Sunday, September 29, 2013
The Carburetor And The Paint Job...
Once upon a time, as I drove down the street, I saw a nice car next to me, chugging along, driver frowning with dismay. Being that I’d seen a few cars acting as this one did, when I got to the stoplight, I kindly said, “Hey, you might want to have your carburetor looked at”. The driver looked over, still frowning, replied, “Eh, fuck you, buddy, mind your own fucking business, there’s nothing wrong with my goddam car, AND, your paint job sucks!!!”.
This is precisely what happens when a person hears something he or she doesn’t want to hear. In the case of an addict – and let me tell you, addicts come in all shapes and sizes, and an addiction can be to just about anything – this is the M.O. A particular personal case of mine involves a 30 year old who is addicted to online video games. He and his girlfriend will spend 8 – 12 hours a day in front of their computers, eyes bugged out, cussing, swearing, ignoring their infant daughter, the house being a mess, and not spending one red hot second trying to better their life. The girlfriend feeds the addiction, and has absolutely no ambition of any kind – other than to spend countless hours trying to satisfy her voracious appetite for online gaming. She is controlling, manipulates him into doing what she wants. Yes, he can make his own choices, but we all know how easy it is to fall into the habit of letting another person pull the puppet strings without realizing it. The guy has been talking, for no less than five years, about becoming a professional writer, and a professional graphics tech and website builder, but has not made any significant effort towards pursuing either interest – in spite of his claims to the contrary. He has a full time job managing a video store, but still makes time to spend countless hours, not to mention, countless dollars, on this mindless and expensive habit. BTW, this is a guy who was trained in the Air Force to build aircraft, and spent approximately seven years or so working for private aircraft companies, including Columbia Air and Lockheed Martin. He happens to be a family member of mine, and, I stayed with him at his apartment for about four months just a short while back. I cannot begin to tell you what I witnessed in that short time, things that I find unmentionable. The actual things they did, the things they neglected, is not the point I want to make here. The thing that is causing great harm, not only to this little family, but to millions of people, is that most, especially when confronted with something personal – as in a shortcoming of some kind – will deny to the death, they will excuse, they will attack, they will insult, and they will lie. First, when one denies, then excuses, then pleads guilty to a lesser charge, he, in essence is saying, “NO, I DIDN’T DO THAT”, then, “Well, I did it because _______”, then, “Well, I kinda did it”. This telegraphs the lie – while the person thinks he or she is fooling everybody else. Next, when the person does, “Your paint job sucks”, he is employing still another cheap, dishonest tactic – the objective being to divert attention from the facts at hand, hiding behind the launching of personal attacks – in this case, the facts being, “I have an addiction, and my girlfriend is feeding it”. All the cheap insults, the name calling, the “Your paint job sucks” only serve to show the person for what he is – dishonest. I went through this once before with this same person a few years ago – it didn’t take him long to resort to vulgar filth, gross namecalling, and some of the cheapest, most disgusting insults I’d ever heard. This particular time, I stopped before it got to that, it was to the point of vague, behind the back insults, and I didn’t see any benefit for allowing it to get the point that it did the previous time. P.S. Narcissism qualifies as a sickness.
My question is, why is it so difficult for so many people to just be honest? Why do they try so desperately to hide from the truth, and to hide from themselves? In my experience, it’s so much easier to take a look at myself, assess the situation honestly, and act accordingly. If there realistically is something wrong, I’ll try to fix it, and, if I had offended any person with it, I would hunt them down and apologize; AND, I would make damn sure I didn’t make the same mistake again. If the guy in the chugging car would have said, “Ok, thanks, I’ll have it looked at”, that would have brought only good results, but the sad fact is, I don’t recall ever hearing a single person reply that way – and I’m not just talking about my own situations – for one thing, I don’t make it a habit of telling other people what’s wrong with them or their lives; and for another, I’ve witnessed quite a few situations other than my own.
To drive the point home, I’ll mention that it’s likely most of you have had dealings with an alcoholic, drug addict, or a gambling addict. An addiction is an addiction is an addiction, and the symptoms are always the same – denial, defensiveness, excusing, and attacking. I, personally, don’t relate to addictions, because for whatever reasons, I don’t have an addictive personality. That’s not to say I don’t have other issues to deal with, other shortcomings, it’s just that addiction happens to not be one of them. From where I sit, addiction is a choice, not a disease. What I mean by “not a disease” is that there is no bacteria, no virus, no gene, no single celled organism, that causes addiction. It’s not some little amoeba that makes you pick up that bottle, light up the cigarette, or sit in front of the computer for hours on end, doing god knows what.
So, as with most things of the world, I have no answers. I must admit that this kind of situation does cause me some amount of grief – mostly because that’s how I react to dishonesty. I also don't do so well with personal attacks. It's not the content of the insult that I have a problem with, it's what's behind the attacks - it's the attempts at bullying, the attempts at pushing my buttons - now THERE is one of my shortcomings. While I am far from perfect, and while I don’t claim to be all that smart, one thing I will never do is bullshit anybody.
All for now.