Yond Cassius has a lean and hungry look,
He thinks too much; such men are dangerous.

Julius Caesar Act 1, scene 2, 190–195

In other words, still waters run deep.

* * * * * * * *

Have you ever said something and wished that you could take it back or say it differently?

Yeah, me neither. Yuk, yuk.

I suppose it seems a little odd to say that “people who think I suck and all other unpleasantness” is good stuff, but let me explain.

It has recently come to my attention that not everyone loves and adores me.

It’s not that I didn’t know this already, but sometimes we are presented with experiences that are a strong reminder of that fact. Surprisingly, they are good stuff.

Thankfully, I have recovered from the initial shock of my revelation. It wasn’t a full-blown punch in the gut, but rather, a figurative blow to my pride. And my jowls. After “it” happened, I wasn’t sure whether to make margaritas or go to church, so I went straight to the hospital, and when the doctor asked me, “Are you for real?” I didn’t know how to answer. So, after getting a full psychiatric workup, the ER sent me home with discharge instructions for rest and to wake up and smell reality. 

I’m seeing my chiropractor for regular bone-crunching to help me overcome the trauma.

The bottom line is that I’m actually thankful that some folks just don’t get me. Or like me, even.

* * * * * * * *

It’s human nature for people to want to share things about themselves, and I do it here on this blog. It feels good putting my ramblings out here, but it’s also a little scary.

My writings don’t lean toward anything I feel is controversial. In fact, I will quietly slide into the nearest crevasse if there is conflict occurring anywhere near my person. I’m not saying that I don’t have very passionate feelings about important things – I do – I just choose not to discuss them in public because I don’t have the social skills that might enable me to be a worthy contributor to any debate or lively conversation regarding that stuff.

Politics and religion? You probably won’t see that kind of action here. Even if I knew you in real life and you asked what my beliefs/opinions were about either issue, I might be very vague and possibly evasive, because topics like that are rarely black and white. There are so many variables, and I find myself conflicted within each of those subjects, so I avoid chatting about them altogether.

iceberg

I’m kind of like an iceberg that way.

Plus, I’m not good at banter. Just ask the Mister.

If any of you wonderful people want to comment on my writing, that’s fine. If we could have a few laughs and talk about the funny things that have happened in our lives where we might commiserate about similar situations, and then maybe delve deeper into other things, that’s even better.

If any of you take offense to my writing (or my perspective), I would hope for constructive criticism or some sort of discussion that lends itself to a civilized conversation.

Sadly, I did receive my first negative comment here on the blog, and it was quite a doozy.

I know it’s poor form to even address it. I should ignore it. I should grow a spine, right?

The first thing I felt after reading it was a bit of shock. Mostly because I’m not used to having someone throw that kind of vitriol at me. If you look at the comment sections for just about everything I’ve written over the past year or two, there is a distinct echo. You might even notice a few cobwebs.

The comment I received was overtly hateful, but even though I know people can be cruel, I still had trouble processing the fact that a complete stranger – although safely hiding behind the anonymity of their computer – would say such mean things. And the saddest part was that – initially – I believed every word that this person wrote.

I mean, I get it. I can’t make people understand or like me. Maybe I don’t make sense, but sheesh.

I reacted without even taking a moment to ponder. I didn’t even think for a second before getting really, really angry.

And I’m pretty sure that is what the commenter intended.

It's a tramp!!

I read other blogs and news items on the internet. I’ve seen the hate and ignorance that exists in many comment sections, so I honestly don’t know why I got so upset, because it was bound to happen. I think five years is pretty decent for not receiving a single negative comment.

So, I got my sea legs and I thought about it for a little bit. I read the comment again, and realized that this person clearly did not read the post all the way through, and if they did, they did not have the slightest idea what they had just read.

And if they did read it? They have every right to say whatever. Free speech and all that.

Before I came to those realizations, I went to Facebook to share what happened (as is my usual propensity these days – what is UP with that??? Oh, yeah…human nature). As I expected, friends were supportive, and a few of those most dear reminded me of something important:

If everyone likes me, life is going to be pretty damn dull.

I suppose that for some of you, this is not a big revelation. But for others, we need to do a quick tutorial:

Imagine living in an all white house. White everywhere. Or whatever your favorite color is. The walls, the floors, the furniture – all the same color. How boring would that be?

Unless you like your house all one color – that’s totally cool.

But for me? I need the contrast.  I like different colors and shapes and patterns and sizes, and I like my people the same way. I mean, I love Tex-Mex, but do I want to eat it every single day? What if we all looked alike and had the exact same personalities?

What if everything was what we wanted or expected?

Well, there would be no Star Wars, for one thing.

LukeNo

Who would Luke Skywalker be without Darth Vader? He’d just be some dude living with his aunt and uncle on Tatooine, whining about why he can’t go to Tosche station to pick up some lame power converters.*

Without the bad stuff, would we really be able to comprehend what the good stuff is? This is the question I was reminded of by my excellent friends – a question that is probably a by-product of this quote:

If everybody loves you, something is wrong. Find at least one enemy to keep you alert.~Paulo Coelho (b. 1947), Brazilian lyricist and novelist.

It seems very counter-intuitive to say that I’m doing something wrong if there aren’t people in the world who think I suck, but it makes perfect sense to have that contrast in the concrete stuff (like our immediate surroundings), the people we come into contact with, and the non-tangible experiences we have.

And also, we shouldn’t care what people think (especially those who don’t really know us). I’m still working on that one.

I teach my kids that they should treat people the way they want to be treated. I tell them that they need to understand that not everyone is happy and living a perfect existence; that the bullies they may be confronted with usually have their own issues, and instead of retaliating, they should be loving and kind.

My pre-teen and I recently had a conversation about “mean girls” and bullying. When I asked her what she would do if someone said something really mean to her or accused her of doing something she didn’t do, she said, “I would say nothing and then walk away.”

To be honest, it’s not the answer I expected, only because of my own experiential bias. She is a great example for me, so I’m going to follow her lead.

Okay, I’m going to try to follow her lead. This is a hard one for me, as I’m sure it is for a lot of people.

I guess if I could say anything to that commenter, I would thank them for reminding me that I have a lot of good things happening, for reminding me that I have a family who loves me in spite of my flaws and friends who support me and tell me to “keep doing me”. They also share some really cool quotes that make me go all “Yoda” :-)

I appreciate being reminded to see and relish the contrast that exists all around me.

Thanks again for thinking that I suck, Negative Commenter. You are Good-Ass Stuff.

* * * * * * * *

*I actually Googled how to spell “Tosche” in regards to the Star Wars reference. I am a geek and Google is my friend.

* * * * * * * *

Written to the tunes of:

“Hooked On a Feeling” by Blue Suede

“Come and Get Your Love” by Redbone

The Entire Freaking Star Wars Soundtrack

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Just a little FYI about me: I have a “thing” about nasty teeth. Also feet, but that’s another story.

Talking about teeth gives me the chills. Like the old nails on a chalkboard. I can’t say why. When my own sweet children lose their baby teeth, I just about vomit because…well, the teeth are coming out of their precious, sweet little heads. My 8-year-old dry-heaves every time she loses a tooth (same here). Who can blame her? When a tooth comes out, I know it’s supposed to be a cool rite of passage, but I’m not exactly happy about the Tooth Fairy coming. I’m thinking, “Get this nasty tooth out of my hand and into a Ziploc, PRONTO.”

Also?

Looking at teeth (and feet) will gross me out if they have not been tended to. It’s one of my less desirable quirks. I mean, I don’t know a lot of people who enjoy looking at gross teeth, unless they are dentists or dental hygienists. They have my total respect.

I do have a dentist friend, and maybe she will weigh in on this issue.

Anyway. The aforementioned stuff said, my teeth and feet might gross someone out. I don’t know. I try to take care of both as best I can, but sometimes, when I look at my feet, I will make a FACE.

There is just no way to make this sound right. Ugh.

* * * * * * * *

One of the gentlemen who delivers pizza to us from the local pizza place has really, really bad teeth.

There are many levels of “bad”, but I would have to say that his teeth are unquestionably bad. If you have working eyeballs, and if you met him, you would maybe notice that he has probably not visited the dentist in a decade or three. There is no “maybe he could use a good brush and a floss”, because the things are just about black.

The funny/weird thing about this is that he never seems to be our delivery guy when the Mister is around – it’s always someone else who has healthier choppers. We joke about it – my Mister and I –  about how the delivery dude with the very bad teeth only comes when I have to answer the door and interact with him. The Mister knows that I find the teeth a little disturbing. I just…I can’t help it.

JimCarreyVom

Anyway, a few months ago, after I had taken delivery of pizza from my favorite delivery man, I took to Facebook, where I ranted about his lack of dental hygiene. Big mistake. I used a lot of hyperbole, as I usually do, and may have been a bit harsh.

I may have stated that his mouth was a “gaping vortex of death” and compared his teeth to those of the mountain people in “Deliverance” (who, now that I think about it, didn’t appear to own any teeth, so that comparison is inaccurate). I may have further commented that looking at his teeth before I eat is just not cool.

Ugh.

I also said that he is a nice man in there somewhere.

And that was basically it.

I can’t be sure, but I’m thinking he probably has a clue that he’s in possession of some bad teeth. I mean, he’s got eyeballs, too. I’ve noticed that about him. He maybe has a mirror or two in his possession as well. I think he knows.

BadTeethMeme

The thing is, I was really only poking fun at my own weird phobia about teeth stuff. I did not post a picture of his dentition on The FB with his name on it or mention the restaurant where he works. I did not profess any assumptions about him based on the condition of his teeth or his current employment status. The FB post really had nothing to do with him, and everything to do with my own weirdness.

Sadly, it turns out that not everyone can read my mind and know that I have an issue with bad teeth (and feet). After I wrote my post, there were a couple of comments and private messages from FB friends implying that I was judging, and suggesting that I put myself in his situation because

  • he delivers pizza for a living
  • maybe he’s looking for “better” employment
  • maybe he’s just scraping by and trying to provide for his family
  • maybe he has a terrible fear of dentists
  • maybe he doesn’t have health insurance to pay for dental care.

These are all valid points, so I had to think about what I was doing. Was I being unfeeling and judgmental? I decided to give this some serious thought, because if I was being judgmental, I will need to fix that about myself.

I would never purposely hurt someone or judge them, but there were some folks who felt they needed to put me in my place, and perhaps, rightfully so.

These days, I’m pretty cool with friends telling me what they think about what I write or say, and my hope is that these people were only looking out for me, but I was perplexed. In that FB status, I did not mention his age, his marital status, his overall appearance, if he had a family or not, or whether he was possibly looking for other employment.

I did not say anything like, “This guy has nasty teeth; therefore, he must also be nasty.”

I started to feel guilty anyway. Was I judging this man? I was certainly poking fun at myself and my issues with bad teeth. Was I being indirectly hateful? I hope not. I do have a very dark sense of humor, and I posted that status on The FB in the heat of the moment.

I decided to delete what I had written, but my only intent was to make people laugh at my foolish idiosyncrasy.

Most of my friends who know me were cool with my silly FB post. Still, here were the questions I had to ask myself, because I LOVE to over-analyze and use bullet-points:

  • Am I being judgmental? Hateful?
  • Where does a hopeful humorist draw the line as far as poking fun at people and situations?

* * * * * * *

We moved into this house in late 2006. During our first few nights here, we ordered pizza from a local restaurant that shall remain anonymous. Since 2006, we have ordered many more pizzas from this establishment. So, basically, we have been getting pizza at this house for the last eight years, and this particular gentleman has been our delivery person a good number of times during that span.

Eight years, in case you missed that part.

Here is what I have observed about him over those years:

  • He seems to be a nice person. We often chat while he’s handing over the goodies. He has also brought pizzas inside the house when I had a screaming babe attached to me and no extra arms. He then playfully interacted with my other kids like a pro.
  • I know his first name.
  • He is a heavy smoker. I know this because I smell cigarette smoke emanating from his person, and he usually carries a pack of smokes in his shirt pocket, along with the pen he offers me to sign the occasional credit card receipt.
  • He appears to be in his mid-to-late 50’s, possibly even early 60’s. That could be skewed because he’s a smoker and may look older than he actually is. He actually reminds me of Kurt Vonnegut.KurtVonnegut (That dude over there—>)
  • He is a bit more clean-cut than Kurt, not that it matters.
  • He is divorced. He has casually mentioned this.
  • He has also mentioned that his children are grown and on their own, so I’m going to deduce that he does not currently support any young children. He always says lovely things about my kids, who usually have their faces pressed against the glass door while we are completing our transaction on the porch. The kids really like pizza.
  • He has a sense of humor. Example: The last time he came to deliver pizza and I came outside to take care of the paperwork, he noticed the kids just inside the glass door acting like heathens and making all kinds of noise. He handed me my pizzas and waved to them and smiled as he usually does. I asked him, “You got a tranquilizer gun on you?” and he said, “No, but how about a cup of whiskey?” I laughed, and said, “Wow. You get me.”
  • The dude has really, really bad teeth.

Here is some of what I don’t know about him:

  • I don’t know his financial situation, but I will further deduce that he is probably not looking for better employment since he’s been doing this pizza delivery gig for the last eight years, if not longer. Still, I don’t know.
  • I don’t know if he has additional jobs to supplement his income.
  • I don’t know if he has health insurance or not.
  • I don’t know if he has a fear of visiting the dentist.

This is all I know/don’t know about him. I don’t believe that any of the aforementioned information could be termed “judgment”.

Here’s what irks me the most about this:

If a person delivers pizza for a living and has bad teeth, should I assume that they are “down on their luck” or “just scraping by”? I admit that this could be true for some, and I don’t know, maybe for most, but isn’t that judging someone based on his line of work and/or his appearance?

  • What if he’s retired and just likes people?
  • What if he’s the manager of the restaurant, or better yet, the owner, who just wants to get out and see some of the customers?
  • What if he actually does well in his current position?
  • What if he’s a writer/actor/painter/artistic person who just does this to make a living while he creates?
  • What if my pizza man just likes his job?

It could be that I’m being an optimist here (which is totally not like me), but I’m not going to presume to know his situation. I just can’t do that. You never know what a person is all about just by looking at them or even knowing what they do for a living. I mean, George Washington had bad teeth, but he was our first president, and his non-smiling face is on the one-dollar bill.

Okay, bad example.

MikeRoweHalfNekkid

via MikeRowe.com

I’m a big fan of Mike Rowe. Not because he’s half-naked in the above photo, although his visage here is not a detriment.

He used to do a show called “Dirty Jobs” where he went all over to meet people who do jobs that are maybe unpleasant to some, but necessary. He would do those jobs for a day (or more) to give his viewers a glimpse into what those occupations entail (many involved poop or some other sort of nasty fluids, smells, etc.). He is currently filming a new show called “Somebody’s Gotta Do It”, which is basically the same type of premise. He is intelligent and funny – his FB posts are sometimes long, but very worth the read.

While I wouldn’t necessarily consider delivering pizza to be a “dirty job”, Mr. Rowe once wrote something about the subject of jobs vs. careers that seems relevant:

Jobs are different than careers, but when you suggest that one is subordinate to the other, you diminish the value of ordinary work.

All I know is, I don’t judge my pizza delivery guy based on his current position in the workplace.

What he does for a living may be “ordinary” to some, but it is definitely of value to me. As a mom of four whose husband travels for work, it is a nice treat to have dinner delivered to our door. Clearly, my intermittent pizza delivery man with the hideous teeth has shown up for his job for the last eight years and is always very cheerful and kind when he hands over our dinner, and I tip him well because of that.

Also?

Even though they gross me out, I honestly don’t give a damn about the condition of my pizza man’s teeth. I mean, they’re not keeping me up nights, you know?

At least, not the ones after pizza night.

* * * * * * * * * * *

As far as where to draw the line when poking fun…well, I suppose that’s a subjective thing. Humor writing is tricky because not everyone thinks like I do. The things I find funny might offend others, and I guess that’s just something I’ll have to deal with, but I will say that my humor mostly comes from the heart – not from a place of hate. I just want to make people laugh, and it’s usually at my own expense.

I don’t have any bad feelings about the people who suggested that I was being judgmental. If anything, I’m thankful, because their comments encouraged me to look at where I’m coming from.

That’s the fun thing about The FB – I have a lot of “friends” who are actually friends-of-friends or long-lost acquaintances, and perhaps they just don’t get my sense of humor, which can be quite dramatic and dark and weird. So, to those folks, I apologize if I offended you, or if you took that FB status the wrong way, and I thank you for your comments and messages.

Right now, I think I will go order some pizza and then do some serious flossing…

HERE’S  THE CLIFF’S NOTES FOR THOSE WHO DO NOT READ THE ENTIRE POST:

  • Pizza man has unhealthy choppers that gross me out.
  • I like him because he’s a nice and funny person.
  • He has a job that most people find beneath them, which I find quite ridiculous.
  • Dental care is wicked expensive – yes, I get it. Four kids with dental needs? Yeah. Fun times.
  • I have quirks. We all do, don’t we?

 

* * * * * * * *

Written to the tunes of:

Electric Light Orchestra

The Tubes

{ 2 comments }

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