Archive for April, 2014

Semantic Wars and Excedrin Headaches

Posted in LGBT Issues and Stuff on April 16, 2014 by scottsteaux63

Yesterday I shared the following meme on Facebook:

AMERICA

Short and to the point, right?  There is an undeniable irony in a nation in which two people of the same sex who love each other wanting to get married is somehow a threat to “our entire way of life,” while out-of-control and unregulated purchase, ownership, and use of guns in all shapes and sizes is seen as a fundamental American right.  And it’s usually the same people shrieking about both topics:  they look to the Bible to bolster the first argument and the Second Amendment to bolster the second.  The fact that the Bible has virtually nothing to say about LGBT persons as we know them today does not stop them, and neither does the fact that the Second Amendment does not say that everyone who wants guns should be allowed to have as many of whatever kind they choose.

So imagine my surprise when a Facebook friend, a fellow Gay man, decided to nitpick over the use of the words “assault rifle.”  And I made the mistake of mentioning Sandy Hook, which he took as an opportunity to “school me:”  apparently the weapon used there was a 9mm.  

I know little about such things:  I can fire a shotgun, a rifle, and a pistol, but I wouldn’t know the difference between a Winchester and a Glock if my life depended on it.  But what I DO know is that “assault rifle(s)” as such really were not the point and I could not believe this guy was making an issue of something that completely missed the point of what the entire sentence was trying to convey.

Being that we were Facebook friends and that I had never exchanged so much as a minor disagreement with this man in the years I have known him, I was frankly shocked at the way he dug his heels in; not only did he refuse to give any ground, the longer the conversation went on the more he began to sound like someone who would have given George Zimmerman a medal for murdering Trayvon Martin and in the end I unfriended and blocked him.  I didn’t know what else to do; I attempted to back out of it and he would not let me, and as I am not accustomed to giving people what they want just to get them off my back, I told HIM to get lost.

I am not happy about how this turned out.  I wish we could have at least agreed to disagree.  But he was clearly getting really hot under the collar really fast and nothing I was saying was cooling him off.  I wish it could have ended differently.

I am not sure what lesson there is in what happened.  I do know that I would never have expected such a hard line from a Gay man on the issue of guns, but that wasn’t even what happened here.  He objected to the words “assault rifle” which I did not compose and about which I could do nothing.  And even if the Sandy Hook shooter didn’t use an “assault rifle” his victims were just as dead.  I certainly didn’t expect this guy to turn into an “Obama is coming to take your guns” Libertarian before my eyes but the more I see of such behavior the more I think maybe taking away some people’s guns isn’t such a bad idea.

I don’t mind blocking people who annoy me if they are not friends of mine; the Block feature is a good way to get rid of anyone who gives me headaches.  But I hate unfriending people.  There’s a sense of disillusion and also I wonder if I might have handled it better even though I soft-pedaled it as best I could and he was the one who became aggressive.

I guess the lesson is “Be Careful What You Post; It Can Bite You In The Ass.”

Fortunately for me Excedrin relieves pain there too.

 

6 April 2014

Posted in Uncategorized on April 6, 2014 by scottsteaux63

Today I am fifty-one years old. Once the coffee kicked in and I could think, I realized that I don’t feel much different than I did yesterday when I was still fifty (all things being relative of course).  And since it’s Sunday and I won’t see my husband at all today (he’s a church musician and Sunday’s a twelve hour day), I don’t mind at all that I have to wait until tomorrow to celebrate.  Of course, the fact that we’re going to my very favorite restaurant makes that easier!

When you’re a kid, birthdays are a big deal; most people of my age can remember the rather ridiculously elaborate parties, sometimes with a clown or a puppet show (Good God, Dad, how could you let Mom spend all that money?), that were thrown for us.  Our friends were usually there, but sometimes we’d have to invite our entire class from school so there would be kids in my house that under other circumstances I would have set the dogs on (if we had had dogs).  And let’s be real:  the only thing any of us remembered for any significant length of time after all that hoopla was the loot, presents being the raison d’être of the entire overblown afternoon.

I forget at what age the parties ceased, but I am sure it was not to soon to suit my Dad, who was a rather frugal man (a child of the Depression, I don’t think he ever quite recovered from his early poverty).  And Mom was probably relieved at having one less occasion when she had a bunch of people in her nice clean house (it was different when it was family, but only to a point).  Instead of all the fuss, Mom might cook our favorite dinner (or as my brother and I got older, we’d go out), and we’d get one nice gift.  Later on the dinner out was itself the gift.    And then my Dad retired and my parents moved to Florida while my brother and I remained in New York.  Birthday cards arrived, usually with a check inside (always much appreciated).  My brother and I both married and the four of us celebrated birthdays together a few times, but more often just dinner out with our spouses was sufficient.

Then my parents died, my marriage broke up, my brother and I had a falling out that has never been mended, and I fell ill with a chronic condition that remains with me to this day.  I had to apply for Social Security Disability, a degrading process that took more than three years, put me through hell, and cost me nearly everything I owned.  Four birthdays passed almost unnoticed; alone and unwell, I “celebrated” by splurging on a bottle at the liquor store and getting drunk.  I didn’t become an alcoholic, but I definitely skated right up to the edge, and probably avoided it only because I didn’t have the money to drink that heavily that often.

Then on 28 April 2002, a friend of mine introduced me to a man he thought I would like, and my whole life changed.  I had never believed in love at first sight, but I shook John’s hand, took one look into those baby blue eyes, and the rest is history:  we went from “Nice to meet you” to “How about going out sometime?” to “I love you” to “Will you marry me?” in about a month.  We got married on 21 December 2002 at the Unitarian Church of Summit NJ.

The point of my apparent digression is that for several years I virtually ignored my birthdays.  Using them as an excuse to get shit-faced is hardly “celebration,” and really, I was practically homeless so what was to celebrate?  But not too long after John and I got married, my SSD case was finally approved and I not only had a decent income to bring to the marriage but I got three years back benefits and could pay all of my debts and even get a decent car.

So I think it was then that I understood why we celebrate birthdays.  Sure, you don’t go to bed feeling fifty and wake up feeling fifty-one (?!?), but you’ve survived another year of a life that is often unfair, unpredictable, and painful.  But that part isn’t what you celebrate.  What you celebrate are all the parts that were joyous and uplifting and beautiful, and since 2002 my birthday prayer has always been “God, please grant me many more years with this man; it took me forty years to find him, and my one wish is to be with him as long as we can.”

(Okay so I probably throw in a wish for more money, but that one’s more than half a joke and I think God knows that.)

So tomorrow we will enjoy a delicious meal and drink a toast of thanks that we have lived this long, that we have each other, and that we may have each other for a long time.  For me, there’s more of a reason to celebrate birthdays now than ever before.  Perhaps because the more we have, the fewer we are going to have, we grow to appreciate them that much more.