29 July 2014

But I Like People a Post Wherein I Discuss a Variety of Topics Including But Not Limited to Complaining Smoking and Big Oil

Someone at work just said, “I like these ones.” This was an adult. Presumably with a university degree. Who teaches English. Saying “these ones.” Because just saying “these” is so vague. We aren’t sure what you’re referring to if you say “these over here.” But if you say “these ones over here” well that clears up any confusion.

But I like people.

A person at work went on and on about wastefulness in the copy room. I believe she had a good point but it’s always hard to listen to her because she complains constantly. When you complain constantly people begin to tune you out. Like people who talk non stop. We don’t hear you after awhile. You’ve become this very irritating sort of white noise. Many people complain incessantly about their spouse and their children. Seriously. The great loves of your life. The person you’ve committed to spend your life with and the fruit of your loins. And you’ve hours worth of complaints about them. And you want to share that with other people? So it stands to reason that complaining about people you work with or the people you deal with at your work will be a snap. It is. I taught in an urban middle school for 20 years. There was no end of complaints we could register about individual students, classes or students as a whole.  And by god we did. But there are people who work in cushy jobs, make a good living at it and live in nice places with nice people and they bitch to high heaven. I suppose to some people saying and hearing nice things is boring.

But I like people.

Complaining is easy. Right now I’m complaining about people complaining. See how easy it is? I’m not sure why most people complain a lot but they sure do. You don’t have to look very far or try very hard to find stuff to bitch about. I’m sometimes suspicious of things that are both easy to do and non productive. It can't be healthy. Like watching TV. Sure some if what's on is good and sometimes it's nice to relax and turn your brain off in front of the idiot box but watching endless hours of it is wasteful. Just like endless hours of complaining!

Someone at work tried to quit smoking cigarettes but found it difficult so has continued with the foul habit. Quitting is hard to do so why bother? I know from personal experience (as opposed to impersonal experience, I guess this is like personal opinions which differ from impersonal ones). It took me years to quit smoking. It was easier to go off booze and drugs and meat and gum. Quitting smoking can be torturous because smoking itself is an addiction. So there’s that. But I would still recommend that all smokers quit. Get started on it right away because it may take awhile. And don’t be thrown by the fact that it is difficult. It’s worth it. Of course the best thing to do is never start smoking.

But I like people.

It fascinates me that people still take up smoking despite the fact that smokers have been so marginalized in our society. When I was puffing tobacco you could do it in an office. Now you can’t even smoke in a goddamned bar. That’s progress! I remember when people could smoke on buses and in ballparks and in movie theaters. Now you see smokers huddled together outside of buildings. Pariahs. I don’t feel sorry for them. They’re being ostracized for practicing a habit that not only has no benefits but is quite harmful to their health. It is also a practice that many other people find repellent, owing to the stinky smoke and the fact that it carries health risks for others.

I’m sure big tobacco companies are still rolling in dough.

Just as fast food chains are. They too feed (no pun intended) on the weaknesses of people. Healthy organic fruits and vegetables are expensive in the US. Fast food is comparatively cheap. Fast food establishments are easy to find in an urban or suburban area and are never too far in rural areas. Finding a good produce store is not so easy. Check out low income areas. Plenty of fast food joints and liquor stores. But good food? You may have to drive a bit.

But I like people. Don't care for corporations though which aren't people no matter what anyone says.

Speaking of driving…Oil companies seem to be doing well. I believe they could take a serious hit to their profits and still be making money hand over fist (I don’t know where that comes from either but if I look it up I’ll probably remember it for ten minutes, if that). I feel safe in asserting that our economy would not suffer a wit if we began using alternative means of energy at a much much greater rate. Electric cars would be a good start. But lobbyists….

Getting meaningful change done in this country seems a quixotic notion. But you have to plug ahead. You have to assume you can get something done. To give up is to surrender and let the “bad guys” win. Can’t have that.

I met a guy once who started his professional life as a crusading lawyer who was going to make a difference in the world. Bring about positive change. He soon grew frustrated with the intractability of things of how entrenched the powers that be are how hopeless it can be. So he quit and become a garbage collected.

That’s the spirit.

Being — as they used to be called — a garbage collector is an admirable profession and one has to appreciate their efforts doing an often if not always unpleasant job. But if you’ve trained to be and are able to be a lawyer who has ambitions for society as a whole and you give that up because it’s difficult, you’re an idiot. Plain and simple.

But I like people.

Take steps. Move forward. Things change. It is slow. Often too slow. But it does your soul good to realize that you are at least making an effort. Nourish your soul. In fact making an effort earns you the right to complain. But don't go overboard about it. Since I started writing this our chief complainer in residence was at it again. It drove one person out of the lunchroom and caused me here in the adjacent room to put on my iPod. Thank you iPod for helping me screen out unpleasant sounds. I couldn't ride public transportation without you.

Hey I'm going to change the subject. Here's a good ice breaker: take a block of frozen water and hit with a hammer.

I know I'm a scream aren't I?

And...But I like people.

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