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