Monday, October 20, 2014

On Resentment

Way back, a long time ago, when I was a young lass of twenty-something, someone asked me what my goal for life was.  I said my goal was to live as resentment-free as possible.  Now, that is quite a wise goal for such a young lady, right?  For a little perspective, at around the same time, I would have told you that I would have run to the ends of the earth to be with Adam Duritz.

This guy:

Shut up. August and Everything After was a great album and Recovering the Satellites was a really good album and both Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox hit that and he hadn't yet done that unforgivably horrible cover of Big, Yellow Taxi.  It was a different time, is what I'm saying.

I digress. I do that.  

My wisdom was not unassailable is the point I'm trying to make.  

Still, some twenty-odd years later, I think that's a pretty good goal for life. Resentment has to be the most toxic force out there. My friend, Jessica, told me that being resentful is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die.  The Internet(tm) tells me Nelson Mandela said that.  But I'm gonna go ahead and give the credit to Jessica.  She's smart.

There was a study recently that made a pretty hard-to-argue case that simply giving the homeless free housing was cheaper than having them on the street.  There are further studies that say a guaranteed basic income is better for us a society than requiring people to work for money.  

I'm for housing the homeless and guaranteeing everyone a subsistence income because I don't want people to be homeless or hungry, even if they're super lazy and watch Two and a Half Men on purpose every week.  But America increasingly seems to be a place where some asshole saying, "No one gave me nothing" passes for a reasonable argument against housing the homeless and feeding the poor, even if housing the homeless and feeding the poor is good for all of us, even for the asshole in question.  


Laney recently came home from school and told me about this girl who was texting in the bathroom.  Kids at school aren't supposed to have their phones during school hours. (side note: sometimes I like to imagine having a phone on me when I was in sixth grade.  I could have recorded those horny little sixth grade boys who flipped up our skirts and shown them to the priest and they would have gotten in SO MUCH TROUBLE.  Or I would have had to suffer through an exorcism, because I reckon a cell phone video would seem like the devil's work to Fr. Stritch back in 1980).  Here's the exchange we had:

Me: Did her texting affect your life at all?
Laney: splutter splutter something not fair something splutter
Me: Was your life in any way affected by her texting?
Laney: It's not fair!  You're not supposed to!
Me: But answer me, is anything in your life altered by this girl's bathroom texting?

She gave in in the end.  This is a lesson we teach our kids, right?  Her life is not your life and even if she gets something you don't, you can be damn sure you've gotten something someone else didn't.  Don't be resentful.  It's cheap and will make you bitter and then you'll end up making shitty comments on local news websites.

It would be so nice to live in a country that believed in the virtue of a resentment-free life instead of in a country where stuff like this is said on major news networks and goes unchallenged:

I still love you, Zeke.