Monthly Archives: December 2015

Confronting My Accuser

It was a slow morning at the Salem Public Library. There I was, minding my own business, writing about how Obama is not a terrorist plant, when the librarian says, “Sir, you’re talking too loudly.”

“I’m not talking to anyone,” I replied, confused by the accusation.

“No, you’re not talking to anyone, but you are talking too loudly,” she said, smugly.

Uh… what?

“I haven’t said one word.”

“Yes, you have, and you need to keep it down.”

At this point, I have no clue what to say to this woman. It’s impossible to prove I wasn’t talking just as it is for her to prove that I was. The difference being that this woman can make my life harder, owing to her position and to the fact that she’s surrounded by supporters. (None of her coworkers came to her defense, but they didn’t discourage her either)

Keep in mind that this was a slow day. That is to say that there was only one other person on the computers, and he was sitting behind me. Isn’t it funny how this woman “hears voices” coming from my direction, and doesn’t confront the guy behind me?

If you’ve kept up with my blog, you know that I’m quite vocal about my displeasure with some of the employees in certain libraries within the North of Boston Library Exchange. There are still stories I haven’t shared with you, faithful reader, and I’m beginning to think that a nice little collection of those tales released to the general public, might be a good idea.

Obama Is Not a Plant

Before doing a post like this, I have to consult my spirit guides, because I know it’s going to stir a hornet’s nest among those of my little social circle.

“But we’re entitled to our opinion!” the masses will wail.

True. You’re entitled to your wrong, uneducated, and completely unfounded opinion. But I am not. This is in retaliation for having to listen to the baseless and most libelous allegation since “Bush planned 9/11, he made the levy of Ward 5 break, and he also fired the shot that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, probably.”

See, I’m not just defending Obama. Because as much as my blood might boil when I hear the ramblings of newscasters from the political bloodhounds of both sides, at least the person who has earned their degree in journalism has more credibility than some Facebook commenter who can only ape the opinions he has heard. And every president, going all the way back to Washington, has had some equally asinine rumors spread about them as often happens in a country where we are free to share our ignorance.

Okay, that’s not entirely fair. I’m sure some people do genuinely believe that our Commander-and-Chief is a Muslim spy, or what have you. Maybe they have a sound pool of reasoning to draw from, I don’t know. So I’m not going to go on record as calling everyone who spouts this opinion an idiot. Instead, I’m going to throw a little spotlight of common sense onto to the proceedings.

It’s not an educated view to say that no one has ever infiltrated America. Two Russian sleeper agents were discovered not too long ago, so it’s at least plausible to think that enemies have inserted their own people into our government at one point or another. Is it plausible to believe that one such agent could make it all the way to the presidency? Maybe. But then why put someone in the White House that stands out like a sore thumb?

Obama is the first African-American to ever be elected as president. This was a major historical event – probably one of the biggest events in the second decade of the 21st century. If you were some enemy organization who wanted to infiltrate our highest office, how stupid would you have to be to place someone who is so distinctive?  Someone that no one could possibly forget, because of how unique he is?

This is not a racist viewpoint, it’s common sense. The whole idea of spying and infiltrating is to blend in with your surroundings so that no one notices you. And you, faithful reader, and I still know people who will announce a person’s skin color, ethnicity, or physical appearance with the enthusiasm of someone who has just translated the Voynich manuscript.

Also, if there is one person who is more heavily monitored than any other person on the planet, it is the guy who can’t even carry his own smartphone for security reasons. Obama had to borrow a staff member’s phone to take a selfie with Bear Grylls recently. And the Secretary of State can’t even have her own private e-mail server without facing an 11-hour inquiry, so you can bet that a close member of the president’s security detail isn’t going to risk facing the chopping block either.

An Apology To Bear Grylls

Today’s posts begin with, appropriately enough, a confession.

For the last couple of months, Bear Grylls has been promoting the December 17th episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls, featuring President Barack Obama.

In typical Internet fashion, every time he made a post on Facebook, the comments section was filled with comments that were vitriolic, mean-spirited, and at times terrifying. Unfortunately, when I attempt to champion a cause that I believe in, I have a tenancy of doing more harm than good. So when I could no longer tolerate the ignorance, I began adding fuel to a fire that was already raging without my help.

One of Bear’s main attitudes is that you need to weather the negative feelings of others by remaining positive and optimistic in the face of adversity. And considering the man is on first name basis with Adversity, my actions on his Facebook page could only be described as disrespectful. I was not taking his lessons on board in that moment, so for that, I apologize.

That being said, I will now write the review of last night’s Running Wild episode with this warning to my readers: I don’t care what your political opinion may be. Any comments of a hurtful nature directed at Bear, President Obama, or myself, will not only be deleted, but will be reported to your Internet Service Provider. You will not be able to hide behind an anonymous name, so your best bet is to keep those opinions that have nothing to do with the episode in question to yourself.

Thank You.

The Ghost of Bad Times Prior

One recent nugget of wisdom that gets batted around is the idea of letting things go. The past is in the past and you need to move on. Sound reasoning, right?

Wrong.

Forgetting the negative things that have happened to you is like teaching a dog not to growl. A dog has no way of telling strangers to fuck off, so teaching it not to growl is a guarantee that someone will get bitten. Similarly, if you don’t at least remember the bad stuff, then you have no way of knowing how to avoid it.

For that reason, I sometimes judge new situations based on the similarly unpleasant experiences of recent events. No matter how much I try to move on from those experiences, the burn is still there, and it never really stops hurting.

So that is why I approached the coming Christmas party with my writer’s group with some trepidation. As I said before, I want to like this group and to at least get along with them without having to impress them with anything other than my own personality and my writing. I also no longer wish to associate with a group of people who make rude comments about me behind my back, and treat me like their own personal charity case.

I finally just decided to go to the party. After all, I had never been to a party with a Yankee Swap before. I wrapped up two Patricia Cornwell novels that I had no intention of trying to read again (her narrative style just doesn’t sit well with me) and showed up to the party a late, because I actually forgot what time it started. But I wasn’t so unfashionably late that I didn’t get to meet some new people, who were taking a sabbatical from the regular meetings of the writer’s group, due to health or work related reasons.

The swap was fun. It turned out that Cornwell has quite a few fans among the group and the two books I brought – which I had found in a free bin at Salem State University – were in reasonable condition. They got traded around a couple of times, but it was fine, because that’s the rules of a swap.

I went last. But that was fine as well, because the entire time I was thinking, “Whatever I get, I’ll be happy with and I won’t try to swap someone out, just in case.”

Again, remembering instances in the past where I did something entirely within the rules, only to eat crow for it later – because how dare I enjoy myself – I was slightly worried that swapping something out would make a bad impression on the group. But everyone was a good sport and as a result, I traded my Whitman Sampler for an anthology of Archie Comics from the 40’s and 50’s.

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More about that in The Salem Author from Bennington.

A Party Shouldn’t Be Work

A party becomes more like a shift at work when you have to start making excuses to go or to not go. If you have to tell yourself that you’re only going so that you won’t be “fired” from the group, then perhaps the group isn’t working out for you.

I want to like these people in my writer’s group and I want to get along with them. But for a few weeks, there was this long e-mail chain in regards to a Yankee Swap that made me uncomfortable, because I can’t afford to blow any of the money I have on a gift. At the end of the exchange, the hostess amended her initial e-mail and said that it was okay to just re-gift something, but the whole thing left me so stressed out that I actually skipped a meeting to go do something at the Salem Armory.

The party is today. But I don’t know if I want to go now. My dilemma is that my turn is coming up for them to read and comment on one of my stories, but if I don’t go to the party, will they put the same amount of effort that I have put into theirs