Go to hell and have a nice trip

Mama always said, “If you’re going to insult somebody, do it with a smile on your face.” (Mama always talked in bold face.)

That admonition has served me well for years.

Daddy always said, “You can take the sting out of profanity by putting it in quotes.”

As I noticed on Facebook, the Internet’s great forum for esoteric and learned debate, there’s a world of difference between saying, Bob, you’re really screwed up AND Bob, you’re really “screwed up.”

People think you love them when you add a smile and quotation marks even if you have to raise your hands and extend two fingers on each. Extending one finger on each doesn’t smooth things over.

I miss this magazine because it taught me everything I needed to know.

People become used to humorous insults. That’s why Don Rickles got so many laughs. When he made fun of people, they thought he loved them. Most of my friends think of me as “Mister Warmth.” They knew I grew up with the commandment, “Mama don’t allow no swearing ’round here.” So, when I tell them to go to hell, they think it’s satire or love, sweet love.

It takes many years of practice to get people to laugh when you’re dead serious about the “sanity” of their families, the “beauty” of their daughters, the “honor” of their sons, and the “stunning” breakfast of burnt grits they prepared for you.

It’s become clear that a well-publicized “wacky” belief system goes a long way in getting away with stuff. The people who know I believe in reincarnation and not hell, think that when I say “Go to hell,” I’m talking about Michigan.

Actress Barbara Stanwyck purportedly told Fred MacMurray that the secret of acting is truthfulness. “Just be truthful – and if you can fake that, you’ve got it made.” Faked sincerity covers almost as many “sins” as a “wacky” belief system. If you sound sincere, people want to go to hell and want to be screwed up.

Sometimes when people learn that I’m a writer (which is just as handy as a “wacky” belief system), they say, “OMG, will you put me in your book?”

My response is usually something like, “You’re already in my book. I just changed your name to keep your spouse from divorcing you.” 

“Aw, shucks,” they say, genuinely proud of themselves.

My friends variously think that I’m joking, being wacky, being satirical, and being a writer even when I’m not. Their kind thoughts in such matters have kept me from having to censor myself very often.

–Malcolm

I’m a lot more like my Jock Stewart character in “Jock Stewart and the Missing Sea of Fire” than most people suspect!

 

Trick Falls wonders: ‘Is trailer trash talk the new normal?’

There’s a certain reality show (I won’t say which one because I don’t want to get sued by anybody) that I believe intentionally recruits contestants that use a lot of in-your-face -profanity, are arrogant and full of themselves, and generally behave like the worst trailer trash on the planet.

Ratings, ya think?

Wikipedia photo
Wikipedia photo

Even so, I assume these people act on the show the way they do in real life. If so and if this is the new normal, then our country’s in worse shape than I thought.

This comes to mind today because a Facebook discussion got started on a friend’s thread about whether people hanging out on the social media should simply expect to the discounted about anything and everything. My answer was no. I thought it was out of line for people to come out of nowhere and randomly criticize people’s clothes, hair, eyes, career choices, and various other personal attributes because (hopefully) they wouldn’t do that kind of thing in person and remain friends.

Others said that if you do anything (or are anything) on the social media, people are going to comment. I think personal attacks there are out of line, but agree that if one posts something about politics, religion, current events, and a variety of other issues, there will be a lot of commenting. That’s why those posts are put there unless people think they’re just preaching to the choir and that everyone who sees the post will click LIKE or say AMEN and move on.

I see a lot of libelous material on Facebook and often wonder why that’s necessary to “win” an argument about whether ABC is better than XYZ. Many of the comments sound like they’re from people who talk like those on the reality show I’m thinking about. But God help us, these are (I assume) regular people. Those of us on Facebook weren’t selected by central casting to come out there and stir things up to increase Facebook’s ratings.

Of course, trash talk is easy. If somebody makes a political point, it’s easier for somebody to say, “well, you’re an asshole” than to come up with anything factual and relevant to say in response. And, should anybody ask where you got your information, it’s easier to say, “those bitches at that place are all f_cked up.” I’ll wondering, of course, when it became okay to use the word “bitches” as a synonym for women and if the people that do think they’re winning any points in the discussion with the “F” word as well.

Sounds like a lot of high school posturing to me. But it’s coming from adults who, somewhere along the line, decided that talking like an immature juvenile in the middle of a temper tantrum was good for their jobs, their friends, their lives and their country.

By the way, if you happen to live in a trailer and don’t talk and act like the people on that reality show, you’re in the clear. If you call me an asshole on Facebook because I’ve just found a factual flaw in your political argument, you’re not in the clear.

My dear old daddy used to say, “trailer trash ain’t never going nowhere no matter how they strut around the block because they end up back where they started.”

I used to agree with him. Now I’m thinking times have changed.

–Trick

A resident of Two Egg, Florida, Trick Falls made a killing in the gigolo business before going into the philosophy business.