Today, I saw an article about a Pennsylvania couple that was charged with contempt for filling out jury forms filled with sarcasm and profanity. While most people were attacking the couple, all I could say was ‘more power to them’.
Who among us isn’t sick of filling out forms? Who among us isn’t sick of people giving us pages and pages of incredibly personal questions to answer with no regards for our privacy or our time?
Everyone I make an appointment with does not need to know my employment history, my PCP, my middle name or if I am white, black, Asian, Latino or ‘other’ (because there are only 5 kinds). When I go to my doctor, she doesn’t need my full employment history, unless that history includes working in a coal mine and my diagnosis might be pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis. (round of applause for Essa, for finding a way to put the longest existing English word into a sentence)
I say rock on Pennsylvania smart asses. Jury selection forms are nothing more than gathered data designed to allow some slime ball attorney to stack a jury and get their dirt bag client off on a technicality anyway. As far as I’m concerned, the courts don’t need to know my employment. They don’t need to know my financial history and they don’t need to know if I’ve ever been convicted of a crime. Because I’m not the motherfucker on trial.
You want me on your jury, fuck your forms. You only need to know two things. You need to know my name and you need to know that my ass is small enough to fit into one of those horrible wooden jury chairs at the court house.
Forms are ruining society. They are what people give you when they don’t know what else to do. You lost your luggage at the airport? Fill out a form. The doctor is 45 minutes late for your appointment? Fill out a form. The cops beat you within an inch of your life during a standard nonviolent arrest and you want to complain? Fill out a form.
I hate forms.
A few months ago, my son brought a form home from school. On one side was a bunch of requested information. On the other side was a request for the exact same god damn information. Apparently, someone in my kid’s guidance office can’t be bothered with the lofty task of turning over a piece of paper. I marked it ‘see other side, idiot’ and haven’t heard back since.
Which only goes to prove that no one reads those fucking things.
Yes, I am aware that sitting on a jury is a civic responsibility. That is why I don’t vote, to avoid civic responsibility. But filling out forms is not a civic responsibility. It’s a nuisance and a big one at that. So props to the Pennsylvania couple for telling it like it is.
In their honor, if I am ever forced to fill out a jury selection form, I will make a point of making it twice…no triple…as offensive as theirs was.
Because it is my duty as a patriotic America to exercise my freedom of speech…whether out loud, in a blog post, or via form.
God bless America.
The Facebook nostalgia video has officially gone viral. It’s called the ‘look back’ and it is designed to tell you what was really important in your life thanks to how many of your friends halfheartedly liked something.
Of course, because the vast majority of my friends are idiots, my video is nothing more than a pile of loud garbage. Generally, the drunker I am when I post a status update, the more people like it. Despite writing approximately 5,000 articles for various news outlets, publishing 3 books, raising a kid, changing careers, getting my masters degree and all the other life changing things I have done, this is apparently the most important thing I have had to say in the past 10 years.
I genuinely hate my Facebook page. As far as I can tell, it’s nothing more than a digital exercise in rejection. Even someone as together as me gets a little bit hurt when I post something that I think is pure genius, and no one likes it. When someone does like it, I think that they only clicked like in order to get me to go to their page and like something they made. I can’t help it, it’s pure psychology.
So I’ve decided to fix the problem by encrypting all of my Facebook status messages using PGP.
Now, I will truly know who actually cares what I am posting, as these people will be forced to spend 15 minutes hunting down my public key, and then another 5 decrypting it. In addition, I will only respond to comments that have also been encrypted using PGP.
As an awesome side effect, it will ensure that any future ‘look back’ videos created on my behalf come out as pure gibberish.
**In case you were wondering, this encrypted message says “haha fuckers, good luck making a video about this.” A valuable resource put to good use just to piss off my Facebook friends. I truly do have far too much time on my hands.***
In about a month, I will be leaving Florida to take on the great, classy city of Las Vegas. I get the urge to change states every 4 years or so to
outrun all my warrants take in new scenery.
Anyway, most of the people you will meet in Florida are transplants. In the years I have been living here, I have only met 1 or 2 ‘born and bred’ Floridians. Everyone else came from freezing cold states, and were lured here with the promise of eternal summer.
I have to agree that the weather is beautiful. As most of my friends are shoveling out their driveway, I sit here in flip flops and complain when the weather gets below 60.
But there are a few things that I wish someone had told me when I first moved, and now I’m going to share those things with you.
#1. Only hookers wear panty hose in the Sunshine State.
With weather that tops 100 on a daily basis, and an average 90% humidity rate, most people are practical enough to forgo an extra layer of nylon covering when they go out. The ones who don’t are the ladies who need to hide their varicose veins and track marks. Unless you’re looking to get solicited by a car full of college boys, leave the tights and pantyhose at home.
#2. Never trust the outside appearance of a neighborhood
As an apartment dweller, I’ve always been careful to avoid places with bars on the windows or mattresses in the yard. But Florida landlords are getting wise to that and now slap enough window dressing on any apartment complex to fool prospective tenants into moving into a ghetto neighborhood.
How to avoid it? When looking for a place to live, don’t look at the landscaping in the complex. Look at the cars in the parking lot. If you spot more than one 1998 Corolla with window tint, spinning rims and a stereo system that Blue Books for more than the car is worth, move on.
#3. There is no such thing as an ‘outdoor’ pet.
You won’t see a lot of stray cats roaming the neighborhoods in Florida. Here, stray cats are alligator food and they will not last very long. The only people who leave their animals outside in Florida are the meth dealers who need to leave their Rottweilers outside to protect their meth labs.
#4. Rudeness saves lives
Florida comes in at a hefty third place, right behind California and New York, for the most victims of serial killers. Remember these two words; Fuck ‘em.
A person broken down on the side of the road and they’re trying to flag you to stop? Fuck ‘em. A person knocking on your door looking for their lost dog? Fuck ‘em. A person in a cast wants help carrying their groceries? Fuck ‘em.
Yeah, I know it sounds terrible, but I don’t care. I’d rather a stranger think I’m rude than some Buffalo Bill nut job think I’m an easy target.
#5. ‘Palmetto bug’ is Floridian for ‘creepy assed flying cockroach’.
A Palmetto bug, aka the Periplaneta Americana, is a member of the arthropoda phylum and resembles a cockroach with the same approximate size as a small dog. While they do not bite, the first time you have one fly into your face in retaliation for spraying it with Raid, expect to be scarred for life. I’m not fucking around people. It will haunt you to your grave.
#6. Manatees do not exist
I think they are some kind of fake endangered species made up by a corrupt Florida official in order to get government funds for preservation. While I have no statistical proof, I can tell you that I have been to 3 manatee festivals and have yet to see one actual live manatee.
#7. All your neighbors will be nuts.
Again, something about the heat drives people nuts here. In my short time in my middle class apartment I’ve seen;
- A guy try to light his girlfriend’s place on fire…while completely nude
- A high speed chase, ending in a police standoff in my neighborhood, where the man claimed to be receiving secret messages from the children’s show “Yo Gabba Gabba.”
- An invitation to join a cult
- Another note telling me I’m going to hell for not joining said cult
- A bronies convention (Google it)
- A six foot red headed Asian woman with 6 toes on her right foot, who will gladly show the mutation to anyone for $1
If you don’t have any crazy neighbors in your Florida neighborhood, guess what? You are the crazy neighbor.
Florida has been fun, and it’s given me a lot of material, but its time to move on. For anyone about to move to “The Penis of America” (<- slogan is copyright of Essa Alroc) , I hope my guide will prepare you for what is sure to be a memorable stay.
I often get compliments on my intelligence. Many of my friends assume that I am incredibly smart, because I know that the gestation period of an elephant is 2 years, that standard anthrax isn’t as dangerous as man-made streams, and that the arsenic in your apple juice probably won’t kill you.
Here’s the thing people; I’m not that smart. If I had to track myself on a scale, I would put me at average, to minimally above average. But people get the wrong impression, and attribute genius abilities to me because I know how to research and code.
Wanna hear a secret about coding? It’s not that hard. In fact, it’s nothing more than adding and subtracting in series of 10s. I don’t know any average intelligence person who will get the question ‘what’s 20 + 10?’ and have to Google the answer.
You know what makes people think I’m smart? My sarcasm and clever quips. When it comes to sarcasm and clever quips, I’m fucking Einstein. I assume this ability comes from a higher than average sense of humor quotient, coupled with a complete lack of any kind of moral filter, inborn cynicism, and significant quantities of alcohol and mind altering medications.
It is indeed, delightful to be me.
But no, I am not that smart. I can’t look at an algorithm and know the answer immediately. I can’t hear a composition played on a piano and copy it. Hell, I can’t even do that Rain Man shit where I count the number of toothpicks on the ground.
Only one thing separates me from the masses, and that is my ability and desire, to ask questions. And when I ask those questions, I know how to get answers from the right people. Let me explain.
A long, long time ago, I met my first boyfriend. After a day of riding around on one of those bicycles with a giant wheel, and pulling each others powdered wigs off, we started to get hot and heavy. As he desperately rounded third base, I stopped him. He resisted.
“I have blue balls. Did you know those can cause cancer?”
Indeed, I did not. This of course, is pure bullshit. However, here is where most teen girls make their mistake. They either give in to the idiot entirely, believing his factual medical advice, or they ask one of their idiot girlfriends. Of course, their idiotic girlfriends always knows a girl, who knew a guy, who said his cousin’s sister’s husband had that happen to them.
But I was born a cynic who knows how to ask questions and who has no shame in approaching anyone to get those question answered. So when Mr. Blue Balls told that to me, I didn’t go to my best friend for verification.
I went to my best friend’s dad, because he was a doctor and he would have some actual, factual knowledge on that shit.
When he finished laughing his ass off, he explained to me that this was an age old excuse, used since men started walking upright, to get laid.
And I had my answer.
Look people, I’m not that smart. I just know how to pull up a browser and cipher the fake from the real. It’s kind of like how you tell a set of fake tits from a set of real tits. After a while of looking, you just know.
I do something unique. I form my own opinions. When I hear a news story, due to my inborn cynicism, I know that it is impossible for anyone to report news purely based on the facts. They all have their own slant.
So I ignore their slant, I take in the facts, and I let them swirl around in my head a little bit before I make a determination.
- I don’t assume something is true because someone tells me it is.
- I don’t assume that something gives you cancer because some TV doctor tells you it does
- I don’t assume period…I evaluate.
What makes me so smart isn’t some kind of inborn intelligence. It is my ability to ask questions in the first place. I don’t see some news story about how latex causes cervical cancer and throw out all my condoms and stop fucking
Instead, I ask three questions;
- Is this fact too ridiculous to be reasonable?
- Does the person sharing the fact have any reason to be biased, one way or the other?
- How knowledgeable is the source?
This is actually a pretty easy method to learn. Watch as I break it down using the Mr. Blue Balls story.
- “Blue balls give you cancer.” The fact is too ridiculous to be reasonable. If this happened regularly, it would be all over the news, with newscasters urging all women to start giving blow jobs to strangers.
- Mr. Blue Balls was 100% biased. No way around that one.
- Mr. Blue Balls was a 19 year old boy with no medical training. In no way at all did he qualify as a ‘knowledgeable individual”.
This tells me that the opinion of Mr. Blue Balls was not a valid opinion.
That isn’t intelligence. It’s just logical reasoning.
You too, can be average like me. You can make logic based decisions relative to the evidence you’ve seen. You don’t need to accept anything at face value just because someone tells you it’s true. You can make your own determinations. That doesn’t make you a genius; that just makes you an average person who refuses to have their opinions spoon fed to them.
And that is nothing to be ashamed of.
We are a society made up of people who set the trends, people who follow the trends, and people who watch both those other groups with baffled amusement.
I fall in to the last group.
The last group understands that trends are ridiculous. No matter how edgy you think you’re being, no matter how fresh you think your idea is, it’s been done before.
Fashion is cyclical. We seem the same styles come back every 40 years or so, with very few updates to discern them from the last cycle, but like sheep, we all act like the idea is so modern and exciting.
Skinny jeans and boots? What a visionary combination! I wonder who thought of that?
Thanks for the fashion forward advice 1984.
I’m sick of trends and the people who follow them, thinking they’re somehow being edgy. The fact is, most of today’s trends are either straight up fucking stupid, or something that is fully recycled from something that has been done before.
#1. “Ironic” T-shirts
I recently got congratulated for wearing an ironic t-shit. First of all, as a professional writer, I’m going to go ahead and promise all of you that a t-shirt cannot indeed, be ironic;
i·ro·ny – noun
the expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
In short hipster, your shirt can’t be ironic because it is an inanimate object that is incapable of using sarcasm.
My ‘ironic’ shirt featured the phrase ‘task terminator’ in bold black letters on a blue background. I got it as part of some team building exercise when I was still a welcome and appreciated member of corporate America. I got fired from the job for being very bad at it, but I got to keep the shirt.
I considered it a win.
Anyway, on a massively hung-over Saturday morning (the kind of Saturday where you need to delete all your Facebook status updates and check your call history) I used this shirt to wipe a small amount of vomit off my bathroom floor.
Then, on account of the fact that it did not smell extremely bad, I elected to wear it. At which point, I became an incredibly cool hipster who wears ironic t-shirts.
I don’t spend 45 minutes every day making my hair messy and picking out the perfect ‘I don’t give a fuck t-shirt’ to show off how cool I am and how little I care to the world.
I dress this way because I am an alcoholic drug user with bad vision. And nothing about me is ironic.
I love how shaking your ass suddenly became the newest dance craze, like it’s never been done before. Look people, Miley Cyrus didn’t invent twerking. It’s been around for awhile;
The only thing that changed was the camera angle. In 1956, the camera focused on Elvis’ gyrating pelvis. In 2013, it flipped around and focused on Miley Cyrus’ chicken butt instead. A new angle does not a new dance craze make.
#3. Ombre Hair
This new fashion forward ‘trend’ makes it cool to be a lazy bitch who lets her roots grow out, while her ends remain four shades lighter.
There are actually hair dye kits that will allow you to create this ‘I’m a crazy recluse who no longer dyes her hair’ look. Weirdly, my hair is already doing this, because I’m actually a crazy recluse who no longer dyes her hair.
Between my six inch roots and my ‘ironic’ t-shirts, I might be the most unintentionally trendy person on the planet.
#4. ‘Cool’ People Who Like ‘Uncool’ Things
“I’m such a nerd!” has become the hippest new way to subtly tell everything that you’re not as shallow as a puddle. I see morons on Facebook loudly proclaiming “I fucking love science!” when they can’t even spell the word photosynthesis, let alone describe what it is. Ten years ago, Star Wars was for nerds like me. Now every poser who sports a pair of fake horn rimmed glasses is telling me how much they love Star Wars.
Listen posers, if you don’t have a fully built counterpoint, complete with family trees and timelines, as to why Chewbacca was clearly from Kashyyyk, as opposed as Endor, as alleged in the famous Johnny Cochran Chewbacca Defense, you don’t “love Star Wars”. You’re just a poser.
Every now and then, I’ll make the mistake of assuming that humans are the most highly evolved of all creatures. Then, I remember trends. Nowhere else in the animal kingdom do you see animals doing things with the goal of being called the ‘coolest.’ Lions don’t stop hunting gazelles because gazelles are ‘so 1985’. Birds don’t fly west instead of south, because all the trendiest spots are in Santa Fe.
Only human beings are so desperate to stand out that they wind up conforming instead.
It is that time of year again, where my friends prove how little they know me by giving me a present that I immediately shove into a drawer or re-gift to someone I don’t like, like my mail man or the pizza guy. In the interest of helping out everyone, here are some things that you can throw away instead of giving them to me.
Pictures of your children.
I hate to be a dick about this (well, not really) but why the fuck would I want pictures of children that aren’t mine? Maybe I might get it if they were a close relations or something, like nieces and nephews, but I don’t have any of those. Most of the time, I’m getting the photos from people I haven’t seen since high school.
Look, people who feel the need to do this, I need to share something with you. I know you think your kids are cute, but you are the only one. Know that little Jimmy’s face is currently acting as a coaster for my beer.
Inspirational plaques, picture frames, etc.
To date, I have only received one inspirational plaque that I like. It came from my mother, and it is inscribed with the wise words;
“Why the hell has no one hit you in the face with a hammer yet!?!”
To me, that’s all the inspiration I need to live by. In this world, there are two kinds of people. There are the people who deserve to get hit in the face with hammers, and those who do the hitting.
People who give out inspirational plaques for Christmas fall into the first group.
There’s always one out there who has to be the edgy chick (or creepy guy) handing out dildos, specialty lube, edible undies, or worse. Look, ladies, this isn’t a shitty bachelorette party. It’s Jesus’ birthday for fucks sake. Save that shit for if I ever get drunk enough to get married.
These people always do this with one goal in mind, to embarrass the recipient. Luckily, I am immune from embarrassment, having both taken group showers, and given birth in front of an entire student nursing staff.
The last time some bitch did this to me, I paid her back by giving her a bong for her birthday. I don’t know what was funnier; the look of horror on her face as she opened the box, or the desperation in her voice as she tried to convince her parents it was a lamp.
Yes, I know I work from home, so it seems like it’s a good idea. Here’s the thing, my office environment is entirely virtual. I don’t use paper, I don’t use pens and I don’t need a poster of a cat dangling off a tree branch, telling me to ‘hang in there.’
I have a desk, a computer and a kick ass fancy office chair that swivels (courtesy of mom and brother from last x-mas). This is all I need to get my work done…so please return that gift card to Office Depot. I haven’t even been in one of those since 1998.
Look, I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, and the thing is, I’m actually trying not to be. I’m trying to save you money. I don’t need gifts at all. Give me a call, stop by for a drink, or just leave me the hell alone, but don’t feel obligated to give a gift to me because we went to grade school together.
If you absolutely must, must get me a gift this holiday season, here is my wish list;
Essa’s Wish List
- Money to buy booze
Happy holidays people. May you get everything you dreamed of…or nothing at all.
I tried to watch Key & Peel tonight. I really did. FYI comedy writers out there, if you want to make a shitty sketch show that never gets canceled, no matter how bad the ratings, focus it around one thing; the race card.
I’m all for stereotypical humor. I’m all for inappropriate humor. What I’m not for is focusing on race as the entire premise of a show.
In Key & Peel, they might as well call the show, “Hey, Look…We’re Black. Now Watch People Treat Us Badly Because of That.”
You know what Key & Peel, fuck that and fuck you. I’m tired of feeling a little bit guilty every time I tune into your show because of something people I never met…did something bad to people you never met…50 years ago. I’m letting go of my liberal guilt because I’m not a liberal. I’m a Libertarian and I consume enough marijuana to never feel guilty again.
I’ve had everyone from 20 year old Native Americans; to 50 year old black people say to me “Essa, usually I don’t like white people. But I like you.”
To that, I respond every single fucking time, “Fuck off racist.”
I’ve called out feminists. I’ve called out manosphereists. I’ve called out everyone in between, but I rarely call out people that pull the race card. I rarely call out people who respond to one of my posts ‘well, I’m Hispanic, so I think I have a better grasp…”
You know what? Fuck your race. It would be widely inappropriate for me to go to a Republican convention and say, “well, because I’m white, I think I have a better understanding of deficit control and fiscal responsibility.”
Your race doesn’t give you knowledge and intelligence. Your genetics and your schooling give you knowledge and intelligence.
Also, in regards to statements like; “I’m (insert race here). You don’t know the struggles my people have faced.” You know what assholes? You didn’t work in the cotton fields. Harriet Tubman did. You didn’t get assassinated for your beliefs. Malcolm X and Martin Luther King did. You do not get to take credit for their works, and take advantage of their suffering because you share the same skin color.
So you have faced issues in your past because of how you look? Welcome to the club.
Every time I go to an auto shop, everyone in the room thinks ‘trophy wife’. It doesn’t matter that I have never been married. It doesn’t matter that I am lower-middle class at best and I grew up in a place where most of the time, I was lucky to have running water.
Instead, they see ‘trophy wife’ because I have blonde hair and blue eyes. They see that and they think ‘some well-to-do husband is paying her bills”. When I say what the problem is, they pat me on the head (not joke, this happens regularly) and treat me like a child
I’m not a trophy wife. I grew up poor in a small town where everyone was poor. I wore my brother’s hand-me-downs. I had a choice between being a welfare mom and a convenience store cashier. Writing a novel was beyond my realm. Gaining a Masters was beyond my realm. They were beyond my realm because I was born poor white trash. I was trailer park girl. I was dirty. I was the girl that wore her brother’s hand-me-downs. But I would not let those labels define my future.
I joined the military. If you can believe it, I never experienced even one iota of sexism while in. My fellow soldiers respected me in a way that my small town neighbors hadn’t. I grew into someone better than my appearance. I fought for this country. While you were all watching the news regarding 9/11, I was there. I was an enlisted soldier dealing with terrorism. I fought and killed for this country. Many of you, black and white alike, watched it on your televisions and never truly understood the absolutely desperate significance of that day. I did. I saw it all. I saw how racism could twist the mind. Then, I saw how people of all races could come together for a common good.
And people choose to treat me like a child because of how I fucking look.
So yeah, I don’t know your struggles. Maybe a cabbie refused to pick you up one time because of the color of your skin. Maybe you get pulled over because of the color of your skin.
But I am not that racist cabbie. Nor am I that racist cop. I am a simple white girl, with blond hair, and blue eyes. The world should be mine on a silver platter, right?
Not so much. Most people treat me normally because normal people are not nearly as racist as you all make them out to be. For those who don’t, I deal with men twice my age or triple my weight hitting on me. I deal with creepy dudes following me until I turn around and show them what I have in my waistband. I deal with having to send four idiots on their way when they try to give manly advice on my car troubles, when I already know what’s wrong.
Simply stated, I deal with ignorant people who think I am stupid and helpless because of the way I look…when all I really want is to be left alone.
We all have our struggles. We all have to make people accept us at more than face value. Part of the human condition is finding acceptance somewhere. When you choose to hang that acceptance on the color of your skin, you’ve already lost the battle.
When someone pats me on the head, I gently remove their hand and warn them that the next time they touch me without permission; they will pull back a bloody stump. When idiots come racing to my rescue on the side of the road, I wave them away and handle my own shit. When predators think I’m weak (FYI white girls are the most common targets of serial killers), I make it clear I could take them in a fight.
I don’t get bitter. I don’t pull the race card. I move on with my life and smirk at the small minded idiots who think I can’t take care of myself, simply because of the way I look. I make those people out there that think they can take advantage of me reconsider their actions. I rise above how I look, to who I really am.
Race card pullers out there, you don’t get to pull the race card with me. You don’t get to email me that “you’re the one white person I like” and think that I am flattered. Slavery ended a long time ago and I had nothing to do with it. We all have to deal with preconceived notions. We all have to accept that some assholes out there will see us on the surface and nothing more. Your color doesn’t matter. Either, you can assume that the racist person you meet was an anomaly, or you can assume that everyone you meet of that race will be the same.
Just a hint; when you take the second option, you miss out on a lot.
“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” Those are your choices. You can confront the world like an adversary. You can assume that everyone is going to think about you in a certain way because of the way the you look. Your goal in this life isn’t to yell at the ignorant assholes that do that. Your goal in this life is to change the way they think entirely.
You can’t do that when you’re pulling the race card.
I’m driving home from Phoenix. This time, for the 400th time, me and Joe are through.
Our fight started out innocently enough. We were playing poker with his friends and one of his buddies, Dan, complained. He complained that I have no ‘tell’.
Joe doesn’t like it when I’m better at things than him and he was quick to jump on his buddy’s side when he started an argument. At 33 I would have dumped his ass in a heartbeat. But unfortunately, I’m 20 in this story.
Joe glares at me over his cards and talks about me like I’m not even in the room. “Yeah, she’s got a thousand yard stare. It’s kind of a pain in the ass.” He smirks in my direction. “It’s like she’s got nothing going on inside.”
“Excuse me?” I’m offended.
“I’m just saying, you’re kind of cold.”
“Why the fuck are you dating me then?” I’ll show this asshole cold.
Our conversation quickly deteriorates into one of those fights where neither party is wrong, and neither party is right, because both their arguments are fucking stupid.
I storm out the door and get into my car. I’ll show this bastard. I’ll strand his ass! I slide behind the wheel of my 1999 Dodge Neon with bald tires. I turn the ignition and step on the accelerator.
I’m driving for about 20 minutes, on a deserted stretch of highway the locals call the Yuma dessert. Suddenly, white smoke fills the inside of my car.
20 year old Essa was mystified. 33 year old Essa knows it was the radiator and could have easily been fixed with some distilled water.
My car stalls out on the side of the road. There is nothing. It is the dead of night but it’s still over 100 degrees. For 20 miles in either direction, I am alone.
I get out of the car and pop the hood. Steam flies out from underneath it.
“You need some help Ma’am?”
I spin around. A man stands 20 feet away from me. He’s old and nondescript looking, with a doughy middle aged face. He’s driving a tow truck and has pulled up behind me, on this lonely desolate highway. I should be relived. Instead, for some strange reason, all I feel is a cold tingle of foreboding running up my spine.
At 33 years of age, I still know it was a damn good thing that I trusted those 20 year old instincts.
I cross my arms over my chest. “It overheated. I don’t know why.”
The man looks at my engine. “You’ll need a tow. I can bring you to my shop.”
33 year old Essa is knows this is bullshit. All I needed was distilled water. Any decent tow truck driver has distilled water. But this is 20 year old Essa we’re dealing with, not the new and improved Essa 33.
“Ok, let me get my purse.”
I pop open the glove compartment to get my triple A card, knowing that tows are covered under my plan. I’m still sitting in the passenger seat when I hear this.
I freeze in my seat. I never told him my name.
His saying my name makes me jerk again, but I hide it. Instead, I reach for something else in my glove compartment.
The Beretta 9mm Joe got me for my birthday.
I wrap my hand around the gun and instantly feel a bit more secure. However, that security is wrapped in second guesses.
“Will I offend him?” My inborn level of politeness, from being a woman and a New Englander is starting to take over.
“I need to confirm the order.” My dependence on authority, from being a 20 year old soldier, is starting to take over.
I get out of the passenger seat, the Beretta 9 hidden in the small of my back. “You know what, I think I’m ok.”
The tow truck driver spins to look at me and for just an instant, his face changes entirely. The placid “just trying to help, Ma’am” look is gone. Instead, he is annoyed. “Ma’am, it’s like 103 out here. I can’t in good conscious…”
“I’m fine.” My finger touches the trigger behind my back while a million voices scream ‘you’re being impolite” and ‘you don’t have orders.”
“Look lady,” he is walking towards me rapidly now and his face is weirdly furious, considering the circumstances. He gets to the trunk of my car. “I’ll drive you to my shop. It will only take a few minutes. You can call your boyfriend from there.”
His words don’t reassure me. Instead, I’m wondering how he knew I had a boyfriend. “I said I’m fine.” Let him say one more thing, I tell myself. I don’t want to be impolite. I don’t want to pull a gun on a stranger. Just let him give me a reason.
“Listen!” he barks the order at me, sounding entirely too desperate for a tow truck driver.
I pull the gun. My hand doesn’t shake when I pull it. I’m surprised. I thought my hand would shake. I’ve always had such shaky hands. He is surprised to see a gun, but not entirely fearful.
He puts up his hands. “I’m just trying to help.”
“I don’t need help.”
Instead of running away, he takes a step forward. He doesn’t think I will use it. “Look…”
He starts to try to explain himself, but all I can think is one thing. No good Samaritan would hang out after a gun had been pulled on him. None. I don’t need orders and I don’t need to be polite, everything in me is telling me that something is wrong with this guy.
I fire one shot into the sky, not caring about PSA commercials about the dangers of firing bullets into the sky that always come out around this time of year. I fire one shot into the sky, not caring about offending a stranger.
If I am forced to choose between offending a stranger and defending my life, I will choose ‘offending a stranger’ every single time.
He uncovers his ears from the sound of my bullet escaping the chamber. He opens his mouth to speak, but I don’t give him the chance.
“The next warning shot goes in your chest.”
Here’s the sick part; at this point, I didn’t want him to walk away. I wanted him to try and attack. I wanted him to give me a reason. As he was standing there, indecision plastered across his doughy face, I wanted him to be wrong. I wanted him to make the wrong decision. Some instinct inside of me told me that it would be better that his life ended right there, on that lonely stretch of Yuma highway. I wanted him to give me a reason.
Instead, he walked away, got into his tow truck and drove off.
By this time, my car has cooled down enough to limp to the next exit. I tell my problem to the cashier, and he dumps a gallon of distilled water in my radiator. I drive home, to Tucson, still wondering if I had been wrong. If I had wrongly attacked some random dude on the highway that night.
The next morning, I wake up. I call the cops, just to report the incident in case it’s important.
I learn during that call, the tow truck company listed on the side of his truck doesn’t exist. I learn he matches the description of a suspect in 4 rapes. I learn that more than a few women have gone missing along that lonely stretch of Yuma highway that summer.
I learn that sometimes, being right is a bit more important than being polite.
I hate platitudes.
This is not to be confused with Platypuses. Platypuses are awesome. It’s a mammal that lays eggs and spews venom. As far as I’m concerned, Platypuses are the most highly evolved of all creatures and if we’re lucky, someday, we’ll all get to be Platypuses.
No, what I hate is platitudes. Platitudes are inspirational bullshit that is supposed to make your life better, but in reality, just highlights how shitty it is. Usually, a platitude comes in the form of a Facebook post, superimposed over a beach. Kind of like this;
People love quoting Gandhi in some attempt to sound smart and deep. Maybe Gandhi’s sayings make them feel better about their own shitty lives. But if you’re looking to Gandhi as a way to improve your life, I have something sad to tell you. Gandhi actually had a pretty shitty life that most of us wouldn’t wish on their worst enemy.
Gandhi was forced into an arranged child marriage at the age of 13. He had his first child when he was 15 and it died 2 days later. He spent the majority of his teenage years abstaining from meat, promiscuous sex and alcohol. He never got to grieve for his mother’s death, because his family kept the news from him because they thought it would keep him from passing the bar. He got the shit beat out of him on a train when he was 24, because he refused to change seats. That beating wouldn’t be the first beating he would take. Gandhi spent his life getting the shit beat out of him, while at the same time, preaching love for his fellow man. He lived a simple life. He never had a 401k or drove a Lexus. For all his hard work, he was assassinated at the age of 78.
Listen, people who keep sending me fucking Gandhi memes; Gandhi’s statements were not about your own individual selfishness. Gandhi wasn’t trying to make you feel better because your 401k went down 5% or your car broke down. Gandhi’s statements were about you sacrificing your own creature comforts for the benefit of the whole.
In short, Gandhi’s life was meaningful, but it sure as hell wasn’t enjoyable. Stop taking the man’s work and turning it into some dumb fucking meme on the internet so you can feel better that those skinny jeans didn’t fit you at Forever 21.
While we’re at it with the stupid platitudes, stop with the ‘___ saved my life”. Like “Yoga saved my life” or “Music saved my life”. I’ve been guilty of this one myself and I just head butted myself in my own face for it. Yoga and music don’t save your life. Chemotherapy and defibrillators save lives. Yanni playing the jazz flute does nothing to save your life. You either decide to off yourself, or you don’t. Personally, I’m still on the fence…especially when I think about Yanni.
Also, ‘money can’t buy you happiness.” You know a rich motherfucker made that one up. One time, when I was uber-poor, I didn’t even know how I would get through the weekend. I was getting ready to do my laundry with dish detergent, when I pulled out an old pair of jeans. In the back pocket of those jeans was a $20.
That probably is going in my memory book as one of the top 10 happiest moments of my life. The fucktards who say ‘money can’t buy you happiness’ will never understand the joy that unfolds when you unfold a $20 you forgot about.
As I’m writing this, approximately 40 people are sending me idiot platitudes on Facebook. I’ll probably get forty more platitudes in the comments. It’s only a matter of time before I get an ‘it’s only a matter of time’ or ‘time heals all wounds’.
Well, today, I’m announcing my own new platitude. Feel free to paste it on a meme…preferably of Platypuses.
“It’s only a matter of time before an idiot who has nothing important to say claims that everyone is entitled to their opinion.”
You know who I feel bad for? This dude;
In case you’ve been living under a rock (come on, even I know what’s going on and I’m a crazy recluse) that guy is Ariel Anthony Castro. His dad is the infamous Ariel Castor senior. You know, the pervert who kidnapped those chicks out in Ohio.
Anyway, I stumbled on a news article today. Apparently, the sins of the father are getting blamed on his son, because this poor bastard, who had nothing to do at all with the kidnappings of those girls, is being harassed and abused by the general world of crazies out there. We all know those general crazies. They can’t be bothered to apply things like rational thought. I get them all the time on this site.
Anyway, Castro is now the focus of their skewed vision. He’s had his house broken into. He’s gotten threatening phone calls, letters, emails and more. He’s been harassed by reporters almost endlessly. And he didn’t do a damn thing wrong. His biggest crime is being related to someone who committed a crime.
So they did a news story on him, about the harassment he’s getting. I scrolled to the comments, as I always do. Instead of seeing people sympathize with this guy, I see idiotic comment after idiotic comment like this;
Really? Dude is getting held accountable because….here’s me trying to break this down…he didn’t visit his father enough?
Well, I guess I deserve to get tossed in prison too, because I haven’t spoken to my dad in about 10 years. Probably more.
But I’m not a bad person and neither is my dad. As far as I’m concerned, we’re relatively normal. The reason we haven’t spoken is that we never really had anything to say to each other. We never really bonded in any kind of way.
My dad is friends with me on Facebook, but I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know who I am. I use my pen name there like I do on here. My dad is pretty uninvolved in my life. I’m not saying anything bad about him. He’s a nice guy and everything. He’s just not the most open person and neither am I. As a result, we never really connected.
And if he has a basement full of dead hookers or something, no way in hell am I taking the rap.
We bitch all the time about kids who blame their parents when they kill someone or do something horrible. We see sleazy defense lawyers bring up mommy issues and blame horrendous murders on the people that raised the perpetrators.
“I’m sorry your honor, I killed all those children because my mom didn’t breastfeed me.”
“I’m sorry your honor, I beat my wife to death because my father beat me.”
We see those excuses and we write them off, quite correctly, as bullshit. Millions of kids in this country are abused or mistreated every year. Only .00000009% of them will go on to be serial killers.
But when the situation’s reversed, when the parent does something wrong, it’s totally kosher to blame that on his kids? I’m calling bullshit.
If anyone else had been connected to the kidnappings of those girls, you can bet your ass charges would already be filed. I know you all feel like cops, because you read a biased internet story and watch a couple of forensic TV shows, but I’m going to tell you a little secret. Cops are smarter than you. They do this shit for a living. They know who to question and what to look for. I know you think you know better, because after your shift as a WalMart greeter, you watch reality television for an hour a week, so you know all about forensics or whatever. Cops have access to things you don’t. They don’t investigate based on internet news stories. They investigate based on facts and evidence.
Any if Arial Anthony Castro had any culpability for his fathers crimes, he would have been charged, or as least named as a person of interest. Now let it go, and get off the dudes back.
Also, for all you idiots out there that think “this is his 15 minutes of fame,” I have this to say;
No joke, would you want your 15 minutes to be related to your daddy being called out as a psychotic rapist? Yeah, I didn’t think so.
Fuck all y’all.