A few weeks ago we were out supporting one of our local restaurants. We go to this particular place often enough that they ask if we even want a menu – we kind of know it (the menu) and know our favorites. We also see a lot of the same people there. One familiar group is two or three people… a Mother in maybe her late 20’s, her daughter who might be around 6 or 7 and her mother (grandmother).
On this particular evening, the little girl was being a normal kid, doing things while trying to sit in one place for a great period of time and asking her mother a lot of questions. At one point, I heard the mother say “You’re killing me, Smalls!”
When I heard that, it rang a bell. I had heard it before but could not remember where. I was either informed or looked it up to discover that it was a catch phrase from the 1993 movie “The Sandlot.” I wondered if this 6 or 7-year-old had any clue as to why her mother was talking like that, what she meant and why was she calling her “Smalls?”
Perhaps one day in the future (if the kid has not already seen the movie), she’ll get a chance to see it and hear the words her mother once spoke to her. Now it will make some kind of sense in a weird way.
I guess what I’m getting at is that there are a whole lot of things out there that people are unaware of and then for some reason find out about it. Before we knew what it was, did it matter? Does it matter now, after we have learned about it? Does it matter because someone says it matters?
On January 6th, I had no idea what Charlie Hebdo was. Now I do. I completely agree with the idea of free speech. I also believe that there are times when it is unnecessary to provoke the shit out of someone just because you feel that you can. For example, I recently learned that my son becomes slightly irritated when someone taps their fingers on a hard surface or to a level that is noticeable. The reason for this is that someone he works with does this… and seems to know that it bothers him. Now that I know this, I could just do it to irritate him. Or, I could choose to not do it because it would irritate him and doing it on purpose just makes me a dick.
Annoying people just for the sheer personal joy in it should probably have some limitations. These limitations should probably be imposed by your own self-knowledge of how to be or not be a dick. How to know this? Well, let’s say you do something… like put your icy cold hands on someone’s bare skin, or slip a piece of paper into a sandwich you made for someone. If their response to such action is something along the lines of “Hey, you are kind of a dick for doing that”, then maybe you should file that under “dick moves” and refrain from doing it in the future.
In the case of showing controversial Muhammad cartoons, now it is kind of like “Oh, this bothers you? Well fuck you, here’s another Muhammad cartoon.” Maybe that should go into the “dick move” category. Yeah, you can do it but do you need to do it?
Personally, I hate that people use the word FATHOM as they do. I think I originally learned the word FATHOM when reading or reading about Mark Twain. A FATHOM is a measurement of six feet. Two fathoms are Mark Twain. Mark Twain is the term they used for this measurement and also the pen name of Samuel Langhorne Clemens (aka Mark Twain). Years later I would hear some dude in his best Milwaukee accent use this term when describing something that he could absolutely not comprehend. As I listened to him and heard this, I thought “what the fuck did he just say?… Couldn’t Fathom something?”
To me, this is almost as disturbing as “Overwhelmed.” You can be overwhelmed and underwhelmed but you rarely, if ever, hear about someone being whelmed… which would be a level slightly above neutral.