Tuesday, February 27, 2018

What You Deserve After Apologizing for Your Misdeeds

A while ago, a “comedian” posted some extremely harsh things about a friend of mine that I will not repeat here. It was misogynistic, sexist, slut-shaming, and triggering to ANYONE who has experienced sexual trauma. Within minutes, he was banned from most comedy venues, and hardly anyone fucks with him. He apologized directly to the person for what he said, as well as a few of the people who banned him from venues and performances. I’m not sure if anyone responded to him, but that doesn’t matter. Regardless, after a few months, he was back to being a shitty person, claiming he was being marginalized because of his disability while harping about how he had apologized for what he did/said, so it is unfair that he is still banned at most places. Often, he would say something shitty, and when people responded to his shittiness, he would defend himself by saying something like, “And don’t bring up that thing I said, because I apologized for it”, whether anyone brought it up or not.

The past few years have produced is a LOT of guys apologizing for their past actions thanks to people coming forward about abuse they’ve suffered. Now we’re at a point where the question keeps coming up: How long do we punish these people? When is their penance finished? The real question is why are so many people caping so hard for these dudes who fucked up?

For one thing, Most of those “apologies” are trash. They haven’t even scraped the surface of trying to empathize with the victims and actually addressing for what they did. Instead, they are essentially apologies for getting caught, some bad thing that is happening to them right now, and then a reference to the women they know so that they can prove they are not predators.

News Flash: Whatever chronic ailment or issue you have does not give you a pass for shitty behavior. You have a permanently atrophied leg? Sorry for you, Kevin, but what about that leg made you send rape threats ti Stacey? Was it typing for you while you were asleep? Also, the “I have black friends” defense doesn’t work when you say/do something racist, so don’t try to replace “black” with “women” and think it will fly. GTFO. For the few that DO sound sincere, people think that this is an absolution of their past crimes. So you fucked up. Apologize, and apologize sincerely. And what’s next?

You can show you’re atoning by perhaps reading literature by women regarding the impacts of what you did. You could donate to causes that that provide services for at-risk women and girls, or victims of abuse. IF your transgression wasn’t too egregious, you could even volunteer. At the very least, you can examine your behavior, what is wrong with it, and change for the better. And for all of your efforts, what to you deserve to receive?

Not a goddamn thing.

You don’t even deserve forgiveness from the victim you assailed. If they decide to never speak to you again, then so be it. If they request you leave a venue where they are, respect it. You committed the crime. This is your time. Forgiveness is a gift bestowed upon you. After whatever fucked thing you did, do you really think a gift is in order? I don’t punch someone in the face and expect them to come back at me with a bouquet of flowers.

And what of general society? Is there a statute of limitations on how long a person should be publicly shunned by the public? Is it a week or a few months in the digital stockades? Who knows, but anyone decrying these men losing roles and promotion deals because of what came out about them and what they did need to sit down.  Logan Paul made the interview rounds saying he deserves a second chance after his callous video regarding finding a the body of a person who completed suicide. No motherfucker, you don’t. You WANT a second chance. You don’t GET one unless someone wants to give it to you, but in no way is anyone obligated to give you a second chance.

Even if the victim forgives you, that does not absolve you of what you did by the rest of society. The survivors of the Charleston Shooting forgave the murderer almost the next day. He STILL KILLED PEOPLE though, and society deems that a punishable offense, which is why he is in jail right now. Roman Polanski’s victim said SHE forgives him, but he is still wanted. Actions have consequences.

So, men (specifically fuckboiz), if you find yourself in a position where you have done something wrong, remember that the apology/forgiveness cycle is not transactional. Even if you have apologized sincerely for what you’ve done, then you should expect nothing in return. Work on being a better person than continually bringing up the time you apologized for that fucked up thing you did.

Monday, February 26, 2018

What Cancelling your Cable Service Can Tell You about Toxic Relationships

I recently cancelled my Spectrum internet service. The nine years I spent with them and the six months after dropping them has taught me a lot about toxic relationships.

Sweet talk means nothing if they don’t back it up.

I had been dealing with Spectrum since they were Time Warner. The “honeymoon phase” is real. However, as I got used to having Spectrum, they would do things out of the blue, like jack up my rate for no good reason. One time, I moved not even two blocks, but that warranted Spectrum to raise the cost of dealing with them by $10, and then the cost went up slightly periodically until I went from a starting cost of $75 to $101 per month! I didn’t even notice the micro-incrementing, and that is what they were counting on.

Gaslighting is a sign.

One time, my service went out, but every time I called customer service, all of a sudden it would work while I was on the phone with them. Then a few days later, it would go out again, and I would call again, and it would magically work again! I finally had them come to my house and fix whatever was wrong, TWICE. It turned out there actually WAS a problem. There was a broken connection outside my house. They charged ME for the issue that was THEIR fault, though.

The breakup.

After 9 years, I was fed up. I called Time Warner (who had changed their name to Spectrum and promised it had changed), and out came all the bargaining. They offered me all the extras: VoIP phone, cable, free HBO, free Showtime, butt stuff, free Starz, all for $29.99 for a whole year! They had been offering to upsell me all this on my already high bill while we were together, and now that I said I was leaving them, they suddenly want to give this all to me with no strings attached? I never even asked for any of this, but now they were desperate! But I didn’t fall for it. I told them to leave me alone, and I would mail them their things.

Making a person drop of YOUR stuff at THEIR house is a goddamn power play.

Spectrum told me that I could not mail their router to them. I HAD to come to their house to give it to them. I didn’t ask for this router. THEY brought it to my house. THEY should take it out of the house. I was courteous enough to offer to mail it to them. That way, we wouldn’t have to see each other, nerves raw from the breakup. Exes who make you go to their house to give them their own stuff are just manipulative.

Don’t call me; I’ll call you.

I thought I was done with spectrum, but then came all the emails and letters, asking me how I’m doing without them, promising me sweet deals if I get back with them, telling me how bad I am fairing without them and their good service. I am not having any of it, though. I didn’t even open their letters after a while, and I had their email filter straight to the trash bin. Then they starting CALLING me. That is when I lost it. I was trying to get ready my daily workout, but Spectrum wanted to hassle me about getting back together.

“How are you doing without us? Who is your new carrier? Are they treating you well? Will you come back to us?”

I am doing fine. Who I am with is none of your business. How they are treating me is none of your business (but they are treating me great). I will NOT come back to you.

“If you come back, we’ll lock you in at $19.99 for the first year! You’ll get internet, voice, cable, HBO, Showtime, FMF threesomes, Cinemax, Starz, AND the NFL package!”

I DON’T WANT YOUR SERVICES. LEAVE ME ALONE. No matter how sweet they sound, I was with Spectrum for 9 years and KNOW how this plays out.

Calling an ex on a number that they never gave is creepy AF.

Finally, I lost it one day when they called me AT MY JOB. They didn’t even say anything different. They offered the HBO, the Showtime, the anal play, the phone, the internet, the Cinemax, all for a low, low price. However, Spectrum called me at my JOB. I never gave them my work number. I don’t like getting personal calls on my office phone. You do NOT mess with my money because you are in your feelings about a breakup that happened 6 months ago.

Acting nice in public is just that: an act.

After calling me on my work phone, after I told them numerous times to lose my contact information, I put them on blast publicly. I went on a tweet storm and detailed every manipulative thing Spectrum did to me while I was with them, and every time they tried to get back with me after I left them. Then they publicly responded to me as if they were surprised that they had done something wrong. Then they finally claimed that they would stop bothering me for good, but it might take them 60 days to do so. We are at Day 30. So far, I’ve only received one piece of mail a day after I went of on them. Perhaps the deluge has stopped. However, I still am worried a Spectrum service rep will be outside my window holding up a boombox playing our song.

Second guessing is okay, but staying firm is important.

A few days ago, I thought that perhaps I was too harsh. What if it turns out I need Spectrum in the future? Was I too cruel? Then while on business travel, a commercial came on the TV at my hotel. It was Spectrum. They were offering high speed internet for $29.99 with no extra obligations or caveats…but under the flashy “$29.99” image, some small print stated, “when bundled with another service”. THAT’S ANOTHER OBLIGATION OR CAVEAT, SPECTRUM! You ain’t shit! I hope nobody falls for your bullshit. I’m glad I dropped you. If you can, don’t deal with Spectrum. Their business model is Thirsty Emotionally Abusive Ex, and they get away with it because they are usually the only game in town.

What My Totaled Car Told Me about the Struggle

I totaled my car last week. We had a good 10 year run. 160,000 miles on her. I promised I would drive that car until I run it into the ground, and that is exactly what happened. My previous car, I said I would drive it until it burst into flames, and that is exactly what it did, with me in it. You would think I’d learned my lesson about being careful what I say. But just in case, my next car, I’m going to drive it until is becomes a multi-million dollar collectible antique.

The entire ordeal of the accident may have been a sign of providence regardless. It happened on Black History Month, and it became a pretty good analogy for the plight of people of color.

I was trying to not harm the black woman before me.

Black women have it hard enough in this country. They are often the most criticized for no reason except that people think they have authority to do so. People do not care about the suffering they endured, but their contributions to the world are always used without credit given. It’s not just white men shitting on them; it’s black folks also. So when I tried to brake and realized I would not be able to stop, I sacrificed my safety to keep from hitting that woman’s Honda. I almost hit a tree, but instead I flattened a street sign, so…silver linings? Although, my car dying because of a tree would have a little bit more historical reference…Regardless, we need to be better at heeding to black women and not trying to ram them off their roads to success.

Everyone blamed the Black Ice.

There is little more frightening while driving than applying your brakes and your car not so much as slowing down. Though I was going a steady 30mph, I skidded a frozen part of the road. I was done for. I blamed it on black ice. The woman who I almost hit blamed it on black ice. The white guy driving behind me blamed it on black ice. The officer who came after I called 911 said it was DEFINITELY the black ice…at least I THINK he was saying “black ice”. Regardless, we were all in agreement that Black Ice is terrible.

But what MADE the Black Ice so insidious? Why were the roads so slippery? This year we suffered over 400 centimeters of white snowy oppression. It was everywhere, reshaping the landscape that did not ask to be reshaped, creating hazards as it blanketed the region. Everything native to ground was disappeared, and those dark roads were set upon by the snow. But ultimately, I must take responsibility for my own actions, as well. I’m not saying black ice wasn’t the culprit, but when you look at the background, of how it came to be, you get a bigger picture of what is REALLY going on. #StayWoke Also #TenAndTwo.

Mediocre white dudes WILL insert their opinion where it is not needed or wanted.

As soon as I got out of my car to examine the damage and make sure I didn’t hurt anyone else, the white guy who was behind me got pulled over to make sure I was okay, looked at my car, and said, “You could probably just drive it home and take care of it! Just take off that ripped part of the fender, and you’re good.”

OK, first of all, leaving the scene of an accident is illegal. My fender is halfway off, and I am pretty sure a street sign counts as public property. I am not catching a charge for vandalism AND damaging my car, even if it were drivable. Second, white guy’s car was white with a grey door. Pardon me if I don’t take advice from someone who didn’t take care of his OWN car well. Most importantly, no matter how much he insisted I could just drive off, with a ripped fender, a dangling headlamp, and a flat tire, THERE WAS A STREET SIGN UNDERNEATH MY CAR. I kept telling him that, but he just glossed over that. “Just drive off”, he said. Just fuck off, Stephen with a V! You don’t know the severity of the damage done to me car’s body! Just because you can’t see them doesn’t mean the signs aren’t there! I TOLD you about the signs, and you ignored it or made it seem less important than what it was. Your refusal to listen to me is part of the problem!

The ultimate vindication when nobody saw.

Hours later, the tow truck came and frantically worried about my undercarriage. “See?!”, I wanted to tell Stephen with a V in the two-tone car. Even the experts are worried about that sign. They care! Tow truck guy was very worried that I may have punctured the gas tank or severed a brake line. “See?!?!”, I wanted to tell Stephen with a V in the two-tone car. Had I just driven off, I could have not been able to stop or blown up! Waiting for a tow was the smart thing to do! Two days later, the insurance claim adjuster called me up with the bad news: My car was totaled. The cosmetic damage wasn’t a big deal, but the damage under the car was too expensive to fix. “SEE?!?!?!”, I wanted to tell Stephen with a V in the two-tone car. I was right the whole time; and you didn’t see them SIGNS! You ignored them! Much like the effects of redlining and micro-aggressions, the damage to people of color is validated by professionals who know what they’re talking about, but by that time, mediocre white dudes have completely checked out of the conversation and moved on. I was vindicated to the wind…also, RIP my car.

Sometimes doing the right thing hurts you.

I would have rather not totaled my car, but it could have been much worse. I could have gone slower even though was going the 30mph speed limit. I could have turned left and veered into the oncoming traffic side and hoped that no one was in that lane. I could have crashed into the woman in front of me and cause a chain reaction, blocking the road for however long it would take to clear however many cars from the road. I could have hit the tree and DIED…it was a pretty sturdy tree. Instead, I jumped a curb and ran over a sign. Painful as it was for me, it was not so for everyone else. A lot of times we need to sacrifice our own comfort and stability for the greater good. We should remember that as we go through life trying to do better for our community.

No matter how much we are set back, we WILL get ahead.

The new car I bought is dope, so at least something good came out of this. Nigga, we gon’ be alright!

The Top 26 Dumb-as-Fuck Reasons Why People Mistakenly Thought I was Gay

Throughout my life, people have mistakenly thought I was gay. I get that I am sometimes unconventional and thumb my nose at the image of the stereotypical heterosexual man that society perpetuates, but I always think it is pretty obvious that I am straight until someone says, “Oh, I thought you were gay!” This doesn’t bother me as much as it did when I was a young moron who tried hard to be a “man’s man”. “Man’s man”, incidentally, is probably the gayest was to describe someone as hyper masculine. I hear that and think, “Oh, dude’s got a boyfriend. Good for him!” Now it is just funny, and it shows how toxic masculinity has infested even the most seemingly progressive of individuals. Friends have told me that that someone asked if I was gay, and even had a discussion behind my back about it. Unless you are doing some low key matchmaking, why is my sexuality even a topic of discussion? THen when I ask why they even thought that, I’d get a myriad of answers:

1.    “You just scream ‘gay’!”

I hear this one the most, and I believe it is because the person is going through all the factors they took into account to label me, and are realizing how sexist and homophobic they really are without realizing it. I would hope that this means they won’t make assumptions about people with a lack of evidence, but I also hoped that Santa Claus was real for a long time, too, so…

2.    Never met a black man “speak so well” and am “so smart”.

This one is my favorite, because it is not only kind of sexist, it is also definitely racist. Because I “speak well” and am “smart” AND black, I HAVE to be gay in order for those three Venn diagrams to merge? Do you think that black men are grunting Neanderthals who cannot properly put subjects and verbs together in a coherent manner? News flash, Neanderthals were primarily in Europe, which I guess I know because of my gay-ass intelligence. Congratulations. You have insulted gay people AND people of color, all in one sentence. Also, this is the one I’ve heard the most after #1.

3.    I have a bachelor’s degree.

This goes in with the “so smart”. Do they think then that RuPaul has a PhD? Was Liberace just a living computer? It is just funny, because people say, “That’s gay”, for things that are dumb, but they assume I’m gay because I’m smart. What happened to your brain that you made so many incoherent logical leaps?

4.    I dress well.

I blame Queer Eye for the Straight Guy partially for this lapse in logic. Besides the fact that fashion trends and what is “masculine and feminine” in dress will change from decade to decade, I also know that I have never seen a woman go for a guy wearing a burlap sack and rope belt, so perhaps I should step up my dress game.

5.    I wore heels for a charity event to fund a battered women’s counseling group.

Going in with the changing fashion trends, Men USED to wear heels, but now that is a “women thing”. I wore heels for charity, and someone thought I was gay. That would mean that three entire local county police and fire departments hire exclusively gay men, because they were all at the event as well, in heels. That would be surprisingly progressive for Monroe County.

6.    I don’t really like sports.

As a child, sports were boring and cutting into my cartoon watching time. It had nothing to do with a desire for dudes. When I was a teenager, I was “gay” for being black and not able to play basketball, so once again, racism and sexism have merged to make a dumb fuck opinion. As an adult, I started liking soccer but was told that’s the GAY football, so I guess every other country except the US is gay as fuck. Recently, I was assumed to be gay because I stopped watching NFL all together for social/political reasons. I guess giving a damn about CTE, domestic violence, and black men’s free speech rights is some gay shit.

7.    I walked away from a petty fight.

One time I ignored a guy who was ready to throw down over three spilled tater tots. HE bumped into ME, and got belligerent, and later a person I met at the time asked me if I’m gay, the reason being I didn’t want to fight. Those tater tots were good, but they were not “Knock a nigga out” good. Chocolate lava cake, however…

8.    I listen to people when they talk.

Women talk all the time about how their significant others don’t listen to them. I listen to people so that I know what they like, what a good gift for them would be, if there are off-limit topics for them, and for that, someone thought that, “no straight man is that good a listener”. I mean…that is a positive stereotype for gay men, I guess, but really? I am doing the thing that you complain that straight men don’t do.

9.    I said, “Excuse me”.

Nowhere outside of a Ludacris song is, “MOVE BITCH! GET OUT THE WAY”, received well. Yet me wanting to get people out of my way without body checking them is supposedly an indicator that I kiss dudes. The person who thinks this must think Canada is Fire Island.

10.   I said, “Pardon me”, instead of, “Excuse me”.

This would mean every British man with manners is gay, too.

11.   I don’t have a dream car.

Some guys are into cars. I just want something with all-wheel drive, good gas mileage, and maybe a backup camera. I couldn’t give two shits about a HEMI. And still, someone thought that I was in the closet because I couldn’t rattle off a year, make, and model with engine and detail specs. That was our second and last date.

12.   I like “white music”.

Black people invented rock and roll, but I’m gay for listening to Living Colour, a band of black people? He also thought REM was country music, so…

13.   I eat “so neatly”.

Having dexterity to manipulate utensils is not an indicator of homosexuality. It is an indicator of HUMAN EVOLUTION.

14.   I didn’t laugh at a joke.

It wasn’t even a homophobic joke. It was just not funny.

15.   I use chapstick.

“Real” men have cracked lips, I guess.

16.   Because I was lounging in my profile picture.

“He thought you were gay.”

“Why? How?”

“Because you were relaxing in your profile picture.”

“What the fuck? HE is relaxing in HIS profile picture! Do I need to fuck a bald eagle while doing my taxes or something?”

17.   I have a lot of female friends.

This comes from the bullshit idiocy that people of different genders cannot be platonic friends. This was on a first date. It was also a last date.

18.   I have a lot of male friends.

Having too many male friends and not many female friends? Too coincidental! But it’s homosocial, not homosexual.

19.   I have LGBTQ+ friends.

This came from a person who most definitely has also said, “I can’t be racist! I have a black friend!”

20.   I volunteered for the Out Alliance a few times.

Because giving a shit about people’s rights is mad homo, yo!

21.   I called out sexism.

Not being sexist and a man is often misconstrued as the man being gay. That being a common misconception does not absolve it from being dumb as shit.

22.   I am over 30, and I dance.

The exact words, “I don’t dance, because any man over 25 who dances is a FAGGOT”. The F-word almost felt like he was trying to punch it out.

23.   I raised my arms above nipple level once while dancing.

Does that mean AT nipple level is bisexual or intersex?

24.   I raised an eyebrow.

ANY PHYSICAL EXPRESSION OF EMOTION IS GAY. Hear that, every goddamn comedian in the world?

25.   I like cats.

OK…”manly” men are often associated with precise yet brutal violence. Cats are tiny serial killers, and they play with their food. Wouldn’t affinity for them be manly AF? I’m living with a murderer! This is why the lion, not the hyena, is king of the jungle.

26.   Because I asked, “What about me makes you think I’m gay?”

I just…what?

There are more moronic reasons thought I was gay. This list could go for at least 4 pages. Not one of them has anything to do with actual sexuality, i.e., kissing and/or fucking a dude. They all have to do with either “traditional” gendered behavior, or just fuckery. The fact that more “progressive” people fall into this inane thought process tells me that people are not anywhere near as progressive and open minded as they think they are. It also tells me that toxic masculinity is a cancer that has infected and festered every part society, and we need to do more to extract it.

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