Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Problems With Being Nice

I got to how I don't like the word "nice." In the past few years I've really, really started to hate that word. I hate the connotations for it, how it's lumped in with the politically correct crowd. I'm told to be "nice," to act "nice." "Nice" is supposed to personify me, wholly take me over. But what really is nice? Looking up the definition gives you this:

  1. pleasing; agreeable; delightful
  2. amiably pleasant; kind
  3. characterized by, showing, or requiring great accuracy, precision, skill, tact, care, or delicacy: nice workmanship; a nice shot; a nice handling of a crisis.
  4. showing or indicating very small differences; minutely accurate, as instruments: a job that requires nice measurements.
  5. minute, fine, or subtle: a nice distinction.

Not good enough. Words are constantly redefined, changed. Decades ago fag used to mean rotting wood. Now it's used as a derogatory term for homosexuals. So, off to do some etymology -- that is, the history of words and their meanings. Turns out being nice doesn't mean what people think it originally means, and is a whole lot worse than that.

late 13c., "foolish, stupid, senseless," from O.Fr. nice (12c.) "careless, clumsy; weak; poor, needy; simple, stupid, silly, foolish," from L. nescius "ignorant, unaware," lit. "not-knowing," from ne- "not" (see un-) + stem of scire "to know" (see science). "The sense development has been extraordinary, even for an adj." [Weekley] -- from "timid" (pre-1300); to "fussy, fastidious" (late 14c.); to "dainty, delicate" (c.1400); to "precise, careful" (1500s, preserved in such terms as a nice distinction and nice and early); to "agreeable, delightful" (1769); to "kind, thoughtful" (1830).

So, to be nice is to be foolish, stupid, senseless or agreeable. Sounds appropriate. Instead, perhaps we should substitute niceness for the more appropriate kindness, although in the latter sometimes being kind means doing what a person needs done, not necessarily what they want done. Although the synonyms for "nice" include such things as "kind," in reality, the word is also used for "ingratiating" or "conciliatory." In both these cases you can see the "politically correct" ideal portrayed in the word itself.

So, being nice is to suck up to the ego of someone else, not to ruffle feathers. This is not being kind. It is ego-stroking, brazenly so.

Sunday, August 05, 2012

You Can't Win

Liberal, Conservative, Communist, Nazi. See what I did there? It's the standard dichotomy between the two political sides. One side calls the other stupid and the other side mirrors it, both not seeing their own stupidity or how they're being manipulated by the media in the echo chamber (rights for rights and lefts for lefts). How is it that I'm no longer allowed a voice, and am told that I should go die, because my views differ from the other side? And it doesn't matter which side you're on, either. It's heated, almost a warzone (to which I'm surprised it hasn't devolved into one). If you're pro-choice, you're a murderer. If you're against abortion, you're a backwards thinking neanderthal who is against woman's rights to choose. Dissension to a party line even if you don't fully support it is tantamount to putting yourself up on a cross and waiting for the people around you to throw stones. There's talk about free speech on both sides of the line, but differing points of view are wrong and need to be stamped out before they create another communist or fascist regime.

How did we even get this far, anyway? It's like the parties themselves happily cause these shifts in the population. It's like they want class warfare and racism and the problems brought about by such in order for government to step in to solve it all. Because that's what big daddy government and big mommy government do, they solve problems for the children instead of us figuring things out on the lowest level and keeping them out of our lives and out of our businesses. Government doesn't believe we're intelligent people -- they view us for the stupid quivering masses that we are. Easily manipulated by the media systems that have no integrity that report for their side. Giant propaganda machines. We are living in Orwells world, it just isn't quite how Orwell thought it would be.

A people divided from within. A nation divided from within. And we are ripe for our destruction and reintroduction into the new machine that's waiting

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


It is an odd quality. Faith in any amount moves a person or a mountain, and when it lacks, it does nothing more than eat away at the conscious. The decision is to of course have it, an active choice, required daily. Like prayer. Faith is in all things, from the man of faith (the misnomer descriptor for anyone believing in a higher power, because all persons are people of faith, even when they deny it) to the agnostic to the atheist--although in the later his isn't as outwardly pronounced, nor would he ever admit to having any.

There are moments of fleeting, just-grasped pursuits of faithfulness. Fullness of faith. Or just as the original word implies, of being faithful, devoted and otherwise there. But how there is it? Does it matter to have or be without? Sharing faith is callousness. Sharing callousness is benign. Being benign is called being an asshole. Being kind is being a jerk, and being nice is being depraved enough to know that you're inwardly inflicting harm upon others, but not being man enough to admit it.

To be kind is to do what's right, including what would be right even if it outwardly might appear mean (although not wrong). Being nice is satiating the ego, in more ways than one. He's nice and she's nice, but never kind. And he's nice but not faithful and she's nice but not faithful. And in both cases they're faithless. But in their nice but faithless havens, lacking in heaven (but pursuing it), they speak of the appropriateness of their actions, how nice is good, but kind is wrong, kinda wrong, and goodly niceness. It leads back to faith, altruism, and the pathologies that crusade their daily shenanigans. But never with thought. That requires questioning, even in faith.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Accountable or Responsible?

accountability, noun
  1. the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable.
  2. Education . a policy of holding schools and teachers accountable for students' academic progress by linking such progress with funding for salaries, maintenance, etc.
responsibility, noun
  1. the state or fact of being responsible.
  2. an instance of being responsible: The responsibility for this mess is yours!
  3. a particular burden of obligation upon one who is responsible: the responsibilities of authority.
  4. a person or thing for which one is responsible: A child is a responsibility to its parents.
  5. reliability or dependability, especially in meeting debts or payments.

A quick Google search of accountability and responsibility reveals two very distinct viewpoints on the words. Largely, people use them interchangeably. I can see why. But in the search for accountability, we find more about government, while responsibility yields ... less. Continuing further into the results for responsibilities reveals things like "social responsibility," whereas accountability is more about Federal programs (Canadian and otherwise) demanding more accountability, or, persons being answerable for their actions, as in government being answerable to the public for anything they do instead of being responsible in the first place to the public.

Looking at the two words, and actually thinking about them shows something.

When using the words in reference to action, one is more before-the-fact (responsible) and one is an after-the-fact (accountable). An action versus a reaction. Unfortunately, we're seeing more after the fact than initiative for a before the fact; i.e.: they've already committed the transgression. So, it comes down to the expectation that something will be done wrong, and instead of demanding responsibility from persons in power (consider government) to not commit a transgression, we instead ask for accountability (the assumption that, yes, the person will do something akin to large-scale corruption). But why the change in policy from one of responsibility to accountability? Is society itself less responsible now than it was fifty or even a hundred years ago?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Culmination of a Half-Year of Non-Thought (Part 4)

It was a rather green Christmas where I was. What little snow had come melted. At best, maybe a week of cold and then it was gone in the wind. Literally. Lots of wind, hustling and bustling through the city, keening away. People complained about the wind until it stopped and the cold came back. Then they'd complain about the cold and the wind, hearing them, would swoop back in and gush about energetically. Either form of temperature was disturbing. The subs and pluses.

But I was going to my parents for Christmas, where there would be snow. Lots of it. All white, fluffy, adorable stuff. Throw it at people, laugh, eat a white orb in the face moving at significant velocity . . . okay, not so enjoyable, but you get the picture.

This of course involves an eight hour drive through a wonderful mountain pass. A pass that features blizzard conditions, blowing snow, black ice, compact snow, slippery sections and tailgaters with no sense. You can already see the horrible shenanigans taking place, like retarded ballerinas on ice. Just twirling, twirling into tomorrow. The future. And ruining your present. Of the literal, figurative and ideological sense.

Somewhere off in the middle of no where, between a town of little significance and a town of greater significance as a tourist destination for skiing, I found myself driving slow. Not as slow as I could have been traveling (or as slow as I wanted to be traveling to ensure personal safety). To wit, three vehicles trailed behind me, and while I was assuming a speed somewhere around the seventy kilometer per hour range, I began the hazardous attempt of braking in order to slow myself further.

This in itself was probably the thing that made my life a victim of happenstance moreso than the moment of the tires of my truck coming into contact with the slicker icy surface mere meters beyond the point of my braking. My truck began to slide, following the leftward contour of the road to extremes, the front end beginning to position itself for a head-on collision with the snow (and guard rail) on the opposite side of the road.

As it stands, I'm not sure if what I did was smart or stupid. Perhaps it lessened what could have been catastrophic damage to being merely cosmetic. I jacked the wheel as hard and fast to the right as I could while feathering the accelerator. This caused my truck to slew to the right, missing the opposite side of the road (and all it entailed) to instead rotate my truck one hundred and eighty degrees so I was now facing the direction I had been coming along.

Of course, the three hangers-on that had been following me passed me by. It being the eve of the few days before Christmas, their own familial traditions probably weighing heavily upon their minds, any for of Good Samaritan service would be a preclude to wastefulness of their time and proclivities.

My truck continued its slewing, skating on the surface to the point where the drivers side (occupied by myself) initiated contact with the snowbank. The truck rolled upward, the momentum carrying it. There was a brief moment as I looked to my left over the edge of the snowbank and . . . down. Down. An embankment of perhaps a good fifty feet, probably more. I was on the precipice, and in the back of my mind a small voice said, ironically, not again (a story for another time, perhaps).

However, the moment passed, and the angels reeled in their line pulling my truck back onto its four wheels. No smoke, no fumes, nothing but the purr of the engine. My head rotates to the right, and my sister is sitting stock still in her seat, eyes perhaps a little wider than necessary to perceive the world about her. At this point I placed my vehicle into four wheel drive (a trait I am most thankful for), and placed it into reverse. Three more cars passed, along with an ambulance.

A three point turn and turned-on hazard lights later, I find myself outside my truck inspecting the damage and thanking God for the skid plates under my truck (it's designed for off-roading, you see) that protected the undercarriage from damage. I drove the rest of the way to my parents house at a more subdued speed, but safely.

My truck is still running without fault to this day.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Culmination of a Half-Year of Non-Thought (Part 3)

Packing. Boxes. Totes. Clothes stuffed into bags, garbage and otherwise. Sealed up tighter than a . . . well I won't finish that analogy. Derailed. Denied. But I am approaching the horizon, the epoch of a long journey in an ever expanding storyline of anger, frustration, hated, ignorance (certainly no bliss to be found here, so move along), spite, apathy. The adjectives march by like a parade, I will assure you.

Anyway, there is the packing. It has to be done. All in the timespan of a day, two maybe? No, a day and a half, or was it half a day? It was furious, and while I found myself furious, fuming like a titillating teapot on an ancient stove demanding attention like an attention whore bound by her own impulses, I also found within myself a strange nerve. And it had been struck. Oh, by golly.

Turning to a roommate of mine, I approached with a singular question: do you want to move?

A shrug, a face, a twisting of features into a "don't know" and also a possible "don't care." But as we were jamming more items into small spaces as to make clowns with small cars envious. A website with pictures was found denoting a possible new place of residence. It didn't take long to sway either myself or the other roommates to move. It was easier to move (we were already packed!) then stay and live outside a box while our stuff was interned within.

A call went out, dialed into my aging, dying obsolete phone. An archaic thing with an answering machine! A cry in the dark, screaming in the wind, carried off to who knows where. And my plea was heard... eventually. But we're coming up on Christmas soon, too. And there's still a whole slew of other nuances yet to take place . . .

Thursday, March 08, 2012

The Culmination of a Half-Year of Non-Thought (Part 2)

There is a knock upon my door. A knock-knocking of poignant importance. My seat is left with a flurry and spins in my absence as I abscond to the top of the stairs, leaning over to peer down and through the window. Another knock upon my door, a knock-tap-knock. Impatient, insufferable, intolerant persons upon my step are gathered like a storm that hasn't properly visited this winter.

Dejectedly, muted as a TV in the throes of more important (if not insipid) conversation, I descend like a mongrel king to the entrance, and upon disengaging the lock of the door, divulge the outer frame by removal of the same. It swings inward, chilly autumn-like air pooling at my feel. Little gremlins stealing my heat. Two women, bundled against the cold, eye me. Blue eyes and brown eyes.

They hand me a piece of paper, speaking as they divest themselves of whatever this solemn duty is. Apparently, my abode is to be screened for bedbugs.

My face falls, a warrior atop a ridge shot in silhouette and left to tumble down in crimson, furiously clinging to a wound and life. A victim of happenstance. Questions begin to roll out my mouth, unabetted regurgitation of demands for information. At first, shy and coy glances are spent between blue and brown. Oh, but they can't! But they shouldn't! But they couldn't! But they will. And the tale, loathsome as it is, is unfurled before my glazed over eyes.

It begins innocently enough. New neighbors. Only it is what they've brought with them that horrifies, shocks and bedazzles the mind. An infestation of bedbugs. But they didn't, nay wouldn't, tell anyone of their pet problem. Instead, they horde the little beasts in the confines of their beds, feeding them at night on a strict diet of human blood. But a problem arises. Some of the minuscule pests jump ship, clambering through a wall into an adjacent townhouse . . . upon which the renter made complaint.

Obviously, there was an investigation of all the attached units, to ensure that the problem hadn't spread further along. And then they realize who had started it: three families, all of Indian origin (from the country of the same name) and who were now tracking that very vile parasite between three different blocks of townhouses, one of which was my own. They were living next door.

Everything had to be packed up. Furniture pulled away from walls, dishes boxed up, clothes into totes and plastic bags to protect them from the pests, although they first having to be laundered in boiling hot water and died in the dryer at the highest temperature for a minimum of forty minutes. So much work for the inspection. The end result I already knew -- I didn't have an infestation.

This, however, leads to a new whole series of adventures...

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The Culmination of a Half-Year of Non-Thought (Part 1)

Where to begin, where to begin. A statement, not a question, because there is no question inasmuch as to the fact that things have indeed happened to me. The percolation of non-thoughts, for I can't say I have truly been thinking, and deeds, for they are actions in name alone, of a morbidly malcontent societal zombie has broken down the tirade dams erected against the brazen beast of a supposed civilized world.

Too much, no enough, and somewhere in-between. Like the pivotal point of a movie plot, the highest moment where heroes become truly heroic and demons and villains become their most disturbing incarnations of the apathetic beast. I sit in a kind of limbo, only now having sinned and eaten of the fruit and seen truth, but I can't call it wisdom, for to admit to myself any form of wisdom would be deceitful, and only cause to stand out the lark that is my own true retardation.

I think, if anything, I should throw back the clock into the previous era of months past. That being September of a year now currently disassociating itself from the current year. Roughly in this stretch, I began to receive mail from a government I probably elected, but through shenanigans, the bureaucratic behemoth has become another malcontent and is in itself seeking debtors, even those not indebted to the system. Or at least, believed not to be indebted to the system.

The letter, THE LETTER, held in my grubby hands and torn into like a starving child in Africa, was government issue. Obviously of importance. I remember checking the mail on a lunch break while I was home, making lunch itself. A good day was destroyed in that instant. Oh, but it was. It proclaimed in not-too-subtle language that I owed to the government a large sum of money, and that if I did not reproduce these misplaced funds owing, would find myself at the pointy end of litigation. The thoughts that began to fester in my mind at this point were cancerous at worst.

Returning to work, I found myself relating my new conundrum with coworkers. Oh, how this must be wrong. I had yet to file taxes for the current province of residence, so my address should have technically been somewhere else, but no, the government had in a moment of putrid, blindingly-bright epiphany, found me. Upon returning home, I seized upon the phone. A conqueror taking what he felt he owed.

I called the various revenue agencies within Canada. Two numbers. When passing on my personal information, they assured me that I didn't owe a single cent to the government. This was good. But still, the lingering poison of doubt left its presence upon me. In fact, one of the agencies even said that this might be the possibility of being fraud! Indulgent to this thought, I left it as is. A month passed until September became October. The day before I left for my folks place, a rainy day, my phone rang and I answered.

It was a woman. A Christine, if memory serves. She alleged that she worked with the CRA, or Canada Revenue Agency, and that once she had my name, wanted to know if I had the sum owed to the government. I, at this point, held my temper. Barely. Fraught with an internal rage burning brightly, eyes I'm sure glimmering with the utmost vengeance to be sworn upon this rabid, spiteful harlot and her ilk, her kin, her children and grandchildren whom I would consume in fire for centuries. But none of this was elucidated from my lips. Instead, a pointed remark: "I don't owe the government anything."

There was of course very pointed confusion on her end. Obviously this was not the remark she wanted, and she asked, nay, demanded clarification on my part as to the how's and why's that would come about such an outcome as me not actually owing money to the giant tentacle monster poised atop Parliament Hill. I clarified: "I've already contacted the CRA and they assure me that I don't owe any money. In fact, your timeline for past infractions as to my indebtedness to the government via lack of payment is indeed fraudulent at best, as in your earliest indication of slipping to pay taxes, I was still in highschool."

Oh, but now she is doubly confused. This isn't right. Her data is wrong. She begins to say that, no, it can't be wrong, because she FEELS it is right. I again reiterate my point, even going so far as to give my birthdate for clarification. I can feel the heat of a light shining through the receiver on my phone, the kind of giant spotlights used in prisons to find prisoners. She asks me for a specific point of information, and after a moment of thought, I give in.

The sorries begin to gush, the dam broken and the watery equivalent of apologetic-ese, a disease suffered by many North Americans, asserts itself. It's so her fault, and she is so very, very sorry. The person they are looking for has my name (except my middle name), once had my home phone number (two years before), and even lived at my residence! (again, within the previous two years). The coincidence of this and the magnitude of likelihood of this happening are exponential as if to be impossible.

I got to my parents house very thankful that Thanksgiving.