Social Apes


Let’s establish something at the outset.  Humans are social apes.

Sure, okay, we’re also rational or at least reasoning creatures, and we’ve changed our environment and mode of life so much, and made so many adaptations that you can say “are we still?”

Yes, we still are.  The place where rising ape meets falling angel is a pretty decent description of being human.  We aspire to more.  This is good.  Our minds — souls? — can conceive a fantastic vision of eternity (except mine.  I’m really bad at imagining what heaven would be like.  I’ll just have to trust Himself to figure it out.) and abstraction.

But the creature doing this is a jumped up ape.  There are limits on who we are, what we can do.

And there are things we need that make no sense, because we don’t want to need them, we don’t know we need them, we want to be just fine without them, thank you so much.  And yet their not being fulfilled makes us neurotic and vulnerable, and can even cause various physical illnesses.  (There are triggers in our immune system, including auto-immune that get activated when very ancient parts of our brain detect, say, that we’re very, very alone (and their detection might or might not perceive internet friends. It’s complicated.  There are studies that say they identify characters in series we watch as members of our band and causes us to instinctively overestimate our number of close friends.  Of course social studies in general have a huge problem with reproducibility and therefore with credibility.)

If your back brain, the part that was very useful when your ancestors were barely down from the trees, identifies you as a “castoff” it might trigger desperate measure to find a band, or make you vulnerable to illness, or a bunch of other things we’re not very clear on (because we’re just getting past a materialistic area where your state of mind and your physical state were wholly separate.  In people’s minds.)

This is something that’s particularly hard for introverts to process.  It’s like me, and my apparent need for sun.  I started walking — outside — two hours a day, and it about banished the chronic depression.  It makes absolutely NO sense.  My office gets tons of light.  But moving outside under the full sun is different, somehow, for the backbrain.

And humans need bands.  We need social contact.  Even those of us who hate large groups need daily contact with a “band.”

Part of the reason I prefer living in cities is that I am an introvert.  (No, seriously.  Well, that and because I grew up in a village.  In a village everyone is passionately interested in everyone else, and also their memories and expectations write the script of what you should and could be doing.  There is a reason my mom won’t let me tell anyone I write fiction for a living.  In the village that is “impossible” particularly for the daughter of a rather stodgy middle class family.

I’d be interpreted as “giving myself airs” Or being jumped up.  I’m not bound by their expectations, you say.  You’d be amazed how much they matter when you all live in each other’s pockets and have for generations on end.)  Apparently — note caveat above about social studies — we need to SEE and interact with some number of humans a day for our ancient ape brain to realize we’re not outcasts.  Apparently “interact” can be ordering a coffee and paying, or smiling at someone who accidentally makes eye contact when you walk by.  (Because the back brain is stupid.)  This explains why I’m always saner living in cities and also what I call “making sure there’s still a world.”

Normally the routine was, finish x number of pages, go for a walk, smile and nod at people, feel way better. In a smaller place I might be expected to — aaaack — talk, or interact.  In a big city I can order a coffee and go for a slow stroll, no problems.

Anyway, these “needs” of the back brain are not rational and they’re not something you control.  They’re also not something you can change just because you want to.  Because physical structures don’t work that way, even if they’re designed to think or feel with.  They’re still physical.  You might as well plan to grow a third arm.  (when the guys aren’t helping me with something, say, opening the door when my hands are full, and they ask me why I’m just standing there, my answer is “I’m trying to grow a third arm.” They usually GET it.)

So… what prompted this: yesterday I was doing something else and stumbled on a Peterson video.  So I watched part of it, realized it was stuff I read.  And then I read the comments.  NEVER EVER EVER READ THE COMMENTS.

It had thousands of hate comments. And I mean HATE, calling him names and acting like he personally shot their dog.
What did he say: if you’re forty and don’t have a family, don’t have a social network, don’t have a spouse and children, you’re a lost soul.
Person after person interpreted this as his saying “you have to get married and have children.”
That’s not what he was saying. Of course, people can be monks, nuns, utterly devoted to their extended family or to some charity or group or even some interest or social group.
BUT — as I understand his reasoning — we’re social apes. We might be pursuing our ideals, but we still need to be inserted in a group that values us (for values of “value” to be determined by what you need) to be happy.
The video was on how “career” (which as he pointed out in most cases is “just a job”) won’t FILL your life or make you happy as you age. So, obviously his point was “but you need other locci of happiness.” This was actually announced in the title, which was something like “the lie of a career.”  The whole point was that saying “I’m going to marry my career” doesn’t make our ape selves happy or stable, no matter how much we want that career, how hard we work, or how obsessive we are.  We still need a “band” of stable social connections.
However, person after person interpreted it not only as “you must get married and have children” but also as its being PARTICULARLY aimed at women and therefore “patriarchal.”
Most of the commenters were women telling us how they were forty or fifty or whatever “career” women and how happy they were. To total strangers.  Loudly.  Insistently. Admitting no protest.
It was actually sad, like watching Anne Boleyn who by the time of her marriage had to know how unstable her position was picking the motto “The Most Happy.”
Also commenter after commenter told us that even if you had children, it’s not like you could raise them yourself.  I mean, to live a “decent lifestyle” in our day and age both parents have to work.
While I agree that our burden of taxation makes it hard to live a middle class life on one salary while raising kids, it’s not impossible.
To allude to Peterson, it depends on what you believe and what you’re willing to sacrifice.  We find thrift store shopping fascinating (it’s a fun activity for a few hours a week.  Possibly the ONLY shopping I can enjoy) and we don’t mind driving 20 year old somewhat unsightly cars.  Now if you demand the top of the line to be “decent” that’s different, I guess.
But their running down of marriage and children, and how both were the worst thing ever, made me think of the fox of fable screaming that the grapes were green.
I read the comments in horrified fascination. I don’t know what these people were hearing but maybe it was their own internal voice shouting.
Sure, lots of women don’t want to get married and have children, but we ARE creatures of instincts and long evolution. By definition most women (and most men, but that’s more complicated) want to get married and have children.
When society makes that goal something to be despised, the instinct doesn’t go away. It gets repressed and twisted into screaming at people that you never wanted a family.  It probably also gets twisted into imagining all men are monsters and horrible, because again, that helps you believe you ain’t missing not’ing.
Now, from my understanding, Peterson wasn’t saying you MUST marry AND have children.  To lots of us, Odds, even achieving the first is amazing and something we never expected.  For a lot of us particularly in the pre-history (aka before internet) finding our kind took a long time, and finding one of our kind we wanted to live with for life was almost impossible, and you might be old enough you can’t have kids.  Or you might have one of those genetic diseases — bodies as weird as our minds — that you really don’t want to pass on.  (Some tempering here for the young: every family has genetic diseases.  My kids aren’t particularly defective for having inherited a milder form of my autoimmune. So don’t convince yourself your genetic quirks are unique or the “worst thing ever.”
He was saying don’t base your entire life on your “career” or plan to “marry your career.”  Most people don’t get careers, they get jobs.  (Some allowance must be made for the crazy among us who are compelled to write, paint, make stuffed animals or whatever it is you do.  Even then it’s not necessarily a career, just a purpose.)  And leave space for social bonds, be they husband/wife/kids or extended family, or a group of friends.  (Yes, as you age you find groups of friends are fickle and dissolve often.)  OTOH these days so do families, because we apes are living much longer and with more choices than we had before.  This is a good thing.
But these people’s — mostly women, curiously — reaction to the video made me facepalm and wonder: when our society purposely distorts the most ancient instincts of mankind, not the destructive ones (like murder) but the ones that allowed us to survive long enough to be humans (like band-bonding and having a family) what is it causing in society?  How much of the crazy we see around us is the poor monkey-brain desperately throwing rocks (or poo) in an attempt to get what it needs?  And how much of man-hatred is “the grapes are sour”?
I don’t have answers.  I just know that when the falling angel starts denying he was ever an ape, or lives in an ape’s body it can’t be good.  And it will cause trouble.

303 thoughts on “Social Apes

  1. I Am Not An Ape!

    I am a dragon (who needs social contacts). 😀

    Seriously, for years I tried fooling myself into thinking “I don’t need other people”.

    I now realize that I need some degree of “people contact”.

    Yes, I can get “peopled out” but I know that not being around other people can be dangerous to my mental well-being.

    1. Yeah. Though what I interpreted as peopled out was in fact a treatable defect in my thinking. Turned out that managing the impact of ‘peopled out’ put me way below the threshold of human contact I needed to optimize sanity and productivity.

        1. ^^ This ^^ I love my family, their spouses, & kids (& now their significant others & kids), but OMG, the noise!!! I almost always have to take a break. Oh Lord if the gathering is at my house …

          My son is that way too. We didn’t know where he got it, we do now (guilty). He used to withdraw from activities, daycare & school both, before he learned to cope without doing that. Made sure his caregiver’s & teachers were aware of what was going on, to not force rejoin until he was ready. Luckily by the time he actually started school, he was cooping well & we only saw it at scouts & sports. Since we were involved in both, his condition was handled. Me. I just got migraines, regularly; never learned to disengage, essentially got told “suck it up cupcake”.

          OTOH my last job. I had years left that I could be programming. I “retired” because there was a safety issue involved. But I also didn’t have a hard time cutting the chord. The last job, as far as co-worker interaction / socialization, I might have well have stayed home with no one there. There wasn’t co-worker interaction at work or not. Not any. Period. Got more interaction with clients on the phone than I ever got with people I worked with in the same office. Not (totally) because I was the only female employee. It was the culture that was required.

          I know my son is social outside of family, or has been. Working nights changes things, although he interacts with others at work. But definitely not a social butterfly.

          Me. For people interaction. Well there are puppy/dog training classes, yes good classes, but didn’t really need them. Saturday pack walks. Meet & greet interaction limitations (as in no, don’t do) is not just limited to the dogs (suppose to focus on your dog); but you are with people & there is some chatting. Have a service dog … you know there are times that it is just a good idea to go shopping to just practice & work on our public access at both local pet & non-pet friendly locations …

    2. By the end of the school year, I need a break from younger people. Not humans in toto (that kicks in around March, TGSpring Break), but teenagers. By August I’m good to go again.

      1. “it also did very bad things to my mental health when my only interactions with people were through the news.”

        Oh, hell, if my only interactions with other people were through the news I would shortly be counting for a tall tower in good sniping position. I have never seen a Media talking head that didn’t make me feel homicidal.

    3. Same here. There was a span when I was working the night shift on a fascinating project. The work was very interesting, it was gratifying to have such an impact on the program, and I enjoyed the solitude, but it also did very bad things to my mental health when my only interactions with people were through the news.

      The last stint was during one of the five minute hates against all things not left of Lenin, and when all you hear from the newsies is every one of those evil right wingers should be hauled off and shot, and you hear not a peep otherwise from the people you work with every day, one easily begins to assume that that is because they must agree with such sentiments, even if the more likely cause of the absence is simply one is only interacting with then for 15-20 minutes a day at the hand-over.

    4. I’ll get peopled out at work during our month long Halloween event. 4,000 or more people crammed into Old Tucson for a night gives it a population density that makes Tokyo seem agoraphobic.

      1. Oh, yes. I’ve managed to avoid Old Tucson on the nights of Nightfall, and will hopefully continue with that tradition (unless a daughter drags me out there, I have zero resistance to puppy eyes).

        I did make the mistake of being at Disneyland one New Year’s Eve. Shudder… Just barely managed to not start whacking people; I did make a six something by three foot security guard back off when I decided to stop moving in the cattle herd along Main Street. (Okay, he could have broken me in two – but he got the message that there would be some of his bits missing at the end.)

        1. My husband has Veto over public visits.

          I can throw my weight in, but if he REALLY doesn’t want to go somewhere…we don’t go.

          That means a lot of Cool Stuff is missed, but it also means flatly avoiding danger from attacks of all flavors to human stampedes.

          It works, especially since I’m the sort to get spun up in “but it’s an Experience!”

          1. I go places; my husband doesn’t. It works out pretty well. (He does do Family Things, as well as Kid Things. But I do all the trips and fun fairs and suchlike.)

            1. *Grumbles*
              My family is a little over-protective. They’re in full “but what if anything goes WRONG?!” mode and fuss if I take all the kids out for stuff that might, sometimes, require more than one person focusing on the kids. Basically canceled the big Thanksgiving trip this year because of it. I am not worried about driving for three days, but everyone else has vapors.

              The biggest problem is stuff like the fair– I can’t be in two places, so I can’t let the big kids go on a ride, and stand outside with the littles, at the same time.

              1. Oy. That’s one place where being a strapping lass (at 5’8″, a bit on the small side, but still pretty physically intimidating) is a real asset. I drove to Montana this summer, just me and a three-year-old. Never been to the Kalispell area, or any Montana aside from the interstate before. No worries, especially as I made sure to text when I got places. And the older kids are allowed to be on height-appropriate rides by themselves, so that helps too.

                1. I’ve done this drive four times, now. And it’s all chosen for being relatively safe areas, and for heaven’s sake we camp in the van. (My five year old boy is devastated that isn’t on the schedule right now.)

                  I’m pretty sure I’m being used as an excuse, which I’d usually be OK with– if folks would ASK ME. I’m willing to take a burden, I’m NOT OK with it being thrown at my head. And I *LIKED* THE DRIVE! Now the kids are blaming me that we’re not going, and we don’t get to visit any of the fun stuff on the trip, or see the cousins.

                  But it’s my fault, because it’s “for” me.

        2. The early weekends of Nightfall aren’t normally too bad, the worst is always the Saturday before Halloween, though Halloween itself if pretty quiet.

        3. The urge to join a huge crowd at an event just to ‘be there’ baffles me. The idea of going to Times Square gives me the screaming heebie-jeebies, and did long before 9/11 made that look like a big fat target.

          1. Yea. The idea of crowds – yuck.

            We’ve quit trying to go camping on extended weekends, because … crowds; well traffic. Even backpacking(*), it is surprising how many you will run into. Not as many as Times Square or Disney properties, but still …

            (*) Pretty sure we are done backpacking. Darn ground keeps getting harder, not to mention how difficult is getting up off of it. Stupid Gravity.

    5. Mom’s warning:
      You need people to show that you don’t need people.

      You need people (around) to show yourself that you don’t need people (to do it for you.)

    6. I need to speak to another human being once a day.

      However, there are people farther out on the spectrum. The writer Uncle River found it was once a month (though he tries for a once a week, to be safe).

    7. I’m good for about 20 min. usually. After that I get tired. As I get older, it takes longer to recharge for the next 20 min.

  2. Item the first, this explains a lot about how miserable I get when I entirely isolate myself. I took a number of years to realize that this was an actual problem for me.

    I see very well, now, that while a wife and kids may not be absolutely necessary, human contact is. And not so superficial a habit that I can just withdraw when the going gets tough, or when circumstances change.


    Except here, because we’re such an erudite and literate bunch.

    1. Well, yes. All you all here are one of the things that told me there were other people like me in the world, or at least a compatible enough world view that I wasn’t a total freak, and kept me sane through the crazy years.

      But yes, most forums these days just make me despair for humanity.

          1. Problem is that they drop so much garbage that the comment section is otherwise unreadable. And tend to be the most prolific commenters.

            Tended to stop reading anywhere that allows copy paste spam or continuous derogatory or insulting comments.

        1. What Em probably doesn’t realize is that her husband’s become pretty vicious. I’m done with being polite to these people; they see it as a weakness to be exploited.

      1. Two reasons one gets so many leftoid fools posting at Insty/PJ et al.
        A: If one goes over to a left leaning site and comments, in disagreement, no matter how mild or reasoned, either you get a massive overreaction, called a troll and banned, or your comment never gets out of moderation, and likely your IP is banned.
        B; The leftoids HAVE to get their daily enragement or they feel incomplete. So they will read sites like Insty or PJ and get that rage going to complete their day. Besides, right leaning sites tend to want people to see how stupid their critics are, and leave their droppings drying in the breeze and get out the hammers for some fun.
        Your trolling “racist”ultra-rights at right sites and many of your “racist rightwing” comments at leftoid sites (often composed like a second grader with spelling issues . . . those they always leave up to “prove” our racism) are false flag. Most folks on the right can’t even be bothered to respond to HuffPo etc and usually, if they even bother to lurk about at such places, just read a post and go to their preferred site and say “Hey, look at what these maronies posted!” point, laugh, and make duck noises etc.

        1. I known Othniel Marsh found examples, some of which he classified as Apatosaurus and Brontosaurus, but I believe Roget’s find was finally classified as the Thesaurus.

    2. In some venues the participants seem to imagine this is a competition, a battle to claim “I’m eruditier than you.”

      Those folks need their dities changed more regularly

    3. Half the fun of Ace’s blog is the comments. And there are a lot of them. If a post doesn’t hit 100 comments, it’s because another post went up almost immediately afterwards and took the commenters with it. Trolls turn up there as well, but they tend to be small in number and the moron horde keeps them well under control (with occasional intervention by one of the moderators if a particular troll starts to post something that crosses one of the various lines; usually it’s a prog troll trying to act as they imagine a “racist reichwinger” acts).

      Comments also tend to go wildly off-topic before long.

  4. I have long maintained that there’s relatives and then there’s family.
    Relatives are the luck of the draw from the gene pool.
    Family, once you decide to claim adulthood, are those you choose to hold dear and close. And I’ve learned from sad experience that relatives who deign to claim family status are invariably mooches and grifters and like as not deserve to have the dogs set on them to run them off.
    And for every sanctimoneous challenge of “well blood’s thicker than water” my stock response is “well BS is thicker than blood, and I can tell which you’re trying to sell me.”

    1. I feel somewhat weird for not having had face time with you this year, speaking of. IF our basement wasn’t occupied, I’d suggest you come see sunny Colorado.
      So, family not of blood.

      1. I truly did miss you and the gang this year, but you know why I decided that LC would be a bad idea just this once. But the Read House is just catty corner from City Diner, so a good Southern breakfast and visit next year.

  5. It occurs to me that one of the persistent problems with the publicly pious of the late Victorian era is that the vast majority of them had scant grasp of Cristian Theology, and it badly distorted their worldview.

    By the same token, the Progressive Dippy Left firmly believes is Evolution, and for the most part has no real grasp of it whatsoever.

  6. Another thought – -I live in a 55+ apartment complex. Many of these people can’t walk or have to have assistance. A lot of them don’t leave their homes and don’t get visitors. When they do come out into the light, they are strange … one lady used to chase people in her scooter with her dog in her hands, trying to get the dog to bark at people.
    So I can see how isolation can cause craziness… It’s really obvious here.

  7. I wonder how many women (and men, but it seems stronger in women) mistake a vocation for their Vocation. We modern women too often swallow the “women = men in all things” folly, and assume that “a career” simply replaces family and other relationships, like plugging X into an equation instead of Z. And when something deep inside our spirits and hearts rebels, we struggle all the harder to convince ourselves that being alone in a power-job is the best thing in the world for us. And to convince everyone else of that, too.

    1. What is fascinating is just how big a body of works there is about the pain a solitude of command and power jobs and so forth, and the incredible personal cost of such things. Think of the moral of Citizen Kane or Twelve O’Clock High.

      Kane loses everything that mattered to the temptations of power. Brigadier General Savage succeeds but it costs him nearly everything in the process. These are stories of pain and loss and regret, with often the only reward is the knowledge that they did what needed to be done, no matter the cost.

      1. I’ve brought up in my professional writings how important it is for supervisors to DIRECT people to take time off. None of this, “Take it off if you need it,”…because there’s often a subtext of “and if you do, I’ll beat hell out of you in the performance appraisal.”

        No. Your best people possess Zeal. They will work themselves to death if the job demands it. But if you let them, you lose your best people…and there will be NO replacements.

  8. 1. Most public sites that allow commenting on what could be controversial topics end up with cesspools as the comment section. Never read the comments!
    2. Otherwise sane people become suddenly irate when their “life choices” are even peripherally challenged. One of my online friends was lamenting the lack of support for women who choose to not get married/have children, because why can’t single women just have a career outside the home like men. When it was pointed out that until extremely recently the “career” that most women chose was “motherhood” (because how else is the species going to survive) and those jobs that allowed them to stay near the children, she got a wee bit upset.
    3. Sunlight is good for our health when done in moderation.

    1. I wonder if she wouldn’t just dive to Tumblr or Livejournal. I remember there were plenty of places on LJ that were highly supportive of single women/choose not to have children, and were highly hostile towards women who choose to have children and careers that supported families – called us ‘moos’, ‘breeders’, ‘anti-women-choicers’, ‘slaves to men’. Really, she should just Google.

      Those places tend to be highly feminist, hate men, and absolutely hate women who choose 1) femininity, 2) motherhood 3)don’t make the same life choices they do.

        1. Are you asking reality or expectation/hope?

          The latter will be either robots or importing people to do it (look at the MD imports. Most I have dealt with are nursing home docs so far). More likely? Left to die, warehoused cheaply.

            1. Why do you think Oregon Medicare is simultaneously pushing euthanasia while deciding they won’t prescribe long term painkillers, period.

              1. Don’t remember which nation or state it was but even gave for mental illnesses, including as minor as depression.

                1. Belgium and the Netherlands both allow euthanasia for “mental health” reasons. Belgium had the healthy young 20-something year old gal who was prescribed it– thank God, she changed her mind, apparently in part because so many people reached out to her as a total stranger to beg her not to die.

                  Belgium has no age restrictions at all anymore, and the Netherlands allows for some minors to be killed.

                  1. Yep. It is disturbing and I say that as someone who is completely behind those who make the decision.

                    1. Heh. There’s a role flip.

                      I tend to think it’s the more active form of the neglect them to death option– one where you get to abuse anyone who doesn’t do the “responsible” thing, and at the same time pat yourself on the back because you’re empowering the poor old dear to “make the right choice.”

                      A sort of mirror image of abortion. Those men who use women and toss them aside can preen about how they’re “empowering” the women to “make the responsible choice” and kill their child.

                    2. Exactly why i dislike. I do the cost benefit myself often enough. Don’t need someone else fingering the scale, especially one that would materially gain

                    3. And I have seen my own mother hurting her health because she’s “worthless.”

                      I’ve seen others abused by their kids– and know of one murder of a gal who didn’t cooperate into suicide. (No evidence possible. The murderer sideways confessed to “ending her pain” while we were scattering her ashes.)

                    4. Seen the latter. Had to walk the line on the law. (I refused to let her shut door on us. House uninhabitable and she was dead woman walking)

                    5. She was an honorary grandmother.

                      My parents took care of her for almost two years after she was diagnosed….she insisted her son would take care of her, and moved in with him a few states over.

                      A few weeks after the house sold, and it all went into his accounts, she was dead.

                      Amazing how her pain went through the roof as soon as he had all her assets in his bank accounts.

                      (Yes, mom and dad suspected as much…but they couldn’t hold her more than one year. That’s still a year longer than she would’ve lived otherwise, a year’s worth of volunteering, a year’s worth of cookies to random soldiers, a year’s worth of guilting folks into giving blood…)

                    6. I just have had to clean up wreckage. Broken plenty of ribs, zapped a few, stabbed a few. Seen too many cling to life after there is nothing left and others that shouldn’t have happened. Reason that I’m glad my family mostly ‘wakes up dead’ e.g. no lingering illness.

              2. I truly hope that some of those who’s lives are not worth living without painkillers choose to euthanize by slaughtering those who prevented them getting the painkillers. This is not only unconstitutional, but sadistically so.

              1. I think loneliness and depression would hasten that. Basic needs were met (roof over head, food, hygiene) but what was eating at them was loneliness and depression. I remember they were happy to see young people; it helped them pretend that we were their grandchildren, who they would not see, as their children were ‘too busy to see their aged parents.’ Some were angry, bitter, snapping sarcastic comments that I didn’t understand, but the ‘softer’ older folks in my memories would tell me to ignore. I only understood that they were lonely, so I would often come with gifts of marble cake, cookies, flowers… and I remember being told ‘surely I had better things to do than visit boring old people.’

              2. That and people can weasel out and claim it was “natural causes” or something similar. If you kill someone, then someone has to pull the trigger/push the button/etc to end the life and that means that someone is responsible for that death.

                “Natural” deaths just happen.

                1. Or be the subtle suggestions and push for euthenasia. Since the only control over your own life will be to end it, it’ll become popular

            1. “having outlived their usefulness” they haven’t. They are quite useful to the nursing home. Without them the home would be broke. Keeping them alive is what the home wants to do but also keep them so that they are cheap to manage.

  9. When we moved to Tiny town, Texas, we proclaimed things like low taxes, good economic climate, good cost of living… okay, and Peter was homesick for a place that looks like the African veldt. But the benefits were far greater: by moving to the same Tiny Town as Lawdog & his lady, and OldNFO, and only a few hours away from Alma Boykin, we formed the North Texas Writers, Pilots, & Shooters Association almost by accident.

    Otherwise known as, the people you can borrow a cup of sugar or get a beta read from, who’ll show up to help weedwhack the edges of the yard and for dinner on Tuesday night, and split the cost of a load of firewood or group ammo buy, or all caravan up together to a convention… and who help celebrate book publication and birthdays with equal cheer. We few, we slightly Odd few, we band of writers (and shooters and pilots, which covers the non-writer among us).

    And yes, I comment, never read the comments!

  10. I need people I can talk to, which often unpacks to ‘talk/rant _at_’. For their sake, they need to be people who enjoy the same subjects I do, which rather limits the pool.

  11. Women’s liberation did a great disservice to women by instilling the notion that they needed to be liberated from home and family, and go out into the workplace and be just like men. Yes, there’s a great deal of overlap between the capabilities, interests, and inclinations of men and women, but this is not identity. It’s hard to sort out how much is biology, how much is culture shaped by biology, and how much is purely culture, but the tendency to assume that it’s all culture is one of the greatest follies of the age.

    1. I’m tempted to write a what-if story where what we know as “parenting” is done entirely by paid professionals; mothers just give birth and move on. The societal result I would expect would not be good. The professional “parents” would become a self-serving guild like a cross between today’s public school teachers and social workers, and would brainwash kids to their socialist world view while tormenting any dissenters 24 hours a day, rather than the 6 hours they get to control them now. (I’d expect many suicides.) By the time most of the people who predate this system reach retirement age, the society would basically be Red China or North Korea.

      1. “The professional “parents” would become a self-serving guild like a cross between today’s public school teachers and social workers, and would brainwash kids to their socialist world view while tormenting any dissenters 24 hours a day, rather than the 6 hours they get to control them now. (I’d expect many suicides.)”

        I’m not sure I agree. You’ve got two unsupported assumptions here: one, that the guild would become interested in “brainwashing” the kids, and two that the guild’s selected position would be leftist/socialist. The first is likely-but-not-certain to be right; the second may in fact be irrelevant, since the fact that the kids are getting conditioned to one specific worldview is much more important that exactly what worldview they’re conditioned to. A society full of Puritans would be – and in fact was – just as disastrous as a society full of socialists.

        One of the great benefits of the Usaian system is that it’s impossible to brainwash people into automatic belief in the system when the system itself encourages questioning of it.

      2. eh, much of the evil would be the kids just running wild. School dynamics are inherent whenever the kids outnumber the adults that badly.

        1. Maybe in grades 1-3 that would be true, but more mature kids will behave if they really want to learn what is being taught. In my view this is a strong argument for making school attendance voluntary. If a kid won’t sit still, let him go to work at McDonalds for a year and see if he thinks it’s worthwhile to go back then. I’ll bet most of them do.

      3. The current workings of state-run “care” systems gives a disturbing glimpse into what this might be like. Here in the UK, of course, we had the recent uncovering of large-scale rape and abuse of teen girls in the foster system (largely by men from the local Muslim communities), often, shockingly, with the apparent collusion of the care home staff who were supposed to be caring for them.

        Having read other insider accounts of such systems, I suspect this was not deliberate evil on the part of the staff, but a result of their guiding principles that the young people in their care must not have their “life choices” restricted or criticised, or have any “values” imposed on them. So no one may question or try to prevent harmful behaviour, whether that’s a junk-food diet or underage drinking or school refusal, or, yes, inappropriate sexual relationships (including prostitution). Indeed, these minors are often aided in their harmful behaviour, e.g., by being driven by the carer to/from places, on the grounds that they would otherwise go alone and be at more risk. So… especially when you add in a fear of being branded racist for questioning these (mostly interracial) goings-on, it’s not hard to see how well-meaning adults can end up facilitating horrific abuse.

        1. If your job was to raise kids, but they were never your kids and they came in mass quantities, it would break your heart and your mind.

          The only way anyone can do work with other people’s kids and stay sane is to have a little professional distance, good emotional strength and support, and a strong mind and belief system. Kids set off very strong bonding and keeping instincts, because they are supposed to. Being hugely involved but not too much … Tricky.

        2. Britain’s problem of child rape by refugees from Islamic countries has been going on steadily for 40+ years, but was largely hidden from the public for decades by policy that says it is better that it happen than allow people to commit “racism” by pointing out the facts.

          This week, Tommy Robinson’s wife received official warning that Muslim gangs intend to attack her by throwing acid on her face — but that this is “not an excuse to break the law” by carrying anything with which to defend herself!

          That country desperately needs a revolution. But with their arms gone, it may be impossible to do. We’d be that badly off now, too, if Trump had lost.

          1. Isn’t funny how throwing acid was almost unknown until the Muslims came. Even then it was almost unknown until the refugees came.
            The problem is that the attack is over before you can react. The reason it is so effective.

            1. …and why they hid that the guy who got beat to @!#$@# the other day had just walked up to ATTEMPT an acid attack.

              Brits aren’t gutless. Just not much reported on.

            2. Actually, if you read the history and fiction (including at least one of the Holmes stories) of Victorian England, it was fairly well known then.

              1. “Unknown” as in “insanely rare,” not “unknown” as in “nobody ever heard of it.”

                It’s a big thing in India– was kind of a go-to for exotic crimes, like Thug-gees and Mormons.

      4. Suppose we defeat aging and live many hundreds of years.

        I have imagined a family compound for raising children with parents in residence or not and with some who choose to be “professional” caregivers or teachers. By great or great-great grandchildren the genetic “family” is diluted but I think that there are interesting story possibilities with a Matriarch with a strong enough personality.

          1. For fiction the “good” related to family and attachments and belonging is incredibly powerful, even if the characters in the story are off having their own adventures. Multi-generational Sacketts in Space. 😉

            Something about the cast of her face tickled a memory in his mind, but even more than the angle of her chin was the determined and furious expression on her face as she stood, back to the wall and a shock rod in each hand holding off three men and a woman while the rest of the bar looked on with varying degrees of interest. On a hunch he dug a phrase from childhood, from the language the family used that no one spoke anymore, from a game they played a hundred years ago, two, and played today as far as he knew. It involved throwing a ball over a wall too high to see over. “Red rover, red rover!” He called the words out and her face turned, her eyes snapping to his, pure recognition. She shouted the answering call. “Prepared for incoming!” Family. Dammit. He really hadn’t wanted to get into a fight today.

    2. ” instilling the notion that they needed to be liberated from home and family, and go out into the workplace and be just like men. ”

      Never really considered it that way. Being the oldest of 3 girls of a family (mom, dad, aunts, uncles, grandma, grandpa, great … you get the idea … everyone …) who hunted, fished, tent camped, backpacked, never considered there were things that boys did different than what girls did (other than biological). Until, when & if, you founded a family, you earned a living. Mom & dad were not the bank, past schooling.

      By the time I stumbled, tripped, got caught (because I wasn’t looking), we still hadn’t decided what the financial consequences were going to be. We still both contributed to the household earnings. By the time the kid finally came along, it was obvious, for both our sanity that the prior co-financial contribution arrangement was going to continue, for a lot of reasons. Would I have loved to stay home for a motherhood career path. HECK yes in a heart beat.

      Could I take the 5 or 6 years off & even have a chance at reentering my career field part time, no & heck no, not a chance (talking tech work here, less than 2 years is bad enough … more, no, not a chance). Other options were not appealing.

      Add to the fact that the other financial contributer’s career path meant annual (sometimes multiple annual) work holidays (also know as layoff’s). Plus examples of what happens if one’s career is allowed to languish or a non-starter. Too many examples of what happens when non financially contributing spouse suddenly has to enter the labor market with no, limited, or old, experience. I was not going to be 40 or 50 & looking to enter the work market!!!

      One thing I’ve never, ever, done, is devalue a care giver’s ability to stay home with young children; regardless of which parent took that role. Envied, but not devalued.

      1. One of the things I selected for, without even realizing, was that my job would be something that would feed into being able to be home for…well, anything.

        Someone has to take care of the parents, after all. I fully expected to be the no-life who got drafted into that.
        (Not a comment on others who choose it– a comment on how the job got “distributed” when I could see it. My mom, for example, got a lot of the weight of caring for my dad’s mom– because she was “only” a substitute teacher, a bus driver and a part-time ranch hand, averaging about 30 hours a week if teachers weren’t out with the flu, plus odd jobs. Instead of having a “steady” job as a dental hygienist for ~10 hours a week, or bagging groceries, or whatever my aunts came up with this week as their “steady job.”)

        1. Was “suppose to” be able to work from home. Never quite worked out that way long term. Sure, when kid was home because no school, or sick, or …, but regularly … nope.

          In fact directly related to my finally retiring. Not kidding there was a dangerous situation regarding an individual that was not foreseeable going away; would always be a problem even if months went by while committed.

          Already had talked to the boss about working at home well before all the above started happening, because hubby was retired, & that was the direction I saw things going. Sure, no problem. Until it was. Then the answer was a flat, No. Did not matter that another employee was going to be able to work at home. That he moved his family 100 miles away, is beside the point, the reason was the same.

          At that point I talked to hubby. His answer was quit. I did, after annual bonuses. Boss was not happy I only gave 8 weeks notice … really? Minimum was 2 weeks.

          1. Sounds like they have a get rid of the problem or get rid of the company situation if two of you took life changing steps to avoid it.

            1. “Sounds like they have a get rid of the problem or get rid of the company situation if two of you took life changing steps to avoid it.”


              3rd employee has a limited no contact court order for himself & his family against this individual. Problem is, for the 3rd individual is he can’t quit & get rid of the problem.

              4th employee who managed to get a locked office with a steel door (IT), to get safety on site.

              By my count that is 4 out of 7 employees’ (one doesn’t count, never met him, he has always been off site). With a problem with the 8th “employee” …

              Don’t get me wrong. I was hoping I was over reacting. Subjective evidence, says, maybe not.

              Yes. Should things go really south, so far avoided, survivors’ families would “own” the company. Limited Liability status or not.

              Personally, didn’t want my family to be the survivors suing. Neither did my husband or son. We could afford for me to quit, so I did.

        2. It’s funny. Of all my grandmother’s kids, the only two taking the time and effort to look after her as she slips further into dementia are the ones who work the most (my mom and one aunt).

      2. One of the nice things about my current “employment” (on an emergency basis; less than forty hours a year most of the time) is that I have a continuous work history, even though, like I said, it’s usually months in between gigs. Benefit of a small family company where the only paperwork I have to do is updating my W-2.

        1. Both my SIL were like that. One had her nursing degree. Kept it current by working fill-in for a number of small practices while her kids were young … then her husband got sick & died of cancer. Her income as a full time nurse in a practice was more than his. The other one was doing minimal bookkeeping, but had her accounting degree. Brush up was required after her husband took the truck & dog & walked out, leaving her, the girls, & all the bills.

          Loose more than 6 months in tech, when you are over 40, you might as well be a dinosaur. Let alone if you are over 50 or 60. Age discrimination is alive & well.

          1. Yeah. Photography (even post-production) is far more forgiving. Once the eye is trained, the technical side is easy to learn. (The last time I was in, I got a very strong compliment from the production manager about my speed and accuracy in regards to color-correction. There’s something about spending a lot of time learning to correct on systems that are so bloody uncalibrated that it’s correcting to Oompa Loompa that makes correcting to *accurate* systems easy.)

          2. I’m not sure if it is really “age discrimination” in the Tech world as much as it is “your skills aren’t up-to-date”.

            Speaking as a 60+ year old former programmer who’s experience is in COBOL Batch programming.

            1. “your skills aren’t up-to-date”.

              It is age discrimination when it’s presumed (provable or not) that you don’t have the flexibility to learn yet another new system or tool set, & the youngsters “can”. Come on. Just like languages. The more systems & tools you learn & use, the easier & faster it is to catch on. Actual example: It’ll take 6 months or more to be “productive” … nope, try one month, only because I didn’t actually get a computer for a week …

              Of coarse there is the other presumption that you are “too expensive.” Because of your experience.

              “Over qualified.” Implies you can do the job, but you still aren’t getting it.

              I’ve experienced all 3. I am over 60. Started with RPG based system. Granted, I’m not looking for work now. But the above is exactly what I experienced the last time I was looking, when I was still short of 50.

              1. My bosses tend to hate it when I remind them that “it’s still ones and zeroes”…. and then prove it.

  12. As a Catholic I think you missed an important summary sentence. “You can get married to your career, but it literally takes a miracle. Just ask any Bride of Christ”. 😉

      1. I have a hard time not making snarky comments about certain members of the Church hierarchy whose behavior seems to set the standard for “BAD Catholic”.

              1. *looks around*
                *flicks ear*

                Given the amount of flash fiction and in-character that goes on here, pretty sure that is WHY you can speak to us….

                    1. Not even dragons laugh at cats …. until the cat is a long distance away. 😈

  13. Just wearing my pedant hat, I feel compelled to offer this tangential comment: the photo for this post appears to feature Old World monkeys (green monkeys, I think), not apes. Though most primates, apes or not, are quite social.

      1. Hmm, I wonder if there are any useful stills from 2001: A Space Odyssey, Before Monolith. Is it 50 years already?

  14. I have a friend who was a VP of a large civil engineering firm. He traveled all over the world supervising the creation of airports. I met him in a tea shop, where he was hawking tea to keep himself busy. He mentioned to me, “Three weeks after you retire, nobody at the company will know who you are.”
    If you are devoted to your career, don’t expect the same devotion coming back.

    1. “I work to live. I don’t live to work.” Exact quote on responding to “You are not pulling your weight … putting in 70 hours a week on the project.”

      Yes. In one instance it might have contributed to my getting cut sooner rather than later when a company was in the last contortions of bankruptcy; why do you ask?

      1. “How long will $PROJECT take?”

        [pulls number out of air] “Six weeks.”

        “We’ll let you know.”

        [months pass]

        “We need $PROJECT wrapped up next week.”

        “Really? It’s not on my work schedule.”

        “So how long will it take?”

        “Six weeks.”

        “But we promised the customer it would be ready next week!”

        “Six weeks.”

        “Can’t you work nights and weekends and pull a miracle out of your hat?”


        “That’s a bad attitude.”

        1. ROFLOL. So glad I’m retired that I can now laugh at this. So, So, So, True. Only change “[pulls number out of air]” s/b “[looks at ceiling, takes WAG]” where “WAG” is “wild ass guess”. Would also add “Six weeks, if I’m left alone.”

          I’ve also (done) seen the following.

          “How long to do this project?”

          [WAG] “Six weeks”

          “Can you complete it in two weeks?”

          “No. Seven weeks.”

          [more they ask the more gets added, after all it started as a WAG]

          “Do it. We are agreed two weeks.”

          “NO. Eight weeks!!!!” [see above]

          Two weeks go by.

          “Is it done?”


          “We agreed two weeks!!!”

          “No. You said two weeks. I said eight weeks.”

          “Can’t you work nights and weekends and pull a miracle out of your hat?”


          “That’s a bad attitude. You are not a team player.”

      2. I’ve had similar discussions, which ended with me quoting “Your lack of planning does not constitute my emergency.”

        Yes, that didn’t go over well. OTOH, the imbecile already knew I didn’t hold him in high esteem.

        1. To be honest my last job didn’t have deadlines (one before that did, in spades). Boss was a programmer himself, for all that he hadn’t coded in years. No metrics either. Rare I know.

          Except when client called with a problem where the data was fed to payroll (so technically payroll issue). Then it was drop what you are doing & fix ASAP. However, thought “Your lack of planning does not constitute my emergency.” but never said it. Especially the client who called at 4:45 PM on Friday, payroll stuff due by 5 PM, & they knew they had a problem all day or longer; AND it was a data problem (valid input, bad entry), not a system or program problem. Was however known when asked:

          “When will it be fixed?”

          “Probably 2 minutes after I find it. Now ask me how long it will take to find it?”


          [For the official record: DIIK] where DIIK = Damn if I know.

          1. (valid input, bad entry)

            The phrase, “bad entry” reminds me of one of my brother’s stories from when he was doing IBM tech support way back in the day. In fact, two of them (few of my brother’s stories actually happened to him – both of these were related to him by another person). And in both cases, the technician was very glad he wasn’t the one who had to tell the operator what was wrong.

            First one was a woman who was missing half her thumb, but because she wasn’t used to having to keep it out of the way, was dragging the stump across the command key when she had to reach for some particular key (I can’t remember the specific one)

            The other was a woman whose problem he fixed by raising her chair when she went on break, so that her boobs would no longer rest of the keyboard.

            1. Those are almost as good as the classic support call to get the “coffee holder fixed” … you know the tray that slides out when you push the button …

              Words to live by, do not know where they originated, but they have saved a face palm or two: “Nothing is fool proof. Fools are ingenious. Not in a good way.”

                1. Steal away. Did not originate with me. Something I stumbled across when I was first starting out ’83/’84 … Was “funny” at the time. Not so much when you are in the middle of the proof, until after. Then it has to be funny or you go insane.

              1. “Applications programming: the race between developers, to produce idiot proof programs, and the Universe, to produce bigger idiots.

                So far, the Universe is winning. Handily.”

                1. Yes. The universe is winning on the idiot production.

                  I might even resemble that maybe a little (well the idiot part I might balk at). My joke: “I write software I don’t use it.”

                  Still haven’t researched how to use WP tags for italics, bold, strike through, etc., because I haven’t bothered. But I’m not complaining about not know how to either (just a statement of fact).

                2. So far, the Universe is winning. Handily.”

                  The Universe has more resources to dedicate to the competition.

                  Entropy’s on my side, yes it is
                  Entropy’s on my side, yes it is
                  Now you always say
                  That you want to be free
                  But you’ll come running back (said you would baby)
                  You’ll come running back (I said so many times before)
                  You’ll come running back to me
                  Oh, entropy’s on my side, yes it is
                  Entropy’s on my side, yes it is
                  You’re searching for good times
                  But just wait and see

        2. This is one of the situations where Dilbert strips come in handy. Although it is inherent to the nature of some people that they lack capacity to recognize themselves in such strips.

          On the lack of planning issue, I have found there are two types of problems in this world: my problems and other people’s problems. Much unhappiness results from failing to distinguish between the two categories.

          1. The technical term for that is “supplying prospective incentive to minimize recurrence of a problem.”

            1. Can I borrow that & pass it on? I don’t need it anymore, but know some former co-workers that might get a kick out of it …

              Although I will admit that at my last position, most the users of the system weren’t our pain-in-the-arse. Their IT however was.

              “No. We will not allow you to see what the user is doing wrong on their desktop, because you will see live data going into the system.” [you know the system we are trying to help with … the live data you upload regularly when we ask because we can’t duplicate the problem without the data that is causing the problem …] — Actual email from more than one client’s IT. WTH?

              1. Been a busy week, so regrets over not replying ere this. While it seems clear that all comments are available for free use, if you are waiting on permission consider it granted for that and any future potentially recyclable remarks.

          2. “Stupidity should be painful or expensive; since I can’t hit the client, I’m going to charge them out the @$$.”

            Tried to do that. One declined. One just said “Okay, do it.”

            One that declined was in ’96 after the employer I worked for sold all the local assets & shut down all the offices. The company that ended up with the tree nursery for reforestation wanted me to spend one day with the new team to go over how the system worked there. The problem was they didn’t need me. They needed the local manager I’d worked with before that they’d let go because they wanted their own management team in place. In fact I’d go as far as to say I really couldn’t help them. I could tell them in 1/2 an hour the pieces & why multiple pieces (before wireless) & how they worked; plus I’d only worked on 2/3 of the 3 pieces. Code was straight forward (hey, I took it over & figured it out to make changes …). But I couldn’t tell them the WHY of it. I understood what the system needed to accomplish, because of the prior management team; who kept me on track. I could tell them why there were a from scratch reports (because the built in tool report system couldn’t work “right” in this instance). The “new team” was 100% unwilling to bring in the correct people, & wouldn’t take “no” for an answer, I tried, multiple times. So, I gave them a per hour number I figured was equivalent to “no”; that worked.

            Wasn’t burning any bridges. This company had made it perfectly clear they didn’t “need” me over 6 months before, no matter how much my manager & other business section managers for the area recommended they take me on. By the time they called, I had been working at a new job for a few months.

      3. Not to mention getting handed a project, and a (seemingly) reasonable deadline. Only to spend most of that time working on OTHER incidental “Emergencies”. Then, “Why isn’t X finished? The deadline was reasonable!”

        Um… no. The deadline WOULD have been reasonable, IF I hadn’t had a hundred other things dropped in my lap.

        1. There’s a sign a coworker got many years ago that is still hanging up at my work (long after the factors that inspired it have been fixed): “Do you want us to rush the rush job we’re rushing now, or rush the rush job you want rushed before the rush job we were rushing before the rush job we’re rushing now?”

        2. “This object it not reflective enough, it shouldn’t take very long to make it shinier… what do you mean you have to re-render to do that?”

          1. “You need to add the option to show the data side ways on the report. What do you mean 6 weeks to program that? Just add a button. Look Excel does that easily. Just need to get the dates right.”

            Me: “If it was easy, & worked right. You’d only use Excel. I wouldn’t have a job.”

            Actual conversation, FWIW.

    2. Of the companies I’ve poured a lot of time into, all my contributions are ephemeral…. or, as things change and grow, nobody will be able to note my minor contributions that are built into the overall architecture. I’m not going to change the world via business.

      On the other hand, I’ve managed to help a lot of people. Most of them I simply made one minute of one day a little better, some I helped get their feet under them and focused on their opportunities to have a much better life. Even there, I didn’t change their life, or their world – I just pointed the way and tried to lend a helping hand, and at best, ensured that things didn’t get worse right then.

      And that, I think, is the only way I’ll ever “change the world”, no matter what mantra was pounded over and over in my education. I’m not going to get the big corner office, or the power and the glory… and I don’t want it, either. I like my tiny town, my low-key job, my friends. And if I can leave people slightly better for having been around, that’s enough of a legacy.

      1. Never underestimate the importance of the Butterfly Effect. What you thought was small could have major effects down the road.

  15. That’s a non-spiritual function churches can provide. You get to be part of the community, interact with people normally outside your work and social circle, and have a possible source of assistance if needed.

  16. and their detection might or might not perceive internet friends. It’s complicated. There are studies that say they identify characters in series we watch as members of our band and causes us to instinctively overestimate our number of close friends.

    I would guess “it depends.”

    I know I desperately need more hugs and to be around people when I have things that Need Doing and I don’t feel like I have enough help– but if business is being taken care of, I’m good.

    1. Sometimes on day three or four of fairly minimal human contact I’ll find myself jonesing, and start refreshing websites because deep down I’m desperate for a fix. I noticed the problem after getting rid of several other obstacles to productivity.

  17. Having internet interactions with like minded people gives me about enough discussion times to sustain me, and I get enough actual face time – if barely – by going to cafes and seeing some of my co-workers in both jobs, even if those moments are usually pretty short as the work itself is done alone, with both jobs.

    What I don’t get enough as somebody who has no family left, and very few meat space friends is touch. Unless I pay for a massage, or occasionally on health care visits, nowadays it’s none, by other humans. Having pets helps some, but while it’s not a choice for me sometimes I really do understand people who either pay for sex or go for one night stands with strangers met in a bar or on their vacation. I think it’s not so much the sex itself, for at least some of those unmarried “I’m totally happy with my choices” career women, as it is simply getting touched by another human.

    Even if I have problems being touched, and have, back when I was young and tried to have some sort of sex life for a while, started to feel anxious when being touched to the point of nearly panicking (massage by a paid professional masseur usually is okay for me, although I find the ones who talk a lot somewhat more comfortable than the ones who concentrate on their jobs fully), seems I still don’t do all that well completely without either. Even if I am in many ways a hard introvert I’d still need at least some.

    1. Are there old-folks’ homes in your area?

      I know that our homeschool group does visits– they’ll let you schedule things like “go play checkers” and stuff. A lot of the times the folks are really not all there…but some of them just have health issues.

      1. Yes. I have never checked if something like that would be possible, thanks for the tip.

        Maybe I could find somebody who’d know how to play chess and would be willing to teach me, and play with me, I have always wanted to learn that game properly.

    2. …sometimes I really do understand people who either pay for sex…

      Apparently it’s not too uncommon for a prostitute to get clients who just need a little time with someone they are not in conflict with, to talk to, and maybe cuddle with them for a while. No sex necessary.

      1. This is where companionship escort services are commonly used – the no sex rule applies; they’re essentially paid dating; though I’ve heard/read of a number where it really is ‘come with me to a coffee shop/restaurant for a meal and chat, and walk with me, for more talk and light, ego-boosting flirting and compliments.

    1. If you’re willing to block the one-note crazies at Instapundit, it can be worth it.

      Although I got into a week long “argument” with a guy who insisted that narrower lanes were safer, and demanded I give him a study showing as much…two days into it he offered a study that said there was no studies of that, and that they’d looked at impacts at intersections with all other variables removed and narrower ones had fewer side impact accidents. Of all flavors.

  18. Make no mistake, most men want to marry and have a family. Doc Smith was right…marriage is the normal state of the adult human being. And being a middle-aged single man, I will say that the perspective on being without a family looks a lot different when you realize you will have no descendants.

    I suspect it will be much worse for women who try to travel this path. “Crazy Cat Lady” will be the lucky ones. I’m betting on a sky-high suicide rate.

    1. An awful lot of stuff folks’ behavior, in those situations, makes perfect sense when you start thinking “self destruction”, AKA passive suicide.

        1. My personal experience is the exact opposite. Elder women get involved in clubs and church, elder men sit at home and yell at FOX/CNN/MSN about whatever, then gripe about how their knees aren’t good enough to go hunting and what is wrong with their wives that they’re always out and never have time for them.

          Now there’s also a skewed widow/widower ratio, but leaving them out, and only talking about married couples over retirement age without physical disabilities of my aquaintance, I’d say about twenty percent of the men are not voluntary shut-ins, while all of the women are active.

          1. I actually see a split of the difference— non-elderly men have a robust social life, lots of outside of the house stuff.

            It’s mostly active life things. (Alright, my husband has two D&D groups plus the online one, and they’re all through work and aim for weekly– I’ve got the homeschool mom group which usually cancels, aiming for monthly. He’s more active even when I’m subbing on the online one.)

            Guys’ knees go bad, they cut back. Of course, because “active” is a big chunk.

            Meanwhile, wives lose the kids…and start filling the gap with outside the house stuff. Or get dragged into “helping” at mom’s social thing. (or substitute mom’s social thing)

            Which isn’t impacted by health issues, really.

            So it flips by the time they’re older.

          2. Mom is 84. Dad died almost 10 years ago. Mom figured she had at least 22 years of grieving that they weren’t going to be like her folks who died within 3 weeks of each other at 95. She has to stay home occasionally to just rest up.

            Lets see there is: Shrine Club, Ladies Oriental Shrine, Amaranth, E. Star, both at the local, state, & national levels, Bridge, Swimming, youngest nephew’s football/basketball, great-grands’ soccer games, … I’m sure I’m missing something, oh yea, she makes T-Shirt quilts for the grand & great grand kids, last one finished for the newest great grand due in October.

            None of this counts the trips she takes with friends who “don’t want to travel alone”. One this fall to NY area. Another next spring to Panama. Plus regular trips up I-5 to Canada for a friend to visit her sister & daughter.

    2. Well that’s part of why the suicide rates are the way they are. Goes up with age and when you cannot provide (stuff like layoff or job destruction) it jumps further.

      Death by despair (drugs, booze, suicide) have been growing more common over past few years.

  19. I’ll add that if you are playing Career Monk, it helps to have social connections of some sort outside the workplace.

  20. To steal a character from Barbara Hambly, I am the Icefalcon. The self-competent loner on the outside who needs to be with the group, but not necessarily of the group. One who can lead when necessary, but isn’t much better than average at it, and isn’t particularly interested in leading in the first place, other than a means of preventing someone from annoying him via the position. Someone who sits on a rock halfway up the hillside and laughs at the “city slickers”; but still sits there for hours watching.

  21. >> And humans need bands. We need social contact. Even those of us who hate large groups need daily contact with a “band.” <<

    I prefer phrasing it a slightly different way: we humans are a _tribal_ species. We live for the Tribe, we die for the Tribe. This fact is written into our genes at a level so deep that if we lost or removed it, we wouldn't be human anymore.

  22. Item the second, I think I may have recently figured out the religious practice driving the activity you saw in the comments.

    Necessary boilerplate about how I am not denying the fact that successful women do exist.

    It’s a cult of Female Success. Core doctrine: 1. There is such a thing as aggregate communal female success. 2. It is fundamentally important to the well being of every woman that the communal female success be maximized.

    Employment numbers? Those aren’t processed as statistics, but as proxy for personal validation.

    Abortion is the sacrifice that balances the religion’s promised reward.

    Hillary was one of the women who were totems for the the aggregate communal female success. Hence the deranged hysteria.

    Girls are recruited in primary and secondary via a process that can be considered a form of love bombing.

    It isn’t something reasoned into, so they won’t be reasoned out of it. Damore’s argument had as much chance of persuading as a Lutheran arguing that the Pope is Anti-Christ will have with a Catholic.

    1. If you haven’t, read Vathara’s Embers.

      She’s got an OUTSTANDING demonstration of tribalism– it helped me absorb what I saw in the middle east, and make sense of it; very good with testing.

      Basically, that “feminism” is just a form of tribe; victory of a tribe member is victory for all, failure of one is failure of all.

      Which is why so many women must be cast out, because their victory doesn’t fit an acceptable format.

      And if you’re a failure, you’re shoved off an ice flow.

          1. I have it loaded on Calibre on my machine. I’m simply pretty swamped, and short on time. I hesitate on the big stuff, because I need to regulate my intake in order to get my work done. On the other hand, I have had some bad experiences with short pieces from unknown authors lately. Such that I’m happier switching back to work.

            1. You picked at loose ends and ended up unraveling most of the story, but you knit it back up…and didn’t have the same contempt for folks who didn’t catch exactly what you MEANT them to think, that tainted Avatar.

    2. Careful there. In many cases it is harder to convince a Roman Catholic that the Pope is Catholic these days.

  23. I’m not an ape, either. I am a Gorilla Girl. (Totally a nickname when I was younger.) I’m also approaching 40, and unmarried. Which, yeah, probably is due to my career- half of it spent overseas. But it’s not like I made a conscious decision that I didn’t want to get married, or chose my career over a marital prospect. It’s just that I had to pay the bills, and I’ve always been drawn to the military. And I do have my family at home, my aunts and uncles and cousins who eagerly await my leave periods, and occasionally come out to visit me wherever I am.

    It’s not that hard to understand that if you are approaching the midpoint of life and haven’t even created a “found family” that extends beyond your workmates, it likely is in fact due to being a “lost soul” and the odds of living long beyond the age at which you quit working (thus losing the only social outlet you have) are not great. It doesn’t have anything to do with gender, and it doesn’t mean that even if you do have children and a family, you can’t feel isolated. But of course people don’t want to be confronted with the idea that their own choices may have led to their circumstances.

    I actually ran into this idea in a romance novel recently. The heroine’s prospective mother-in-law was telling her that charity was useless because people chose to be in their circumstances. Which is of course a willful misreading of the idea that one’s choices lead to circumstances. Nobody chooses to be poor and suffering, obviously, but they certainly DO make choices that keep them that way.

  24. “It had thousands of hate comments. And I mean HATE, calling him names and acting like he personally shot their dog.
    What did he say: if you’re forty and don’t have a family, don’t have a social network, don’t have a spouse and children, you’re a lost soul.”

    Well, Peterson challenges all their most basic beliefs doesn’t he? First, he calls into question the “Tabula Rasa” notion that humans are infinitely malleable, have no basic nature of their own, and anything can be written there if you get the propaganda right.

    Humans of course -do- have a nature, and if you want to experience it just climb a few steps up a rickety ladder. Your whole body will let you know that the Great Monkey Ancestors think this is a very bad idea, and make you stop.

    Leftists hate this, they literally can’t stand the idea. The notion that woman nature might be different than Man nature will make them froth at the mouth, something I never tire of doing to them.

    The other thing Peterson does is point out that what makes Humans more than animals is our capacity to outdo our nature. Despite the huge and fundamental fear we all have of falling, the world is filled with ladders. People use them all the time. People rock climb and jump out of airplanes for that matter.

    Leftist hate that too. It means people can blow off all that propaganda programing just as easy as they learn to climb a ladder.

    The amount of screeching hate directed at the man is a pretty good indication he’s on the right track. ~:D

    1. “The amount of screeching hate directed at the man is a pretty good indication he’s on the right track.”

      That pretty much sums up my feelings about Trump, too. In fact it’s a useful measure all around. I notice that the Left may TALK about Racists and White Supremacists, but they expend the greater part of their energy and bile on people who actually represent a threat to their supremacy. They may prattle about the occasional Grand Dragon. They go bugsh*t about any politician who works against their agenda, no matter how rationally.

      1. I think it is not a perfect metric. Take the Bonnie noise Phantom recently dissected on his blog. If my memory is accurate, I think the unnamed other was Foxfier. Who merely pointed out that some of the indians liked to kill people, and take body parts as trophies. My guess is that Foxfier was a harder target to demonize and take out of context.

        Note that scalping became widespread. Note that this would not have happened without white imitation of the one tribe that had originally practiced it.

        That said, Bonnie makes a particularly weak argument*, and perhaps more confident Stormer journalists of her sort would attack a target that they knew would make them look bad and would undermine their position.

        *1. These days we find it civilized to imprison people who kill and take body part trophies. Some of the indian cultures considered imprisonment a far crueler fate than death. Yes, there were Christians pacifist enough not to forcefully put a stop to such behavior. Supposing that all whites could have been made to subscribe to such interpretations of Christianity is nonsense. Not that I am convinced that Bonnie even thought things through to that stage. 2. I suspect Bonnie considers even merely supporting the decision to drop at Hiroshima and Nagasaki beyond the pale. So what alternatives would she have preferred for the US to implement? Abject surrender? As in preferring that Imperial Japan had won? Even if one only values Japanese lives, Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved Japanese lives compared to a long enough continuation of the war. What of firebombing Dresden? If she would firebomb Dresden, and would not firebomb Tokyo or nuke Hiroshima and Nagasaki, she is a hypocrite. If she would not firebomb Dresden, then by her own rules she is a Nazi supporter.

        1. IIRC, the original attacks were aimed at pohjalainen, and flopped since she’s really hard to demonize.

          I did hop in with support though. Cultural differences are A Thing, after all.

          1. Quoting from Phantom quoting Bonnie:
            were bleating about it being A-Okay to wipe out the Japanese and Indigenous people.

            Sounded to me a lot like one of the later discussions, the one where you related the mustache anecdote.

    2. From a Washington Post story on the Kavanaugh confirmation:

      “On Thursday, a three-foot-lomg cardboard cutout of male genitalia, accompanied by by a profanity, was sent to [Senator] Collins;s Washington office, according to her staff.”

      In the face of such tightly reasoned arguments and persuasively expressed points, how can anybody not capitulate to such folk?

      1. By having more stones than Republican senators do. You have a number who would thumb down just to spite Trump, and an information free accusation by someone who just happens to be a resistance member with decent donation history to Dems is tailor made.

  25. I find it hard to be around people at times, especially in large groups. It’s only been relatively (in the last few years) recently that I can do so. And, it’s only been in the sci-fi and gaming communities that I can really be comfortable doing so (back before the Martian Brain Fungus ate peoples heads). Mundanes (non-fandom people)…don’t get people like me, not really. Trying to explain yourself to them never quite works.

    Whole litany of issues, which has taken a lot of work to get some progress on. And, this has made me lonely as hell…and, the few times that I can see people rubbing up against me in exploration, I’ve emotionally “glomped” them and scared them to running into the hills.

    But, I can very much see that statement of how your “job” can’t be your only source of satisfaction. And, God knows that my current job gives me very little satisfaction at all. Right now, barring a miracle (coming up on the 43rd birthday), I won’t have my own family. And, I can’t find a social grouping that really fills that hole outside of my parents and immediate siblings.

    I think the only thing that keeps me going some days is this stubborn urge that if the Universe wants me dead, it’s going to have to come here and kill me. I’m not going to do the job for it.

    1. “But, I can very much see that statement of how your “job” can’t be your only source of satisfaction. And, God knows that my current job gives me very little satisfaction at all. Right now, barring a miracle (coming up on the 43rd birthday), I won’t have my own family. And, I can’t find a social grouping that really fills that hole outside of my parents and immediate siblings.

      I think the only thing that keeps me going some days is this stubborn urge that if the Universe wants me dead, it’s going to have to come here and kill me. I’m not going to do the job for it.”

      Sounds very familiar.

      Imagine being a political conservative – on some issues, not all by any means – whose favorite activities are otherwise almost exclusively populated by liberals. Imagine having no family of your own, only parents with whom you do get along and siblings and other more distant relatives with whom you often don’t. And imagine being unable to find a job in a supposedly red-hot field because you haven’t got the technical experience that’s in demand, and you can’t keep a job long enough to get that experience due to circumstances beyond your control.

      I don’t have to imagine it.

        1. Yea, I know the feeling. Unless I go full hikkimori around here, I have to remember that the momentary pleasure of slitting idiot throats will be balanced out by the discomfort of a long prison sentence and/or death.

          1. I’m already borderline hikkikomori, and borderline only because I can still make friends RL, as well as be civilized.

            We need a ‘I (insert thing we do), because murder is illegal’ thing. I’d do it, but still recovering from c-section, and the post-surgery problems. Maybe when I get better.

                1. or we buy an action cam, name it shadowdancer, and take it around libertycon, then send you the memory cards… lol

                  1. Either that, or else buy a doll and take it around and take video and pictures of people with Shadow the Doll.

                    We did something similar with Tom Knighton this year, except we brought a little tank, because he identifies as a tank. 🙂

                  2. Buy a large doll, a cheapie smartphone with the ability to stream and you buy minutes, and let her vote on where to send it and let it stream on Facebook or Youtube… 🙂 Especially if she can send messages through it.

                    Would contribute for this. Would double contribute if she got a custom MLP:FiM plushie to use and had a “I was at LibertyCon” book for people to sign.

      1. My particular variation is that is that I like my siblings, and I was a contractor in tech until that economy had it’s huge crash about 1999-2000. All of my contracts dried up…and 95% moved to India. The last 5% required a college degree or serious contacts-which I didn’t have.

        The one job that I had gotten in tech later, I had screwed up because I was an idiot (on several levels, not the least of which was trying to commute from Berkeley to San Jose for a 7am start time).

        And, due to my current job, all of the job offers I got are front-facing customer service positions. My job isn’t a front-facing customer service position. A front-facing customer service position would end with lots of blood, very little of it my own (I’ve heard our customer calls here, Reaching through the phone to strangle some of our customers is a valid option).

        There is reason why I’m writing, besides keeping the urge to go a’Viking on people. Maybe I can get some money and actually have some fun.

      1. I’m a guy, same issue, bit younger, still a bit worried about it. Part of the worry is the belief that I should have my stuff in order before looking. Part of the worry was my degree of self-isolation. Part because my parents had me late in life, and while I know about his-father-was-56 Yamamoto, I know it is rough for a child to have limited access to his father. That’s part of why I mostly feel sympathy for Barron Trump. I’m not so insane in my dislike for Donald that I can’t add up ten year old, seventy year old father, and four to eight years of a demanding and draining job.

        1. You will not have “your stuff in order” until you hit your mid-40s…at the earliest. Not completely. “Reasonably in order” is do-able.

          1. Wouldn’t even say that. With the current trajectory unless you plan on being destitute it’ll be completely different from what you expected. Trying to get prepped for a 25-50% paycut after the country goes hard gulag style socialist

            1. “Trying to get prepped for a 25-50% pay cut”

              AND not subsequently cutting out your obligations because that would be penalizing the poorer than you.

              Been there, done that. Couldn’t quite cut down far enough & we weren’t living month to month like most. The ones that are one lost paycheck from disaster; or to circle back: the ones that are a “25-50% pay cut” from disaster.

              1. The bulk of that pay cut I’m anticipating is taxes going from 40% to 50-60. So obligations only gonna go up. Especially since probably gonna be back in the 2013-2017 holding pattern work wise so no advancement opportunities

      2. *nod*

        One of my classmates had a 35 year gap in age between her mother and her father. I believe they were married, to each other, when she was born as well.

        For our area, that was a really stable, supportive relationship. (trustfund babies,ugh.)

      3. Ah, but as the real estate people say, “Location, location, location.”

        The Dirty Little Secret is that there are Dating Deserts where there are serious disparities between the number of marriagable men and women. For all its glamor, Manhattan is reputed to be a very hard place for a woman to get a date. Likewise, military bases are tough for men…and NAS Patuxent River is infamous for it. The combination of demographics and geography is hard to beat.

      4. “Aeh, guys have a few more years than women to be viable marriage partners.”

        That depends on how you define “viable marriage partners.” If your definition includes “able to have kids,” then I agree. If not, then I don’t. I know a couple who got married when he was around fifty and she only a couple of years younger. It seems quite a successful pairing, from what I’ve seen.

    2. “I think the only thing that keeps me going some days is this stubborn urge that if the Universe wants me dead, it’s going to have to come here and kill me.”

      That seems to be going around. Not the worst attitude to have, really.

    3. I once sent a glass jar of pickled pork brains to a local politician, with a card saying “perhaps you may find these of use, since you obviously have no brains of your own.”

      I did send it with my signature and proper return address, though. That makes it valid political commentary as far as I’m concerned.

        1. i’d like to send a dump truck full to my former senator. but it needs to be from bulls, not horses.

    4. Agreed on the whole, “you want me dead, better come do it yourself.” Definitely keeps you going when nothing else will. And sometimes there isn’t anything else, between damaged social skills, allergies, and relatives who… well. Friendly interaction social stuff just isn’t possible.

      I doubt I ever will have a family. I need too much solitude I can’t get. Online fandom’s what’s kept me stubborn enough to make it this far.

      I write. Because the alternative is not acceptable!

  26. I understood his phrase as “it’s important to get married and have kids”, too. (And I understand why women in particular would start getting upset with that phrase). However, having thought about it a little longer (and I’ve been thinking about it on my own for a while) I agree that Peterson didn’t necessarily mean “get married”, but that if a person is only focused on a career and nothing else (I heard it in one of his videos), then he will not feel happy, either, because his social/personal life is out of balance.

        1. *nod*

          My mom is terrified about that for my dad, ATM.

          I think it may be partly related to the observation that women group up to talk, guys group up to Do Things.

          So once you can’t Do Thing…..

          1. Boredom and feelings of worthlessness after retiring have been suggested as the source of men dying soon after retirement for a long time now (at least since the 70s). It makes sense, but I’d like to see a comparison between physical labor-type jobs and desk jobs on that statistic.

            My dad certainly never had a chance to get bored until his 80s, when his eyesight got too bad to drive. Even then, he had a friend who would pick him up every morning to go to McDonalds and have their morning round table. And he got a magnifier screen and spent his time at home either reading magazines like “The Good Old Days” or doing crossword puzzles. He must have gone through at least a hundred of those crossword books over the years.

        2. Men retire and then die.

          In all fairness, it is difficult to reverse the sequence.

          Although I can name, off the top of my head, several politicians who seem to have managed to do it.

  27. Sadly, we have ample evidence that reading comprehension and listening to what is actually said are in the Lost Art category. The chumps jump to conclusions based on what they imagine was meant, then bring out the torches and pitchforks before processing actual data.

    Typically this process is inflected by their presuming the speaker (writer) is representative of an identity which is identified as Friend or Foe, with the statements filtered accordingly. Assuming Peterson is a defender of Traditional Values™ they automatically become incapable of processing his statements as other than attacks/criticisms of themselves.

    We see similar mal-processing with discussions of the sources of sadness in puppies, the wild distortions undertaken by certain STD-identified commentators and Vile websites of dubious provenance. There is something in the web that promotes bizarre anti-troll behaviour, making people cruise sites looking for something over which to be outraged and then bounce up and down screaming “ook-ook” and pointing at the offender.

    1. Yeah, the next libertarian a$$hole who spouts “build your own (Twitter / Facebook / whatever)” at me is going to be sporting a new tattoo.

      Most techies haven’t realized what the whole “your only buying a license” can mean.

      1. Its not just Linux having this problem, I’ve been told. Microsoft’s and Apple’s got similar problems, probably in their respective opensource initiatives.

        Being made to be unable to reject nor criticize bad, or unworking code? Because feels?

        I seriously wonder what made Torvalds finally – after years of ignoring death threats to him and family – capitulate. I do not like what I am coming up with and refuse to state these ideas online.

          1. Nope. Doesn’t sound like the man who tells Nvidia to get fucked. Torvalds didn’t just put in a code of conduct and aplogize for ‘his past behaviour’; and everyone agrees, there is something forcing him to do so – he put in a code of conduct that guarantees the death of his life’s work – rather sets the controls and bridge on fire in such a way that you’re forced to separate the saucer from the ship so the engine room and weapons escape harm. You don’t do that from just being ‘tired of it all.’

            I hear the kernel’s been forked , and the most viable seeming group is ideologically the other way extreme.

  28. I think that a surprisingly large number of people get so invested in a mindset about some subject or other, and sometimes several, that may or may not be related to each other, that they view anything said in light of those subjects. This leads to unwarranted interpretations of things when they aren’t really intended to address the subject the person has a large part of their worldview invested in, and especially when the thing they are reacting to runs close to their focus, but is not quite the same.

    We even see this in the comments here, occasionally, when someone with particularly strong views runs into something that addresses a subject parallel to one of their focuses, and we see comments from them that come as a shock, because ti’s clear to other people that the original statement wasn’t meant in the form they interpreted it as, at all.

    1. And the sister-problem, where they’re so invested in a mindset about a subject that they can’t see how anything COULD relate to it, it’s a self-contained whole.

      (IE, declare there are 5 lights when there’s two on that side and two on this side, but that 2+2=4, and see no relation between them.)

      One is usually “Uh, what?” at the start and makes sense later, the other is “yeah, yeah, wait what?”

  29. Home with kids can be extremely isolating, though. Getting out into the job force can be a way to see and interact with people and remain sane. If you have local family and connections that might not be so bad, but we don’t live in villages with everyone living in everyone else’s pockets. Often we don’t even know the names of our neighbors or ever see them. Ever.

    Relocating for jobs is also extremely isolating. And even if you join a church or something you’re starting without connections (which are horrible for introverts to have to rebuild) and every one there already has their social group set up and, well, full.

    But work isn’t enough either.

    (I am a bit surprised that people didn’t assume that Peterson was talking to men. I assumed that he was talking to men.)

    1. *wry grin* This is why I got to play-test when I can Handle It and when I need flesh-type support. We’ve never been in one house more than two years, now, and states away from someone who can really help….

      Homeschool groups are nice for basic interaction if you are home. If not, a library/museum group. Hobby type stuff you drag the kids to.

      1. Maybe if we’d had the kids in school I’d have had interaction with the school. Homeschool groups can be very good.

        We moved a lot.

        I’d be so strung out and isolated that I wouldn’t dare to even talk about anything interesting to me for fear that the little contact I had would be lost if they thought I was weird. So connection was always very superficial and about children. 😦

      2. That’s what all the Mom’s with Tots groups are about. I suggest that anyone who goes lets all their weird hang out because that’s how you’d find that one other person who might actually be a real friend that you can just *talk* to. But when you’re lonely and *needy* that’s a terrifying thing to do and I never did it.

    2. I am a bit surprised that people didn’t assume that Peterson was talking to men. I assumed that he was talking to men.

      Only women have children.

      Yes, it’s accurate from a strictly biologically-give-birth-to thing, but I’ve run into that mindset a lot on the more sexually crazy areas of the net.

      If you mention having kids, you are obviously speaking to women.

      These are the same folks who will talk about guys “babysitting” their own kids, like they’re not an actual parent.

      1. These are the same folks who will talk about guys “babysitting” their own kids, like they’re not an actual parent.

        The lefties I hang out with do at least have the virtue of hating that turn of phrase, even if they cast it in their own “the patriarchy assumes this is women’s work” terms.

          1. Heck, the phrase itself is fine– it’s the meaning they pack into it, roughly that the father watching the kids is as much of a favor to the mother as a neighbor watching the kids would be.

            I only started looking for what on earth was going on when I saw some folks fly off the handle when a guy was described as “babysitting” the kids. (One of them WAS the guy involved– sensitive to the “they’re not yours” implication.)

          2. Yeah, that’s fair, it is — as Foxfier covered — the implication that they aren’t intrinsically involved with the kid that’s the real problem.

      2. Note that my husband and I will talk about him “babysitting” the kids, but it’s a running joke exactly because I do watch the kids most of the time and have almost everything set up so it makes sense to ME, which is occasionally a three-quarter turn off of the center.

        1. Just as always a Man can’t do it Right because he doesn’t do it like the woman. So she complains and often redoes it herself. And she wonders WHY he doesn’t want to do things.
          Just a rant, not aimed at you.

          1. *laughs*
            Oh, no worries, I’ve seen that from both sides.

            There’s a psychologist on Catholic Radio, does a show called “the doctor is in,” and he has a promo that goes something like “when someone does something wrong– are they actually doing it wrong, or not how you’d do it? Think about that!”


            Sadly, I’m also very familiar with folks who will demand someone tell them what to do to help, then do something only very slightly related to what they were asked to do, then throw a huge fit because they weren’t profusely thanked for doing what they wanted to do instead of what they were ASKED to do.

            I seem to attract those folks. Wish I could remember the Japanese word for something like “that thing where you’re required to be obligated to someone who did you a favor you didn’t want done in a way you wouldn’t want done but now you’ve got to thank them for the thing you didn’t want in the first place.”

            My mom is doing count-up of the damage from folks who came to “help” them move and do a yard sale…first among the casualties is all of her professional books, which she had put in a box to one side, labeled “KEEP, NOT FOR SALE” and which she found out had been hauled out and sold because the sweet young couple next door raved about all the cool stuff in one of them. It was a $120 textbook, sold for $2. To “help” her.
            (…thanks to Amazon, I found her a replacement. I remember that book. IT’s awesome.)

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