Preface: Those of you who know my work will get with this is about. For those of you who don’t know me or my work, and who might be tempted to take this the wrong way, I refer you to this excellent article by Mr. Phil Friedman.
Glass Half Empty…Glass Half Full…Yadda Yadda.
As I was riding around today, painfully aware of the shit show of human stupidity that I invariably end up bearing witness to on these sojourns, a thought occurred to me.
What if, instead of my thinking that this endless parade of seeming ineptitude is the direct result of mass stupidity, I would start to would give these buffoons the benefit of the doubt.
I could start thinking of all these people as actually just regular folk in a moment of frailty, distraction, bad decision making or even worse, victims of some sort of mental disorder that brought about what looked like stupid behavior.
At first, I dismissed this because, well, I am a bit of a cynic. But it kinda stuck around in my head. Then on the way back home, while waiting for some idiot to parallel park his big SUV one painful inch at a time, a title came into my head and I knew I had to pursue this.
Will it end up making me a less cynical person? I guess we’ll find out.
What I’m Going To Do To Reduce My Cynicism Make A Myself A Better Human Being
That guy I mentioned who couldn’t parallel park his hulking beast of a car is not a doofus.
No, his parents split up when he was about 16. His father took off with a floozie from his office and they moved to Tahiti, so he never got the benefit of his father giving him driving lessons. His mother became an alcoholic after his father so cruelly abandoned them. So she was no help either.
The homey I saw with his pants down below his butt cheeks with one hand holding his iPhone and the other holding up his pants is not an asshole fashion victim.
He wears his pants that low as a tribute to all the members of his posse that have been incarcerated over the years, and have been turned into hardened criminals as a result. He’s also not some sort of demented exhibitionist with a compulsive need to show everyone his underwear.
The guy who walks into a street sign because he is too distracted by what’s going on on his smart phone is not an idiot at all.
He was justifiably distracted at watching his Blackberry stock, which he has faithfully held onto all these years, finally crash through the floor. Totally understandable. Or, or he could very well be seeing for the first time, the selfies his fiance took of her and his best friend, you know, getting it on. Or…well you know this list can go on forever. Poor guy. He has my total sympathy.
The FedEx driver who cuts you off to make an illegal turn and then gives you the finger in the process is not the asshole he seems to be.
He is obviously suffering from some deep seeded obsessive compulsive disorder that mercilessly compels him to have his own way all the time. This could stem from being deliberately deprived of his favorite breakfast cereal, Lucky Charms, as a child, because his mother did not believe that they were, in fact magically delicious. Now that can screw you up.
The woman who stands on my corner screaming at her kids is not a total bitch.
Instead, she is someone who made an innocent mistake in her youth. Several times, in fact, with three different guys, none of whom ever stuck around or offer child support. This came about through un-diagnosed ADD which meant she was incapable of paying attention in sex ed class. It’s a sadness to be sure.
The crazy little homeless guy who hangs around on Gerrard Street, getting fed by all the local restaurants and periodically launches into a vicious screaming fit and beats up on recycling containers is not a frightening madman.
He came by this condition quite honestly as he was one of the original architects of the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City. He spent three years of his life jumping through hoops for Trump and then, one day Trump announced to him that he thought his work was shitty and was not going to pay for it. That would send anybody over the edge.
The screaming kid that invariably shows up whenever we go out for dinner does not have idiot parents.
Of course, you can’t blame a kid for stuff, So I look to his parents. Sadly in their quest for child rearing knowledge. they took a Dr. Oz online course on child rearing. As a consequence, they have no more a clue what to do after the course as they did before. I do feel for them. Anybody can get sucked into the Dr. Oz Syndrome. I mean, he is on TV after all.
The menacing looking biker type walking down the street with a massive, un-neutered pit bull on a very short leash is not a moron trying to prove that his is as macho as they come.
He’s a humanitarian who believes that all pit bulls deserve a second chance, especially those who have been trained to kill smaller dogs by their previous owner, who abandoned them. The spiked collar came with the dog at the humane society. And the fact that the dog is un-trainable just adds to the challenge that people like him relish in life. What a sterling human specimen he is.
The endless collection of Republicans who work as spokespersons for Donald Trump are not pre-programmed robots.
They are simply people who have been taught, from a very early age, to worship the rich and powerful, thanks in no small part to the dulcet tones of Robin Leach in Lifestyles of The Rich & Famous. They have managed the almost impossible task of becoming convinced that Donald Trump embodies all the qualities they admire, especially since he has been the host of his own TV show. This is completely normal behavior in today’s world, and whatever floats your boat, as they say.
OK…that’s enough of that. I’m going to go into the downstairs bathroom and partake of a primal scream. But don’t you worry, I’ll be OK. Because I’m not, despite any proclivity I might have to disbelieve it, a much better human being.
I hope you all can take a positive message from this post. Especially if your innate intelligence has made you even slightly cynical about what’s going on in the world today.
I’m convinced that practicing this form of self-delusion or something similar will serve you well out in the world. And make it all feel much less depressing in the process.
Because at the end of the day, we should all be willing to do whatever we can to make ourselves feel happy and at peace with the universe.