One Jackass – Or Two?

Jackass

An Old Man and His Mule

An old man walked up and tied his old mule to the hitching post. As he stood there, brushing some of the dust from his face and clothes, a young gunslinger stepped out the saloon with a gun in one hand and a bottle of whiskey in the other.

The young gunslinger looked at the old man and laughed, “Hey old man, have you ever danced?”

The old man looked up at the gunslinger and said, “No,… I never did dance… never really wanted to.”

A crowd had gathered as the gunslinger grinned and said, “Well, you old fart, you’re gonna dance now,” and started shooting at the old man’s feet.

The old prospector — not wanting to get his toe blown off — started hopping around. Everybody was laughing. When his last bullet had been fired, the young gunslinger, still laughing, holstered his gun and turned around to go back into the saloon.

The old man turned to his pack mule, pulled out a double-barreled shotgun, and cocked both hammers. The loud clicks carried clearly through the desert air, and the crowd stopped laughing immediately.

The young gunslinger heard the sounds, too, and he turned around very slowly. The silence was almost deafening. The crowd watched as the young gunman stared at the old man and the large gaping holes of the twin barrels.

The barrels of the shotgun never wavered in the old man’s hands, as he quietly said, “Son, have you ever kissed a mule’s ass?”

The gunslinger swallowed hard and said, “No Sir… But I’ve always wanted to.”

There are five lessons here for all of us:

  1. Never be arrogant.
  2. Don’t waste ammunition.
  3. Whiskey makes you think you’re smarter than you are.
  4. Always make sure you know who has the power.
  5. Don’t mess with old people, they didn’t get old by being stupid.

 

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WOW #19

Icon

Iconoclastic

Definitions for iconoclastic
attacking or ignoring cherished beliefs and long-held traditions, etc., as being based on error, superstition, or lack of creativity:
an iconoclastic architect whose buildings are like monumental sculptures.
breaking or destroying images, especially those set up for religious veneration.

Origin of iconoclastic

Iconoclastic is an adjective derived from the nouns iconoclasm “image smashing” and iconoclast “image smasher.” The Greek noun eikn means “image, likeness,” whether a painting or a statue; -clast and -clastic- derive from the Greek adjective klastós “broken in pieces.” The most famous instance of iconoclasm began under the Byzantine emperor Leo III the Isaurian (c680–741). It lasted from about 726 to 787 and was partly based on the injunction against graven images in the Hebrew Bible (the second of the Ten Commandments recorded in Exodus and Deuteronomy). A second period of iconoclasm occurred in Switzerland, the Holy Roman Empire, France, and elsewhere in Western Europe in the 16th century during the Protestant Reformation. Iconoclastic entered English in the 17th century. The modern nonreligious, secular sense arose in the 19th century.

I’ve never really been one to follow the rank and file; especially when I found that ‘rank’ means having a foul, offensive odor, and ‘file’ is an abrasive tool.  To the Brits, a ‘file’ can be a sly, cunning, or artful person, like Oliver Twist’s Artful Dodger pickpocket.  I’ve known a lot of foul-smelling, abrasive, dodgy tools in my time.  I did it my way, long before Frank Sinatra sang about it.

I tried to be part of the sheep herd, but, even before I was out of short pants, I realized that their baa-ing didn’t describe reality. I was a goat among the sheep, and I was often made the goat, when I pointed that out.

Respect politicians??! They put on their bullied, bought, coerced and cozened pants, one nepotistic leg at a time, the same as honest people.  Even the few who start out with the best of intentions, soon are turned rotten or disillusioned.

Respect police??! The people whose enforcement of the laws tends to make them believe that there are two sets of laws, one for you and me, and another (complete with free passes) for them?  I respect the work they do and the Police Forces, but it’s hard to respect a group of folks which include testosterone-soaked alpha-males who severely beat citizens – not criminals, not even suspects, but innocent civilians – simply because they do not immediately, and unquestioningly, obey illegal commands.

I have unkind thoughts and words for officers who take a 6-pack of beer along on a midnight patrol. I regard as unsafe, but typically entitled, an officer who flicks on his cruiser’s lights and siren to skate through a red light, and turns them off again a block later, to turn into a coffee/donut shop.

Save the best for last, because, even the definition emphasises it – RELIGION – which, in this area, means all the many different, mutually incorrect branches of Christianity.   Whether by Atheists, Jews, Muslims, or just another Christian sect, any time the particular and peculiar aspects of any given denomination are questioned or contradicted, there is always the outcry that, “You have to respect religious practices.” Why?  You don’t!  What you really mean is that your religious practices should be respected.  The only reason that the assertion is broadly stated, is so that your group is included.

Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part. So also, your faith and reverence does not mean that I must show reverence, when I find your beliefs and ceremonies, rites and rituals to be superstitious, foolish and misguided.  Screw you and your commandment-violating icons and paintings and statues, as you worship and show reverence on the commandment-violating wrong day of the week.

I’m not usually enough of an asshole to go out and actively be Iconoclastic, but when some other asshole proudly shows me “To Serve And Protect”, and I know it’s only to serve his/her own best interests and protect his ass; when someone boasts of their ‘inerrant Bible, or Koran’, or their ‘infallible Pope, or Imam’, then my ‘private opinions’ become a little more public.

A lot of people don’t even form opinions about things that they really should. Many of them hesitate to ‘rock the boat’ by disagreeing.  I’ve never had that problem.  I will call a spade a fucking shovel, and then use it to dig out of the bullshit being spread.   😯

Oh, Grow Up!

Rink

On an irregular basis, the local newspaper allows 500-word articles from members of the Youth Editorial Board. These are intelligent high school students.  I am often impressed with their knowledge of social problems, and their mature suggestions.

I was recently sadly disappointed by a female Catholic student’s rant, titled Complaint About Rink, Masks a Bigger Problem.  A family in this hilly little town had found a large enough flat spot to build a small rink in their front yard.  By-law Enforcement had become aware of it, and the City gave them two weeks to dismantle it.

I share her opinion that Canadian kids are overweight and out of shape, and need all the outdoor exercise they can get. The City has sufficient good reasons to specifically make this behavior illegal, and mentioned several of them in their media release.  To ensure compliance, a possible fine was stated.

Not one to let the facts get in the way of a good story, she went on to paint the family, not as lawbreakers, but as Phys-Ed heroes, and later, as downtrodden victims.

If she built a snowman on her lawn, would someone file a complaint about that too? If it were eight feet high and blocking sightlines at an intersection – Yes!

She felt that vanity(?) was triumphing over enjoyment.  All exercise and fun obtained in a back yard would be just as enjoyable – and less dangerous.

She felt it was unfair that they had to dismantle the illegal structure because just one person filed a complaint. It’s possible that the entire street narc-ed out these people, or that only one did, with the knowledge and support of many others. How dare the City threaten a fine?  It wouldn’t be imposed, if they just obeyed the directive.

The list of weasel-word excuses that she used to rationalize her denigration of the complainant was long and impressive. She listed: intimidation and oppression, lowering self-esteem, verbal and physical abuse, criticism can follow creativity, attack with negative words, victims, power and control, lonely perpetrator craving attention, jealousy, compensating for their own troubles, anger, unfair, bullying, and frustration.

The City’s main stated reason for not allowing this behavior centered around the 14 inch steel tent pegs used to anchor the frame boards. Things like this, driven into the ground, could damage telephone and cable lines, power cables, and water and sewer pipes.  These would not happen if the rink were situated in the back yard.

Not mentioned by the City, were things like wobbly figure skaters or body-checked little hockey players crashing into passing pedestrians and baby carriages, or even worse, onto driveways, as cars pull in or out. Hockey pucks or frozen rubber balls can break windows and dent cars and garage doors.  Kids chasing them into the street can easily be run over.

The midnight-shift worker who tries to sleep during the day would be none too pleased with a noisy crowd of kids beneath his front bedroom window. None of these things have anything to do with vanity or oppression, merely safety and good manners.

Just wait till she gets older, gets married and moves into her own little house in the suburbs, next to a neighbors-from-Hell family like the one she’s currently defending.  The people who casually violate City ordinances about front-yard rinks, do it so that their kids have fun, not so that neighbor kids get exercise.

These same people are the ones who own a dog which is tethered outside 24/7, to bark its head off, or a cat that they let run loose to shit in your carefully tended garden beneath your living room window. They think nothing of having an illegal campfire in their backyard, which fills your house with smoke, and forces you to close all your windows on otherwise lovely days.

They feel entitled to blast loud music from their stereo out through windows and French doors, all day and night, while they throw loud, drunken parties on their deck, or in the pool or hot-tub. Now who’s intimidating, oppressing or bullying?  Ah, the joys of living in the city, there’s one on every block.

When we moved in here, the 10-year old from across the street wanted to play one-on-one street hockey with his friend, using their driveway and ours as ‘goals.’ I told him clearly that I would not allow it.  I didn’t want our car, or the house, dinged and marked, or the work and expensive garden plants wasted and ruined.

We left to go shopping one day and came back to a hockey net blocking our driveway, and the two boys resting on the curb. He jumped up and moved the net – the first time. I repeated that it was ‘my’ driveway, and I didn’t want him playing here.

We had lunch and went back out. On returning the second time, there was the net, blocking our access again, and he was now too tired to get up and move the net.  My son got out of the car and threw it onto the boulevard.

Not five minutes later his mother came over to accuse the son of ‘putting a hole’ in it.  It’s a hockey net.  It’s all hole!  And I don’t care how much healthy exercise he’s getting, it doesn’t belong on my driveway.

I think our little ‘fitness and fun’ defender’s entire screed “masks a bigger problem.” She needs to grow up, and I think when she does, our rose-colored-glasses wearing, sheltered little Catholic, is in for some nasty surprises about urban reality.

Flash Fiction #74

Cliff

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

ON THE EDGE

I was always the loner, the social misfit, alone in the corner at parties.  They said, “Have a drink.  It’ll loosen you up.”

One didn’t, but 8 or 12 did.  I felt witty, amusing, entertaining – accepted, until I reached the precipice.

“Did you hear what that drunken asshole said?”

I wasn’t addicted to alcohol, but to being part of ‘The Group.’  They didn’t accept me; they barely tolerated me, kept me as a Court Jester, an object of derision, to be laughed and jibed at.

Stubborn Scottish pride soon cured that.  Now I carefully choose my friends, stone cold sober.

***

Go to Rochelle’s Addicted to Purple site and use her Wednesday photo as a prompt to write a complete 100 word story.

In Search Of Truth

Some people claim that they’re in search of truth.  Others don’t even bother to make the claim.  All too often, the impetus and the result are the same.  Most folks don’t want the truth.  As Jack Nicholson said, “You can’t handle the truth.”  What they really want, is for their opinions to be validated and for others to agree with them and make them feel good.  Even when the truth is presented to them, they keep denying it and pushing it away, because, that’s not what they want to see.

At my daughter’s housing complex, they’ve had some incidents occur which led the board to decide to install electronic security cameras, around the office area.  One of the cameras was to be trained on the children’s playground, right beside the office.  Most reasonable people would agree that, protection of the kids would be a good idea.  A secondary reason for that camera was that, one of the male teens from the complex, and two or three of his non-resident friends are thought to be climbing over the playground fence, and dropping out of sight into the tiny yard behind the office.  They’re probably smoking dope, and the camera can’t see them, but would provide evidence if a fire started, or damage was done.

A female living across the driveway high-jacked a board meeting last week.  She found out that the cameras were going up and started ranting about spying on the children and looking in her windows.  She went around to many of the residents and told them that they must attend the important meeting.  She just didn’t tell them what it was all about.  When most of them found out what the issue was, they shrugged and left.  One woman, who she thought would support her, stated that she felt the security was a good idea, especially for the kids.  That led to a loud, nasty confrontation.  Even when she was told that the cameras would only be turned on from 6 P.M. to 6 A.M. and was offered to view the feed from the “offending” camera, she refused the offer, and continued her rant.  Purely coincidentally, the next day, the camera was damaged, when it wasn’t turned on.

In a minor grandstanding play, to seem as if he’s doing something when he’s really not, the Premier of Ontario instructed the Minister of Education, to order the individual boards of education, to facilitate the formation of gay/straight alliance groups in all high-schools.  The bullying of gays is a serious subject, but it is not the only aspect of school bullying, nor, perhaps, is it the most important facet of the problem.  It is, however, the one the Premier wants to champion.

The public school boards quietly, efficiently, obediently went along with the directive.  They know which way the wind is blowing, and when the photo-ops arrive, they want to be seen to be on the side of goodness and right.  The Catholic school boards, however, have been more of a problem.  Some of them are reluctantly willing to have the groups formed.  It’s just that they can’t have a name which includes the word gay.  They can have a mix of straights and gays.  They just can’t say they have gays in them.

The local Catholic board has still not got around to authorizing formation, largely due to one particular male board member.  He was interviewed by a reporter for the local paper to give his reasons for the foot-dragging.  His response was, that if these groups were allowed to form, they would just devolve into giant gay sex orgies.  That’s right, groups that would prevent bullying by ignorant, prejudiced individuals, are prevented from forming by an ignorant, prejudiced individual in a position of power.  It seems that someone might have pointed out his baseless, paranoid position, because the next sentence in his quote was, “Even if they don’t, there’ll be talk about perverted stuff, like anal and oral sex, and I don’t want my kids hearing about that kind of thing.”  Fine, then tell your kids not to join the groups that others wish to form.

The Catholic Church vs. Girl Scouts.  Over the past several years, there has been friction between the Church and tween girls.  The Church has, on several occasions, claimed that the organization supports birth control and abortion.  These charges have been vigorously denied.  Despite being shown that these charges are false, in several dioceses and instances, representatives of the Catholic Church continue to fling the same old mud.  Recently a Bishop in Indiana has called for denunciation of the group under the same baseless charges.  The attacks themselves are difficult enough to fend off and maintain dignity.  The membership of Girl Scouts has declined from 3.3 million, to 2.6 million young girls in America.

Many Girl Scout troops are currently using rooms in Catholic churches for meeting halls.  If The Church divorces them, (Oops!  Can’t say divorce and Catholic Church in the same sentence!) they will have to try to find alternative meeting places.  Also, a million of the girls left in troops are Catholic.  They will be forced to decide whether to leave their religion, or their uplifting group of friends.  I know which one I would choose, but then, I’m an old and greatly experienced curmudgeon.

It is sad that people like these, choose to practice and enforce their mindless dogma, rather than deal with imperfect, undesirable facts.  There’s an adage that, “If your cat has kittens in the barn, you can call them horses.  Just don’t try to ride them.”  These folks already have out the boots, spurs, Stetsons and lassoes, but it’s us they’re riding.  It’s time for us to tell them to get off our backs.