This is Me, Trying not to Give a Fuck About Assholes

21 Oct

I originally learned to bartend from a guy I used to date. He had just opened his own bar and had been in the game for awhile. I had done pretty much everything Front of House but bartend, save for pouring a few beers here and there. So there I was one night, having a glass of wine at his bar after coming back from a shift of my own in the West Village, when all of a sudden he got busy. I hopped back behind the bar to keep him ahead of the quickly mounting piles of dirty glasses and, while I was at it, I poured a few pints, giving him time to make all the carefully crafted cocktails he was known for. I decided right then and there that if I was going to continue in the service industry, I didn’t want to be anywhere but behind the bar. It felt safer, more in control and, dare I say it, a little bit cooler. So he started teaching me. He set me up with a speed-pourer equipped liquor bottle full of water, a jigger and a rocks glass and set me to work pouring out glass after glass of perfectly counted neat waters. He gave me a book of drink recipes and went through, X-ing out all the drinks he didn’t think I would ever have to know, and telling me to memorize the rest. He also gave me a piece of advice that I held on to, tightly, until, well, now. He said, and I am paraphrasing here, that bartenders are like a community, and it is each of our responsibilities to educate people how to behave, and how to tip, so that other bartenders don’t have to deal with the crap. But today, October 21, 2014, something like 7 years after I was initially given that advice, I am calling bullshit. Not on the community thing, or the fact that in some way or another many of us are in this together — we warn other neighborhood drink slingers about dickheads and problem customers, call each other when there’s an incident, send our friends good customers when they decide to drink in another bar. I am calling bullshit on the idea that a lot of people are open to learn how to be, well, human.

Here is the thing. I have a super strict standard of behavior for myself. When I deviate from the standard, I am sent into an incredibly intense moral hangover that involves long walks, sulking, ill-fantasies, maybe some tears, apologies and, on more than one occasion, the purchasing of small (admittedly unnecessary) gifts. I really don’t like to act like an asshole. It doesn’t agree with me. And I operate under this misconceived notion that other people also don’t like acting like assholes. Or, perhaps more specifically, that they shouldn’t like acting like assholes or, even more specifically, that they actually don’t think they are acting like assholes at all. They are just being themselves. But realistically sometimes “themselves” actually just means “assholes.” Did that make sense? The point is that some people are just dicks. They are dicks and they don’t care. Well, you know what? As of today, October 21, 2014, I no longer give a fuck.

So here’s the deal. My dad once told me, and this is one of my favorite pieces of advice, that we can only have expectations of people that are in keeping with what they have previously demonstrated is possible for them. Like, if someone is a liar all the time, we can’t expect them to just randomly start telling the truth and we can’t really be that mad at them when they behave the way that they have always behaved. They are doing what they always do, I am just placing my unreasonable, in context, expectations on them. So I get to make a choice. I can either be cool with the fact that they are a liar and deal with it to whatever extent is necessary, or I can get myself all bent out of shape about it. But then who’s the chump? Me. I’m the chump all bent out of shape about an entirely predictable situation. And I don’t like being a chump just about as much as I don’t like being an asshole. So now let’s put this in conversation with bartending.

I like to think that when I go into a bar and order a drink I am pretty polite. I sit in my stool, I take out my $20 and place it on the bar (especially if I don’t know the bartender), I know what I want to drink, I wait my turn, and then I ask for my drink, book ended with pleases and thank yous. I love please and thank you. I might make friendly conversation, I might just read a magazine. I rarely, if ever, tell people I bartend unless they ask (sometimes the 20 gives it away) because to me that just reeks of asking for buybacks which is something that polite people just do not do. In the process of drinking my drink, I do not rip up my coaster or stir up shit, and when I leave I tip. Plain and simple. I like to think that I am a good bar customer more often than not. I even think that if I were serving me a drink I would like me and I might even say to myself,

“Self, that girl drinking the Powers sure is polite.”

And there are plenty of people who drink in bars that are polite. Or at least well-behaved. Or maybe they just don’t offend me in any way. But then there are lots of people who just down right suck. They also seem to travel in packs. They are rude, demanding, condescending, sexist, messy and all sorts of other things. Bartenders can smell them when they walk in the door. I don’t know what it is about these people but you just know, from first sight, or first order, that they are assholes. And in the past, I would want to let them know they were assholes, to educate them, or to prove a point, but not any more. Because you know what? That is not my job. It is not my job, or really my right, to force my own moral compass, my own standards of behavior, on other people. They want to be dicks, to a point, then fine, let them be dicks. That’s cool. They want their drink strong? “Okay,” I’ll say with a smile, and I will make it the same way I always make it. They want less ice? That’s cool, they can just get more mixer. They want to wave their glass at me, snap their fingers, flash their cell phone screen? I won’t tell them they did anything wrong, I will just send them to the back of the line. They might think I’m a bitch. They are welcome to their own opinions. Because here is the thing:  I am doing this for the foreseeable future. Maybe not forever, but for now. And the name of the game is self-preservation. And you know what makes it easier? Not letting it in. (Also, the fact that the new bar I am working at comes staffed with security. At a certain point, shitty behavior actually stops being my problem and that is a luxury I am happy to accept.)

So all you people who are awesome? Come see me! It’ll be fun. And all you people who suck? I will gladly take your money. And I’ll turn all the negative energy into creative motivation for my book. Because, yea, I’m doing that.

The Luckiest Girl in the World?

16 Oct

You know how people sometimes ask each other what their super hero power would be if they had one? And then people come up with all sorts of awesome answers? Like being invisible, or flying, or context clues, or mind reading, or being able to speak all the languages? I have thought long and hard about what my super hero power would be. I mean, what would be the best possible power to have with the least possible number of moral issues? Being able to see through things — like walls — would be awesome but then, you know, privacy concerns and also being a total creeper. Reading minds might be neat but then you might find out things that you really don’t want to know about people you like — for example, their obsession with ferrets (gross!) — which might then make you not like them so much and, also, make you a total mind creeper. Basically, I would ideally have a super hero power that would give me the ability to do something awesome, without making me any kind of creeper at all. I pride myself on being as close to 0% creeper as possible. After lots of thinking, and really not very much progress, the world stepped in, probably because my ridiculous ethical concerns in the midst of imagination games are incredibly annoying, and told me not what my super hero power would be if I had one, but what my super hero power actually is. Ready for it? Drum roll please.

My super hero power is getting shit on by birds and also other animals that spend time in trees.

Yea, yea, yea I know. It might not seem like a super hero power but bear with me here. I was talking to my friend Asher* over drinks the other night and he said he never, not in his entire life, has been shit on. I have been shit on three times in 2014 alone! And the year isn’t even over yet! There are plenty more opportunities for me to be walking around under trees, minding my own business, and then feeling (and let’s be honest hearing) that familiar <splat> and just knowing, deep in my bones, exactly what that was. Let’s take a little walk down memory lane, shall we? (Experiences recounted in no particular order.)

(1) There was that one time I was sitting on a bench in Union Square doing some reading for grad school when all of a sudden <SPLAT>, squirrel shit all over an article about malaria. And it like rolled into the binding too and I tried to shake the book to get the shit out of it, but I am fairly certain it left a nice little schmear in there.

(2) I was running, proudly, in my brand new bright pink Adidas running top, having a wonderful time when, you guessed it, <SPLAT>, bird shit on my shoulder that then somehow oozed all down my arm and also splashed onto my right boob.

(3) I was in India with two of my friends and we were heading back to the hotel after a very eventful, yet ultimately unsuccessful, journey to visit a temple with some animatronics (we made it to the temple but, surprise surprise, the animatronics were not working). As we approached the final stretch I looked up and noticed a rather disturbing thing: there were hundreds, and I mean hundreds, of birds perched on all sorts of surfaces. Some people might have thought this was a foreboding of some future misfortune but I, knowing the realities of my life, turned to my friends and said “see all those birds? One of us is most definitely going to be shat on.” And sure enough, no sooner did the words leave my mouth than <SPLAT!!!>. All over my shirt. It was as if a fucking pterodactyl had taken a dump on me. I have never seen so much shit in my life.

I could continue but I really think the India shit story takes the cake. Anyway, so the other day I was on an adventure with my friend Ben when we decided to sit on a bench under a tree. You would think that by this point in time I would decide that sitting on benches under trees, or doing anything under trees really, would be something I would avoid at all costs but no. I sat there. And no sooner did I sit than I felt the smallest little <splat>. Obviously I freaked out because it really doesn’t matter how many times you get shit on, it is always jarring and very upsetting. Ben, being the good team player that he is, cleaned the cleanable shit out of my hair with his bare hands and then remained friends with me when, after arriving at a place with a bathroom, I totally left him standing at the bar while I retreated to the bathroom first like a complete and total asshole. In my defense, I panicked and also, even after washing my hands and the portion of my head that had been crapped on, I still had poop on my person whereas he had no poop left after washing his hands but whatever, I’m making excuses. This event is from here on out, in our friendship, known as #PoopGate. It was not my finest moment.

So here is the thing about being pooped on. Whenever I tell people I got pooped on (which happens incredibly often, relatively speaking) they always say “that’s good luck!” I am calling bullshit. The only reason that people tell you it is good luck is to make you feel better about the fact that you have shit on your head. Or your shirt. Or where ever. It is just a way to put a silver lining on a rather shitty (hehe) situation. Also, as I mentioned, I have been shat on 3 times so far this year and this has been my unluckiest year ever! All the stupid things have happened. Until the other day because, the other day, I was at work, minding my own business when, who should arrive and sit down at my bar on a Tuesday afternoon? Little Pete from Pete and Pete! And let me tell you, he looks exactly like he did when he was 11, only older. I know that sounds weird but it is uncanny. And, while internally I was exploding from sheer excitement, externally I pretended he was a normal, every day non-child actor dude because that seemed like the right thing to do. I didn’t even ask him about Petunia. This was exceedingly difficult for me. The only thing that might have been better than Little Pete from Pete and Pete showing up at my bar would have been if Alex Mack showed up. I loved that show. And in fact, to this day about once a month I daydream about how awesome it would be to have the ability to morph myself into a puddle and escape all sorts of awkward and potentially dangerous situations. Or, like, get home faster when you get caught in a freak rainstorm as I did last night. I try not to think about the long-term side effects of having been involved, at a young age, in some weird chemical accident because that might take the shine off things. Anyway, I digress.

So there he was, Young Pete from Pete and Pete and I realized, hey! Maybe this is the luck. Maybe this is the moment that all the shit was leading up to! The moment where I got to complain to Young Pete from Pete and Pete about how aggressive some people are about the sports that we have on television and how you never hear me bitching about how bars won’t play gymnastics with the sound for me when ever it’s on (which isn’t often). He thought that was funny. Anyway, so when he left we had a little convo:

Little Pete from Pete and Pete (LPfP&P): I never got your name. I’m Danny, it was nice talking with you.
Me: Rebekah, likewise. Hopefully I’ll see ya in here again! I’ll be here Mondays.
LPfP&P: Cool. I’m in a band and do some sketch comedy. Look me up.
Me: Great! Will do!

I was like a volcano. I wanted to be like “I know who you are and I also know that you recently performed at The Bell House, maybe with Big Pete from Pete and Pete, because I was secretly texting with my friend Kris about you and she told me and we freaked out a little!” But I didn’t say any of those things. I stayed strong. But Pete, if you’re reading this, you might have been the answer to all the bird shit. So, that’s a thing.

*I know, our blogs use the same design theme! Total coincidence and totally weird! Meant to be friends!

A Letter to my Cat, Clark

2 Oct

Dear Clark,

I know that it has been hard for you recently, what with me working so many late nights and your feeding schedule being somewhat unpredictable. I also know that you have a lot of needs like head scratches, games of fetch, and the like. But right now your person is attempting to finish up an article on human rights and the water shutoff in Detroit and your constant meowing and knocking things off counter tops is proving rather distracting indeed. I understand that you like the sounds things make when they fall, but you must understand that sweeping up broken glass and picking up trash bag ties all over the house is not exactly my idea of fun. Also, I would very much appreciate it if you would stop chewing on things, such as the wicker basket on the kitchen table and my computer power cord. In fact, if you could stop going on the kitchen table entirely that would be greatly appreciated. I understand this is a lot to ask, but your sister does not seem to be having one bit of trouble with my requests as she has been sleeping contentedly on the sofa for the past 2 hours. You might argue that it is because of her ability to sleep for extended periods of time that she is a total fat ass, and you would have a point there, but I do not believe one day of catnaps would have any significant impact on your svelte physique. Any adherence to these requests would be greatly appreciated and subsequently rewarded with a catnip mouse.

Your frustrated person,

Rebekah

Please don’t ask me what else I do

24 Sep

Mostly, right now, I want to explode. I don’t actually know a more accurate way to put it. You know how sometimes you just go about life and realize that everything is just sort of, wrong? Or that you ended up somewhere entirely different than where you thought you would be? And then people say stuff like “oh, maybe that’s not so bad” but it is. It actually is so bad. So the other day at work this thing happened. So just to preface, I think maybe some of you people think I am really sensitive. I’m not, actually. I get mad about things but they don’t tend to penetrate through to anything, you know? Like, I get pissed off when people go through life acting like entitled little shits, but it doesn’t make me feel worse about myself, it just makes me feel a little worse about those people and the people who raised them. And also their friends who never call them out on their bullshit. Oh, and also the society in which we live that seems to think it is better to placate people because they have money than tell them that they suck at life. Because, obviously, money > respect.

Anyway, I can tell that I am in a spot when things people say to me at work actually get through. Generally what it is is some well-meaning person who just doesn’t get it. This is a perfect example. You wake up one morning and you have this HUGE zit on your forehead. Right in the middle of it. And you are aware of it and super self conscious and all that and you do whatever it is that you can to try to get it to go back to where it came from. You put on toothpaste to dry it out, some sort of zit cream, makeup. But nothing helps. It’s like a third eye. And you go out in the world and you know everyone sees it but there is nothing you can really do and then one person, one stupid person, is like

“hey, there’s something red on your forehead. Did you bump your head?!”

And you’re like

“no, motherfucker, that is just a HUGE GODDAMN ZIT THAT I AM INCREDIBLY AWARE OF BUT THANKS SO MUCH FOR POINTING IT OUT AND POINTING OUT THE FACT THAT IT IS BASICALLY LIKE I AM GROWING A NEW HEAD OUT OF MY ALREADY EXISTING ONE.”

and then you go home and cry and wonder why everyone is so mean.

That’s not what happened at work. What happened was the following. I was at work, you know, working, and this lady who has lived in the neighborhood who I have known in passing for a long time came in and ordered her drink and sat down right by the service station and the following conversation happened:

Actually, let me preface this real quick by saying that I have spent the better part of the past 5 months feeling like a waste of space. Okay, so keep that in mind.

Lady: So, are you done with school?

Me: Yup, graduated a year ago May.

Lady: what was the degree in again?

Me: Master’s in International Affairs.

Lady: So, are you working?

Me, standing behind the bar, I look around: Um…yes? Right now?

Lady: No, like, somewhere else.

Me: I work at another bar in Crown Heights.

Lady: But not in your field?!

Me: No.

Lady: Well, are you looking?

Me, wanting to scream MIND YOUR BUSINESS: No.

And then I stormed off and didn’t make eye contact again. It’s like, I know she meant well and was taking interest and couldn’t possibly know that the fact that I am doing nothing with my degree except paying it off is the equivalent, for me, of having a massive goose egg-sized zit on my forehead but still. It made me mad. So, a word to the wise, please don’t ask your service professional what “else they do” as if doing what they’re doing isn’t enough. For some people, it’s what they love and they have made a career out of it and that is fucking awesome. For many others, we are trying to figure it out and putting a lot of pressure on ourselves. Your questions, well-meaning or not, might not have the desired effect of making you seem interested in our lives. It sounds as if you think what we’re doing isn’t good enough. And the thing is, it is good enough. It just might not be our passion and that is something we are all trying to figure out and deal with. So, ask us how our day was, but please please please for the love of god, don’t ask what else we do.

Ray Rice. Oscar Pistorius. McKayla Maroney. One of These Things is not like the Others.

13 Sep

Let’s be honest here, guys. It has been a really crappy month for those of us who give a shit about women’s rights. First, there was the huge leak of celebrity photos. Then there was the release of the Ray Rice video by TMZ. And then there was the Oscar Pistorius verdict. It’s been, disheartening, to say the least. And I, of course, have a few things to say about it. But before I do, I want to share something that one of my friends from high school wrote on Facebook the other day because, really, it’s almost as if she pulled this right out of my brain, made it better, more relatable, less ranty, and certainly significantly more hopeful. And all this from across the pond. From Rebecca Holmes, who works for an amazing UK-based women’s advocacy organization:

Today I was distracted at work. Today I watched and waited and watched again as a live feed of the Oscar Pistorius verdict streamed on my screen. Now, after he was found not guilty of both pre-meditated murder and murder…I feel shocked. Disappointed. Disheartened. Angry. There really aren’t words. All I am left with today are questions.

Would the verdict have been different if he wasn’t a high profile athlete, an Olympian, a symbol of overcoming obstacles? Would it have been different if Reeva seemed less capable, less desirable? Will the legal system ever catch up with what we know to be true? Will the media still care about this next week?

Those of us who work in the sector devote our lives to this issue. We campaign, and we educate, and we try to get the world talking…we talk about it with our partners over dinner and with shopkeepers at the local market. Then something like this happens. It feels as though sometimes, the law is dragging its feet, trying to cling on to the horrific days of yore, the days when if a man shot his wife three times, it wasn’t murder but ‘negligence’ and ‘excessive force’.

I am grasping at straws today, trying to find a positive in this outcome. And I hope, I think, I have found one. People are outraged. And outraged people talk…they talk about Oscar Pistorius, about Ray Rice, about the 1.2 million women who were victims of domestic abuse in the UK last year. The media is covering the story, people are posting on Facebook, and I am sitting at my desk hoping that they take the next step. Will they research the terrifying prevalence of domestic violence (1 in 4 women) or the statistics around murder (38% of all women who were murdered were murdered by their partner/ex-partner)? Will they take time out of their busy lives to explore the incredible gender inequality that underlies the Pistorius case? Will they make the connection that gender inequality lives in our homes, our businesses, and our schools? Or will they go back to calling out the feminists, the angry women who make a big issue out of childrens’ toys and books? Will they turn around and say ‘boys will be boys’.

I am desperately hoping that these outraged people will take the time to learn about the issue and support organisations that challenge these inequalities. I am hoping that more people will hear what we are saying and realise that why doesn’t she just leave’ is a useless and victim blaming question. I am hoping that this story helps to ignite a spark that finally turns into a blaze. It is easy to be angry at a verdict…to bang our fists on our desks…shake our heads and tut. It seems to me, that the best way to respond to the Pistorius verdict, isn’t just in the courts. It is in the schools. It is in the streets. In our families. Change the story. Change the message we send. Call out gender inequality and by all means, stay outraged.

I really hope that people do stay outraged and that it isn’t just the usual suspects. I mean, I for one am outraged as fuck. It has actually been one of those situations, especially with the Ray Rice case because I worked all day Tuesday at a sports bar with about a million televisions all tuned in to everything Rice, where right when I think I can’t possibly get more angry, I do. It’s as if my anger about this knows absolutely no bounds. I actually wish I had live-blogged the thoughts that went through my head over the past week or so. It was truly something to behold. Here, though, are some of the things. Stick with me here.

When the initial video was released that showed only the view from the outside of the elevator, what we saw was horrific. A woman, clearly unconscious, being dragged like a rag doll by a man who easily could have lifted her up. And the NFL suspended him for two games, saying that Ray Rice was a “heck of a guy” and that they could not determine what had happened inside the elevator from the video they were giving. I am calling bullshit. First of all, a good man does not beat his wife. Not only that, but I would bet all the money I have, which admittedly is not much, that this was not the first time this happened. It was the first time it was caught on tape. Violence escalates. The first punch isn’t usually a knock out. Second of all, what the fuck did the NFL think happened inside that elevator? Two people walk into an elevator of their own power, and then only a few moments later one drags the other one, completely callously, out of that same elevator and leaves her lying unconscious on the floor of an Atlantic City casino hotel. I don’t think we need to be geniuses to figure out what the fuck happened inside that elevator. I don’t think we needed to wait the months to see that absolutely horrific and nauseating attack. I don’t think we ever needed to see that. I don’t think that Janay Rice needed to endure the knowledge that one of the lowest moments of her life was captured on video and that millions of people were watching it, talking about it and judging her relationship.

So this is the thing. The other day I received a message accusing me of writing “whiny Feminazi hairy armpit gibberish.” At the time I was like, whatever, fuck you, man. But the reality is that a lot of people think what I say and think and write about is a load of crap. The reality is that it simply is not. The reality is that women are considered public property and we are undervalued. You think what Ray Rice does away from football doesn’t matter? Fuck you. Being an athlete does not preclude you from also being a descent fucking human being. And do you know what descent human beings do not do? They do not knock their fiancees out in elevators, or anywhere else.

I don’t know how to say this next thing other than to say that reassessing the way we think about things matters. Because changes start at the micro level. There will not be a change in the law until their is a change in the way we understand, and think about, intimate partner violence. And yes, this includes violence not only against women but against men as well. And there won’t be a change in the way we talk about intimate partner violence unless we start rethinking our ideas about victimhood, and the stigmas attached to that label. And while we’re at it, let’s think about the way we talk about people, value them. I understand that Ray Rice and Oscar Pistorius are fantastic athletes. The also were lucky enough to be born with penises, and therefore given extra chances. But they are also shitty human beings. You know who else is a fantastic athlete? McKayla Maroney. But you’d better believe that the majority of comments surrounding the release of naked photos of her said that maybe if she didn’t want those photos released, she shouldn’t have taken them. People are saying her career is now over. All because someone hacked into her private accounts and released, without consent, photographs of her. As many people have said, that is a sex crime. So here we have Ray Rice, who acted violently upon someone else, and McKayla Maroney who was acted violently upon. And yet some of his fans think he deserves a second chance while many of her former fans are calling her career finished and saying they are glad that her life has been destroyed.

Oh, and by the way, there is a petition circulating to try and get the Obama Administration to charge McKayla Maroney with production or possession of child pornography because the nude photos of her that were stolen and then leaked were taken, by herself mind you, when she was underage.

Whiny Feminazi hairy armpit gibberish my ass.

From Fark to Rant and Back Again

5 Sep

Earlier this week I had a post published on Her Blueprint, the blog associated with the Global Fund for Women.  I am going to be writing monthly, and perhaps eventually twice monthly, so stay tuned!  I will try and post links here on FranklyRebekah for the few readers among you who are not my friends IRL (that shorthand makes me laugh, don’t judge me).  Anywho, I am incredibly excited and humbled by the opportunity to write in the company of so many talented women.  You should read all their blog posts. Such diversity of topic and perspective. I don’t know. It’s cool. I’m gushing.

For my first post, I wrote about a change in commenting policies recently announced by Drew Curtis, the founder of Fark.  For those of you who don’t know Fark, it’s a link-aggregator, allowing people around the Internet to post links, with funny headlines, to articles they find online.  The result is kind of hilarious.  I actually feel totally in the know about this particular site because back in the day my brother, Aaron, used to send stuff into Fark and I always thought it was really awesome when his article, with his very own title, went on the homepage.  My brother, the Internet-famous title-writer. Over the years, the comment section on Fark has sort of devolved into more of a bro-culture, with people making all sorts of disparaging comments about all sorts of individuals and groups of people, most commonly women. (My brother is not a part of these sorts of things because he is a nice and awesome guy.) As a result, Crutis announced that the mods over at Fark would start deleting comments if they belonged to one of the following three categories:

1. Rape jokes;

2. Calling women as a group sluts, whores or some other derogatory name;

3. Making jokes that say that women who were the victim of a crime were somehow deserving it.

Personally, I think this is a great move.  I know there are some people who are going to go on and on about their right to opinion and personal expression and all that other stuff and, okay, I see your point.  But I think it’s dumb.  There, I said it.  I think that going online and saying mean things about people for no reason other than your own amusement and the amusement of those you hang out with in cyberspace is dumb.  I think that intentionally, and oftentimes anonymously, going online to express thoughts, jokes and feelings that many people would never actually make if forced to do so face-to-face with someone else with the express purpose of getting a rise out of someone else is dumb.  And I think that people who believe this is an important part of the internet are, surprise surprise, dumb. I think I just insulted about half the internet.  Good thing those people don’t read my blog.

Maybe I should be a little more nuanced, and a little less childish, here.  I apologize to all the people who I just called dumb, that was not nice of me.  It also is not the way I like to carry myself as a Responsible Adult on the Internet.  So let me give this another go.  We have this attitude online that anything goes.  That is is a bastion of free speech.  That, quite literally, you can say whatever the fuck you want.  Honestly, in my mind, that is how the Amanda Todd tragedy happened.  Just a word to the wise, if you don’t want to spend the rest of the day thoroughly depressed, don’t read about Amanda Todd.  Also, definitely don’t watch the video she posted on YouTube about a year before she died.  I watched it once and cried for like an hour.  And another thing:  do not read the fucking comments under the video because I just read 3 of them and actually want to throw my computer.  Seriously, this is what I am talking about!

Cue the rant.

Amanda Todd committed suicide because of the degree to which she suffered from online bullying, which was then expanded to real life bullying as photos of her inevitably got shared by her tormenter with the student body of every school she went to.  She posted a video about her experience.  A year later she killed herself because the bullying didn’t stop.  And the people on the YouTube page, a page that could potentially be used to help avert others from following the same path, use the comment section to say she deserved it, that she is going to hell for killing herself, that obviously she was a slut.  And there is no thought about the fact that another young person who might be having a similarly terrible time of it could go on this page, watch the video in order to understand that someone else went through it, might read the comments to find some support and instead find people saying that this 15-year-old girl deserved to die and that she brought it upon herself.  I can’t even imagine how that must feel. Why would people kill themselves? Maybe partially because people online tell them that they, and people going through similar experiences, deserve what they get. It hurts my heart to think about the people, especially young people, who look online for support and help and are faced with a massive amount of just…I don’t know…hate. And anger. And victim-blaming.

So here’s the thing. I have been online bullied recently. I have the benefit of having this experience, if I have to have it at all, at 31-years-old. I also consider myself lucky in that I have a healthy dose of self-confidence. I don’t think I’m perfect, but I think I am a positive contributor to the world and most people like me. And the people that don’t like me? Fuck ‘em. I don’t really care.  For that reason, when I get essentially called a loser online, it does not bother me. I laugh.  Because it reflects more on the person saying it than it does on me. But again, I am an adult. I have had life experiences. I have a supportive group of friends and a wonderful family. I have this blog, which I love writing. And I have my readers, who I appreciate immensely. For a lot of people, these things are not true. For young people, and especially young women, these unkind words can have a real and permanent impact. People are mean. Some of them do it for sport. Most of those that do are online. And the thing about it is that it is like a crowd mentality. Once one person starts, others follow. And all of a sudden everyone is spewing rape jokes, calling someone a slut, telling a young woman looking for help that the world would be better without her and once it is without her, that she is going to hell for her actions.

So, yea, back to Fark. Start moderating that shit. The Internet, as Drew Curtis said, has a real problem with women. The whole world, in my opinion, has a real problem with women. Just look at this clip from Jon Stewart about sexual harassment in the government if you don’t believe me. Oh, and also this one about catcalling. I think at this point that real life, and internet life, reinforce one another. If we are more respectful in real life, perhaps we’ll be more respectful online, and vice versa. So, thumbs up to Drew Curtis and for those of you who think this is a slippery slope into censorship? I say whatever. There are some things that simply shouldn’t be supported by web moderators and cruelty for sport is, in my mind, one of those things. It’s great that we can say (almost) whatever we want on the internet, but that doesn’t mean that we should. And until people get a fucking brain and stop being assholes and devaluing others, then someone should tell them to stop. Because, honestly, it is mean, and cruel, and inhuman, and entirely unnecessary.

Rant over.

My #1 Fan is BACK

31 Aug

That’s right, folks.  After a months-long hiatus during which I gave my #1 Fan basically no thought whatsoever he has returned with a vengeance!  This past Thursday morning I awoke to a new comment on my blog.  Since it came at 1:53am from a person who called himself “Anti-Fail” I figured it was just spam.  I figured wrong.  I looked at the comment and discovered that, from the email address rebekahfranklifefail@yahoo.com, I had been sent the following message of support and love:

Instead of worrying about events happening halfway around the country and world, perhaps you should worry about how you came to be a 30-something year old bartender living on $2 an hour. That in and of itself is a greater travesty than ISIS or Michael Brown. Perhaps the only greater travesty is pretending that going to the New School equates to having a real actual degree. It’s like bragging about graduating from the University of Phoenix. Hahaha. Keep writing your whiny Feminazi hairy armpit gibberish. How it amuses us so.

Now, and forever…

Your Superiors

Just a little back story for those not in the know.  This message came from one of my old customers at a bar I worked at for years.  He would come into the bar 3-5 times a week and get totally hammered and act like a dick.  He called me a cunt a few times.  Some female customers complained to me about the way he aggressively hit on them.  Oh, and he asked one of my coworkers out while his fiancee was sitting like 2 stools down and, when my coworker called him out, he lied about being engaged.  And he one time snuck a bottle of vodka into the bar.  I could continue, but it’s too depressing.  This is a stand-up dude who loves and respects women.  Obviously we got along famously and I was always so happy when I heard his voice from halfway down the block while I approached work.

For those among you who might want to email this person back with some opinions of your own, don’t bother because he undoubtedly deactivated the email account immediately after sending it.  But don’t worry, we play the long game at FranklyRebekah.  As my friend just said, “I am the Scorpio here so my revenge thinking goes to total life destruction even if it takes a long time.”  Everyone loves to have a little vengeful imagination adventure, right?  So if anyone wants to plot revenge and use my #1 Fan as the target, even just for your own amusement, feel free.  He’s shareable.

Anyway, to just sort of hammer this home to you guys a little bit, the last comment I received from this person was 6 months ago.  Six.  Which means that for the past six months this wonderful man has been silently stewing, awaiting the perfect time to appear and call me a loser.  And the perfect time, it seems, was when I wrote a post about a young, unarmed black man being shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, his body then left in the street for 4 hours, which sparked a (much needed) nation-wide conversation about race in America.  Oh, and in that same post I discussed an innocent man being beheaded by ISIS.  It seems a little crazy to me that the amount of money that I make per hour should matter so much to someone who, it seems, hates me.  I mean, if anyone should care a lot about that it should be me, right?  But as it turns out, money is not particularly important to me.  Also, as it turns out, the minimum wage for tipped workers in New York state is actually $8 an hour, with bars and restaurants obligated to make up the difference if our tips don’t amount to that much.  In (legal) theory anyway.  Which I would think this person would know considering, you know, he’s a lawyer.

And as for my armpits?  I shave them.  My legs, on the other hand, are sort of touch and go.  I have sensitive skin so I’m a waxer and sometimes I just don’t feel like going all the way up to midtown.  So, I mean, if you are going to criticize my feminism you could at least be accurate and call it my “whiny Feminazi hairy leg gibberish,” ya know?  Although I do take pause at your use of the word “gibberish,” but I’ll leave it.  No need to split hairs (no pun intended).

And as for the stuff about The New School?  You’re welcome to think it sucks.  That’s fine.  It’s not like I established it or something.  But truth be told I actually learned a lot of stuff and was taught by one of the people responsible for the creation of the Human Development Index which is sort of a big deal.  Also, I made some really good friends who are awesome and supportive and also write a lot of “whiny Feminazi hairy ______ gibberish” so at least I found my people.  And, one other thing, I would imagine that the University of Phoenix is a perfectly fine school and the people that graduate from there learned things and are proud of themselves and go on to do awesome things in life, be that bartending or working in finance or becoming a nurse or whatever.  Poo-pooing someone elses education is some elitist bullshit.

So, in summation, I am actually left wondering how this person came to be a 40-something year old man who spends time at almost 2 in the morning on a Wednesday making up email addresses and sending ridiculous comments to people’s blogs.  But, you know, people make choices.  I made my choice to write and bartend and he made his choice to be a cyber bully.

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