I’ve been having an ongoing disagreement. It’s more of a fight than a disagreement but I’m tempted to play it down since I’m still contaminated with reasonableness. It feels like anytime I get into a conversation with someone who wants to go nose-to-nose with me politically, when I get them in the corner, when I have them on the ropes, they steal my win by lunging at me with a lie, “I’m not comfortable going low. I want people in power approaching the office with respect.”
Respect? Are you kidding me?!!
I have to back up here for a second and let you know I spent the past 14 years in the restaurant business. To survive, I had to approach every encounter from the vantage point of backpedaling and apologizing.
There’s a subculture of shatteered people who act like they’re going out for dinner but make no mistake…they’re acting. Truth is, insecure married women are looking for a win. Truth is, insecure married men are looking for a win. Truth is, anyone stupid enough to work in a family business is so deeply insecure they’re looking for any win anyplace they can get it. These shattered people aren’t going out for dinner to enjoy the night, or check out a new restaurant. They’re going out for dinner so they can punish the world.
The waitress gets eviscerated for a cold cup of coffee. The bus boy gets a tongue lashing for crumbs on a chair. There’s a battle cry from the So-Called Yelping Elite to send in the army of trolls to wage war on the Mountain Of Perpetual Irrelevance over a position of grave national importance like the deli guy sliced my turkey when I specifically asked for my turkey to be shaved. And no, shaving your turkey isn’t a metaphor for shaving your cooter.
We’re bored. We’re spoiled. We’re lost
But instead of getting into fights over things we need to fight about, like who should be mayor of Chicago or how do we stop the epidemic of gun violence or why haven’t we legalized recreational marijuana so we can fund teacher pensions and give them a long-overdue raise. Instead of that, we end up in conversations debating the merits of “They Go Low, We Go High” as if we didn’t get our asses handed to us for the 8 years Barack Obama played Mister Rogers to Mitch McConnell’s Oscar The Racist Grouch.
You cannot reason with a racist. They’re insane! I tried explaining this for the very last time over the weekend. I made 3 critical mistakes.
Number 1: I was drinking tequila and when I’m drinking tequila I get ornery. Number 2: I was drunk and it got foggy and I forgot the person I was talking to really doesn’t like me, that he’s more of an acquaintance than a friend and when someone who really doesn’t matter pushes my buttons it’s a cue to relinquish the win and self-medicate with another round of shots. Number 3: If a person knows you’re passionate about something and asks you a question about your passion and then punishes you for the emotional sloppiness of your passionate response, especially when you’re drunk, then despite everything reality is throwing at you that person suddenly turns into your Jewish Mother and later that night, after you get home, you’re going to end-up sitting on the couch staring at the wall, reflecting on the night, trying to sober-up, replaying where it all went wrong. Even in your sleep, you’ll end-up punishing yourself with your dreams.
I was riding a black stallion through Chicago on Wacker Drive. It was cold but I liked the way my breath looked in the cold air. I saw Johnny Cash walking down the steps to a subway station. He waved me over. I got off the horse to stroke his neck and share the beauty of this majestic animal. But the horse took off running. I looked at Johnny Cash for guidance. He shrugged and smiled, then proceeded down the steps to catch a train. His sister was sick and he had to get across town. He couldn’t help me.
I ran after the horse. But no matter how close I came, it was always just out of reach. Finally I got to a hill filled with slush and ice. At the top of the hill, I could see the horse grazing. I hurried up the mountain, slipping and losing my balance, then regaining my balance but losing my breath. Slipping and sliding. Sliding and slipping. The mountain was steep and no matter how much effort I put into it, the horse remained out of reach. Finally I stopped. I looked at the horse, took in the beauty of the black stallion one last time, noticed my breath in the cold air and then let go of trying to catch that which was not mine to begin with.
That’s how I feel about my family, I have to let them go even though I miss them terribly and not a day goes by I don’t stop to think about growing up on McCraren Road. That’s how I feel about Max’s Deli, I can never go back even though I’m the man I am today thanks to the 7 years I spent honing my hustle as a pastrami pusher. That’s how I feel about my reputation, I have to let MAGA TROLLS judge me thoughtlessly even though they’ll never slow down long enough to consider the difference between what they know about me and what they’ve been told they know about me.
But friendships are different. You have to give friends a pass, give them a break, lower your expectations and be more discerning about who you get drunk with. Especially when you’re drinking tequila.
They go low, I go lower…plus a joke! If you don’t like it, too fucking bad. I’m done explaining myself to emotional invalids. Grow up! There’s nothing wrong with punching down. Sure it’s a cheap shot, but that’s the world we’re living in. If you’re going to be reasonable, then be reasonable with people who know the difference between a disagreement and a fight.
The difference between Affordable Care and Medicare For All is reasonable. Denying an up or down vote to Merrick Garland is a fight, so come out swinging. The difference between centrist and liberal is reasonable. Weaponizing MAGA TROLLS under the banner of free speech is a fight and call that fight what it is: ASSAULT. So come out with guns blazing! Being uncomfortable with our first black president is reasonable. Playing the Birther Card is a fight. I’ll wipe that racist smirk off your fucking face and shove that MAGA HAT up your lily white ass, asshole!
The distance between a fight and a civil war is a long journey in a horse drawn carriage. Klippity-Klop. Klippity-Klop. Klippity-Klop. Anyone who tells you otherwise is afraid of their own manhood. Or womanhood.
Hating women so much you collaborate with a hostile foreign power isn’t reasonable. It’s a wake up call to get out of your comfort zone. If you need to get drunk to take the edge off, if you need to get high to cope, if you need to shop to buy yourself a win, if you need to golf to zone out, if you need to wreck someone else’s plans to feel in control, if you need to eat emotionally so you can abdicate your authority, if you need to eviscerate a waitress over a cold cup of coffee…