Sunday, September 25, 2005

Ramblings for the Evening (9/25/05)

Boiler plate warning: If you don't know what I're new here.
Wow, so this is what light looks like. Yes, I spent the last few days feeling like our founding fathers...just not as important. So let's get to the ramblings: DROP IT LIKE IT'S HOT!
Life without Power: Other than the fact that I was giving out batteries and lending out flashlights...and dealing with annoying Xcel people (I will NOT forgive you!), it was quite peaceful. I used one of those flashlights that you can wear on your head to read. One of the things that I found the most interesting was re-reading Calvin and Hobbes. I used to read the fantastic comic when I was a kid in the 80s (that's right, I was still a kid in the 80s). I found it very funny then, but as I re-read it now, I realized that there were a lot of jokes that I did not get as a kid. Calvin talks about "paradigms", "human nature", and more. How could a kid understand some of these jokes? I don't think my middle school talked about hegemony. Did any of yours? Yet, Calvin is discussing hegemony in one panel. So, on a hunch, I looked back over some of the other cartoons I used to read. Bloom County was a given. If you didn't know who Gary Hart was, then you lose out on a few jokes. It was overly political. However, there were others that were the same way. Baby Blues is cute, but it's funnier to people who have gone through the whole baby thing (or so I am told). Then again, I still don't get 9 Chickweed Lane. Seriously. Anybody get it?
Other than the reading, being powerless gave me a chance to catch up on my painting. Granted, when the sun went down it became really hard, but the flashlights helped.
What the hell are you selling?:
Ok, the Honda Civic Hybrid ad is about something that helps the Earth, and that's great, but the commercial honestly looks like an ad exec walked into a room and said, "Wow, I just dropped acid, and the so...CLEAR!" Then he or she dreamed up an ad where the people talk in trippy images. It seems to be happening everywhere now. Nissan has an ad where the car looks like it's in a funhouse mirror. And, if it's not looking drug induced, then it's totally about sex. Granted, I don't mind the commercials, but it's just odd. Look at the Tag commercials. You wonder why so many young boys think that tapping that older woman is cool? Look at the commercial where the kid's girlfriend's mom hits on him. Or the body soap commerical where the girls pole dance. Think that tells precocious young minds something?
Hey Kids! It's Time to Talk about the Fuzz and the Sock:

Modern psychologists are now saying that it is ok for kids to believe in people like Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. It allows the imagination to soar. The same thing can be said for The Muppets. Instead of telling kids, "No, Kermit isn't real. He is, in fact, a sock with fabric and ping-pong ball eyes," parents are now encouraged to let the kids believe they could meet Kermit. Now, that being said, people still need to know what's real and not real. So the question becomes: (and I know I'm getting away from the stated topic) how do you define what is real?
Kermit is real in the sense that the puppet (and he is a puppet, folks) exists. However, there truly is a hand in there controlling him. So, if you're having a tough time explaining to your kids or friends about puppets and such. Well, here's a cartoon to help explain it.
and finally...
Manners, people, Manners:
Sigh. I know I've talked about this before, but it's such an important topic. People: We are becoming more and more rude everyday. It's unfortunate, but true. I was playing Tennis yesterday (I'm part of a league), and my opponent and I ran a little over time. We had scheduled an hour and a half to play the match, but he (my opponent) has a slow, methodical serve, and we had long rallies. Now, there were two couples who were going to play mixed doubles, and they had apparently reserved the court we were on. They were also desperate to get on our court. Here's the thing: There were four other courts, and they were all open. These people could have started at anytime, but they felt that they needed court 1. Why? Because, "it's right by the windows where everyone can see us." That's right: It was all about being seen by the other people. Here's where the manners come in. I am about to serve. I'm in mid-movement, and one of the guys steps on my court and starts to talk to me. "Hey you!" he shouts. Beyond the fact that his actions are bad for tennis etiquette, he's also stepping into my serve. I have a hard and fast serve (I'm not bragging, it's the best part of my game...perhaps the only part of my game), so if he steps in front of me, I could drill him and hurt him. That would not be good...and it might be costly. I managed to stop my arm, but almost threw out my shoulder doing it. "Hey you!" he shouts again, "Let's flip courts. We're supposed to be here." Thus begins a conversation that takes a dark turn (I admit it's because of me.)

Me: "I'm trying to serve, sir. You need to move off the court."
The man I lovingly refer to as "Rat Bastard": "We're supposed to be here. Move to two."
Me: "We're in the middle of a game in the middle of a match. We'll be finished soon. Please move off the court."
RB: "No. We're supposed to be here. You need to move. Now!"
Me: "Sir, we were here first. We're almost done. PLEASE move so we can finish. Then you can have your court."
RB: "I'm going to get the manager and tell him about your conduct!"

RB's Wife: "You should be ashamed."
Me: "Please move off the court so I can finish. Then you can have the court!"
They move to court 2 and talk loudly about how badly I serve, my fashion sense (What the hell is that. Am I supposed to be stylish yet sporty?) and more. They never stop talking while I'm trying to play. At one point, the other guy sees I am about to win a point and tosses a ball on the court to void the point (Seriously. What an ass!).
Now RB returns with the manager.
RB: "Get him off MY court."
Manager: "Sir (he is addressing RB), they are allowed to finish their match. It IS league play. I will tell you again, please move to 2 until they are done. (Then to me) Did you verbally threaten this man?"
Me: "No way!" (My opponent even chips in a "Not a chance.")
RB and his group move to two but continue to act like children. I finish out my game, which I win, and my opponent goes to serve. This will be the last game. If not, then we have to switch sides, and we (my opponent and I) agree we'll move over. As soon as my opponent goes to serve, RB returns to my court.
RB: "Get off my court. You finished. It's my court now. Get off."
Me: "Sir, please, PLEASE stop. If he wins this game, then we'll have to switch sides. Then we'll switch courts, ok?"
RB: "Well that's not fair to us (He indicates his court). Then we have to switch during our game. No, you should have to switch."
Me: "Sir. I am losing my patience. This is the last time I will tell you: Let us play, then we'll switch. Is that too hard to understand? Why do you want this court so badly? How is it different from the other courts?"
RB: "It's right by the windows where everyone can see us play."
Me: "Sir, to use your line, get off my court."
I walk away to the baseline. RB steps to my court and follows me berating me for "not having the proper respect for someone like me." I have been extremely patient, and I have tried talking to him nicely, but he doesn't listen. Finally, I think about high school students, and I decide I need to "assert" myself. I take a deep breath and say:
Me: "Sir. I've tried to explain this to you, but you don't listen, so I'm going to tell you in a way you'll understand: GET THE FUCK OFF MY COURT, ASSHOLE! You and your skank wife should be warming up on 2. The longer you hold us (I indicate my opponent) up, the longer you have to wait. Now, turn around, slap on some BenGay on your raggedy-ass knees and shut THE FUCK UP! You didn't ask nicely, the manager told you to wait, so LEAVE US ALONE. You and your friends need to be patient. What the fuck is wrong with you? Just wait. We'll finish this game and then either leave or move to 2. I'm sorry that you won't be watched by everyone, but that's too bad. Now, go warm up and leave me the fuck alone, asshole!"
RB and his friends are stunned. My opponent, who knows me pretty well, starts laughing and says, "I want to serve now." RB leaves to the other side, but his court is now silent. We finished the game (I won) and we leave. RB and his gang don't even move until after we've left the bubble.
Now, here's my problem. I have been running into people like this more and more. They believe they are in the right. It's like the bossy woman on my flight back. Because I say it should be, then it should be. RB couldn't wait another few minutes. Instead of talking to me like a regular person, he begins with a command. Look, I work with high school students. When one of them throws a command at me, I just look at them and laugh. Emma can attest to this. One of the things that pissed her off so much was that I wouldn't do what she wanted when she wanted. What happened to civilized conduct in public. I can't blame parents, because they do it too. Old people nowadays are rude too. I love my father, but he still cuts people off in lines, because he feels he should be first (remember the "special" kid and the ice cream?).
Stories like this are all to common now. For example, I'm Mr. Leab, or I can be just Leab, but I will not let students call me by my first name. (Speaking of which: Worm. Remember the "confidence building" Spam? If it's spam, how did they get my first initial? It's not in my profile. I think it might be a person...) I call everyone Sir, or Ma'am if they are older then me. I'm not trying to make them feel old, I'm just showing respect. I believe in "Please", "Thank you", and "You're welcome". Maybe I'm in the minority now. People wonder why our country is de-evolving as it were, it's because manners are disappearing. And no, this is not a Liberal/Conservative thing, because both political parties suck at manners now, so don't even try to make this political. It's totally and utterly a societal thing. Rich, poor, black, white, whatever. Everyone is becoming rude. Even I became rude when I cursed out RB. Doesn't matter if I was justified, I shouldn't have done it.
Then again, what do I know? I'm the guy taking too long on Court 1. I could be wrong.

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