The Story Thus Far

Due to the abundance of available holiday chocolate, I am experiencing yet another one of my “Oh, Please Kill Me and End This” headaches.  I didn’t realize how much sugar I’d been downing until the other day, when I happened to take a peek at my garbage bin.  It’s a dry bin, meaning that it’s paper, plastic, etc., and as I was preparing to dump it, I saw what must have been an entire mine’s worth of aluminum foil.  Hershey Kisses and Lindt Truffles wrappers galore, peppered with a few York Peppermint Patty sleeves.

It was awful.  Heck, it is awful, and I’m paying for it right now.  I was in so much pain earlier, I thought it was a stroke.  Worse, I’ve got at least three more bags of discarded holiday candy awaiting my attention.

The new year is off to a fabulous start.

Am I the only person annoyed by people who spout off sanctimonious nonsense as a response to a joke that they clearly did not understand?

Recently, I posted a meme on Facebook that spoke to a common experience in my neighborhood.   I should preface this with by stating that I grew up in an era where spanking was not considered “cruel and unusual.”  It was a fundamental rule of life: Parents could forgive most anything, but once you crossed the line, then there was a reckoning to be had.  More often than not, that came in the form of a few swats on the offender’s behind.  Our parents weren’t bad people; most were pretty religious and devout, and corporal punishment was almost always the last straw.  I know very few people my age – regardless of race or most other criteria – who were not spanked at least once as a child.  I don’t know of anyone who was abused in this fashion – at least as of today.  None of us seem to have been permanently scarred by the experience, and none of us turned out to be murdering, evil scum, either.

Actually, I take that back – I know of one person who was spanked (by a school principal, no less), who ultimately ended up in prison.  But that’s a whole different kettle of fish, and honestly, I’m not even remotely interested in going there.  I did know a couple of people who claimed that they were never spanked, and that always baffled me.  I mean, how did their parents keep their behavior in line?  Turns out that it was usually guilt, because leaving a kid with a lifetime of mental anguish was far less cruel than having his ass sting for sixty seconds.  But . . . whatever.

This is not a defense of spanking, by the way.  It’s just how things used to be, back in the olden days of land lines and UHF television channels; it’s just context.

Anyway, the meme I posted made light of how parents disciplined back then, and if I had to qualify the response, I would say that most people who saw it, got the joke.  Save for the topic – spanking – there was nothing offensive in the meme.  This was especially true for people with whom I’d grown up – the old neighborhood gang – who really saw the humor in the comment, and said as much.  I should reiterate – it wasn’t my comment; I simply reposted it – but it was something relatable to me and my friends, and I thought it worth sharing.

But there’s always someone who wants to read far more into things than they should, and act self-righteous in the process.  In this case, it was a colleague who, frankly, is only a friend because we’re coworkers.  I’ve interacted with this person twice in nearly fifteen years, and in both cases, I couldn’t tell you much about her.  I just don’t know her.  My one conversation with her was the most surreal experience I’ve had in a long time, too: It’s like she’s tuned to a different station.  She seemed nice, so I thought nothing of accepting her friend request, but after this little stunt on FB, I’m reassessing that view.

It was crystal clear that she missed what made the comment funny.

Her response was interesting.  She characterized me and my friends as child abusers who needed to “take a time out.”  There were other things said, but I couldn’t tell you what they were, as I deleted her note, and did everything short of unfriending her.  I was pissed for a hot minute, but then I let it go.  It wasn’t worth much more from me, so, I moved on to other things.

But why do this?  Why kill the mood because you didn’t understand something?  And even if you did understand, why act as if you’re the judge of what’s acceptable and what’s not?

I’ve related my story about how another colleague effectively killed my interest in FB; now that it’s coming back to me, I can’t see letting this one get in on the act.

I always wondered how gas stations changed the prices on their signs.  I remember when people had to do it manually, but the new digital signs – was there a keyboard inside the station’s office?  Was it something that came from corporate?  It was no mystery of the ages; just something that I found interesting.

Until last night.

I was buying gas – at $2.35/gallon, up ten cents from it’s late 2017 level – when the gas station owner, a short man with bulging eyes, came out of the office wearing a wool cap and a windbreaker.  It was 4ºF and dropping, which may explain why, when I greeted him, he simply grunted and walked off.

I thought he was walking to a car, except there was no car in that area.  Now, he’s got my interest.

He reached into his pocket, pulled out a remote control, and changed the sign from $2.35 to $2.45, as easily as he was changing television channels.

Mystery solved, and I got was a cheap tank of gas in the process.

If the rest of life could be this easy, eh?




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