Did you know that being married is like being nibbled to death by a duck?

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What Is Off Limits: A Retort

I stumbled upon this article by Rich Santos today and realized about 30 seconds in to reading it that A) the guy is an idiot and B) I would like to punch him in the face. But I can't 'cause I've never met him so instead I will just write a blog about how much better I am than him.

First of all, Rich -- or can I call you Dick? -- is obviously what we would call "Testosterone Challenged." His lack of male hormonal production therefore inhibits his ability to think clearly and rationally, making it difficult for him to, well, to not suck so bad.

I would say his article starts off on a bad foot, but that would imply that this guy can even take a step on his own without fear of offending someone.

Some work friends and I were recently discussing things that men
can not criticize their girlfriends about. It was astounding how incorrect us
guys were when trying to lay out our "rights" in terms of constructive
Good job, Dick. You managed to completely emasculate yourself within the first two sentences of your article. Next article you write I would also encourage you to apologize to everyone of different races for being white.

He then proceeds to make a "list" of all the things that are supposedly "off limits" to talk about with girlfriends. Which I'm guessing Dick has never had, so in his world this is all hypothetical, anyway.

Weight: There is no friendly way for a guy to tell a girl that she's put on
weight. Even if there was a friendly way, most of the women I've talked to about
it said they would not want to hear it from a guy.

Most of the time, there is no friendly way to karate-chop people in the throat for being stupid, but sometimes it has to be done, right?

Outfit: I think I'm only allowed to say someone generally looks nice,
because I'm a big sissy and only do what I'm "allowed" to do.

Dude, do you wear a leather mask and get chained up at home? Are you allowed to speak unless spoken to? Go dunk your head in a tub of water until you see the wizard.

Friends and Family: We've all dated people with annoying friends. But,
people consider their friends as extensions of themselves so if you criticize
friends, you're criticizing your significant other indirectly.

You know what's a great way to go through life? Let annoying and rude people continue on with their habits, let them walk all over you, and then apologize to them for getting in their way. That way they will like you and respect you more. And you will be able to run for President.

Then he goes on to write some stuff about driving, blah blah blah... Look, the simple fact is that this guy is sadly indicative of the common modern man -- this belief that we can't "offend" women or...fill in the blank with whatever group you want permeates the thoughts of a good portion of our society. People like this guy are bending over backwards every minute of every day of their lives so that no one will be mad at them. The idea of confrontation scares them so bad that the alternative -- placating everyone in sight who isn't a white male -- seems to be a wise and logical life choice.

Here's a tip for people like Rich Santos: grow a pair. Stop worrying about how much you are offending people if all you're doing is telling the truth. And for the people who get offended at hearing the truth? Get some thicker skin and stop whining. Yes, there is a difference between criticism and people being mean. That's where this thing called your brain comes in; if you have an IQ higher than that of a shoe-box, you should be able to tell the difference.

We worry far too much about offending people. I think it's time to turn the tables on people like Rich; they need to worry about people like me slapping them in the face with a cold, hard dose of reality when I come across them. There is no such thing as "off limits" when discussing the truth. There is a time and a place for everything if it is done correctly. And if you aren't afraid of your own shadow like Mr. Apologize-for-being-alive-guy.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

USA Is Better Than The Rest of the World

To the tune of the new Brad Paisley album American Saturday Night.

Well, it's official, I'm back in the good ol' U.S. of A. And let me just state for the record, this place is soooo much cooler than the Middle East. Really. I know you are probably having a hard time believing that, but I'm serious. So serious, in fact, that I will now give you a list so you can follow along (people like lists, I'm told. It's all the rage).

1) Air Quality: You know what I can see here in the US? Everything. Call the airport here in Colorado and they will tell you that the visibility is only impeded by the curvature of the earth. Get that same report in Iraq and they'll ask if you can see your shoes. If the answer is yes, it's a good day. My friend got lost coming back from the shower for crying out loud, simply because he couldn't see the road our house was on.

2) Travel: Moving from point A to point B seems rather simple now. I jumped in my gas-guzzling SUV and drove -- all by myself, mind you -- 250 miles without even filling out a trip ticket with my blood type and weapons serial numbers. Nor did I have to call in my "check-points" to command. Even crazier is that I traveled over 35 mph for an extended period of time without wearing a helmet or doing a COMSEC check (shhhh, don't tell anyone).

3) Food: Well, the one downside to the food here is that it isn't free anymore (and no, I'm not just talking about the kids I beat up to take their falafels). Having three free meals a day does have its perks, but I have to tell you, food has never tasted so good as it does here. Places like Old Chicago and Chili's seem like gourmet now. What's that you say? You use an oven to make pizza? Well, sign me up. And you will bring it to my table? Well this just gets better and better. I just had a spinach, artichoke and salmon quesadilla today. Yeah, you read that correctly. You know what? I loved it. Probably because it tasted like America being awesome (and possibly because an attractive young waitress served it to me, leading me to point 4).

4) Women: Holy smokes, girls! Everywhere! And they're not in uniform or wearing a burka! Don't get me wrong, I was starting to really dig on the ninja-style fashion of Middle Eastern women, but it is really quite something to see attractive American women dressed... well, like women. And bless their little hearts for doing so. Especially this demographic known to scientists as "college girls." While not the most engaging when it comes to conversation, their uncanny ability to giggle, flirt, and wear a mini-skirt is unparalleled anywhere in the world. Most notably the Middle East, where a woman is measured by her ability to carry a load on her back and drive a donkey cart. While important qualities to be sure, they are still second-tier in comparison.

5) Communication: I wanted to talk to someone today, so you know what I did? I picked up my cell phone and called them. Yeah. Believe it. I didn't have to stand in line or pay for extra minutes or anything. I just called them and talked until the conversation was over. No one told me my time was up, the line didn't fail, and I didn't have to walk home after the call was over. Then I jumped on the internet. How cool is this? I can click on things and things happen. I don't have to plan other events like reading a book or warming up food in the microwave around loading an web page. I just click on it and poof! There it is. I can write an email of nearly any length and I will still be connected to the internet. Fascinating.

6) Movies: Yeah, we watch movies in Iraq, but something weird happened to nearly every guy I know over there -- we developed some kind of strange attention deficit problem, so movies have to be either really, really entertaining or we will make our own dialogue. Although I still have the urge to do the same here (probably to the annoyance of some), I am able to sit and relax and just enjoy the movie. I don't feel the need to swear violently at the main characters for doing something I don't like and... oh who am I kidding, I still feel that way, but that's just because most movies are really bad. Let's be honest with ourselves, there just aren't that many movies out there that don't make you want to punch the actors in the throat, are there? Exactly. Now, where were we? Oh yeah, while our movies aren't that great, they are about 18 billion times better than Middle Eastern movies. And that's not cultural bias, they will tell you the same thing over there. Have you ever watched an M Night Shamylamayayamayamayn movie? Ok, now watch it sober. Middle Eastern movies are still worse than that. True story.

7) Family (best for last): There is simply no substitute for family and their appreciation of you. Well, unless you have some kind of weird, David Koresh-type thing going on, in which case that's just wrong and you should probably get out of that situation as soon as you can. There are people out there who can help you. But seriously, I am truly blessed to have a family that genuinely enjoys spending time around one another and is grateful to have that time together. That is an under-appreciated thing, to be sure, and I am finding out how important it can be. Family and friends (those few, close friends which can be synonymous with family) and the love and support they offer can not be quantified; through the magic of technology (it's voodoo, I tell ya), service members in Iraq are able to maintain communication with their loved ones back home better than at any time in history, but the fact is that it isn't the same as being here. There is no substitute for quality time being spent with your support network (even if it involves gorging yourself with cake to the point where you can't talk to them). Time and presence supersede activities; especially after a long absence.
Oh sure, I guess they have "families" in the Middle East. Who knows. I guarantee they're not as cool as ours. We don't have to dress Mom up in a hijab to get her to make cookies, so right there we are way ahead of their standards.

At this point right now, I am trying to decide what to do with all of the stories I have about the last year. While they would make for some interesting blogging, I find myself torn regarding this being the best place to present them. Truth be told, I think that shouting them from a mountain top would with an eagle on my shoulder and a giant slab of dead animal carcass at my feet would be more appropriate, but also possibly too much for most people. So over the next few weeks I will be arranging my thoughts (shut up, I have like four or five of them) into printed text and seeing where that leads. Your thoughts and opinions are appreciated. Unless they are negative, in which case you are clearly inferior and should be subjected to a strict diet of Kenny G records.

Oh and I'm also moving into my own apartment shortly, which should provide some entertainment, seeing as how I don't have a lick of furniture. Or dishes. Or... crap, I don't have anything! Man I hope people with extra stuff are reading this so they can feel sorry for me and give me free stuff. Did I mention I literally saved freedom over the last year? It was dangerous stuff, I tell ya. But I did it. For you. No, no. Don't worry about me. I'll just be the maladjusted veteran who digs holes in the backyard because you didn't give him a bed. But I'll be fine.