I put myself through college waiting tables.
If you don’t think tipping is necessary, you don’t know how hard that work really is.
Wait. I’m getting into this. How about “IF YOU DON’T GIVE THEM THE TIP, YOU’RE GIVING THEM THE SHAFT.” I really want to be the Martin Luther King, Jr of something. Bear with me.
I had a point to this. I swear that I had a point to this. While I recall what that point was, let me tell you a story about rock history.
Back in 1971, John Lennon released a song called “God.” In this song, he told us everything that he didn’t believe in: deities, politicians, rock stars. He concluded that the only things he believed in was himself and the woman he loved, a short Japanese performance artist 7 years his senior who was universally reviled as the impetus for the breakup of the band John had been in. “The dream is over/What can I say?” It was a brave and bold statement for someone of his stature.
Several years later, in 1988, a band called U2 released a “sequel” to this song, called, appropriately, “God Part II.” In this song, John Lennon is alive, or otherwise aware of what is happening on Earth since his death. He is no less defiant in what he chooses to believe in: “I believe in love,” Bono sings, a broader statement than John made in “God,” but of a similar vein. To love someone truly, you must be able to love anyone, right? Maybe so. Towards the end of the song, this John of Bono’s fertile imagination mentions that he heard a song by a Canadian songwriter named Bruce Cockburn, “Lovers In A Dangerous Time.” The original line that he paraphrases in the song is “Got to kick at the darkness until it bleeds daylight.” A nice line. A corking good line. I quoted that line to a former friend to help her see that she had to persevere through her own dark time. She had to fight, and she would get through. I’d like to think that she did; so much so that, after kicking the darkness, she kicked me out of her life.
Don’t feel bad for me. Don’t get pissed at her. We did it to each other. We harmed each other nearly as well as we helped each other. I fought to preserve our friendship, but she wasn’t interested in that. You see, before that “kick at the darkness” line is another line that is just as important: “But nothing worth having comes without some sort of fight.” I wanted to fight for us. I wanted to work things out. I wasn’t worth it to her. Our friendship wasn’t worth it to her. This is the reality. This is the truth.
Truth does sometimes sting and hurt and cause tears and anger, but it is essential for our social survival. But who are we really hurting with the truth? How can we possibly hurt ourselves by being completely honest with someone? We KNOW the capacity that the truth has to hurt. We KNOW what we are going to cause by being honest. We KNOW that we are going to hurt, nay, DEVASTATE, someone because of what we are about to say. Spare me the self-sacrificing narcissistic bullshit. We want to hurt that person. We need to hurt that person. Our own happiness and well-being supersedes the other person’s happiness and well-being and we see no other way, or are unwilling to find another way. I can respect a person who tells me, point blank, why they hurt someone emotionally, even if I find the action deplorable, which I often do. But to pretend that said person was “hurt” themselves in the process? Give me a break. When I get hurt by someone, I couldn’t care less what that someone is going through as a consequence. Why should I? I’ve no time to watch you lick your wounds. I’m too busy trying to lick my own.
So, what’s the point of this? What’s the point in writing a “sequel” to a post made over 3 months ago of which I was the topic of discussion? I don’t know. I don’t know if I can find a point to that, but I did make some other points, and perhaps that was the purpose of this exercise. I don’t know if the author of that post, that former friend of mine, will ever read this, and I don’t care. I can be honest about that. I don’t care, and I don’t care if it hurts her if she does read it. She didn’t care about my pain, my wounds, my hurt. I will also be moving forward, and perhaps, in time, my path will be smoother and more peaceful with such an apparent emotionally hazardous person excised from my life. No. Wait. Fuck “perhaps.” My path will be smoother as I move forward.
I think “taste” is a social concept and not an artistic one. I’m willing to show good taste, if I can, in somebody else’s living room, but our reading life is too short for a writer to be in any way polite. Since his words enter into another’s brain in silence and intimacy, he should be as honest and explicit as we are with ourselves. — John Updike