So What?


Sorry to be late.  I had doctors appointments.  One of them was a test with the audiologist and despite the fact I can’t use the cell or the headphones on the left side (because it’s like someone is whispering) I was told I have normal hearing on both ears.  I don’t actually, having been diagnosed with mid range loss in my twenties, so I’m sure something is weird (again.)  But never mind. I’m not even going to speculate.

Which brings us to other things I don’t want to speculate about:

Why are some people desperately interested in other people’s business?  No, seriously.  Of course, we have a whole party of them.  In the sixties and seventies, the left loved saying that they didn’t care what you did and weren’t moralist prudes, but really,that only applies to sex and MAYBE drugs anymore.  Maybe drugs, because, honest to heaven, there’s more and more things they think you shouldn’t take, and they’re on the vanguard of the “make everything prescription” wave.

In neighborhoods…  Well, for reasons known only to the psychiatrist he doesn’t have my husband reads NextDoor obsessively.  I signed up and then never checked it again.  If there’s, you know, a killer flu in this expected-to-be-colder winter, I’ll want to check who needs help or whatever, but other than that, it would only encourage me to put a foot through the monitor.

So I get the crazy second hand.

In our particular street where there are maybe six kids, only audible in summer when they play outside, and even then not much, because being middle class kids in the US they’re booked solid every spare moment, someone complained about “children shouting.”

Our next door neighbor has a very large, elderly dog who likes going walkabout.  Unless I’m refinishing and afraid he’ll get hurt, I let him come and visit.  In the reports this has morphed into “vicious dogs roaming the neighborhood unimpaired.”

Then there is the crazy even we can’t escape.  Before one of his medschool exams, older son went out for a walk around the neighborhood.  Now, older son is like a mini Larry C.  Not as tall but proportionately built like Larry. He also has very dark hair and a (generally trimmed) beard.  He wears button down shirts, nice slacks, and if I remember properly at the time it was blustery, so a nice wool overcoat. His normal untanned skin tone is somewhere between mine and Dan’s.  He tans darker than I used to be able to, but he’d been spending months indoors, studying.

So…  as he came back from his walk, Dan was outside raking leaves.  Robert and he exchanged a few words, and in Robert went through the garage.

Not two minutes after, this woman slightly but not markedly older than us comes to Dan with the air of super detective dog, and tells Dan that a large, swarthy male, probably Latin, just got into our house. When Dan failed to be alarmed, she started piling it now.  Now our son was a large, swarthy male who had been walking the neighborhood and trying the handles of parked cars.  This is even crazier, since a) yeah, no, I can’t see Robert trying the handles of cars for any reason.  b) there are NO parked cars in our neighborhood during the day.  I’ve noticed this because the only one out during the day, normally, is my terminally unsightly 20 yo truck, and I’m surprised no one has complained of it yet.  There’s no rule against it, but most people on the street are childless, so the cars are either in the garage, or out at work.

This woman just kept trying to panic Dan even though Dan told her several times that the suspicious male was our son.  (Yes, for the next several weeks his name in the household was “Large Swarthy Male.”  When it wasn’t “Car thief.” What else?)

When told, Robert said he thought there was a woman following him, but he told himself, nah, she’s only out for exercise.

The problem with this kind of crazy is that it leads to “there ought to be a law” to correct the “packs of vicious dogs” (I’m sure there’s a law, but the old pup is a sweety, and we just ignore his jaunts.) Or the children shouting.  Or large, swarthy males ambling around to clear their heads for medschool exams.

It also leads to its opposite.  If my son were a — snort — delicate flower, there might be laws against racist assumptions.  There are de-facto regulations against it in fact. The most poisonous part of motor voter, in which you register people to vote without asking for proof of citizenship is just part of this.  You can’t ask people — even people like me with an accent you can cut with a saw — for proof of citizenship, because it offends them.  In other words, it hurts their feelings.

Look, guys, I EXPECT to be asked for proof of citizenship.  Yes, I do get almighty tired of being asked where I’m from, and if I’m feeling testy, I’ll tell you I’m from Denver, or from our particular suburb, or from Colorado, or if I’m really testy, from North Carolina (I was naturalized there, after all.  So in a way I started existing there.) OTOH my accent is like having a big red growth on my cheek.  People are going to ask how I came by that.  Meh.  It doesn’t hurt my feelings.  I just get tired of it, and frankly might not be in a mood to engage with human beings face to face that day.  (Maybe the day ends in y.)

However my franchise is a good I don’t want diluted by people voting who don’t have a right to.  As such, I’ll endure the questions, because I can answer them and have proof, and don’t want non-citizens voting.

So, proportion.

And we weren’t so much offended by this crazy woman thinking son was a car thief, as somewhat alarmed at her (lack of) mental health and her inability to process “he is my son” (granted Dan is shorter than son and a very different build, but then…)

Next door neighbor isn’t upset either when we call to say “Can you keep Joe inside?  I’m refinishing and there’s stuff drying in the garage with the door open.”  He just goes “Oh, that d*mn dog is roaming again?”

I am aware that we’ll never get rid of every busybody and every delicate flower.  They’re human.  Hell, sometimes even those of us very opposed to crazy legislation, say “there ought to be a law.”  For instance I… No, wait, I can’t remember any instances, certainly not recently.  But hey. I probably could, at least for five minutes.

But there is absolutely no reason to give them power.  Either legislative, executive or judicial power.  Or even power over our neighborhoods, our businesses, or you know, our pets, our sons, or our streets.

For too long we’ve run on “If someone squawks loud enough we’ll do that.”

It’s time to stop it.  The wheel isn’t even squeaky.  It’s just making noise to get attention.

It’s time to weaponize “So what?”

“I don’t like your car/dog/kid/business/idea/book/etc.”  The answer to that, the civilized and decent answer should be “so what?”

“You culturally appropriated your book/music/dress/food”  “So what?”

Unless I’m materially harming someone, if they squawk the answer should be so what.

We’re getting “good mannered” into tyranny.

Would-be totalitarians piggy-back on both busybodies and delicate flowers and if we let them will control every aspect of our lives.  (See, France, our leader in this.) Our main defense, perhaps our only one is “So what?”

As we tell the trolls who come here to chide me for bad thought, or those who try to get me to stop saying/doing/thinking whatever I’m doing by following me obsessively and complaining about everything: don’t like it, don’t read it.  Or as mom used to say “don’t like it? Put it on the side of your plate.” It’s not like I’m going into the houses of my lefty colleagues and forcing them to read me at gun point.  Even if I COULD, I wouldn’t because I don’t care that much about what they do/read/whatever.

Sure, sometimes a particular piece of crazy falls under my eyes and I bitch/make fun of it.  But I don’t follow them around obsessively, and certainly don’t read them extensively just to be outraged.  And I never said they don’t have the right to be stupid-and-crazy say whatever they want and think whatever they want.

I mean, how could I prevent it anyway? They don’t make anti-psychotics that strong. And Marxism is a defect in thinking and character that no medicine can cure.

I just wish they extended our side the same courtesy and — except for occasional fits — they left us alone because life is too short and there’s better things to do.  (Maybe they’re intending on living forever?)

I propose peace through ignoring.  Except for not letting them get their hands on the power to force them, rolls your eyes and go on.  And if they won’t do the same, roll your eyes, point and quack.  Eventually they’ll learn to behave like human beings, at least most of the time.

Don’t like it? So what? Go and do/read/be what you like.  This is — still — mostly — a free country.  And we aim to keep it that way.



201 thoughts on “So What?

  1. I’ve more than once looked at someone whinging to me about something and said to them. … “And?”

    Just “And?”

      1. I strongly disagree about the bathroom. Use the one that fits your equipment. If you are female I don’t want you in the bathroom that I am using, especially with your daughter, because of believe all women. It makes you a danger to me.

        1. I just think that places need to go to individual bathrooms, or at least bathrooms with solid walls and doors on their stalls and everyone get over it. Men, women, and others can certainly share the sinks without issues, and if the stalls themselves are solid and lockable there shouldn’t be a problem there either.

          Frankly, such a setup would have solved a WHOLE lot of problems for me as a single Dad with two young daughters. There have been times when I’ve had to stand outside the ladies room, waiting for a reasonable looking woman to come along (or going to find a female store employee) to beg them to go in and see if my daughters were OK, since they had been in there too long and they hadn’t come out yet. Talk about getting some strange looks!

          1. Yup.

            And there were definitely times that I sent my son into the men’s room when I thought he was too young to go alone, but still a little bit too old to be made to go in the ladies room with me.

            1. At three Robert had to go into men’s rooms. Because people thought he was six and women complained. Now think about it, at that age they’re young enough to try to wash their hands (or worse) in the urinal.
              So, we just didn’t go many places without daddy. And I stood outside men’s rooms and shouted instructions very often.

            2. If people start pushing for gender-neutral bathrooms for the convenience of families with children, will the childfree types get the left to drop it like a hot potato?

              1. That wouldn’t be enough. Most of the lawsuits that drove this were in places where there was a single occupant bathroom or similar. But it left a stigma and couldn’t count.

              2. I’ve seen some ghastly stuff from child-free but less actual effect. May change, of course, but as it stands now, no.

          2. Yes. That is what my BIL reported. He has 4 daughters. By the time the youngest was old enough to go into public rest room without him, the oldest daughter was old enough to supervise safely. With 4 together, there’d be hell to pay (trust me the entire facility would be aware something was amiss) so BIL charging in upon a ruckus wouldn’t been out of place. Trust me, anyone not involved (or even someone involved) would be bailing faster than butter melts in a preheated pan.

            Not as intense. But ran into the same with my son (before family friendly options). But standing outside the door shouting “5 minutes & I’m coming in” had guys coming out the door reporting progress. “He’s washing his hands, should be out in a minute.” 😉

            1. I’m a big dude. Pretty sure me standing outside the ladies room yelling… Well… Anything would likely get me tossed out at best, arrested at worst. Wait, who am I kidding? I live in the gunshine state. Make that shot at worst!

              1. BIL is not that big. Yet he didn’t stand outside the ladies room & yell anything. Mom’s get away with it.

      2. I thought “fuck off, pussy” was Michael Z. Williamson’s schtick.

        Not that Kratman is particularly gentle to those who trigger his “you’re so stupid you need regular reminders to breathe” response, granted…

    1. There was a story about a former French President, François Mitterand. Some journalist confronted him on camera with the (true) accusation that he had a mistress. His response was, “Et alors?” Which translates literally to, “And, so?” Or, in more idiomatic English, to “So what?”

      The French may be very nanny-statish about many things, but they are serious about the idea that what goes on in the bedroom is nobody else’s business.

    2. There are a large number of good Anglo-Saxon words appropriate for such occasions.

      If someone is trying to use my politeness against me, I’m inclined to be rude, scatological, and profane in response.

  2. 6 million years of evolution has shown that cultural appropriation of the best parts of a culture are pro-survival behaviors. Which goes to show that everyone complaining about cultural appropriation are anti-human and a threat to the survival of our species. Treat them accordingly.

      1. Yes. Whether it is “Donate your money” or “Jump off the rim of the G.rand Canyon” or (okay shorter) “Drop Dead”. They get prissy/pissy when you respond with “You First.”

  3. What author had a planet where the common greeting was NOYB (ie None of Your Business)? 😈

    1. MYOB Mind Your Own Business; from THE GREAT EXPLOSION. I don’t recall the planet having any name other than K22g. The people call themselves Gands, after Gandhi.

  4. “So what?” Is good.

    So is, “And why, exactly, is that any of your beeswax?”

    These are the people who lectured us on being ‘judgemental’.


    Also needed, “Why is that any of MY beeswax?”, applied to the multiplyng gender crowd. I mean, if you’re hitting on me, I’m flattered. Also a little appalled (overweight, shaved head, bad teeth, scant muscles). But if you AREN’T, why is it my business to know what exotic gender you imagine you have? Dress like a sane person, use whatever bathroom you want, leave others to their own business, and nobody will care.

    And, of course, that’s the key. The people making the fuss cannot STAND that they aren’t the center of attention. Bruce Jenner had a sex change because he was a goddamned Olympic decathelon champion, and nobody had paid him any attention in decades. Or not the amount of attention he felt he deserved.

    1. It’s gone from being “Don’t be judgmental!” to “I am the only one who gets to judge.” The rest of us are expected to shut it and toe the line.

      1. Oh, if you trace back the history of the Progressives from, say, Woodrow Wilson, you quickly find that it has ALWAYS been “I am the only one who gets to judge”

      2. It’s a common finding. So much comes to selfishness of people and greed. It’s evil for me to not want hslf my income stolen by the fascists but not for them to shove their hands in my pocket for their own benefits.

    2. Why am I so judgmental?

      I’m judgmental because those complaining about it have zero standards, having abdicated any responsibility to judge anything. So of course I’m going to appear infinitely judgmental in comparison. No standards, no sense of right or wrong, no sense of good or bad, other than whether something feels good or not. Which is about the level of an infant who decides whether something is good or not based solely on whether they are hungry, thirsty, wet, uncomfortable, or lonely. Teens and tweens are too big to change their diapers, and they’re big enough to get their own milk bottle.

      1. Yep, yes and oh so agree! I judge because I discriminate, especially when deciding things like ‘do I take the well lit road, or the dark alleyway/empty park route to the bus stop?’ or “Do I want to watch a TV show episode, or a movie?’ And so on and so forth. It is to the detriment of Western society that we have allowed the words ‘judge’, ‘discriminate’ etc to be accepted as a ‘bad thing.’

        It should behoove us to note once more that the people complaining of our being judgemental and discriminatory are the ones who wish us harm in some form an manner, and are complaining that we are not simply quietly lying down and allowing them to do as they wish.

        1. This is exactly why I would like the see the word “vulgar” return to common usage.

          Why don’t I want public money spent on the exhibition of Andres Serrano’s PISS CHRIST? Not because it is blasphemous (I’m agnostic. Why would I care?), but because it is vulgar. It is a vulgar little in-joke, inviting the ‘woke’ to titter over the offended sensibilities of Christians. Ans since it is by the Woke, for the Woke, let the Woke pay for the perishing thing.

          I feel much the same about most non-representational Art. “But, the True Artist is seeking only to satisfy himself!” we are told. Well, then, let him masturbate and not involve US.

          Why don’t I like Rap? Well, some doesn’t bother me. The rest? It’s divided into the mildly vulgar and the ostentatiously vulgar. And I recognize that Youth always latches on to ‘music’ that annoys the older, and that’s fine. But, that being the case, isn’t my disliking it much of the point?

          1. Well, thank God the folks here who write books are doing it to entertain others; and not engaging in literary masturbation. Hmmm. Could that be a euphemism for trolling?

    3. These are the people who lectured us on being ‘judgemental’.
      It’s never been about being nonjudgmental. It’s ALWAYS been about power. cspschofield nails it.

      Dress like a sane person
      And if you don’t want to do so, understand that you’re signaling to the rest of the herd that you should be avoided.

  5. There’s a lot to be said for just replying, “And …?” to unhinged complaints and demands.
    Darn it, I’d like to goose my book sales by becoming the focus of a crazed Twitter mob, but my daughter absolutely forbids this.
    *kicks the ground, defiantly.*
    Oh – and since Dorothy and Foxfier so liked my mentioning of the Magnificent Catio – I put a couple of pictures of it up here on my author blog, when it was completed this spring.

    1. Come up with a new nom de plume. Wear a pink wig with a Groucho Marx glasses, nose and mustache to all book signings. And sign using your left hand only. Don’t know if they would give you enough anonymity for your personal life though.

      1. Tell them you’ll make a scene if you want to, but that you PROMISE to not go all Trigglypuff in making it. Unless, of course, you’re having THAT MUCH FUN doing it. Ask them to join in, and be a gleesome threesome.

    2. *looks at Magnificent Catio. Considers size of Dorothy’s cats* I think they’ll need to start with some steel I-beams…

      1. And if anyone accuses me of a deliberate malapropism because I enjoy wordplay, I’ll have one response:

        “Guilty as charged.” 😀

  6. There have always been busy-bodies and do-gooders, people who think they know better. As in the case of the woman who followed Robert home, some are pathetic ding-bats who when told what they perceive is entirely off the mark will escalate the charges trying to gain assent. There is something that is at once annoying and at the same time pathetic about these poor souls.

    We are dealing with issues from our own for-the-good-of-the-public-others must-conform-to-our-view-of-how-life-is-to-be-lived neighbors at the moment I have less patience than I usually do for such people. I hope yours decides to give up and leave you alone — sooner rather than later.

    1. Dad, & his mother, & grandmother, grew up in a town, where kids went everywhere, & behaved. Because someone WAS going to tell mom & dad, or grandma & grandpa.

      We just had worry about the local neighborhood. Although we got tattled on, if we strayed outside of the neighborhood. I’m 62. Dad would be 84. His mom would be over 100, if she was still alive … busybody concept isn’t new. Even if normal focus was kid safety.

      Both my sister’s & my wedding receptions, were at the folks home. Both times the cops were called. “Because one of the neighbors called about all the cars …” Folks response was “That’s strange, all the neighbors are here …” There is always someone willing to be “holy-than-tho-butt-in-skey”.

      1. There is always someone willing to be “holy-than-tho-butt-in-skey”.

        I know this to be true, but have managed to get through most of my life with a minimum of such directly effecting me. I liked it that way.

  7. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.” — C. S. Lewis

      1. And then of course there is the Metallica cover of the Anti-Nowhere League Song “So What”, which is quite different.

      2. Red face? In spite of his smoking Miles Davis seems to be quite laid back and in very good breath control. I see no cause for a red face. ( 😉 )

  8. I do occasionally say “There oughtta be a law”. An example, “There oughtta be a law requiring law enforcement and other civilian government agencies to only use the firearms, magazines, and accessories allowed to the citizens of that jurisdiction.”

    1. Instead, we now have law that says “ignorance is no excuse” for you, and “the police can’t be expected to know the law” for them.

      Wait, what?

    2. If I correctly recall in one municipality of California, L.A. I believe, where such a law that would mean that local law enforcement might get an upgrade. Does anyone else recall the stand-off where the police finally resorted to visiting an gun store in order to obtain better weapons?

    3. I have said quite recently (after the third motorcycle casualty to deer in two months) we need a law fixing deer hunting.

      The bucks vanish during buck only hunting season, you see, so what we need is very low level general hunt seasons year around. Maybe, say, two per week total hunt limit. Deer are dumb about cars but smart about hunters.

      Or change the 45 mph speed limit to 20 mph. Or build a deer proof fence along the road. For ten miles.

      You can see why I think hunting differently is easier and more convenient.

      1. The number of bucks is really kind of irrelevant. One buck can impregnate many does. They just need to reduce the total number, which will primarily be does, which will reduce the number of new deer.

        1. Fish and Game manages our valley as a breeding grounds: limited buck only hunt.

          Roughly one per day dies by vehicle collision. We have very well-fed scavengers-including us humans who use salvage permits.

          Well, people survive deer/car crashes. It’s a fair bit harder on motorcyclists. All so there will be more deer in other districts, they’ve turned a fairly major creek parallelling road into a mess. We have collision insurance on even our over twenty years old vehicles, because the probability of hitting a deer turns out to be about 100% over a three year period.

          1. Worked for Forest Service, pre sale setup department in mid-’70’s (you know when that was still a thing that got done). Every fall the deer drove the local hunters in the crew nuts. They’d go hunting on the weekend. Come the week, we’d see deer all over among us while we worked the units. Not close enough to touch, but walking in around the crew grazing. No, other than cars, deer are not stupid.

            I only worked the one fall hunting season, but I sure got an earful of stories. I hunted too that fall, just not that area. Our family traditional area was the old homesteads further north.

      2. It’s no coincidence that the day hunting season opens, the number of “town deer” in my (very very tiny) town mysteriously triples. And they are all bucks. Who then camp out most of the winter. (Which makes for some nice up close viewing of some lovely big boys, but which also drives our dogs INSANE because “there are brown monsters in the yard!”)

        Deer may not be terribly bright, but even they have figured out the “won’t get shot at within town limits” thing.

      3. There are so many deer in central Texas that in a dry year the adults are the size of small dogs.

  9. Every so often, a student (or administrator) comes to me with a litany of woes and my desire is to fold my arms, listen carefully, and then say, “And why is this my problem?”

    Likewise the latest breathless non-crisis in the media or on blogs. Someone looked sideways at a possible trans-person! #Me2 isn’t shattering glass ceilings! No brown cows have yet jumped over the moon! “Why is this my problem?”
    “But, but Trump said something mean on Twitter.”
    “But, but, mean words! Hurt feelings!”
    “Are we going to war with [country] because of it?”

              1. Of course, the Hostess of this place is a Female Dragon so anybody who caught her deserves what they’d get from her. 😈

                1. …I considered replying with the obvious fact that Dan caught her, a long time ago. But I shall be wiser than to ask if he got what he deserved. YOU can ask that!

                2. Flaming poles?

                  “I shall smite thee with my staff of charcoal!”

                  “That’ll leave a mark. It’ll wash off, though.”

  10. “(See, France, our leader in this.)”

    Making the mocking of accents unlawful? Well ah declare, y’all are crazier than a coon hound in the cabbage patch. Bless your hearts. (I’m from the South – of Minnesota . . .)

    And I occasionally say there oughta be a law, always followed by gales of derisive laughter.

    And the planet of MYOB was, IIRC, envisioned by F. Paul Wilson. ‘Course, in this morning’s pre-caffeine brain fart I forgot that O’Connor was no longer on the SCOTUS . . .

    1. Goes a ways to support the theory that France isn’t so much a country as a loony bin with borders.

      1. Given that the people living in France didn’t all speak French until the 20th Century, and some still haven’t forgiven Paris for the Albigensian Crusade eight hundred years ago…

    2. No, the MYOB planet was Eric Russell’s baby before Wilson was published (possibly before he was born).

    3. F. Paul Wilson certainly used the MYOB concept (and with it his own development, KYFHO. Which means Keep Your Fucking Hands Off), but Russell’s work predates it.

  11. I finally started started asking people who said I needed to learn how to get along with someone- “Why don’t they have to learn to get along with me?” They’ve never had an answer…

    1. I did that with a teacher who was very upset with me (I had punched someone in the face for laying hands on me to try get my attention; her particular homeroom class had decided that they were going to pick on me verbally, and then physically if the former didn’t work…) because I refused to ‘get along’ with them. The conversation sort of went like this:

      “I have observed that there would be no shared interests, which is why we don’t get along. I don’t like their music, taste in clothes or past-times, which is why they bully me and I ignore them until they decide to touch me.”

      “Maybe if you learned to be more interested in the things they like they’ll stop bullying you.”

      “Why am I supposed to do that? Why can’t THEY get more interested in the things I like to do, in order to get along with me? Like reading, or the music I like? Maybe then they could join me and my small group of friends in discussing the potential ways we could implement proper genetic manipulation.” (That was the big science homework of the time, and wasn’t easy to research then. Being the resident nerds, we were actually very interested and fascinated by the info we could get.)

      “But that’s boring!” (I don’t think she -a social studies teacher- meant to blurt that out. I saw my homeroom teacher – English-, who was hovering nearby, facepalm then turn away to hide her laughter)

      “Then that’s a problem, if they don’t find such things at least interesting. How are they going to get along with me then? Wouldn’t it be better if they ignored me, and I ignore them?”

      I never did get any good explanation why it was so important for her damn class to ‘get along’ with, or why I HAD to join their social circles, but they weren’t expected to reciprocate. They were in third year, and I was in second. Leaving me alone was apparently not a social option, and never entered their tiny little brains…

      1. Ah, the Happiness types. The pissants who come up to you while you are quietly reading on a park bench and try to cheer you up.

        “Don’t you know it takes more muscles to frown than to smile?!”

        It doesn’t, BTW. Other way ‘round, in fact.

        That’s when I give them my best Wolf’s smile and say “Some people are worth the effort.”

        Everybody must PRETEND to like everybody else, or else.


        1. My mouth naturally turns downward. I look perpetually annoyed, and if I’m concentrating, I look positively pissed. Explaining this is my normal mode of dealing with such, but if they were to persist, I would probably tell them that their attitude was giving me a workout, then.

            1. “Bitch” sounds awkward for a man. But there aren’t any options that I consider good for replacements, either. “Asshole” would be appropriate, perhaps, so RAF?

        2. I have a severe case of resting bitch face. And thus spent many years with a particular anxious roommate asking me if I was okay. “Yes, why?” “Well…you look upset.” “No, I’m just reading.”

          This was before I’d heard the term RBF. Wish I’d known it…

      2. Why does everybody need to be everybody else’s pal? I don’t need to have the majority dictate what I should or should not like or what I do on my own with my time. As to the ones who don’t share my interests, I’m perfectly happy to leave them alone, they don’t have to join me. I’d be perfectly happy if they left me alone.

        Years ago when The Daughter was in elementary school the school counselor suggested that it would be easier if The Daughter would be influenced by those around her. I replied that it might be so in some ways, but someday, when the others are experimenting with drink, drugs and sex, won’t it be a relief to know she is not so subject to peer pressure?

      3. Being the odd, I had many many years of daily being picked on, with ever report card saying “does not get along with others”. If the teacher got too creative with it, I got a beating for getting a “bad report”.

        I feel your pain on this one. 🙂

        1. My parents were both Odds; I’m personally a little hard pressed to figure out which of the two was more colorful in their youth.

          …My Dad wins I think, if the stories his Dad was relating to my mother, then the girlfriend, were true.

          Nevertheless, I like to remind my mother teasingly that their offspring were pretty well behaved compared to them.

      4. This is so funny!
        I was loosely associated with the Rocket Club, i.e. nerds.
        Enough of us (many children of geologists and petroleum engineers) that we weren’t bullied, just ignored by the ‘popular’ crowd.
        There was a social studies in elementary school, but high school was world history, American history, government, and history of philosophy.
        But it was amazing to see my children’s teachers were ignorant and dull. And imposed moronic standards like your teachers.

        1. Being ignored by the popular crowd would have been awesome. In defense of my high school teachers, most of them were alright – it was just a handful of idiots that gave me rather disproportionate trouble. On reflection, it was proportionate to how small they were as people – not size, but in terms of ‘unimportant, small person with ego the size of a central-galactic black hole.’ These idiots were why at some points, my life in school were episodes of high school dramas. One of them – an English teacher (not the previous one I mentioned, who was my advisor at the time) – had the stupidity of escalating something about my supposed ‘unacceptable behavior in school’ – she made it into such a big deal that the letter sent home very strongly demanded that both my parents attend – and she basically worked herself up into a high dudgeon about whatever it was I was being accused of, without answering the question, when asked by other teachers what act of murder I must have gotten away with.

          So my parents arrive, Dad being called away from his job to attend- which was, at the time, head of the ASEAN department of the Department of Foreign Affairs, interacting with the Ambassadors and embassies of ASEAN nations guesting in the Philippines – and they come into the library to talk about my offenses – the school was rather small, so parent-teacher conferences were done in the library, which was hardly used by the students… except by us Nerd Brigade. Which we were at the time, reading and doing homework. We noticed that there were a few teachers ‘idly loitering’ outside the library, and the windows at the hall were all open, letting all the teachers in the teacher’s office listen in.

          Dad asks what this is all about, after the teacher introduces herself and talks about her relation to me, and what her job is. The English teacher, intimidated by his command of English (I wish I were joking) summoned up all her (paltry) skills in the language and said that I had been swearing at someone. (Swearing was, technically, something I could be reprimanded for, given school rules, but it didn’t require a parent-teacher meeting, it could have been a note to let my parents know.)

          You could see my Dad’s face – This is what I drove two hours in traffic for? and he politely asked, in that ‘polite but I am going to rip you apart’ way angry people do, what horrible curse word I’d used was.

          Idiot teacher drew herself up and said that I had called someone… stupid. She’d heard me! There were witnesses, who repeated to her that I’d really done so!

          One of the guy members of our Nerd Brigade actually hit his head on the table in the silence that followed. And at this point, the rest of the faculty was all on the side of the office nearest the library doors, and the librarian was staring at the idiot in disbelief. The principal, whose office was on the other side of the school, had come to the faculty office as well, having heard that my father was here and was going to offer his greetings.

          Dad then said “Ah. I see. But you see, that’s not a swearword, but an adjective, which I am sure that you, as an English teacher, would know. ‘Stupid’ describes the state of intellect – the lack thereof – of whoever my daughter was talking about. ‘Stupid’ describes someone who doesn’t realize this. I believe she is accurate in her description, and was understating it.”

          A long pause. Then, “So, you’re not going to punish her for what she said?”

          I don’t remember what my Dad said in response because I was too busy trying to stifle howls of laughter, the guy who’d hit his head was keeping his face down and was repeating ‘Oh my God’ over and over softly very very fast, and my best friend was making strangling noises. When I looked up again though, my parents had left the room, the teacher looked gutted, and the corridor was suspiciously empty of teachers. One of the older teachers came in and informed the idiot that under no circumstances was my father to be contacted regarding any ‘disciplinary problems’ the idiot had with regards to me. Ever. Again.

          I do remember Dad taking me out to my favorite restaurant, and having a long, sympathetic chat about having to deal with people intimidated by my personality, and then getting flabbergasted by the fact that said English teacher had clearly lied on her resume and interview, faked knowing English enough to get hired, and didn’t actually know the language. Her beef with me was that my friends and I clearly outclassed her knowledge. She could teach… but very basic English. Not the English expected at first year high school.

          She tried to get back at us by putting all of us in English remedial classes. Which the principal told her to take us out of when he found out. Vehemently. In a shouted dressing down that we could all hear across the courtyard.

          We had to put up with her presence though, because it was rather late in the year that she let her resentments and pettiness boil over, and she was gone before the year-end Christmas parties happened.

          One of the math teachers – my advisor at the time – gave me and a friend a day pass to skip school once so we could go to a business conference regarding how to set up (then fledgling) Internet provider companies. He’d overheard us talking about the conference and we were discussing how expensive it could be to set up a company, and told us to go because it was more of an educational experience than we could gain by staying in school that day.

          (And yes, we did find out, it was much, much more than we could hope to pull together. Friend had thought it might just take a million or two. 10 or 20 was closer, back then.)

          It is really distressing to me to see how low the standards are these days, and I really should take a heavier hand to my kids’ education soon. Happily, the son likes to read and apparently has gained some interest in astronomy.

    2. Oh. I like that.

      Of course my father was old school, and probably would have whacked be a good one for being a smart mouth.

      1. You know, I’ve never really *got* the insult “smart mouth”.

        Oh yes I know what it means, and would be upset at a “smart mouth” response as well jabber jabber jabber. And yet…..

        First of all on a pedantic level *smart* mouth. Why is that bad?

        Less pedantically; what is a “smart mouth” but a quick wit when applied to saying something you don’t like? All throughout history a sharp and quick wit has been praised and admired, unless it is a child inconveniencing an adult. Does that seem right to you?

        The fact that such accusations are habitually leveled when the child is rightly pointing some sort of hypocrisy, or lying, or other failing in the adults around them just throws it into stark relief.

        1. Generally, when the mouth is being smart, the brain isn’t.

          IE, it sounds clever, but applying any kind of sense would make you not do it.

          See also, thinking below your belt.

  12. I confess to being partial to the Brit phrase Sod Off!
    Though if pressed will in short order escalate to FOAD!

    1. A more well spoken Brit will say “clear off.” Sod off is profanity. Like ‘bloody hell.’

  13. “In the sixties and seventies, the left loved saying that they didn’t care what you did and weren’t moralist prudes…”

    They didn’t mean it then, either. They’ve *always* known, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it was none of *your* business what *they* did. The opposite was never true.

  14. And of course a short visit with Sister Bertha Better Than You is always in order. Mississippi Squirrel Revival, by Ray Stevens.

      1. Brownshirts declaring themselves to be Anti-fascists is the height of projection neurosis.

        1. And yet another point of resemblance. . . .

          Their films about their rise to power attributed to the Communists all of their nastier tactics. (Though, for once, the other side was probably at fault.)

          At the same time they were building concentration camps and putting out history films about the Boer War and its concentration camps.

          At the same time, they were persecuting Poles and putting out films that shows ethnically German Poles being persecuted in Poland.

          They kidnapped children for desirable traits, falsified their past, and told their adoptive parents in Germany that they had found them in orphanages where the Polish authorities

    1. I used that once when I was subbing for a Protestant Religion class. I kid you not, one young lady really did fall out of her chair laughing. “My grandmother goes to that church!” was what she said when she recovered a little.

  15. They have a right to complain/comment– you have a right to complain/comment.

    And both have the right to ignore the other.

    ….as my family says about the right to remain silent, having the right doesn’t mean you have the ability. 😉

    1. The Left needs constantly to be reminded

      1) If the First Amendment does not protect unpopular speach, it protects nothing


      2) The First Amendment promises that you will be free to speak. It does not promise anyone will listen.

  16. Incidentally– I’m nosy. I just have the manners to keep it under control, and I’m not a gossip.

    Your neighbor lady is just nuts. (And not just because she followed some big, strange guy she supposedly thought was a threat down the road.)

      1. Perhaps next time, you should tell her all the telephone poles and power poles have cameras and listening devices on them for the police to keep an eye and ear on everything that’s going on. And you’ve “heard” that some of those poles have megawatt lasers, STEERABLE LASERS, to “protect” the neighborhoods from bad people. So, it’s absolutely safe here. Abso-positive-lutely SAFE.

        1. Um. Dunno about lasers, but Denver was one of the first cities to start putting both cameras and microphones on light and phone poles, back in the 1980s. Not traffic cams; they’re for watching the populace.

          Not only is that becoming quite common now, but some places even require businesses open to the public to have video security systems, and that those systems be accessible to the police over the internet.

          Baud forbid she learn how her phone spies on her, or think about how Echo, Alexa, or Portal work… or modern televisions, children’s toys, or “smart home” devices. Or her car.

          “Nothing to see here, move along…”

  17. Similarly, a couple years ago, the lady we hired to watch our dog while we were on vacation called us up all in a twitter because there was a black man working on a car in front of a house down j the hill, and should she call the police?

    After I boggled for a bit at the idea of calling the police because someone was working on a car, I was able to reassure her that a black family lived in that house, and as far as we can tell, they’re good people. (I don’t really know them, any more than I know the rest of the neighbors.)

    1. I do not understand people who do not understand body language.

      I mean, when we were in the Philippines it was dangerous, Americans were targets and getting shot every so often and even right in Angeles City outside of Clark AB. So there were Philippine military on the streets… think sort of ratty green fatigues and weapons that might have athletic tape around the stock. Visually, undoubtedly little to no difference between them and whoever was shooting people. EXCEPT for body language. It’s not that hard to tell if someone is alert but relaxed, and confident that they are where they are meant to be.

      Okay, so maybe I do understand that some people, for example, can’t recognize faces, and perhaps other people have a *disability* where they can’t recognize body language, but geez louise, really?

        1. Okay, but honestly, I doubt someone with Aspergers would decide that a black dude in his own driveway fixing his own car was doing something skeevy.

          1. Some people would be upset at the idea of living in a neighborhood where anyone would be fixing their own car in their driveway.

            This includes a number of people in my present neighborhood. They were disturbed by the father and sons who lived on the property behind us. The family would buy an old car, restore it and then sell it, only to repeat. It was their family hobby. I wouldn’t have chosen it, and sometimes the noise was annoying, but they like it.

            1. Our current neighbor has an at-home business.

              Refurbishing trailer RVs.

              Generally, when they show up they either have obviously been in an accident, a fire, or in the open for years.

              I don’t know who he sells them to, but the guy does a really nice job on pulling all the wiring out, replacing the siding, etc.

              1. This was not officially a business. If it had been it would have been shut down because of our zoning. The upset neighbors tried that. But as it was done privately, as a hobby, they were able to continue.

                The boys got very good at it, learning quite a number of useful skills. One eventually put what he had learned to use professionally.

            2. If it makes enough noise to frequently disturb other people, it’s quite legitimate to say so — and indeed one of the good things about gated communities and condos is that you can have rules against behavior like that. Having them increases the value of the homes by allowing expulsion of the kind of people who just aren’t fit to be our neighbors.

              1. One friend was forced to put out specified Christmas luminaries on Christmas Eve by her HOA. (It had started as a voluntary neighborhood thing, but they voted to make it a rule after she had moved in.) She was Jewish, the daughter of two ‘hidden’ children. She protested that what they required constituted forced participation in a religious observance. They didn’t care, they wanted conformity.

                I deliberately choose neither a gated community or condo. The local government, using the excuse of keeping up the property values, have adjusted the zoning laws so that they are increasingly restricting the choices of private property owners. They have gone from rules covering issues regarding public safety and basic maintenance to rules covering issues of taste and style.

        2. More thoughts about Aspergers… my impression is that people “on the spectrum” are very unlikely to notice or judge between people, which is why they keep getting in trouble for *not treating people differently* according to who they are. Like whatshisface at Google, well, he had no excuse (none!) for failing to moderate his thoughts and words into a form that “strong women” wouldn’t have the vapours over and him being spectrum-ish was no excuse. No… “oh, I need to treat this person differently”. None of that. It’s the basic thing about social signals and what not, isn’t it?

          Most people who are good at that aren’t racist, of course, but I think that it’s probably a necessary condition for most people who *are* because they automatically divvy people up for different treatment. The worst racists anymore seem to compulsively divvy people up into their racial group and then attempt to “save” them from everyone else. I suppose that a spectrum-ish person could *learn* to do that, but I don’t think that it’s a symptom of being blind to social signals.

    1. LOL on expelled. If I participated I’d probably be too. Husband looks at it when we want a handyman or something, but… He always ends up telling me about the crazy.

    2. Coworkers regularly want to inform me about some facebook page that serves the same function. I think it sounds like an excellent disincentive to being on facebook at all, and wave off any invites under not living in the same place as them. They don’t grok the response “Facebook is optimized for drama”, so I resorted to that, and smiling and nodding while not paying attention to drama that doesn’t impact me.

      1. Well, many do find him dith-picable.

        P.S. – What’re the tags to embed images and videos in comments? I really needed a Daffy Duck pic to go with this.

        1. Just add the link to it. Sometimes they show up automatically (Youtube videos do), and sometimes they don’t – it’s got to do with how the other site is coded.

          1. Also, if you embed the link in proper HTML <a> codes, it doesn’t auto-embed but stays a link. If you just paste the link without any formatting, all on its own in a paragraph (no other text before or after), then it will generally auto-embed.

  18. Nextdoor

    “I saw Goody Proctor with a plastic straw!”

    I’m not sure its wise to simply ignore them.

    1. I keep forgetting Nextdoor exists for weeks at a time. Then I go check it and find.. evidently everyone around also forgot about it. I think I like the neighborhood, overall.

          1. This is the first I’ve heard of it. I suppose it’s rather similar to the sentiment Eldest expressed, but with more internet, a while back:
            “Mom, if I ever even thought of being that stupid, the neighbors would call you to tell you before I had time to decide it was a really bad idea!”

            I’m not sure the neighbors have mind reading powers, but he’s not far off.

            It’s a good neighborhood to raise kids in for that reason, and everyone knows who belongs where, and everybody does whatever they please as long as, y’know, it’s not stupid. (We’ve had an inch of rain this month. The trash piled up since May is getting burned. No one was stupid enough to burn during the long dry spell.)

            1. I’m not sure the neighbors have mind reading powers, but he’s not far off.

              There are some levels of stupid where you can see them thinking about it before doing it.

              For example, doing a hand-stand on the toilet seat.
              (Sadly, I only got there AFTER the attempt was started.)

          2. [looks it up] ” free private social network for your neighborhood community”

            I’d heard of neighborhood mailing lists and AOL wossnames, and figured there were Facebook wossnames, but I never thought there were enough Mrs. Kravitzes to support a “social network” too.

            The Stasi would have *loved* that…

            1. The quality of information they’re likely to get from that is terrible, and isolating it to one site makes it much harder to connect people to their other online locations; so you have “NavyWife2007” on that site, Facebook is Mrs. J. Smith, Discord is ISpeekL33t, Disqus is NomeDePwn, Microsoft Gamer tag is also NomDePwn, Blizzard games tag is Hordeharhar#1234, etc. (Almost nobody unifies their gamer tags, even on theme; makes it hard to keep track of HedShotDude when he’s Bookybook and MasterChefTheater. /sigh)

              Now, in theory, you can trace out stuff– but spreading it all over makes it harder.

              1. Mh, well, (having just checked it) Nextdoor requires you to register with something that a computer algorithm will believe is a plausible legal name.

              2. The point of most “informer” systems isn’t to gather accurate intelligence, it’s to fill files with reports that can be used to justify action against someone and prejudice proceedings against them.

                A multitude of bad entries establishes a pattern of a person being a scofflaw and social deviant; a nice club when you need it.

                The information doesn’t need to be accurate, it just needs to be voluminous…

      1. I think we have a few anti-firearm nuts in the neighborhood too.

        Just smile & say “we camera hunt.” When they only half listen (they will). Ask “why is taking pictures of wildlife so horrible?”

        No, we don’t have any guns in the house, why are you asking?

        1. “We have *lots* of guns! We have so many guns we have trouble keeping track of all of them!” Pause. “Er, you haven’t seen any kids with a grenade launcher, have you? Theoretically, I mean.”

          1. We live too close to the grade school to even joke like that; thus the non-denial, denial.

            Someone walking into our house with a visible gun could get the police called on them for walking near the school with a gun. Especially between 8 – 8:30 am and after 2:30 pm (school drop off/pickup), & Saturdays (soccer season).

            Not next, or across the street, exactly. Across the street, down side street, one house down (not corner, next to that one) and across. Our street, especially our section, gets a LOT of parents parking on it for school drop off/pickup & school events.

        1. That’s a great sign. A local BBQ place with good brisket and a “Lawful Concealed Carry Permitted” sign that requests patrons to keep weapons holstered and safety on. They also have a 5% discount for paying with cash.

  19. Possibilities:

    1. Physical problem, but more complex than those goofy tones. (I don’t know why they don’t have “repeat what the person said” tests, or “repeat every single IPA phoneme we give you,” for example. I would want to see if there’s a pattern to your hearing and speech, and there probably is.)

    2. Processing problem or minor dain bramage, probably connected with sensory issues when young, or with illness at critical times. The good bit is that this means it might get better with age and practice.

    It’s pretty clear that the idiots on your street have a processing problem, because perfectly good input causes some crazy output.

    OTOH, the sad truth is that a lot of those nosy suspicious types are the ones who really do nose out serial killers and nogoodniks, but they also nose out everybody else. Lots of false positives make their true positives almost useless.

    1. > “repeat what the person said”

      I call those “alien encounter” scenarios. Person A says something, Person B’s response has little or nothing to do with what A said. Sometimes they’ve obviously latched onto some “trigger” keyword, sometimes they seem to have inverted the meaning of what was said. Every now and then their response seems completely random.

      I first started noticing those back in the ’90s when I moderated some mailing lists, then started noticing them out in meatspace as well. Trying to correct or salvage one of those encounters seldom works; given a chance, I disengage.

      “Hey, Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of my hat!”

      1. Some of the folks over at Insty’s are flipping out over this as a witchhunt or similar, because having guns isn’t evil and you really shouldn’t criminalize hate speech, but…. it’s piling a bunch of stuff together that makes stuff suspicious, not just individual datapoints.

        And it’s Yahoo. Them getting stuff precise can be pretty unlikely.

  20. There’s an elderly gent who takes a daily constitutional around the park a mile or so from Redquarters. Everybody sees him, we wave, he waves, and go our ways. Until something bad happened to him. There were a LOT of angry folks wanting to “get” the Bad Guy. No, they didn’t know the elderly gent’s name, but he was “one of us” and “that nice man who walks around the park.” (Alas no, the police were not able to get the Bad Guy, at least not that I heard.)

  21. There Oughta Be A Law…
    …against calling that gooey flavorless stuff AMERICAN cheese
    …against my neighbor lady complaining to me about kids playing on my lawn (and scaring off daytime burglars)
    …against uttering the word “like” before becoming a legal voter, and
    …against the unholy combination of weird prices and sales tax that conspire to make every tab $4.03, annoying the cashier, delaying the checkout queue, and leaving me with a clod of change in my pocket.

    All these years, with all these legislators, and they’re frackin’ useless.

  22. I… simply do not have the talent to do this, but I have an idea for a meme for anyone who does:

    A reworking of Dr. Seuss’s Green Eggs and Ham, but done as, “I do not care”. I got a couple possible phrases:

    “I do not care in my fur coat
    I do not care upon a boat.

    I do not care while here or there,
    I do not care today, mon cher (or frere)!”

    1. Although I think that Mother-In-Law trained pointing out of all her children early, The Spouse is an advocate of the use of a good rich belly laugh when confronted by such. (Advocate, I say. The Spouse is rarely known to actually laugh out loud.)

  23. I’m signed up on Nextdoor, but I never go there. Useful for posting about garage sales and such, but full of small-minded twits a lot of the time (because who else is going to spend a lot of time there?)

    1. I did post there when my bike (and trailer) got stolen, not on the theory that I’d get it back, but that people needed to know there were bike thieves in the area who would grab a locked bike off a front porch and toss it in a truck or something.

  24. Or even power over our neighborhoods, our businesses, or you know, our pets, our sons, or our streets.
    Sadly, they are the folks who usually have the time/inclination to run for HOA president, city council, etc. And then it metastasizes.

    For too long we’ve run on “If someone squawks loud enough we’ll do that.”
    I’ve been a long-time fan of Goldberg’s “Don’t just do something, Stand There!”

    (And I haven’t even signed up for NextDoor, as it seemed to want information I’m not willing to give to an unknown internet entity.)

    I just wish … they left us alone
    Oh no, that will never happen (until they learn they’ll pull back a bloody stump) because they are smarter and more compassionate and better than you, and know better, and you just can’t be trusted to make your own decisions.

  25. Ok, but there still oughta be a law about what can be sold as “thick sliced bacon,” dammit!

      1. Unfortunately, not self-correcting– because there are unlikely to be enough folks who are upset enough to completely remove the ability to function as a company, especially if they’re able to make enough on the “oops” buys to beat the folks who deal honest.

        Major issue with butchers, especially in areas where there are a lot of seasonal out of town demands. Not only did cheaters prosper, if they hadn’t been so dumb as to violate health codes and get caught, they would’ve bought out ALL the nearby butchers, too. Already bought two when he got caught.

        Locals figured out that when you cow showed up way light, and you commented, and they “found” some “missing” cuts– which were obviously from a different animal, that one was especially startling because we’re pretth sure some of the cuts were from a bull, not a crippled martin-heifer– then the guy wasn’t shooting straight.

  26. “You culturally appropriated your book/music/dress/food” “So what?”

    Disagree. The appropriate response is to shout, “FASCIST! Who the !@#@$% appointed you Cultural Monitor and authorized your imposition of your cultural stereotypes? Besides, you damned CultureNazi, I’m 1/1024th [culture] and bleedin’ entitled to use this mode of book/music/dress/food!

    Sure, sometimes a particular piece of crazy falls under my eyes and I bitch/make fun of it.

    I don’t much mind what “falls under my eyes” but I have grown more than weary of the inflamed baboon butts being jammed into my face. I have no duty to approve” of sane activity, much less endorse their peculiar pursuit of insanity.

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