Joy suckers…

I was served up an article today listing the “10 costumes you must never ever wear for Halloween” unless you want to risk being branded a privileged cultural appropriating racist. Having worn a few of those costumes as a kid, I can only say I’m incredibly thankful to have grown up before everyone started being offended by everything and all dissent can be silenced by simply branding the other person racist. The ideological lock step with which certain segments of the population seem to believe must be adhered to without question or deviation is chilling. Especially when you remember a time when that same group rallied regularly in support of radical free expression in the arts, in public forums, and on the airwaves. Then again, perhaps that really just meant freedom for those enunciating approved, doctrinaire ideas.

Here’s the neat thing about being a grown ass adult: I’m old enough to not have to ask anyone’s permission before wearing anything, especially not when the point of the day is to dress up in such a way as to come as you aren’t. I’m also old enough to remember when the ending of a popular children’s poem was “But names will never hurt me,” though that’s probably a topic for a different post. In any case, I heartily thank the gods I haven’t gotten a cease and desist letter from the punk rockers, or the new wave kids, or the grunge bands demanding that I give up my beloved Doc 1640s. Surely, based on how the idea of cultural appropriation is being applied in the early 21st century, I’m guilty of absconding with late 20th century English heritage, no?

Maybe you won’t hear it anywhere else this year, but you’ll hear it from me – if you want to dress as a samurai, bandit, cowboy, cop, biker, construction worker, sailor, Indian chief, or whatever else happens to tickle your happy place, go forth as you will and enjoy your Halloween festivities. My advice to you is to not let the fact that some small segment of the population wants to act as judge and jury of a self-appointed inquisitorial hurt feelings goon squad get in the way of your enjoying the day. They’ve clearly managed to suck the joy our of their own lives already and you’d be well served not to let them do the same to yours.

Not a sermon, just a thought.

Sex Ed: 2015 Edition

Every year, my employer requires me to attend several classes, the message of which seems to consist solely of “Rape Bad.” Now we could go in to the somewhat faulty logic of believing I didn’t know rape was bad until sometime during the 247 times I’ve sat through the training, but that’s an old story.

The only redeeming quality this training really has is that I get to sit in an auditorium with a large group of my peers and watch them get very, very uncomfortable every time any word even remotely adjacent to sex is mentioned. It never fails to entertain me to see how many middle age adults, who have all presumably had sex at one point or another, are utterly flustered by the topic.

This year’s version of the training consisted of two presenters whose variation of the content was a little more racy than usual. Parts of their schtick included having the group yell out words we use for a woman who has a lot of sex. You can probably guess most of what ended up on the list. Then we repeated the exercise by listing out the names we use for oversexed men. Likewise, the list was predictable. That wasn’t the best part, though.

The very best thing was perfectly unexpected and came about while the assembled group was listing off all the euphemisms for “having sex.” Hooking up, bumping uglies, doing it, greasing the weasel; it was a reasonable list. Then one of the younger people in the crowd – one of the few, I should note – shouted out the inevitable “Netflix and chill.”

And that’s when time stopped for a moment and a room full of middle age folks looked vaguely perplexed and then, slowly, some of the looks became decidedly horrified. Knowing the average age of the crowd, I can only presume that look of abject horror came on because many of them would have children in the age range where Netflix and chill is a phrase in common usage – and perhaps one that’s been slid past them when they ask little Johnny or Suzy what they’re doing on date night.

It made an awfully large group of people awfully uncomfortable… and that made me laugh. This mandatory sex ed stuff isn’t so bad if you just come to it in the right frame of mind. The more you know, indeed.

The last half of the week…

48 hours is how long it took me to coordinate, fix, spindle, mutilate, and otherwise jump through my ass to accommodate an out-of-nowhere demand to move an event that’s been on the calendar for months. Upon getting that finished and then getting back to doing actual productive work towards making this event a reality, I hope I’ll be forgiven if I seem less than thankful when told minds have been changed and to go ahead and plan for the original dates. There’s no morale building activity quite like being directed to spend the last half of your week undoing what you were directed to do at the week’s beginning. It’s absolutely stupefying that this is how any organization actually tries to operate.

Want to know why I feel like it’s a job instead of a career or a calling, well this would be a prime example. For an organization that prides itself on being committed to “decisive action,” I have very serious doubts that we could decide to leave the room if someone set the damned thing on fire. I’m just a cog in the machine. I’m a tool – and a particularly blunt and ineffectual one – under circumstances where planning and logic find no purchase. I’ve recovered the same ground so often that I couldn’t tell you definitively the last time I made something that might accidentally be considered progress. While I might catch hell for it, my planning isn’t to blame. If you’re interested in finding fault took to the great and the good at echelons higher than reality who for some unknown reason have been allowed to imagine, unchallenged, that the sun both rises and sets directly into their 4th point of contact.

I’m a simple guy and I’ll do my best with whatever ash and trash I’ve been told to work with. Know this, though: Even though you can technically polish a turd, all you’ve got at the end of the experience is a shiny turd and really dirty hands. If the gods on Olympus can’t figure out what in the hell they want, I have no idea why they think we mere mortals will be able to divine the secret meaning behind their endless grunts and fluttering eyebrows.

Of the gods…

It’s the small things you take for granted that you miss when you move halfway across the country. In my case, what I had really been missing is the ability to drive 10 miles in any direction to get a really good crab cake… or steamed crabs… or crab soup. Let’s just say as long as it’s not the kind that make you itch in your happy place, I’m all about the crabs. The lightly broiled, falling apart on your fork, sweet back fin tasty goodness is really one of life’s great joys. Seriously, when the gods on Olympus got tired of ordering pizza, I’m convinced they sent to Maryland for an order of crab cakes. Tennessee is great for things like cheap housing and no income tax, but some summer afternoons, I would trade my right leg for a good crab. Thankfully this weekend I got my fix.