You’ve Been Warned!

One of the weirdest phenoms of the 21st century is the “Trigger Warning.”  This is a statement made before news items, blogs, plays, books, stories, opinion pieces, university lectures, movies, TV programs, poems, paintings and pretty much everything else we watch, read or hear.  The purpose is to warn us that whatever is coming next is probably too harsh for our fragile emotions to handle, and we should avert our gaze or else we’ll end up huddled in the corner – sobbing.  Personally, I think this is a rather ad hoc way to do business.  We all know life is tough, and if we’ve become such emotional marshmallows we can’t deal with trivial stuff like TV programs or someone’s Twitter opinion, maybe it’s time we put trigger warnings on life itself.

May I make a few suggestions?

Warning — Normal people disagree with each other.  Sometimes, they will disagree with you.  They are not idiots, evil or part of an international corporate conspiracy.  However, if it distresses you that anybody could possibly have a perspective, attitude or viewpoint that’s different from yours — remain calm — try to steer the conversation to celebrity gossip or, better still, just walk away when the adults are talking.

Warning — There are hundreds of different cultures in the world.  These cultures exist simultaneously and overlap.  If you are so uncomfortable being Caucasian that the overlap causes you feelings of latent Western guilt, please return to your home and watch old Michael Moore documentaries.  They will provide all the guilt you need.

Warning — Reasonable political discussions contain logic and nuance.  If you prefer shouting and/or name calling, it’s probably best to just talk about the weather.  Oops!  No, probably not!  Hmm — perhaps stick to celebrity gossip or, better still, just walk away when the adults are talking.

Warning — Not every person on this planet is your mother.  Nobody is emotionally obligated to cuddle, cajole or care about you.  If this makes you uncomfortable — uh — I don’t care?

Warning — You can’t change history.  If historical names, statues and monuments offend you so completely that you feel an uncontrollable need to vandalize or destroy them – go ahead.  Throughout history, arrogant bullies have always tried to cancel the culture that came before them (Nazis burned books, Puritans banned Christmas, the Taliban closed all the schools for girls, etc.) so you’re just another arrogant bully in a long line of history’s arrogant bullies – get used to it.

Warning — Television is NOT real.  If make-believe offends you, please do not watch television.

Warning — People in other centuries had different values and ideals.  Perhaps they were wrong, but judging past behaviour by contemporary standards is stupid.  Remember what a nitwit you were in high school?   Seemed like a good idea at the time, though – didn’t it?  Well, good luck trying to justify it now!

Warning — Humour still exists in the world.  If laughing at stupidity, absurdity, the ridiculous and the inane makes you uneasy, please pull the hockey stick out of your ass and quit spoiling it for the rest of us.

Warning — “Trigger Warnings” are bullshit.  If you are an adult and still need someone else to prequalify what you read, watch or hear, please talk to your parents immediately.  Obviously, they didn’t do their job properly, and you might want to start again.

Boundaries!

We need some new rules.  Let’s face it, folks: we live in childish times.  Our opinions are no longer thoughtful and measured but instant and shrill.  Our discussions are loud and unruly: our voices are pouty.  We whine and complain, and we’re constantly throwing temper tantrums when we don’t get what we want.  (Take a peek at all the Lockdown protests.)  In short, we’ve become a bunch of bratty children.  So, it’s time we set up a few boundaries.  Here are some suggestions: feel free to add to the list.

Like fishing, hunting and driving a car, people must have a license before they’re allowed to use Social Media.  They must pass a test that proves they’re actually smarter than a four-year-old before they can have a Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account.

If you’re having a serious political discussion, you cannot refer to ex-president Trump.  It’s been eight months.  He’s gone.  Give it a rest!

Grown men must not wear short pants if they are more than 5 metres away from a beach, a playground, a picnic spot or their own backyard.  (Guys, what don’t you understand about “grown man?”)

Baseball caps must be worn the right way round.  Look, ya moron! Wearing them backwards actually defeats the whole purpose of the hat.

Old men on loud motorcycles must seek professional help for their penis anxiety.

A baby stroller is not a weapon.  Therefore, it cannot be larger, wider, taller or heavier than the mom pushing it.  And dads, the mall is not Charlotte Motor Speedway — and neither is the grocery store.  Slow down!  Your kids are getting wind-burnt.

You can no longer claim to be “spiritual” just because you have a foreign language tattoo.  (The only thing you can claim is you have bad taste and too much disposable income.)

“Like,” “Awesome,” “You know” “Totally” and “Amazing” are banned from polite conversation.

The phrase “plus size” is also banned.  It’s just a sneaky way of reminding ordinary women they’re not supermodels.

The words “for” and “about” are no longer interchangeable.  “I’m embarrassed for it” and “I’m embarrassed about it” are completely different.  The first one isn’t even English.

Vegans must wait at least 5 minutes before announcing their status to strangers.  This rule does not apply to vegetarians (who normally don’t get all pissy about their culinary habits, anyway.)

If you’ve been in 3 or more movies, you’re no longer allowed to talk about poverty.  You’re riding around in a limousine, for God’s sake!  What can you possibly tell anybody about being poor?  (This goes double if you play a musical instrument for money.)

Professional athletes can no longer be paid more than the GDP of Malta.  They’re kicking a ball, not curing cancer. Let’s get some perspective.

From here on, celebrities have to be famous for a reason.  (And a photo-shopped picture of your ass on Instagram doesn’t count!)

And finally

Actors, actresses, singers and musicians who visit poor countries — for whatever reason — are no longer allowed to bring orphan kids home as souvenirs.

7 People To Avoid On Social Media

I love Social Media.  It’s like waking up in the morning and a couple of thousand people climb out of bed with you. Then, before you know it, there’s this gigantic cocktail party going on.  However, as with all social gatherings, there are a few people you kinda want to avoid.  Here’s a quick and dirty guide to the folks you need to stay away from on Social Media.  (FYI — I’ve managed to steer clear of some these folks, but the rest is bitter experience.)

Games R Us — I’ve got nothing against playing video games, but these people are the crack addicts of the Internet.  They’re constantly posting their achievements, sending you points and invitations, and generally cluttering up your cyberspace.  Why?  They want to get you hooked, too — so you’ll send them points and power-up crap and we can all be junkies together.

Puppies, Cats and Babies — Whatever you do, stay away from these people and their photos, their GIFs and their videos.  The cute will overwhelm you, you’ll end up giving all your money to the Save The Children Fund and your house will be overrun by 9 cats, 4 dogs, an African Grey parrot and a colony of hamsters.

I’ve Got My Caps Lock On — These folks are permanently pissed-off.  They post things like:  “Some people just need a high-five, in the face, with a chair!”  Or they’ll rant on (in capital letters) about how the kid at Starbucks™ misspelled their name, or the traffic was horrible, or work is torture and on and on and on.  And don’t get them started on politics!  If you hang with these snarly buggers, you may never smile again.

Share Bear Comedians — These are the people who think they’d be really good at standup (if only they had the chance.)  They post funny memes 10, 12, 16 times a day and an assortment of videos where some unsuspecting somebody gets nailed in the jewels.  Sometimes this stuff is funny, but eventually you realize these folks have nothing to say and they say it all day — every day.  Can you imagine how much time they spend online just finding this stuff?

I Have An Infinite Soul — These are the people who believe they live on a higher plane of consciousness than everybody else and have a burning need to share their awareness.  They’re continually posting platitudes to demonstrate their deep thoughts.  Mostly these are meaningless, self-help homilies.  This is easy — stay away from these pompous assholes.

I’m Going To Ruin Your Day — These are the people who post videos of blind dogs with no legs or kids with tubes in them or lonely old people on park benches or … Sweet Jesus! Just kill me now!  How the hell do you respond to this stuff?  “Gosh, I never realized the world was so full of torment and suffering.  I think I’ll just turn off my computer and cry for an hour or two.”

And finally:

I’m Old And You’re Stuck With Me — These are those sweet old friends and relatives who are still trying to figure out The Google.  Somebody set them up on Social Media and you friended or followed them to be nice.  Now, they think every time you post something, they’re required to make some lame ass comment.  Plus, they’re somebody’s mom’s friend or an Uncle Bill so you can’t get rid of them without feeling like a shit.  The best thing to do is just lol them once in a while and carry on.  (Most of them think lol means Lots of Love, anyway.)

GOOD LUCK!