Jordan Peterson – “Developing Your Inner Psychopath”

And now I feel like a jerk

Just spoke to the mother of the boy who allegedly accidentally broke my rear windshield. I can’t keep all these kids running around straight and figure which belongs to whom, so just today I’ve finally been shown a photo of her son to see who’s standing accused here. I recognize that boy. He’s actually a pretty nice kid. Not the older one I had in mind and assumed was responsible (that one being the one I caught with his friends spray painting our garbage dumpster). Didn’t know if both of those kids were hers since they look similar, but no, only the younger one is hers, and he’s just 12 years old. Ugh. Actually liked that kid a decent amount and probably wouldn’t have gotten as upset had I realized it was him that everybody was pointing the finger at. The older kid in question is defiant and cruising to wind up in juvenile detention, but not this younger one. I can understand now that it was surely an accident of a young boy who didn’t realize the consequences of his actions.

But, I contacted my landlord yesterday before this conversation had occurred and the ball was already set in motion. The mother received a termination notice instructing her to vacate the premises within 3 days, citing multiple disturbances over time (including noise complaints from other tenants). She showed me the paperwork this afternoon. Ugh. And she had a different demeanor about her today as well, realizing the severity of the situation, saying she had  intended to compensate me (or have her son’s “worker” do so, whatever that means — she stated they receive financial aid from an organization that is separate from and not affiliated with section 8). But I wish she had simply explained that yesterday when I delivered the invoice receipt to her for my damages instead of closing the door on me. I was under the impression that I would not be compensated and so decided to report the incident with our landlord. Other tenants filed complaints to the landlord as well pertaining to this incident and others since they have warned several kids on numerous occasions to stop tossing around rocks in the parking lot. So, the landlord decided to evict her outright as a result.

I told her that when it comes to section 8 at least (being unfamiliar with the organization she’s specifically linked up with), their terms and conditions for renting differ from those of us not receiving aid from such programs. In other words, the rental agreements for those tenants are more strict and evictions tend to be more swift when they are carried out. Not sure why, just something I’ve observed over time.

She began crying a little, asking where she’s supposed to go within 3 days, saying she can’t even get into a shelter in that amount of time. Dammit. And this is why I so rarely report incidents to my landlord or to police or what have you. Makes me nervous to involve the Law where it’s not totally warranted. But in this case I figured I would not be compensated and was hoping she’d at least receive a warning so that she’d tighten the reins on her kid and prevent future property damage from occurring. But there were already complaints filed against her, so the property manager was able to take it to the next step. Didn’t expect it to go quite this far, but here we now are. The mother had on a uniform for a fast-food restaurant and said she’s only making $8.50/hr. at present. Mentioned being in some sort of treatment program and receiving SSI (social security) benefits, meaning she’s classified as at least partially disabled at this time. Not sure what the treatment relates to and didn’t ask.

Ugh. Dammit. I didn’t mean for a family to be tossed out on the streets with nowhere to go. Just was pissed about having to fork out over $300 (part of which was provided by a friend to help me out with these costs) for unforeseen property damages. I really wish she had told me upfront that she would reimburse me instead of arguing over her kid’s innocence since that said to me that I’m going to have to foot this bill without compensation. And that frankly felt frustrating as hell. I do get tired of parents taking up for their kids as though they’re all angels who do no wrong, despite being confronted with evidence to the contrary, accidental or otherwise. Didn’t want to go ’round and ’round with her over this matter, and small claims court was out of the question for this small of a sum (and likely wouldn’t have proven fruitful anyway since they likely can’t garnish wages for earners making under a certain amount).

Not sure what to do now. She said she and her “worker” (I assume she’s referring to a case worker there) and their lawyer will be speaking to our property manager tomorrow, and I told her to let them know that I am fine with her remaining as a tenant so long as we can work out a reimbursement schedule and stick to it. She seemed to want me to call them back, but there’s not much I can say to them. Nor do I really wish to when I’m not yet convinced I actually will be fully reimbursed. This is a tough spot for all involved. I’d like to be a bleeding heart and absorb the costs and tell her it’s all good and for her and her son to go forth and prosper, but life has taught me not to be a sucker who caves when the waterworks turn on or when empty promises are spoken. Been lied to before in the past over being compensated for property damage and always had to foot the bill myself. Always. Trying hard to recall a time (at least where insurance companies weren’t involved on both sides) when I was repaid for damages…can’t think of any.

But, then again, I do feel the punishment meted out in this case is severe. I can’t imagine being evicted and having only 3 days to relocate elsewhere, especially with a kid in tow.

Dammit. It’s no fun being the bad guy most days. Had I realized which kid it was they were all talking about I might’ve been more interested in pursuing the matter informally. But again, I wish she had straight up accepted her son’s responsibility instead of demanding proof that I can’t provide to her. We don’t have video cameras mounted in our parking lot, so we must rely on eye witnesses to tell us what goes on there. She wanted a police report, but the cops took too long, and even there it still would’ve been a he said/she said ordeal just as she’s claiming it is currently.

The lady across the hall (an old bitch with nothing but time on her hands to sit in the yard and watch all of our comings and goings and then to gossip about them) factors into this in a few ways as well since she claims the boy came to her asking whose car his rock accidentally hit. And she also claimed a different timeline for the incident. Plus, I watched her try to get vicious right off the bat toward the mother and boyfriend shortly after I confronted them about the matter. Also just learned about some of the crap she was spewing to them about the time I was leaving Saturday night. She too registered a complaint with the landlord (as she does all the time about everybody) and supposedly has something against the boy. Was she lying outright about what she claimed occurred? I don’t know. So I placed more weight on what the other neighbors said instead.

Ugh…  What was I supposed to do? Just pony up money for repairs and keep my mouth shut and not let our landlord know about the incident? Was I supposed to trust a perfect stranger would come through despite her not declaring she even would? Should I have waited longer before calling in the report? I so rarely call the landlord for anything because I prefer them not to be up in my business either. I just don’t know how I should’ve better handled the situation. I was trying to look out for my own interests since I figured they’d otherwise wind up disregarded. But I wasn’t aiming to render people homeless over the ordeal.

Journaling in the wee hours of the 4th of July (plus book review)

In a bit of a melancholy mood this evening. I don’t like to hear myself bitch any more than others care to listen to me bitch. But it’s fucking difficult to bottle up my emotions and to pretend they don’t exist, especially when I feel disrespected. And that’s probably a problem I have to sort out for myself since life isn’t fair and it’s never going to be. Just is what it is. Not going to go into any of that on here tonight.

Been a weird week overall. Weirdos abounding. Arguments reigniting. That car crash from last week and its aftermath. Another holiday approaching, which gets people all antsy. And here it is — the 4th of July. Independence Day. A day for Americans to wave around flags and watch parades and scarf down hotdogs and beer while reminding one another how we’re the best country on Earth, bar none. Patting ourselves on the back for what our forefathers bestowed upon us, as if we’ve proven to be good stewards of these historic blessings.

Bah! This holiday makes a scrooge out of me.

I tire of so much propaganda and the guilt-inducing patriotism. Gotta love everything about this country, right or wrong, or else GTFO. So they like to say. How kind we are to our fellow natives.

The_Bluest_Eye_Toni_MorrisonAnother thing that’s bothered me this week is I read Toni Morrison’s book The Bluest Eye. Pretty darn depressing read, though I figured on that before ordering it. Wanted to find out what this supposedly amazing author had to say that’s made her such a literary icon within the black community (as well as favored and applauded by Oprah Winfrey herself). Started out by watching an interview of Toni Morrison on youtube (was it from a Charlie Rose episode? I can’t recall). She came across as pretty darn racist. So decided to order a couple of her books (used through half.com) to find out what all the hubbub is about. Read an essay by her on the writing craft, then moved on to the book The Bluest Eye, published in 1970, this version including an afterword by her published in the 1990s.

What can I say about this book? It was well-written, I’ll give it that. Compelling enough to keep me wanting to read on. Wrapped up in the end as though its completion was being hurried, or at least that’s how it seemed to me. In her afterword section, Toni Morrison wrote on how she wasn’t terribly pleased with the book. But what got me is how she bent everything back toward race and racism. All throughout the book she described black characters who mistreated one another in awful ways, ending in a father raping and impregnating his young teenage daughter and then her mother beating her so badly that the girl went full-on crazy from thereon. The author described black parents who ordered their children around as if they had no thoughts or feelings of their own, who screamed and griped and carried on, particularly after another black man in the story was found out to be trying to molest another young black teen girl. The white people mentioned in the book were treated with scornful envy or reduced to being nasty idiots in need of black folks to care for them and their homes in order not to live in squalor. Aside from the two white rednecks who disrespected the young Cholly (the one who grew up to become the alcoholic who raped his own daughter) as he was attempting to lose his virginity the night of his aunt’s funeral — those two white guys were depicted as being part of the cause for why Cholly came out the way he did. That along with his father’s rejection after traveling to find him after Cholly’s aunt (and primary caretaker) had died. As well as having been tossed on a garbage heap by his mother when he was little more than a week old.

What gets to me about this story is that it showcases degradation within the black community, and Toni Morrison keenly portrayed it in all of its reckless degeneracy. And yet, still, somehow she found the problem to ultimately point back to white society as a whole. Not the choices of the black people written about. Not their poor parenting skills and heavy-handedness without first finding out the facts involved when it came to discipline. Not parents having sex in the same room as their kids, not to mention fighting and beating on one another. Not the drinking taken to the point that lust overcame all decency and familial bonds. White people had nothing to do with why Cholly hated women. Not even those rednecks who humiliated him deserved that honor. Yet Toni Morrison seemed to lay a good bit of the blame at their feet, claiming that Cholly redirected the animosity he felt at white people toward his own people, particularly black women and girls, as if that simply makes sense all unto itself. The mother who abandoned him was rather casually dismissed as assumed to have gone crazy. The aunt who chose to raise and care for him was spoken down about, as if her help had barely mattered at all. This was made clear when Toni Morrison claimed that the character named Cholly Breedlove had had no parenting skills to observe while coming up since he hadn’t been raised by his own parents. So what was his aunt? A nobody? Should she have simply left him to die on that garbage heap as a baby? Seems she received no credit for her sacrifices and love shown, or at least only trace amounts. Why? I think it’s because, for whatever reason(s), Toni Morrison didn’t care to flesh out his character in greater depth. She aimed to depict him as a loveless, broken man who’d given up and turned to the bottle, who hated women because he actually hated white people but couldn’t show it as openly, who came to care about nobody at all — yet the cause for all of this is somehow, somewhere, ultimately rooted in white society. These black people in the tale couldn’t love themselves or one another because of their envy toward whites, hence the fixation on blue eyes.

In the story, the white people mentioned all appeared to have money, whereas the blacks mostly didn’t. As if that’s the realistic split historically — yes-sirree, all white folks from time immemorial were blessed with money while black folks were not. Yep, that’s totally realistic. Right?  BS. But that’s how she wanted to frame her tale, creating a big divide between what she saw as the Haves and the Have-nots. Typical.

The book’s content was disturbing all unto itself without the added doses of racism toward white folks. Was going to loan it to a guyfriend, but after finishing it and telling him about it he stated he was afraid it might damage his spirit. And I agreed. Not loaning this book out to my friends. Not much good will come from doing so. Black folks who read it may very well accept Toni Morrison’s race-baiting antics without further scrutinizing all the black characters involved, and that’d be a shame. I found it to be more of an indictment of the black community itself rather than anybody else outside of it. Just a showcase of one scoundrel after another, some worse than others, but mostly scoundrels either way. The characters who might’ve proven to be fairly decent were mentioned in only a line or two and then left out of the rest of the story. The spotlight here was shined on these three black girls (Pecola, Claudia and Frieda), and it seemed nearly every adult around them wasn’t worth much of a damn. Hardly in any way conducive toward bringing up healthy, intelligent, competent and confident children. And I struggle to understand how that must be the outside world’s fault when so much control does and always has belonged to parents and families. Poverty alone can’t make people beat and rape their children. Hell, poverty is less likely to occur if one doesn’t drink and/or gamble away most of the money brought into the household!

Just kinda sickened me to read Toni Morrison’s afterword on the subject. Personal responsibility appears to mean to little to her since she’s caught up in this victim narrative and can see little else. Or at least that’s how her words came across to me. She stated this story wasn’t based on her own life but rather is a fictional account of an impoverished black girl (Pecola) who was taken advantage of by everybody, leading to the other two black girls (sisters Claudia and Frieda) who had befriended her to feel embarrassment and shame later in life when reflecting on how they couldn’t help her. But what was their primary concern expressed in the beginning and end of the book? That Pecola’s baby, conceived through rape from her father, had not lived. And that right there did me in. Makes me shake my head and wonder what planet we’re living on when that’s the primary concern here.

When I ordered that book I also ordered Toni Morrison’s Songs of Solomon. Hmm. Will wait a while before cracking that one open.

Father’s Day and Tuesday’s gone… (personal update)

One week into my new commitment to go a new way and leave alcohol alone. Also happens to be the Tuesday after Father’s Day, the day my Papa passed away 6 years ago. Thought about him some today, but then I thought about him all week. Think about him regularly enough regardless. He’s never far from my heart and mind.

It’s been a reasonably good day. Didn’t have much work to tend to, then went to the gym for about an hour. Unfortunately though, I came home and checked my bank account and found out someone had made two fraudulent charges through my debit card. Took over $250 out of my bank account, and I don’t have money to throw around these days. Called my bank immediately to dispute the charges, so my debit card is now deactivated until a new one arrives. Their site said that they offer “zero liability” protection for those of us subjected to fraud, meaning so long as we report the incident shortly after it occurs they will dispute it on our behalves and cover the fraudulent charges. One was to a website I’ve never shopped at, the other I have no clue about — don’t even know what type of company it is. Lady on the phone said maybe my debit card number was picked up by a card reader on a gas pump since that’s apparently a new fad among criminals. Told me to go inside to pay for now on instead. The matter will hopefully be resolved within 2-10 days.

Of course I can’t afford that right now. But what can I do? Some asshole decided to create havoc, and I’m surely not the only one being targeted. My former partner wonders if it had anything to do with that raunchy pub, but I’ll have to wait for my bank to sort it all out. Don’t know. Doubt his speculation seriously though. They’re low there, but I doubt they’re that smart. Either way, we’ll wait and see.

So that wasn’t good. But other than that, the day went fine. Overall, still not a day worth pitching a fit over. Financial matters can be remedied. My stepdad texted me earlier this morning to thank me for the letter I sent to him for Father’s Day. Decided, since he basically owns whatever he wants (or can at least afford it), and also since he has a young one now he probably doesn’t have free time to read books (typical gifts for one another), that I’d write down 10 areas where he had a positive impact on my life. This list included the music he exposed me to (sometimes inadvertently since I’d dig through his collection when he was out of the house), his decision to not subscribe to cable television (leading me to not subscribe to it either most of my adult life), the interesting books he provided us access to (particularly the science books, as well as the comics like Calvin and Hobbes and The Farside Gallery), his role modeling by working hard to become a successful professor, his thriftiness (which didn’t rub off on me much but is still a worthwhile example since few others in my family ever knew how to save any money), etc. Tried to keep it relatively light-hearted yet honest. Felt good to write that all down. Thought about doing so for a couple years now but never worked up the nerve. This past week felt like the right time to go ahead. Especially now that he has a 16-month-old baby to rear up with his new wife. Made me happy that the letter made him happy.

Called my Grandma on Father’s Day since I figured she was thinking about Papa too. And she was. Not too positive of thoughts though, as to be expected. Those two had a tumultuous relationship over the 50 or more years they were together. But it was good to talk to her. I don’t mind listening to some of that since it’s on her mind and she doesn’t have many people to talk to about it. But I still like to remember Papa in my own way, as who he was toward me and not just how everybody else in the family viewed him. He was a good Papa. Not perfect, but he loved me and it showed. And I love him very, very much. Always have and always will. That’s another reason for quitting drinking when I did, because I wanted to be sober this time around in honor of Father’s Day and his passing, knowing what all he went through with alcohol and understanding that he never meant for me to follow in suit.

Ever since he died Tuesdays have almost become sacred in a way. A day of remembrance and change. Like I can leave Tuesday to the past and move forward in a new way. At least that’s how it’s come to feel for me. So I took hold of that sentiment once again and decided this was the right time. It’s a good time. Two years ago I started to attempt the same thing, but I wasn’t straight enough in the head yet. Apparently hadn’t plunged quite deep enough yet. But this time around feels different. I feel ready. My resolve is strong now. To honor myself, to honor Papa and his memory, to show love to the rest of my friends and family, and to not contribute reckless nonsense to society in an unnecessary way (at least this form of it). One step at a time though. One day at a time.

Surely there will be more problems on the horizon. Always are. But now I can confront them and hopefully manage them better than before. It means the world to me that Papa would be proud. I want to be proud of myself too. Desperately need to be right about now, but only for good reason. I know my friends will all be supportive once they know. Preferring not to talk about it with most people until I have more of a handle on the situation and have more time under my belt to demonstrate how serious I am. They will be glad. Some of them don’t know the half of what I’ve put myself through, but they might have an inkling of an idea seeing as how this has been difficult to conceal. Gone on too long. Been down too long. They know I haven’t been living right. Hence why I tend to stay at a distance more and more with many of them.

Missed a galpal’s wedding reception this month. I didn’t even call to let her know I couldn’t make it. Just spaced it until after the fact. She might be upset, but I don’t know since I haven’t reached out to her yet. Waiting for the smoke to clear a bit first. Once I have money again I’d like to get her a little wedding gift, considering I’ve been an absentee in recent months. Little regrets like that keep adding up. Hard to smooth them all over. She might not even wish to speak to me anymore on account of that, which I’d have to understand. Not much of a weddings person myself, but apparently they mean a whole lot to other folks. And I knew better. It’s nearly all she’s been able to talk about over the last year.

Tonight my former partner invited me over for grilled hamburgers. That went well and we got along just fine. Watched some television afterward and tucked him into bed under the cool fan. Rubbed his belly a bit to help him relax since he had a long, hot day at work. On Father’s Day his son took him out to dinner, which he enjoyed. Doesn’t get to see him as much now that he’s grown up and is attending college. Soon he’ll be moving an hour away to attend a university.

These close men in my life I’ll always be loyal to, even if I haven’t always done right by them. But I do love them all. We are family, whether we were tied together by blood or bonds. I wish to become more upright for them too. All we have is one another in this life. It’s all anybody has, if we’re lucky.

I have been blessed. Lots of weird blessings in disguise, but blessings just the same.

Went on a bike ride with my trainer yesterday and didn’t get as winded as I usually do. Perhaps because he had to ride a bit slower due to recovering from blood clots. Perhaps because I had a little more energy as well. While on the bike trail we passed a George Carlin-look-alike riding a unicycle. lol  Shit you not. Only place outside of California (and maybe Colorado) where you’re liable to see something like that.

While out walking yesterday I came across a dead Monarch butterfly in the street. Not sure why that stuck in mind but it has. Just a random observation.

Anyway, it’s been an interesting week. Not too busy. Mellow yet odd-feeling, but still it’s been all right. Cravings aren’t kicking my ass, which is good. Watched my former drink in front of me twice this week and it wasn’t a temptation. Simply don’t want to go back down that road. Already know well enough where it leads. And it feels good to not be conflicted. Didn’t expect that. Figured it might be hell to quit, but so far it’s not a loud nagging. Though I have been noticing how much alcohol advertising is frickin’ everywhere out in society. The cravings are there, but they’re not overwhelming at this time. So I just pick up and walk on and refuse to focus on them.

Finished up listening to the audiobook The Wisdom Jesus by Cynthia Bourgeault after putting it on hold this past week. It was all right. Fairly interesting. Honestly turned out to not be my cup of tea, but Dr. Charles Murray recommended it in his (audio)book The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead: Dos and Don’ts of Right Behavior, Tough Thinking, Clear Writing, and Living a Good Life, which I listened to before that. He’s an agnostic but his wife became a Quaker and he sees the value in adopting a religious belief system. There was value in Cynthia Bourgeault’s book, though I’m not sure it was the right message for me at this moment, as an agnostic myself. But some of the historical information and differing interpretations were new to me and provided food for though. Currently re-listening to Dr. James Hollis’s What Matters Most: Living a More Considered Life, a personal favorite.

That’s about it for now.

Examples of drunks and late-stage alcoholics

Kevin O’Hara, showcased in the last post, suggested we do a search on youtube and check out examples of alcoholics, particularly late-stage. I widened the net a bit, but here are a few results that came up:

Charley reminds me of a couple people I know in the neighborhoods bars…

That last one was powerfully emotional to watch. Very sobering to imagine being in his family’s predicament.

Goes to show there’s a difference between being a heavy albeit problem drinker versus being a full-blown alcoholic. But, then again, it’s a process getting to that extreme that first began with creating (or giving into) a habit of drinking regularly.

That’s enough of that for now.