I went to see my Deli guy one last time. The question he asked was “Do you think ending tax cuts for those earning more than 250,000 will be beneficial, and if so, for whom?”
I told him I liked his abstract questions much more. He responded that this was an abstract question because nobody knows the answer.
I asked him where he gets his news from. He said from the newspaper, the radio, etc. I asked if there were any particular shows or newscasters he listened to regularly. He waffled for a bit, saying that CNN and MSNBC are all biased, but he preferred Fox. The reasoning, which surprised me the most, was that at least Fox keeps their bias on the surface.
It made me think of all the times someone had said “bless you,” or “I’m praying for you,” as a means to end the conversation — most recently on the #PrayToEndAbortion chat on Twitter. It’s never a heartfelt expression of concern for my soul. It’s as though they had never learned to wield fuck you and lashed out at me with the only words available.
Saying fuck you with different words is still a lash. That’s always been my problem with polite discourse with someone who is seething. It’s not enough to say what you’re expected to say. The right words aren’t enough. The only way to sooth the ire is to dig deep and find the words that are not only polite, but genuine. That’s civility.
We pass down strange lessons regarding language and history. It’s as though we’re cognitive newborns before object permanence kicked in.
When we forget what we learned in high school, it doesn’t suddenly mean that ‘no one knows.’ What nonsense. I find such attempts as proving atheists wrong frustrating. It is especially frustrating because there are so many resources to see scientific principles at work, such as this hydro-cycle lab. Once bullshit has been discovered to be, in fact, bullshit — we should move on to more exciting and progressive pursuits. Space travel leaps to mind.
I started listening to Breakfast of Champions by Vonnegut today. Early in the book, he talks about how children are taught that Colombus discovered America in 1492. Columbus didn’t discover America, but he did begin European economic conquest of the region. We know that Native Americans were here, and that Vikings called them Skraelings five hundred years before Colombus arrived. The US is like any other empire — Rome, any part of China’s dynastic cycle, or Galactic Empire from Star Wars — and we need to tweak history to legitimize ourselves. We know we do it, but don’t do anything to correct it.
A former roommate of mine insisted that there will be no revolution in the US so long as we have TV. Or Netflix. I don’t think we’re fucked; but I do think we’re making very silly, obvious, correctable mistakes.
I couldn’t say any of this to my Deli Guy. I can wield a damn good fuck you; but as much as we disagreed, I didn’t want to hurt him.
As I munched my breakfast sandwich (it was 0630) I told my deli guy that I came to say goodbye. I was moving, I said, and told him where I was going. He commented on my destination’s recent law forbidding people to sit or lay down on the sidewalk. He said he was surprised that such a liberal city would be so hard-hearted.
I left feeling a little awkward and disappointed.