you poked holes in their beliefs. 
Not us. We would sit back and go, "ya know, you've got a point about that." Or, "hmm, I never looked at it that way." 

I felt comfortable and at home. Some of these were people I'd just met and they were smiling and laughing as they accepted me just as I am. Now, granted, several people did point out that some of my behaviors are vastly different than they were even 6 months ago. Not "bad" different, just more..."I'm holding back what I say so I don't upset anyone" different. 

Took me a good little bit to relax myself enough to remember that these people enjoyed the objective yet honest, uncensored me that they'd known for nearly a decade. Although I was oddly uncomfortable loosening up at first, I eventually swung easily into talks of philosophy, religious history and even got into literary discussions with a few people. It was great fun. 

We were there long enough that our original waitress, the one who'd been dealing with "socially awkward, reserved and self-censoring" me ended up finishing her shift. So waitress number 2 was around for the bulk of the philosophical religious discussion. You know, "round 2", where we (ok, mostly just me) orders more food and the evening starts to get its second wind. 

I guess she'd been hearing snippets of the conversation and asked where I was from. I don't know if it was my lack of an accent or what but she'd determined I definitely wasn't a local. So I start talking to her about Florida. Seems she visits there a bit, herself, and had recently returned from a trip there. 
Well, as a proud dad, I started showing pictures of the boys and our trips together. By then we had stepped away from the table so I could better show her pics of my kids. She was wanting to know what I'm doing so far north and I point back towards the table and say, "visiting family." During the brief discussion it came up that I'm a truck driver, which she thought was a nifty job. 

Once she found out that I also write a little (I'm not sure if writing the occasional poem qualifies me as a writer but it's just easier to explain it that way) she wanted to see some of what I write. Next thing you know she's wanting to look up my website on line and asking how to keep in touch.
It wasn't until I was leaving that someone pointed out that "look" in her eyes. Ah. I'd accidentally sparked some type of interest. Oops. Somehow I'd become that "shiny".  Everyone loves that "shiny". 

Which led me back to thinking about the first time I'd seen that look of someone stricken by the "shiny". Back when I was that kid living with Judy, she introduced us to what I think was soon-to-be-husband number 4 or 5. I lost count along the way. But I do remember that she was all "in love" with him for a while. He was her new shiny. She took me and my sibling to his house fairly regularly for a while. She started talking about a future with him. The whole nine yards. She was "finally going to be happy", etc, etc, ad nauseam. 
The problem was, with her, once that shiny wore off she'd get bored and go out looking for another shiny to play with. And that's where the pattern starts to show itself. That's where problems come in with people and relationships, it seems. 

People like that endorphin high of their new shiny. Right up until the shiny wears off. Then, suddenly, the traits you found "refreshing" or "endearing" become annoying. I've seen it my whole life, that pattern. 
We go into relationships or friendships or even business partnerships because we enjoy that shiny new person or situation. Many times we enter into relationships hoping the person will change and they don't. Or they do but not enough or in ways to our liking. Or hoping they won't change but then the shiny mask wears off and we either don't like what we see or we need to find a new shiny because it's really just the shine that we are attracted to. Like cats attacking garland. They just can't leave that stuff alone. They're drawn to the shiny, literally.
Or, worse case scenario and my personal favorite cat astrophe, when the person changes but then you realize you liked them better before and hate the "new and improved" version. Man, that scenario SUCKS. I've been on both sides of that one. That's like watching a deer get hit by a train in super slo-mo from multiple angles...just ugly all around. 
We look for reasons why it's "just not working out". When, in fact, what we aren't happy about is that it's not new anymore. It's just not what we signed up for. We signed up for "new, exciting, shiny" and what we end up with is "boring, predictable and not shiny anymore". That's when we start reasoning out excuses to leave instead of reasons to stay. Our tastes change if our partner won't. Or our partners have to change to meet our changing tastes. 

Where have we gone as a society? Is it that humans are evolving to just enjoy that "rush"? Or have we always been that way? Maybe that's part of what has spurred mankind to seek new continents, explore the stars or take to the skies. Our need to find that next shiny thing. Maybe that's really all it is, curiosity. An attraction to the unknown or unexplored. Something deeply ingrained in the human psyche that can never fully be ferreted out. 

Now, I've talked to some friends about just this problem. We've "round tabled" it because it doesn't make much sense to me. The best solution we've been able to come up with is that it's a generational thing. Maybe my generation is the last of the "fix your problems" generation. We remember when effort was required just in making telephone calls. We remember when working at something was just something you did. 
Perhaps it's because the newer generations have been taught that everything is disposable. There's a new phone on the market? Throw the old one away and get the new "greatest thing". In relationships I call it getting "better dealed." It's like people think "yeah, I'll stick with you until something that seems better comes along." The only problem is that that "something better" is only better until the shiny wears off. 
This "disposable generation" seems willing to toss things out, even if they're perfectly good, rather than put in any effort. Or rather than to actually work for it. There's a distinct lack of accountability or responsibility that goes with this generation. Feeling fat? Lipo it away. Instant gratification, throw away what bores you. Meanwhile, more and more marriages and relationships founder, the next generation coming up learns to be even lazier, we remain driven towards whatever is fun while disregarding everything else. 

Now, in the interest of fairness, yet another opinion was posited to me by another dear friend. Looking at things from her point of view I can see where she makes a lot of sense. Psychologically, it's pretty sound as well. I don't normally just directly quote people but I can't find a better way to put it. So, in its entirety, (the only edits I made were to clean up a couple colorful words here and there) here it is:

"I have an opposite view of the new generation. Maybe it's because at work I train all our new employees, who are usually 18-24 years of age. As a Captain here I have the opportunity to see both the "gimme" side of these youth (as I call them) and the "I gotta make the world better" side to them. Because they're the first generation to come from mostly divorced parents who WANTED children, they're prone to feeling drawn to "shiny", as you call it, because their parents fought for their attention by buying them new things. Mom bought you a phone, son? Lemme buy you a computer! See these kids' parents both had jobs, and money. Ours did not. It was ingrained in these kids at a young age that "things" equal "love and acceptance". Because they come from this background, they try desperately to be better than their parents. They actually tend to make better relationship decisions and they don't marry young like most of our generation did. They may date for years before even talking about marriage, because they don't want to divorce. They are also waiting longer to have children, because they're scouting out an appropriate mate extensively. They may get every shiny new thing on the market, but they'll earn it themselves before allowing a member of the opposite sex to make them feel inferior by buying it for them. At least that's my perspective. I work with the strong-willed ones, though. It takes a strong personality and a tough outer shell to do what I do. So I have a chance to see what these youth are truly made of. They're the first generation to feel like they need to leave the world better than they find it. They contribute to charities, they volunteer, they recycle, they eat organic farm-fresh vegetables because they believe they're contributing to their community farmers, they buy local, they shop in trendy local-owned clothing stores, they buy old homes and fix them up to breathe new life into the community, they feed the homeless (and feel good about it). I think our generation tends to turn toward every shiny new thing more than the younger generation. In my opinion, that's because we were kids of the 70s and 80s. When our parents divorced, our dads didn't remain. There was no fighting for our love, we were left to wonder if one parent gave a shit about us. So we became the generation that found solace in the excitement of someone loving us. We cling to every hope that someone might love us. But as soon as that love requires effort, we lose interest. Because we feel like someone should just love us. We feel like we're good enough now, damnit. We shouldn't have to change or grow for someone. Eff that. Our dad left us and we'll be damned if we're gonna "change" ourselves for someone else. We deserve love just the way we are. Eff it, we'd rather be alone than try to make effort....only to be left by that person later. Because our generation were mostly abandoned by one parent, we feel like we'd rather let go of someone when shit gets hard, than have them leave us. These new kids have a different view of the world, for sure. But it's better. They view it as a group effort. They want to feed the poor, and save the hungry, and adopt abandoned children, and get a job that allows them time to be active physically, etc. Sure it seems like they lose interest in things like relationships. And they do. If the relationship isn't a good business decision for them, they will leave it in the dust without even looking back. But when they marry, it's for a purpose. It's because they've thought long and hard about what they want. They don't marry someone they can live with. They marry the one person they can't live without. That's why they'll give up on relationships that don't work out effortlessly. They want a best friend and partner in life. And when they realize someone isn't for them,  they're done"

Maybe she has a point. Maybe being children of divorce where there is a vast difference in income between the two houses also factors in. 

Anyway, there's your food for thought for the week. 

Monday, January 18, 2016

"Killer, a Serial"

I vaguely remember coming around a curve and seeing some monstrosity in the road. As soon as I saw it I started trying to figure out what it could be and assessing evasive maneuvers on this icy road. Tree? Yeti? A misplaced, rusty battleship?! 
There was no avoiding it at nearly 90mph. "Banzaiii!" I yelled as I was thinking, "divert all power to the shields!" I must've yelled loud enough for it to hear me as it chose that time to turn and look. "What the..? Is that a reindeer?! Oh, Santa's gonna get maaad at me!" I finished the thought just as I went through and kinda over it. 

I heard footfalls coming in my direction, crunching through the thin layer of ice covering the snow. As they stopped next to me I heard a man's voice. "Hey, mister, you alive?", just before I got nudged in the ribs with a shoe. "Dunno, depends. Are you the Devil come to collect me?", was the only thing I could think to say. 
I must've blacked out again after that because I gradually became aware of more voices and movement around me. When I finally managed to open my eyes I could see red and blue lights strobing across the snow and there were more voices. My eyes gradually opened but the rest of my body was still ignoring my commands to move. "Let's get that backboard over here! And get the thermal blanket ready!", echoed across the landscape. 
I knew I had to get up and get back to work but I was really starting to think a morphine cocktail wasn't a horrible idea. Enough of this laying around; time to get to business. So, by sheer force of will, I drew my arms under my chest and pushed the ground away from me. Wobbly for a second then steadier, I finally planted my feet. 

As more lights started flooding the landscape I could hear a cacophony of sirens approaching. Knowing I need to make myself scarce before the questions start I ambled towards the woods. Still twenty yards away from the tree line I hear, "Hey! Where ya goin'? You need medical treatment, you're pretty banged up." 
"I'll be fine. I'll take two aspirins and call the doc in the morning." It's gonna take something stronger to clear the fog out of my head but I really need to keep moving. I'm not sure where yet but I'll figure it out once I find a town. My quarry has too much of a head start already so I can't afford to waste time here. Unfortunately, I also know that there are at least a couple officers headed here from the wreck. There's going to be no getting out of this. Here we go again, just like in Savannah. I was so close to catching him then. 

As the first of them begin to arrive, I turn back towards the Colorado State Troopers. "I'm ok, just a little sore. My identification is in the car, where I'm sure you found my weapon. I'm a private investigator working an identity theft case. Sorry you guys had to come out in this weather. You didn't bring any cocoa, did ya?" 
"You weren't planning on leaving the scene of an accident, were you? Sure looks that way. The road's back this way. We'd appreciate you answering a few questions for us on the way to the hospital. Were you by yourself in that car? You made a hell of a mess out of that elk, by the way." Well, I guess that explains what I made road chili out of. Hope the rental insurance covers this. 
The trooper, identifying himself as Corporal Hines, helped me climb over the snowbank and offered a coat from his trunk as we walked towards the waiting ambulance. As he explained it, a couple of college kids on their way to a ski lodge saw my car in pieces all over the highway. They rushed over to help whoever was inside but it was empty so they started looking around while calling 911. Evidently I'd been thrown out of the car as it flipped off the road and they found me laying in the snow at the bottom of the embankment. Ah. The ones who thought I was dead. 

Still alive, I began to explain to Corporal Hines the other beast out here. The one I've followed through 8 states so far. The chameleon who bounces from one stolen identity to another. For now I thought I'd keep to myself that each of those identities seems to have belonged to murder victims. A detail that I've mentioned before to other agencies but, without any solid proof, was met with varying degrees of "we can't build a case on your speculation."

Thursday, January 14, 2016


I've had a lot on my mind lately. No, it's not because of this whole "new year, new you" stuff. I don't believe in that. Every day is a new opportunity to grow and to change. 

You know, for the longest time I always viewed "politeness" as society's way of promoting dishonesty. "We don't tell people they're idiots because it's not polite". My thought was "so how are they supposed to know they're idiots if no one tells them?" 
Well, speaking with a friend the other day, I came to realize "what if someone already knows they're an idiot and I'm just reminding them and hurting their feelings?" I'm not saying here that my friend is one of those people. Quite the opposite actually. But they helped me reason through my own distorted view. 

As the conversation went on I kinda started reflecting on my own life. I always just looked at things as though my honesty was a good thing. And it is. To an extent. But it's not always necessary to be so brutally honest. Or so condescending. Which causes some reflection. Bare with me on this one; it's a form of catharsis for me:

I am, indeed, condescending. (Here's where I'd usually quip something like "that means I talk down to people" and I'd snicker at the irony). Today isn't about that though. It's about me realizing that I, nor anyone else, really has the right to condescension. 
Humans are animals whether we like making that distinction or not. What separates us from what we call the "lower animals"? Pretty much just opposable thumbs and our mastery of manipulation. 
The ability to reason is supposed to be on the list but, let's face it, humans really aren't nearly as reasonable as we think we are. Besides, have you ever seen an octopus in a maze? Those are some seriously reasoning critters. They can work through very complex mazes AND change colors to match the scenery. Try having one as a pet; you'd better childproof that tank really well. 
 So we should replace "reason" with "arrogance". Arrogance. Yep, we've mastered that though. Humans are the most arrogant creatures on the planet. So arrogant that we think it's ours or that we are the best creatures to ever live. We aren't. Not by a long shot. War, murder, the sheer hostility we treat others with, the list goes on. 
But let's get back to that condescension thing. This one hits home for me. For decades I've known that I'm of above average intelligence (no, I promise I'm not stroking my own ego here. I'm trying to make a point. You can throw tomatoes at me later) and I have always been condescending, snarky, sarcastic, any other synonymous word or phrase you choose. They all apply. Why? Because of that arrogance thing. 

Has it affected past friendships or relationships? I can think of several now that I'm lying here reflecting on things. It's even led to overconfidence on many occasions. "Do I need to prepare for _____? Nah, I'm smart, I'll think of a solution." Then my disorganization kicks in and it's 50/50 that'll I'll fall flat on my face.

Classic hubris. Here's a lesson I've finally learned: one of the dumbest things you can do is overestimate your own intelligence. (Or abilities. Or significance). 

What makes me think I'm better than anyone else? My ability to read and comprehend? That's dumb. I'm no better than any other person. Nor is any person on the planet better than another. We are all the same basic creatures. 
Yes, some have more money. Some are better at economics or physics or any other subject. Some are more charismatic. The list for any one or two traits or advantages is nearly endless. 
Yes, you're a better dancer. But can you sing? Oh, you can sing and dance? Awesome. But how are you at advanced chemistry? See, you may be better at one thing than some others are but that doesn't make you a better person than everyone else. 

Are humans even the best animals? Better at creating and manipulating technology, sure. Better at manipulating the planet's resources to fit our own desires. Better at manipulating other animals, including humans. But not better creatures. Every other organism has learned to live in harmony with the planet. Maybe that makes them smarter on a different scale. After all, intelligence is a man-made measurement so we have something to be arrogant about. "Nana nana boo boo, I is smarter than a cat." Joke's on you, cats have us feeding them and cleaning up after them. How's really smarter there?

That whole "rules for polite society"... I didn't want to follow them because I felt it was duplicitous. Only, what if the real duplicity was me not seeing that that "honesty" I was so proud of was really just me denying the greater  truth? What if I was just making an excuse for my own arrogance? Arrogance isn't really the right word though. It'll come to me later. Or, possibly worse, the real reason is simply low self-esteem. "If I can point out your flaws or mistakes then it'll keep people from seeing mine." Personally, I think that's the more accurate cause. 

I'd point out other peoples' bad habits and stuff to keep the focus off mine. And I'd do it with sarcasm and wit to make people laugh. Better to have everyone laugh with me than at me. Only I was making them laugh at someone else. That, my friends, doesn't make me "anti polite society rule book", it makes me a bully. And a jerk. (I could think of stronger, more colorful words but I'll just let you fill those in on your own. They're all really pretty accurate.) 
The irony here is that I know I have self-esteem issues. So I try to correct them. How? By being arrogant. By being exhibiting narcissistic behavior. "Got a low self-esteem? Try acting like you're better than everyone else." Not exactly a great book titled. Or approach. Because what happens is you still eventually have to face those issues one day. Then you've set yourself up to feel even worse. Good going. How'd that work out for ya, Mister SmartyPants? 
I spent years poring over Sociology and Psychology books so I could figure out what is wrong with people. Too bad I never thought to look at what's wrong with me. 

Ironically, it took me being motivated to finally improve the mess I made of my life to realize that the biggest mess is actually me. My life just kinda followed suit. Well, I guess it's really just a vicious cycle because my issues started from events beyond my control in my early childhood. I think. So now I need to fix me for myself, the people I love, and so my kids aren't sitting around writing about this stuff later too. 

Looking back, I'm not really proud of myself. Looking forward I can see where I can grow. I've been resistant to it for a long time, this "growing" thing. Maybe because it scares me a little. We fear change. We fear that unknown element of "how? And what's going to happen to me from here?" I don't know. I only know that it can only be an improvement. I know it's not going to be easy to fix 43 years of broken and I know it won't be a quick fix but, with any luck, I'll have some help along the way. 

"So how are they supposed to know they're idiots if I don't tell them?" Dunno. Maybe it's something a person has to figure out for themselves. Or maybe they aren't an idiot at all. Maybe they'll be 43 years old then spend a week reflecting and suddenly realize "hey, I'm the dumbest smart person I know. Wow, I'm actually the idiot underneath it all. Stupid tests had me figured all wrong." 

Am I going to keep posting in my usual fashion? Who knows. Just because I've had an epiphany or two lately doesn't mean I can't still have a little fun. But I'm willing to bet my perspective changes. 

Sunday, January 10, 2016

"Alcoholin Allergies"

Yesterday I was suffering from allergies pretty bad. It was horrible. The first half of the day I felt like I could barely move. My head was pounding like there were tiny little dwarves in there using pick axes to play the Macerena. Every movement just made things worse. 
I laid in bed like that for close to an hour before my cell phone rang. It was Molly calling. Anyone else and I would've just tried to kill my phone under a pile of pillows. When she calls I answer. Even though I felt I may be on my deathbed. 

So there's the phone ringing, interrupting my thoughts of calling in a priest for either my last rites or an exorcism. Possibly both. Of course, my ringer isn't the standard iPhone ring. Nope, it's "Shipping Up To Boston" by Dropkick Murphys. At full volume. Most of you have heard the song even if you're not familiar with the band. It's the song that plays in the Sam Adams beer commercials. 
Ordinarily I'd say my phone doesn't ring overly loud. But when you're suffering this kind of pre-aneurysm headache it seems I'm at the front row of one of their concerts. This is one of the only times I don't instantly smile when I see she's calling me. Of course, I started to smile as I answered, Herculean effort that that was. 

Knowing my predicament on this mercifully overcast morning she spoke louder than normal in starting the conversation with, "how's that hangover feel, Touchet?!" Sweet as she is, she cares. Knowing it was self induced, she cares loudly. Because I deserve this hangover. It was well earned in my opinion. 
Since I remember the events of the night I'm inclined to agree that it I earned it. My roommate laughed earlier recounting to me that he quit drinking when (after having had several Half and Halfs) I called out, "hey, let's make it more interesting. Let's play for shots". 
Now, let's start off with that delicious concoction for those of you wine drinkers out there. The bartender takes a pint glass and fills it halfway with Harp. A nice, light lager from the Harp brewery in Ireland. Then they use a spoon to gently pour Guinness on top so that the denser stout sits atop it nicely. So you've got 2 different colors and flavor profiles. 
Initially you get that beautiful Guinness taste then it slows mixes with the Harp. Another variation is called a Black and Tan. Instead of using Harp they use Bass. All three are from the Harp Brewery and are equally delicious and ideal depending on the circumstance. 

Anyway, back to last night. I've not really played pool in nearly a decade. I've not played competitively for about 15 years. I certainly wasn't expecting to win very much last night. So why play for drinks? Well, why not. Some people seem to think I'm borderline sociopath because of my "social skills". You know, that thing I do that's like Tourette's where I just say what I'm thinking. It's either that or stand back and exercise my right to remain silent so as not to risk offending anyone. 
So I thought I'd just try to relax the mood. Mostly for myself. I just wanted to play a little pool and not be all stiff and nervous. On the bright side, I relaxed. On the down side, I "relaxed" for about 10 games or so. At a drink a game. I had all kinds of drinks thrust at me. Some were shots, sons were some manner of mixed liquor drinks. 

I managed to go from "relaxed" to "inebriated" from 9 at night until 2 in the morning for a grand total of $12.00. Well done me. Then I was, indeed, well done. 
I had fun though. I made some new friends. People I can hang out and play pool with. 
But there's still the matter of these nasty allergies. Maybe it's because I'm just too old to go out drinking and enjoy myself. I should've stayed home and watched some History channel like they're childhood movies. "Ah, yes, I remember those days. Back when I was a wee lad and this whole 'Pilgrims venturing off to the New World' thing was just getting underway." 
Or maybe I'm just allergic to hangovers. Personally, I thought playing for drinks instead of paying for drinks was an ingenious idea. Actually drinking more than was intended, however, was a bad decision. Now that I've got a hangover and I made a bad choice I've probably developed PTSD. 

I know that loud noises, movement, even opening my eyes feels kinda traumatic at the moment. Does that qualify me? Stress? Yeah, I've got that too today. Many stressful questions like "so how am I supposed to survive if I can't get up to make French toast. Or even PopTarts? Am I going to die today? It feels like I might."
So I lie here, on the verge of death from this...this alcohol allergy. Aspirin, Gatorade, coffee and sunglasses all waiting for me in the kitchen. If only I could manage to crawl that far. 

Thursday, January 7, 2016

"Lazy Days"

Ever notice how lazy we're getting as a society? At first I thought it was just a lack of courtesy but I'm pretty sure it's mostly laziness. Every day it seems it's getting worse. 
As with any societal change, it starts off slowly. It's like watching sand dunes build one grain at a time. At first you don't notice it. Then you're like, "look at that little hill." Then it's a 12 foot dune with more growing around it. Same thing with our bad habits. 

For instance, in the trucking industry today, you non-truckers probably never even noticed how big our parking lots are. That's because we are always in the back, away from you guys. The herd must rest together. 
Here's an experiment for you though. A quick and easy one. Go look at our fuel lanes. About 80 feet in front of the pumps you'll see a yellow line. We call that a "ready line". It's there so that after we get fuel we can pull forward to that line and know that we've left enough space for a truck to get to the fuel island behind us. Then we go inside and get our fuel receipts and do whatever quick business we need to do. It helps with the flow. 
Now, go out there and look to see how many trucks are parked at that line. Then look at how many trucks are parked at the fuel pumps with no one around them. See those trucks? They were too lazy to pull forward. And a LOT of those guys could use that extra 80 feet of walking. 

In fact, of those guys still parked on the fuel line I'll bet a quarter of them are inside either sitting at a table eating or are in there taking a shower. Why? Laziness. That and lack of consideration. 
And it just gets worse. I'm at a truck stop here in Florida where over half the lot is empty spaces. Yet there are trucks lining the driveway and making it difficult to get in. Why? Because they were too lazy to go look for a parking space. Had they driven another 200 feet they'd have had their choice of spots. 

It's not just truckers. It's everyone. Go to your local grocery store or Walmart. See how many carts litter the parking lot? People just can't be bothered to go put them in those little corrals. Too much work. They went to get groceries not cardio. 
I've been to Taco Bell and other fast food places where people just leave their trash on the table and walk out. Those trash cans are conveniently located by the doors but these nasty people just can't be bothered. Did they slip into a food coma before they even left?

Just more and more I look around I see pure laziness. Pajamas to the store?? Seriously? You can't be bothered with putting on your "big person" clothes? You've gotta walk around in slippers and pajamas? Are these people narcoleptic?! Just gotta be prepared for that random nap. Should these people be driving? "What happened? How'd you wreck the car?"
 'I dunno, I was just driving along then BAM! Out like a light. Dreaming about McDonald's and shit.'

We are supposed to be "global leaders". Who are we leading, the dream brigade? C'mon, people, quit being so damn lazy. 
You know what I equate this level of lazy to? Ghetto. To me it's all just ghetto behavior. And it translates over. 

I hear people talking about how they just never get a chance. I call bullshit. Opportunity knocked and you were too lazy to open the damn door. 

I lived in the projects as a kid. I had the same "lack of opportunity" other ghetto kids had. You don't see me walking around town in pajamas leaving my trash on the table at Burger King. 

"I can't get a job." Hell no. Who's gonna hire someone in their pajamas?! I wouldn't hire someone who may fall asleep on the job. Especially not if they're demanding $15 an hour minimum wage. Sorry, Sleeping Not-So-Beauty, I'm gonna go with someone who speaks and acts like they care. 

Yeah, I said speaks but I mean much more than that. For those of you who've been following me for a while know, I also write poetry. Back when I was posting it regularly I was invited to poetry communities and stuff. I saw a few poems that were in text shorthand. Really? You're too lazy to write the actual words out? And they wanted my advice and guidance. "Ok. Learn to spell the words out and try again." 
I tried to be supportive. I tried to be encouraging. But I'm a grammer notsee.  (Sorry, I had to. Yes, I know how both of those words are spelled.) 

Text shorthand is even showing up in school papers and stuff these days. This is the world we live in. If people are too lazy to learn, let's just make the classes easier. Let's encourage lazy and stupid. Way to give Darwin the finger, folks! 
I've done online college classes for about 4 different people. Some of them really applied themselves and just couldn't grasp it. I tried helping them learn. Especially the English, Biology, Introductory Psych and Sociology classes. Why did I do their work if I don't encourage lazy? Good question. With 3 of them it's because I just took over. I made sure they grasped it but they couldn't articulate themselves as well as I. I did the assignments on paper, had them read them and explain to me what I was saying in the papers. They seemed to get it that way. The majority of the time they'd just type up what I'd written. They did the rest of the classes on their own though. I don't mind helping so long as it's just help. And I only helped with the classes I felt were completely unnecessary for the field they were pursuing. I'm not getting the whole degree, I don't want one. I like being "uneducated". 

Oh, I've served time in college classrooms. It's just not for me. I can't just sit there and have some instructor read to me from the book I've got sitting on my desk. I can't be taught; I learn. There's a difference. 
One of the advantages to learning rather than being taught? I draw my own conclusions. I make my own observations. Maybe it really is a laziness thing with me too. I find it's less work to learn on my own than it is to unlearn what's being taught to the rest of the class. (May rant about the education system is a story for another day). 

But I digress. We were going on about laziness, weren't we? It just bothers me. It's one thing to be lazy in your own home but when you leave the house, especially when you're working, take the time to be considerate. Take the time to do things right. It's not hard, folks. Put in a little effort to set a good example. 
And PLEASE, quit walking around in public wearing pajamas and slippers! 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

"Tech No"

Technology is advancing quickly. And as it advances we become more reliant on it. How reliant have we become? Well I'm glad you asked. 
When I started writing this I was at a Chili's restaurant having dinner and drinks with a friend. We were sitting in the bar area and the waitress was kinda busy. Fortunately, they gave us a handy little computerized thing at our table. Just like the one Molly and I had at our table for dinner a few times. It had games (Molly and I kicked ass at trivia in every category, by the way. She's as smart as she is pretty). 
Guess what else we were all able to do with these fun toys? Order drinks, dinner, get the bill and even pay it. No joke. We were able to be our own waitstaff and cashier. 

Having worked in restaurants for years, I'm a pretty good tipper. This time I split it with myself since I did everything but cook and deliver the food. I think it's only fair. Sad part is, most of the restaurants I worked in I was in the kitchen. So I could easily have cooked my own meal. Hell, why go out to eat? Now, I'll admit, I felt kinda bad not tipping the waitress as much as I usually do. They rely on tips to survive or support families. Yet I can't justify a gratuity just for showing up to work. After all "tips", in my experience, means "To Insure Proper Service". 

We will get back to that. First, I want to express another disappointment. This year, while Christmas shopping, I found a ViewMaster. I was so excited I could hardly stand. There I was, all weak-kneed and shit, in Walmart staring at this treasure I'd had as a kid. Yess! All the magical nature stuff I learned about with mine; I just knew my nature loving boy, Logan, would love this! 
So I grabbed the only one they had left, 3 packs of cards for it, and headed to the register. Price was no object but I thought I should check this thing out while I was waiting in line. So I start reading the box. 
That's when my heart sank. Right there, plain as day, "step one, download app. Step two, insert compatible smart phone into the slot. Step three, look at the cards." Seriously?! You've gotta have a smartphone to use this thing?! 
Well, what's the "card" box say? Can't you just insert the cards like I used to do? Nope. Gotta download an app, scan the cards, then look at them on the phone. Look at them on the PHONE?! Well what the hell do you need the ViewMaster thing for?! 

So you're telling me I've gotta either get a smartphone for my 6 year old or have him walking around with my iPhone 6? That's nuts. Why'd they have to go and ruin something like the ViewMaster? It only came in two iterations (that I'm aware of) when I was a sprout. Regular or 3D. The regular was red and 3D was blue. Oh, and I also had a red and blue "Spider-Man edition" that I stole from a store when I was about 8. Yeah, it was wrong but I really wanted it. I hadn't yet developed morals. 

Back then the idea of anything more advanced than a pay phone would've blown my mind. A smartphone was something Isaac Asimov would've written about. No way could it be real. Personally, I think portable telephones and Internet are just fads that'll pass in time. 
I mean, this technology stuff is handy for now or I'd be mailing these little posts out. There's way too much to put on a postcard. I write small but not that small. Plus, my penmanship sucks. 

We had an encyclopedia salesman come by my house when I was about 12. We got the full set. Every month or so I'd have to go through and add new pages that they'd mail us. That's how we would "update our programs" back then. These days we just look shit up online. A few keyboard clicks and a video pops up. Reading an actual book is becoming antiquated. 
My kids have tablets. I bought them for educational purposes. I say that but I really think I bought them so we can make long trips without threats of violence every few miles. Sometimes technology can be a life saver. 

So back to the electronic waitresses. Where's that taking us? Well, there's a restaurant in Nuremberg that's replaced its waitstaff with automated systems. They've compared it to the world of the Jetsons. Man, I loved those cartoons. Never imagined I'd live to see it become a reality show. (Don't let me forget to talk about reality shows at some point. It's written but I keep forgetting to post it). 
What's going to happen when we don't need waitstaff at all anymore? I'm thinking that's not going to help the economy or the unemployment rate. Maybe the "Illuminati" is behind it. It's a giant conspiracy to make us all name our dogs Astro. 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

"Fun New Year"

So I woke up this morning and it's a new year. Feels just like a Friday but I reckon it's a special Friday. I'm supposed to make a bunch of resolutions. Basically, empty promises to myself. I'm socially required to "resolve" to make changes because 2015 is now fully behind me. 
Ok, I can do this. I'll even share with you my secret list of promises to myself. But, let's be honest, most of these are going to fall to the wayside within the first 90 days. It's like a manufacturer's warranty to keep me from doing anything too drastic. 

Ready? Alright, let's start off slow and simple...

1) I'm going to drink more water. 
Ok, this one I can stick with. I'll just have to be creative. Coffee. I use water to make coffee. So, if I increase my coffee intake then I'll be getting more water. I may switch up periodically and substitute tea. 

2) read more. 
I can probably manage this one. I can order a subscription to the Enquirer or something. 

3) be more active. 
Ok. I can work with that. Maybe I'll just drink coffee by the cup and leave the carafe in the kitchen so I've gotta walk back in there to refill it. BAM! Cardio. 

4) be less sarcastic. 
Sure, I can work on that. It'll be fun. My frustration level may increase but then I'll just increase #3. Or..

5) buy a gun. 
Yeeeeeah! Can't pop off at the mouth? I'll just pop off a few rounds. I might even get to the gun range instead of prison. (I've heard I'm a serial killer in training anyway.) 

And, finally, 6) learn another language. 
The original plan was to just learn Italian so I could be sarcastic without people knowing what I was doing. "Stealth Sarcasm". I've been doing pretty good at it but I'd like to add more to my resume. Pig Latin maybe. 

Of course, they're resolutions so I can abandon any of them at will. As we've discovered, that's how resolutions work anyway. I like to set achievable goals so I may stick with most of these. 

So, while everyone else is wasting money on gym memberships that'll be forgotten in weeks, I'll be reading up on how to claim insanity after shooting people. I'll present my argument to the court in Pig Latin and be prepared for coffee in the exercise yard at the asylum.