Tuesday, July 28, 2009

What's in a name?

I worked with a bartender years ago who, when he proposed to his girlfriend, he asked her to be his first wife. I thought that was a little brash (if not way too honest) especially considering that her father was a street level (i.e. working) mob guy. I assume that he knew what he was getting into and that she did as well and that, dear old daddy-in-law to be did also. I don't recall how long these kids were married but, it wasn't too long and I'm pretty sure he wasn't forced to dig his own grave in a cornfield so, it likely worked out for all concerned.

Very few of us enter into relationships knowing that they are terminal. You might not be thinking of Silver Anniversaries after a dozen dates but you're probably not thinking about child support and lawyers either. Marriage and these ensuing difficulties just sorta happen in time. It's considered bad form to contemplate them or discuss them. Well, except in Hollywood.

When I met my ex-wife, she was on the rebound from a guy named Asshole! That wasn't his real name, mind you, but it's the pet name she had given him after their break-up. (Right now, the millions of women who read this blog are saying: "I know that ASSHOLE! His ex dated him!?" No, it was some other Asshole! Your's was taller. This Asshole! was 5'8" and a mechanic. You don't know him...)

Anyway, I swear to god that it WAS in the back of my mind at the time that one day, MY name would become ASSHOLE! Knowing me, I probably endeavored to persevere so as to NOT get my name changed to ASSHOLE! in the event that things didn't work out between us.

Damn the luck. I became, ASSHOLE!, despite my good intentions and more than ten years later, I still am.

I think about this whenever I hear women talk about their exes and they refer to them as ASSHOLE! or Fuckwith or any other perjoratve. I always wonder, is there a good guy listening to this- someone new that they are dating or some guy who's thinking of dating them? Does it occur to the new guy that he's a future Fuckwith like it occurred to me? Or does he, also like me, think that THAT won't be his name...ever...

Talking bad about one's ex on a date is one of the worst things a man or a woman can do. Yet, everyone does it. You at least have to provide some explanation of your past to explain why you're at dinner with this new person and not at home with the old one. It's productive to illustrate where ya'll went wrong. This gives the new person some guidance in where you want to go with them and, also important, where you DON'T want to go with them. Referring to your ex as ASSHOLE! or Fuckwith is a show of bad form. All things being equal fellas, we can also do without Slutface and The ****! Whorebait, however, is somehow acceptable. Who knew?

Just always keep it in the back of your mind when dating: There but for the grace of god will go I... And treat the server as if they were a human being for that is the biggest teller of the future this side of Nostradamus.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Small World

I love it when this big world of ours shrinks to fit, if only for a short time.

The guy who cleaned my gutters this morning was an old schoolmate of mine. Except for passing in the halls of our highschool, it had been nearly 40 years since I had seen Richard. I remembered a portly kid with glasses but, that was gradeschool. People do change. Looking at Facebook for my graduating class from HS, I recognize a lot of names but very few faces match up with those names, even the old faces. I looked Richard up before he came over but, he's not a member.

I would never have recognized him. He said the same about me. It was one of those "Cold Case" moments where people flash back to how others looked back in the day when they remember a person after so many years. I think "Sugar Sugar" by The Archies might have been playing... Hell, we're both 52 and, well, we got old. It's not a gripe, rather a fact of life.

We could pass on the street with no recognition or even talk in a line at the post office for several minutes and, unless the conversation turned to where one grew up or names were exchanged, we'd never know that we used to know each other. It's one thing to see people again at a reunion where your mind is set for signs of the past and present in people. When you are just out in the world, everyone seems like a stranger.

I had been thinking about this when I began to make "friends" on the internet. I was "conversing" with people that I was never likely to meet and had no idea of what they really look like. Very few people put their actual photo on their avatar whether it's for the practicality of anonymity or the fact that they just ain't very good looking. Most people like the mystery aspect of the net. You can be a hot chick or a studly dude and you can think that someone else is, as long as no pictures are involved. It works both ways. Generally, when I see a pretty face on an avatar, I can be very certain that it is NOT the poster. If they are that pretty, why are they on Topix ALL THE TIME? People who go on dating sites seem to always complain that the guy or girl "...looked NOTHING like their photo..." so, why should people be honest on Topix? Facebook is a bit different. That's usually someone you already know IRL. Of my Topix friends who were also on FB, two were as good looking as I suspected (but they had not claimed to be), one was (I think) falsely posting photo's of SOMEONE and one had a really nice personality...

The thing is, all these people whom I think I know and who think they know me, are as anonymous as Richard and I were until today. There are people on the net who hate me so much that they would like to kill me but, have never seen me before. We could pass on the street with no acknowledment whatsoever. We could talk in a bar and maybe have a pleasant conversation. We could work together and not even know each other's secret identities. I kinda like it that way. Aside from there being fewer attempts on my life, I like the mystery of not knowing what regular posters really look like. In my mind, one guy looks like Frank that I worked with in Memphis. I'm sure he doesn't actually look anything like Frank just like Teri probably doesn't look like George Lopez' mom (on the TV show) but, I can't help but picture these people in my mind when I read their posts. Even K, whose pictures are accurate- I still "see" her as the image of her I conjured up before we exchanged pictures. Mind you- it's not how I wanted her, or "Frank" or "Teri" to look, it's the image that was imprinted in my mind- for whatever inexplicable reason- based upon how they posted. I guess that since I was "talking" to people I couldn't see, I had to give these people a virtual face to accompany their posts, as if we were in actual conversation.

Seeing Richard after nearly 40 years was like this. We were both seeing the reality of who we are now but also "seeing" the kids that we used to be, back in the day when we actually had known each other. People on the net *think* that they know me. At times, I *think* I know them. But I don't and we don't and we likely never will. I've been judged by what I post and I have judged others as well. It's pretty much guess work just like characters in a novel. It shouldn't be taken seriously but it is and it's often taken for reality.

It was funny as Richard and I bid each other goodbye. He said: "Ferrerman, you still look like a young Brad Pitt!"

Most people say Hugh Jackman. That Richard was a goofy kid.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


The Republican Party must love Independents, they've created so many of them.

I hear it a lot in the threads and in real life. Someone begins trashing President Obama and the Democrats and quickly gets called out for being "partisan". But, they protest, they can't possibly be partisan because they are an INDEPENDENT! Independents see both sides of each issue and have no partisan loyalties at all. How could they- they are independent!? Why only a Demoncrat or a Demorat could fail to see that...

Maybe it just seems to this Demoncrat that there has been a near-wholesale abandoning of the Republican ship by rats deserting to the Independent party since last November. Maybe. But, wouldn't true Independents be a little bit more middle of the road and a lot less versed in Republican talking points?

I'm not sure exactly what Independent talking points might be but, I'd guess that they would have more to do with maybe Ron Paul and not so much Sarah Palin. It get's a little cloudy when people throw Republican vitriol about Obama out there and sound EXACTLY like the right wing nut Republicans in doing so.

Is that the idea? Muddy the waters by claiming that TWO parties think that he's an evil, communist/socialist muslim/marxist so that, there you go, un-biased proof...?

Please. Who are you kidding?

They're just kidding themselves and they're not doing actual Independents much good.

This country needs more than the two party system that we've had for ever. We need a strong, viable third party (Independent or Whig or Know Nothings- I don't care) to keep the other two reasonably honest. I'm tending to believe, like so many do, that there is no actual difference between Republican politicians and Democrat one's. Both sides want your money and they will get it. One side does seem to want to line the pockets of big business and one side wants to feed children in the ghetto. Neither side seems to spend our money wisely no matter their stated goals. But, I'll continue to side with those who endeavour to help those who can't help themselves. I figure that rich people are already rich and they can get by on their own. The poor, not so much.

I would also hope that people, rather than claiming independence to dissassociate themselves from the taint of defeat from last Fall, would either actually become INDEPENDENTS or quit pussying out and STAY Republican. Fix your own party rather than tear down America because you "lost". You did not lose. America won. We all won, with Obama last Fall. It's just that some people- these neo-independent pussies- want only to piss and moan. Be the "Party of No". Be the "Independent Party of No".

But, I hope your numbers dwindle everyday and that ya'll are replaced by true Independents and true Republicans. This goes for Democrats as well. We're looking at 8 great years with this man, Obama. Whoever succeeds him will have big shoes to fill. Learn from this.

Thursday, July 16, 2009


Late back in the 20th century, my then wife announced her intention to divorce me. About three seconds after that, she began dating her boss. I don't mean to put the cart before the horse after it's done bolted from the barn that i neglected to lock nor do I mean to re-invent the wheel or determine why the chicken crossed the road. This was just something that just happened to happen and it changed my life. It wasn't really a bad thing, not even at the time.

Her boss, "Jerry", wasn't a bad guy. We differed on his other- guys' wife-fucking view in life (him being for it and me being against it) but, I have to say that he's a likable guy. Dear God- I could have done much worse with what some Southern rednecks refer to as a "boyfriend/husband in-law"! Ido miss Southern humor. When you finish second in a Civil War or a marriage, you have to keep a sense of humor. As an added bonus, he makes some serious money so, her, our son and her daughter, don't have to live in poverty like many divorced women do. No one was happier than I when, several years later, they eventually married. It was the best birthday present I ever got...

Anyway, about a year after the divorce, she called me up for one of her regularly scheduled harangues concerning where I had gone wrong in the marriage and in life, how I truly felt about this/that and the other thing- typical ex-wife, service after the sale stuff. I would listen for a few minutes, think of jokes and then ask if it were time yet to speak to my son. On this particular day, I changed the subject. Jerry's mom had passed and I offered my condolences. She was INCREDULOUS.

"Who told you?! How do you know that?! ARE YOU STALKING ME?!"

It was in the paper, I told her, the obituaries. "Oh", she replied.

Had I done a bad thing? Should I have not picked up the paper that day? Perhaps I should have taken hers and the rest of the worlds feelings into consideration- set my own selfish sentiments aside for a change- and NOT read the newspaper because THERE JUST MIGHT BE STUFF IN THERE THAT DIDN'T CONCERN ME?! Or worse- stuff that DID concern me?! The CIA regularly issues redacted memos and papers with key sentences and words blacked out for those of us not on a "need to know" basis. Should someone get ahold of my newspaper and internet before I get my prying eyes on it and redact anything that might possibly be read by me? Well, that would kinda include oh- EVERYTHING- and not make for interesting read for anyone, particularly me. And I am nothing if not all about me.

Newspapers and the internet are public forums. So is this blog. I choose to have no control over who reads it though I could limit it to blog members if I desired. I could also just write e-mails to people if I only wanted a specific person or persons to read what I write. If it wasn't for public consumption, it would BE an e-mail or a message on a private, "offshore" yahoo group. Some people do that- just not all the time.

If you post something-anywhere- on Topix and you are alarmed when you learn that someone has read it, you're a fool to cry about it. You can tell people that they can't read a particular thread but, good luck with that. If you've got doors and walls in your house, don't scream when the neighbor see's you running around naked outside. He's not being a voyuer when you're outside your home running around buck-naked screaming, "DON'T LOOK AT ME!"

These days, for reasons known to readers of this blog, everything that I say and do is under much scrutiny. Yesterday a quasi-e-friend posted a response to one of my blogs and, in doing so, she referred to me by my IRL name. Having wanted to keep that info between me and my IRL people and not knowing how to edit that piece of information, I "hid" all the comments to all my blogs until I figured out what to do. Some people came to view that as a conceited, selfish act by a totalitarian tyrant. More anti-ferrer sentiment. As if there hadn't been enough already. This act just served to re-inforce already cemented feelings about my jerkfacedness. You see, I sorta kinda read it somewhere and I probably shouldn't have done that because no one had given me expressed written consent to do so and...

Well, enough of this. I must go stalk er, uh, READ Dear Amy now. I hope she doesn't mind.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

To Thine Own Self

I was telling my friend, K, about a boy that I had worked with some 10 years ago who was 22 years old. I could never forget his age because he began nearly every statement he made with this preface: "I ain't but 22 years old and..."

Danny would then regale us with the various exploits and successes of his young life as opposed to the sad realities of our own, less productive lives. He weren't but 22 years old, for example, but he owned his own house whereas all the other men on the crew either rented or had bought their homes, much later in life than he had. It wasn't true. His wife, like a lot of guy's wives, wasn't a co-conspirator in her man's lies and she favored reality over fantasy and didn't mind talking about it. She told one of the fellas on the crew that their "rent" was X amount of dollars and they were hoping to buy a home within a year or two. This, of course, immediately got back to the crew. I honestly don't remember how Danny explained this domestic discrepancy but, suffice to say, one lie always gives birth to another and then another and no one on the crew had believed him anyway and weren't about to buy his new, improved version no matter what he claimed. Though caught, Danny wasn't about to fess up. Neither was he going to quit lying. I think he felt that all he needed to do was improve his lies rather than submit to reality.

Danny had had six fathers in his young life. The guy that K and I were discussing (Steve) hadn't even had his birth father for very long in his life and seemed to have grown up without a male role model in the house. One had too many, one didn't have enough. Both arrived at the station of manhood, totally lost, unprepared to deal with grown men and women. Danny compensated with lies about his achievements and Steve tried to bluff people with bravado and the smoke and mirrors of his being a self-made man, who had "been there, done that".

I'm always curious as to what motivates someone to lie. It's easy to see when someone lies to protect themselves and most of us understand that and may even sympathize that they might have been trying to stay out of trouble and hadn't really "meant" to lie. It just happened. And, if you tell a lie to hurt someone- as wrong as that is- at least it's obvious to most people WHY you told the lie- you wanted to HURT that person. We all get that even if we don't respect or condone it. That explains that lie. It was mean and viscious but, now we know why s/he lied. S/he hates so and so and wanted to hurt them. This also explains lies about WMD's and justifications for war. You gotta have the WMD's so, there ya go. You can always figure out- after the fact- WHY someone lied.

I'm 52 years old and over the years I have worked with a half-dozen guys my age who fought in Vietnam. I'll do the math for you on this. In 1973, when the US pulled it's troops out of VietNam, I was a sophomore in Highschool. Wouldn't that make these guys sophomores as well? Were there summer vacations a little more interesting than mine maybe? I usually came by these claims second hand. In casual conversation with guy "A", we would determine that we were the same age. Later, guy "B" would mention that "A" had told him about combat missions in 'Nam. Did you serve in 'Nam, Ferrerman? Um, no, I musta missed that. I read about it though...

There is, by law a think, supposed to be a little truth in every lie. Plausability helps as well. Yes, there was a Vietnam war and, yes, a million some men served in it but, no, no highschool kids. At least no highschool kids on our side. Because of our age, one guy had to amend his story from Vietnam to the first gulf war. He did this one morning- on the fly- as I walked into his Vietnam tale. No one else seemed to notice the change of venue or of decades.

Hey, it's cool to be a combat veteran. People will respect, admire and maybe even fear you. I think that "fear" aspect created the lie in this one guy's mind. He had been a life-taker and heartbreaker and, by God, he'd do it again. That's the basic idea. Each of these "veterans" had been in a position of authority over me and I guess that at the very least, they were simply padding their resume to get on in the workplace and further their careers. I can't respect that but, I can understand that. It works for awhile. Maybe it's the democrat in me. I tend to analyze people and things to understand why people do what they do and why things happened. I do this so that I might understand people and their motivations rather than condemn them outright. If, for example, a politician regularly rails in favor of family values and against gay rights, I'm not surprised when he get's caught with a mistress or with an under-cover cop in a men's room. He's lying to the public to further his career and keep his job. I get that part. But, he's lying to himself. I don't get that part.

That's when lies get out of control- when you believe your own lies. Most liars only want others to believe their lies and they go to sleep each night more or less with the sad reality of their lives. They probably sleep very well knowing that a new day and a new lie awaits them. Their possibilities are endless. Their realities, limited. Sad.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Bully For You

Midway through the recent kerfuffle, I thought about what was happening to me and how it might affect a teenager. When you are a kid, the smallest details of life are your whole world. It always seems that your whole world can come crashing down at any moment. No one, can tell you different. It's always, just that serious.

And then I learned that a fifteen year old boy from my alma mater had commited suicide, presumably as a result of bullying both cyber related and up close and personal. Well, I got my answer.

When I had attended his school, it was a highschool like any other highschool. There were 1313 kids in my graduating class, some 5000 for all four years so, it was bigger than most. I never saw the size as a bad thing. Perhaps it was a bit intimidating for some kids but, for most it meant that there was a smorgasborg of groups to fit in to. We had our jocks and cheerleaders and, given that it was the seventies, we also had freaks and greasers, all vying for attention. The vast majority of students were just kids like me who didn't desire to pledge any particular group and commit to one designation. My freshman year saw racial battles (blacks were a minority and most kids were coming from all-white gradeschools) and class warfare of sorts between those that were jocks (or rich, preppy kids) and the freaks (hippies) and greasers who came from the poorer families. LT then and now, was split between two campus's. Freshman and sophmore years were at the South campus and were tough because everyone was trying to find there way in life. It seemed that by junior year at North Campus, everybody came (reasonably) together. The jocks were buying weed from the same freaks they used to battle with, by junior year. It just worked out that way.

I only know about Ian Steele based upon newspaper accounts of his life and death. It appears that some children saw fit to bully him. He had friends of his own so, he wasn't wandering the halls alone. I read that he fought back against his attackers even though he knew he couldn't win a physical confrontation with them. Threads about his story had the usual advice about how bullies are really cowards and all a kid has to do is punch 'em in the nose and- there ya go- problem solved. Everyone is so e-tough on the net and free with apocryphal stories of revisionist heroism. But, I didn't get that his bullies had so physically traumatized that he opted to end his life. It seems to me that it was the mental anguish that took it's toll. How can a child fight that? You can't punch THAT in the nose. You can't turn the other cheek and walk away from that. The cruelest bullies among us know this even if they don't voice it to themselves or others. Words do hit harder than fists sometimes. Think about how it is for girls. It's usually not physical intimidation that they have to endure in school. They get the "mean girls" treatment based upon their looks or the way they dress. A girl might be over-weight or have a big nose or not dress well and some girls will desire to exploit this aspect of her young being. I get that bullies are weak and cowardly whether they are boys or girls. I also get that they've been here since the beginning of time and that they will be here until the end of time. They are part of the cycle of life.

Everytime a child like Ian takes his his or her life there is much gnashing of teeth about how school authorities, teachers and parents can and should do more to combat bullying. These adults can and will do more. But, it won't stop a damn thing. We love our two-fisted hero's in this society and it'd be great if the biggest, toughest kid on campus took up for the small and weak victims. I've seen that happen but, don't hold your breath. The hero makes for a good movie cliche but he only temporarily interrupts the bullying and, arguably, probably only changes the dynamics in the long run. Ian fighting back didn't end it. Knowing that they might get a facefull of fist and possibly lose a fight to the boy might very well have caused them to up their game to the safety of the internet. Rumors. Taunts. Embarrassment. The politics of lies.

There is only one way to stop bullying. It's the audience that is the problem. They are participating whether they are enjoying the show or not. If they are laughing along, they are part of the problem. If they are saying: "Thank God it's not me..." and privately condemning the bullying, they are part of the problem. We are all un-indicted co-conspirators at times in our life. Maybe we half-assed laugh along with a mean joke because we're not THAT color, or THAT religion or THAT sexual orientation. The WW2 saw about Nazi Germany often comes to my mind: "First they came for the trade unionists but, i was not a trade unionist..."

Bullies need an audience. Society is that audience. Society, at the school level and into adulthood, needs to turn on that bully, not with violence but with disapproval. Society needs to step up and say "we" want this to stop. "We don't think it's right". "You, have to deal with US".

Ya know what, boys and girls of all ages? If you are standing by watching that poor kid get pounded and thinking it's a shame, it's you that is taking the worse beating. You just don't know it.

The bully does.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Legal Penguins

Not as opposed to illegal penguins but as opposed to legal eagles, that is. I've never been in jail but, I'm familiar with the term "jail house lawyer". A JHL is a convict who has usually been arrested so many times for so many different things that he fancies himself to be sort of a legal expert. You can certainly get good advice from people who have made mistakes. If you are taking on a home improvement project and your neighbor has tried to do a similar project in the past, and tells you: "Don't do what I did...", it behooves you to listen. When we're not learning from our own mistakes, we need to be learning from those of others. A JHL who has spent a lot of time talking to lawyers about his mistakes in banking or liquor hold-ups mightcould know a thing or two about the law. But, real lawyers probably know more.

Yesterday I got some friendly, un-solicited advice from an unemployed guy whose daddy knows a lawyer. His daddy "built the guy's law firm", he said. I like carpenters because I get to paint and stain the work that they do. Carpenters like me because I can fix or mask their short-comings.

A little caulk, a little putty, a little paint/makes a carpenter what he ain't.

But, I digress. In regard to the conflict with the "psychologist", this guy gave me some, well, irrational (BUT FRIENDLY!) advice about how he was ready to launch a lawsuit against me (at my expense, mind you) that would culminate with me having to pull down my pants and expose myself to a judge and jury. The result of this exposure would be public Topix exposure of my private shame. That, and the girl would get millions of dollars for defamation of character plus millions more for my having what he so technically called "(a) little pink willy". I wonder if the court would legally recognize "shrinkage" citing the precedent of COSTANZA v JERRY'S GIRLFRIEND (Ep 7, Sea 4)? The guy said that nothing would please him more than my having to do this. Now, THAT'S creepy.

With the help and blessing of the "psychologist", he was building a case against me. According to him, according to the "psychologist" and her best e-galpal, I had threatened the lives of both women.

"Whoa", wrote the galpal, "No threats have been made against me and I never claimed such. I think he's an ashsole (sic). But he's never threatened me."

Well then, he threatened the "psychologist". Nope. She replied to him: "You're very sweet but he hasn't threatened me, just been annoying like a little gnat".

The irrational guy went on to state: "from what you have told me, by definition of law, he has threatened you."

Women always say that men don't listen when they talk. Clearly. She went on to say that (now) the photo in question was a "generic photo". Well, there goes the irrational guy's fantasy of me the judge and the jury. (I can't resist this so, forgive me. I would have hoped that it wasn't a hung jury as I wouldn't want a bunch of porn stars judging me. WOULD YOU?!)

Shortly after that exchange I found something better to do. This morning, I checked on the thread and the very same irrational guy was fussing with someone else and calling the guy a...(cork-soaker). I guess that you can do that when you've got the law in your back pocket...

So, no one is going to sue anyone about this foolishness. What damage has been done, I think that I have un-done. It was "he said/she said" in the beginning and that's the way this will end. Her friends got her back, my friends got mine and that's not going to change. My e-friend (who is a very real, wonderfull person to me) was right when she told me that you "can't win with stupid..." True. Stupid is irrational and has far more experience than me.