Tag Archives: assholes

The Customer Ain't Always Right

“Pulling a JetBlue” has entered the modern lexicon, thanks to the inimitable exit Steve Slater pulled when a passenger was a fucking dick and wouldn’t apologize.
Like the classic movie Network, it seemed Steve Slater finally just had enough —  tired of the ignominy of a life of service in the skies, he was “mad as hell” and wasn’t gonna “take it anymore.”

Steve Slater on his MySpace page, presumably on a day he LIKED his job.

Good. Steve Slater’s my hero of the month, personally.
We live in a society that puts up with everyone being an asshole because there’s this “customer’s always right” mentality.
No, you know what? A lot of customers are assholes.
If I had to serve you people every day for the rest of my life, I’d put a fucking bullet in my head. Seriously.
I imagine why things like Twitter and Facebook have taken off is the protective shield it allows people for finally speaking up to what they think — especially the “little” people in service industries.
You and I both know 75% of them would never dare speak up in such a fashion in person, unless it’s only letters on a screen.
But then we head back out in the world where everyone’s more selfish, ignorance is rampant, and people bite their tongues in the course of daily exchanges, and there’s this festering resentment everywhere we look.
Me, I’d rather live on the planet where you can stop mid-statement, look quizzically at your work colleague, and inquire “Gee, are you gonna be a dick like this every time we hook up, or can we get to a new place NOW, not later?”
Imagine the bullshit it’d cut through.
Instead, we keep smiling and nodding, trying to tactfully dance out of awkward situations instead of saying, “Hey, not cool.”
I’m not sure if I have some form of speaking Tourette’s that gives me wide berth when it comes to blurting uncensored things, but it sure as fuck simplifies my life more than it complicates it, ‘cos I often blurt those things you’re likely to only think.
“Oh, that’s just Steff.”
Goddamned right it is.
Try it, speak back a little. Say no. Don’t be sorry. Own the right to speak up. Be like Steve. Walk out.
But don’t tell me it’s okay to be treated like shit, whether it’s by a customer or not.
The customer is NOT always right. Sometimes they’re really, really stupid.
Like the time I worked in a bookstore, and a woman was looking for a copy of The Talmud, so my colleague and I simply directed her to the “Religion” section.
“Religion? It’s there with all the OTHER so-called faiths? Just stuck in the same section with all the other not-Jewish books like that?”
My colleague looked at her, stunned, and said, “What? Would you rather we kept them in a SEPARATE section? Would it be better if we marked them to show how special they are, with something like a gold star? And if people brought a book back, instead of sullying the others with the rejection, we should just burn those unwanted books? Would that be better than the “RELIGION” section?”
I’m pretty sure she never returned to the shop, but I’m hoping the lesson got through to her defectively thick brain (and it really makes me miss working retail).
It’s an example, though, of stupid customers. Some can even read yet sink to immeasurably stupid depths. I know. Shocking.
Steve Slater got tired of it.
He probably got tired of all the things I’d like to beat out of my society with a fucking bat: entitlement, petulance, arrogance, impatience, ignorance, indolence, and, most of all, STUPIDITY.
Here’s a cheat sheet for EVERYONE that probably got under Slater’s skin, which is to say about 40-50% of people:
You’re not as special as you think you are. That job you’ve had modest success with could be done by most lab monkeys. Your money doesn’t elevate you. Your degree ain’t what it used to be. (Look who they’re admitting). Your fancy clothes don’t give you “asshole” exemption.
Here’s a reminder of how to be a decent human being so that the people who are paid to put up with your bullshit don’t have to make an emergency exit and get slapped with legal charges.
Because, trust me, a lot of us are fucking fed up with the Fuckwit Factor that comes with living in the modern world.

a) When you’re dealing with human beings in the flesh, get the fuck off your cellphone until you’re through. Seriously. Fuck.
b) Say “please” and “thank you”, because you’re not entitled, and it’s not much, but it sure helps to make a long, underpaid day a whole lot less insufferable.
c) Hold the door open for a split second when someone’s five feet behind you. It’s simple manners and you’re not THAT important that 5 seconds of your life is gonna undo the time/space-continuum there, buddy.
d) Don’t kid yourself — people in jobs “less” than yours work every bit as hard as you, if not harder. Most have had bad luck in areas that hindered them academically or professionally. You’re a product of good fortune as much as you are of work. Respect others.

Life’s short. It’s hard enough without entitled fuckwit assholes raining down their assoholic tendencies on anyone in spitting distance. It’s also hard enough without the disenfranchised outsiders thinking their life on society’s perimeters makes them a moral superior to everyone else.
Be better. Trust me: You can. Everyone’s become more of a dick than they were 20 years ago. It’s time to reverse this.
Meanwhile,  where do I get me one of them fancy exit-when-you-gotta slides, there, Steve?
And the beer, Steve: BRILLIANT touch. I think I love you, Slater.

Mental Health: In Which Steff Calls a Spade a Spade

A couple months ago, I proposed to talk about writing for therapy, how to kinda “go there”, via blogging.
The conference was yesterday. It was an “unconference” put on by end-patients and people who work on the peripheries of mental care.
Why did I want to get involved?
For a million reasons. I’ll get to most of them shortly.
But, first: I proposed my talk without knowing the conference’s “reputation” or anything like that. I just wanted a forum to talk about depression.
Unbeknownst to me, I stepped into the thick of a controversial “unconference.” It wasn’t until Friday that I really realized just how controversial it was. Whether it’s because ballsy speakers like Steven Schwartz speak in dismissive vernacular, saying edgy-yet-funny adjectives a lot of boring people object to, or because of who was organizing it, or even the press some of us speakers were getting, the reactions were ridiculously sharp and pointed.
Late Friday night, I saw comments some anonymous dumb fuck left on the Mental Health Camp’s website, and I got pretty riled up. Since then, all the comments were deleted, which I take serious issue with.
Me, I never would have deleted the comments. We convened the camp to fight stigma against the “idea” of mental illness, so why would you delete, and not fight, that stigma when it stands up and attacks you? Deleting and silencing the attack does nothing to neutralize it. But that’s where I stand and it’s not my blog. So, yeah. Moving on.
The asshat’s comments varied, but the most offensive of them all were that a number of those involved in the Mental Health Camp were doing so only to propel their image and get their allotted moments of Warholian fame. Media whores, basically, all faking their interest to get noticed.
Heh. Yeah, okay. Fucking shrewd, that.
A line in the comment made me wonder if I was one of the people they alluded to, just because I had the audacity to do an interview with CBC about the conference.
Here’s the deal, all right?
I’ll be the first to admit there were organizational issues with the conference. That’s what happens with not-for-profit amateur/volunteer organizers, people who have organized a conference just to have discussion and don’t have experience organizing them.
Oh, well. That’s life. It happens. But it’s not about the organizing.
It’s about the messages explored — mental health, stigma, and the fact the lives are destroyed by mental illness every moment of every day, and the fact that EVERYONE in their lifetime will experience mental illness at some point, and YET we don’t talk about it.
Well, I do, and I have for years.
I’ve been writing about depression, weight issues, self-esteem, lack of confidence, and everything else I’ve battled in life since 2005, and blogging since 2004. I’ve been getting real fuckin’ raw and honest since 2006.
There are a whole lot of things I’m willing to do to have success as a writer. Do you know what the least smart of them would be?
Letting myself in any way be any kind of poster girl for any mental illness.
Let’s see, when was the last time a Hollywood publicist suggested their celebrity client embrace their mental illness for the public as a means of netting better starpower in the press? Um, never.
Know why?
No one wants to be thought of as “nuts”.
Because people who are strong, intelligent, articulate, engaging, and well-liked don’t come out and admit their mental illnesses. They don’t talk about them. So stigma exists because all we see are the nutty fucks you try to avoid in hallways, or the whackjobs they put on television shows.
But those are extremes.
When assholes like that anonymous commenter attack a conference whose only purpose is to bring the overly-shamed and constantly-silenced issue of mental health to the forefront only because they dislike the people behind it, and they use that opportunity to suggest it’s basically Starfucking by those involved, it’s an insult to the seriousness of the issue.
It also suggests they have no fucking idea what it’s like to have been, in my case, an otherwise strong and intelligent person who took the wrong medication and considered suicide before spending the next year-plus trying to claw my way out of the depths.
It suggests they have no idea what it’s like to live under the clutches of your mind, body, and chemistry’s whimsy on a day-in, day-out, year-by-year basis, never being able to rise above a sick world of fear, chaos, and hopelessness that can’t manifest outwardly, that you hear inside your head every time you wake or lie down to sleep.
It suggests they don’t fathom that mental illness is the most costly and insidious of sicknesses in society — it destroys the fabric of life, of all the lives around the sufferer, not just the body of the afflicted. It ends relationships, destroys marriages, causes debt, and is the largest reason for employee leaves of absence in the modern workforce.
I don’t WANT to talk about depression.
But I need to.
Because what happened to me can happen to anyone.
Because it happened to my mother, and, as a 17-year-old girl, I walked in on her attempting suicide with the very pills that caused her chemically-induced depression — one like I myself would experience 17 years later.
Because doctors will tell you birth control pills don’t cause depression.
Because I know my birth control made me want to kill myself and feel like life could never have hope again.
I need to talk about depression because I’m tired of bi-polars, schizophrenics, and other more acute or rare mental health concerns having the limelight in “mental illness,” when it’s depression that’s most likely to touch, and destroy, the average life.
I feel like their more “stereotyped” afflictions make it less likely for seemingly average Jolenes like myself to come out and say, “I’m not that afflicted, but it still really fucked me up, too, and no one saw any big signs…”
I am a good writer. I’m a really, really good writer. I’m a passionate speaker who will not mince her ideas. I don’t back down from a fight. I’m engaging, funny, and even self-deprecating. I’m a great communicator with friends, family, everyone.
And yet depression almost took me out of the game of life.
But I survived.
I made it to the other side. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been. I’m happy most of the time.
Still, I’m surrounded by people I see who are skating through life with the cool indifference of someone struggling with depression. I see it everywhere. And we’re NOT TALKING ABOUT IT.
You want to attack my IDEAS? Go for it.
But don’t fucking attack ME or any of those people who’ve had the STRENGTH to write about all the things YOU make fun of, that YOU won’t trust, or YOU can’t admit about yourself.
We’re out there only for the reason that we can’t be silent anymore. Society can’t AFFORD our silence anymore. We need to hear our thoughts expressed on the page, we believe our experiences are real and representative of the whole, yet largely ignored by the mainstream.
And we’re not going to be quiet about it.
Not anymore.
Until you’ve lost your job — like I once did — for writing in the public eye about your darker self, until you’ve had the courage to write without tempering your weaker thoughts and fears, until you’ve been able to admit you have an affliction the majority of society can’t understand and doesn’t know how to act around, you have no right to criticize us for the moments of acknowledgement we might finally receive after years of having the courage to tell our stories no matter what the prices have been.
Now it’s easier for me. But where the fuck were you in 2006 when I wanted to commit suicide only 9 days after writing the most harrowing things I’ve ever published? Where were you when my traffic dropped to nothing as I used my blogs to work through my depression? Where were you when I lost a job and nearly my home for having a voice on less acceptable topics? Where were you when I struggled to maintain faith in speaking out? Where were you when I constantly had to lower my voice when I said what I wrote about?
Sure, now you know about me, but I’ve been doing this for a long fucking time and I’ve paid a LOT of steep prices for my honesty.
But I’ve paid ’em and now you can’t shut me up. Just try it, honey. You’ll only wind me up more.
If I finally have an audience and a wider means of getting my message out, you’d have to be a fucking moron to think I’d walk away from that opportunity.
Oh, and being single and getting press for having gone nuts, been suicidal, and longterm depressed? Yeah, that’ll be a fucking brilliant way for me to get laid. I hear men are wild about that shit.
Marketing GENIUS, clearly.
Whoever you were, you anonymous spineless motherfucking commenter: Grow up. You’re a fucking idiot. Open your eyes. See that some battles need to be waged with faces on them.
At least I have the guts to show mine.

Just Shut Up.

A few days ago, Gary Coleman died.
Before Gary even died, the jokes were flying — mocking him, his lifelong health problems, and spreading word of his death before the end even came.
Instead of wishing for his survival before the aneurysm took his life, all of Twitter was cracking jokes and mocking the on-his-deathbed Coleman.
People were being dicks.
Whatchoo talkin’ ’bout, Willis?
I get that people think “Oh, celebrity! Let’s mock them!” I understand there’s this mentality that if people step into the limelight, they get what they deserve.
Oh? Well, Gary Coleman’s probably the most shining example of everything that went wrong with child stars in the ’70s before laws were made to protect them — and the cast of Diff’rent Strokes is legendary for how awry its child actors went — suggesting to ME that pretty bad things were happening on that set, and the children were treated as poorly as they could have been.
Coleman was cute and short and “forever young” because of health problems, and his fucking asshole parents exploited him. He was so sick and working so much that he never graduated.
Without an education and with only a stint as a child star, what’s a guy gonna do with his life? Yeah, try to live off the steam.
I know how fucked up elements of my childhood were, and I only had to overcome health problems — kidney problems, like Coleman, who I always felt sorry for as a kid because I didn’t have to overcome my health on a drug-riddled set with asshole adults and teens who were circling the ethical drain.
My mother always told me what a tragedy it all was, even when the series was at its height. Sick kids shouldn’t be working, Steff, she said.
Coleman’s entire life was fucked over by his health — he probably never had a great love, he never had much past Diff’rent Strokes.
But he sure got mocked.
We’re a pretty cruel society.
We’re ignorant. We’re jerks.
Gary Coleman never got to choose to be Arnold. He never got to choose his life. He never got to rest and take care of himself like a sick child should get to do. He got to work his childhood away to pad his parents’ coffers, then spent the rest of his life as some joke of a character’s shadow.
I’m glad everyone had their laughs.
Maybe y’all can shut the fuck up and show the dead man a little of the respect he should’ve had in his lifetime.
No one deserves to live life as a joke.* Nor die as one.
RIP, Gary.
A beautiful tribute written for Gary is here.
A look at how badly awry all the kids from that horrid series Diff’rent Strokes fared is here.
I realize Coleman played into the joke. I’m of the opinion he had no choice. What’s he gonna do, work at a gas station? “Hey! You’re that KID.” He might as well have exploited it — it was the only foundation of life that his parents built for him.