Tuesday, June 23, 2009

...We May Feel Entitled...

I remember sitting on the bed with my sister after coming home from the hospital when my father passed away doing one of those ugly cries. “I keep thinking of dumb stuff,” I said. “Like, who’s going to give me away when I get married?”

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “Angel, I thought you said you never wanted to get married” And well you’re right, I don’t and I didn’t, but it was the principle of the thing. Even though I’ve known my whole life that marriage is a scam perpetrated by The Man in an attempt to shorten the life span and lower the IQ of women everywhere, in this moment on the bed crying with my sister, I felt jilted.
I felt like I had lost my right to something I was entitled to even if I never planned to use the entitlement.
Think about people you know that didn’t grow up with a father- not because the father was no longer living, or off somewhere working to provide a living, but because he just didn’t step up to the plate and do the right man thing. Let’s say he’s somewhere with 11 kids by 8 different women and not taking care of any of them and everyone knows he’s a no good bum. Rest assured at least one of his kids is still going to feel like she’s missing something from him not being there. Even though she knows where he is, knows he’s a loser… even if she had some other man raise her to better than her real “dad” ever could, she’s still going to feel like she missed out on something by her biological dad not being in the picture. Why? Entitlement.

Truthfully there are very few things in life we are actually entitled to, but happily,  a few might be all that we need to get where we need to go.  Combine any of these things with the right attitude, some resourcefulness,  hardwork, commitment and opportunity, and you should have all you need or could ever want.  If you are a member of the Earth family, you are entitled to the following: 

-1- Respect – We’ve all heard this: “Respect is not given, it’s earned.” This is some cowpoo line someone came up with as an excuse to look down their nose at someone else. EVERYONE, even the aforementioned baby daddy deserves respect to a certain degree. We are all born with a clean slate, free of any negativity or wrong doing. We haven’t had a chance to do anything we shouldn’t be doing. And I think the same applies to strangers you meet on the street: you don’t know them well enough to decide they don’t deserve your respect, so why don’t you just give them the benefit of the doubt and let your respect expand or diminish accordingly. For all you know the all the things they’re doing that make you feel as though you don’t respect them might be the result of them not respecting you in the first place.

-2- (Nonintrusive) Happiness - That means anyway you can find happiness that doesn’t involve dragging someone into your misery and madness or doesn’t involve spitting and crapping on their happiness is yours to pursue. First, stop worrying about what other people do so much. Head on over to the Burt’s Bees website and pick up some authentic beeswax so you have some of your very own to mind. (Get it? Get it? Mind your own beeswax. Get it?) And second, spend a little time being the best you that you can be.
You’re probably a really cool person. You should get to know yourself – you might like you.
-3- Privacy – It doesn’t feel like it, I know, with many of us living in states that are forcing us to use digital TVs, smoke detectors and radios in our home. Before we know it we’ll be like Winston Smith in Orson Welles’ 1984, huddling at a certain angle in the corner just to allow ourselves to have a thought and write that thought down. But at this point, we still have a right to peacefully keep to ourselves if we choose to. Leave me alone. Some people are just quiet observers. I don’t care what reality TV implies, you don’t have to open yourself up to seven strangers picked to live in a house or anyone else. Have a little mystery about yourself. Make it a point to live a life that gives you two scandalous secrets about yourself. Share one with someone special and take the other to the grave. It’s the only thing you can “take with you” when you “go,” so make it good.

-4- Good Health – This one is simple. If you became a doctor just so you could afford an expensive car with some variation of the “MD” vanity plate, I hope you lose every penny in the inevitable malpractice suit you are doomed to encounter. Or I hope you get sick and have to go to a doctor just like you. For the rest of us, we have to take care of ourselves and try not to get sick in the first place. Some things can’t be helped, and God bless and keep you if you find yourself in that position, but some things can be helped.
Eat right, exercise, use condoms or ABSTAIN, and don’t put your fingers in your mouth, you’ve been touching things all day and your hands are dirty.
-5- Education - How come you can save for a house in a few years but you have to start building a college fund 18 years before you’ll ever need it? And even then you’ll probably still not have enough. Good, high quality, superior education should be free to every single person alive.
We all benefit from not having to live and work around complete idiots that could accidentally kill us all.
-6- Contemplation - The ability to think and reason is one of the greatest gifts humans have ever been blessed with; if only we’d take the gift out of the box more often. Sometimes we do things that are just dumb. And by dumb, I mean, if you had thought about what you were going to do even for a second, you never would have done what you did, but you didn’t think and you did do it, and now look at you. It seems odd to consider “thinking” an entitlement, but you are in fact entitled to think before you act, or don’t act, whatever. Just think about what you’re doing before you do it. Even spontaneity requires some level of thought. For example, “I think I’m going to go to take a walk. I think I’m going to pursue a new career. I think I’m going to rip off all of my clothes and jump in this public fountain naked” I wonder if fountain skinny dipping negates all of the other entitlements?

So what have we learned today children? You don’t always get what you want, but sometimes you just might find you get what you need. And if you’re smart, that’s more than enough to work with.

Stuck in my head now: Force MDs "Love is a House" and George Kranz "Din Daa Daa"

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