Monday, January 18, 2010

The Things We Carry.

In my last post, I wrote about bad people doing bad things, either from the batshit crazy of Pat Robertson or the ratfuck dishonesty of the evil prick Limbaugh.

(And if you haven't read Ed Gorman's comment on Limbaugh's place in our great circle of life, we'll wait while you do. Goddam the man can write.)

I don't take any great pleasure in pointing out the moral failings of prominent people. OK, I do. But Robertson and Limbaugh, like all good villains, have convinced themselves that what they're doing is right.

Horrifying, I know, but it's the truth.

Today, I'm more concerned with, in the words of Elvis Costello, the damage that we do and never know. The unintentional fuck-ups you make unless you renounce society and live a hermit's existence in some God forsaken spot like Tulsa.

This past weekend, I was made aware that I hurt people I cared about and what's worse, I was oblivious.

The first came from 42 years ago.

Kingsley Amis famously said that having a male libido is like being "chained to an idiot." And Jesus, my idiot was strong.

I knew a girl in high school who was young and eager to be popular. She was at a party. My party and, as the host was an idiot, there was probably a lot of bad behavior. I honestly don't recall.

But this young girl was treated shabbily by one of the other idiots at the party. Not criminal, but stupid and inconsiderate. And the hurt and shame she felt that day in my house, at my party, has stuck with her for 4 decades. This past weekend she asked me about it, if I remembered that party and what had happened.

I'm ashamed to say I don't remember. I don't even recall having the party. But I was her host, and I cared for her, and I was too stupid to notice that she had been humiliated and hurt.

I apologized. She said it wasn't necessary but I disagree.

The second example of my personal jerkish behavior happened more recently and came from a friend I'd broken with last year. The break was unpleasant and unnecessary. In an e-mail, my friend catalogued all the ways I'd let him down and disappointed him. Some of it was justified. But most of his anger was caused by assumptions, slights and a massive amount of bad communication.

So, as I see how I can wander through people's lives like Godzilla wanders through downtown Tokyo, it reminds me to take the slights and cruelty of others with more patience and forgiveness.

Except for guys like Robertson and Limbaugh. Those guys are just evil fucks.


dean said...

Man, if I were to attempt to go back to figure out all the ways I might have hurt people... wow. That's crazy stuff.

There's no way you can live your life like that, checking everything you do against what you think everyone else in your life will think of it.

Buddha said that we are all responsible for our own salvation. I believe this, and I also that this cuts two ways: those who are offended have a responsibility to both let the offender know, and to let the offense go. Those who have given offense have a responsibility to explain, and to apologize.

I think the hardest thing I have had to learn is the difference between saying 'I'm sorry you were offended' and saying 'I'm sorry'.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Yesterday the people of Massachusetts broke my heart. The irony of it all is beyond words. Just when it looks like right thinking will prevail, we are back in the dark ages.
Thanks for the band info. Music is a great way to drown our sorrows.

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