Pressure valve

Some days are all fun and giggles in my world. Other days — and this is one, it is probably apparent — not so much. I get caught up in the news: in reading stories about religious extremists killing and torturing in the name of their god, about men abusing women and children and each other, about greed and entitlement and belittling other people because they are different and you’re afraid of that and everything that is wrong in the world. I get caught up in these things like taking a step too far into the flood waters, thinking they’re shallower or less powerful than they are, realizing as I’m suddenly knocked off my feet and being pulled along with no control.

I get angry, and that’s not something I enjoy feeling. My natural instinct, in fact, is to say no one does — what kind of sick person enjoys being angry? Besides political extremists and the talking heads on news channels? And religious people, and people that are passionate about issues, whether cultural or economic or spiritual, whether left or right leaning. Whether right or wrong, by my definition or yours, they get angry, and shout, and write, and take action.

So there’s the positive takeaway, I tell myself. Working for change in the world, to turn the tide from the status quo, to bring awareness. And sometimes it works — my parents were in the generation that fought to get equal rights for black people, that attended rallies led by Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, and split from their parents and neighbors and refused to give in to the ignorance and intolerance. And my grandparents, they were around for women’s liberation movements, and I’m living in time where sexual orientation is becoming less and less acceptable a reason to deny someone their rights.

But how much has changed? How little? Close friends of mine still think of blacks and browns and yellows as different and inferentially inferior (especially when there’s no one else around). Gays are weird and gross — and from the agnostics and atheists in my circle. The really religious are so much worse. And women still ask for it they way they dress, and who cares if they make less than me for the same job?

Over the years — almost 43 of them, and counting — I’ve tried debating, using solid logic and research and, when appropriate and necessary, impassioned words. It’s a nice thought, that all that talking and discussing leads to change (on either person’s part, to be fair, or perhaps even observers who don’t participate). But realistically — how many minds have I changed over the years? How many minds have I opened? I won’t say none, but the number can’t be much greater than that.

For whatever reason, people are set in their beliefs, even when shown that the foundation of one of those beliefs is patently untrue. Which, you know — fine. Ignorance is bliss, maybe. And what do I care, at the end of the day, if the rest of the world want to believe in something that is demonstrably (even obviously) wrong?

Because, like it or not (and this is one of those days when I don’t so much), I’m stuck living in the same world as them, and more likely than not, these false beliefs shape their actions, and their actions touch me. Sure, I can ignore the entitlement-shaped statements, and the ignorance and fear-fueled idiocy, and the greed-driven hi-jinks, until it turns into a religious nut deciding that I should die because I believe differently, or my financial situation is affected by some out-of-touch CEO’s avarice — because the world owes it to him, by God!

That list almost went on ad nauseum, but it was gonna end on an obvious Justin Beiber joke. Because fuck that guy. With a jackhammer.

Seriously. Jackhammer. Right in the earhole. Or anywhere, really. it’s a jackhammer. No need to be picky about it.

It’s all impotent rage, at the end of the day, which I think is why I choose to ignore it. It’s more fun to be the funny guy, the guy who makes people smile and laugh and forget about their worries, than to be the guy who gets on social media and rails about problems and issues and who shows up in bars making fun of those idiots who have different opinions than his own.

I wonder what it’s like to be ignorant, comfortable accepting the truth of the world around you from talking heads without ever questioning any of it, letting first and easy impressions and assumptions become the fact and foundation of your world.  I really do. Is it easier? Are you happier at the end of the day?

It’s all just ranting on a page. And even with scalded fingers too tired to hold open this valve any longer, I don’t feel at all ventilated.

I blame it all on Bieber fans.

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