I saw a meme recently that says “If I offended you, cry me a river. I’ll bring snacks and a raft. I will literally float down your tears eating chips and working on my tan” I laughed right out loud, and I that single phrase cheers me up every time I look at it. I offend people all the time. I mean, it’s not because I say something derogatory about someone’s religion or race or sexual orientation. It’s usually because I’ve called out some knuckle-dragger. Or someone with breathtaking entitlement issues who clutches their pearls that I’d push back at something offensive. Because I don’t just let that shit go. sorrynotsorry.
There are a few parts of my life where someone has burned a bridge with me, and I’m just not having it anymore. Done and done. I don’t dwell on the situation, but I’m also not going to ever get over it. And I’m good with that arrangement. I’ll happily spend the rest of my days with a brandy snifter full of shadenfreude and pop tarts for when the universe demands payment for someone’s douchebaggery. Because it *will happen*. And I hope it burns like fire ants on a bender.
But I digress.
Sometimes I read those “you can write your gripe on a rock and throw it into a river to be purified” articles, but really, I’m not actively planning the destruction of my enemies. There’s not one arch nemesis about whom that I spend my waking hours in a secret lair being madmadmad. Certainly, I can spin myself up like a whirling dervish when the conversation turns. And *man* would it be sweet to have a secret lair. But mostly, burned bridges and jerks from my past (or present, I suppose) are a pretty benign thing in my world. Not my circus – Not my monkeys.
Recently, I spent 8 hours (total travel time), each way, with my dad. We went to visit Child to take him some school stuff he needed as he transitioned from basic training at Garrison St. Jean to Royal Military College St. Jean. It was the boundary between basic training and his first “job” – Learn All The Engineering Things, and he needed some things. So we went on a road trip. My dad and I talked about all kinds of things. Along the way, he asked me a pretty benign question about someone, and I regaled him with the reasons why there aren’t enough f*cks in my world to have any information to share, because truly, I cared that little. So not only did I not have any information, but I would never have any information (see: No f*cks to give).
He laughed because he knows where I got that from. Genetic is for realsies. You might call it holding a grudge. That feels like that there’s energy involved – I don’t expend energy on people who I’ve just written out of my life. But the Olympic level skills that my family has for holding on to our hurts is epic. My dad was proud member of the storied US Marine Corps. He and a handful of his (Canadian) pals headed over the Niagara River to Buffalo to sign on to the adventure of the USMC. He had a drill sergeant who was a stereotypical yell-y guy, but he had a bit of extra… venom for these Canadian kids. When my dad graduated from Basic and went on to his first duty station, he swore that he was, one day, going to give that drill sergeant a mouthful, even if he ended up getting to talk to the good folks in the Military Police for his efforts.
Eventually, my dad was in Okinawa, driving a personnel carrier along a dusty road, and who should be leading a platoon of marines? Yep. His drill sergeant. Here’s where it gets awesome. He didn’t pull the truck to a screaming halt, oh no, he thought about where the chances were best to encounter him again. So my dad got a job at the NCO mess figuring that the Drill Sergeant would show up sooner or later.
So whenever I feel like my caustic mood means I need to ghost someone out of my life, or just generally calling out an asshole, I can assure myself that at least I’ve never stalked someone clear around the world just to tell them they were a jerk, right? But it’s good to know that I come from a proud tradition of that depth of commitment, yaknow, in case that becomes important.
But the thing is, someone who uses the “fuck’em if they can’t take a joke” as a rationale for poor behaviour also doesn’t care if they’ve offended someone, either. If they use racist, sexist, wildly offensive things, they can shrug it off. That makes me even more furious. You should care that you’re a reprehensible person. You should care that you are not a good person. Being a jerk shouldn’t be a badge of honour. So with that in mind, I’m struggling with the difference between someone who is unapologetic for standing up against someone, and the person who’s unapologetic about being stood up to. Everyone feels like they have the moral high ground, or they wouldn’t dig in. I feel like there’s some poor mental help moments ahead as I unravel this.
Certainly, I want to be a bridge-builder and not a wall-builder. But I also want to ride my raft on the highly offended tears of the wall-builders. With snacks, working on my tan. I don’t know quite what that says about me.