The Dissemination of Thought

Just because it's in print doesn't mean it's intelligent…

Posts Tagged ‘personal responsibility

Apologies, excuses and the verbal finger

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It’s funny how a seemingly innocuous action – or in some cases, actions – can compel one to do something they hadn’t planned on doing.

For me, the aforementioned actions were those of the rude, irritating woman who tried to cut in front of about seven people at the supermarket this afternoon.

I hadn’t planned on writing anything on my day off, but the behaviour of the woman – let’s call her the Bitch with the Handbasket – made me question at what stage people stopped apologising altogether.

When did ludicrous excuses replace sincere apologies as a response to fucking up?

I watched the Bitch with the Handbasket creep into my peripheral vision while I was waiting to be served in the express lane. I saw her eyeball the queue and stood stunned as she nonchalantly pushed in front of me and acted as though she’d been there the entire time.

After subtlety suggesting to her that she needed to move to the back of the line, I couldn’t believe her retort: “Huh? Oh, I didn’t see you there. Is there a line?”

What the hell? What part of my handbasket-carrying, six-foot-five frame didn’t you see? Did you fail to notice the half a dozen shoppers behind me who are now scowling at you?

As I asked myself what her problem was, it dawned on me that her excuses and ignorance were representative of the attitudes of many: we’ve become a society that accepts reasons why in lieu of apologies.

People seem to have forgotten how to apologise. In the rare instances where an apology is offered, it’s seldom genuine. Somehow, offering a feeble, disingenuous explanation has been deemed socially acceptable.

It’s got to stop.

In addition to the Bitch with the Handbasket, I’ve recently witnessed first-hand another example of society’s proclivity to throw out a thinly-veiled vindication instead of an apology.

Without going into specifics, the players in question were out of line and exercised poor judgement. Whether or not a private apology has been offered to the women involved is a matter for them. All I can comment on intelligently is that publicly, the only responses from the individuals at the centre of the allegations have been excuses. Lots of excuses. A few of them have even suggested that it’s me who needs to apologise for writing the story.

How hard is it to admit that you have erred?

I’ll admit it when I screw up. When I do make a mistake, it’s usually a big one. Like when I referred to the wrong team as last season’s premiers in a recent grand final preview. Oops. I could have made excuses, but what would have been the point? I made a mistake; it was as simple as that. The newspaper ran a correction and the earth continued to turn on its axis.

An excuse is not an apology. An apology conveys regret, remorse or sorrow, while an excuse tends to indicate the person blabbering it isn’t genuinely contrite. To me, an excuse is the verbal equivalent of giving someone the finger after you’ve wronged them.

If you’ve done something you regret, show some intestinal fortitude and admit you were wrong. If you aren’t remorseful for your actions you shouldn’t feel compelled to apologise, but please don’t offer up some idiotic excuse for doing whatever it was that you did. The best excuse in the world will never trump a simple, sincere acknowledgement that you screwed up.

Source: wba.theoffside.com

I’m not going to apologise for this post because even though you’re sorry for reading it, I don’t regret writing it. As for excuses, where would you like me to start?

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Why I wanted to throw an Oompa-Loompa off a moving ferry: blogging from the BlackBerry

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Public transport. It’s a never-ending source of depraved curiosity, bewilderment and material. If my travels don’t find me perplexed by the riddle of the ring, it seems like I’m perpetually pondering blasé parenting. I know, I’ve got a bit of an alliteration thing going on at the moment. Honestly, a solid week riding on the trains, buses and ferries could yield enough material for a year’s worth of TDoT posts. There’s a chance that it would also yield any number of genital-specific diseases, but I digress.

Why do parents think their spawn are not only bonsai geniuses, but that they are the most delightfully amusing munchkins on the planet? Furthermore, what drugs are they taking to nurture the delusion that the rest of us want to be subjected to Johnny reciting the alphabet on the bus, or little Barbeigh (yeah, like the doll, only cooler) running from one end of the train carriage to the other? Not only is Johnny in all probability as dumb as a post, he’s also as annoying as fuck. Put a leash on him or something.

On my ferry ride home this afternoon, I was accosted by four little darlings screaming and arguing. When they weren’t galloping around the cabin, they insisted on testing the trampoline-like qualities of the seats. A cessation of this behaviour only signalled that it was time for them to question their parents about why they hadn’t received a new toy in the last three minutes. At the top of their voices. Once the interrogation was over, the Oompa-Loompa wannabes resumed pulling each other’s hair and running the Tour de Ferry.

What did the parents do while the fruit of their loins were unleashing commuting Armageddon? Nothing. They chatted, played with their mobile phones and, unless I’m completely mistaken, seemed to take great joy in watching the bambinos entertain the other passengers. No, I don’t find your kid’s off-key caroling soothing – I’m trying to determine how harshly society would judge me for throwing a five-year-old off the stern of a moving vessel.

Given that I’m devoid of any paternal instinct whatsoever, one could assume that my Grinch-like complaint was unfounded and purely the result of not being very cherub friendly. But it wasn’t just me. Upon assessing the facial expressions of my fellow commuters, it was clear that I wasn’t the only one wanting to jettison minors. Had I followed through with my plan, I guarantee that I would have had to take a number and wait in line, a la a suburban delicatessen.

Can someone please explain to me why most parents believe that their progeny running riot in public and pissing everyone else off is adorable?

His parents will never understand why you want to murder him.  Source: blog.southeastpsych.com

His parents will never understand why you want to murder him. Source: blog.southeastpsych.com

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Tattoo customer gets the shaft

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Life’s full of surprises.  Some good, some bad, and some are a turkey slap in the face from left field.  My surprise for the day was that after almost 3 months without blogging, I’d get to use “penis tattoo” as a tag in my first post back.  The surprise I experienced probably pales in comparison however, to the surprise a 25-year-old guy felt when he realised he had a 40cm penis tattooed on his back.  Yep, you read right.  A dick.  The family jewels.  Meat and two veg.

According to the article in The Courier-Mail, the victim had requested a yin and yang symbol along with dragons incorporated into the design, had a falling out with the amateur tattooist and then proceeded to allow him to carry out the tattooing.  What the fuck? Perhaps I am not as trusting as the victim, but there is no way in hell I would allow someone I’d just had an argument with near me with a tattoo gun.  Come to think of it, I have a rule of not allowing anyone who carries out a professional service under the amateur banner from their house near me with anything sharp.  I include DIY dentists, orthopaedic surgeons and hairdressers under this umbrella.  Each to their own, but it’s a rule that’s served me pretty well thus far: as a result of adhering to it, I don’t have a huge tattoo of a cock and an apparently offensive slogan on my back.  Nor do I have any gaps in my smile where a problem tooth has been extracted with nothing more than a pair of fencing pliers and a shot of moonshine for anaesthetic.

In reference to the offensive slogan, it appears that the tattooist misspelled the key word. What that key word was is anyone’s guess, but my question pertains to whether the spelling faux pas was a deliberate act, or whether it was the result of one too many missed English classes in high school.  I would hazard a guess that it was the latter, but this is based on two fundamental assumptions:

Assumption 1

An artist’s professionalism is reflective of the environment in which they work.  Considering this artist was working in an environment where a zap in the microwave probably constituted tool sterilisation, one can only assume he doesn’t do much research on spelling prior to putting ink to skin.

Assumption 2

The guy actually got as far as high school.

What does this whole experience teach us?  Yeah, the tattooist is an asshole, but more importantly, it shows what happens when you have a brain explosion and decide to let a person put a permanent marking on you moments after you have had an argument with said person. In my opinion, the victim deserves to be the recipient of a Darwin Award.  Does anyone know a way to expedite natural selection?

I was going to try to sneak a cheeky Dragon Ball reference into this post, but figured after such a long absence I should kick things off on a somewhat higher level of maturity.  Let’s face it: the quality of jokes and innuendo is going to hit rock bottom again before too long.

It’s good to be back.

“Oh, thanks, you got me passive smoke. And I didn’t get you anything.”

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OK, it’s official. Smokers have taken a clear lead on my list of pet hates. Actually, let me clarify that. The majority of smokers have moved into the top position. Why is the clarification required? Because the minority, who have respect and do the right thing will not disagree with my thoughts. It’s those who typify the stereotypical smoker who will be whinging, bitching and sending death threats in response to the post.

I don’t smoke. Never have. I’m one of those boring people who have never even taken an experimental puff. It’s my choice not to, and I have no issue with those who wish to exercise their free choice in partaking of the habit. What I do have issue with is the smokers who believe it is their constitutional right to light up wherever the fuck they want, whenever they want, and thus remove the free choice of non-smokers not to be exposed to the myriad of toxic shit emanating from their cigarette. Also, there is the very small point about the actual smell of cigarette smoke.

According to the latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, around 3.3 million people over 15-year-old were deemed current smokers. This data was taken from the 2007/08 National Health Survey, so for the sake of this argument we will assume that the figures are statistically accurate. There are now over 22 million people in Australia. So let’s say 15 percent of the population smoke. The majority (refer back to paragraph two) are therefore removing (albeit inadvertently) the free choice of nearly 19 million Australians each time they light up in public.

Do you know what the most common litter found anywhere is? Yeah. Cigarette butts. The same people who take it upon themselves to remove the free choice of most non-smoking Australians also seem to believe it’s their right to dispose of the evidence of their habit wherever they happen to take the last draw. Sometimes it’s in a bin. Rarely. Usually it’s on the ground or in a garden. More often than not it’s out the window of their car. That always puzzles me. They don’t want the dirty, odoriferous refuse in the vehicle with them, so they assume the rest of us will accept it with open arms and toss it out the fucking window. Thanks for that. I would have preferred a 30-year-old single malt, but it’s the thought that counts, right?

For those who are the subject of this rant, a few key topics: free choice, respect for others, personal responsibility and littering.

I’m not going to lecture about the sins of a vice or addiction. It’s not the point of this post, and I have as many vices as anyone. Besides, the people who this post is aimed at won’t care. It won’t make any difference to their attitude or behaviour. They are already drafting their poorly worded death threats with one hand while trying to fashion a rollie with the other.

The curious case of the absconding manners

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I watched a social interaction take place on the bus this afternoon that got me thinking. And extended thinking eventually got me annoyed about what I had witnessed. The irony though, is that the social interaction wasn’t a once off occurrence, nor was it shocking. I’ve seen it a thousand times. But as I reflect on the week that has been, I have to ask the question – does anyone know what happened to manners?

The event that prompted this post was nondescript, yet in a way it was incredibly poignant – I was sitting up the back of the bus, watching the world go by when we stopped to pick up a mother with her toddler and an infant in a stroller. She struggled to get onto the bus and when she did, stood with a despondent look on her face when she realised that the six fold up seats normally used to accommodate prams and wheelchairs were occupied by an elderly gentleman with his groceries and two young guys, one of whom was expressing his individuality with denim shorts, knee-high socks and a blue singlet, the latter normally only seen in shearing sheds and on my late grandfather. One can only assume the socks were providing enough warmth from the Brisbane winter weather to negate the need for something with sleeves. It was an interesting social experiment to watch, with the mother looking hopefully at the two guys. They didn’t move. They looked at her, looked at each other with an almost non discernible nod and went back to talking. One even spread his arm out over to the seat between him and his friend, as some sort of non verbal, possibly subconscious confirmation that there was no way he was moving. ”Grocery man” saw this and ended up moving so the woman could use the seats on the other side of the bus, but it made me think. And here we are.

It would be too easy to put what transpired down to age, as seems common place with society today. It’s so effortless to sit back and point fingers at Generation Y. But the apparent demise in manners and common courtesy today isn’t just restricted to people born since that time when Knight Rider was cool. The “What’s in it for me?” mentality is prevalent across all demographics. Can anyone tell me at which stage in our evolution as a society we stopped thinking about others? When did we decide it wouldn’t be worth helping someone or being polite if there was nothing to be personally gained by doing so? Call me cynical, but it seems like a backward step in cultural development.

I was raised to show respect, tolerance and consideration for others, as were my two younger brothers. It’s something I will be eternally grateful to my parents for. I never gave it much thought growing up, as I had more important things on my mind (as teenagers tend to do) and I assumed that everyone was being taught the same thing. But everyone isn’t taught the same thing. Some unfortunately have no exposure to it at all through varying extenuating factors, while some were taught common courtesy but somewhere along the line decided “Fuck it, if I have nothing to gain by doing it why bother?”

It’s a sad reflection on how we are progressing as a society when we are getting less respectful to others, and essentially ourselves by association. The main offenders seem to have a huge chip on their shoulders and assume that the general public owes them something for nothing. They go through life under the perception that everyone should treat them like the sun shines out of their rear facing orifice, but can’t fathom why this respect should be reciprocated. Certainly some of the offenders are Gen Y. Some are Gen X. I have seen Baby Boomers guilty of the “WIIFM?” approach too. Can you see what I am getting at? People from all age brackets and walks of life are blameworthy of this seemingly felonious social faux pas. The question that begs to be answered though is this: how long will it be until a total disregard for others and an absence of manners isn’t any longer a faux pas, but a socially accepted norm?

Written by disseminatedthought

July 27, 2010 at 18:56