Monday, November 8, 2010

Old People Are Assholes

In the Fall of 2006 I took a job in Hilton Head, SC and moved my wife and dalmatian from the hustle and bustle of Atlanta.  I now drive 5 minutes to work, run my own department with a flexible schedule, live in a quiet Charleston-style community that makes Pleasantville seem like a ghetto, and spend more time at the beach in one summer than most people do in their entire lifetimes.  And if there's one thing this sweet hide-away island has taught me...Old people are complete assholes.
Last year I had finally gotten fed up with their dirty looks, pissy attitudes and horrible driving.  You see, until the recent influx of growing business brought a few younger folks here, HHI was a retirement destination for some of the wealthier grey-hairs of the world who hate crowds, tourists and young people.  But that has changed.  And these retirees are not happy.  So last year I told my wife I was going to just start looking people in the eye and saying "fuck you".  Literally.  So I did.
It started at my bank.  I got a dirty look from the female teller, as I turned to walk away from the line I stopped.  Then turned back to her, leaned over the counter and whispered "fuck you".  I was so pleased with myself that I actually rang the bell on the way out.  You know, the one that says "ring bell if you had great service".  It felt liberating to say the least.
The next day an old lady bumped me with her cart in the grocery store.  "Fuck you".
A few days after that an 80-something year old raced me off the line at the stop light.  As her 2008 Cadillac screamed off the line, I just sort of pulled out with a look of bewilderment on my face.  Please note that I have a 6.2L V8 supercharger under the hood.  So she was having fun in her Cadi...big deal.  Until she decided to cut me off further up the road, I mean within inches of my bumper.  I slowly pulled up next to her, rolled down my window and proceeded to tell her to "fuck off".  The guy behind me at the light witnessed this and gave me the stink-eye.  I told him to fuck off as well.
I was so amused at the looks on their faces after each "fuck you" I handed out.  It was awesome!  Just these old wrinkled, blank looks of surprise.
My wife has since made me stop this practice, but it was fun while it lasted.  And lately I've put a lot of thought into why some old people are just assholes.

Now, before everyone starts to think I'm just the world's biggest dirtbag, I'm not.  I'm a genuinely nice guy that just has very little patience for the human condition.  I'm a Darwinist.  The plight of others doesn't affect me the way it does most people.  I see the world for what it is.  So shoot me.  
I have, however, cracked the mystery on why The Greatest Generation hates the world.  

My grandfather served in WWII, he was part of the 3rd wave to hit Omaha Beach on D-Day.  His twin brother stormed Juno beach just hours before.  They both survived.  And it was a God-damned bloodbath.  The American public would never stomach such a day in current times.  We've gotten far too soft, but that's for another blog.  But to the Greatest Generation, it was their greatest hour.  At home, my grandmother was working in a factory in Troy, NY making bullets, tank armory and combat communications hardware.  This was one hard-core bunch.  

This was the generation that decided blacks had a right to vote.  They discovered penicillin in 1941, and figured out how to split an atom shortly after.  They made unemployment disappear after being born during the Great Depression.  They treated communism as a disease and lynched everyone who so much as smelled like socialism, even Alger Hiss was demonized after the dude played a major role in putting the New Deal in place.  This was the generation that saved the country from mass illiteracy with the Servicemen's Readjustment Act (G.I. Bill of Rights) which entitled returning soldiers with an education. And believe it or not, they invented computers!  
With all of this in mind, it's easy to put yourself in an old person's shoes and look around at the infrastructure, transportation, education and power of the United States.  The world was turned on its axis following WWII when the U.S. and U.S.S.R. emerged as the two world super-powers.  They now look outside their windows everyday and think to themselves, "we built this.  We built all of this." 
There is a sense of entitlement, ownership and pride that the Greatest Generation has when it sees the world around them.  Something you and I will never fathom, or for that matter, feel.  We were born into this.  What they created from scratch we see as something that was always there, something we're accustomed to.  And quite frankly, we treat it like complete shit.  We sit on our couches and complain about unemployment rates and food stamps.  That sounds like lollipops and chocolates to a generation that survived gas-shortages, bread lines, and war.  And I mean WAR.  416,800 American servicemen were killed in WWII.  65 million people worldwide lost their lives.  But the greatest military empires ever to threaten America were staring back at us.  And we fought back, ultimately thwarting the world's greatest evil without so much as asking for a "thanks", let alone a "fuck you".  

So I begin to understand their attitudes and the disappointment the generation sees in its younger off-spring.  We'll never truly know what building a nation is like.  Or what saving that nation from the greatest threat to mankind is like.  The pride of older folks in this country is amazing, and we take it for granted.  All of it.  The simplest little thing that sixty years ago was an impossibility, we take for granted.  

I remind myself of all these things when I see "the old" acting ridiculous.  I take a moment to remember my own grandparents and the sacrifices they made for all of us.  Then, I remember what assholes they were...God rest their souls.  

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Simple Truth of the Mid-Terms

My first blog (well, at least outside of the advertising industry).  My first collection of simple reasoning from an unreasonable man.  I hope many of you return to find that this blog is a muse, a mind-opener and a conversation provoking journal of world affairs, both current and historic.
On Tuesday, America witnessed a re-balance of power with the mid-term elections.  And America spoke.  So easy to say, but who really spoke?  And what exactly were they saying?  Pundits, analysts and every political talking head began deciphering the elections on Wednesday morning.  Spelling out exactly what had just happened...or at least what they would like us to think just happened.
What happened is that many Americans actually voted, the rest of you attention-seekers just posted a hip little "I voted" badge on your Facebook page to tout your intelligence and connection with the world, neither of which actually exist.

I'll never profess to be an expert on anything, but I can tell you that balance was restored to our nation this week.  But at a cost.  President Obama finally has to listen to his GOP rivals.  He actually has to work with them on fixing this mess we're in.  Sadly, it took getting his ass whooped to realize that it takes a village to raise a child.  For those of you having trouble keeping up, the village is government, the child is America.  As far as I'm concerned, that child is shit-busted ugly right now.  Ever been to the grocery store and seen a kid that's so overweight and disgusting that you don't want to look but at the same time can't look away?  That's us.
At any rate, it seems the trojan horse trick still works.  We've opened the door to bible-beaters, drunks and the Tea Party.  America was so fed up with our own shortcomings that we voted Barack Obama into office in 2008.  And now we're so fed up with his ignorance, lack of realism and vision that we let the Tea Party roll into town.  If there's a silver lining it is that Obama and company will no longer be able to cut deals behind closed doors and push through every agenda on their list without a good fight.  And every issue should have to hold up to an opponent and find balance between both sides.  I personally loath Obama, I despise the Tea Party, and more than anything I can't stand government overspending in the name of "goodwill".  But we are a nation of "representation".  And Obama represents many Americans.  As does the Tea Party.  And the Libertarian Party.  The left, the right, the middle, the fat and the ugly. All represented.  There's plenty of food on the table, so let's share.

The simple truth about any election in a democratic society is that someone always loses (or in this case, gets their ass waxed on an epic level).  A majority of people will always be satisfied, while a minority will always be left disheartened.  The loser goes back to their corner to regroup and wait for the fickle American public to get fed up with the guys who won, and in a couple of years the loser comes back out of hiding and parades "hope" and "change" and "honesty" back to society.  We fall for it, give the vote back and continue a non-sensical cycle of insanity for another two years.
So I'll leave you with this; if you're pissed off about the mid-term elections, cool your jets.  You'll be even more pissed off in 2012 when you get hammered again and we vote a young pot-smoking Republican into the White House.  He'll have two years to push everything through the House and Senate until the 2014 mid-terms, where he and his party members will get destroyed, lose seats all over the country and balance will once again be restored for a couple of years.  And you'll smile again.  You may not have a roof over your head or a job to go to, but Americans love nothing more than a good "win".  Regardless of the cost.