Monday, May 27, 2013

Oh no, you don't say that...not on this day.

Happy Memorial Day to everyone.  Today is a day for remembering those that gave the ultimate sacrifice in the name of Freedom and for these United States.  Many members of my family and friends  served in the Armed Forces, having been deployed or are currently deployed overseas, and I am humbly grateful to them.

I had the chance to help out some friends down at Muscle Beach in Venice, handing out some samples of sports nutrition items.  We were also giving away bags, which are like the Legos of the free giveaways, everyone wants one and will do anything to get them.  

Being the gregarious, witty fellow that I am, I was eliciting responses from the crowd, just so it wasn't a mindless line up and take a bag exercise in zombie repetition.  Being Memorial Day, I wanted to include the weight of the holiday in my exchanges as a gentle reminder of why it exists.  An exchange would typically be:

Me:  "Hey there, would you like a bag?  
Gimme Grabber:  "Yeah."
Me:  OK.  I just need you to do one thing for me.  Tell me your favorite branch of the Armed Forces that help defend our country."

Simple, right?  I should add that the US Air Force had several tents there, along with a flight simulator that people were lining up to ride about 30 feet away with huge banners that said, "US Air Force."  Now, the majority of the people asked were able to answer with minimal hesitation.  However, there were many that could not, or stood there looking at me with such a blank look, that I would have to then help them with:

Me:  "Wow.  Really?  Look 30 feet over there and just read what you see."
Gimme Grabber:  "Um...oh, Air Force?  Air Force."
Me:  "There ya go!  That's really something you should know, especially today."


It's disgraceful.  You're out here, enjoying a beautiful day where you can wear what you want, do what you want, and be who you want because of the sacrifices that thousands of men and women made for you.  Earn it.  Be respectful.  Be aware of the history of your country.

But the worst, the absolute worst response that I heard today in response to my question?

"The kind that doesn't fight."

Whoa, pump the brakes kid, 'cuz I'm about to slap that smug, hippy, disrespectful taste right out of your mouth.  You do not just spit on the people that are fighting for your freedom.

Me:  "Oh no, no, no, don't say that, especially not today.  Keep walking."
Moron:  "What?  I don't get a bag?"
Me:  "Nope.  Not with that response.  Not on Memorial Day.  You gotta have some respect for those that died so you can be here today.  Move along."

He ended up by saying his grandpa served in the Navy, so he got a bag, but not from me.  

You can be against fighting.  You can be against the war.  That's your right.  A right that people died for so you thin mustached, Abercrombie tank wearing douche can enjoy the sun, sand, and sights of Muscle Beach without fear and worry.  Hell, I don't even think we should be in Afghanistan, but you do not tread on the graves of those Americans and foreign service personnel that gave their lives for the hope of a better world.  No sir.  

I hope that maybe he gives some thought to what happened today.  I doubt he will.  But maybe those that were around him and overheard our exchange will, and reflect on this day and the freedoms they enjoy.  And that's not ridiculous.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

R-E-S-P-E-C-T...nope, people don't have it.

(Let me preface this and say I do use adult language in this post.)

Hey out there in online-land!  Wow.  Can't believe it's been so long since I last posted the vomit that spews from my head.  Maybe that's a good thing.  Perhaps the vacation away has provided me with time to gain a better and more understanding view of the world in which I live....that's a NEGATIVE.  

Nope.  The world sucks and most people that live in it suck.

Let me explain.  I previously posted about the absence of common courtesy in the form of "thank you."  I will expand that theme to include the absence of common respect.  Now, here's the thing - I firmly believe that respect is earned and not given.  But there are varying degrees to earning respect.  In this case, respect is earned just by living to the point of adulthood, and I will respect you as such...until you lose my respect by starting to be an argumentative douche-nozzle.

My example:  I was out walking my dog around 10:00pm.  Upon returning to my house, there was a young, adult male sitting in my driveway, smoking a cigarette.  Now, my driveway abuts an alley, and there are a wide mix of persons that use said alley to navigate their way around the neighborhood, so seeing someone just hanging out, doing their thing is a common occurrence near my place.

As I walked up to my driveway, my exact words were: "Hey brother, I'm gonna ask you to go smoke that somewhere else, besides my driveway."

His response started to be:  "With all due respect..."

I didn't even let him finish that thought.  No.  There isn't any fucking thing you can say that will change my mind about you smoking in my driveway.  You could be drinking a juicebox, giggling at the balloon you're holding, and resuscitating a dead kitten, and it wouldn't matter.  You are in my driveway.  I don't want you there.  I asked you to leave nicely.  I respected your right to do what you choose as an adult.  My issue is the location in which you're doing it, and the fact it's affecting my home, life, and family.  You acquiesce.  You might hate to do it, and do so reluctantly, but you don't fucking try to argue about why you should stay there on my property.  I said, "No, no, no.  Don't even finish.  I asked you to leave.  I have a newborn, and I don't want you here."

His response:  "I can respect that."  And he left.

Cool.  So I ultimately got what I wanted, but why does it take an explanation and reason?  Some of you might be thinking, 'Hey, Slipocles, he did leave without really making a fuss.'  So fucking what!  On the flip side, if I had been sitting on his or YOUR car, and you/he asked me to stop doing that, and I started with, "With all due respect..." that would piss you off, right?  And why does it take a newborn to "earn" respect about the situation in which I asked you to leave?

The bottom line is this - in a world where more and more people try to be so politically correct, or understanding, or nice, or even just so Cartman-esque self-righteous in "I do what I want!", where is the line drawn?

I will tell you where that line is.  Your home and your property.  Your home is your castle.  I will include your vehicles and property in the "home" category to save time.  Your home should be a safe place - your private sanctuary away from the mess of a world and the people in it.  A respected place.  It's the place where you can be left alone to mostly do what you want, away from everyone else.  It's the place you decorate, fix-up, alter, and adjust to meet your needs, wants, and comforts.  What right does anyone have to project their thoughts or being on YOUR sanctuary?  They don't.  In an ideal world (yeah, right), everyone would leave your home alone.  No tagging, throwing trash, leaving dog poop, gum, or hanging out.  BUT, if they make the choice to not respect that home, I feel they should get whatever comes to them.  I asked you to leave my home.  You don't obey, now I'm telling you.  You still don't obey, then pain and punishment is coming your way.

They say home is where the heart is.  That's the truth for me.  My wife and I recently had our first child, and there isn't anything I wouldn't do to ensure his health, happiness, and well-being.  So, you leave my home alone..and I will respect you and yours.  And that's not so ridiculous.