A Socially Awkward Weirdo

Neurodivergent folks in the only social interaction they can’t screw up
Image courtesy of “Rick and Morty”

For the record, I am the “socially awkward weirdo” of the title. This is something I’ve written about before (here, here, and here). Not in those exact words, of course, but I do have some new information about my being neurodivergent.

A Whole Different Operating System

If you’re not familiar with the term “neurodivergent”, the dictionary says that it means “differing in mental or neurological function from what is considered typical or normal.” Basically, it’s a fancy way of saying my brain is wired differently than most folks. Think of it in terms of computer operating systems. Most people’s brains run on Windows while most neurodivergent brains run on Mac OS. Mine, apparently, runs on Linux.

Discovery

It wasn’t until my 30’s, after what we’ll graciously call an interesting childhood, that I figured out what was going on: I have Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, aka ADHD. A lot of things that were confusing finally began to make some sense. But not completely. It took another diagnosis to bring things into focus.

Gaining Some Clarity

I say that because finding out I have ADHD was extremely helpful, but it still didn’t completely explain certain things like my uncanny ability to say exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time, the fact that social situations can feel like playing a game without knowing the rules–and finding that the rule book is written in hieroglyphics–,or the way a seemingly trivial incident can trigger an angry outburst which can include cursing and throwing things. Those things are part of the disorder, sure, but it always felt like something else was going on.

Things became much more clear a couple of months ago, I underwent some more tests and found out that, in addition to ADHD, I was gifted with a lovely little side helping of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Not quite enough to rise to the level of a diagnosis according to the DSM-V, but still. And, if you don’t know what the DSM-V is, google it and then count yourself lucky as that means your life is most likely hasn’t sucked on a cosmic level.

Down the Rabbit Hole

Because of my ADHD/ASD, social situations can be a lot. I get overwhelmed in crowds which means public spaces are always a difficult for me and I’m never completely at ease in them.  After an outing, even something as mundane as a trip to the grocery store, I will retreat to my bedroom when I get home to decompress. Also, my thinking can be very literal. And, of course, there’s the hyperfocus. Right now–and probably not for the first time–every neurodivergent person (ND) is saying, “Oh yeah”.

Let me take a moment to say that being neurodivergent isn’t a bad thing. I mean, I learn some really cool stuff going down the rabbit holes that hyperfocus inevitably brings. Things like the fact that Ernest Hemingway named his junk (Mr. Scrooby, in case you’re wondering) or that there’s a mythic figure from the Ardennes region of Europe that has an elephant’s trunk and the eyes of a basilisk? Would I have found these amazing facts without being neurodivergent? Maybe, but I doubt it. It’s just not the sort of thing you actively search for.

A Never-ending Compromise

Really, my ADHD/ASD has never caused me problems. The way society has chosen to deal with my neurological difference is another story. For neurodivergent people, life is one long series of compromises as very little in this society takes our admittedly special needs into consideration which means we’re constantly trying to figure out how to navigate systems that do not accommodate us. To say it’s taxing is an understatement.

Deviation From the Norm Will Be Punished

You may think that heading is hyperbolic. If you do, you’re most likely a neurotypical individual. That means you live in a world that is constructed to work with the way your brain operates. Not neurodivergent folks. Saying the world isn’t set up for how our brains operate is a lot like saying that Adolf Hitler didn’t like Jews. It’s true but doesn’t come close to capturing the reality of that situation. Every day is give-and-take for us, with us giving and the world taking almost exclusively. And, the only breaks we get are in spaces we’ve created specifically for that purpose.

I know, It’s a Lot

Okay, I realize this may sound like a long, whiny rant but the things I talk about here are all issues ND folks live with on a day-to-day basis. I know this because whenever more than two acknowledged ND people are together, this will become the main topic of conversation at some point. And yeah, it’s a lot. But, think about this: if it’s a lot for you to read about, imagine what it’s like to live with. And, remember that feeling the next time you want to make one of those “I’m a little autistic/ADHD, too” jokes. We hate that shit.

Coronavirus, aka The Stupidest Plague Ever

I really thought that when our inevitable dystopian future finally arrived, it would be… well, dystopian. At least, more dystopian than what we’re dealing with now. I was expecting leather and gas masks and insane automobiles, a la Mad Max. But this coronavirus-driven apocalypse is turning out to be more “Idiocracy” than “Fury Road”. I.e., one shitty dystopian future.

How Did We Get Here?

Basically, people have said/done some stupid shit. It all started at the beginning of 2020 when a novel coronavirus popped up in China. Whether it came from weird meat (who the hell eats a pangolin?) or some shady research in a Wuhan lab, we may never know. But it spread quickly with the first American case occurring in Washington (state) on January 21st, blazing through the country like a wildfire. Now, we’re looking at 700,000 dead and Americans being less than welcome in numerous countries around the world. Of course, that last bit has sort of always been the case but it was because we’re arrogant, not idiots.

This is so Stupid

In the title, I say this is the stupidest plague ever and a lot of the credit for that goes to our “least racist” president, Donald J. Trump (the “J” stands for “Jerk off”). The Presidiot was quick to lay all the blame on China and attempted to impose travel restrictions on people who were conspicuously non-white while simultaneously downplaying the severity of the virus. It only got worse from there, with him touting dubious “cures”–from drinking/injecting bleach to a medication pushed by Dr. Demon Sperm–, promoting skepticism about basic infectious disease control measures, and claims that the virus was just the flu and would mysteriously vanish one day.

All of this, combined with years of Republican efforts to dumb down the populace to uncritically accept their bullshit an acceleration in the growth of anti-intellectualism, has brought us to a place where people are willingly dosing themselves with horse dewormer rather than getting vaccinated because “muh freedoms!”

Okay, it is Stupid. But a Plague?

So, by a strict definition this probably isn’t a plague. It’s not bacterial and it’s not caused by a rat but Merriam-Webster defines “plague” as “a disease that causes death and that spreads quickly to a large number of people.” If that doesn’t describe what we’ve been dealing with for the last 22 months, then I don’t know what would. But, here’s the thing: it didn’t have to be this way.

It Could’ve Been Different?

The short answer is, “Of course it could’ve different!” The longer answer is basically the same, but a lot more nuanced. Because, for things to be different, we needed leadership that actually led instead of pandering to people’s fears and worst instincts in an extremely cynical–but thankfully unsuccessful–attempt to get re-elected. It also required Americans to think critically, evaluate sources, and listen to the experts. And of course, put the needs of others above their own. Or, at the very least, give those needs equal consideration. We’re not good any of at that. Never have been, really. And it all came together to land us in this totally unnecessary shitshow of a pandemic.

What Happens Now?

Honestly, I don’t know. It looks like the Delta variant may be burning itself out in those states where it’s been running wild. I guess that’s a good thing but, for my tastes, there are way too many dead folks for the word “good” to apply. But, rates of vaccination–the obvious way out of this mess–continue to lag while the virus continues to mutate so we could be right back to square one come the winter. So, what do we do? I say, wear a mask and keep up your social distancing. If you’re vaccinated, get a booster when you’re eligible. And if you’re not vaccinated (but could be), stop being a selfish asshole and get the fucking jab. The rest of us want this to be over and we’re sick of your shit.

Move It or Lose It

About to run my first race, the Wonder Woman 5k at UNC-G’s 2019 Homecoming
Okay, so this blog post is going to be a bit out of character for me but it’s important. But I promise you I won’t proselytize, just share what I’m doing and learning. And, leave it to you to make your own choices. So, let’s get started.

So, what is this mysterious topic? Health. As in exercise, weight loss, aging, that sort of thing. If you were to dig through the archives of this site, you wouldn’t find anything about health. Why is that? Because, I’m sad to say, I didn’t really put a priority on it. I should have. As a firefighter, I saw the need, both for me and numerous citizens I helped. I made efforts now and then, but they never took hold. Until 2019, that is. Since then, I’ve lost over 50 lbs. and I exercise daily, including running 3 days a week. That’s a drastic change. So, what brought it about? I became a grandfather. And, I realized that if I wanted to see my grandkids grow up, I had to do things differently.

That realization really hit home in 2018. That’s when my doctor told me that my Type II diabetes was progressing to the point that I was going to need insulin soon. I’d been using Trulicity, an injectable non-insulin medication, for a while. But actual, for-real insulin? That got my attention. Up till then, I’d never really thought of myself as a diabetic before. But, if I started insulin, there would be no denying it. So, I asked him for other alternatives. He suggested weight loss surgery and I was on board immediately. Now, I know that sounds weird but, with my medical history–7 major surgeries in 5 years (most of them cancer-related)–surgery is no big deal for me. I had to jump through some hoops insurance-wise and do a shitload of tests, both medical and psychological, but in May of 2019, I underwent sleeve gastrectomy and never looked back.

After surgery–the recovery from which was the easiest I’ve ever experienced–I decided that I wasn’t going through all this for nothing. I had to make it count. I owed to myself and my family to do whatever it took to be here for them. Within 5 days of being discharged from the hospital, I was walking every day. Within another week, I started a Couch-to-5k running program. As soon as it became available, I started an exercise program for bariatric patients through UNC-G’s Kinesiology department called BELT. After completing that, I moved over to another UNC-G program known as HOPE. Between my doctors and these two programs, I’m in better shape at age 60 than a lot of people half my age. I’m kinda digging that.

That’s a lot of what I’ve been doing and I promised you info on what I’ve learned, too. Here’s some: weight loss and aging have a genetic component. There’s only so much influence you have on them at a day-to-day level. And, when it comes to losing weight, there’s a double whammy: not only is the resistance to dropping pounds genetic, it’s evolutionary. We haven’t lived with our current abundance of food for all that long on the evolutionary scale and our bodies still react like to a lowered intake of calories as a sign of starvation instead of an effort to maintain a healthy weight. When that happens, it lowers your metabolism and scavenges fuel from places like muscle instead of that pesky fat around your middle. Not really what you want, right?

Unfortunately, exercise is of limited use in either losing weight or living longer. No matter what you think, it’s not really feasible to exercise enough to offset that amazingly delicious calorie bomb from Cinnabon. I suppose there is an indirect benefit from exercise when it comes to aging. Being fit does decrease your chances of cardiovascular disease and other things that might cause you to prematurely shuffle off this mortal coil, but exercise is no guarantee that you’ll live longer. I mean, you could have the cardiovascular system of Usain Bolt but there are a multitude of other ways to die that won’t be affected by that. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t exercise, though. While it won’t add years to your life, it will add life to your years. Is that a trite platitude? Absolutely. It also happens to be true. Daily movement does so many great things: improves your mood, keeps your bones, muscles, and joints in good working order, it even boosts your sex drive. Oh shit, I said I wouldn’t proselytize, didn’t I? Sorry about that.

So, I told you the why, and I touched on the how. Here, I’ll go a little deeper in that second one. I mentioned HOPE, the exercise program I’m part of, and running. HOPE is 3 days a week in the gym with trainers. And, by “trainers”, I don’t mean someone who watched a couple of videos or something. I mean, college students who study the body and the best ways to optimize its performance. That looks like strength training, aerobic exercise, along with stability and flexibility work (i.e. lots of core work). And, lots and lots of sweat.

My aerobic regimen is a 5 kilometer (3.1 miles) run 3 times a week with a 5-kilometer walk or 9-kilometer bike ride on my off days. For me, running has an almost zen-like quality. Especially in the warmer months when I can get out in the early morning and everything is quiet. It’s the ultimate “me” time and often makes my day. Walking, on the other hand, gives me inspiration. I’ve worked through many instances of writer’s block while walking. Hell, I wrote most of this post while walking. Biking, though? Biking is just fun. It reminds me of childhood, riding all over the neighborhood and exploring. Let me clarify something: these runs, walks, bike trips are outside. No exercise machines for me. One of the trainers in the BELT program was an avid runner and referred to the treadmill as the “dreadmill”. Every minute I’ve spent on one of those things confirms the truth of that epithet.

I’m going to take a minute before I close and return to the “why” of my newfound zeal for health and fitness. One of the things I like about all of this is the way it makes me feel. Before, during, and after. I mean, it’s pretty damn nice to climb a flight of steps without getting winded anymore. And, there’s the fact that I’m shallow enough to like what I’m seeing I’m the mirror these days. Not to mention the compliments I’m getting, even if they do make me uncomfortable. But, I’m learning to live with that.

So, there it is. Everything I’ve been thinking and saying (mostly in my head, but still) about my relatively recent conversion to fitness nut. It runs a bit long, sure. But there’s a lot I wanted to say. If any of this inspires you to start exercising or helps you keep going, that would make me very happy. If, on the other hand, you think I should shut the hell up and mind my own business, you’re not alone. And, I understand completely.

Respect the Damn Bubble, Y’all

Last week, after a particularly frustrating trip to the store, I posted the following on social media:

All in all, it was a less-than-optimal outing.

In the comments of the post in question, someone gently pointed out that the CDC had dropped the social distancing recommendation a few months prior. And, while that’s true, it really wasn’t the crux of the issue. Because, for me, the issue isn’t about preventing the spread of a disease, it’s about a small degree of comfort.

A New Word

As you may—or may not—know, I am neurodivergent. The dictionary says that I differ “in mental or neurological function from what is considered typical or normal”. Or, to put it more simply, my brain is wired differently that most. My particular version of this is Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder with a side helping of Autism Spectrum Disorder. That means, among other things, I have certain social and/or sensory issues that make life, let’s say interesting.

The Pandemic’s Silver Lining?

I haven’t done what you’d call exhaustive research on this, but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only neurodivergent person to love social distancing and to be less than thrilled that we’ve seemingly abandoned it now that the vaccines are available. If you were to ask an ND (neurodivergent) person about it, they’d probably give you an earful over how it took a global pandemic for us to get even a smattering of the accommodations we’ve spent years begging for and now, even that little bit is fading away. To say we’re pissed is an understatement.

A Little Perspective

Am I overstating things with that “global pandemic” bit? Maybe. Or maybe there’s something else here. The truth is, every moment in a public space is a compromise for someone like me—one that’s almost never resolved in our favor—and I’m never completely at ease in them. With my social/sensory issues, being out in public can be a lot. If you stand too close to me—and by “too close”, I mean within about 6 feet—it makes me super uncomfortable. Like “crawl out of my skin” uncomfortable. And, don’t get me started on shaking hands. Are there alternatives to the handshake? Sure, there’s fist and/or elbow bumps. And, while these aren’t great either, at least they don’t come with a laundry list of unspoken rules for me to obsess over like a goddamn handshake. And hugs? If I don’t know you pretty damn well, I’d appreciate it if you’d keep your fucking distance.

R-E-S-P-E-C-T, Find Out What it Means to Me

When I started writing this, I told myself, “Self, be nice. Don’t get on your soapbox and rail about neurotypicals and their apparent lack of concern about your needs.” But, that’s kind of out the window now, huh? Sorry if I’ve hurt anyone’s feelings. It’s not that I don’t love you guys, I do. And, I’d love you more if you respected my goddamn bubble.

January 6, 2021, A Date Which Will Live in Infamy

This past Wednesday, I saw a Confederate flag being paraded through the United States Capitol building. I’ve got to tell you, that’s something I never thought I’d see. Now, I’m not so naïve as to think people wouldn’t stoop low enough to display the flag of a failed state that made war on the United States inside a space that should sacred to all of us. I didn’t expect it because I thought the seat of our government had the kind of security apparatus that was at least on par with the razor blade case at Walgreens. Turns out, I was wrong

In case you’ve been under a rock for the past few days (like some of these folks), I’m referring to the failed coup attempt perpetrated by followers and enablers of Donald Trump, aka the worst president in American history (and that’s the last time I’ll use that word in conjunction with his name). On Wednesday, January 6, 2021, these rocket scientists stormed the Capitol Building as a joint session of Congress finalized Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’ election as president and vice-president. The mob, egged on by multiple speakers at an earlier rally (that included Trump and his mouthpiece Rudy Giuliani), labored under the delusion that they could “stop the steal” with this action. They were thwarted by quick-thinking Senate aides who got the boxes containing each state’s ballots out of the building before the rioters could get there hands on them, thus preserving democracy. Like most of you, I’ve spent the last two days processing this insanity and thought I’d share what conclusions I’ve come up with.

Did he “cross the Rubicon”?

For the past few weeks, Trump sycophants followers have been urging him to heed disgraced former national security advisor Michael Flynn’s advice and “cross the Rubicon” by invoking martial law and “rerunning” the election. And, as more and more information that comes to light about Wednesday’s insurrection, it beginning to look like he did. Fiona Hill, another former national security advisor, told The Daily Beast that “The president was trying to stage a coup,” but was thwarted by lack of military involvement. She goes on to say that since he was prevented from using the military, he decided to go with the civilian option. At the rally I mentioned earlier, he told the crowd, 

“We’re going to Capitol and we’re going to try and give…our Republicans, the weak ones because the strong ones don’t need any of our help, we’re to try and give them the kind pride and boldness that they need to take back our country.”

And, Giuliani called for “trial by combat”. Now, I’m no attorney but, considering the events that followed those inflammatory words, I can’t see them as anything other than incitement to riot. Add in the fact that federal agencies (DOD, Homeland Security, etc.) were exceedingly slow to respond and neighboring states were prevented from responding for an extended time, the whole thing begins to look like an active, concerted effort by the Trump administration to overthrow the United States government. And that, my friends, is treason.

He wasn’t alone though

Amazingly, even after all of this had occurred, 6 Republican Senators and 120 Republican representatives still contested the affirmation of Joe Biden as president. Now, I just spent several paragraphs laying out how this revolt was Trump’s fault. But that’s only half true because these senators and representatives were fully on board with the attempt to throw out the votes of millions of Americans in order to allow an authoritarian thug to remain in power. I think the takeaway here is that many of them will be up for reelection in 2 years. We all need to remember how they supported a treasonous attempt to toss out a democratic tradition that forms the bedrock of our nation. And vote accordingly.

Trump responds to the insurrection… sort of

It took quite a while for 45 to finally address what was going on at the Capitol. In part, I’m guessing because aides reported that he was too busy gleefully watching it all unfold. Finally, somewhere around 2 hours into the uprising, Trump finally addressed the nation… via a pre-recorded video posted to Twitter. That’s not a joke, but video was. He spent more time pushing the election fraud garbage that led to the attack than he did condemning the violence. To make matters worse, he told them, “We love you. You’re very special. … I know how you feel.” It should be noted that he only responded after Biden came out and spoke the way we expect a president to speak. If there’s one thing the Traitor-in-chief can’t stand, it’s being one upped.

His supporters who stayed home? Not so much

In spite of the fact that their Dear Leader was personally responsible for what happened in D.C. Wednesday, his supporters who weren’t on the scene where remarkably quiet. I mean, for the longest time, we didn’t hear a peep out of a crowd that has never shied from “owning the libs” and telling us “snowflakes” to “suck it up, buttercup”. At the time, I wondered if they were still proud of him but quickly realized their silence in the face of insurrection on his behalf spoke louder than any words.

Until they didn’t anymore

That silence didn’t last, though. Before the night was out, Trump supporters— including (semi)legitimate news outlets and members of Congress were claiming that the mess in D.C. was instigated by Antifa infiltrators. This in spite of the fact that many perpetrators posted selfies and videos of themselves in the act! How do you respond to lunacy like that?

Like Rats Fleeing a Sinking Ship

Over the last couple of days, Trump staffers and cabinet members are resigning in droves and his support in Congress is drying up. Wednesday evening, Trump’s main Senate cheerleader, Lindsey Graham called it quits with Donald, saying “…count me out. Enough is enough.” I can’t speak for anyone else, but I see this as a case of “too little, too late”. Don’t get me wrong, I am glad to see there’s a line these people just couldn’t cross. At the same time, I’m appalled that line turned attempting a coup by inciting violent insurrection. 

Conclusion

This may be the dumbest coup ever attempted but it’s still a coup. And, while these particular perpetrators are morons, there are people watching and taking notes who aren’t. We need to send a very clear, unmistakable message about what happens to people who try to overthrow our government. The best way to do that is to ensuree some tough consequences for everyone involved. And by “tough consequences”, I mean arrests, convictions, and sentences with real teeth. I’m no fan of capital punishment, but in this instance, I’m in favor of bringing back public executions for those convicted of treason. But, honestly, I don’t see that happening. At most, these idiots will get a slap on the wrist and we’ll go back to business as usual. Which, apparently, is the American way.

Thanksgiving is the Best Holiday of the Year

All right, Halloween and the election are over and there’s nothing left to get in the way of the holidays. But that doesn’t mean all you Christmas cluckers can start with all your “Tis the season” crap. I mean ,seriously, Christmas is two months away and if you start this twaddle now, by the time the day actually gets here, we’ll be looking at the epitome of the proverbial dead horse. Besides, Christmas doesn’t actually begin until December 25th. The time leading up to that is Advent (I hate Advent and you jackasses just made me reference it. I will never forgive you.) and that doesn’t even start until November 29th. Second, jumping the gun the way you nerds do completely ignores the hands-down best holiday of the year: Thanksgiving. 

 

Right about now, some miscreant is thinking, “Thanksgiving? What’s so great about that?” Really? Thanksgiving is the best. And, here are just a few reasons why:

  • All the food, none of the stress. Look, after a certain point in your life, all that opening presents crap starts to lose it’s appeal. Granted, the charm makes a comeback when your kids are little, and again when you have grandchildren, but the universal constants of Christmas are food and stress. And, there’s a ton of both. With Thanksgiving, however, you forego the stress and eat yourself into a food coma. How can gifts compete with that?
  • Speaking of food. American Thanksgiving fare may be one of our greatest contributions to the culinary world. Okay, excluding turkey. I’m not really a fan of some dried bird meat. But, mashed potatoes, gravy, dressing/stuffing, deviled eggs, green beans, biscuits, and pumpkin pie? Oh god, yes! I realize I didn’t include macaroni and cheese in that list. For me, the jury is out on whether it’s a legitimate Thanksgiving side (in my family, it makes an appearance on New Year’s with the black-eyed peas and collards), but I ain’t hatin’. If it’s part of your tradition, go ahead on. 
  • The leftovers. Oh my god, the leftovers. Yeah, I know they start to get monotonous after a while (turkey sandwiches, turkey salad, turkey gravy, turkey hash, turkey a la king, turkey soup), but until they do? Heaven. Just… heaven. Especially this sandwich.
  • Spending time with family. Okay, this one is a bit of a double-edged sword. If you’re lucky, like me, you have a family you actually want to hang around with. But, not everyone is so fortunate. Look at this way, if you’re not one of the lucky few, Thanksgiving is pretty much a one day deal which translates to a much shorter time with relatives who irritate you than Christmas requires.
  • Because it falls on Thursday, it’s always a guaranteed 4 day weekend. This is one of the most underrated perks of Thanksgiving. A for sure long weekend every time it rolls around? Take that, Christmas with your middle-of-the-week crap.
  • The parades and football. Okay, I hate football (sports in general, really) but watching football is a Thanksgiving tradition even if it’s the freakin’ Lions. And, the parades aren’t what they used to be, with all those Broadway numbers and such. If I’m being honest, Christmas Day, with it’s “A Christmas Story” marathon, actually has better televison options. But, tradition is tradition, and we will watch parades and football on Thanksgiving Day.
  • The nap. I suppose you could take a nap on Christmas Day but when would you find the time? Between the enforced socializing, eating 2-3 meals, opening gifts, and traveling to multiple relatives homes, you can barely catch your breath, much less take a snooze. But, napping is de rigueur on Thanksgiving. In fact, about 30 minutes after the meal, the fat, Trump-supporting uncle that drives you crazy is going to be kicked back in the recliner with his hand shoved into the waistband of his pants (belt unbuckled, of course) snoring like a freight train and you’ll get a few moments peace even you don’t take a nap yourself.
  • It’s not religious. That means you don’t have put up with the Christian culture warriors and their incessant carping about the “War on Christmas”. You will have to listen to basic white girls yammer on about pumpkin spice lattes but that’s a trade I’ll make any day.
  • Corporations haven’t found an easy way to cash in on Thanksgiving. That means it’s not nearly as commercialized as Christmas. Sure, there’s Black Friday. But that can work in your favor since most of your more aggravating family members are often the ones who love that stuff. They head out to stand in long lines and fight crowds for deals that aren’t really deals and leave you at home with all that lovely food. That’s a win in any book if you ask me.
  • NO GIFTS! That’s right, friends. No obsessing over finding the perfect present for that cousin that’s so hard to buy for, no trekking out and fighting crowds, and, most importantly, no spending money you don’t have on crap they don’t really want. Does it get any better than that?
  • It’s the perfect excuse for day drinking. Not only is a glass of wine part of the Thanksgiving meal in many households, a cocktail or two before eating is also included. And then, there’s the digestif, an after-dinner drink to aid digestion (man, the French think of everything). Just make sure your uncle stays away from the Irish coffee or you might not get those few moments of peace.

Before I close, I want to stress that this is not an exhaustive list. It’s just the things I could think of in the moment. And, believe me, I am no expert on holidays. If there are egregious errors, please feel free to drop a comment and inform me of them. If not, then tell a Christmas freak to shut up and wait until December to start their BS. Have a Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

This is Probably Going to Piss You Off

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks Saturday, Nov. 7, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Posted to Facebook today:

As a rule, when I have something longer than a few sentences, I post it on my blog. Today is a little different because I know a lot of you don’t bother to click links but you will read a longer Facebook status, so here we are. And, I’m aware that this post will likely some cost me some friends but I’ve never been that concerned about being popular. Besides, if a little hard truth pushes you to cut me out of your life, I can only assume we were never really friends in the first place. That said…
A lot of y’all should be ashamed if yourselves. People you call “friend” came to their pages to celebrate a black woman’s election to the vice presidency, something they may have thought they’d never see in their lifetime, and you just couldn’t wait to shit all over it with some really nasty comments. I wish I could say I’m surprised by it all. But I’m not. I’ve heard you say this very same crap it when you think it’s “just us white folks”. Frankly, it’s disgusting and I really thought you were better than this. That it was just your fear of the coming changes doing the talking. Maybe it still is but that doesn’t make your behavior any less hateful.
 To be fair, though, you’re not the only ones who should be ashamed. I heard every awful thing you said and didn’t speak up because I still had to see a lot of you every day and speaking up would’ve made everything so uncomfortable. Hell, I should’ve said this the other day when I saw the first shitty comment. But I didn’t because old habits are hard to break. But this morning, I realized that discomfort isn’t an excuse for cowardice, so I’m calling this shit out. The bottom line is if you can’t get past your racist bullshit, at least have to decency not to throw it in my friends’ faces. 

Generation Jones

When we were old enough to sit up on our own, Mom and Pop
plopped our impressionable, young (still developing?) brains down
in front of the boob tube and we watched in rapt fascination as
the mightiest nation on earth got its ass handed to it by

little people in black pajamas and sandals made from shit we’d
thrown away, while simultaneously putting a human being on
the god damned moon. If you think that didn’t fuck us up,
I suggest you think again.

They call us Generation Jones and say we’re obsessed with keeping
up with those proverbial people, or that we’re jonesin’ for a fix of the
good life that’s always existed just outside our reach. I’m not so sure
because I can’t see we care that much about anything. How can we when

we saw our older brothers and sisters riding high on that crazy post-war
boom, expecting the same for ourselves. But our defining moment wasn’t
a war or a movement, it was the bust of that boom, leaving us with
ghost towns and gas lines as we sat, wrapped round the block, begging

to pay two or three times as much for the same old calcified carcasses
as our elders had just a few years before. Finding out the world’s a pregnant
pile of shit was tough, made tougher when we were tossed in with those
arrogant, entitled asshole Boomers. It’s fucked us up for years. Forced

to suck it up and make common cause with bastards who fucked us out of 
our birthright (without even the decency to offer us a bowl of stew in return), we tried so god damned hard to be something we knew we weren’t, hoping against hope that we’d reach that promised land.

But, it never happened. Now, some of us are finally finding a way to
say “Fuck it. I’m out” and leave behind that bullshit we were taught from
birth. that grinding it out from the cradle to the grave is the gold standard
of a grown up. We’re hitting the road in ‘Bagos made from box trucks, doing

odd jobs to get by and carving out a life we actually want to live instead
of punching a clock and making widgets until we collapse from
the sheer fucking boredom of it all. You can take your “gold” standard and shove it where the sun don’t shine ’cause Generation Jones ain’t fucking with

that shit anymore. In the words of our voidoid prophet:
we belong to the blank generation
and we can take it or leave it each time.

Who Will Survive the Zombie Apocalypse That Will Inevitably Close Out 2020?

Greetings, beloved. I know it’s been a while since you’ve heard from me and I apologize for that. But finishing a degree in the middle of a pandemic took a large part of my available bandwidth. Also, I’ve come up with several interesting, timely topics, only to them blown out out the water by whatever new piece of batcrap craziness 2020 decides to throw at us. Putting together a coherent blog post in this environment has been… well, let’s call it “difficult”. But, I think I’ve finally come up something that might actually survive long enough to publish. It’s my belief that, with all the insanity that we’ve dealt with this year—not to mention the way each new incident seems to ramp up the crazy by at least a magnitude of 10—a zombie apocalypse is the only way 2020 could possibly end.

Now, that statement brings up an interesting question: who will survive this dystopian hellscape that I’m so sure the world will devolve into? While I can’t say for sure, I’m betting that it won’t be any of those doomsday preppers and their underground bunkers jampacked with canned goods and an arsenal that would rival certain small countries. I mean, these numbnutted narcissists won’t even wear a mask in the middle of a pandemic – despite what the science says – because they just know it’s a tool of government mind control. I can just imagine how they’d react to the news of the walking dead.

No, the people who will survive a zombie outbreak are people like the girl in one of the classes I tutor. She is obsessive about wiping down any surface she might have to touch, always wears a mask, and seems to have an innate ability to know exactly what six feet looks like. Basically, she is the consummate social distancer, displaying the attention to detail it will take to make it through the rising of the undead.

Another person who will survive is my friend, Dave. He and his wife are part of an intentional community who share everything. Dave is a gardener and grows a ton of vegetables every spring, way more than he and Jena can eat by themselves. What they can’t eat, they can, freeze, or share with their group and their friends. Someone else in their community is a mechanic, another is a teacher, a third is an amateur plumber. When a community member has a problem, one of their neighbors steps up and takes care of it, knowing that if they have an issue in the future, someone will do the same for them. While Mr. Beans and Bullets is locked away in his bunker, eating the same, bland survival rations day after day after day, slowly going mad, Dave and his community will be living their best life, looking out for each other because humans are social animals and, as much as we hate to admit it, we need each other in the best possible way. 

I know that in the middle of a pandemic, when social distancing is the order of the day, this is going to sound counter-intuitive, but get out there (virtually if at all possible) and build those social connections. And, work at maintaining the ones you’ve already built because these alliances are crucial to your thriving, not just surviving. And, you’re going to need them when COVID-19 morphs into ZN-1 to close out this shitshow of a year.

  

     

     

Trump Impeachment: He’s Acquitted

Friday, the Senate voted along mostly along party lines not to hear witnesses in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump. The end result was 51-49, with Mitt Romney and Susan Collins breaking ranks to side with the Democrats. And, over the past few days, I’ve seen numerous posts on social media about it. They haven’t been happy ones. Some have gone so far as to proclaim it the “death of democracy”.  Which seems a bit dramatic to me since I never expected a different result.

I mean, we had to know that this exercise was never going to turn out differently. It was a foregone conclusion from the very start. Republicans in the Senate were never going to rein in this mobster of a president, partly because they’re afraid of incurring the wrath of their constituents and facing a primary challenge and partly because Trump is giving them what they want – tax cuts,  massive deregulation of industry, and judges whose rulings enable this continued redistribution of wealth. He is the goose who lays golden eggs and will bite the shit out of you if try and stop it. From their politically warped point of view, they have literally no motivation to exert any control over the White House.

You’re disheartened, I get that. I am too. We are living in an incredibly disheartening time. But it’s only the death of democracy if we allow it to be. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to lay down just yet.

So, feel those feelings. Embrace your sadness, your fear, your anger. And then, use them. Use them to motivate you to stand up, to take to the streets and the voting booth and tell Trump and his lackeys that enough is enough. Because voting this nasty garbage monsters and his Republican boot lickers out of office has always been the only way we’re going to end this nightmare.