Monday, April 14, 2014

Wait... What?

So, I was browsing through some forums, and I happened to see a topic titled:  "[Idea] No clothes for people who work at minimum wage"

The original post states:

Are you okay with this change? Do you appreciate the fact that clothes should be for those who actually work real jobs? If clothes are no longer available to those who work at minimum wage, will this change your decision to work?

There has been much talk about clothes and how they should not be given to minimum wage employees anymore, and I would actually agree that they should not even be a possibility for those who work minimum wage. Nor should shoes for that matter.

Now let's break it down sentence by sentence.

Are you okay with this change?
The change of forcing people to walk around in the nude (the extreme version I jumped to at first) or in old clothes (I do this anyway, so... it isn't really a change?).  I assume the poster meant the "in the buff" option, since they specifically said "No clothes."  Okay, whatever, moving on.

Do you appreciate the fact that clothes should be for those who actually work real jobs?
Um... excuse me, bitch?  What do you mean "real" jobs.  A job is a job is a job.  Some are shittier than others, yes.  But does that not make it a "real" job?  Employees get paid as if they work a job.  They perform their duties like they're at a job.  I'm not comprehending what makes a difference between a "real" job and a minimum wage position.  Sure, a good job may require a college degree of some sort, years of working experience in that industry, etc.  But why should people working these "real" jobs be the only one deemed worthy to wear any clothing?  How would one get one of these "real" jobs if they were not allowed to have any?  Ugh, lets move on I guess...

If clothes are no longer available to those who work at minimum wage, will this change your decision to work?
So... now they're NOT working... Right.  Okay.  So, I work at a quick-lube (read:  I change oil in vehicles, all day every day, preferably in under 8 minutes).  I get paid slightly more than minimum wage ($0.75 over to be exact) so at the end of the week, I get paid somewhere around $30 more than a person on minimum wage would (assuming a 40 hour work week, before taxes).  But now I'm (or they're, since I technically don't qualify) not working.  I get some people have a holier-than-thou mindset for people in service jobs.  I didn't think it would be so easy to find, but I run into at least one person a week with this type of attitude.  But I assure you, it is work.  In my case, I have to get dirty, burnt, risk being run over, and risk slipping and breaking something on just about every vehicle that comes in for an oil change.  In the fast food industry, they must pump out food pretty quickly, risk being robbed / attacked by customers, and there are probably some injuries they could sustain in a high customer volume situation that I just can't think of at the moment.  Even at Wal-Mart, the employees have to worry about being robbed/attacked, having items fall on them, being run over in the parking lot, possibly even the store.  I think you see where I'm trying to go with this by now.

As far as changing my decision to work (I think I talked about the work thing already, right?)  My decision has never changed.  I'm still looking for a job somewhere that I can use my degree.  But either I don't have the required work experience in the industry (none), or I don't have what the employers are looking for skill-wise.  Of course, I'm working on this.  Trying to teach myself new programming languages, building on what I already know, working on some projects to show what I can do.  Moving on.

There has been much talk about clothes and how they should not be given to minimum wage employees anymore, and I would actually agree that they should not even be a possibility for those who work minimum wage. Nor should shoes for that matter.

Who has been talking about this?  When?  For how long?  Maybe I've just missed it, but this is the first I'm hearing of this.  I've even looked this up to see if I can find something somewhere about it.  But I've found nothing.  And as for taking away the shoes as well... really?  Now you're just being a sadist.

Oh well, I guess there wasn't much of a point to this, and maybe I took it too personally, but I just saw it and wanted to say something about it.  Are there other people who feel this way?  Anyway, until I have something else that I just have to rant about, see ya!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

2014 And Me

I don't normally do resolutions, in fact, this is the first time I'm really setting any.  Mostly because I'm young, and don't really plan things out that far ahead.  Don't get me wrong; I like to plan things out, and if something unexpected happens during those plans, it throws me off for the rest of my day (not in a crazy way, I just feel off balance, like the world is upside down... I'm not helping my case...)

Anyway, my list is looking something like:

1 - Get in better shape.

I'm not a complete uggo or anything, but I'm not completely happy with my body.  A bit of a gut, small moobs, a little bit of jiggle in my arms and ... you figure it out.

2 - Actually put my degree to use.

I work in the auto service industry (read:  change oil).  Which, don't get me wrong, is an okay job.  The people are great (mostly), and I'm pretty sure unless I screw up in a major, major way, I'm sure to stay there.  But I would like more.  I have a Bachelor's that says I learned how to code programs and web sites, but haven't put it to use because I had been waiting for a company to hire me.  But I'm realizing, I don't need to wait for some company to give me the opportunity, I can do it on my own, build a portfolio, and then let the companies fight over me (I can still dream).  Luckily, this one is already sort-of happening.

3 - Write

In 2012, I participated in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and actually finished the book.  Kind of.  The plot is there, the ending is there or in the works, and I have room to expand the story if I want.  But there are some things I'm not happy with.  My writing style, for one, seems choppy in some places, winded in others, and nonsensical everywhere else.  I also feel it's not descriptive enough.  I can see it in my mind, but I'm the writer, can other people view what I'm viewing?  Do other people even see landscapes and characters in their head like they're watching a movie when they read?  Plus, I would like to add some side-story there.  What fun is it if you see the objective, and run straight for it?  On top of finishing that (and possibly publishing?) I would like to do it again, most likely in a different universe.

4 - Learn another instrument

I played the clarinet from 6th grade up until the beginning of my 11th grade year.  And I was pretty good.  The best one in my class by a fair margin I believe, and some upperclassmen to boot.  I do still play it occasionally (Phantom of the Opera Theme is a favorite, we did a marching band show using that music my 10th grade year), I also have a violin I ordered with the intentions of  learning to play it... and then never did.  So I'm going to get around to that, roommate's hearing be damned.  (Unless someone wants to buy me a cheap electric one... no?)

5 - Be more assertive

I'm kind of a doormat.  I back down from confrontation all the time, telling myself they don't mean it, or they just need space, or they're having a bad day; but I would like to put and end to that.  I don't mean I plan on hulking out on anyone (one, that's uncalled for, and two, I don't have the muscle mass for that).  I mean, I have bad days.  Why should I be questioned or chided for my attitude when I have them when I say nothing to anyone else about theirs?  So, yeah, that.

6 - Read

I love to read.  Mostly fantasy series, but the occasional murder-mystery or retelling of an event.  But since I've started working, its hard to just sit down and read.  I try to do some reading before work, when I'm waiting for a manager to get there to open, but that's not a lot of time, and it can be hard to focus trying to watch for the manager's car, deal with people coming to ask when we open, why I don't open, etc. But I think there will be some exciting developments this year.  Maybe "Winds of Winter" will be released.  The last of the Mortal Instruments series is slated for release, although I'm not sure I'll pick it up... I've just finished Susan Ee's debut novel "Angelfall" and am in suspense to find out of my library can borrow the sequel from the only library in its system that has it.  And I'm assuming it's possible for her to release a third in the series by the end of the year...

So, there's my hopes for the new year (so far!).  Maybe putting them down on record somewhere will inspire me to do some, if not all of these things.

Here's to a brand new year, Random People of the Internet; may all your hopes, wishes, and dreams at the very least become attainable this year.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Drama, Drama, Drama...

So, I haven't posted for a while again, but this time for a good reason:  I got a job!  Granted, it has nothing to do with my degree... and the pay is bad... and it is the very definition of a dead-end job... but it's still something!  Not that there are that many readers, and really only one person that comes here intentionally...

Anyway, just because I'm a little bit busier, doesn't mean the drama doesn't stop.  Not that this is news to me, but I had hoped for a small break.  The focus of this post will be relationships (again), but as the drama is going on!

So, my brother had been dating this girl off and on for lets say... 7 years.  This has been going on since she started high school, to give you an idea of what ages we're dealing with here.  And, I'm going to try my best be fair in the telling of this story, although be warned, I strongly dislike this girl.

Moving on... that's a long time to date someone.  And the relationship has recently ended (for good, I hope).  She had been living with my brother for maybe 5 months, both of them attending community college.  But, she doesn't like where they are living, she wants to move closer to the college.  Fine, sure, I can understand wanting to drive less, be closer to a bigger city.  She wanted this, despite neither of them having a job, or any source of income.  So they start arguing (by arguing, I mean her yelling at him over this).  He tells her they would talk about it at the end of the week.  By the end of the week, she has yelled at him a few more times, and he tells her:  "This isn't working out.  You need to find some place else to stay."  And she's gone within 3 days, all her stuff is gone.

Here, I'm conflicted on how to feel.  On the one hand, I feel like he should have given her more notice to find a new place.  I don't know that he kicked her out or gave her a date to move, or if she just decided she needed to leave immediately and did.  But on the other hand, when I would be the only other person staying in the house (my brother having a night class or staying with an ailing family member), she always had some place else to spend the night.  So, she obviously had another place to go.

But I can also see that he needed a break from all the arguments.  It was taking a serious toll on his studies.  In his program, if he fails 4 tests, he's kicked out.  If he misses x number of days, he's out.  If he is late x number of times, he's out.  No refunds, just a "Wham, Bam, Thank you Ma'am."  During the course of their arguments, he failed 3 tests...  And I can hear the arguments:  "Maybe he just isn't cut out for the program he's in." or "Maybe he just should have put aside their arguments when he needed to study, just tell her he needed an hour to himself for this or that."  I had the same thoughts run through my mind.  "If he failed, it's on him, she had nothing to do with it."  But then I thought, it was relentless.  I could come home at any time they both were here, and I could hear her yelling.  I've even been out playing with the dog, everything is fine, after 5 minutes of being outside, she storms out and sits in an area where she thinks no one can see her, and cries.

And, my brother isn't an idiot.  I may think he is at certain things, such as life in general or common sense.  But when it comes to school, he's brilliant.  He would deliberately make mediocre to average grades in school (to emphasize to teachers that he wasn't me), and then completely blow every other student out of the water when it came to finals.

Anyway, she has been moved out for 2 weeks, and then I come home from work and check my Facebook and see "Fuck you, you lying, cheating asshole."  This, along with a house key and ring tied to the back door when I get home send the message that they're broke up.  And I call around to see "what had happened."  Apparently, my brother had went on a date with another girl, and she found out about it.  She goes to our mother and tells her, sings her sob story, then goes to the house, where him and this new girl are, and from what I've heard, she jumps New Girl, and he pulls her off of New Girl.

Break Again

Here I wonder why she is so pissed.  Yes, he went on a date with another girl.  She believed they were still dating/engaged/whatever, I could give a damn.  But, his words to her when she moved out were what I said earlier:  "This isn't working out."  This could be taken either way, the living or dating thing.  So, you know, be pissed on that level.  But also, probably 5 years ago, she got pregnant.  By someone else.  While they were dating.  (Unfortunately, or fortunately given the current situation, the baby did not make it full term, through no human intervention, just a failed pregnancy).  And he was probably pretty pissed at her then, especially since he drove her to meet this Other Guy and dropped her off because he believed they were simply friends wanting to see a movie or something, but this didn't even cause a hiccup in their relationship, they kept dating through it.

So on that level, I wonder:  "Did him and New Girl get physical?  And if so, it is nothing you haven't done in the past to him.  So do people in glass houses really want to start launching boulders at others?"  Not that I'm saying anyone deserves to be cheated on.  If you are in a monogamous relationship, be in a monogamous relationship with that person.  But if you have cheated before, and your partner takes you back, do you really have any ground to stand on if the roles are ever reversed?  If it was done out of spite, sure, you probably do, because it was done to intentionally hurt you.  But after arguing for 1-2 weeks straight, being told "It's not working out," and then them going on a date?

Like I said, I have never really like this girl, I can get along with her and be courteous when I see her, but my true thoughts on her would not win me a peace prize any time soon.

After that little confrontation, I'm not sure what has happened since then.  There have been a couple of other posts put on Facebook by her, but I haven't really heard anything else concerning them.  And with that, I think I've said everything I want to on that for now.  Until next week, where I will most likely talk about customers being customers at my job, barring any other topics that may trump that...

Friday, September 6, 2013

Self Happiness

So, this one may be a little preachy (which, to be honest, the last several / all of the other posts may be as well), although now I can possibly attribute the preachy-ness to me now being ordained.  Plus, it kind of runs in the blood... two ways... I'm related to a preacher and it's kind of a Southern thing (thang if you would prefer me to say it with a twang).

Preface in the unlikely event I ever decide to tell any family I have a blog and allow them to read it:  I'm not ungrateful for anything, or even resentful, spiteful, or even angry.  I'm just stating observations I remember and now have the cognitive ability to analyze what happened and put it in perspective.

Anyway, this is going to be about relationships.  And no one reading this will be asking:  "Relationships?  Haven't you already talked about those?"  And the answer is:  Yes... I think.  I'm not sure, probably.  But I haven't talked about THIS part of a relationship.  I think...

But, like I have mentioned before, I don't date.  It's not that I don't want to date.  Or even that I can't date.  Sure, I may be a little afraid for reasons I've stated in more recent blog posts.  But another reason is that I'm not completely happy with myself.  Mentally or physically.  Physically, I would like to lose around 20 pounds.  Not that I don't think I'm attractive from time to time in the mirror.  It just helps if all I can see in the mirror is the shoulders up.  But mentally, I would like to be sound and self-sufficient in my own happiness before I bring another person into the mix.

Me being me, I have a weird memory.  I may not remember what I ate yesterday, or even 5 minutes ago.  But I can (and do) remember the most mundane, useless information that I read / heard 5 years ago at random times, for no apparent reason.  I'm sure there is a reason, and I could find it if I psycho-analyzed myself, but it's more fun to psycho-analyze perfect strangers and then tell them why they did what they did or what they're thinking of doing.

Getting back on topic, growing up, I remember my mother dating.  And not dating.  And how she was at polar opposites during these times.  Most of the time changing her behavior as the relationship is dwindling down into the levels of catastrophic failure.  While she was dating, everything was fine.  Of course, there may be arguments, but at the end of the day, she was still a happy person.  She would play with me and my brother, spend time with us and her boyfriend, and all around be a great mom.  But, when the relationship was ending, or outright over, she was a different person.

For a while, after the separation (North Carolina law states that before divorce proceedings can begin, the married couple has to be legally separated for a minimum of one year), my mother didn't date anyone.  I still saw my father on occasion, went to spend weekends with his parents maybe every other weekend.  But when we were with her, she always had a headache.  She didn't seem to take an interest in what me or my brother did (not to say we were not watched, but it was if being at a daycare, your actions are only monitored).  Not very encouraging, things like that.  This may have been attributed to grieving for the ending of her marriage, which is understandable.  And it is not like we were not loved.  I'm sure we were, and she had family she could lean on that would drop what they were doing to watch us if she had to go do something.  But it feels now as if she were distant towards us.

As we grew older, and her divorce was finalized, she started dating again.  Always long term relationships, spanning years.  We had no revolving door of men coming in and leaving our house.  And, like I have mentioned, during the relationships, she was mother of the year.  But as soon as the relationship was over, the switch was flipped.  Any little thing would set her off.  I remember once getting in the car, and me or my brother had forgot our wallets, a 2 minute delay, to be sure.  We were small, and just felt important to have a wallet to carry around.  She became angry; immediately yelling, moving the car from reverse to drive, and slamming down on the accelerator, forcing our bodies to the back of the seats.

I could give a few more stories, but I think anyone reading this far gets the gist of what I'm trying to say.  I don't want to be dependent on anyone else for my happiness; if anything, I want someone to enhance my own happiness.  Someone that I would enjoy spending my life with, and if something were to happen to the relationship - yes, I would grieve.  But I could hopefully bounce back in time and return to my old self.  Maybe I'm not saying it right, it sounds kind of stupid typing it out like that.  But, I do know that I do not want how I feel to be tied to my relationship status, and that be the only thing defining my mood spectrum.

So, if anyone reading this takes anything away from this post, let it be this:  Find what makes you happy, and then think of building a relationship.  Sure, a relationship can do fine pinning your happiness on another person, and I'm sure many relationships have lasted with this setup, but in the event that it doesn't (and it's basically a 50/50 chance that it will last, statistically), you would at least have something to fall back on.  Remember what makes you happy.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Chapters From My Life: Stranger Danger

Keeping with the theme of the last two posts (sort of), I decided to type out my experience with a stalker.  When I was 17.  Apparently, I had it going on.  Now, when I say stalker, I don't mean that this person followed me everywhere, but it was still sort of creepy having someone that was obsessed with me.

Like I said, I was 17, in my senior year of high school.  Probably around March when it all started.  School had literally been out for 3 minutes, and I was walking down to my car.  Not to go spend time with friends or go to the local "hangout" that everyone else went to (spoiler:  it's the only restaurant that's open after school, the Chicken Hut).  No, after school, I went to pick up my sister, who was about 4 months old at this point, from her half-sister that kept her during the day, and then to take her home and watch her until mom came home from work.

Anyway, I'm down to my car, I'm ready to leave, when my brother (who is also driving to school now, who also takes his girlfriend home or to our house after school) comes running at me telling me his girlfriend's friend wanted to talk to me about something.  I protested, of course.  "I have to go pick up Sister, you know that."
"I know, it's only a minute, just wait, here they come now." he said, pointing up the hill towards the school.

I follow his finger and see a freshman walking down towards my car.  So I wait, I figure this won't take long.  He, yes, that's right, he, gets down to my car and starts stuttering (he has no speech problems).
(Images Drawn May Appear Fatter Than In Reality) 

"I, um... I, um, I, um, I'm making a, um, movie, and, um, I wanted, um, to ask you, um, if you, um, wanted, um, to be, um, in it."
Okay... he wants me to be in a movie, he's in the drama club or something, so that isn't too weird I guess...
"Okay, I can, I guess... I can't talk about it now, though.  I need to go pick up my sister from the sitter."
"Oh, um, okay, um, I can, um, talk to you, um, about, um, it tomorrow."

And he walked away from my car, to go catch his bus.  I left the parking lot, went and picked up my sister, and everything was fine after that.

The next day, I had first period with one of my friends, and I decided to talk about this with her.  (This little snippet also shows how much of a Richard my friends can be, so, there you go).

"You know Gerald, right?  He wanted to talk to me yesterday..."
"Oh, what about?"
"Well, he said he was making a movie and asked if I would be in it."
"HA!  I bet he would like to make a movie with you!  You walk in, he turns down the lights, lights some candles..."
"What are you talking about?"
"... put on some porn music."
"Oh, hell no!!  This shit ain't happenin', we're dating if he asks, you got it?"

Luckily, she agreed.  Not that it helped any.  At the end of this school day as well, I'm out at my car, unlocking it from the passenger side (because my car's remote doesn't unlock it, and the alarm goes off if I unlock it from the driver side).  When I feel a tap on my shoulder.  I turn around and: 

I kind of wish it had been her... I could have handled that.  Anyway, "Gerald" is standing there.  Wanting to talk to me.
"So, um... the real reason, I, um, wanted to talk to you, um, was, well, because, um, I have a, um, a crush oh you."
(Hair Drawn:  Bad, yet accurate)

Yeah, I had never been approached by anyone saying they had a crush on me before.  I had never really been expecting it either.  But, I did what I thought was best in this situation.  I threw my books in the back seat and said:
"Um... I'm not gay.  Sorry."

I then walked to the driver's side of my car, because I thought the conversation was over.  Apparently it wasn't.  He followed me to the driver's side.  I opened my door and looked back, and BAM!  There he was.
"Sorry, I just don't swing that way... I'm going to go pick up my sister now."

I then proceeded to get into my car, and after I had buckled myself in, I looked up and saw that he was already mostly across the parking lot.  I felt bad for him, and it took courage to come up to someone you don't even know and admit that, so I give him credit for that.
By the way, the reason he approached me at all, was because my brother's girlfriend, lets call her Jeanine, told him she thought I was into the D.  I had watched "Repo:  The Genetic Opera" over the weekend, actually, I fell asleep watching it, so after the credits rolled, it went to the menu screen, which I believe belts out one song back to back.  She happened to stay over that weekend, and heard it through the wall (thin walls between bedrooms) and just ran to him based on that.

But, it doesn't stop there.  He sees my friend at the local dollar store, and approaches her.  Concerning me/us.  He asks her if we're dating.  He had heard the rumors (concerning us dating), and wanted to know if they were true.  And as far as he knows, we were dating, I guess an earlier rumor concerning the two of us paid off (She was allegedly pregnant with my baby, which she then lost when she was in a jeep that rolled over or something.  People sure have active imaginations).

And... it doesn't stop there!  About a month later, one of the people in his circle of friends is standing next to me in line.  I guess I could say me and this person were on friendly terms, being fellow ex-band geeks.  Anyway, she says:

"You know, Gerald asked me what color your eyes were."
"Why?  That's an odd thing to ask... They're blue, by the way."
"He said he was writing a song about you, and he wanted to know."
"A song?!  That's... sweet, I guess..."
"Yeah, he's pretty obsessed with you..."
"Oh, well... I told him he was chasing a dead end a while ago.  I don't know what else to do."
"Yeah, he'll get bored eventually.  Sorry he's kind of fixated on you."
I never heard the song.  I'm kinda disappointed I never heard about it.  Although now that I think about it, maybe it was more of a distanced-admirer thing instead of stalker. 

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Inching Out

I wanted to do this post separate from the last one, because I felt that it would turn what I intended to be a short(ish) post into a short story.  Not that it didn't turn into one of those anyway.

So, I'm gay, and not out.  But I wanted to talk about why I'm not out, just so that it would be out there and maybe not on my mind as much.

First off, have I mentioned I live in a small town?  Because I do.  The kind where everyone knows what you did three counties over before you get home; somehow without the power of the Internet.  And, being in a small town, nearly everyone is a Christian, of one denomination or another (I'm aware of 5 people, including myself, that aren't).  I'm not saying I did nothing worthy of discussing in the hallways or at the local watering hole; I'm sure I've been the topic of conversation a time or two.  But I would just prefer, for now, that there be no snap judgements made about me concerning who I'm attracted to.

Normally, I have no issue with what people think about me.  But I attended high school in this small little town, where... 3 individuals were openly gay (surprising for a small town, I thought), and you could hear the typical slurs around them (out of anyone of authority's earshot, to be sure, although I'm not sure they would have done anything about it).  But, they mostly kept to themselves, within their own groups of friends.  And, I felt I was dealing with enough in high school:  uncomfortable with my body image, hormones, random boners, etc. and didn't want to deal with any more during that time.

Secondly, I enjoy having a place to live for now.  Yes, I still live in my mother's house.  No, I have no friends that would like to allow me to stay with them.  I stayed home while attending college, which I finished a year and a couple of months ago.  I stay here mostly because I have no income.  My fancy college degree isn't busting down any doors revealing people eager to offer me a job, or even give me an interview for that matter.  I'm sure my mother would be fine with the fact that I'm gay, but I still don't want to tell her while I'm technically under her roof.

See, when I was 14, I was in marching band.  Being 14, I had no legal way to transport myself other than walking, which is not an attractive method of travel when everything is at least 10 miles away.  So, I was stuck with my mother driving me to and from practices / Friday Night Football at the school, or to get on the bus that would whisk me away to a competition every Saturday for the fall/winter semester.  On the way to one of the Friday Night Football games, (if you're wondering why all those letters are capital, it's because that was a "thing," which we heard about every morning from cheerleaders over the PA), she started a conversation.  I don't really remember what we were talking about, something involving school I'm sure, when it turned into talking about homosexuality (we may have been discussing one of my friends that was also in band).

Mom:  "Well, that was one of the things I always feared about raising you and your brother by myself."
Me:  "What was?"
Mom:  "Making you or your brother gay.  Because that's what I heard when I divorced your father all those years ago."

Little old 14 year old me, struggling with coming to terms with it myself, was told this.  I'm sure that I would still be accepted after, but... the message I got from it at the time, and still read into it today, is that she doesn't want a gay son.  For whatever reason that may be.  We're not very religious, but maybe she's just religious enough to disown me.  (Note to parents that may be reading this:  kids remember a lot of the stuff you say to them.)

Keeping with the last post, I wanted to address some statements that I've seen or heard in other places.

Why don't you just try being straight / Do you wish you were straight?

I can't say I ever tried being straight.  I mean, I can think a girl / woman looks pretty, or nice, or hot, but I'm just not attracted to them.  I mean, I've talked to girls, and been friends with lots of them, but there's never any spark or anything there when I look at a woman.  As for wishing I could be, I don't know.  Sure, things would be somewhat easier in my psyche, but then I wouldn't be the person I am today.

Well, I'm a youth minister, and a lot of the people I talk to that are gay were molested at a young age by an older male.  It makes me wonder if that had anything to do with it.

I won't say that their past experience had nothing to do with shaping who they are.  And I can only speak of my experiences.  I  was molested around age 8.  I won't say any more than that because I feel it has no bearing with what I want to say here.  Even before that event happened, I still felt the same way.  I can remember being 4 or 5 walking into a fast food establishment with my mom or grandparents, and seeing a cute guy running the cast register / taking orders and would get nervous about talking to him, even to order my food.  And I was only this way about men running the cash register.  I could order my food fine if there was a female running the cast register that most heterosexual men would rate at an 8 to 10.

Aren't you afraid of burning in Hell?

Are you afraid of being shanked by a unicorn one day?  I will say I struggled with this question for a while when I was younger; being brought up Christian and not knowing there were any other religions in the world.  But when I discovered other religions, religions I felt  I resonated better with than Christianity (I was and am skeptical of the Immaculate Conception, which I think bars me from Christianity and Catholicism, along with other points).  I guess my point is, I don't believe in the same afterlife as Christians believe in.

Anyway, I think that's all I wanted to say on this topic, thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Catching Up

So, for this post, I want to talk about DOMA (Defense Against Marriage Act) being struck down.  I wanted to do a post on this when it was relevant (about a month ago), but issues came up and I didn't have as much time to be at home, or sit down long enough to write what I wanted to say on the subject.  I still don't know exactly what I want to say, but now I have some time to write down some thoughts.

Full disclosure - I'm a gay male.  So, you probably know which way I'm going to swing on this post, but I feel that it's something that should be known when discussing this.  I don't think I flaunt it or am overly flamboyant; in fact, I think I have only told 4 or 5 people, and none of these are people I've actually met in person, just friends met while gaming or via an online class.  Sure, I've got to know these people well, and talk to some on a daily basis, but I just can't bring myself to tell a person that I physically see with any regularity.  But I'm getting off topic, and I'm planning on doing a separate post on this anyway.

Anyway, DOMA was struck down, or a part of it was, in June.  As everyone is probably fully aware of by now, this decision did not make gay marriage legal in all states; this decision didn't even make it so that a state has to recognize a gay married couple if they were married in another state.  It did, however, make it so that any legally married gay person(s) receive equal rights/benefits under the federal law.  This means that gay couples that are married can receive tax breaks that other married couples receive.  If one of the parties in the marriage have a pension - their spouse can now receive it if their spouse dies or becomes ill.  If one spouse is hospitalized in an area where only family can visit, they can now visit their spouse instead of having to wait in a waiting room until their spouse either recovers or passes away.

Those are only a few of the perks now afforded to gay couples.  I'm sure there are more, concerning wills (or lack of a will in the event of a death), property, and other things.  I also thought I would look at some of the arguments against gay marriage and give a point of view on them.  I do not speak for the LGBT or any other affiliate, this is just my own personal opinion.  I wasn't sure if I needed to say that, or if I would be accused of having some "agenda," by doing this, but... there it is.

One popular argument is that homosexual people being allowed to marry will ... let's say desecrate, for lack of a better word, the institution of marriage.  Two points:

One - When it comes to marriage, there is the religious ceremony - you know, it normally takes place in a church, with a pastor / rabbi / preacher / whatever officiating the ceremony.  The couple invites their friends or family, there's multiple people involved in the ceremony, normally a couple of children doing odd-jobs, yadda yadda yadda.  There is also the legal aspect of marriage, which is where the license comes from.  The couple goes to the justice of the peace, or the judge, or the county clerk's office, after getting some blood work done (depending on the state, I believe).  This is purely a government arrangement, and has nothing to do with any religious ceremony.

Two - In my opinion... the sanctity of marriage has been jeopardized, if not already in the gutter, for a while.  Do I have to point out Kim Kardashian's wedding that lasted maybe two months?  Or Mario Lopez's 2-week marriage?  Britney Spear's 55-hour marriage, Cher's 9-hour marriage, and on, and on, and on.  Sure, these may be celebrities - but they were afforded the right to marry and divorce/annul and I doubt any big brouhaha was made about it.  Or what about what I like to call "Serial Brides," who bounce from marriage to marriage (I want to do a post about this too).  The point is, any "sanctity" that marriage had is long gone by now, in my opinion.

Marriage was meant to provide a stable environment to raise children with, or Marriage is a device to promote procreation.

So, what exactly is wrong with a gay couple raising a child?  Personally, I don't see anything wrong with it, it's two individuals wanting to raise a child, just like any other person.  And in a gay marriage, both parties have to consent to having a child, I doubt it's something that they would be able to surprise their spouse with out of the blue.  And there is no chance to conceive a baby to "fix the relationship."  Furthermore, while I have not met a person raised by homosexual parents - how would you be able to tell without them telling you outright or you asking them.  On the other point, the one where marriage was a device to promote procreation - gay people can still have children - their plumbing still works I assume.  They just aren't attracted to the sex that can result in a baby.  But there is IVF now, if the couple wished to go that route.  And if that is one of the arguments used, what about menopausal women?  Are we going to force them to leave their husbands of x years because they can't have children anymore?  Or sterile people?  What about people that don't want any children but got married because of their love for each other and wanting to make their relationship more permanent?

If men can marry men, then it's only a matter of time before men can marry animals.

Okay.  Just... okay.  I realize there's a fetish out there involving the last half of that statement, but... *shudder*
Let's look at marriage:  a contract between two consenting adults.  (Men and Women if you're religious or in a state that doesn't recognize gay marriage, I suppose).  Animals are not able to sign their names.  I doubt animals do a lot of heavy thinking that should go into making a decision as large as getting married.  Don't get me wrong, there are smart animals; I think my dog is pretty smart, capable of emotions, and can tell me when I'm driving in a way that displeases her.  But I doubt that she would understand what a marriage was, what it entailed, and come on... she's a dog!  That's just sick.

What will gay people want next?  We gave them civil unions but those weren't good enough!

The U.S. tried the separate-but-equal thing a while back between white and black people.  It didn't work then, and it didn't work with civil unions.  If they were the same, why not call them both marriages?  Why not cut out the whole religious part?  And, the issue with civil unions was what was mentioned at the beginning of this post - other states were not required to recognize them or provide the benefits that came with a marriage.

For the record, I could care less about marriage.  I'm not seeing anyone right now, and have never dated another male.  I may change my mind down the road, after I meet someone, where I would like to get married, if my state ever decided to allow it, but for now, I see it as an out-dated institution.  But I can understand while others may want to get married, or to just be treated like any other married person in America.

And, if anyone has made it this far, thank you.  I understand this is a sensitive topic, and I welcome any comments you may have on the subject.  I only ask that you keep the comments civil, as in discuss the topic without dragging any specific person through the mud.  I think that is how change can happen, discussing things pragmatically.  Too often I click on an article and look through the comments to see people degrading others just because they don't agree with their belief.  Whereas if they looked at their argument and presented their own arguments as to why they believe otherwise, maybe one or more people could walk away knowing something they did not before.