Sticks and Stones

Sticks and stones will break your bones but names will never hurt you.

“Sticks and Stones” is a popular saying told to kids when they come home from school crying because they were teased. The truth, being called a name hurts the psyche. Just as the insightful words of a great thinker can be inspiring, the harsh words of a hater can be devastating. If the name you are called has hurtful words expertly strung together, the damage can be more bothersome than physical pain. It depends on one’s level of sensitivity. Even a thick skin can be penetrated with a powerful insult.

Playing “the dozens” back in high school, the object was to trade insults with someone until somebody gave up. Including a person’s mother in the fray could be grounds for a beat down. “Your mother” has probably started more fights than any other two words. When someone is insulted, he or she usually shows what we called the “do’ face.” It’s the look you have when you unexpectedly run into a door. Surprise combined with pain. The imagination put into an insult is key. If someone called you fat, you gave a clever response with a twist to get the crowd standing by to go “oooooh!”

“That’s because whenever I finish fucking your mom, she makes me a sandwich.”

It took quite a bit not to “do’ up” and act like the comment didn’t bother you in the least. With the immense popularity of the Internet, anybody can say anything about anybody with relative anonymity. I think the answer to cyber bullying is close to the same old school advice, simply walk away. In cyberspace, walking away amounts to blocking the abuser, or better yet, turning off the computer.

They say one should develop a thick skin to be an adult in this world. They also say people insulting others are on the offensive because of their own inferiority complex.

I believe them.

William Stephenson

One Night On The #1 Train

Riding the #1 train home late at night is usually fine. Some drunks, but for the most part they pass out without puking or causing trouble. Friday night, I was halfway home when my car was inundated by a group of about 10 twenty‑something black guys. Lucky I saw them when they piled in. I could’ve been in a deep nod or blasting a jam all up in my earholes. If I looked up and saw them suddenly, I would’ve jumped for sure. Probably bump into one of them and that would have been it.

One of them notices a guy sitting across from me. I got the feeling that one of the group had trouble believing he actually ran into him. I didn’t know if this was going to go south so I turned off my Ipod to listen to the exchange. Suddenly the group surges towards the guy. Now I can’t even see the dude they’re talking to because this one brother was big and wide, and damn near stepping on my toes.

Between the “youknowwhatI’msayins” and the “myniggas” I gathered there was beef between one of the group and a dude the passenger knew. It was a tense few minutes and ordinarily I would move to another seat at the other end of the car. The big guy was looming over me and I had no where to go. I had the feeling, “Excuse me, I need not to be collateral damage” wasn’t going to fly.

One of the guys in the back of the pack was all for beating the guy up just because it was Friday. Another said no, wait until 137th or 145th St. We were around 110th at this point, and I hoped hard this situation would not boil over. The passenger eventually convinced the gang that his involvement with the person of interest was minimal but would probably kick his ass, too.

William Stephenson

Me First

I find it ridiculous the number of people that have entitlement as a middle name. The feeling of importance is prevalent in today’s intsatwitter society. It has nothing to do with gender or race, rather it seems an American thing.

Somebody told you that you were the center of the universe and your poop is lemon scented. This is the attitude I see where ever I look. The 1 train at 59th street was well populated when I got on. I spent the weekend house/dog sitting and had a small piece of luggage. There was a couple of seats open, but between large people. I would have to sit on the edge and not be able to sit back and relax. I didn’t mind standing because I sat around watching NBA games and Tuna Wars all day.

Halfway down the car was a seat holding a lady’s purse. The lady next to her was busy with her face in her phone and couldn’t feel the people standing all around her. I very much wanted a true New Yorker to make her move it, but the car was full of tourists. It never occurred to this selfish harlot to simply place the purse in her lap so somebody could sit. Or worse, she used the purse on purpose to discourage anybody from sitting next to her. I gave thought to yell, “Excuse me, can you move your purse so somebody who paid just as much as you did to ride―unless you bought your purse a metro card―can sit down?” Instead, I set my eyes on stank in case she looked at me.

She’s lucky she didn’t because when you are on the business end of my particular stank eye you will know you did something wrong and feel bad about it.

William Stephenson

Won’t You Help

The public service announcements looking for dollars to help third world kids are really going in…hard.

One I’m seeing a lot of these days show a little boy scooping up multi-colored water into a bucket with many things floating in it. He’s learned how to dip from the section with the least chunks. The narrator intones soberly with shame, “If you saw your kids playing around this kind of filthy dirty water, you’d tell them to get the hell out of there. But poor Alphonso has no choice. He has to bring this water back to his family because it’s the only water available.” Now comes the great pitch; for only 9 cents a month Alphonso can have clean water. Every time I see this on TV I wonder how deep is that Poland Spring? We seem to be pulling a helluva lot of water from that one spot alone.

Another PSA tugs even harder on the heart strings. It’s the one for abused animals that shows dogs, cats and horses looking horrible and then imagine what they would say if they could talk.

“Why won’t they feed me?” asks an emaciated horse. The poor old chimp in this spot seems to be saying, “I’m just waiting for you to turn off the video camera so I can eat your face.” They show us a montage of terrified animals, looking as pitiful as possible. At the end of these spots, we are offered a shirt, jacket, blanket, coffee mug or some other trinket to let everyone know we care.

How about skipping the gifts and use the money to fix up these abused animals? Now we return to our regularly scheduled program. We watch as a judge on a cooking competition show examines a forkful of salmon, then proclaims it’s perfectly cooked. I’m thinking Alphonso is not quite so persnickety.

William Stephenson

Is Myers Briggs just more Mumbo Jumbo?

For those who are unfamiliar, the Myers & Briggs personality test is a psychologically based quiz. Mother/daughter duo, Katherine Cook Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers, extrapolated typology findings from the late Carl Jung’s research to help humans categorize themselves by personality type.

The Gist of it…

Carl Jung theorized that there are four principal psychological functions by which most experience the world around them: sensation, intuition, feeling, and thinking. One of the four functions is also believed to be dominant most of the time.That being said, people take the quiz and are given a 4 letter combination that offers an intricate explanation of their personality, as well as those around them. There are 16 types (some much more common than others) and these types are to be considered tools by which to bring about patience and overall understanding.

Is It Real?!

Who’s to say? Personally, after finding out that my own personality type was INFJ (the same as people such as Carl Jung and even reportedly, Hitler) many things about the world began to make more sense to me. That is to say, introverts are amongst the most misunderstood people on the planet simply because we have the tendency to think things rather than say them aloud. Furthermore, these types are based on more tangible things, unlike astrology (though I take interest in both) which is based solely on your date and time of birth. It seems that this quiz and line of questioning truly does get to the bottom of what makes us tick. The quiz explains personality types so that we can easily understand ourselves, as well as why and how we relate to others.

The Bottom line…

Don’t knock it until you try it (but keep in mind that nothing is 100% in this world and some will fall on the cusp of a couple and thusly may receive conflicting results. Personally, I get INFJ or INFP depending on which test I take). In fact, try it in couples and/or groups in order to gauge overall accuracy! You may find that you totally disagree with the findings. On the other hand, you may also find out that this is a missing link that will help bridge the gap between you and others who may happen to see and do things differently than you do. Either way, you won’t know until you take the test. Do it now!

Venus L

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