Friday, December 23, 2005

The Line

In short, I try to live by the words of Johnny Cash every day.
I keep a close watch on this heart of mine
I keep my eyes wide open all the time
I keep the ends out for the tie that binds
Because you're mine, I walk the line
I could stop typing right there, and everyone would in some way be able to connect to what I'm trying to say. But I won't stop there. I'm gonna get a little melodramatic on your asses first.

One of the binding agents that keeps a civilization together is civility itself. At the point where the majority of the population is just as likely to say "fuck it" rather than grin and bear it, we have lost that civility. As an example, there have been dramatic upward surges in road rage recently. More people are apparently losing control of their faculties - albeit temporarily - as a result of a standard, routine, ordinary activity.

And I know why.

I see more hurdles every single day. Every single day there is another dozen set of things that are just itching to set me off. Examples? Ok...

I don't want to have to memorize the names of your family and dogs with those little gotdamned white stickers on the back of your caravan. That little piece of information isn't going to make my life any easier, nor is it contributing to my wellbeing. But you put it there, in your back windshield. It's obviously not for YOUR benefit. Otherwise it would be IN YOUR FACE. No, you want the unfortunate souls stuck behind you in traffic to know you have a dog and a cat named Fluffy. Wowee! Can't believe I let that little tidbit of information slip past me!

And I don't care if your child is an honor student. I was too. My mom didn't advertise. You know why? Nobody else would fucking care. Has anyone ever pulled you over and asked about your child's progress reports? No? Then they don't care, but you still advertise. Why don't I see "My Child Is A Freakin' Retard" bumper stickers? Then maybe you'd get some laughs or a Hooked-On-Phonics donation or something.

When civility is one the verge of failing, you resort to tolerance. I loved the South Park episode when everyone had to go to tolerance camp to learn that "Intolerance will not be tolerated!" Tolerance doesn't mean you have to like and accept means you have to be willing to coexist with it. Abortion clinics are a great example - they exist though many would rather they didn't. The vast majority of people tolerate that. Some cuckoos don't, so they blow up nurses and buildings to aire their displeasure. I hate it when servers at restaurants can't speak a word of decent english. At least enunciate! But I don't kill them. No. I tolerate it. I may leave a note with the management that says "I know Olive Garden respects their customers wishes, so you may wish to teach your waitress how to freakin' talk!" But I tolerate it. I tolerate bad drivers. I tolerate being in line at the grocery store behind to only woman using WIC coupons. I tolerate many things every single day.

That's why when I see shit on the news about Muslims banning Piglet coffee mugs or idiots with stupid t-shirts getting kicked off planes, I get a little upset. I used to think "My right to swing my fists ends at your face." Did I not get the memo about that policy change? Apparently, my right to swing my fists now ends at someone twenty feet away becoming anxious about the fist swinging and creating a citywide ordinance to ban menacing gestures. Learn to be more tolerant, fucksticks, and stop spoiling everyone elses fun! I can't believe I have to get pissed about this stuff. And other people notice these things too - I know they do. They are just as tolerant as I am, if not more so. I just bugs me.

What the hell is my point? I wish I knew. I'm getting pissed off at all the goofballs in society today that think they have a right to not be offended. Guess what? You don't. There is no hidden, secret invisible ink article in the Constitution that says you have the right to infringe on my rights if it upsets your delicate sensibilities. It doesn't exist. I looked. Not there. Maybe if I had those cool 3D glasses from "National Treasure", Nic Cage could help me find it. But that isn't the case.

So when apparently everything upsets someones sensibilities, where do we draw the line. Civility no longer exists, and tolerance is being phased out of the dictionary, so where do we draw that line I try to walk every day? (Didn't think that was going anywhere, huh?)

Is it sensible to say, ban all handguns, because some people are offended by the sight of a handgun? Fuck no. A resounding fuck no. Excuse the harsh letters. Do they offend you? Good. Get over it.

Is it then sensible to ban all cars, trains, planes, boats and bikes, because someone, somewhere, has an issue with their existence? Again, the answer is no. I had a guy in my office the other day whom I asked if he needed a parking permit. A simple yes/no question. "I don't believe in cars." Wha-wha-what? You don't BELIEVE in cars. I looked out the window and asked, very pointedly, what all those colored, shiny things were. He kinda stuttered and said that not what he meant. Let's see - you don't believe all THOSE things exist, right there? That ones mine, and I can assure you, its real. He just got flustered. But the idea that, were it up to him, cars wouldn't exist, bothers me. I tolerate his ideals, but they still bother me.

Is it sensible to ban knives, mans oldest tool? Machines? Agriculture? Government? Somewhere, some group has an issue with all of those things.

The line is drawn somewhere right down the middle. It shifts, to be sure, but it always has a median range that it occupies. I will tolerate your idiotically loud music at the stop light. I will not tolerate you taking the pedestrians purse at a stop light. When you are being a jackass in and only in your own space, you have my blessing. When you step outside that imaginary little mime-like box, your ass is mine. With the exception of flag burning - you'd best do that in your backyard if you want to make a statement that doesn't end in coughing up your own incisors.

I can't believe I have to be pissed about this stuff! I thought it was common sense. But nooo...

Stop. Take a deep breath. This reminds me of another Johnny Cash song.
"Don't take your guns to town, son
Leave your guns at home, Bill
Don't take your guns to town."