It’s finally happened: I’m out of viewing material. I have successfully depleted the Netflix instant view inventory of “1,000 Ways to Die” episodes along with scores of other movies and TV programming. No-doubt, your question to me is “What the hell is “1,000 Ways to Die?” The answer is “It’s crap.”, but I respectfully submit that is the wrong question. The question I think you should ask yourself is “Why have I depleted so much Netflix instant view inventory?” The answer is I haven’t worked since July 2011.
My daily schedule is as flat the West Texas plains. Nothing happens. I wake up. I have coffee. I apply for work. I watch Netflix. I write. I drink. I go to bed. Rinse, wash, repeat. Wednesday nights, Friday nights, and Saturday afternoons I spend time with my friends—but that’s just beer and plotting the armed insurrection. We never actually secede and my friends, by and large, are a pretty homogeneous lot who collectively share my world view pretty closely. There’s never any controversy; no discussion of different viewpoints; it’s all the same day in and day out.
I am an unemployed writer who is marking time with a steady diet of Netflix, bacon, and whiskey, while praying desperately for a big-ass cumulonimbus cloud. I remember thinking to myself earlier this week, “Dear sweet Jesus. Enough with the blue skies and dry cotton fields. Can I just get some refreshing rain, or a few brilliant flashes of lightening, or even the harmless bark of thunder?” Last Friday I got all three.
It all began when I finished a beer and took a break from Netflix to check my e-mail. In my inbox I found three emergency freelance assignments. Hello rain.
I worked feverishly to beat the deadline, proofed my work, and fired it back 90 minutes early. It was only three hours billing time, but that’s about a month’s worth of scotch and compared to the previous seven months, this tiny bit of work made me feel like a rock star. It was like a fifteen minute, intense downpour after a two-year drought.
Enter lightening. After grabbing another beer, I made the mistake of checking FaceBook, a pathetic act for a 53 year-old man to begin with. The fourth post from the top was from my pregnant daughter who is in her third trimester. It was two photos with juxtaposed messages. On the left: a woman in a costume worn by waitrons at the Tilted Kilt, a pub with the same business model as Hooters, but with a Celtic theme. On the right: a woman breast feeding her child in full view of the photographic lens. The caption:
Left: “If this is acceptable in restaurants”
Right: “This shouldn’t faze you either.”
Bottom: “If it does, you’re a hypocrite.”
I was suddenly accosted by the Devil who began taunting me to weigh in with an opposing opinion. Intuitively knowing what was best, I immediately turned my back on what was an overwhelming temptation to be a smartass. But then I saw that Fran had weighed in with a rather innocuous dissenting view, which exponentially increased the temptation I had thus far successfully oppressed.
Now let’s play a game I like to call What Will Happen Next? You guessed it. I served up a counter volley, suggesting that while breast feeding is natural and loving so is sexual intercourse, implying that both required discretion and privacy. In my opinion displaying cleavage as part of a restaurant costume was in no way the same as watching a woman breast feed in public—and I said so.
Who here thinks that was a good idea? It wasn’t.
I was damned near electrocuted in the hail of comments that followed. I could almost hear the yelling as my daughter pointed out the absurdity of comparing sex to breast feeding. I could see the frustration in her face as she explained that I was sexualizing the female anatomy. I heard the anger in her voice as she described an imaginary situation in which people were publicly berating her for simply feeding her child while I sided with the angry mob.
I opted out, deciding that discretion is the better part of valor. If you’re familiar with Shakespeare, you know that’s actually code for cowardice, but it’s a reasonable reaction to both lightening and female ire, which at times are indistinguishable.
And now we come to the final chapter of this installment of A Day in the Life of Guy-o: thunder.
I headed over to my regular hangout with Fran, and another friend, TC, who rarely accompanies us anymore. He has a new girlfriend and he’s been tending to the care and feeding of that relationship.
For the opening conversation, Fran scolded me about—I mean encouraged me to be more sensitive to my daughter in her currently fragile emotional state. I quickly changed the topic to my Netflix viewing. Two hours and four beers later we headed to a local sports bar for dinner.
We were nearing the end of our meal, and I still had Sloppy Joe filling on my plate, that never made it into the leftover bread that never made it into my belly. “Are you going to eat that?” Fran quipped. “No; do you want it?” I responded.
Fran replied by walking around TC to my spot at the bar and helped himself. It was a little crowded so Fran was necessarily in my space, which motivated me to move away from the bar. As I stepped back, for some reason known only to God, I thought it was a good idea to say “This is a little gay, so I’m just going to back up a bit.”
TC snapped to attention and innocently offered, “That was kind of homophobic.” At this point I must refer you to a previous entry entitled Man up Dude. Two things I attempted to make abundantly clear in that entry follow:
- Don’t make up words.
- There’s nothing wrong with being gay.
a) Homophobe is a made up word and by extension so is homophobic. A person who is disturbed by the concept of a homosexual life-style, thinks it’s a sin, or is ignorant or naïve about the gay community is not a homophobe. He or she is simply gay-averse. A person who hates someone because that person is gay is something called a bigot. Bigotry is bad—but there is no such thing as a homophobe.
b) There’s nothing wrong with being gay.
Without thinking I lit into TC explaining that a) homophobic is not a word, b) it is political name-calling, and c) homophobic is not a word. He returned the volley and explained to me that as a black man he understood the perils of prejudice and that my comment was bigoted.
Undeterred, I upped the ante, raised my voice, and asserted that not only is homophobe an imprecise term invented by that pansy Phil Donohue, it is universally used as a weapon against the political right in the same way the “n word” was once used against African Americans.
TC then raised his voice and forcefully suggested that I was using hyperbole to sell an emotionally based point of view and that my comment was, in fact, bigoted. Then Fran entered the fray with yet another scolding—I mean exhortation that my arguing tactics were unsound and with even greater verbal force suggested that I step off.
After he was done there was a moment of awkward silence. I simply looked at them both and in my calmest voice said “Homophobe is not a word.” TC began to laugh hysterically, raised his glass, toasted our friendship, and I bought the next round.
As Homer Simpson once brilliantly suggested “To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.” Perhaps it also seeds rain clouds.