Saturday, October 18, 2008

Mean People Still Suck

One of the things I really enjoy about getting older is that a lot of what was once important just seems so godawfulfuckinridiculous now. Often it's a source of amusement to remember an event, a person, an emotion related to a time and laugh at how insignificant it is now, how small a thing it became when once it was so important. Even that is an awakening because there was a time when I'd have been outraged at the overwhelmingly large becoming the humorously small. I would have been insulted to waste my rich emotional life on piddly crap. But the truth is I did. I wasted a lot of me that could have been spent better elsewhere. I gave my heart to so much piddly crap that I could wear a crown of insignificance with all the pride of someone who had devoted her life to earning such a trophy. I really could. And yes, I earned it. Damn straight, I earned it.

I could cry over it, but now I just laugh. I laugh at a lot of things. I laugh at people who take themselves so seriously there's no wiggle room for them to be anything else. A creative grave is still a hole in a ground with dirt. But they can't see it. The grave is the thing you see, these people say with all the intensity of the armchair philosopher with credentialed thoughts leading the marching band in their brains.

I am always left exhausted arguing with people like that because their entire lives are talking points. They can't go beyond them. They can't stretch them. They can't question them. They can't interpret them. But they gather up each other like a big old sticky ball of tape rolling down a hill.

They're what's happened to this country in the last few years. I blame these sticky ball folks' appalling lack of ability to think outside their own grave for the appalling  talking points mentality that has taken over this country like dirt shoveled on that grave.

People are  burying themselves in the emptiness of ideologies that don't come from anything they believe. It comes from their masters, the ones that keep them afraid and weak and insignificant. It comes from those they envy, those they covet, those they resent for freedoms and intact dreams they no longer have.

I haven't seen anything like it since the ant farm I had as a kid, the one I continually messed with in the hopes of getting the ants to do something, anything other than the regimented pattern of their existence. But it never happened. The ants remained ants.

That ant farm prepared me to meet people who couldn't think beyond their own immediate needs, who couldn't conceptualize beyond their own wants, and who desperately sought the path of least introspection. It's the only reason I didn't become an antisocial grub-eating, grass-munching, cave-dwelling hermit. The ants warned me about such people. I knew them when I met them. I was emotionally prepared for their emptiness. I knew they would never give back even a fraction of what I was capable of giving. I just saw it as an unfair way of the world. There's lots of things like that. I can't let myself get beaten up over them.

But I was never adequately prepared for the selfish cruelty of people. I'm still appalled and shaken to the core of my idealistic self when I am confronted with it. I just don't understand people who think only of themselves and no one else. It seems like such an empty way to be, such a hollow excuse for what could be a rich and meaningful life. Part of me wants to feel sorry for them and the other part of me sees them as undeveloped two year olds who never set aside their emotional diapers for the real world.

I've met more than my share of backstabbing losers and unfortunately a lot of them convinced me they were my friends. The older I got the more I pruned them away like the dead growth they always were but I couldn't always see. I wanted them to grow, to change, to evolve, but sadly they never did and in some cases just became even more selfish, even more mean, even more petty, even more ridiculous  excuses for human beings. I had to let them go or they would take me down with them.

But I've learned that when you let something bad go, you often make room for something good to grow in its place. I've learned that most people are inadequate in some way. I can deal with that. I don't judge the inadequacies of those I love and respect. I see it as part of their charm, their humanity. What I can't deal with is mean. Mean people suck. They really do and they always will. It takes a real snake of a person to be mean when there's so many other options.

But you know, in an odd sort of way I think we are nearing the end of that time when mean people ruled with such power and authority. It's crazy to see it but what brought them down in the end was their own meanness, their own selfishness, their own greed, their own shallow belief that everyone owed them something and they owed no one anything.

Just as those I cut ties with eventually had to start feeding on each other because I was no longer there as an option, so did the culture of greed, the spoiled brats that never grew up had to start feeding on each other. And that's what brought them down because greed will never satisfy hunger. Only introspection and emotional maturity can do that. Only compassion and altruism and thinking beyond yourself can do that. Only a world where we value each other more than we value things or power or vengeance can keep us from becoming those regimented ants trapped between two pieces of glass and a great big pile of dirt.

Canvas tote bag from Ursine Logic.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wish everyone sincerely had this attitude.