Monday, September 28, 2009

As I Am

I'm kind of sick of trying to make everyone happy with who and what I am. Though I thought I was doing this before, maybe I was mistaken. So let me be clear: from this moment forward, anyone who wishes for me to be involved in their lives will do so on the condition that they stop criticizing the things I do and say, the way I live, how I think, and who I am. Anyone unwilling to meet those conditions can kiss my merry ass.

Why the tirade? I'll tell you. In the last two weekends, I've been out with "the guys" on two occasions. This is unusual for me. I rarely go out on weekends, and when I do, it's almost always a family or couples event. Also, I rarely drink more than one or two adult beverages on any given outing, if I drink at all. I'm not given to excess. So on the occasion that I do overindulge, I'd like everyone to recognize that 99% of the time I'm perfectly functional and sober. Also, I think I deserve a damn break: I'm 36 years old. I'm a good man and a hard worker. If I want to get drunk with the guys every now and then, so be it. So long as I continue to earn our family's decent living, don't come home and trash the house, don't blow the car payment on booze, don't wake everyone up when I get home, don't operate under the influence, or any other such behavior that constitutes conduct unbecoming, leave me the hell alone.

And on that subject, the first of the two aforementioned weekends, I did, in fact, overindulge. It was partly by accident; I'm not as young and robust as I used to be, apparently. It was partly on purpose (see the last half of paragraph 2 above). And I did feel like hell the next day. But guess what else I did the next day? I got out of bed on time (before 7am), showered, and went on to meet every single obligation I made that day (which, taking into account I was volunteering at a meeting of ~100 exchange students, was considerable). I puked. I felt like crap. I cold sweated and I'm sure I was pale. I don't know whether anyone other than my wife could tell, but it wouldn't have made a difference anyway. Because every single time I needed to excuse myself, I did so graciously, and I came back within a few minutes, and every moment in between those episodes I was on track, body and mind. To make my original point: nobody suffered that day because of what I did the night before EXCEPT for me, so anyone who wishes to pass judgment can, well...refer to the last sentence of paragraph 1.

The second of the two aforementioned weekends, I did not, in fact, overindulge. I made this decision consciously as both a physiological and financial matter. I volunteered to drive instead, believing I ought to contribute something to the shindig, as it was an impromptu birthday party for a buddy. Good times were had by all. Two guys got pretty plastered, as was their right. The birthday boy got to pick the bar because he's into one of the waitresses, which is also his right, and after seeing her totally understandable. As it happened, I ended up next to this woman (with my buddy on the other side). This led to the perpetuation of a certain label these guys (with whom I work) have given me, which isn't entirely respectable. I usually take it in good stride; after all, we're all just guys messing around with each other's heads. But they insist on doing this at work, where (surprise!) there are lots of other people who DON'T really know me, who DON'T really understand that ALL of us guys actually qualify for that label on more than a few occasions.

The people hearing this joking are people whose professional respect I am trying to either earn or keep. Though I already knew it to be true, it struck me today: no matter where we go, or what I do, when I'm with these guys, I will always be the one who gets this label, and no matter how much I might tone myself down, they'll always adjust their rating scales to ensure I fall into the category they've chosen. It kind of pisses me off. I have realized the only way to change this (because appealing to their mature sensibilities will only serve to get me a new label) is to be a dick about it, call a spade a spade, and basically tell them to STFU.

And so, I'm done. I'm canceling my subscription. All of y'all who want me around are just going to have to put up with me. Any of y'all that have something negative to say may at least get walked away from, or at most get told where to shove it. I've got things to do and people to take care of, and I don't have time to try and fit into your expectations of me. If being your friend means bowing to your criticism or taking your crap, go find someone else to be your friend. I'm all done. Have a nice day.

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