The Only Shame is to Have None

I really hate to blame the victim…but I never let that stop me.

Of course, if someone is preyed upon, the true villain is the person doing the preying. I’m not saying, “Well, what was she wearing?” here. Calm down; I’m not a monster. What I’m saying here is “Make a fool of me once, shame on you. Make a fool of me twice, shame on me.” There’s a growing resistance the latter part of that idea. And the key word, I think, is shame.

Social media is the battleground for a war on shame (among other things). Now, shame isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It’s built into our biological wiring; like pride or jealousy. It feels bad, but much in the same way that pain alerts us of injury. Shame is a social device that alerts us that our behavior may be unhealthy to ourselves or others.

That off-color joke you think is really funny? Maybe you should gauge your audience before you share it so you don’t upset someone. Your tastes in entertainment reveal a lot about your personality. Your favorite anime may be cause for some introspection. That group you associate with that everyone seems to make fun of? Maybe they’re not quite as awesome as you think. And fezzes are NOT cool–you only think so because a fucking TV show said so and even that was supposed to be a joke, you clod.

Before social media, our shame kept us quiet. We were more prone to listen and learn from the examples of those who could take the lead. But now everyone has a voice. And for all the good that’s done, there’s another side of that coin. Rather than listening, people are more interested in talking. And those people tend to only be interested in listening to other people who parrot back their same ideas. Rather than coming together as a community, the folks who feel shame for themselves have instead taken to narcissistic crusades to validate their personal damage.

I have my own shame, but that’s an important distinction: I own my shame. The prime example is how I’m ashamed of my weight. However, instead of crying over societal stigma or accusing others of being fat-shaming sizeists, I’m motivated to make [at least some] effort to get in better shape. No doubt, it’s the most challenging solution, but ultimately it’s the most rewarding if I succeed in overcoming my weight problem. I’m also the first guy in line to label me an idiot…but there isn’t all that much I can do about that. In the meantime, I live with my shame. It’s my burden to bare; not my peers.

When you own your shame, you master it. Shame becomes a tool that you can wield. Either you can use it as motivational fuel to improve yourself or you can accept that part of yourself–embrace it in your own security–and move on with your life.

So… Robin Williams.

I’m one of the many millions of people on the entire surface of the Earth that feels his loss. But I do find that in the wake of his death, I’m able to talk with more people openly about depression. I can talk about how it feels and how it works without coming out and turning focus to me. People are so caught up in Williams’ celebrity that no one’s asked yet, “How do you know so much about this stuff?”

The first thing that seems to confuse people about depression–especially Robin Williams’–is how he could feel so sad. He was blessed with talent, money, fame, adoration… How could someone with so much not be happy?
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Aged Whine

All my life, I’ve lived among the geek community–the geekosystem, to be cute. My peers range from greyed, middle-aged folks (many bearding or balding) to budding teenagers, with new generations entering the fold each year.

As this age range broadens, so does the generation gap, and it’s becoming a point of disconnection between many of my friends. The older members will often become annoyed and dismissive of the younger crowd. Meanwhile, the younger members meet with frustration when they reach too far in believing they share through osmosis the same maturity as their elders.
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That’s Not Funny

This week, someone made headlines for making an insensitive joke. Neither the joke nor their name are especially important; nor is the time you’re reading this post. Check your news feed and you’ll find it’s true. Equally reliable is the online reaction to that headline; mostly involving parroted buzzwords and chasing comedians into burning windmills.

When the comedian appropriately replies to their response with The Finger, the accusers then take the defensive stance. “No, we’re not trying to take your humor away. It’s just that humor should be used to fight back against the oppressors, not further exploit the oppressed.” This almost sounds like a good idea. Some of the most satisfying comedy I’ve experienced has involved knocking the high and mighty down a peg. When The Man is keeping you down, you may not have the power to hurt them, but you can humiliate them.
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Bumper Cars

There was a traffic accident on my way to work today…and I almost became part of it!

I was stopped, third in line, at an intersection. I didn’t know it at the time, but about 40ft after the intersection, there had been a pretty serious collision. When our light turned green, the first car in our lane continued onward, but the car just in front of me started to gently roll backward.

At first, I looked around in case she was making room for a paramedic, but she was already too far away from the intersection to block it. After that, I realized that she was still rolling back toward me. There was another car close behind me, so I couldn’t also back up. I waited for her to get a couple inches away before giving her a honk…but it was too late. She tapped my bumper. A love tap, really… There was almost a smooching sound as my car kissed the ass of hers.

She immediately waved at me–either to apologize for being absent-minded or wondering why I didn’t also back up for her–then shifted forward through the intersection. No damage to the car or me. A part of her rear bumper appeared to be popped loose, but I can’t remember if it was like that before she backed into me.

Just the daily perils of my morning commute.

The Hatman in the Morning Text Adventure

Yeah… Gonna give this blog thing another go. I’m paying for this domain and hosting, so I outta use the most of it, right?

Posts here will likely be a lot less dreary and personal as they’ve been in the past; for a number of reasons. One of the better ones is that I’m genuinely much happier since I got married. Sounds corny, I know, but whatever. It’s working. The usual stress and bitterness hasn’t gone away, but at least now I’m not defeated by it.

This blog will probably serve as an accessory to the podcasts I do (whenever I get around to doing them). This will hopefully help flesh out ideas that I either didn’t articulate as well in a podcast or would like to refine a bit more before I bring it up on the mic. Or it may allow me to cover a topic when I just don’t have time to record while I’m thinking about it.

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