November 27th, 2011

Reflective Mermaid

Life Is What Happens When Others Are Making Plans

"You may find yourself living in a shotgun shack.
"You may find yourself in another part of the world.
"And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile.
"And you may find yourself in a beautiful house with a beautiful wife.
"And you may ask yourself, 'Well, how did I get here?'"

The older you get, the tougher it is to make friends. When we're kids, we pretty much make friends arbitrarily. But as we get older, certain things become more important that just being with someone. Can you trust them? How do you know? People are mysteries. They are full of conflicting emotions and motivations. There are some times when you wonder how in the world you could have ever trusted someone. If only you'd known. Was there some sort of sign that you missed?

Sort of. It's not flawless, but there are barometers that tell you what people are like, if they'd be a good fit. They say you judge a man by his friends. This is bullshit. After all, there are people who will ignore their ethical boundaries if they can get what they want. I say judge a man by his enemies. What has he done that has inspired people to avoid or actively oppose him, and why? You can't fake hatred, and that tells you what you need to know.

Now, that's a barometer based on other people's actions. If you want a barometer for the individual's actions, look at how he treats people he doesn't need. People that, to him, are useless or worthless. Look at Black Friday. All these people are "normal" people like us. They tell jokes. They look out for their families. But give them an excuse to let the darkness reign, like a shopping day where the whole point is push others around and act like a suburban Spartan, and they do it. These people are monsters, they're just wait until they are allowed to be. There's an old Polish proverb that says, "Every snowflake in an avalache pleads innocent."

I don't trust my sister. She has done too much I don't need to get into here, including stabbing me in the back a few times. She's an expert manipulator of my family, knowing exactly how to get key members to white knight for her. I pretty much avoid her -- before Thanksgiving, I hadn't seen her since the previous Christmas.

On Thanksgiving, she mentioned that she was having trouble on her job. She had taken a job at a pizza place, and was doing so well, they were expanding her hours and talking about making her an assistant manager. Then management changed, and her hours got cut. She said everyone there was taking cheap shots at her, trying to make her quit.

Now, I don't usually trust her. But I've worked in a hostile environment, where they are trying to force you out. Hell, I was in one just last year. I've had friends working in such passive aggressive situations. But my sister fits the profile. She is showing all the little signs that people go through. She's never experienced this before, so I'm inclined to believe she's telling the truth.

The problem is the white knighting family members. They have always gotten ahead or had things taken care of for them. They've never really had to struggle. They've never been stuck in a life that they don't like, where the only option is to carry on or end it all. Where they've watched dreams crumble into dust as the world rolled over them.

They are saying she should stick it out. She's in a hostile work environment! They are working on finding her a lawyer so she can have some sort of lawsuit. But here's the catch -- in order for her to have her lottery-ticket lawsuit, she has to stick it out and let them abuse her for a while longer.

Needless to say, she is not thrilled with this idea.

The abuse has continued apace with the whole store basically uniting against her. Once again, I know people who have been in this situation. Last night, however, she couldn't take anymore and walked out.

The white knights in the family started abusing her. "WHY DID YOU DO THAT?!? DID YOU SIGN ANYTHING?!? YOU'RE AN ADULT! YOU COULD HAVE JUST STUCK IT OUT, THEN YOU COULD HAVE SUED! CONGRATULATIONS! THEY WON! YOU LOSE!"

My sister (assuming she's telling the truth) is in a situation where there are no good answers. She sticks it out, she is hammered mercilessly. Not everyone has it in them to withstand that level of psychological abuse. Very few do, in fact. But if she bails, she gets family abusing her. And unlike her coworkers, she can't avoid her family.

It's not my sister that upsets me here. It's the family. Once again, there are no good answers. And all they are doing is making her feel worse.

A lot of people don't realize how quietly murderous life is. They don't know what it's like to dread waking up, for it to not be better or, barring that, just over. I hate my life. The only thing that keeps me going is the hope my writing provides. I'm making progress -- slow progress, but definite progress, and I'm avoiding the dangerous traps and people in the field. I haven't been made a victim of the Josh Hoopes and Rick Olneys and Pat Lees of the world. But without that fighting chance to improve my lot in life, to become better than I am, I'm honestly not sure I would have ended it by now.

That's me, however. I have a goal I'm working towards, one that I won't rest until I achieve. Lots of people don't have anything like that. They have no better future, just the day to day. It hurts. It kills your spirit.

And these white knights are saying she should subject herself to that instead of quitting and finding another job that she can live with.

I get so disappointed in people. Constantly. They only act on what they know, like their experiences are not only absolute, but living the way they did clearly works for them, why doesn't it work for everybody? As if where they wound up in life is a conscious effort on their part and not simply how things worked out.

There is no human concern or compassion.

"Here comes the twister."
Woody Can't Take It

The Black Friday Scorecard: Final Tallies

If you didn't go shopping on Black Friday, here's part of what you missed out on:

*  At a Walmart in Los Angeles, a woman pepper sprayed roughly twenty other customers to get an XBox 360.  She was sought by the police and turned herself in.

*  A Kinston, NC security guard pepper sprayed people waiting to get in the building.

*  In New York's Soho neighborhood, shoppers looted a clothing store.

*  In Phoenix, AZ, a man suspected of shoplifting a video game got beaten bloody by a police officer.

*  In San Leandro, CA, a customer was shot outside of a store.  Police believe he was a mugging victim as he had already exited the store and was almost to his car.

*  In Fayetteville, NC, shots were fired inside a mall.

*  In Sacramento, NY, a man was stabbed at a store.

2008 was considered the worst Black Friday because a stampede of shoppers at a Walmart in Long Island, NY, killed an employee and sent a pregnant woman to the hospital.  Nice to see people rising to the challenge of surpassing it.  Might happen in the next year or two, in fact.

I used to think New Year's Eve was the most dangerous day of the year.  I'm seriously rethinking that.
Red Riding Hood

Introducing Red Riding Hood!



Ah, yes.  Here we go.  I meant to get this up earlier, but time just got away from me.

So, after the images I posted a loooooong time ago, I have made it through mandatory overtime and other hassles and finished Red Riding Hood.  Please notice, those of you familiar with my work on Sound Waves, this is just a little more violent than the adventures Rhapsody and Melody go through.  Want to see what I cooked up?  Look under the cut, then click the images to see.

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Someone watched a lot of Tom And Jerry when he was a kid, didn't he?