A Tale of Two Bullies: Me and My Murderer

I'm a bully.

At least, I was
I might still be, but that's not the point.
I'm not going to justify myself, or make it seem like my bullying ways were legitimate or fair, or excusable, but I'll tell you right up front that I didn't intend to be a bully. I meant to be the funny guy.
It's a popular myth that bullies are afraid of the people they attack, but I think that's actually an accidental result of the mocking rather than the immediate cause.
Bullies attack people that are just different, it's that basic.
It's where racism comes from.

This post isn't expressly about me, but I'll tell you a quick story about myself:

When I was 17, I was sitting in stand-still traffic, in the right most lane. I was listening to music and hanging out, when I saw a big muscular black guy walking up the side of the road. Before I knew what happened, I instinctively locked the doors of the car.

My heart sank...

What did I just do!? Did I assume this guy was going to try to steal my car and sit in the traffic?? Was I a racist? What the fuck??

I was seriously worried that I had just revealed myself to be a bigot. I thought about it a lot.

A few months later, I found myself sitting in more traffic. In the right most lane again. Listening to music. This time I looked up and saw a little old white lady walking up the side of the road. Before I knew what happened, my hand reached out and locked the doors again.

HOORAY!

I'M NOT RACIST, I'M JUST AFRAID OF EVERYTHING!


Especially little quiet people who wear bow-ties. Which brings me to my story:

There's a guy that I used to be "friends" with on Facebook, who, for the sake of this story, I'll refer to as "Elmer."
Elmer is a fucking asshole.
On Facebook, Elmer is constantly posting statuses, usually around three times a day, which are typically centered around how abortion should be made illegal (this is technically up for debate, but it's not the point of this post. If you have a problem with giving people a choice as to how they should conduct themselves and decide their future, go ahead an give me a reasoned argument for removing someone's options), and how any non-Christian is a fool. He posts about how "boughetto" (a crude word which is a combination of "bourgeoisie" and "ghetto") people are loud and stupid and annoying. He frequently deals in stereotypes about black people. On Martin Luther King day, he posted something fucking crazy about having the day off and whether or not it's deserved, and how MLK Jr. himself would say "Ni**er please" in regards to...something...
Elmer has blocked me on facebook, so I can't easily quote the post, but if I can find a way to quote the "Ni**er please" post in the future, I'll add it in. If you're friends with this prick and you can find it, send me a screen cap at WillAndBobby@gmail.com!
Anyway, I find him infuriating. He's a bully. And so I fucking bully him.
Most of the time I just post asinine shit.
For example:
Last week he posted something about how he couldn't wait to go home and have his "supper."
I thought it was absurd that he called "dinner" "supper," so at first I was going to post, "haha, what the fuck? You call it 'supper'?"
But it didn't seem funny enough.
So then I was about to write, "Oh boy, I love 'supper.'"
But then it wasn't weird enough (that's important to me), so I finally posted, "Oh no, my supper is cold :("
Perfect!
It's fucking stupid and irrelevant and not worth getting angry at, while still being weird and funny. And he mostly used to let me get away with just posting weird shit on his page, which was part of the fun.
Not all my posts have been benign though. I've called him out about threatening people.
A year ago, he wrote about how he never forgets the people who wronged him, and how one day they'll pay for it.
It set me off. And I wrote something along the lines of, "So you're threatening people now? I guess someday we'll see your face in the papers."

He went OFF! He freaked out and wrote a long post about how I had compared him to Jared Lee Loughner (a comparison which I didn't intend, but nonetheless find accurate).
I was mostly worried that I might lose the place where I posted absurd bullshit. And this guy is an accidental comedic genius.
That seems like a good enough background to explain what happened a couple of days ago.
Elmer posted this:
How's that for some racist bullshit?!

Really, the fact that black people were once discriminated against and hated means that black people should have learned not to be rude to anybody?
If you're going to use the argument that racism should have an effect on how black people "should" act, it would be that THEY ARE FREE TO DO WHATEVER THE FUCK THEY LIKE after white people did whatever the fuck they liked!
You stupid asshole!
You racist piece of shit!
You bow-tie-wearing human trash!
Now I'm not trying to big myself up or make my role in this world more significant than it is...And YES, I am (or WAS) willingly "friends" with Elmer, who I would usually just mock with goofy bullshit, but man this set me off.
He was seeming to revel in his own bullshit and awfulness. His anger is well documented. And more than that, he has people who read his bullshit and agree with him. I don't presume I'm going to change the world, but I also can't very well look at small-minded shit like this and move on. I wanted to call him out on his fucking prejudice.
At first I wrote, "Hey [Elmer], which do you hate more: racism or black people?" But I ended up deleting that and coming up with "It's a good thing white people and Asian people aren't rude at all." 
Compared to what I was originally going to write, that's nothing. Even still, I received a fucking frantic, lunatic, rapid fire, SUPER angry response back about how I had twisted his words and how I was spouting "fallacies," which is a bullshit old-world, biblical term meaning "falsehoods." 
...Which is also old and biblical. 
Fuck...
Anyway, he went on to attack me by saying something along the lines of (I'll add actual quotes if possible) "how do you know I won't post something negative about white people or Asians in the future."
To put it bluntly, he's a defensive nut.
I wrote back "Feel free to surprise me but..." and I went on to point out that even if he eventually posts about how white people can be rude in the modern world, he's currently talking about specifically black people...who he has written about before...in the same shitty negative tone.
I'll say it now: Go fuck yourself  "Elmer."
After this most recent outburst, where I blatantly point out his racism, he finally decided to block me. 
He should have done it years ago.
Unfortunately for me, this son of a bitch gets the best of me here:
He says that I have been antagonizing him for years (again, I'll post the actual quotes in the future if possible). And he's right. I have been. But I'll say again that it's because of his misogyny and racism that I lash out.
He also makes a point of saying that he remembers how I treated him in middle school and high school.
Now we're back to that Jared Lee Loughner bullshit.
What, may I ask, is the point of saying to somebody that you'll remember them for the way they mistreated you, unless you have some plan for how to get back at them?
I'll suggest here and now that "Elmer" has, at least in the back of his mind, some idea of lashing out against the people who has wronged him.
Which means that now I have to explain myself:
I bullied Elmer in middle school, and I have to own up to that.
In 8th or 9th grade (I honestly don't remember), I took a wood-working class which I shared with Elmer.
He was quiet, and I had no reason not to like him, but he shared a work station with me and a girl, whose name I don't remember.
I flirted with the girl, and we joked around, and we were goofy, and we made fun of anything and everything, including Elmer.
I'll remind you again that "Elmer" is a nickname for the actual guy. It's a similar name to the real thing, though, so when I tell you that me and that girl called him "Smellmer," you may well work out what his actual name is.
"Smell" was definitely a part of the name, is what I'm saying.
But it had no true basis.
He wasn't smelly, he wasn't weird, he was just quiet and fine.
I'll tell you right now, that by calling him "Smellmer", I thought the natural perception was not I was calling Elmer a loser, but that by calling him "Smellmer," I was calling myself a loser!
It was a joke on a joke.

I thought I was making fun of people who make fun of people.

"Smellmer" is the dumbest, most illogical name in the world, so by using it, I was making fun of people who might actually use it.
But no matter what, whether I intended that fucking stupid name to be hurtful or not, I have to own up to the result, which was evidently that I hurt Elmer's feelings.
I feel bad about that as a 9th grader. If at all possible, I would definitely send a message to my 15/16 year-old-self saying "leave Elmer alone," but as a 25 year-old man, I think "fuck you Elmer, you racist fuck."
So that was middle school. He has every right to say that he remembers how I treated him then, and he has  every right to hate me for it.

But high school? I don't remember shit about him then! I don't think I spoke to him at all!

So once again: fuck you Smellmer! You're talking out of your smelly, racist, ass!
No matter what, he posted that thing about how he remembers me for how I "treated" him in middle school and high school, which I interpret to mean he'll one day show up on my front step with a gun.
I'll be waiting...To die I guess...Because I don't think I'll dodge those bullets like Batman.
Yes.
I was a bully.
10 years ago.
But Elmer is a bully now.
He blocked me, and he's way smarter than man, and he works for the fucking government, but still I say, "fuck you, you racist piece of shit."
Honestly though, how awesome will it be if he tries to murder me? 
If I'm found dead, seek Smellmer. 
Actually, first check if it was a heart attack, I'm pretty overweight. If there are bullet holes, though, drive straight to Smellmer.
If you're reading this, and you know who "Elmer" REALLY is, then I suggest you go nuts on his wall, denouncing his crazy views. Fuck that asshole and his asshole friends.
Facebook is a public forum. You're free to think whatever crazy bullshit you want, but when you put it on a public site like that, don't expect it to be the same as putting it in a journal you keep under your bed. People can see it and respond. Facebook is a place for conversation and debate.
It's like being at a party, and everyone you know is there, and a few hundred people you've never met, and you see someone you used to know and you happen to notice they're saying something horrible about somebody else. Do you walk up to them and say, "hey man, that's not cool," or do you just pretend it didn't happen?
What I'm saying is that in a moment like that, you feel compelled to do one of those two things: step up or move along.
I couldn't help myself, so I stepped up. Frankly I wish I had been more brazen and given him more shit.
Life's too short to let people get away with hurting each other.
The last thing I got to say to Smellmer before the block was that I do regret being a shit head in middle school, but I'm going to call out bullshit when I see it.
He followed up with a fucking knockout punch. He really got me good. He wrote:
"Enjoy spending the rest of your life pretending to be humble while mistreating people."
Fuck. He was right: I was pretending to be humble and I was accidentally writing like some small town super-hero.
He'll never fucking see the last thing I wanted to say to him though, because I was blocked JUST before I could send it... 
My last message to Elmer is:
"Thanks!"
Bully the bullies!
Concerns, thoughts, questions, stories? Comment here or email me at WillAndBobby@gmail.com!

Oh Good, Unsolicited Opinions and Advice

It seems to me that there are a few things that everybody in the world agrees are annoying. For example: every single person in the world thinks rubbernecking is a pain in the ass. We all complain about traffic caused by idiots who gawk at every fender bender. I've yet to hear a single person say, "you know what I like? Car accidents. Everybody slows down, and I get to take a good look." Likewise, everybody seems to hate it when people talk during a movie. These things are universal.

You know what else we all seem to hate? People who push their opinions and beliefs on us. So why do we always tell each other what to think and do?
The other day I was driving home from work, and I had to merge into a lane on a highway. As I was trying to squeeze in, a guy assertively sped up to get ahead of me, rather than let me glide in front of him. It was no big deal. It was definitely because they didn't want to be behind me, and they had to drift into another lane to get around me, but it really wasn't a completely shitty maneuver. It was blah. I didn't give it another thought, until I squared up behind them. Thanks to their swoop-around, I got to check out their bumper sticker, which I managed to find an image of online.
It may be the teeniest tiniest picture in the world. Start squinting........now:
If you can't quite tell, that's a bumper sticker which says, "Abortion: One Dead / One Wounded," and it has a picture of a distraught woman on it.
I'm not about to debate the issue of whether or not abortion is moral or should be legal, so relax, I'm going to talk about how this person is a fucking asshole for not being able to shut their goddamn mouth.
I don't care what you think. About anything. You have your opinions, I have mine. The only time the two of them should be expressed is in some sort of public forum where we are each able to make a case for our beliefs. Even then, I probably don't want to talk to you.
Most people are insufferable, and if one thing is certain, it's that while I'm in my car, I should be free from your bullshit ideas.
Are we so self righteous and self centered that we think we need to be stating a "fact" or crafting an argument even when we're busy driving?
This person has this bumper sticker stuck to their stupid car! It's not even a matter of caring about the issue of abortion, it's a matter of thinking that their opinions need to be presented and respected at all times.
What exactly do they think is going to happen? What are they accomplishing? Are they under the impression that I am pro-choice, but once I see this cheap two-tone bumper sticker I'm going to rethink my beliefs? They must think that I'm about to have an epiphany sitting here in traffic, and change my whole life. Should I thank them? Do they want to spark fury in me? Do they want a debate?
Do they want to know if I'm anti-abortion and if they can be friends with me?
No.
Nope.
Nah.
They're just a dog barking. They just want to bluntly barf out what they think. They haven't really thought it through. They found something which expresses what they believe, and tossed it on their car because they're simple.
They must understand that this is an issue on which people strongly disagree. People fight tooth and nail over abortion, and they've casually placed their stance on the bumper of their car to challenge all the people on the other side of the coin. Really, just fuck off. We all have enough shit to think about without some simple, small minded moron throwing their opinions in our face. Now I'm barfing.
Why do people seem to want to have an impact on our lives? Are they bored, or just self obsessed?
It's not all about hot button issues, either. For example, here's something which I see on my way to work every damn day:
A few months ago, someone spray painted the impossible phrase "Smiles everyone! Smile" on a walkway in New Brunswick. I get annoyed every time I drive under it.
Part of the reason is that the phrasing is all screwed up. First we're ordered with "Smiles everyone," which is clearly addressed at the population at large, hence "smiles" being plural. But then it's followed up with the reinforcement of "Smile," which is singular and therefor seemingly directed directly at the reader (Though my personal theory is just that this was scrawled out by some drunk idiot Rutgers freshman who thinks they stumbled across a brilliant and simple way of solving all the world's frowns, but whose brain screwed up the phrasing).
The other part of the reason I hate this is the same reason why I hate the abortion bumper sticker: Don't tell me what to do or think. Leave me alone, shut up, and keep your opinions to yourself.
I know that this is all a bit rich coming from me, considering that I have a blog where all I do is write what I want without input, but the difference is that you have the option of ignoring all my shit. I have to drive under this bridge every morning, and there's nothing more annoying than someone telling you to smile when you're tired and grumpy. Just let me grump in peace.
I'm just going to start spray painting "Frowns everyone! Frown!" on every bridge I see, because I think my views deserve to be seen and appreciated.
I could have just posted this video to illustrate my point:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l_1FbjuJp4E]

The Buddy System

On October 6th, 2011 (I give the year because it's almost over), my dog Daisy died. If you have any concept of who I am, you likely know that because I haven't stopped talking about it. Based on the past couple of months, I don't think I ever will. I've written previously about how talking has helped me cope with her death. And I have to take that previous point of view for what it's worth, because now I'm a month and a half removed from saying it, and I can tell you now, on December 6th, 2011, that I can hardly stand to think about my girl, let alone talk about her.

I'm still very upset. And I'm very angry. Not in general, I should say. In general, I think I'm pretty okay, but when it comes to my dog, I'm very, very angry.

Being that I aspire to someday have a career based on my writing, I usually try to revel in ANY extreme emotion, and given how extreme I become when thinking about Daisy, I've tried to write from this mindset. I can't do it. It's too much. I'm so overwhelmed by how much I'm hurt. If that weren't enough, I'm actually annoyed at myself for letting my hurt turn into anger.

We adopted a new dog, partly because the house was too empty without my big goofy girl, partly because we needed someone new to focus on, and partly because of our OTHER dog, Harley.

Lately, out of the blue, I've begun to slip. I'm calling people by the wrong name. More specifically I've been calling our new dog Daisy. Her name is Penny. I slip and call her Daisy. Somethings wrong. I've lost a girl who should have been a long term family member. She was my pet, my friend, and my family. And my brain is trying to reintroduce her, because I can't quite stand life without that stupid fucking dog pouncing on me.

Worse than my interpretation of her death, which is inherently more informed because of my human brain (and because I was there), is what seems to be happening to poor Harley.

Harley is approximately 12 years old. And I have to approximate that age, because, just like all of our pets, he was a rescue. I don't intend to get on a high horse here, but I kind of do, because I'm proud of my family for always adopting a pet who NEEDS our help. There will always be people who buy from breeders, and there will always be people who just shop at puppy stores, but not as many people will welcome an older, potentially abused dog into their house. But those are the dogs who need a home. Daisy was one of them. Harley is one. We don't know what happened to him, but when we got him, he was approximately 3 years old, and was very nervous around men. I have to assume that he was hit by a man.

To take a quick tangent: If you are a human, and you are reading this, and you have EVER abused an animal, you are actually an inhuman fucking monster. One time I was at a party with my friend Bobby, where we saw a guy put his foot down on his cat's neck in some bizarre joking/frustrated manner, and we were inches from fucking killing him. Don't abuse animals. I'm going to turn into a real-life Batman who defends animals. My story parallels Bruce Wayne's: His parents were murdered in front of him. I had a doggy who died and I found out later. Chilling similarity.

Anyway, Harley has been in our family for 9 years, and in that time, he has seen many animals come and go. And he's always been a great dog, but he's been aging. When Daisy showed up 3 years ago, he suddenly got a good burst of speed, and somehow he seemed to be really interested in that girl. He kept step and pace with her, running around in the backyard, despite the fact that Daisy was 4 times his size. She kept him young. Now that she's gone, he's slow, sluggish, and man does he look old.

With any luck:

We're born into a world where we have an established family. We're born into a world where we have parents, siblings, and extended family, all of whom have a distinct love and interest in us. We're coddled as babies (because there's no such thing as some weird, self-sufficient baby), and then during our formative years, our families take care of everything for us. We have homes, clothes, food, an education, and in the unfortunate circumstance that a member of our family dies, magically a funeral has been planned, and all we have to do is show up. Maybe. If we're too young, we probably don't even have to go. Basically, we're accounted for.

At some point, though, we start to expand our interest outside of our families. And I should say that I don't limit "family" to blood. Our family is whoever takes care of us. At some point, we expand our interest outside of those who take care of us out of a sense of duty. And if we're lucky, we meet someone who will take care of us because they want to.

Think about it for a couple minutes, and you'll realize that your parents are nothing more, and have never been anything more than two people who like each other. It's a basic analysis, but it's true. Our parents are two people who like each other so much they wanted to spend most of their time with each other. They liked each other so much that they had children. They maybe liked each other so much that they decided to live in the same house, and forever sleep in the same bed.

Our parents are not obligated to each other necessarily. They just really really like each other. They're what we aspire to not only because they are our reference point for how we're meant to structure our lives, but because family can only go so far.

I love and respect my family. Every member. And in my family, each and every member is particularly interesting (or I'm bullshitting), but the world we're born into is limited. Most of the people we meet the moment we're born are already adults. As we grow up, they're getting older. I don't mean to be grim (which is to say that I'm not being grim for the sake of being grim, I'm being grim because the concept I want to explore is inherently grim), but these people are likely going to die before we do. It happens generation after generation. We should know that. I've tried to. It's fascinating and inescapable, and the fact that it can truly happen at any moment is major bullshit.

When we get to the point that we are expanding our interests outside of our family, we're met with absurd trepidation and apprehension, and rejection. We accidentally make new friends and form complex relationships, and we stumble into traditions and layers of responsibility toward each other. We date a lot, and we try each other out. And it's awkward and dramatic and fun, but eventually we get to the point where we truly want/need to settle down. We build a group of people with whom we hope to share our time in the future, and it's because the world we've always known inevitably has to fall away at some point. In all of these relationships though, most of us obviously hope to have a relationship with somebody that we can create a family with. We want to have children who can one day theorize that their parents are just really tight friends. It's nature. It's ethereal and spiritual. It's evolution. It's done out of love and fear. I can safely say that without the woman I love and without the family and friends I love, I'm an old man. I'm an old man yelling at you to get off my lawn.

Everybody who I care about and who cares back keeps me young and sane. I've seen what happens when you lose your anchor.

It can ruin you. It can turn you into a shell of who you were because you were so invested in their life, and they were so invested in yours. It's disheartening to watch. It's heart breaking. But it's a true testament to the power we can create and share with each other. And it should be comforting to know that people can be so capable of loving one another. I can love all my friends as much as I can stand to, but no matter how much I pour out, I'll still be a shadow if I lose it all.

Have a big satisfying meal. But in a few hours, you're still going to need breakfast. Does it cheapen the meal you enjoyed?

I hope not. But I'm feeling differently. I've mentioned that when I walked my girl, I made her pause and sit at each intersection. The truth is that I really hoped she would connect the street corner with the sound a car makes. I hoped that when those two pieces of stimuli occurred at once, she would respond by sitting and waiting, as I made her do. I was invested in her future. I enjoyed her at the time. I loved her without end at the time. But here two months later I feel less than empty. I feel vacuous. It isn't that there is "nothingness" in my heart as a result of her loss, it's that the space in which she once resided is actively yearning and trying to fill the space. It can't be filled.

I come back to Harley. I am able to intellectualize my loss. I am able to question why my pain is here. I can write a repulsively long blog post dedicated to the feeling. But my poor old Harley is simply vaguely aware that there used to be another animal around. Maybe. Who knows how a dog's mind works, let alone that sad abused boy. Maybe he doesn't remember feeling so happy running through the grass with Daisy. Maybe he doesn't remember rolling and playing with her, but I'll bet that the opposite of those feelings is registering heavily with him.

Daisy was a dog. And she was a good one. But she was a dog. And as hurt as I am, I can reason out the pain. I can riddle out the reasons. I can think. But for Harley, she was there when he woke up and went to sleep. She focused on him. She loved him. She played with him. And he loved her. And without her, he's reeling. Harley lost his buddy.

It's all just some kindergarten buddy system on a global scale. Harley needed Daisy and without her, he's falling. I loved her, and I wanted her forever, but she was always going to get away from me. If life had played out the ideal way, Harley would never have to know a future without his friend.

I don't know where this is going. I can't cap off this theory in a nice clean way. I'm 25 years old, which is a short span of time when gauged against the time of the people around me. I'm inexperienced. I'm a child. But simultaneously these 25 years have been an enternity, because they're all I have known. I'm lucky. I love my family. And I've picked my friends carefully. But I'm still trying to stand up after having been sucker punched by the car that hit my Daisy.

We all need our buddy. We need someone to check in with. No one is obligated to care for us, and I'm one of those who has been lucky enough to find someone who is invested in my happiness and in my health. I hope I don't take it for granted.

I'm sorry that I'm not being very funny right now. But this is a massive side of my personality that I don't want to shelf in favor of writing quippy, sarcastic posts about people I hate. I'll get back to that soon enough. I haven't written a single blog post in over a month, but it's about time that I should try to "speak" again. This is what I have to say right now.

I wish I could say that this is the last time I'll talk about Daisy, but I know for a fact that isn't true. Someday I still have to tell the full story of the night she died. It's a story that I need to tell and which needs to be told for how shocking, horrible and FUNNY it was. It was all those things. But I will say here that I owe a significant debt of gratitude to Bobby Koester, Michael Costa, Allie, and my whole family for helping me to survive it.

I'll put that off for a while.

I guess if there's anything I truly want to say with this post, it's that I think it's okay to need someone's help. And it's okay to talk. And that as much as I talk about how you need the people in your life, the flip side of the coin is that those same people will likely need you one day.

I also want to say that, across the board, I think women are stronger than men.

Coming soon: jokes.

Sorry guys.

Self Entitlement: A rant against self obsession written by a dude with a blog

Right now, I'm really angry. I know I shouldn't be. I know each and every logical counterpoint to what has got me so pissed off, but right now, I don't fucking care for that logic. What I'm angry at is irrational, so the way I see it, I'm allowed to be irrational too. Out of respect, I won't discuss the particulars of what has got me so riled up. I mean that I just don't think it would be at all nice to say exactly what happened tonight, I'm sure I'll talk about it candidly sometime in the future, but a good way to summarize the issue is to say that I'm becoming increasingly fed up with the sense of entitlement I see in most people in public.

When people are in pain, the night belongs to them. Unless you count among their numbers, the night isn't yours. You are not allowed to criticize the people grieving. You are not allowed to try and garner sympathy for your separate issues, and you are most definitely not allowed to compound the evening by letting your personal squabbles take over.

You are not the center of attention just because you feel your issue is worth our time. It doesn't work that way.

Self entitlement. What's wrong with you? Tonight I went to a funeral, where people acting selfishly, but it's not my night to discuss, so I won't. However, I see the same disproportionate behavior almost everywhere I go.

Maybe a year or two ago, I was sitting in a Starbucks, reading or writing or staring. The place was packed, absolutely packed. Do you know why it was packed? It was because it was a Saturday afternoon, and Starbucks is a pretty popular, busy place. We all know that. Except for this fucking dickhead:

Some gangly clown walks into Starbucks, takes a look around, and frowns. I noticed him do it, and I imagined that maybe he was meeting up with somebody, and upon looking around, saw that the person hadn't arrived yet. I was wrong. He walked up to the counter, impatiently ordered his drink as if the cashier should have anticipated it fully, and barely finished his request before he asked/ordered, "And where am I going to sit?"

"Excuse me?" The kid seemed legitimately confused.

"Where am I going to sit? All the seats are taken."

If I were this poor employee, I wouldn't have had any idea what to say, and I worked 4 years in a fucking TGI Fridays, where my job description may as well have read, "appease assholes."

"Uh...Well, I mean, we're pretty busy."

The asshole met this with total silence.

"We have some tables available out front."

The man's lip curled in revulsion, "I don't want to sit outside." (Note: This was said as if only sub-humans ever have to venture outdoors."

"Well, I guess you could wait for someone to get up? Some of these customers have been here for a while, so maybe they'll be leaving soon."

Well spoken, well explained. Poorly received. The guy looked downright insulted. Livid. He scoffed. Without saying a word, he handed over his card, paid, and walked out of the store.

That was weird. Really weird. It looked like the guy was walking out on his order...but he had paid. So whatever, I went back to whatever the hell it is I was doing. I was interrupted from it again a moment later.

The door flew open, not as if violently thrown, but rather as though someone massive was trying to get through. It was that piece of shit, and he was dragging with him one of the wrought iron tables from outside. It was a distracting, huge sound. He wasn't fully carrying the table, he was literally dragging it.

The iron was screeching against the tile, and, as I said, the place was packed. There wasn't room for an additional table. If there was, there would probably be another table in there. He had to place it awkwardly in a foot-traffic area. Anyway, the guy went back outside to get a chair. When his drink was ready, he said at the table and read a book. He did so pointedly, not casually. It was clear that he was trying to make some sort of bullshit statement.

What an asshole. What an utter dick. When you venture out in the world, you should know that things aren't guaranteed to go your way. They just aren't. If you want to have total control over your surroundings, stay inside your own place and interact with no one. At all. When you're out in the world, you're subject to the same laws of likelihood as the rest of us. Sometimes you're going to want to drink a cup of coffee and read a book. That's great, I love that. I do that. But when I feel this way, and I decide to go to a Starbucks to do it, I know that I'm entering a building where other people are trying to have a similar experience. Sometimes all the tables will be taken, because a whole lot of people had the same popular idea as me. In that case, all I can do is shrug, and move on. Do I still want the coffee? Well I'm there already, so I'll buy one. Do I still want to read a book in here, sitting at a table? Well maybe I'll get lucky, and I'll see someone pack up their stuff and leave. Barring that, oops, oh well, things didn't go the way I hoped. No big deal, do ANYTHING ELSE, YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE.

If it's the employees fault that the place is full, then you're equally at fault for showing up when everybody else decided to be there. It's the luck of the draw. It's random. How fucking dare you try to change the circumstances around you to accommodate your whimsy, your personal preferences. You aren't required here, and you aren't in charge. In short: go fuck yourself.

Without getting too specific, tonight somebody was, through pain, trying to express themself. It was clearly difficult and upsetting, it was hard to do, but they were doing it. That's all that mattered. Someone in the back of the room shouted, "speak up."

You son of a bitch. You piece of shit. Who the fuck are you to criticize someone for trying to speak about something so personal. It was supposed to be a shared moment. No. It was supposed to be a personal moment in confidence, shared with a group assembled for a shared cause. No one grieving needs a heckler. Shut your fucking mouth. If you can't hear him, that's a shame, he isn't speaking for your benefit, he's speaking for his. Maybe you should be sitting closer. Maybe you should have gotten there earlier. This same person had already complained about how long it took him to get there.

Some people just want to be heard. Scratch that. Some people need to be heard. And that's okay in and of itself. Just like most things in life, it's the way that you cope with that need that's important.

I'm a big fan of a podcast (internet radio show) called Tell 'Em Steve-Dave! It's a podcast hosted by three guys from a comic book store in Red Bank, NJ. On Labor Day, Allie was being really awesome by going to that shop with me to watch the guys record a new episode. They had posted on Twitter that they would be doing a few small competitions, and wanted people to come to the shop to watch. Currently, Bobby and I are gearing up a podcast of our own, and so on top of wanting to see these guys I'm a fan of, I wanted to get an idea of what it looks like when professionals do it.

I'd heard them say before that they didn't have a ton of fans, and even though there were only 20 or so other people who went to the shop, it was kind of cool. It felt like a legitimate cultural event. The guys were sitting around the microphones, talking to each other. They didn't engage the "audience" at all. They didn't have to. We were there to watch what we presumably all knew was a private show. We're there for fun, not to participate. Except for one guy. This idiot was sitting in a chair, arms laying casually across the back of it, feet stretched out in front of him, looking cool and casual. With every joke that the hosts made, he would burst out in an obvious artificial laugh. If one of the hosts asked a hypothetical question, he answered it loudly. It became clear that he was desperately trying to be involved in the proceedings, hidden under the guise of enthusiasm. He just wanted his voice on the mic. He would probably listen to the podcast and get a thrill out of hearing his voice echoing quietly in the background. He'd tell his friends. They'd show a vague interest. I hated him for it. It was desperate. And even though it was a pathetic move, I don't excuse him from the underlying narcissism. Who is he to interrupt (or try to interrupt) the show that the rest of us enjoy just because he has some childish need for attention, or an unfounded expectation that anyone gives a shit about what he has to say?

And I hope I hear him on the podcast. He's a warning. He is an example of how not to be.

I could easily blame this behavior on the social-networking-generation, but I think that would be a myopic view of the problem. Realistically, I think it's just another kind of social behavior. It's a social affect. It's not new. Some people are just over-valuing their voice; their opinion. Some people think that it's necessary to make clear their satisfaction or dissatisfaction despite the lack of involvement. Tonight I was sorry to see a heavily significant event be somewhat tarnished by people over-extending their opinion. We don't need to hear your criticism, we don't need you to smile awkwardly because you're uncomfortable here, and we don't need your bullshit personal issues to get in the way of our collected emotion.

We are not so enthralled with you.

We are all in the same boat, even you, and when you make clear your dissatisfaction, your discomfort, you are embarrassing not only yourself, but the rest of us.

I fear I'm getting vague again. And I don't mean to do it to attract attention, I'm just so incredibly anxious about these things. Tonight was just another example of a widespread problem. Like I said, to blame Twitter and Facebook for making us all feel like our opinions are essential is absurd. Twitter and Facebook are invitations to express ourselves, not archives of uncontested genius. They are places for debate and conversation.

I'm sorry if this feels like the equivalent of posting "Some people really piss me off" on Facebook, and I hope that I've given enough real-life examples to satisfactorily express myself. I'm just feeling bleak. Like people won't give each other an inch. That no one's really listening, just planning how best to respond. On any other day, I could have written about these jerks comedically, but I'm viewing them through a filter of blind anger right now.

In case you haven't had enough of them, here's one quick final prime example of this self obsession:

I took a class on public speaking a few years ago, and predictably, pretty much everybody in my class was an egomaniac (either positively or negatively), myself included. Everybody had something brilliant to say, and everybody else was just surely waiting for their turn.

Well anyway, this one particular day, our professor was talking about his weekend, which involved some mis-communication between himself and his daughter. It involved his cell phone glitching out and behaving oddly. To help explain his story, the professor interrupted himself, and asked the room at large,

"Do any of you know how a cell phone works?"

A woman sitting next to me raised her hand and answered,

"Idon't."

A Couple of Stupid Dates

I’m going to very quickly tell you what the worst date I ever went on was. And since I’m already being a dick by posting this online, I won’t use the girl’s name.  I’ll just call her Barf. Or not, because that’s also really mean, so I’ll just go with Girl X.
This is at least maybe 5 years ago, and Girl X and I were not really dating. I also wouldn’t say we were really friends, but we did have one of those stupid and tense sorta-relationships that teenagers have. That being the case, we were fighting around the time that we went on this date. I don’t remember what we were fighting about, because I couldn’t care less, but I guess she was trying to make nice with me, because she told me that she wanted me to go out for dinner with her in the city. I was working at TGI Fridays when she texted me that, and even though I was grumpy with her for whatever reason, and even though I generally find going to New York to be a pain in the ass, I agreed. Because who knows, maybe it would be nice or maybe even romantic. She said she knew a great little place, and that I would love it.
                I picked her up that night, and we took a train into the city. Let me quickly say that even now, at 24, I can’t navigate NY very well, but especially then, I had NO idea where anything was, or how to use the subway. So Girl X is taking me on the subway and we’re just talking and having a good, if somewhat tense, conversation. Eventually we made it to the cute little place she knew of.
She took me to the Chevys near Time Square.
Chevys.I worked at a TGI Fridays at the time, basically the exact same kind of place. I felt like I was at work.

I smiled as well as I could, while internalizing “the fuck?” This is a nice little place?
Dinner was ok I guess. Frankly I don’t really remember any of it, because of what happened afterward. For the sake of the story, let me quickly suggest that it was 10:40, and that there was a train back to Jersey leaving at 11:00. It was the equivalent of that. Girl X checked her watch and look at me worried. She told me that we needed to catch that 11:00 train, so we’ll have to run. I’m fat now, I was fat then, I didn’t want to run. I asked her if we could just catch a later train, because the trains generally run for a couple more hours. With no explanation, she said no. So we ran through New York like idiots. Dodging and weaving through the other people who are walking like normal people usually do. We barely caught the train, got back to Jersey, and I was ready to split off from Girl X, but then I remembered I had driven her to the train station, so I had to drive her back.
This isn’t horrible of me, but I’m still not proud of it. I was so fed up with Girl X that for the drive home, I cranked my iPod and sang, just so that there wouldn’t be a chance for conversation. That was probably the worst date I've ever been on.
Now here’s a story about me being a total loser and idiot. Around when I was 18, my family had six pets: three dogs and three cats. That being the case, every year there were a good few weeks in a row where I’d have to take the pets to the vet for their checkups. At the vet’s office, there was a really cute nurse who I always got along with. Now, I generally try not to be too presumptuous, so even though she and I would chat and laugh, I assumed that it was just friendly banter. I was mostly making fun of dogs for being afraid of her, and she would laugh and say she was used to it. On maybe the third visit that year, the nurse asked me if I’d like to maybe meet up with her at the local dog park on Friday.
All of a sudden, I realized that we weren’t just making small talk, we were flirting! I would have been disappointed by my fucking stupidity if I wasn’t so stoked that a nurse was asking me out, so:
"Yes. I would like to go to the park with you."
I was so caught up in the magic of love that I was back at my house before I realized that:
       1.) I never got her phone number
And
2.) I didn’t even know her name
Obviously I couldn’t call the vet’s office and ask what her name was, so I just started using the code name Mulva in my head while waiting for Friday to come.
That day I made it to the dog park early, which was no mean feat considering that I took my fat lazy dog Jewel. She was half basset hound and really slug-like, so the fact that I managed to get her out the door to the park early meant that I was way over-eager.
I may as well have been wearing a suit with a flower in the lapel. I may as well have had my hair slicked. I looked like I was trying to look nice. So I was there, all the other dog people were put off by me, and I waited. I waited a realllly long time.
She stood me up.
At this point, I realized that it really isn’t worth it to get so goofy about a date, I was actually glad she stood me up, because I was about to embarrass myself. I considered it a freebie and a lesson, so I went home feeling semi-okay.
Unfortunately, because of how many damn pets we have, I had to go to the vet the very next day. On the drive over, I learned another lesson: dating sucks. I didn’t want to have to see the girl that stood me up! Not because I was in pain or something, but because I didn’t want to have to have her looking at me awkwardly. I’d just as soon pretend it never happened, but I was certain she wouldn’t. I wasn’t looking forward to the appointment.
Incredibly, the moment that I stepped through the door, Mulva ran up to me to apologize. She said that her friend had been attacked by her dog, so she couldn’t come. That took me by surprise. At first I was going to assume that she was lying, but let on that I believed the lie just to make everything okay again. Then I was going to pretend that none of this had ever happened. But I was taken aback, as she looked legitimately apologetic, and that's a crazy thing to lie about, so I believed her. Even still, I wasn’t about to ask her out or anything. The appointment went like normal, we still flirted, and then I was walking to the door, thinking that clearly nothing was going to happen, and I was a little bummed. Just then, she called out my name, I turned around, she put a little note in my hand, said, “I have to go assist the doctor, but call me!” and ran away. The note had her name and phone number on it. But I’m still going to call her Mulva.
Now we jump to one year later.
It was again time for me to start taking all those stinkin’ animals to the vet, and on the drive over, I started thinking about Mulva, and wondering if she still worked there. She did, and we joked and flirted a little bit, even though it was awkward after all that time. But it was cool.
On the drive back, I thought about all the events of the previous year and about how I was actually kind of cool back then. This older hot nurse was asking me out, and even when she stood me up, I never begged her to give me another shot, which I probably should have. She was definitely too good for me, and I started thinking that if she and I still flirt and stuff, I should just flat out ask her to dinner. Because of all the animals I have, I figured I’d just do it on my next appointment. I psyched myself up to do just that.
Then I started wondering why things never really took shape between me and Mulva the previous year. I couldn’t remember how it all ended…And then…I did. She gave me her number on that piece of paper, and that was it.
I never called her! What the fuck, why didn’t I call her?
Suddenly I didn’t feel like a cool badass about to ask out a nurse. Instead, I felt like an asshole who never called this girl who kept asking me out! At the vet’s, it wasn’t awkward because it had been a year since we’d seen each other, it was awkward because she thought I was a dick!
Well, I calmed myself down, and I reasoned out that since I still had her phone number, and since I couldn’t really change the past, maybe I would just wait a day, call her, and ask her out. I figured I could just come up with some reason why I didn’t call or something. I didn’t really know, but I figured it would be okay.
The next day, I scrolled to her name on my phone, steeled my nerves, and called.
The phone rang. And rang. And rang. I started getting nervous that maybe she didn’t have the same number anymore. Finally, someone answered,
Man: “Hola”
Me: “Hi, is [Mulva] there?”
Man: “¿Que?”
Me: “I’m trying to reach [Mulva].”
Man: “Uh, sorry. No hablo inglés
That’s when I realized…
Me: “Sorry, thank you.”
I hung up. And my heart sank. I remembered. I DID call her last year…but THAT guy answered the phone! I must have put the wrong number in my phone!
So…I’m pretty sure I made my sister go back to the vet’s in my place, the next week. I never saw Mulva again. And thank god for that, because that would have been really uncomfortable.
The end…
Now tell me the worst date you’ve ever been on.