There’s one thing about blogging that I have a hard time stomaching. It’s some of the pretentious self-righteous supposedly socio-conscious wanna be authors you find here. I suppose they’re common in every blogging community but it’s sad to see so many getting notoriety for it. It’s bad enough that you see more and more professional bloggers from radio stations and news outlets getting pressed but every now and then we get some know-it-all who likes to slather on a dictionary of complex words to try and mask the fact they’re talking shit. It gets downright intolerable when you sit there and watch a bunch of drones pander to them in a shameless show of self-promotion just because they’re on the front page.
Let me steer the ship back on course before I run aground on another Freshly Pressed rant.
I’m all for people speaking their minds but sometimes it seems as though people are being rewarded for ignorance. Who am I kidding? That’s the standard in society now. We reward stupidity and denigrate the wise. That brings me to the chewy center of my rant. I’m a firm believer in the philosophy of “shit or get off the pot”. It’s a lovely little quote from the movie Clerks II but has so much relevance in the way people present themselves nowadays. Everyone wants to be a crusader, an advocate or spokesperson for whatever platform they’re supporting. I have no idea what’s with all the self-righteousness going on as of late. Maybe my disdain for people in general has made me oblivious to this trend and it’s been going on for longer than I realize. Either way it’s in your face more than ever now. With all the Twits, Facebookheads and blahgers out there now everyone feels the world has to know their political, religious, health care, or environmental beliefs.
People bitch. That’s expected. Supposedly it’s everyone’s God given right… if you believe that sort of thing. What really grinds my gears to hear people complain about things they won’t lift a finger to change themselves. It’s annoying to see people preach about being green and saving the world while they’re texting on their iPhone cruising around in their Honda CRV. Or how about the people bitching about how much they don’t like Breast Cancer Awareness marketing and profiteering knowing they’ve probably never even read a pamphlet about prevention or tossed a penny towards any research. My favorites are the political nutjobs who swear they know all there is to know about how to cure the ailments of their country and lambaste anyone in office because they’re “not getting the job done” meanwhile they won’t move any further than their monitor to make something happen. Seriously people if you’re not going to do anything about a matter, why complain about it? Why criticize others as though your shit smells like Cinnabons? If you’re out there doing your part to help the planet or your fellow man do you really need to be recognized for it? Isn’t the deed supposed to be the reward?
There’s a little Canadian girl that few people know about who’s a shining example of my philosophy of shit or get off the pot. Some of my fellow Canucks might know the name. Hannah Taylor. She’s the founder of the Ladybug Foundation, an organization that helps the homeless and fights against hunger and poverty. Hannah is 13 years old. She founded the organization when she was 8. Words can’t even begin to describe the amount of respect and admiration I have for this little girl. She doesn’t want accolades or recognition. She just wants to help people who are less fortunate. That’s it. It’s inspirational and gives me some faith that at least some of our youth aren’t going to grow up and turn into a bunch of whiny holier-than-thou procrastinators like you find all to often as of late. If you don’t know anything about her, stop reading my crappy blog and check her website out.
What were you doing at 8 years old?
Ladies and gentlemen, you have been judged guilty of sinning against our almighty God, and I promise you, you shall pay for your trespasses, in blood!
This post has been a long time coming.
For years I’ve had to contend with death gazes and finger pointing because I don’t choose to affiliate myself with any particular organized religion. I’ve been called a blasphemer, heretic, and soulless both to my face as well as behind my back. Why? Because I don’t bow to peer pressure?
Let me fill everyone in on a few things. I was brought up as a Catholic. My mother is a devout Catholic therefore it was kind of written in stone that I was destined to be one as well. I went to Catholic school for 8 years, from 1st grade all the way to 8th. Yes I got to wear the awful micro bible-thumper uniform, got taught by fierce nuns and was an altar boy for 4 consecutive years. I even won awards for being Altar Boy of the Year for 3 years in a row because I rocked so much at holding that plate under people as they received communion and got that bible off the altar with the grace of a swan. None of the priests at the church I served at were ass-grabbing pedophiles so thankfully I never got to experience some of the horror stories you tend to hear about nowadays. For what it’s worth, the Catholic lifestyle wasn’t all that bad. Boring as watching whales screw, but not awful.
As I started to get older I began to question some things. Sitting there in pews every Sunday listening to the same sermons over and over, I wondered to myself why this was mandatory. Yes, my school made it a punishable offense if you missed 9am Sunday Mass. Even if you slept in and caught the 10am or 11am one you’d still be in shit. I believe that was the beginning of my dissidence towards organized religion. It disturbed me how I, a loyal follower and active practitioner of these teachings, was quite literally being forced to do something I didn’t feel was necessary. Every night I prayed to a mystical being that I really didn’t believe was there, respected my elders, knew the “good book” pretty much forward and backwards thanks to the fact that I thought I was one of God’s peeps being an altar boy and all. To me I felt I didn’t need to prove anything by going to church every single Sunday. I assumed that the bible was merely a guideline for living your life.
Boy was I wrong.
I began to purposefully miss church just to try and bolster the fact that I didn’t appreciate being forced into doing something I didn’t feel was necessary. I didn’t think that God was a narcissist that needed his ego stroked on a weekly basis. I thought that following and living by His teachings was paying tribute enough. Isn’t that what this religion was supposed to be about? Apparently the kind and understanding nuns didn’t see it the same way so I would often get into trouble. You know. Rulers, detention, more forced reading about crap I already knew. By the time I was in 8th grade I had stopped going to church all together and my belief in this supposed religion was on thin ice. I was the quintessential “disruptive influence in class” and damn proud of it. I was having fun finally. I managed to find that comfortable middle ground of being able to live a good, honest and respectful life without having it beat into my head every single week. My divorce from Catholicism was finalized when in the 9th grade I went to public high school.
That’s a post for another time…
As I grew older and was able to comprehend more about the world around me I saw how much bullshit organized religion was. Let’s not forget the fact that I never got to choose to be Catholic. I was decreed one, baptized and pretty much told to accept it. As a kid, what are you going to do? Defy your parents? Say no to the people with the funky outfits who are 5 times bigger than you? No. You just end up being a good little follower and do as you’re told. That is what I absolutely can’t stand about organized religion. High school allowed me to see religion for what it truly was – a popular clique where if you’re not “down with them” you’re ridiculed and bullied until you either succumb to their will or become the Antichrist in their eyes. Is that really what religion is supposed to be about? I was under a lot of false assumptions. I thought that as a human being we got to choose what we believed in. That’s not the case with most religions out there. You either believe what they mandate or you’re just wrong. That’s it. Wrong. No reason or proof as to why you’re wrong other than collections of short stories written by people who believed the Earth was the center of the universe and over embellished over the centuries by those looking to turn a profit. That’s awesome. I also wrongfully believed that we were supposed to learn from this almighty book of knowledge not follow it blindly like a bunch of lemmings.
Don’t misconstrue what I’m saying. I’m not bashing religion in general. I’m criticizing this mutated perversion that disguises itself as religion. I’m a fan of religion. I believe in believing. Faith is powerful. It can start wars and end wars. Having faith in something is what motivates one to achieve his or her goals and provides the focus to do so. If believing there an an all-powerful being that manages our lives like a game of Sims, then by all means believe in it. If it gives you the strength and inspiration to get through your day to day; if it brings up the people around you and makes you a better person then believe. Pray. Pay homage. Do what you feel like doing because it’s right for you. Some people need that light at the end of the tunnel in order to focus their minds.
I don’t need that nor do I need anyone chastising me for what I do or do not believe in. I don’t need people preaching to me that their way is the only and right way. I don’t need a book to tell me that killing is wrong or that fucking people over is a bad thing. I don’t need to be taught daily how to be a respectful, kind and understanding person. I just do it. I’m not saying I’m better than anyone else. I just know how to walk on my own two feet. I truly thank Catholicism for introducing me to the principles that I live by to this day but those concepts of love, honor, respect and loyalty aren’t exclusive to just them. They are common themes in all religions. Heck, you don’t even really need a religion to tell you most of that just some uncommon sense. It just saddens me to see so many people believing in the same key characteristics and yet will venomously denounce one another because one version of the fairy tale is different from the other.
So after long and exhausting brainstorming I’ve decided to do something ground breaking. I’m going to start my own religion so that I’m not ostracized anymore for not having one.
Here are some of the key notes of The Way of Zen:
- There is no deity in this religion. We feel that you should pray to yourself (if need be) because that’s the only person who’s going to do anything. Listen carefully to the little voice inside you. That’s not God. That’s you.
- We won’t have a book unfortunately. We only have one verse to follow “Be good to people if they’re good to you. However if they fuck with you then don’t take any shit.” Theoretically if you’re nice to someone they should nice good back to you and the process goes on and on therefore there should never be need for violence ever again. However we all know there are douches in the world so being nice to a blockhead isn’t very productive for anyone. Open the bottle of 100 proof ass-whoopin’ and let them know the deal. Don’t be selfish with your kindness but don’t be a pussy either.
- We won’t have places of worship. Since you are your own temple all you really need is yourself.
- There are no bishops, monks, imams, clerics or any distinguishable ranks. We feel that no one should be placed higher than another based on their level of belief.
- We don’t require mandatory donations, although if you wish to contribute try donating to a homeless shelter or disaster relief charity.
- There’s also no paraphernalia or idols needed in order to get started.
- There is no recruiting. We exist through word of mouth, that’s it. If a person hears about The Way and decides to join, then so be it otherwise there is no active recruiting by any members.
- There’s no ledger. We keep no record of who joins so your privacy is safe.
- We’re also open to all races, creeds and lifestyles. Gay, straight, black, white, male, female, converts… it doesn’t matter. All are welcome.
- You are free to leave whenever you want without fear of persecution or harassment.
- You don’t have to drink the Kool Aid. If someone asks you to then they’re not a member of this faith.
- Most of all never ever, under any circumstances, take another’s life. That’s what cops and hitmen are for.
I’m still hammering out the finer details but once I’m done I think I’ll have the basis for a kick-ass religion. Remember, I’m not only the founder. I’m also a follower.
Peace and be good brothers ans sisters of The Way.
… and for all of you out there with the stick so far up your ass that you can’t take a topic lightly all I ask is that you think before you speak.
Once again I’m back with another installment of Wasteland Food For Thought. People often mock me because of my affinity for all things neo-paleolithic but I don’t mind. They’ll probably be the first ones to die. Preparation is the key to being able to survive in a world where every facet of modern society has been stripped. Remember these tips and maybe we’ll run into one another when the dust settles:
Martial Arts = Good – So you’ve managed to survive the bombs or natural disasters. Now what? With no distinguishable authority to deter the thugs and short-necks everyone becomes a likely target. Depending on how desperate the situation is you can find yourself being hunted for any number of reasons that’s why learning some form of martial arts and/or weapon training is a must. If you can’t defend yourself then you’re not going to last long in the wastelands. Bear in mind while it may be cool and flashy to be a marksman or crack shot, bullets and guns in general will be hard to come by so think outside the box. When in doubt, walk tall and carry a big stick (or sword if you prefer).
Being a woman isn’t easy – I know that goes without saying but sorry ladies, once the world gets flushed down the toilet so does all the progress you’ve made over the centuries. Remember how you used to balk about chivalry being dead? Well you ain’t seen nothing yet. Rampaging hormones will be your biggest threat as throngs of horny, filthy bastards with no restraint will be let loose upon the world. You have to have bigger balls than them in order to keep your sanity (and not to mention body) intact. Work twice as hard to get half the recognition. Same story as now but about a million times worse. Imagine being instantly thrust back to 400 AD. Not too many career opportunities in the wastes. Popular choices seem to be hardcore bitch-freaks or slave girls with an occasional tough-as-nails adventurer once in a blue moon.
If the shoe fits…– Yeah it may seem like a given but try putting a pair of shoes through heavy constant daily abuse and see how long they last. Heck, I know I have a pair of gardening sneakers that are pretty much sandals at this point in time and that’s only after a summer’s worth of use. Imagine walking the devastated wastelands for years on end. If you’re lucky you fall into that bracket of the “most common shoe size” of 9 – 9 1/2. Unfortunately for Sasquatch like me finding a decent pair of size 12’s will be a hassle and a half.
Cherish the little things – When the world economy finally goes bye bye the wonderful art of bartering goods and services will come back full steam. With everything either destroyed or in shambles this puts a premium on intact items. You’d be amazed at would would be valuable when everything is gone. Don’t underestimate anything. Even a wet nap would be considered an item of value. Beware though, the risk of people forcibly taking what little you have is very high as well so be wary of what you carry and how you carry it. Remember, the object is not to draw attention to yourself.
God is not going to save you – Whenever traumatic events occur, people turn to their faith. They gather together in masses and pray for salvation in the face of annihilation. Once the fires burn out however and the waters recede and the radiation levels become tolerable God – or whoever he or she may be in your respective faith – will not be there. There will be no miraculous all-powerful Dr. Manhattan who will protect you from the crazies and nasties of the badlands. All you’ll have is yourself. I’m not saying you can’t have faith. Geez, people will need something to believe in just to get through the days and we all know faith is a helluva motivator. I’m not trying to stir up a hornet’s nest by saying any of this but let’s put it this way, after the shit goes down we can discuss theology over a nice hot cup of irradiated water and some barbecued rat and figure out who’s right or wrong.
Smart people will rule – This prospect seems almost too good to be true. No more idiots at the helm. Hell yeah! Sadly though, like the cockroaches, even the intellectually challenged will survive an apocalypse. The only difference will be that they won’t command as much power as they used to. This is not to say intelligent people will be much better. Let’s not forget the atomic bomb was proudly brought to us by smart people as well. Before I’m brought before the firing squad for saying that let me reinforce the fact that power corrupts even the noblest minds however I’d be more willing to play the odds and take my chances with an astute person as opposed to Yosemite Sam. Skills people. If you have some kind of worthwhile skill like carpentry, medical training or even public speaking you’ll go far in the New World. The unwashed masses will flock to you in droves or at the very least, you’ll have a coveted spot in some upstart community.
Government will always be around – Maybe not the way you see it now but there will always – I repeat always – be a governing body of individuals who will dictate how to live. They’ll have the better weapons, the bigger armies and be the most organized. You may not like their rather ruthless policies but at least you’ll have plenty of a choices in who directly affects your livelihood. If you’re truly fortunate you may find a righteous community or even get to form your own little settlement and be the head honcho. Be mindful though, there’s always going to be someone who wants what you have so if you do come to power be ready to defend it. It’s either conformity or the nomadic life on the road. So to all of you out there who like to bitch in your blogs about government and how oppressed you feel while you sit in your hip & trendy coffee shop sipping your caramel mocha latte checking facebook statuses of your pretentious little friends and tweeting about how marvelously busy you are remember that it’s nowhere near as bad as it’s going to be. Be thankful for what you have in place because the alternative isn’t going to be very uplifting.
Fashion is subjective – If post-apocalyptic movies and books have taught us anything it’s the fact that fashion will not die a faint merciless death but in fact be reborn and mutated and bring forth a new age revolution of ultra-grunge meets Sado-Masochism. It’ll be Saturday night in Greenwich Village everyday! Only here can you stroll the debris strewn ruins of the old world with leather chaps and shoulder pads and no one will even bat an eye at you. If you’re lucky enough to live in a hovel you may even have a stylish wardrobe of tattered leftovers in various shades of browns, blacks, greens and grays. You’ll never have to go shopping again. The world will be a veritable shopping mall of variety!
Hygiene is obsolete – No fresh water means no hygiene, plain and simple. Let’s not forget all the wonderful processing plants that give you your not-so fresh water are gone. Poor sanitation and filthy personal hygiene lead to devastating plagues in the past and quite certainly history will repeat itself. True, we are wiser now and can attempt to stave it off with some semblance of cleanliness but unless you have a constant source of fresh water how clean can you really expect keep yourself? Diarrhea and dysentery, typhoid, croup, bronchitis, pneumonia, and tuberculosis and skin diseases such as scabies and ringworm would run rampant not to mention stagnant water sources being breeding grounds for Malaria and dengue. Let’s not forget we can’t just pop on down to the local pharmacy anymore.
Bad time to be sick – This kind of ties into the hygiene issue. In the wastelands disease is perhaps an even greater adversary than any human (or sorta human) can pose to you. End of the world means no more big pharmaceutical businesses. That translates to no production and a limited supply of what wasn’t already destroyed. To say medicine would be a hot commodity would be an understatement. This unfortunate reality is just for the somewhat healthy. The poor medically dependent souls out there won’t last very long at all. I’m sorry my lovely wife. I will have my minions build a monument in your honor in the town square and the people will be forced to pay tribute to you as their patron saint.
People will turn on you in a heartbeat – The wrongfully executed series Jericho showed us a prime example of what a catastrophic event would do to seemingly normal people. In it a series of terrorist attacks send the United States back to Stone Age forcing citizens to deal with the new reality. Once friendly neighboring towns of Jericho and New Burn end up becoming bitter rivals as each tries to hold on to what resources they have left. You see events like that happen even now. It just goes to show you that trust is just a word when situations are dire. Self preservation is a defining trait in mankind but it also runs hand-in-hand with selfishness. Too many people confuse the two and that’s what leads to unhappy endings.
When in doubt, kill everything – Above and beyond anything else the post-apocalyptic world makes you James Bond with a license to kill. Compassion is fine but when all else fails nothing makes a statement like pushing the button on the whup ass machine. Nerds, geeks, and doormats of the world unite. Release your inner Duke Nukem and unleash hell on all those who would sooner try to step on you then give you the time of day. The neo-paleolithic world is the ultimate cheat code for you to be as bad ass as you want to be.
Someone recently told me that I shouldn’t use the word hate when referring to people because it’s too strong of a word.
The way I see it me using the word hate is absolutely justified. I used to be a very cheery, optimistic and down-right pleasant individual many many years ago. I could even venture to say I was naive. A babe in the proverbial woods so to speak. It’s people that have slowly but persistently been breaking down my sense of kindness so why shouldn’t I hate people in general?
Sure. You can argue that maybe I’m just just a complainer or morbidly pessimistic. That might be true if I didn’t constantly try to see the best in any situation. I’m helpful and compassionate by nature. I know that without a doubt because it actually does make me happy to help others and make them happy. Every time that little voice in the back of my mind says “Don’t do it. You’re just going to set yourself up for a big fall.” I do it anyway. Sometimes my selflessness is met with mutual kindness but more often than not people just use that as an opportunity to take advantage of a good thing. Perhaps people have become so jaded that they can’t even see genuine acts of kindness anymore and its an automatic reaction to try to get what you can before they’re taken advantage of. Or maybe Darwin is correct in that it’s survival of the fittest and that generosity and compassion translate to weakness?
It’s depressing to sit back and feel myself regress further and further from being a nice person. All too often now I find myself holding back from doing something helpful or being proactive and that’s just not right. I’m devolving into a sarcastic, cynical bastard and while it’s not what I aspire to be I’m getting far too comfortable with the controls. Do unto others as they would do unto you. The Golden Rule. I’m pretty certain that concept was floating around well before someone decided to put it into a religious tome. It’s only common sense… or uncommon sense as me and a few others like to refer to it as.
If common sense were so common then we wouldn’t have so many idiots lurking around therefore it is uncommon sense.
That mantra comes with one giant flaw. It’s great to use it as a guide to promote mutual well being but it also works just as effectively in contrast. Treat a good person like crap constantly and they in turn do the same. It becomes a competition to see who can inflict more damage. No one wants to be the person who sits there and gets shat on constantly so they retaliate in some failed attempt at trying even the odds. The process cycles over and over until that once good person is now a bastard like the rest. Some say the only way to combat that is to continue to be good and show kindness, compassion and understanding but how effective is that really? How much mental fortitude do people have to have in order to break the will of oblivious idiots?
Enough of the pity party. I’ll continue to take the high road until things change. Unfortunately the only way things will ever change if a global apocalypse happens and throws us back to the Conan days.
Welcome to the future…