Ever get the feeling that everything comes down to Us vs Them?
From the time I get up in the morning till my head lays on the pillow, I am engaged in an Us vs. Them competition.
The first thing I do in the morning is go out and pick up my newspaper off the driveway. If it is late, I have to ask myself if I should keep taking the home edition or if I should just drop it and go with the online version.
I wonder, is the delivery boy late or is it a problem with the printing and distribution? Who is responsible for me not being able to read my paper at 7 AM? Should I call and complain? Write an online complaint or just see what happens tomorrow? Do I want to take on the behemoth newspaper marketing department, or do I just put up with the irritation and go look at my computer?
As I walk in the house, my phone rings. I look at the digital caller ID and don't recognize the source number. Probably an advertiser, the seventh solar panel hawker call I have had in two days! How annoying!
Sometimes I will pick up, interrupt their lame attempt to disguise the purpose of their call, and say, " Sir, I am a licensed contractor and I do my own home improvement work. Please take my name off your call list." and I hang up. Rude? Maybe, but I view unwanted solicitations on my wholly owned and private telephone line as an invasion of my privacy. To even have to listen to the ring is an attack on my peace and quiet. They are using my private property to solicit me! They are the ones who are rude, I am just sitting here minding my own business.
As the day goes on, it is just one thing after another; virtually every interaction I have with business, social or public groups devolves into an Us vs Them battle! It seems that the human being is just not capable of getting along very well. As diverse and open minded as we all think we are, the truth is we all live in one kind of a bubble or another. The planet is swarming with millions of bubbles containing various interest affinity groups. These bubbles collide and crawl all over each other, in a constant and unending search for equilibrium.
Unlike the ant kingdom, where the individual ants swarm all over each other, in an unbelievably well orchestrated and unified effort to protect the Queen and to procreate, the human organism is entirely self centered, willing to subjugate and destroy it's own for just about any reason on Earth!
I have two things that make me crazy: Products that simply don't work right and people who misuse and abuse our civilization and then receive an enormous amount of attention, analysis and scrutiny to 'understand' why they don't fit in.
Everyday I run head on into things that don't work as advertised. It seems almost criminal that so many things are so blatantly misrepresented and don't do what they say they will do. It is usually products that have little retail value so the cost to pursue complaints and returns exceeds the cost of the item or service. So I presume the basic marketing strategy calculates the true cost of a high percentage of unhappy customers into the cost of doing business. This is the only way the careless underperformance of the item makes any sense.
As the importance and value of the item increases, so does the anger and resentment if it doesn't deliver. In many of these cases, I note that the character of the annoyance is usually something small, less intrinsic to the usefulness, but no less bothersome because it seems so easy to have avoided altogether with just a little bit of concern and attention to details in manufacturing specifications.
Like how incredibly difficult, and dangerous, opening the packaging is! Especially the nearly bullet-proof amarillo plastic casing that is impossible to open without a boxcutter. My guess is a lot of emergency room visits could be avoided if we banned that stuff. Does anybody ever do a consumer test to see how people actually use their product?
Then I open my newspaper...uh oh!
Every single thing in the paper, whether it is local, national or worldwide, has an Us vs Them angle. There is always at least two opposing sides to every story. The news looks for conflict and intrigue because, like a novel, conflict attracts an audience. Reporters are trained to seek conflicting viewpoints. Two people, looking at the same event see it entirely differently, as though they have eyeballs and brains built in different factories with different specifications.
A recent front page: "Officials Seek Motive for Theatre Shooter." A deranged man had just lit up a theatre , killing two innocent people, wounded nine others, then committed suicide. The story went on to discuss the man's previous involuntary commitment to a hospital for mental illness. Officials know he had carefully planned the event because they found wigs and disguises and noted he had changed his license plates. So he wasn't totally out of his mind...
But the media isn't satisfied to know the killer was deranged. No, they want to know how he got that way, because, in their world, there is a rational reason for evil. The killer, is, after all, somebody's son. He is a victim of ...something. He didn't just wake up one day and decide to kill people. That is just too black and white, and we all know, only blood red draws spectators.
So I say, who cares? Really, why do we spend so much time pursuing the obvious? I just want Old West Justice for murdering scoundrels. I don't give a rat's ass why these maniacs do what they do. I just want to wash the gene pool of these creeps. Keep it simple, put him down like a mad dog, and move on!
But no! We have to be lectured by Them; the ones who wring their hands, empathize with the killer, suggesting that maybe he was the victim because he didn't receive the proper dose of free support from the mental health community. And of course, if he hadn't had easy access to guns, why this may never have happened! Always wondering how we could have achieved a perfect world had we shown more empathy for the poor, the miserable, the mentally imbalanced and less obedience to the NRA.
On the next page, I found a story about two extreme environmental terrorists who had just been captured after unleashing a reign of terror across the country to focus attention on their pet peeve anti-fur, save the minks campaign. They released wild animals into the community, vandalized property with connections to the fur or meat industry, broke windows, slashed tires, wrecked storage facilities, and even attacked police vehicles and equipment.
They were characterized by Them, as brave activists whose sole purpose is to protect animals from human exploitation and cruelty. That their activities pale in comparison to American military use of drones and bombs to kill and maim innocent civilians in pursuit of our war on terrorism. In the minds of Them, domestic terrorists are fighting a good fight to save the planet from human destruction. Their 'crimes' against property and business are of little concern in their world of social injustice and moral relativism.
Maybe I am super sensitive and should just chill a little bit. I am sure that is what most less engaged and youthful kids would say.
"Don't sweat the small stuff" my wife tells me. Others just take all the social strife, discontent, political paralysis, and cultural clashes in stride. They say it has always been this way and don't think my generation is going to be the first one to change it.
It just goes on and on. If you are asking yourself, 'why should I care about this whiner?', you are definitely one of Them....