Merry Christmas and Seasons Greetings from Mexico!
I wish it felt more Christmassy this year. As I am constantly reminded by every Hallmark Christmas movie, this is a time of snow, family, and love. That’s one of the downsides of living in a temperate climate. Thousands of miles away from everyone in your family. In a foreign country.
To be honest, I’m not sure anyone in my family would visit me even if we lived across the street from each other. That’s probably my fault. I burned a lots of bridges back when I was drunk all the time.
Some fault also has to be allocated to my siblings. We’re all fairly fucked up, and almost everyone in my family has decided it’s way easier to just keep drinking than it is to try to fix all of those broken personalities and relationships.
That’s just one of the many upsides to living in a temperate climate, thousands of miles away from everyone in your family, in a foreign country.
* * * *
Speaking of burning bridges, I’ve discovered that I don’t need to be drunk to do that. For those of you who placed bets on how long it would take for my Twitter account to be permanently disabled, if you picked December 4, 2019, you win.
Even I thought it would take me longer than that.
I wasn’t a big fan of the Twitter. It was the domain of mystic poets and nude selfies. I fucking hate poetry and no one wants to see me naked. Including me. Twitter is the social media equivalent of a moral wasteland. I never understood the language of the Twitter, which no doubt makes me the Ultimate Twit.
So? What did you do to piss off the Twitter police, dude?
According to the Twitter police, I was guilty of engaging in a pattern of hate themed speech, which was a repeated violation of the community standards that Twitter sometimes takes seriously.
In the interest of transparency, I am totally guilty of everything Twitter accused me of doing. But there was another person who consistently violated Twitter’s community standards, and he did so without any fear of repercussions.
Donald Trump consistently lied about his accomplishments, blamed his political opponents for his failings, and fired off endless insults, taunts, and disparaging names at anyone that didn’t kiss his ass.
I pointed out Mr. Trump’s pattern of inflammatory fabrication to the Twitter police more than once. They had a response. If I didn’t like the things that Mr. Trump wrote, I should simply stop reading them.
That was their official stance on the matter.
That was something I couldn’t do, so I called out The Donald every time he bragged about a success, or projected his shortcomings off onto others, or insulted Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, or any of his Democratic opponents.
Donald Trump is a pathological liar. I could live with that if not for one, small, tiny, insignificant detail. He’s also the President of the United States. Because of his status, I find his actions morally reprehensible, even though I have often stated that I don’t have any morals or ethics.
Yeah, I know. It doesn’t make any sense to me either.
Unfortunately, and I honestly feel it was an unfortunate course of action on my part, I tended to end the majority of my rebuttals to Mr. Trump with …you lying cocksucker! Or, …you motherfucking piece of shit!!
My Twitter account was temporarily suspended three or four times for saying bad things about the 45th President of the United States.
I was a psych nurse for thirty years. The one thing I hated more than anything was when someone started name-calling. I’m sure that can directly be tied to all of times I had to endure it when I was a child. That, and spitting. I really hated being spit on.
In a nutshell, because it was something I wouldn’t want to happen to me, I should never have engaged in that sort of behavior toward someone else. Even a fucking douchebag like Donald Trump.
Christians call it The Golden Rule. Everyone else calls it not being an asshole.
At some time during the day of December 3rd, I called Melania Trump a whore. And a mindless cunt. There’s probably not any evidence supporting my claim that The Donald ever literally sucked any cocks or had sex with his mother. And for that, my Twitter account was temporarily suspended several times.
However, there is a veritable ocean of evidence that indicates Melania Trump is both a whore, and a mindless cunt. And because those accusations were true, Twitter shut down my account forever the very next day.
I’m okay with that. I was engaging in behavior that I would never condone in another. Besides, getting into a Twitter war with The Donald isn’t just stupid, it’s a fruitless cause, and I already have one of those.
It’s called Golf…
* * * *
I’ve been a social misfit almost all of my life. I may still be one, but there’s one major difference between the old guy me and the young kid me. I no longer care what other people think of me.
Being an outsider looking in was easy for me when I was a kid. I was almost always the new kid in town. We moved a lots when I was in grade school. Minnesota, at least twice. Michigan. South Dakota. Arkansas. North Dakota, twice. California, twice. Missouri. And finally, Montana.
Eleven different school districts to complete eight years of school. I was either so far ahead of my classmates that they thought I was some kind of genius, or so far behind them that everyone thought I was a total moron.
Moving from one place to another in the Midwest was bad enough, but moving from the North to the South was absolute hell. Not only are you the New Kid in Town, you’re a Damn Yankee to boot. And back then, the only thing white southern kids hated more than damn Yankees was niggers.
Yes, I know I’m not supposed to say that anymore. But as I write this, it’s 1963. I was in the second grade when we moved to Little Rock. I was picked on so much in Arkansas that I shit my pants in school. Twice.
I vividly remember both of those incidents. What I don’t remember is why it didn’t happen more often. It’s possible that my heartless tormentors started feeling sorry for me, but it’s far more likely that they thought they might end up covered in shit, too.
Third grade, we were living in Grand Forks, North Dakota. It was the only time I was considered the most popular kid in my class. And the only reason I know this is because my teacher whispered it into my ear one day.
I wasn’t the most popular kid in my class in Michigan. Or South Dakota. Or at either of the schools I attended in California. And I wasn’t even close to the most popular kid in my class when we moved back to Grand Forks because we lived in a different school district on the other side of town.
1967. I was in seventh grade. That was the worst year of my grade school career. I started out the school year in Minnesota, spent something like six months in Missouri, then finished up the year in Montana.
Missouri might have been even worse than Arkansas when it came to being bullied because I was the New Kid/Damn Yankee in town, but that was one of the school districts where I was so far ahead of my classmates that even my teachers were in awe of me.
* * * *
There were no anti-bullying initiatives way back in the Middle Ages when I was a kid. As I reflect on this period of abject humiliation of my life, it’s a good thing my dad didn’t own any handguns.
I doubt that I ever would’ve been able to shoot anyone, but I’m pretty sure I thought about it. When I was a kid, there were probably a dozen different Western TV shows. Bonanza. Gunsmoke. The Rifleman. Conflict resolution was usually handled with a six-shooter.
But it’s far more likely that I wouldn’t have been able to hit the broad side of a barn even if I had access to a handgun. I got my first pair of glasses when I was in the third grade because I was essentially blind, but I refused to wear them because it was just another thing the other kids could use to make fun of me. I didn’t want to give them any extra ammunition.
That changed when I started the eighth grade. My new teacher introduced me to my latest set of new classmates. And then she said this, And class, please remind Mark to wear his glasses. His mother told me he doesn’t like to wear them, but he really needs to wear them…
It was something like that. I stopped listening when I started playing for God to quit fucking around and kill me to death for real this time.
* * * *
It was probably around the time that we were living in Missouri that I started utilizing a few defense mechanisms that would keep me and all of the people around me alive.
The first is called a reaction formation. It’s a complicated Freudian concept. In essence, negative emotions or impulses which are mastered by substituting the opposite emotion or impulse. The substitute reaction is usually overly exaggerated. I’m not an expert in psychoanalysis, so I’m not sure if this is commonly used or not. I do know this: my substitute reactions are not overly exaggerated, and I’m pretty sure that’s not very common.
Another is mirroring, and it’s pretty much what it sounds like. One person unconsciously imitates the gestures, speech pattern, or attitude of another. Almost everybody uses this, especially with family and close friends.
And the third is humor. People are less likely to want to punch you if you can make them laugh.
* * * *
When I was a freshman in high school, I achieved the dual distinctions of being both a genius and a moron in just a matter of months. The first semester of the year, I was in the Honor’s Math class where I struggled to get D’s. My math teacher actually announced to my entire class I had no business being in his class, and told me to get out of his classroom.
I didn’t need a second invitation. I picked up my books, walked out the door, and kept on walking until I got home, five miles later. I’ve told this story to my lovely supermodel wife. She said I must’ve felt humiliated. I suppose I did, but what I mostly remember is feeling relieved.
I was called into the Principal’s office the next day. I fully expected to be suspended or expelled. Instead, I received an apology and I was placed in a different math class. The second semester was an entirely different story. I was a straight A student in the Math for Morons class.
I’ve tried not to make a big deal out what happened to me on that day so long ago when Father Weiss told me to get out of his classroom. I’ve tried, but I still hate math.
* * * *
I didn’t really have a best friend until my freshman year of high school. That’s when I met Dave Nelson. We’re still buds. I didn’t have a girlfriend until my senior year. That’s when I fell in love with Maureen Browne. I think we’re still friends.
She asked me if I was going to attend our fifty year class reunion in 2024. I told her I was thinking about it, but I was terrified of seeing her face to face again. She said I should be. And then she said she was joking.
I told her I wasn’t. And that’s not an exaggeration.
Dave and Maureen both gave the best gifts I have ever received from anyone. Acceptance. Friendship. Love. They were the first people outside of my family that showed me there was also beauty in the world.
* * * *
The Greek philosopher Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living.” That might be true, but from my point of view at this precise moment, examining your life doesn’t increase its value by any appreciable amount.
I’m not sure what the point of this post is supposed to be. No doubt there’s an Aesopian moral of the story that’s supposed to enlighten me. There’s only one small, tiny, insignificant problem.
I’m pretty sure I didn’t write it.
My writing process isn’t this organized. Nor is it usually this specific. My Muses apparently have a much better idea of what they’re doing than I ever will.
I hope they’re happy. Maybe they’ll take some time off for the holidays. My lovely supermodel wife and I are going to Mexico City. I’d like to be able to to enjoy it.
But you have any ideas for the moral of the story, leave me a comment.