Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

Welcome to my World---Woman, widow. senior citizen seeking to live out my days with a sense of whimsy as I search for inner peace and friendships. Jeez, that sounds like a profile on a dating app and I have zero interest in them, having lost my soul mate of 42 years. Life was good until it wasn't when my husband had a massive stroke and I spent the next 12 1/2 years as his caregiver. This blog has documented the pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties and finally, moving past it all. And now I’m ready for a new start, in a new location---a continuum care campus in West Michigan, U.S.A. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. (Just remember I'm looking through my prism which may or may not be the full story.) Stick around, read a while. I'm sure we'll have things in common. Your comments are welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Living the Entitled Life

What is wrong with people? What is wrong with me? Don’t answer that just yet because I’m going on a rant and I’ll give you my opinion on the matter first, then it's your turn. The other day I happened to sit next to a guy on campus who I try to avoid and I’ve been doing an excellence job of it until now…nearly a whole year since he first told me on an elevator that Covid would be gone as soon as the Democrats are out of office because they made the whole thing up. That was his excuse for not following the mask mandate that my continuum care complex had for all public places at the time.

He thinks we’re friends now because he joined the creative writing group and because he wrote a self-published book and I said some nice things about it. Sincere things because I don’t care if a 350 page book is vanity press it truly is an accomplishment and a commitment to put that many words downs on paper, sent them off to a printer and be able to hold the results in your hands. It’s an autobiography with a very impressive sepia tone front cover photo that makes him look like a Founding Father with his neatly trimmed white beard and stately posture, and he’s donated a copy to our campus library. He hired an editor to correct punctuation and spelling but not to touch the content. I found this out because he said when he gave a copy to a friend to read the friend reported back that Mr. DNR (department of natural resources) told the same story seven times in his book and I remarked that a good editor should have caught that. “Oh, no,” he replied, “it cost more to have the editor work on the content. I got the punctuation and spelling package only.” I didn’t say it but I’m thinking that editing out that much duplicated material would have dropped the printing costs down enough to offset the content editing service package. 

As we sat next to one another the topic of fishing came up---we were eating it at the time---and how he thinks it’s a crime that the Native Americans have exclusive rights to fish for a certain species of fish in the Great Lakes and they are using commercial fishing boats with huge nets---all because of a treaty written back in the 1800s. “They should be making them fish with canoes and dipping nets like they did back in the 1800s when the treaty was signed!” 

This guy is a NRA super supporter, a Trump Maga Republican and he put up a terrible fuss when he found out this place is a gun free campus. His Second Amendment rights gives him the right to move a cruise missile into his apartment if he wants one, he said, and “You’d all be happy I have my guns if a mass shooter tries to charge the place! I could pick him off from my balcony.” This conversation took place back before this complex was even built, at one of their marketing parties and the sales manager offered to give him and his wife back their deposit because the no guns rule is firm: he and his gun collection could not move in. Mr. DNR claims he gave all his guns to his sons to comply but I doubt that. I remembered all this when the guy mentioned the canoes and dipping nets and I wanted to ask him is he believed the Second Amendment should limit gun owners to musket and balls type guns like they had back when the Constitution was written. But I didn’t ask. We were eating dinner and it wasn’t a situation where either one of us could walk away. 

I told myself after the first creative writing session that I’d try to be open-minded about this guy but at dinner he told me he’s dropping out of the group because of Chatty Cathy---the song writer. “She interrupted me several times and others, too, and I can’t abide that.” “I know,” I replied, “I think she might have impulse control issues because of the stroke she had” and he said, “I don’t believe that. You could see she wasn’t paying attention. She was thinking about what she wanted to say next.” He told me to let him know if she drops out and then he’ll come back. "I will," I told him but in the back of my petty little mind I was cheering the fact that I won’t have to play nice with a Maga Republican in the creative writing group.

I said at the beginning I was going to rant out an answer to what is wrong with people and I guess I should keep my word. What is wrong with people is we can justify illogical thinking when it benefits us personally. And this guy’s attitude regarding the fishing rights of Native Americans vs his own right to own any kind of modern weaponry he wants is a perfect example of living an entitled life where the rules of logic and ethics are applied unevenly to serve the selfishness of oneself. And to serve my own selfishness I lied when I promised to call him if Chatty Cathy bails out of the Creative Writing Group. I was so happy I was afraid I wouldn't be able to keep the smile off my face.   ©

 * photo from the GLIFWC website

33 comments:

  1. That's good news that he has dropped out of the creative writing group. Fingers crossed you can go back to avoiding him.

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  2. Such timing in life ... I just wrote a letter to a columnist with the Miami Herald (Leonard Pitts) about the fact that Trump et al., is so much like Hitler it's uncanny (and scary as all get out). I told him I wasn't afraid of Trump so much as the people who believed the lies that came out of his mouth. And here you are with one of Trump's 'believers' and have a beautiful 'out' by not letting him back into your writing group. High five! LOL And if there was some way his place could be searched for weapons, I'd be on it in a New York City minute!

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    1. I seriously think the free cleaning service person we have here would watch guns and other signs that a senior isn't safe like hoarding or letting their dog poop inside.

      I hope you don't get any blow back from crazy element of Trump's followers for writing that letter. I admire you for writing it.

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  3. Life sure never gets boring at your CCC, Jean. It's funny how so many of us thought Chatty Cathy would send everyone over the edge with her outbursts, but the truth is, she's saving you from Mr. DNR (I liked what a commenter called him on a previous post, Mr. Do Not Resuscitate). Just goes to show you never know.
    As for the title of this post, I'd say most of us are living an entitled existence. I'll be the first to confess that I take much for granted. My husband and I worked hard, saved and invested what we could, gave money away, and now I think we should be able to do pretty much what we want. Well, the past few days, that mindset has haunted me.

    After my recent appointment at the oral surgeon (for my $5,000 implant--gosh, a single tooth), we stopped by the local Wal-Mart. I was filling my cart and had stopped for butter. There were two women near me and I just commented that I wondered how much higher the price could go (it's $5 a pound here). One of the women said, "I can't afford butter these days. I love it, but my husband and I are retired and are barely able to pay our bills." The other woman said she and her husband were both working two jobs.

    Those women have haunted me because I know that there is a growing need in our country--home of the free, land of the brave--among those who do not have enough money to live. Some will say, they should have worked harder, or they didn't get degrees, or they misspent what they had. Yes. We all make mistakes. But what should a civilized nation do for its poor? There I was complaining to my husband about another trip to the oral surgeon, and those women in Wal-Mart probably hadn't seen the inside of a dental office for years. I have been insulated by my lifestyle, my family, and my belief system. Yes, I am spoiled. When I think about ways to help the needy, I don't even know where a person would begin. Sure, we can donate and volunteer to charitable organizations, but my point is that it's just a drop in the bucket. I do not have answers. I wish I did.

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    1. Catty Cathy once showed up at our book club but never came back. It's my hope she'll do the same with writing group, once she shows up with a song or two to show us. If not, she will challenge us but we'll manage.

      Not all poor people have made bad decisions earlier in life or misspent what they had. So much of our success is the luck of the draw starting with the parents we get and the work ethic and other life skills we learn at an early age. Then there's the whole bad things to happen to good people thing.

      When I think of someone living an entitled life I think of someone who expects something for nothing, that the rules of the world don't apply to them. (And in the case of the Native American fishing rights, I think there was racism involved with Mr. DNR.) That doesn't sound like you. I take a lot for granted too, but to me that's not the same as thinking the world owes us anything. I'm spoiled too and it's easy to think we deserve to be because we worked hard all of our lives, but if that comes at the expense of someone else or not is the Litmus Test. Maybe I'm cutting hairs here but Mr. DNR wanting to take rights taken away from the Native Americans is a good example of the line between entitlement and being spoiled.

      It's really easy to ignore what we don't see every day and, ya, it is just a drop in the bucket to donate to organizations that help the poor but it's still the right thing to do. If enough of us do it, it can make a difference.

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  4. What an obnoxious person. Even if I wasn't a left leaning liberal, I would still find him offensive. He sounds like a bully, very opinionated, and not able to "read" the crowd. What happened to civility, kindness and diplomacy when interacting with others? When Trump came into office, I discovered that one of my dear friends is a republican! We avoid talking politics; every other aspect of her life is one that I cherish. She has distanced herself from Trump, after all of his criminal actions came to light.

    There is a dissonance that gets created when you truly care about someone, and then you find out that they possess these political/social beliefs that are totally misaligned with your own. And for those who support the extreme right, how is it they can support a misogynist, cruel, criminal leader (think Trump) and still be kind, caring, loving human beings in this world. I think about this a lot. Great post. I always enjoy your perspective.

    Carole

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    1. There can be such a huge dichotomy between how many Trump supporters act in their every day life and their support for a "misogynist, cruel, criminal leader" that I just can't wrap my mind around that. I genuinely like some of the Trump supporters here until they talk politics and people of color. They go to church and do good things then cheer on the very man who wants to destroy America as we know it.

      People here who know Mr. DNR say he keeps his wife on a short leash and I always defended him because his wife has dementia and I thought that was why he didn't let her ever be alone with anyone, but after his remark about Chatty Cathy, I saw a different side of him. He felt disrespected by her interrupting him to the point he couldn't see there is something organically wrong with her and her inability to have a normal conversation with others. Like you said, lack of compassion.

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  5. I'm with you. I have had some real issues with this of late, as I keep hearing people complain about the cost of gas (in particular) and food (somewhat), and just about everything else. And yes, it's pricier. And guess what -- we do have some choice in the matter and it has nothing to do with elections or who's in charge. Drive more slowly and increase gas mileage. Dump the SUV or pick-up for a smaller car if you are only a one or two-person household and bulk your errands; turn down the heat and put on a sweater; make smarter food choices; go out to eat or for entertainment less often and find that entertainment in less expensive (and possibly more enjoyable ways). We feel entitled to have the car we want, eat what we want, go where we want when we want and that's nice. But good grief, it's not essential to happiness. Sorry. I ranted too. Good riddance to Mr. DNR!

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    1. I'm glad my post gave you an outlet for your rant. You said it so well what a lot of us are doing to deal with the increased prices, which by the way can be traced right back to all the problems the mismanaged pandemic caused when Trump was in control. They've come back to bite us in the butt and it didn't have to be this way.

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  6. What a jerk. I am so glad that the problem has been solved and you had to do nothing. Bless Chatty Cathy. I loved your musket balls counter and only wish you had used it. Brilliant to turn his own argument against him.

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    1. I kind of wish I had said out loud what I was thinking. But we were half away thought dinner and if things got hot there was no escape route the way the tables were lined up along a 15 foot bench seat. I was locked in.

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  7. It would be difficult for me to bite my tongue when around a person like your Mr. DNR. I am saddened and discouraged by the hate and lies that have been encouraged by the former president. It will be a happy day when I don't have to read about DJT anymore...

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    1. I find it hard, too, but we all live so close here that I think in the long run it's better not to start squaring off at others. With the election coming up soon politics is coming up more and more lately and the Republicans are in the majority here...no big surprise in my county. My hope is that the candidates that Trump endorses loss big time in the mid-terms so that mainstream Republicans can stand up against him before 2024, without fear of paying for it at the polls. If that happens we can leave DJT in the ashes of history. If not, we are in big trouble.

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  8. You said it perfectly Jean: "living an entitled life where the rules of logic and ethics are applied unevenly to serve the selfishness of oneself". I would have been so tempted to bring up the muskets...you have more restraint (and sense) than I do. Brava!

    Deb

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    1. P.S. can you imagine having such a fragile ego that you can't take being interrupted by someone who can't help herself???

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    2. What a good point you make. Lots of people don't like sitting near her but I've never heard anyone not express understanding and/or sympathy for her.

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  9. I need to get out and about more! How can so many characters live in one location?? I love your witty comebacks even if you don't say them outloud (until blog time) I do live a privileged life (not entitled) and am so happy we have always saved while spending. Our food pantry has been hit hard. Starting in October clients may only shop every other week, 35 items or less. Per address. We have a few with two people and they each shop once a week. Instead of "living within 10 miles of the pantry" it will be proof of zip codes. Fundraising is really ramping up but I think we're in for the long haul.

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    1. I like the distinction you make between entitled and privileged. I would call me more privileged too.

      I've never been to a food pantry to know how they run. I donate to a local soup kitchen for street people. Do you have animal panties there? We have one of those around here. I donated a lot of Levi's stuff to one. They give the stuff out free to street people and poor people.

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  10. Having grown up on land that rightfully is part of a reservation, this argument between the DNR and the tribe were ongoing. Justice was served in the court cases (I think), the tribe was able to defend their treaties and the DNR might not like it, but tough tookus. When I think about all that was taken from all the tribes in this country in the name of manifest destiny, it's just shameful and sad. They deserve to fish. And honestly, there just aren't that many people doing it IMO. I think it's a control issue by the DNR. Selfishly, I have to say, we were able to have some amazing fresh fish at great prices when I was young, and I've yet to taste any better since I left. My mom has a stepson that fishes the big lake, and he brings her fish regularly. I need to figure out a way to be there and eat some of it one of these days. LOL.

    Also, good riddance to that intolerant dude. I'm sure it will make your writing group more enjoyable. He sounds like a pill.

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    1. My husband and I always cheered for the Native Americans fighting to build casinos too. Not that we ever went to them---not once---but like you, we thought the tribes were cheated out of so much in the 1800s. Now they have tribal lawyers who are funded by casinos who do nothing by study old treaties and find ways to try to enforce them. Talk about arrogant, entitled white guys---we sure had them in our history.

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  11. I don't live an entitled life, I just live the life I have and try to be grateful that it is a good one because there are so called idiots who believe they are entitled

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    1. You've got the right attitude. Being grateful is an important key.

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  12. My guess is Mr. DNR just wanted to brag about his book and show off a bit and never really intended to stay in the writing group. After all, he's already a published author so more than likely he thinks he's too good to be in the group and complaining about Chatty was just a convenient excuse. As for being a racist, get real, MAGATS are NOT racists! They say so ALL the time! Whatsa matter, you don't believe them? ;-D

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    1. LoL You had me going there a minute with the racist thing. Yes, I forgot their word is golden on that score.

      I thought Mr. DNR wouldn't stay in the group either, because he really isn't into creative writing. He dictated stories about his life into a machine for over a decade and then typed them up. Not that I'm trying to take anything away from that accomplishment, I'm not. But it's not the same thing as having an drive to write. His goal was to leave his life story to his grandkids. I have read a few pages of the book---he donated a copy to our library and I picked it up and read while I was waiting for a dinner reservation which I'll probably do again. It almost feels like an opportunity to figure out what makes a MAGA Republican tick. I don't think he would have held the job he did without an education.

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  13. First of all, I love your blog and all the comments.
    Second: You can pick your friends. And you can pick your nose.
    But you can’t pick your friend’s nose!
    As the facilitator or the writing group, you must remain neutral. But what great blog fodder!
    ST-in-NM—a recent transplant from a very red state

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  14. There will be no nose picking here. LoL But thanks for commenting.

    Even before the writing group I've tried to be neutral as much as I can, saving my hard-line opinions for close friends. It just works better living in a Red State when you're not one of them. Since moving into a condensed living situation like this CCC for the first time in my life I've been extra cautious until I get to know which way the wind is blowing on all the hot button topics to the point that now I feel like Lady Whistledown (Penelope from Bridgerton) observing and gathering fodder.

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  15. What is wrong with people? You said it, we rationalize our behavior and opinions more often than we should. I'd not tell the Doofus anything ever about anything, nor would I ever sit down near him. He deserves to be ostracized for being an idiot.

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    1. I've done a pretty good job of not sitting near him all this time but when the hostess seats you at the next table and the tables are only a foot apart (deliberately for easy talking) it's kind of hard to say, "No, I won't sit there." That's what happened that day.

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  16. Benjamin Franklin said, “So convenient a thing to be a reasonable creature, since it enables one to find or make a reason for every thing one has a mind to do.” (In this case he was actually talking about himself, for once.)

    It's easy for any of us to rationalize our behaviour. The test of our character is how often we do it to benefit ourselves. The further test is knowing that we did it to benefit ourselves. The next test is whether or not our action caused collateral damage. The final test is whether or not we are okay with what we did.

    I'm not preaching at all. That guy is a jerk and probably a racist and/or a bigot. It's up for grabs as to his value in a writing group.

    (Think of how many republicans would fail the character test I outlined above. It's horrifying.)

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    1. My next post is about come collateral damage I caused with a careless comment. But at least I didn't mean to do it where as a lot of the Maga Republicans these days seem to delight in making waves with their insults and stupidity. Old Ben was a wise man.

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  17. Good riddance to DNR, I agree, those who feel Entitled want restrictions on anyone whose NOT THEM, but a whole different set of Entitlements they feel are their Rights. Native Americans having ANY exclusive Rights is a rarity, even tho' this is their Land and the Resources, all of them, taken without compensation. Even on Reservations, they very often have the Govt. violating past Treaties and Promises as it suits the Greed and Agendas of Non-Indians. I'm happy for you too that he dropped out of the Group, it seems he has trouble getting along and playing well with others and so what his value would be in that group is questionable. Leading a Group and staying Neutral would be difficult for me, especially if someone is disruptive and can't respect the other members.

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    1. I'm not sure this group will be viable, but I'm glad one problem resolved itself. The other I'm betting on will too.

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