Los Angeles, CA
Buddha preaches tolerance, compassion, and forgiveness. But he never had to deal with landscapers and their loud machines at 8am echoing throughout the alley, rattling the windows, and piercing my ears. The worst are the angleshooters and ballsy landscapers who decide to rev up their leaf blowers at 7:50am. They said, "Fuck the ten minutes, I got work to do." Hey, I'm not one to stand in the way of another man making his living, but 8am is such a shitty time to operate any sort of loud machinery. Personally, at that time I'm either trying to retain any semblance of sleep, or I'm wide awake and trying to write. Either way, they are annoying the fuck out of me.
I have a simple rule when I'm working -- if I can hear you over the background music that is played at a reasonable volume, then you're loud are therefore annoying me and eligible for an asshole fine.
God knows, well Buddha knows too, that when I start compiling lists of people I want to handout asshole fines to -- then I've lost all grip on Buddhism, which in essence is losing all faith in humanity. I can only deal with people depending on my philosophical leanings of that day. When I'm an existentialist or nihilist, then I either don't believe in or don't care about humankind. Right now, I'm in between philosophies of life, so it's a prickly stage. Ergo, the urge to impose asshole fines.
When I go out partying on Phish tour, my friends came up with the concept of a "wook ticket" which is a fine you levy against someone who is doing incredibly stupid shit, committing party fouls, or acting shady in any other arena. Shit, we even give ourselves tickets as a joke, but also a reminder that we need to remember to have fun -- but in a semi-responsible way.
Man, I wish I had the balls (more so the free time) this summer at the WSOP to hand out asshole fines and "Tampon of the Day" awards. I know a few people who'd be racking up fines and awards all summer. When I worked on Wall Street, if you complained about something too much you'd get "Tampon'd" or simply put, if you walked away from your desk to go to the bathroom or to a meeting, then you'd come back only to discover that someone taped a maxi-pad to your computer screen. I'm sure some of my readers find that offensive and sexist. And it is. But your daily goal was simple -- get through the day without killing anyone (especially yourself) and make sure you don't say anything that will warrant a barrage of tampons attached to your screens.
I'm at a rough spiritual point that it's good that I'm heading on the road to embed myself with hippies for two weeks. It's grounding in many ways and restores my faith in humanity and community. Spending the summers in Las Vegas writing bullshit about the pursuit of fame and power that is fueled by greed can often warp my brain. The last two weeks have been sort of purgatory for me as I shift from hell to heaven.
And it's in this purgatory that I lost faith in people. My buddy Michalski used to say that I was a people hater. He was half-joking but noticed that I had a certain disdain for a lot of people. To clarify, I dislike certain people and write off anyone who happens to be malicious, a parasite, or a black hole for negativity. I do give people second and third and fourth chances. But after a while, you start to think that all of this tolerance, compassion, and forgiveness stuff is a load of horseshit. All it does is allow those assholes to continue to act like assholes. I would love it if they actually thought: "Shit, I fucked up, but I got a second chance, so I'm gonna try harder and be less of an asshole." But in reality, it's more like, "Hahahah. I acted like an asshole. Guess what? Now I can act more like an asshole because you're a pushover that I can take advantage of -- and I will."
When I come to those realizations, man oh man, does that boil my blood. That's when people I would normally shine on and turn the other cheek get me fired up to say something to them. If there's something I learned about in life, it's that you have to stand up to bullies and assholes every once in a while. Because let's face it -- an asshole is not going to be less of an asshole because you call him/her out on it. However, they definitely will become a bigger asshole if you let them get away with it.
I avoided being annoyed with people for a while. When Buddha couldn't help me, I turned to generic Vicodin and other painkillers. Man, of man, did those help out immensely. The biggest jerkoffs and tools that I knew all of a sudden became Mother Theresa. It's funny how an opiated feeling makes you more tolerant of assholes.
I've often referred to Xanax as "crying baby repellent" during plane trips. Well, along those lines, Vicodin is "asshole repellent" because when I eat Vicodin I can be around the worst of the worst and I'm at eternal peace because I can't feel a thing.
It took me over 30+ years before I figured out that family gatherings are a lot less hellacious when I'm faded to the tits on opiates. This might be bad behavior because I'm relying on an unhealthy coping method in order to deal with these people -- but my argument is that I don't have a substance problem when these people are not around. Ergo, I have a people problem.
Most of the year, I do what I can to avoid undesirable people. But sometimes, like family holidays and difficult working environments, you are unable to avoid coming into contact with said people. Asshole avoidance is impossible. So you either have to be proactive and attack the assholes by reminding them that they are assholes, or straight up making a decision to kick their ass. But if you want a peaceful resolution and want to coexist, then unless you're channeling Buddha, you better be hopped up on pharmies.
No wonder the pharmaceutical companies, Big Tobacco, and the beer makers/booze producers are so fucking rich -- they sell three escapes that the masses turn to when they are overrun by assholes, which happens to be everyday.