Mean People Stink

I am too sensitive …

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Each of the last few Thanksgiving weeks I have shared on Facebook whichever article I can find (this year it was from NBC News) that provides a list of retail store chains that will be open on Thanksgiving Day. (The article usually identifies those chains that will be closed on that holiday.)

This is of some importance to me as I used to work in retail (a major department store chain, now extinct; an independent bookseller, now a memory; an electronics retailer, now going out of business, too.) I worked many “Black Fridays,” that day when the Christmas sales season is launched—a couple of those Black Fridays, I was behind the counter ringing sales with live (barely awake) customers at 5:00 a.m. I never worked on Thanksgiving Day itself, though, as the phenomenon of opening stores for customers on a national holiday had not quite started when my life as an employee ended in 2010.

I am glad for that, because I would not have much liked working on Thanksgiving.
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From To-Do to Tah-Dah!

The perfect to-do list: The one where the act of putting a task on the to-do list completes the task. It doesn’t exist.

There are websites for one to use to make to-do lists, apps for shopping lists (I own a not-very-smart phone, so I am an outsider to the world of apps), websites on which you can compile top 10 lists with friends. After one creates an account and logs in, not a single one of these websites offers “get a notepad or a scrap of paper and a pen and start writing your list” as the first item listed, so I guess they are indeed serious.
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Just a Volunteer Here Myself

One can not, or one ought not, nickname oneself. This is not a hard-and-fast social rule, but it is similar to the unspoken rule about not declaring oneself humble. The person who volunteers that he or she is humble often is not at all humble. An exception comes when the humble person is speaking self-deprecatingly.

Every once in a while, I have desired a cool nickname, a moniker that precedes me wherever I roam. “Lefty” is a great nickname—Steve Carlton and Phil Mickelson both carry that name with distinction, but I am right-handed. No one goes by the name “Righty.” “Write-y”? No. No one needs a nickname that is a pun, a rhyme no less, and would always need a follow-up explanation: “‘Cause he calls himself a writer, get it?”

“No. No, I don’t.”
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Awesome. Just Awesome.

One can not, or ought not, nickname oneself. This is not a hard-and-fast social rule, but it is similar to the unspoken rule about not declaring oneself humble. The person who volunteers that he or she is humble often is not at all humble. An exception comes when the humble person is speaking self-deprecatingly.

Every once in a while, I have desired a cool nickname, a moniker that precedes me wherever I roam. “Lefty” is a great nickname—Steve Carlton and Phil Mickelson both carry that name with distinction, but I am right-handed. No one goes by the name “Righty.” “Write-y”? No. No one needs a nickname that is a pun, a rhyme no less, and would always need a follow-up explanation: “‘Cause he calls himself a writer, get it?”

“No. No, I don’t.”
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Generation X?

“You’d really hate an adult to understand you,” one girl named Susan is quoted as saying. “That’s the only thing you’ve got over them—the fact that you can mystify and worry them.”

Others are quoted as saying things like, “Marriage is the only thing that really scares me,” and, “Religion is for old people who have given up living,” or, “I’d prefer to do something for the good of humanity,” and, “You want to hit back at all the old geezers who tell us what to do.”

Man, those millennial kids today have so much anger! Except each one of these quotes comes from a book published in 1964 in the United Kingdom called “Generation X.”
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What I Did for Like

In this social media-saturated (and media-about-media-saturated) era, in which both of my parents, one of them an octogenarian, have active Facebook accounts, and in which people who have told me to my face that they do not understand Twitter themselves have a couple thousand followers apiece on that service, drawing attention to one’s writing or art or craft or charitable work without purchasing advertising time on the radio to scream for 30 continuous seconds can seem difficult. For me, a naturally quiet sort, sharing the publication of a new piece feels unnatural, like actually recording that 30-second Janovian advertisement. Screaming is so unseemly.

(Perhaps I will go ahead and record that.)

In the Peter Cook-Dudley Moore film, “Bedazzled,” poor Stanley Moon (Moore) wants the affection of Margaret (Eleanor Bron). The Devil, George Spigott (Peter Cook), offers him seven wishes to win her. In one, Stanley is a gold-lamé-costumed rock star whose new hit song “Love Me!” drives all the young women, including Margaret, wild. The lyrics, and Moore’s performance, are little more than him yelling, “Love Me!”

The very next act, Drimble Wedge and the Vegetations, wins the entire screaming audience over to the Devil, George, as he speak-sings his dripping contempt for their affections. “I’m self-contained. Leave me alone,” goes the new hit, and his dry loathing for them makes the women in the audience desire him all the more. Stanley gets run over by the crowd that once briefly adored him as it rushes to the Devil at the end of his song. (The video clip that follows below the fold here both takes up too much space and is set too loud. Brace your ears.)
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So Darn Humble

The word “humblebrag” has been around long enough that even I have heard of it. (Is that a humblebrag?) A collection of examples has been collected in a book that I have not yet read, entitled, “Humblebrag.” The word is common enough that it is even in the Oxford Dictionary, at least in the online edition.

For some reason, I only recently learned the term and, egomaniac that I am, I thought that I had come up with the concept years ago. I certainly had not.
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Unalive, but Alive

“The man who kills a man, kills a man. The man who kills himself, kills all men. As far as he is concerned he wipes out the world.”—G.K. Chesterton, “The Flag of the World.”

The suicide is committing, from his or her terrible and terrifying and terrified point of view, genocide. Humanity-cide.

In the United States, September is National Suicide Prevention Month. For someone out there, perhaps publishing this phone number today—1-800-273-TALK (8255)—is the only reason for this website’s existence. There are similar services available around the world; in the United Kingdom, for example, the phone number is (0) 8457 90 90 90. There are people on the other end of the call who are volunteering their time to speak with anyone who is living with the sensation of being unalive but alive and wanting to end themselves.

September 10 is the annual World Suicide Prevention Day, created by the International Association for Suicide Prevention and the World Health Organization. This year’s theme is, “Preventing Suicide: Reaching Out and Saving Lives.” You can help, today and any day.

And who am I? I’m a suicide attempt survivor.
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