Humpty Dumpty Fell Off the Wall and Now Lives As a Paraplegic

Humpty Dumpty Fell Off the Wall and Now Lives As a Paraplegic

By Don Hall

Neutral.
Uncommitted.
Unbiased.
Undecided.

What beige-like descriptors.

The people who embrace and justify the squatting shuffle of the fence-sitter are those who want to stay friends with both parties of a divorce with no regard for the reason behind it, they wait until the election is pretty much decided before casting their vote, they watch their friend make sexually and racially offensive slurs and turn a blind eye, they wait and choose to not make a choice when it matters.

"After patriots tore down the statue of King George III in New York City on July 9, 1776, they melted parts of it down and made bullets to use against the British.

It is impossible to know the exact number of American colonists who favored or opposed independence.

For years it was widely believed that one third favored the Revolution, one third opposed it, and one third were undecided. This stems from an estimate made by John Adams in his personal writings in 1815.

Historians have since concluded that Adams was referring to American attitudes toward the French Revolution, not ours. The current thought is that about 20 percent of the colonists were Loyalists — those whose remained loyal to England and King George. Another small group in terms of percentage were the dedicated patriots, for whom there was no alternative but independence.

Often overlooked are the fence-sitters who made up the largest group."

SOURCE

They are often overlooked because their contribution was zero. Nada. Nothing but making it more difficult for the nation-to-be to move forward (or backward.) Fence-sitting is understandable, though. Generally not of the neutral or even-handed sort, I have experienced my own bouts of indecision in the guise of diplomacy and I’m almost always regretful of those moments.

I regret my refusal to wholeheartedly endorse Al Gore when he ran for president. If more of us had rallied more aggressively in his favor rather than sitting on the sidelines explaining that he was wooden and uninspiring, we might not have had eight fucking years of Bush Jr. or the longest war in American history. Kinda makes one re-think all the criticism and indecision of Ms. Clinton, don't it?

I regret continuing to remain a close friend with a former band director who I knew was an adscititious gay-hater, ignoring his barbs and homoragic jokes until I found out he regularly donated to organizations that were designed specifically to curtail gay rights. Only then did I make the decision to severe ties with him. Too little, too late.

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I watched Lydia Lucio brand a friend and mentor in her nascent storytelling days a racist and a sexist and go after him with a ferocity that seemed unnecessary and vindictive, and I sat on the fence. I refused to choose sides because I was a friend to both. Certainly a chunk of my motivation for casually straddling the wall between them was arrogance but whatever the rationale, a year later I paid for that non-choice as she viciously turned the same tactics on me, going a step further to enlist others to the cause.

When I see white people in a Starbucks or a Waffle House or on the street watching police use abusive physical force on black people instead of stepping in, I see fence-sitters. Refusing to choose out of fear of retribution or apathy (or white supremacy — don't wanna forget that…)

Each time a kid who commits suicide (and apparently they are doing this in record numbers since the advent of social media and the pocket sized super computer) because of online bullying, there were teachers and parents and other kids who watched the click-baity fun and said nothing, did nothing. Same with the white guy shooters. Fucking fence-sitters.

That voter, holding out his support, thinking that his one vote will shift the tide rather than the tide being a whole motherfucking bunch of votes and money and time? The rails of that fence are dead center up his bunghole. The appearance of a spine is really just the fence post propping him up.

Certainly, throwing one’s allegiance to a cause without thinking it through is stupid.

Think it through. Observe the behavior. Weigh the consequences.

Then make a fucking choice.

Social media makes fence-sitting easier. Understanding that being a Faceborg friend or a Twitter-follower is not at all the same as being an authentic friend or genuine follower makes it an uncomplicated non-choice to see shitty behavior from one “friend” to another and ignore the implications. Remain connected with both because, hey, it isn’t your fight, right?

I wrote a piece for the Ape back in January of 2017 entitled The Company You Keep Defines Who You Are

"Certainly, we each are our own person. Certainly, we are not so influenced by the people around us as to be so blatantly a composite of them. But just as certain is the fact that those with whom we spend the most of our time shape who we become.

Women who spend a lot of time together often begin to menstruate on the same cycle. We pick up smoking, petty theft, language, dress, prejudice, ideology much in the same way. Creatures born to inhabit tribes, it is our natural instinct to adopt the patterns of the herd. It's one of the reasons that the Internet can so easily allow us to form mobs that fail to thoroughly read or reason before rendering a perceived enemy to reputable shreds."

I once had a longtime friend ask me why we didn’t hang out anymore. At first I didn’t really have an answer, and the old salt of “growing apart” came to mind. Later it hit me. She was still close friends with my ex-wife who, after sleeping with another friend, went on a semi-public campaign of reasons why we divorced that included a litany of how terrible I was but failed to mention her infidelity. My friend decided that her behavior was fine (it wasn’t, after all, about her and I probably deserved the cuckoldry) and rode that fence.

An insidious side effect of social media is that, while in the world of flesh and bone I can craftily avoid those weaselly fuckers whom I find noxious and hateful, with the many fence-sitters on that Friends list, I am constantly surprised by things that remind me of them. The ease of not choosing online, of remaining detached and out of the line of fire, creates webs of connectivity with people whom we no longer want to be connected.

(Christ. As I'm typing this, I see a notification from a good friend espousing a special comedy project illustrated by said ex-wife's husband who has gone out of his way to shitmouth me online! Good holy cocknabbing GAWD, I'm truly learning to detest social media!)

"With the ubiquity of online social network sites and the substantial amount of time being spent on them, important questions have arisen regarding the effect of online social interactions on well-being.

Results from some studies have suggested that social media use might increase the risk of mental health problems and might compromise well-being more generally. Use of social media may detract from face-to-face relationships, reduce investment in meaningful activities, increase sedentary behavior by encouraging more screen time, lead to Internet addiction, and erode self-esteem through unfavorable social comparisons."

SOURCE

I have made the argument that social media is just a tool and it is the user of that tool who decides how to use it. Given the growing tendency of accidentally stumbling upon the tantrum-throwing, polemic-spreading, bullying fuckfaces of the world and increasingly feeling the desire to get a baseball bat, wrap it in barbed wire, throw on my motorcycle jacket and "save" a few people, it's time to change the landscape some. I've spent too much time learning to manage my temper (in the Inside Out version of my brain, I have two emotions: Rage and Joy. They are identical twins and finish each other's sentences) to let the fence-sitters in my feed inadvertently open doorways to unreasoning hatred.

I no longer unfriend. The term has too many unintended meanings. I simply block you out. Understanding that a Faceborg friendship is not the same thing as an actual friendship, if you are my friend, I'll see you around. If you suddenly find that you can no longer see my online presence, that's what happened. Most people won't even notice which means I'm starting to do this right.

I can no longer sit on the fence when it comes to FB. I'd rather enjoy my day, use this tool to appreciate those around me and ignore those who can't make a choice. 

Think it through. Observe the behavior. Weigh the consequences.

Then make a fucking choice.

Notes from the Post-it Wall — Week of April 29, 2018

Notes from the Post-it Wall — Week of April 29, 2018

American Shithole #15 — Comedians Unite! Except You, Dennis

American Shithole #15 — Comedians Unite! Except You, Dennis