Social Etiquette… Sucks!

The worst thing about being an adult is not being able to speak your mind at all times.  There is a certain social etiquette that dictates times when we have to internalize our thoughts.  I don’t know who came up this social etiquette, but he or she and all of their relatives should be flogged with wet noodles throughout eternity.  Social etiquette sucks.  In fact, many aspects of our current society suck.  At least to me, and that’s all that really matters.  See, we all feel pretty much the same, but we aren’t allowed to say so, because social etiquette dictates that it isn’t proper to say that you only want what’s best for you.  We have to think of the good of the whole.  Did I mention that social etiquette sucks?

Oh sure, I care about others.  I don’t like children suffering around the world, and my heart goes out to the people of Japan.  I wish that everyone had a decent job, and I wish poverty and war could be eradicated from the face of our planet.  But none of this changes the fact if I want to send out a smart ass email at work, I shouldn’t have to worry about who I offend.  I’m a smart ass.  Period.  When I send an email, having to hide my smart-assness only limits me from being who I really am.  But social etiquette dictates that I cannot be a smart ass in business related email… or with coworkers… or with customers.  Screw that.  Life is too short to have to pretend you are someone you really are not.  But, I will continue to be polite and try to hold back on the smart ass comments while at work.  We all need a job, right?  And social etiquette dictates that we have to behave a certain way in order to perform that job, right?  Did I mention that social etiquette sucks?

Part of the training for social etiquette begins when we are young.  Schools, at times,  seem to like focusing on social etiquette more than teaching things of real value.  I have a son in middle school.  That son recently fractured his foot in PE.  So, he can’t participate in actual PE activities until his foot heals.  In order to pass PE, he needs to show up and pay attention.  Sounds pretty fair, right?  Well, the son recently was docked points in PE.  Was he docked because he didn’t show up on time?  No, he arrived in a timely manner.  Was he docked because he wasn’t paying attention?  No, he was paying as much attention as could be expected from someone sitting on the sidelines and not able to participate.  He was docked points because he didn’t have his shirt tucked in.  Seriously, because he didn’t have his shirt tucked in, he lost participation points for that day.  Social etiquette dictates that if your teacher makes a rule, you must follow that rule, even though the rule was put into place so that middle school boys can’t look up the shirts of middle school girls during various middle school PE activities and said rule really doesn’t apply to you… because not only are you not participating because of an injury you received in PE… but because you are not a girl.  But, of course, social etiquette dictates that you can’t have a rule for girls that you don’t have for boys; that wouldn’t be fair.  Social etiquette is all about fairness for the masses and doesn’t really allow for individuality.  The whole incident hasn’t really led me to question why my son didn’t have his shirt tucked in.  This incident has got me to thinking about why I had to pay my son’s medical expenses.  I mean, if I were hurt at work during a work related activity, my employer would pay my medical expenses.  My son was hurt at school during a non-optional school activity, shouldn’t the school pay for it?  Just wondering.

Social etiquette is all about learning the rules and learning to do things in a manner so as to not upset someone else.  Often, following social etiquette prevents someone else from being upset, but it leaves you really pissed off.  In my 41+ years of life, I have usually tried to follow the rules of social etiquette.  How has it benefited me?  Well, high blood pressure and a constant upset stomach seem to be about the only things I can think of  that have been the result of following social etiquette.  In other words, social etiquette sucks.  I haven’t made a fortune following social etiquette.  I don’t have a plethora of adult friends because I have followed the ways of social etiquette.  I don’t feel personally or professionally fulfilled because of the wonders of social etiquette.  I haven’t gained respect through following the mystical ways of social etiquette.

I desire for my kids to think outside the box… to be independently successful on their own terms… to never have to answer to someone they have no desire to answer to.  I want them, if someone is pissing them off, to be able to tell that person to take a flying leap.  In my mind, this is the way to true happiness in this life.  Selfish?  You betcha, and each and every one of us would like to be able to do it.  The schools are going to keep right on teaching social etiquette.  The schools are going to keep enforcing the same rules that I thought were stupid when I was a kid… and I still, as an adult, don’t see the value in.  I guess if we all want the same cookie-cutter society that we have had for the last century, this is fine.  But we aren’t given the same promises in life that our parents were offered.  My employer doesn’t offer a guaranteed pension, does yours?  Social Security isn’t looking like it’s going to play much of a role in my retirement (even though I’ve paid into it every year since I’ve started working).  I have a retirement plan, but not much is going in, and it sure isn’t growing too fast.  At the current rate, I will not be able to retire (which, as far as I can tell, is when you can tell the whole social etiquette thing to take a hike).  I want to be the crotchety old man who always speaks his mind and doesn’t give a crap what anyone else thinks.  I may never get to that point, so at least I can wish that for my kids.

If the mood suits you...

The Dreams of Our Youth

Ahhh… remember back to the days of your youth.  These were magical years where your future seemed so bright.  Remember?  From the end of August to mid-May, you learned and played sports and hung out with your friends all day.  But summer was when the true magic happened.  Summers were a seemingly endless period of long, hot days and cool, enchanted nights.  You could ride your bike with your friends day after day and it never got old.  As young boys, my friends and I would ride bikes and play catch and start a pick-up game of kickball of football and hike paths and climb trees and hang-out at our favorite stores (… uh… it was Fort Peck, Montana, so there was only one) and swim at the pool or at the lake and, as we got older, appreciate the way our rapidly-maturing female friends were filling out their bathing suits in spectacular new ways… and the summers seemed to last an eternity.

As we got older, some of us started getting summer jobs, and some of us got jobs year-round.  School got harder, and we had to start really thinking about our futures.  Then, college called to some of us, and some of us went straight to full-time, real-world work; but we still held tight to our dreams.  Those of us who went to college soon joined our working friends.  During these years, many of us fell in love, got married, started families; the dreams were still there.

Our kids started to grow up.  Soon, we could see our kids enjoying many of the same things we enjoyed in our youth, and we were starting to feel a little old.  The dreams were still hanging on, but we began to wonder how we were going to accomplish them with a full family life.  Oh well, maybe after the kids are grown and on their own.

Soon, we start living vicariously through our kids. Maybe we want our kid to be that great sports star we never were.  Or maybe we want our kid to be the genius we were never smart enough to be.  Or perhaps we want our kid to be the singer or actor or musician we never had the confidence to attempt to find within ourselves.  Our dreams migrate to the purgatory of our consciousness, awaiting the day when they will either realize the joyous fruition of heavenly accomplishment or be cast to the inescapable torment of hellish failure.  We start trying to help our children with their dreams, which are merely extensions of the dreams we had in our youth.  We start to realize that our age is actually catching up with us.

We become obnoxiously proud parents, praising the accomplishments of our children as if they were our own… often to the major annoyance of most other adults around us.  Soon, we find that other adults begin to avoid us because they really don’t care how good little Jimmy’s baseball team did… or how excellent little Susie’s dance recital went.  We become monsters who seem intent at driving everyone away from us… everyone except our families.  We scream at the umpires or referees at a game because their calls made our kid’s team lose.  We badmouth the teacher who doesn’t truly see our child’s intelligence.  We harbor ill-will toward the second-chair trumpet player who screwed up during the concert and made our first-chair child look bad.  We become bearers of vehement hate toward every single person or thing that interferes with our child’s success.  Our age is no longer catching up with us; it has caught us and is a driving force in our lives.

Our children, meanwhile, are oblivious.  They are focusing on having fun and creating their own dreams.

Soon, the kids are off to college or work, and we have the houses to ourselves again.  We are still focusing on the dreams of our kids.  We give career advice.  We warn them of the mistakes we made along the way.  We tell them what they should do to be happy, which is really what we should have done to be happy.  Our hindsight is, for the most part, ignored by our children.

Our kids are now adults, they are working full-time, many of them are happily married… and before you know it, we’re grandparents.  Our kids seem to have put their dreams on hold in an attempt to help their kids create new dreams.  Finally, there is time for us to focus on our dreams once again, so we search.  We search our consciousness for those dreams of our youth.  We search for the motivation to once again bring them to the front of our minds.  Funny thing is, when we search for our dreams, the smell of brimstone becomes overpowering, and just the thought of trying to accomplish those dreams makes us very tired.  We have moved beyond old and are now ancient.

Ahhh… it was nice to have dreams.  Too bad we never found the time or will to accomplish them.  What to do now?  Ooooh… looks like the grand kids could use some help with their dreams…

If the mood suits you...

How To Make Money With A Blog… yes, that’s a question…

I have really big plans for this blog.  Someday, I will make enough money with this blog that I can spend all of the time that I now devote to my job doing nothing more than bitching about stuff here all day.  You know what they say, do something you love, and it won’t really be “work”.  Well, bitching is about the only thing I do that I really enjoy, so this has to be the answer to my prayers… at some point… right?  Oh please, let it be so.

Okay, so to make money with a blog, you have to… uh… COME ON!  There has to be a way to make money with a blog! Every once in awhile, I put a link to something on Amazon on here.  I’m an Amazon Associate, which means I can get commission if someone clicks one of those links and actually buys something from Amazon.  I have been an Amazon Associate for about two years, and I have actually made some money doing it.  Of course, I haven’t seen any of that money yet.   Amazon won’t actually pay anything out until you have built up at least $10 in commission… and I haven’t hit that mark yet.  In another three or four years, I should get my first $10 check from Amazon.


I’m stoked!

There is also Google Ads.  I could have a list of stupid links on the side of my blog with Google ads and I would get paid every time someone clicks one of those links.  Happy Stinking Joy doesn’t really have a lot of visitors, and, at this point, I’d rather have you stay and read my thoughts than get distracted by the ads on the side and leave my site.  Also, it would mess up my ultra-professional layout… or something.

I haven’t exactly had an onslaught of individual advertisers approaching me with bids for some of the precious real estate on my site.  I guess rant sites aren’t real popular with traditional advertisers.  Before I’m going to see any real revenue from this site, I’m going to have to get more than a handful of people coming here on a daily basis.

Most popular blogs seem to fall into a couple of categories, the first of which is the “expert” blogger.  You know, these are the Seth Godins of the world who share all kinds of free insight into crap that they are experts about.  Their whole ploy is to give you “free advice” to make you feel like a friend, and then they try to sell their books to you or try to talk you into hiring them to do consulting or speaking engagements.  Well, my forty-one-years of life have not exactly led me to become much of an expert at anything.  I know a little about a lot, but a lot about little.  I have been too busy chasing the next-step-up in middle-class pay to stay with any one company in any given field for more than a couple of years.  If your current promotions and pay increases aren’t getting you where you want to be: quit, and maybe the next job will take you where you want to go.  Of course, the next job never does.  So, I’ve had the opportunity to work with all kinds of interesting people in many different fields, but I haven’t stuck around any of them long enough to actually have become an expert at anything.  I’m an expert bitcher, but companies aren’t going to hire me to give a “bitch seminar” to their workforce… at least not yet.  I figure if I pray about it long enough, God, if nothing else, will get tired of me asking and either give it to me just to shut me up or strike me dead…

Strike me Dead

… either of which would lead to no more Monday mornings dreading work.

The other major category of successful bloggers seems to be those who cover current events.  Whether it be Perez Hilton covering the latest embarrassments of the rich and famous, or any of the slew of Yahoo! bloggers covering the latest in world events; people who get the story first tend to get a following.  I think this may be the route I need to follow.  I need to get the hot stories first.  Of course, I live in Nebraska, so the celebrity fodder may be a little out of my grasp.

Miss America

Ooh… Ooh… Miss America is from my part of Nebraska, so I could dedicate my blog to digging up all of the crap I can to humiliate Miss America I did a little blog about Miss America right after she won and it was actually one of the most visited rants I have posted!  But… I have a pretty strong suspicion that Teresa Scanlan is almost as squeaky clean as you would think a Miss America should be. I bet she actually believes what she says she believes, and I don’t think that “Miss America thought about skipping church once because she was just too tired to go, but then she prayed about it and changed her mind” will draw a lot of visitors to my little site.



So, I’ve got to find a way to get the latest and greatest news before anybody else.  This is a “must” if I ever want to make this thing my sugar daddy.  Okay, so here it goes:

Breaking news… Charlie Sheen has gone insane!  The impact was devastating.  Damages are estimated… oh, great, my kid just looked over my shoulder and informed me that this is old news.  Okay, I guess I need to find something a little more “hot”.

Alright, I just did a Google search for “breaking news” and I don’t think I’m going to be able to go this route.  It seems that all of the “news” sites already have the breaking news covered.  The news sites and a bunch of Twitter people.  I don’t tweet or chirp or cockadoodledoo… or whatever it is that those people do.  I’m not quite hip enough for that.  Besides, all I’d be able to add to the Twitter conversation would be unique things I’m experiencing.

“It’s windy in Nebraska… again!”

Windy Trees

See, it just doesn’t work.

Hmmm… I gotta figure something out.  Okay, I know, I could just make kind of creative news stories.  No, that wasn’t “make up news stories”, it was “make kind of creative news stories”.  There’s… uh… sort of a difference.

Breaking news…. There is a humongous oil leak in the… uh… Gulf of Istanbul.  Yeah, and it’s causing infertility in the… uh… Great Northern Spike-Backed Whale.  Oh, you should hear the sad song those poor whales are singing at this moment.  It would make you cry.

Okay... yeah... I don't know what Alicia Silverstone being a Vegetarian has to do with "funny whale oil leaks" either, but a Google image search came up with this. I love Google...

This just in… apparently the oil spill was caused by… uh… Miss America!  Yeah, that’s it!  Apparently Miss America was on a diplomatic mission to Alderan and she and her entourage accidentally knocked over a big oil thingie in the Gulf of Istanbul.  Anti-American sentiment is through the roof in the countries bordering the Gulf… and by Great Northern Spiked-Back Whale lovers around the world!  Check back to this site often for more of the latest…

This just may work 😉

If the mood suits you...

CCCP… or Communist California Collectivism Patrol

I have lately been so wrapped up in harboring hard feelings towards citizens in my own backyard that certain national events have apparently passed me by.  I completely missed the fact that San Fransisco passed a law late last year that outlawed McDonald’s Happy Meals toys.   Seriously.   Outlawed them.  In an effort to reduce childhood obesity.  McDonald’s will be violating a law if they sell Happy Meals and offer a free toy if the meal has more than a certain amount of fat and calories and crap in San Fransisco and Santa Clara County.  And the really strange thing is that there are people who don’t see a problem with this.

I have never been much of a crusader for McDonald’s because… well… McDonald’s sucks… but how can anyone look at this law and not be slightly taken aback.  A government telling a business that it cannot offer as an incentive legal products in an effort to change consumer behavior.  I can only imagine what a conversation with one of the idiots who passed this law would be like:

Sane Person (SP):  So, you outlawed Happy Meal toys, huh?

California Moron (CM):  Yup!  We have to look out for our fellow man.

SP:  But, shouldn’t it be parents’ responsibility to chose if their kids get a Happy Meal or not.  And if McDonald’s wants to offer a “free” toy with each meal, what’s the big deal with that?

CM:  Childhood obesity is increasing at an alarming level in this country, and we in California are doing our part to put an end to this.

SP:  So, childhood obesity is the fault of McDonald’s alone?

CM:  Of course not.  We are in the process of enacting similar legislation to cover other foods that we feel are inherently dangerous to children.

SP:  Uh… like what?

CM:  Well, any sugary cereals that offer toys are just begging kids to get fat.  Parents aren’t smart enough to make nutritional decisions for their families, so the government needs to step in.

SP:  So, no more baking soda submarines with Cap’n Crunch, huh?

CM:  No, no toys with cereal.  Also, Cracker Jacks will have to do away with their nefarious “prizes”.

SP:  But I love those little tatoos…

CM:  Tough cookies.  Speaking of cookies, we will be outlawing those as well.

SP:  Cookies… really?

CM:  Yep.  Cookies and cake and pie and anything made with sugar.  In fact, we will be outlawing sugar.  Also, any processed foods.

SP:  Processed foods?  You mean, 95% of what a grocery store carries?

CM:  Processed foods, and also meat.

SP:  Meat?

CM:  Yes, meat.  It’s not good for you, so it will be illegal!  Same with most starches, you know, like potatoes and breads and rice and stuff.

SP:  … so… what exactly will people be allowed to eat?

CM:  Oh my goodness, there are all kinds of healthy things that people will be able to eat.  I have a whole list!

SP:  What exactly is on the list?

CM:  Well, for one, broccoli.

SP:  … you realize that broccoli tastes like butt…

CM:  Yes, broccoli tastes like butt, but it is good for you.

SP:  … I guess with a little cheese it’s not so bad…

CM:  NO CHEESE!  No dairy products.  Just broccoli.

SP:  What else is on your list?

CM:  Organic oatmeal.

SP… and?

CM:  That’s really about it.  Broccoli and organic oatmeal.  This is all you need to survive.  Think of how thin and healthy everyone will be… and how simple the food pyramid will become.  I always had trouble with that stupid food pyramid when I was in school.  The new pyramid will be so easy to remember!  Just broccoli and organic oatmeal.  I guess it will be more of a… well… just a line than a pyramid… but it will be easy!

And people in California wonder why the rest of the country looks at them like they escaped from a circus sideshow.  I guess this is what Hilary Clinton meant by “It Takes a Village”.  I guess this is also part of the reason why I despise Hilary Clinton.  Seriously, isn’t our stinking country liberal enough without the government trying to force us in our purchasing decisions?  If you want to outlaw fast food, that’s one thing.  But, if fast food is legal, and hundreds of thousands of teenagers use fast food restaurants as a miserable stepping stone to a disgruntled life of crappy jobs serving others, why take away the toys?  The toys are the best part of a Happy Meal.

You know, if you really want to get rid of childhood obesity, set even more specific guidelines on what can and cannot be purchased with food stamps.  Only the healthiest food for those most at risk for health problems.  Or, maybe force women in a certain income bracket to have their tubes tied after a certain number of children.  We all know that the poor cannot raise healthy children.  Of course, I’m being completely facetious; but, really, once the government starts getting involved in something, we all know how likely they are to back down.  It’s only a matter of time before we are all sterilized and forced to eat a diet of butt and cardboard broccoli and organic oatmeal.

If the mood suits you...