Wednesday, June 15, 2016

In which I fix everything

Let’s try to work this through because, honestly, I’m confused. Our current gun control laws are intricate, complex and not always effective. I see why you can't eliminate everything wrong with them, but I want to add in another layer to the application process which might streamline things.

First question is "Question 0."

0. If you want something that someone else has, what do you do?

A. demand it and/or take it (go to Decision A)
B. ask for it or to pay for it, and if not, walk away (go to Question 0')
C. ask for it or offer to pay for it and if not, demand and/or take it (go to Decision A)
D. walk away (go to question 0')

0'. If you have something and someone else wants it, what do you do?

A. respond with force (go to Decision A)
B. anything else (go to Question 1)

1. Do we want a world in which everyone is alike? If your answer is “yes” then I have to ask “why?” With no differences, there is nothing to talk about – nothing to discover. Sure, in a religious sense, everyone being united in a single creed is attractive but even then, we would all see colors in our unique ways, have different academic skills etc. Do you really want a world of identical clones and robots? Then I can’t help you. Go to “Decision A.” If you answer is “no” then move to question 2.

2. Do you see that there are different kinds of differences? If your answer is “no” then how do you survive? A person who likes chocolate to your vanilla preference is as different from you as someone who has a different religious preference? I can’t help you. Go to "Decision A." If your answer is “yes” then move to question 3.

3. Are there differences that threaten your ability to be the person you want to be? If your answer is “no” then we are done here. You live a happy life. Check in with question 4 just to be sure. If you answer is “yes” then we have the potential for a problem, so you had better check with question 4.

4. Do you feel that your side of an issue should be imposed on others? If you answered “no” and answered “no” to question 3 then enjoy your happiness. Go to “Decision B.” If you answered “yes” but answered “no” to question 3 then think about that – you want your ideas to threaten others even though they do not threaten you. Is that right and/or fair? Go to question 5. If you answered “yes” to both questions 3 and 4, then you live in fear of the world and want others to live in that same fear. Is that the kind of world you think is optimal? Go to question 5.

5. Should differences be resolved by discussion and understanding or force? If you got this far, then you think that all differences have to be resolved and not left alone because people are different. But if you said “discussion and understanding” at least you are willing to sit at a table and listen at least as much as you talk. Go to “Decision C.” If you said “force” then go to “Decision A.”

Decision A: No. You don’t get a gun. I don’t care if your psych profile is clean and you have no criminal record. I don’t like your attitude.
Decision B: Sure, you can get a gun. You just don’t want one unless it is a water gun or possibly, one for skeet shooting but you would probably just want to talk to the skeets.
Decision C: Gun, but no bullets. Party on, Garth.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

On civic responsibility

I feel that as members of a society, we all rely on one another. One person's actions invariably affect others and therefore, when we do anything, we must consider the implications: how will what I do impact on other people. When someone drives, his inattentiveness, his use of a cell phone or his decision not to worry himself with a little thing called "blinkers" will cause ripple in the space-drive continuum and I will be drawn into his pit of stupidity. No man is a traffic island, you might say. I wouldn't, but knowing you, you might.

So anyway, I feel very strongly that we need to be held responsible for our actions. If this constrains us and demands that we pay more attention to the details which govern our behavior (even if simply out of fear of punishment or public censure), so be it. Personal accountability cannot be overlooked and we should not be countenancing excusing sloppiness or a disregard for the demands of the social contract. This is the impetus behind such versions of the Golden Rule as "What is hateful to you, don't do to your brother, "Love your neighbor as thyself" or "Hey, cut that out! You want I should sneeze on YOUR neck?" With all this in mind, I must call out someone for his falling short of this expectation.

Dr. Starbucks Guy,

Yes, that was a Venti. Yes, it was iced. Yes, you added no milk or sugar. But no, that was certainly NOT decaf. Jerk.

It's not that I don't like caffeine. I do. I reallyreallyreally do. It just doesn't like me. I mean, maybe it does. I'm not sure if a racing pulse, sweating and the shakes are signs of flirting so maybe he really likes me and maybe not. Alls I know is that there is a reasonable chance that I won't be doing much in the way of relaxing for the next 26-30 hours.

Your job dear sir, is not an easy one, but it is fairly straightforward. When someone asks for "Venti Decaf, Iced." You write on the cup "IC" in the "decaf" box and hand it to the other guy who pours the coffee into the cup, secures the top and looks right past me and shouts to the accumulated crowd of ZERO other people in the store, "ICED VENTI?"

Could this all be my fault? Did I not check the side of the cup? Truth be told, I tried. But black marker on a clear plastic cup, filled with black coffee doesn't show up that well, especially when the boxes are drawn and labeled in black. I made the mistake of trusting that you two, professionals in the field of pouring coffee into a cup, would be able to assimilate my complex order and focus for the full 23 seconds in order to present me with what I asked for.

Maybe it was the hubbub of the easy listening music floating gently around the store. Maybe it was the intense pressure imposed by the line of one person (me) waiting to be served. Who knows. The only undeniable truth here is that I will now be a wreck for the next few days -- sure, fun to watch, but that's not the point. I will also be annoyed, short tempered, easily distracted and possibly violent. Much like I am usually, but also wired.

Do you suggest I balance out with a combination of vodka and carbs? Bad idea. I'll get a 5 minute coma-nap and then be wired and dizzy. Maybe I should water down the caffeine with water. Never works. Last time, I drove to Walgreens at 11:30 and bought half a gallon of milk and a box of cereal, came home, sat on the floor and ate it all. That did NOT end well for the lactose intolerant in me. Maybe I should go take a walk around the state, or harness the energy I feel and paint, well, everything.

So in conclusion, Mr. Starbucks Guy, we all have a role to play and we all have to own up to our mistakes and acknowledge when we perform an action which adversely affects others. I await your apology. If you need to find me, I'll be the one doing jumping jacks while eating a dozen doughnuts.


Now I'm sure that some out there feel like I am finding quarrel in a straw. And it could be that I climbing Mount Molehill while there are other, more important causes to celebre, but take me as I am: a hyperactive, angry decaf drinker who had 24 ounces of the wrong thing at 7:45 PM. No one asked you to come here and read this, at least, besides me. Unless someone did, in which case, cool. Someone asked to come here and read this. I really need to get some doughnuts.