I Refuse

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The world is large and it’s full of wonder, but it’s also an obstacle course of nasty.  This is the stuff that we know is unfair, stuff we know is a scam, stuff that insults our intelligence and our integrity.  In general, we just have to put up with this crap– or spend our entire lives cultivating an apoplectic ulcer.  However, there is one way to survive without being totally pissed off all the time: that’s to stop, take three deep breaths and refuse to participate.  Here are just a few things I refuse to do.  (Some of them are more serious than others.)

I refuse to use Gillette products – A while ago, the multinational boys at Gillette made a video that called me (and every other man) a bad friend, a bad father/brother/uncle, a bad role model, a bad mentor, generally a bad person, certainly a sexist and quite possibly a … anyway … you get the idea.  Their only purpose, as far as I can see, was to cash in on trending “toxic masculinity.”  So be it.  Well, I’ve been called a lot of names over the years, but I’ve never paid anybody for the privilege – and I’m certainly not going to start now.

I refuse to wear short pants – I know it’s uber-fashionable, but in ten years, we’re all going to laugh ourselves stupid at the photographs.  Here’s the deal.  Unless you’re a swimmer, a diver, a runner, a pole vaulter or an ice hockey player (think about it!) there is no logical reason for a grown man in the northern hemisphere to wear shorts to work.  Just sayin’!

I refuse to Tweet – My only mission in life is to communicate, and Twitter is the poster child of communication in the 21st century.  So what’s the problem?  Quite simply, Twitter is the meanest, nastiest, most judgemental, disrespectful, petty form of communication since Grog the Caveman grunted obscenities at the Neanderthals down the road.  History is going to look at our time and conclude most of our problems came from the horrible way we talked to each other – and I’m not willing to be part of that.

I refuse to eat liver – I have no philosophical quarrel with liver, but I ain’t going to eat it.  (This is my mother’s fault.)

I refuse to give money to charity — Sounds hard-hearted and it is, but in my defence, I’ve donated tons of clothing, furniture and food over the years.  I’ve recorded radio programs for the blind, cooked pancake breakfasts, swept floors, washed dishes, picked up garbage, sold raffle tickets and taught public speaking in a federal prison – all gratis.  When I get to the Gates of Valhalla, I’m not going to have anything to be ashamed of in the good works department.  My problem with giving cold hard cash to charity is there’s always a middleman somewhere, and no one is ever willing to tell me how much he’s taking off the top.

And finally

I refuse to be lectured by teenagers – I’ve always worked on the premise that the ideas of young people are fresh.  They look at the world with an untrained eye, which gives them a lot of latitude — and that’s a good thing.  However, I’m not interested in being berated for my many failures by someone whose biggest accomplishment so far is mastering puberty.  The notion that kids bring just as much to the table as the experts who’ve studied the problem for years is ludicrous.  Here’s how it works: if your kitchen is flooded, who are you going to call to fix the water pipes – some child fresh out of middle school or a professional plumber?  The choice is yours, but I’m going with the plumber.

I’m Crap At Social Media

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I love Social Media.  I think it’s one of the coolest benefits of living in the 21st century.  It’s as if the Internet has given us a gigantic cocktail party.  Unfortunately, I’m crap at it.  The problem is, for the life of me, I don’t understand how it works.  Yeah, yeah, yeah!  I know the techno-gabble that keeps it together – you post, I post, somebody else posted, we all click “like” or “share” or some such other thing and walk away happy – but after that, I’m lost.  And I truly believe that’s why I’ve never actually been invited to the party.

First of all, I’m old enough to remember pen and paper.  This is a major disadvantage.  Back in the day, when you had something to say, you had to stop, take a minute, think about it, and then take pen in hand.  This forced even the stupidest among us to try and present a comprehensive idea and back it up with a cohesive argument.  Social Media is a lot faster than that.  So, as a consequence, I’m just not intellectually prepared to take a Facebook meme, an Instagram photo or a 140 character treatise on the evils of supply-side economics all that seriously.

Secondly, there’s just so damn much of it.  Social Media is everywhere – Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Reddit, Pinterest – God Almighty!  It never ends.  The sheer volume of relentless information is overwhelming.  No wonder people are wandering around the streets like zombies, thumb-numbing their telephones.  Personally, I don’t have enough hours or energy to sort through the Cute Cat Videos, the angry Trump Tweets and recipes for pan-fried kale to get to the good stuff – forget respond.

And finally, I’m not absolutely certain I want to spend a lot of time chasing Social Media.  I’m all for sharing ideas and discussing them ad infinitum.  (I’m usually the last man standing at real cocktail parties.)  However, for my money, people who think what they had for lunch (or where they had it) is noteworthy, need to reread their Copernicus.  Most of the trivia of everyday existence is – uh – trivial, and recording it across Cyberspace doesn’t give it any extra significance.

It’s not Social Media’s fault I can’t figure it out.  The fact is, in human years, Social Media is still a teenager, and we all know what an emotional and intellectual game of hopscotch that is.  So, for the time being, go in peace, Social Media.  Maybe, in a few years, I’ll be a little smarter and you’ll be a little older — and then you and I can have an adult conversation.

Hashtag Dumbass!

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Unfortunately, I’m losing my fear of nuclear holocaust, climate change and a global pandemic because I’m beginning to believe that long before any of these disasters befalls us, our society is going to implode under the weight of its own stupidity.  Let me explain.  I was waiting in a doctor’s office when I happened to read something stupid on Twitter.  No big deal, right?  However, I was bored, so I googled “stupid tweets” and faster than I could say, “OMG! You’re a moron!” I was swamped.  It turns out there are entire websites and YouTube channels (lots of them) devoted to Twitter idiots.  Who knew?  In less than 20 minutes, I gleaned what you see here, and I can’t imagine what I would have come up with if I had put some muscle into the research.  It really begs the question: Are these The Final Days?

Disclaimer: These have been heavily edited because our society a) can’t spell, b) wouldn’t know punctuation if it bit them on the bum and c) is obsessed with obscenities.

How big is the specific ocean?

What’s the capital of Africa?

What is Obama’s last name?  Does anybody even know?

If airplanes can fly, why don’t we just fly them to Mars and shit and quit wasting so much money on rockets?

How do I get YouTube to come and film me?  I do a lot of funny things, but I can’t find out where to message them to come and film me.

The Olsen twins are so awesome, and they’re sisters with the same birthday.  How cool is that?

This guy even got a reply
Is the iFold Tower in France?
It’s not the iFold Tower; it’s the Eyeful Tower, and it’s in Europe – dumbass!

When they filmed Jurassic Park, how did they get so close to the dinosaurs?  I don’t understand.  #confused

I’m pregnant.  Will my baby have all my tattoos?  #worried

I don’t like dolphins anymore.  Squirrels are my favourite reptile now.

I’m going to stay a virgin for my whole life — so I can set a good example for my children.

I ate so many cookies I think I’m going to die of beaties.

What kind of meat is lamb?  Beef or pork?  I’m not supposed to eat pork, so I need to know.

If Trump gets elected, I’m leaving America and moving to California.

We did 30 songs in 3 days – 75% written and 40% freestyle.

Why did that Facebook guy offer 3 billion to buy Snapchat when he could have just downloaded it from the App Store for free?

How does the water in a waterfall get back up to the top?

Why the hell did Benjamin Franklin have to invent lightning /:

Is NASA stupid?  Don’t they realize that every time they launch a shuttle, it puts a hole in the ozone layer which causes …

And as a bonus, a couple of celebrities:

Why are all the buildings in NYC standing straight up?  If earth is round, then some of the buildings would have a slight tilt.
Tila Tequila

Hello, Facebook.  Yes, this is actually Lindsay.  Welcome to my Facebook page.
Lindsay Lohan

And possibly the stupidest man on the planet.  (There were several Tweets to choose from.)

If we exhale more than we inhale, we feed the plants.  This will end world hunger.
Jaden Smith