Friday
Nov182016

How I Learned About White Privilege 11/18/16

Don’t get hung up on the term ‘white privilege’, ok? I’ve seen all the same articles and videos as you that debunk ‘white privilege’ based on an economical scale, and it’s a pretty myopic view to take. It turns humanity into a numbers game- I watched one dude on youtube try and tell me that it should be called “Asian privilege” because Asians have  the highest household median income in America. Oh, and he went on to say that African Americans make more money than the Whites, if you consider the “Nigerian Americans”, and “Ghanaian Americans”. Hahahahahahaha! GTFOH dude!

If you think that ‘white privilege’ is bullshit based on economics, I sure hope you aren’t a Christian, because you’d be pretty far away from “What would Jesus do?”- unless your version of Jesus is spiteful and small minded. If so, well then fuck, good luck with that. Gotta be tough with all that hypocrisy tainting your soul.

No, white privilege is about the human side, about how we interact with each other based on race.

Now that I’ve made everyone feel welcome ;) here’s how I learned about ‘White privilege’- 

I moved to New York City in 1985 at the age of 18 to attend acting school. It was a whirlwind of discovery with new friends (that I still have 30 years on), intense and immersive training that we all soaked up like sponges, and the wild edginess of Ed Koch’s graffiti’d and dirty New York. What a way to cut one’s teeth as a young adult! It was magical.

We worked hard and played hard, and the after show cast parties were epic. 

One night, I was leaving a cast party at the same time as one of my best friends, we had school the next day so we couldn’t stay too late. We stopped for a minute to have a cigarette before we headed off in different directions.

“Hey man,’ said my friend “will you hail a cab for me?”

“What? Are you serious? How come?” It seemed like such an out of the blue request and I was confused and surprised as to why he was asking. My friend got this look on his face that I’ll never forget, like it hurt him to answer my question.

“They won’t stop for me, man. They practically never do, and at night you can forget even trying.”

My friend is black.

I stood there in silent shock, almost in disbelief. How could my friend- who was basically the star of the whole school, who was miles above all of us in talent and skill- how was it possible that he needed ME to get a cab for HIM?!

Because I’m white.

I think he could tell that I was having a hard time getting my head around what he was saying, because he said, “Check this out. Stand back in that doorway and finish your smoke.” I did what he asked.

He walked up to the corner and raised his hand for the cabs that were heading our way- there’s always cabs in midtown.

I watched as cab after cab slowed, checked him out and gassed it right passed him. It fucking sucked. He came over to me.

“Now you try. I’ll stand in the doorway.”

I walked out to the corner and stuck my hand up. First cab that came, screeched to halt. I opened the door as my friend walked over. He gave me a hug.

“Thanks man, see you tomorrow.” He said.

“Yeah, see you tomorrow.” I half mumbled, “I’m sorry man.” I really was.

“It’s ok.” He said, and off he went leaving me with a tiny glimpse into his world that had floored me. It made me think that if something as relatively minor as hailing a cab was difficult for my friend, what else must he run into on a daily basis? If he gets discriminated against based on the color of his skin when it comes to getting a taxi, how the fuck is he going to get treated fairly in the workplace?! My happy little fantasy bubble had been well and truly burst.

I started to notice discrimination a lot more after that.

Shopkeepers would follow people of color around the store to make sure they weren’t shoplifting. I never got followed around. I would see cops patting down people of color randomly in the streets. I never got randomly stopped, but my friends did. I watched how people of color were treated with suspicion and fear, while I cruised through NYC unencumbered by judgement and stereotype.

All I had to do was open my eyes, and look through someone else’s.

Whatever you want to call it, white privilege is real, and no socio-economic cherry picking is going to convince me otherwise, and this is coming from a broke arse, working class, white man. If you’ve got a problem with the term ‘white privilege’ then how about ‘institutional racism’? Because that’s what it is.

Here’s one last thing I want to lay on the naysayers before I go. It’s a Newt Gingrich quote-

“the objective reality is virtually no one who is white understands the challenge of being black in America.”

It’s right from his mouth, folks. He said it in the Netflix documentary ‘13th’. If you haven’t seen it, watch it now, then watch it with your kids if they’re old enough to get it. It’s powerful and real.

Hate crimes are on a meteoric rise at the moment, so don’t stand by the side and let this shit happen. Known anti-semites, racists, and bigots are topping the lists for the next administration’s highest positions. They are the ones trying to convince the white working class that white privilege is a fallacy, based on all the broke arse whiteys. It’s a shell game, and it’s working. Let’s keep working to pull the curtain back on these shysters and show their cold cruel hearts. If you’re a Christian who supports these appointments, then may I say that you’re missing big J’s philosophy by a country mile.

I think it would go something like this. I’m basing these characters from the comments section on public Facebook posts. Oh yeah, I’m all about the research.

 

The scene opens with a man and woman on their knees, praying to Jesus.

Man- Dear Jesus, please watch over our new president and keep him safe as he works to make our country great again.

Woman- Yes, sweet lord, please assist him in his great works. Help him build the wall to keep us safe from the Mexicans.

Man- Help him to register all the Godless muslims, Jesus, and then help him get them removed from our great country, Oh Lord.

Woman- Yes, Sweet Jesus, Please watch over President Trump, so he can keep us safe from radical terrorists.

Man and Woman- Amen.

Jesus- LOL! SMH!

Sorry if you think I’m ragging on Christians, I’m not. I’m ragging on hypocrite Christians. And also sorry for that weird little veering rant just now, I went off topic a bit there. I’m not sorry enough to edit it out, though ;).

 

That’s it for now.

Thanks for reading, see you soon.

Huttsez

“... the unread voice of a generation.”

-huttsez.com

Saturday
Nov122016

So This Happened- Mach 2 11/12/16

Back in April I was told I had cancer, and it was the scariest thing I ever heard. This is what I wrote in my first blog post about having lymphoma-

So, this happened... 

“Hello Mr. Huttsez, it’s Dr. Lu.”

“Hey, Doc.”

“The pathology is in, Mr. Huttsez, and I’m afraid I’ve got some bad news. The node we removed tested positive for lymphoma- Diffuse Large B Cell, Non Hodgkins to be exact. I’m really sorry.”

*sigh* “Ok.”

And just like that your whole world turns on a dime.

That was the beginning of the shittest ten days of my life- fear was my constant companion.

Then I found out what stage I was, and learned about the treatment so that I could start to cross all the scary unknowns off the list.

I stopped being as scared, and started getting ready.

Ready to fight and win, and do so with passion, focus, belief, kindness, and humor.

So, now I’d like to start today’s entry-

So, this happened...

“Hello Liberal America, it’s the working middle class.”

“Hey Guys.”

“The election results are in, and I’m afraid we’ve got some bad news. The cultural elite forgot about the working middle class, and people have grown tired of endless work with no progress. Your candidate lost, I’m really sorry.”

*sigh*”Ok.”

 

And just like that your world turns on a dime.

So a lot of liberals are freaking out about this diagnosis. It’s shocking and scary news for many of us after a vicious and hateful campaign from both sides, so yeah, there’s a lot of shit being lost. I get it.

It feels like when I would stare at the wall thinking, “Fuck, I’m gonna die.”, and that the end was a foregone conclusion. Well, I’m still here and out of treatment- so far so good.

This election result is by no means a terminal diagnosis and after we get through the early stages of shock and grief, you’ll see that our cause is not lost. You will all still be here, just like me. I feel strongly that it will in fact galvanize us going forward. How could it not?! There’s too much to lose.

So, I’m way past the shock and grief. I went through that when Bernie was robbed of the nomination. I’m at the stage where I’m rolling my sleeves up and getting ready to try and help launch this new progressive movement into high gear.

Here’s a fact- Donald Trump ran a grassroots campaign through social media that spoke to a lot of America, and it worked.  He was dismissed every step of the way, and now he’s the President-Elect, and soon to be President Trump. His supporters should be congratulated for coming together and making the impossible possible, and they’ve shown me that grassroots can work, even against all odds. So, I’m gonna get my progressive grassroots ON, thank you very much. If they can do it, so can we.

If I may just pop a word in about the freaking out?

Go for it, let it go, scream, kick and yell- you’ll feel a lot better.

But when you’re done, remember that Obama is the President for another two and a bit months. Trump has yet to try and implement any hateful policies, so we’ve got time to educate ourselves about our opponent and to begin building our grassroots communities. Hell, we may even see a different Trump, if the other day’s meet at the White House is any indication- but I’m not holding my breath. The rhetoric spouted from his mouth during the campaign was hateful and has given a mandate for racists to start coming out of the shadows. If Trump’s hateful words were a “campaign device” (heard that beauty from Newt Gingrich today), it doesn’t make them any less insidious. I want to be ready to passionately and peacefully oppose any and all hateful agendas that are put forth. But nothing has happened yet and I’m not educated or organized enough, so I’m gonna save my action for later.

If I may just pop in another word about the freaking out? 

Slow your roll as soon as possible on social media, for real. 

Just like ALL the liberals that are out marching right now ARE NOT RIOTING, all Trump supporters ARE NOT RACISTS! A lot of them are working middle class Americans who feel abandoned by the establishment, it was an anti-establishment vote ffs! I’ve been talking with some of my Trump supporting friends on the Facebook who are just hard working, middle class people-LIKE ME- that are tired of busting their balls and not getting ahead. I believe that the rioters and racists are fringe elements of both sides, until proven otherwise.

Not to mention, all your grieving is giving the (victorious) Trump supporters yet another stick to beat us with. Now we’re a bunch of whining, crying “pussies”. Sigh. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather send the message that we’re organized and powerful, and instead of going away we just planted our feet square and strong. America, fuck yeah!

Wrapping up this section- Pull your socks up and get on with it, Liberals. No more blame and nasty name calling. Only action. You really do look like a hot mess, so stop it.

Not helpful, liberals. In fact idiotic and offensive.

Now, Trump supporters. You’ve got to be the shittest winners I have ever seen. Why are you still slamming Hillary’s supporters? You do know you won, right? If you want the left to take you more seriously, then learn to win with some grace. You belittle yourself and your movement with every name calling meme and post about “whining libtards” and “planes to Canada”. Before you accuse me of whining, please know that your behavior wouldn’t be tolerated in children. We teach our children to be gracious in both victory and defeat. In all my years coaching and reffing I’ve never seen a youth soccer match end with the victors being rude to the losers, or vice versa (I’m talking about you, libtards)- it has always ended with both lining up for a handshake. Be like your children, and win with some grace. FYI, the more name calling you do, the more fired up I get. Not angry fired up, that’s for idiots and reactionaries. I’m talking about determination and grit and resolve. I’m probably not alone. Feel free to open a dialogue with me if any of this pisses you off, because I bet we’ll be able to find some common ground. Or you can just call me a pussy, if that’s your thing. It’s like fuel for my engine.

 Hahaha! It's funny because all liberals are on welfare lol.

Check it out. A friend of mine who is one of the people I’ve reached out to for community building was out marching in Oakland the last two nights, and this is what he said-

“I was out marching again last night and hated what I saw from both sides- the authoritarian militarized police and the crazy anarchists that again destroyed the city I’ve grown up in- hurting small local businesses that are like us, just trying to make a living and raise families.”

That’s some poignant shit right there, huh?!

Yeah, let’s all slow our roll, and lighten up on the vitriol. Both sides. Call me a hippy, but we must find the common ground that is there.

Speaking of sides, I’ve decided that I want to move away from calling myself ‘liberal’ and ‘democrat’. Now, I’m a progressive. Maybe Prog, or Proggy for short. Plus, I got wicked tired of writing ‘Trump supporters’ over and over in this post, so would ‘Trumpies’ or ‘Trumpers’ be ok? If any of my Trump supporting friends got this far (Ha!), let me know which one you prefer on the Huttsez facebook page- the comments here are a graveyard of unanswered words. 

With community building in mind, if any of you have insight as to how to build a grassroots movement, I’m all ears. If any of you just want to hash out some thoughts or ideas, I’m all ears. Again, rock that shit on my Facebook page. *Snigger* I just said “hash”.

I have a million other things to say, but the lovely Mrs. Huttsez warned me to keep it short. Look Mrs H, only just over a thousand words!

 

That’s it for now.

 

Thanks for reading, see you soon.

 

Huttsez

“...the unread voice of a generation.”

huttsez.com

Friday
Nov042016

A Huttsez Halloween 11/4/16

It turns out that I have disappointed my almost seven year old daughter terribly. My Halloween costume was not to her liking, you see. If only she could have found a way to voice her feelings, instead of leaving me in the dark while she fumed at my poor choices. Oh wait, she did...

Halloween morning I’d prepared a delicious breakfast of thick sliced, sour dough eggy bread (aka French toast) and fresh fruit. The large people had a tasty greens and fruit smoothie with the food, and everyone was happy.

The Obersturmführer Bällerinä came to the table in her costume, a ‘shopkin’ strawberry dress. Dafuq is a ‘shopkin’, right? Here ya go-

That one on the left is a Rasta bong, right?

Inanimate objects with cute faces on them. That’s it. My daughter and all her mates are mad for this shit. Fair play.

“Hi kid, you look great! I love your costume!” I said to her as she sat down.

“Hi Dad.” said a rather gloomy, pouty- but yet still mega cute- Obersturmführer Bällerinä. Not quite what I expected on Halloween morning with the excitement of her school parade and party, followed by trick or treating with her mates and another party. You’d have thought she’d be bouncing off the walls, but no, it seemed instead that she had decided to start the day with a bit of a cob on. Excellent. I plowed ahead.

“I’m pretty stoked to get my costume on and go trick or treating with you later, then we can...”

“I don’t like your costume, Dad.” Delivered with a touch of the royal “We are not amused”. Blimey.

“But it’s so groovy!” I held my arms wide in mock protestation, a big smile on my face. “Who doesn’t love a hippie afro wig and daishiki?! And I got the cool bandana and glasses, too!” She was not amused.

my inspiration: Mr Noel Redding.

“Why can’t you be more like the other dads?” said a very disappointed Obersturmführer Bällerinä, as she burned her baby blues into my very soul. Ok, no more goofing around.

“What do you mean, Sweetie?”

“Well, like, the other dads do costumes together.” Eyes. Soul.

“Oh, you mean they make all the costumes match? Like a theme?”

“Yes. I’m a strawberry shopkin, and Mom’s a pineapple so they go together.” She gave me a look that said “... but you’re just a dirty hippie in corduroy bell bottoms and weed socks. What the fuck is that, Dad?”

Mmmmm, weed socks.

“I bet you would have liked it if I was a banana or eggplant instead of a hippie. I’m sorry Sweetie. Are the other dads doing themed costumes?”

Pause. Pause. “Yes.”

“Ok. Let’s see what the dads wear today and at the party tonight so we can get some ideas for next year.”

This seemed to brighten her up. “Ok Dad!”

“But you know, it’s ok to be an individual too.” I put on my best (which is rubbish) Sam Elliot voice, “I’m a lone wolf, I costume alone. Except for next year.”

“Stop it, Dad.” she giggled. Crisis averted.

For the record, there weren’t a lot of dads in themed costumes. A few at her school that she tried to describe, “... their costumes were red, um, and had stripes, and...”, but never really said what they were (cheerleaders? soccer team? she had no clue). Some dads had no costumes.

“Hey, maybe I’m the hippie farmer that grew you, and turned you into a magical and mystical, talking strawberry. Like Pinocchio except with hippies and fruit. Far out!”

Eyes. Soul.

We agreed to do something themed next year, and she was cool. Maybe we could be a unicorn family, or a ballet family- I could work with that. Horns and cod pieces make for shenanigans aplenty.

Fast forward to our evening plans, costumed up, and off to rock the trick or treating/ Halloween party with all our daughter’s oldest mates.

Parents and kids mingled for a bit before heading out to trick or treat, with the children bopping about excitedly and the grown ups socializing and enjoying an adult beverage.

The rain held off all day, right up to prime trick or treating time before letting loose, the fickle bastard. Always a good time when you combine hyper excited kids in costumes (some with limited fields of vision), slick stairs and poor visibility- a fine blend for some falls and mayhem.

Fortunately, the kids made it through unscathed, bar one wet-road-running-face-plant that miraculously left no injuries. I’m not sure how, that shit was gnarly.

No, the trick or treating was fairly mellow, all things considered. It was the after party that got a bit more interesting. As these things tend to do.

Back at our hosts’, the kids laid out their bounty for comparison purposes, and to establish a candy pecking order- which pieces to devour first. The adults went to refresh their beverages, and get away from the children. You don’t want to be in the threshing machine when it’s about to turn on, if you know what I mean. 

There was a moment where things got quiet- the calm before the storm- while the children in the living room furiously administered sugar into their faces. It was eerily peaceful.

“Jesus. Look at ‘em go.” I said in a hushed and foreboding tone to a friend of mine. I looked around at all the other parents with a comforting drink in their hands wishing I could scuttle off to furiously administer some cannabis into my face.

“Yeah. It’s not good. (glug glug glug) Hey, I’ll be right back, that’s piece number seven.” My friend headed over to his daughter for an intervention and came back with the candy.

“Man, I had to give her two more pieces or she woulda lost it (glug glug glug). Shit’s gonna get hairy.” He had the look of a man who knew what he was talking about.

“Yeah, I think I’ll go snag the candy too. They’ve got plenty in the tank to work with.”

My daughter was copacetic, and handed over the candy with no problems. Cool. I walked out of the room backwards because you could almost smell the neurons starting to fire madly away. Don’t ever turn your back on a room full of sugar jacked children.

I retreated to the dining room and waited for the rest of the evening to unfold/ explode.

It turns out my trepidation was unfounded, the girls had a blast running around at hair raising speeds screaming at the top of their sweet little lungs, while the dads kept a protective hand hovering over their bollocks. The parents bobbed and weaved and drank. Every time one of the parents would blow off steam about their kid (as we all do), I would ask them “Are you taking enough cannabis? Works for me.”

It was like a first grade meth rave, all frantic talking and running off in groups to the other room. There were times when it seemed like a really sloppy bachelorette party with wasted chicks dancing around like spazzy dervishes, taking turns at crying. All in all, a wonderfully successful evening.

The grown ups very wisely self medicated with some drinks to ward off the onslaught of the mini tweekers- no one got wasted, but it would be fair to say that kids and adults alike had fun.

Mrs. Huttsez was a little slow the next morning, and after comparing notes with her friends discovered that she was not alone. One of her friends suggested that the children had roofied them. Like I said, don’t turn your back on a room full of sugar jacked children.

 

That’s it for now.

 

Thanks for reading, see you soon.

 

Huttsez

“...the unread voice of a generation.”

-huttsez.com

Friday
Oct212016

Huttsez's Hot Button 10/21/16

I’m an immigrant. A legal, tax paying immigrant. I registered for selective service when I turned eighteen, just like every other kid in the USA. I’ve lived here for 39 years and yet I’ve never taken the plunge to become an American. The last time I renewed my ‘green card’ the woman at DHS asked me why I don’t just become a citizen, as I’m beyond eligible to do so. My answer was- “Because I’m English”.

I’m not some uber nationalist British patriot, I don’t wave the Union Jack and I think the royal family are a bunch of money leeching toss pots. But it’s where I’m from, it’s who I am.

So, today I’m not gonna talk about parenting, sex, kids, drugs, marriage or cancer. Today I want to talk about treatment of immigrants from a first hand perspective, the pledge of allegiance in classrooms, institutional and regular bullying, political correctness, and standing for the national anthem. “I’ll take ‘polarizing issues’ for $300, Alec.”

Pleases remember that I’m just a guy telling a story. If you want to ‘discuss’ anything that is in this entry, go to my facebook page and comment on this link. I’m a techno-twat, and haven’t set up the comments up for interaction. See? I’m a bit of an idiot, so don’t get all huffy. Or do, it’s ok. We’re in this love together.

I moved to Bar Harbor, Maine in the summer of 1977 after spending the first ten years of my life moving all over the gaff- I’d been to four different schools by the time I landed in Bar Harbor which would be the start of my fifth grade year.

A girlfriend of my father drew this of me when I was 11.

I was a professional ‘new kid’ at this point, good at making friends quickly, and able to crack a joke so I didn’t constantly get my arse kicked by the ‘let’s fuck with the new kid’ posse. It was the 70’s after all. Kids played hard, and the adults let us. They also weren’t quite as... vigilant about bullying.

I rolled up on the first day of school feeling pretty relaxed. I’d done this shit before and I’d made a couple of friends in the neighborhood, one in particular who introduced me to baseball in the lot behind his house, using a tennis ball with his older brothers. Some of my favorite memories from that time are those wonderfully American days of summer, playing baseball and having my new friend’s mum give us home baked snacks. It was magic to a wandering kid who’d never had a chance for roots to take hold. That family welcomed me with open arms, and I’ll always be thankful to them because they gave me a foundation in a fantastic community and the strength to get through what was coming.

Quick note- if you’re not from Maine, you’re ‘from away’. If your parents are both tenth generation Mainers, and you’re accidentally born over the bridge in Portsmouth, NH when your parents popped over to the tax free liquor store- then you’re ‘from away’. That should set the scene up for ya.

So, yeah, I rolled in feeling good. I got my new buddy, and he’s a cool kid. First thing I notice is the fecking STARING as I walk down the hall for the first time. I mean like I was on fire or naked or something. Proper staring. Then a girl came up to me, and a little posse of her girlfriends kind of took a step closer. I was effectively cornered.

“You’re the foreign kid right? Do you speak English?” 

My young and sweary brain said “Oh, for fuck’s sake. Already?!”

I chose not to take the same tack as my brain, “No, I speak Chinese.” I said in the strongest English accent I could muster. They all tittered, and I went to class feeling like I’d cleared the first hurdle.

The boys weren’t as easy, but I was lucky to make a lot of amazing friends, so we don’t need to go in depth to the bullying douchebaggery I was subjected to. Well, except for when I got shoved arse-end into the waste paper basket by two knuckle draggers. I got stuck in there all folded up, and had to roll onto the floor to try and wriggle out. I did this through much finger pointing and laughing, and once out I realized that the seat of my trousers had blown out, exposing my underpants. Cue hysterical laughter, and ten year old me running home crying. But that was an isolated event perpetrated by a couple of shit heels, most of the kids were great.

No, my major bullying came from the school itself. To allow for some slack, I will say that I started off on the wrong foot, to say the least. Here’s how-

A friend of my Mum’s had a copy of a fake Peanuts cartoon that I somehow got my hands on. It was Charlie Brown and Lucy having a chat, and I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever seen. Here’s the dialogue, you’ll have to imagine the very shoddy drawing yourself.

Charlie Brown- Gee, I’d sure like to get in your pants.

Lucy- Why?

Charlie Brown- Because I shat in mine.

Oh, how I larfed and larfed, because you see I was ten. I had no clue that “get in your pants” meant sex, in England ‘pants’ is what we call underpants. I just thought Charlie was showing a hilarious sense of humor, and a good shit/fart joke is manna from heaven to an English boy. Well, and man ;)

“Oooh, Mum! PLEASE can you run me off some copies for my friends?!”

“”Sure.” Said my equally clueless mother who promptly knocked out a stack of 20 or so, which I promptly handed out willy nilly at school, and then very promptly found myself at the administrator’s desk unwittingly receiving the mantle of ‘Foreign Enemy Number One”.

I remember it well. I sat there and took a heated bollocking, about how I had “desecrated an iconic American symbol”. The dude went off. He was deeply offended by my cartoon. And my mum didn’t help, because she didn’t take the same shit he laid on me.

My mother walked in towards the end of the bollocking, giving me the evil eye for being in trouble and getting called to the school from her new job. She was very apologetic to the administrator and let him tell her what I had done. For about two minutes, right up to “your son has desecrated an iconic American symbol”, my mother sat there politely. And then she laughed. In the dude’s face. Cringe.

“I’m so sorry that I had to waste my time and yours to come in today during work to deal with something that could so easily have been handled on the telephone. Will you be taking any action against my son, or is he free to go back to class?” People learned pretty quick who my mum was. I gotta give the guy some credit, he showed a steady and cool head, and decided not to suspend me. It was in his power to do so- I had broken a rule, but he held back. Then.

Now we move to the pledge of allegiance. Every morning, all the kids would stand up with hands on hearts, face the flag, and say the pledge. Except me.

Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t doing a Kapernick (more on that later). I stood with all the other kids and faced the flag, but because I’m not American I didn’t say the words or put my hand over my heart. I thought that standing and facing the flag was a sign of respect for my new home, but saying the words wouldn’t feel right to me because I’m English. There was never any disrespect meant, I was falling in love with Bar Harbor and America. I finally felt like I could let some roots grow. Unfortunately, disrespectful is how I was perceived. Bummer, right?

One day after the pledge, the administrator came into the classroom.

“Mr. Huttsez, my office please.” Kids oooohed at me as I did the hang dog walk out of the classroom for the death march down to his office.

Here’s the gist of what went down. He chewed me out for disrespecting America. I guess it really touched a nerve for him. I tried to explain that I didn’t think I was being disrespectful because I was standing and facing the flag, but he wasn’t having it. Basically, it boiled down to this- Do the whole pledge, with all the words and hand on heart, or get sent to the office.

Though it was never said, even ten year old me knew that enough trips to the office would get a troublemaker like me suspended. To his credit again, he chose to tell my mother all this on the telephone. Probably wise.

I was scared. But I was more angry. No way in Hell was I gonna do what he said.

“Look, Chooch,” said my mum, “I think you should just say the words and do it. I pissed the guy off, and I’m sorry. It won’t change who you are or where you’re from. You will still be you, and who you are is very special. This will make things a lot easier for everyone, and we need to settle in here. It’s just words after all. Mumble them if you want.”

So, I did it. I put my hand over my heart and said the words while homeboy watched my defeat. I like to think I had the last laugh though. My version went like this-

 

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the united Tits of America,

And to the RePUDlick (giggle) for which it stands,

One nation, under dog, invisible with liberty and justice for all.


It was a small ten year old boy victory, but I’ll take it. Oh, if you’re offended by that re-writing of the pledge, then you should probably stop reading. In a bit, I’m gonna whip out the Kapernick.

There were other incidents and multiple trips to the office, but things settled down eventually. It was a difficult coupla years, but I made friends that I have to this day.

High school was tough at first too. Kids came from other junior highs in the area to a single centralized high school, so I had to weather a fresh storm of being a foreign kid. Ok, a foreign kid who spiked and dyed his hair, and had an earring. Easy target, right? Whatevs.

Here’s a little taste of the love I received from some of my new school chums.

“Limey Faggit!”

“Why don’t you go back to England, Faggit?!”

“America’s the best thing since sliced bread.” That one still cuts deep.

There was one dude and his crew that always managed to find me alone, and they laid it on hard. Pushing, threatening, name calling, pinning me against the wall. It wasn’t good and it was escalating. I never went and told on them, but I guess it never reached the point that I had to. Because they got shut the fuck down.

I was in the school library, by myself, when the dude and his crew sat down at my table and proceeded to threaten and generally fuck with me. It totally sucked. Then it totally rocked.

All of a sudden, there was an upperclassman basketball star standing behind them. He was the son of the area’s most legendary and badass basketball coach and teacher, a man who had coached my stepfather when HE was in high school. His son was a solid and well respected leader in the school. For good reason.

He kept it short and sweet, as Mainers tend to do. “Hey boys, if you’ve got a problem with him, you’ve got a problem with me.” And that was it. The knuckledraggers mumbled off, and never messed with me again. One short sentence, and my mistreatment for simply being from somewhere else was over for good. It was a huge moment in my life- I finally felt safe and like I truly belonged. I will never forget that moment, so thank you Scott P, I’m not sure I ever got to say that.

My early years in America were a bit of a mixed bag. I learned to love the people, who are kind and honest, and the natural beauty, which is stunning. I learned a New England work ethic, and even got a touch of it’s infamous pragmatism, just a touch ;). I think of it as my home, because that’s where my roots got to grow.

But I also learned that authority in America was heavy handed, and that bigotry was as alive and well as it was in England (there’s aresholes everywhere, you see). Those early years did a lot to mold my ‘question authority’ outlook on life. I’m still that guy.

So, when Colin Kapernick took a knee during the national anthem and became the target of intense scrutiny, it jogged that memory of the pledge when I was ten. That “Do it, or else” approach that I got as a kid.

I went back to that experience, and put an adult perspective on it. My feeling is that the cartoon deeply offended the administrator, and on top of that, he was offended that I didn’t say the pledge. It then escalated no thanks to my mother’s lack of diplomacy, though I stand by her actions as a parent. But at it’s core lies the original sense of offense.

So, he made me say the pledge against my wishes. I wasn’t going to make a political stand in rural, 1977 Maine, and you know, I was ten. Plus, we needed to fit in. And as stands go it was fairly shit, let’s be honest.

But this Kapernick thing got me thinking. This man- agree with him or not- is doing something he believes in, it’s peaceful protest practically by definition. He didn’t say anything, no fanfare or announcement, no pre event press conference announcing his intentions. He just did it off to the side, almost by himself. Peacefully.

Here we go!

Since it got noticed a lot of people have been very offended, and they’ve been very vocal about it. It’s gone completely ballistic, with high school kids following his lead and getting suspended from school, and social media full of ire towards this professional athlete. Pictures of him in crosshairs, cops threatening to boycott security at the stadium, calls for his firing, and endless memes. It touched on a very passionate chord. Well, two. Patriotism and race. Polarizing as fuck, right? 

Liberals be like- “The dude is exercising his first amendment rights! It’s free speech! America is full of conservatives, bigots, and racists!”

Conservatives are all- “Men and women died for this country, they died protecting your freedom! That flag is a symbol to us of the ultimate price they paid for their country! He should stand! He’s disrespecting our fallen comrades! America is full of liberals, weaklings, and freeloaders.”

Who’s wrong?

I fall in the liberal column, and think that he is right for standing up for something he believes in. To me, it is the very definition of freedom. My life experiences have led me to feel this way- I was bullied into toeing the patriotic line, because I had offended someone. It’s natural that I would feel that way.

But what if I had chosen to enlist in the armed forces, and had seen combat in the first Gulf War? Friends of mine were there. What if I was one of the many men and women who have seen HARD combat in Iraq and Afghanistan? Men and women who have seen their friends die violent deaths in far off places. That would make me see the importance of standing for the anthem, because you’re standing for the fallen. It must be a terrible burden to carry the memory of fallen friends, but a burden that I’m sure is carried with honor. People who are offended and angered by Kapernick’s protest feel that way because their life experiences have led them there. Just like mine did for me. Perspective’s funny, ain’t it?

All this perspective got me thinking about political correctness, because everyone gets offended by something at some point.

Liberals like me get offended by “Grab them by the pussy.” I wouldn’t tolerate my son speaking like that (he doesn’t because he’s a good boy), and I wouldn’t want my daughter to be subjected to it. Unwarranted sexual advances are sexual assault, end of.

Conservatives are offended by Colin Kapernick taking a knee during the anthem in protest, because they feel he is showing no respect for the many fallen americans who died for their country.

So, if we all get offended, then maybe there actually is something to this PC nonsense after all. Let’s see what the thesaurus has to say-

politically correct

adjective

unoffensive, nondiscriminatory, unbiased, neutral, appropriate, nonpartisan; informal PC. ANTONYMS offensive.

Antonyms? Just one- offensive. It seems odd to me that political correctness gets such a bum rap, when it speaks  to kindness and civility. Not bad things in my book.

But political correctness got a bum rap anyway. People bemoan having to change old ways just because it ‘offends’ some group or person. “You can’t do ANYTHING without offending someone anymore!” they decry on social media. “What do you mean I have to say Happy Holidays?! It’s Merry Christmas! PC gone mad!” I agree that ‘political correctness’ can be overused, I live in Northern California so I see it first hand. Believe. 

However, I think it’s time for conservatives/PC haters to get on the PC bandwagon, or at least touch it whist walking alongside if they can’t commit to a full seat. Why? Because we ALL get offended by something at some point. There’s no avoiding it.

It is hypocritical to bemoan a ‘PC world gone mad’ , and then yell from the rooftops when you’re offended. Seriously, stop and take a proper look at yourself and the double standards you’re using. If you are the only person in the world who has never been offended by anything ever, then bemoan on you crazy diamond, otherwise think before you act the next time you take offense to something. If this is a free country, then you have to accept other peoples version of freedom. It’s called civility. You can’t push your version of freedom on others. That’s called oppression.

Right, now for the liberals.

Load of bloody hypocrites as well. How can you sit there saying ‘Elections can’t be rigged’ when you screamed about Bush stealing the election from Gore . So it’s rigged, then it’s not? Ummm, Bernie? Try explaining that to your kids and maintain dignity at the same time.

Also, I don’t think it’s ok that Hillary has taken money from the Saudis.

I’m all for respecting people’s cultures, it’s one of the liberal cornerstones. But I can’t respect a culture that treats women as second class citizens, beheads homosexuals (and women!), and rules under oppressive medieval laws. So liberals? Take as hard a look at Islam as you do at the conservative christian right. Mega liberal Bill Maher feels the same, check him out with Charlie Rose, clickety click. They both warrant your ire. If you truly stand for women’s rights, then take a good long look at yourself and what you’re supporting.

Hypocrisy on both sides and everyone gets offended. What a load of bloody children we  all are.

The split in America will never go away, we’re all just too different. BUT, we CAN come together with just one word.

Empathy.

Liberals- Maybe you should try and put yourself in the other persons shoes if you think of yourself as open minded. ‘Liberal’ is defined as ‘open minded’ in the dictionary. Try and think about why that person feels the way they do. What were the life experiences that formed their outlook? Get past the memes and surface bullshit and you’ll come to see that we’re not that different, we’ve just lived different lives. I get why people are so angry about the Kapernick protest, maybe you should too. Believing that he’s entitled to his stance is completely separate from being an actual liberal person who wants to bridge the gap with your countrymen. Idiots. I’m just as guilty of this as you, but I’m working on it.

Christians- How about you ask yourself, “What would Jesus do?”, and then actually do it? Ask yourself this on a constant loop, non stop. You will make the world a better place. See- Jimmy Carter.

Conservatives- No more yelling about political correctness if you get vocally offended by things. At it’s core, political correctness is about living together, and it’s time to remove the stigma. If you love your country as much as you say, then you need to work on bridging the gap as well, because we’re in this love together. Try and find some common ground, it’s there. We all love our kids and want them to succeed. We all love are pets and want them protected. We all love. It’s not fecking rocket surgery. Come on!

Tell a friend who has opposing views a story that illustrates why you feel the way you do.

I used to think that two of my friends were total knuckle dragging, gun nuts, so vehement is their protection of the second amendment. But then I found out WHY, and it changed my entire perspective. I would want my right to own a gun as an impeachable right if say, a crazy co-worker starts stalking my wife and restraining orders won’t physically protect her. What if some neighborhood boy gets all obsessed with my daughter when she’s older and it gets creepy? And he gets threatening? Restraining order? Hmmmm.

Emapthy leading to perspective and communication.

Or.

Pfffft, you’re an idiot because you don’t think like me and I hate you and everything you stand for.

Yeah, I’ll take door number one, Wink.

Well, I think I’m all ranted out, and it feels like a good place to stop. Plus it’s ridiculously long, sorry about that. I’ll do a nice short, light hearted one next time. Maybe about making cupcakes or shagging.

 

That’s it for now.

 

Thanks for reading, see you soon.

 

Huttsez

“...the unread voice of a generation.”

-huttsez.com

Thursday
Oct132016

Won't Get Fooled Again 10/13/16

“Hahahahahahaha!”

“Bwahahahahahaha!” 

In my last entry, I had a short throw away line in reference to my radiation induced fatigue catching me a little unawares- 

“And there you were thinking you’d made it through the radiation relatively unscathed!” chortled Western Medicine from the corner. 

Well, the evil bastard has come out of the corner and is currently pogoing around my semi-motionless form, pointing and laughing.

“Hahahahahahahaha! You stupid cancer patient! You ACTUALLY BELIEVED the radiation oncologist when he said you’d get your energy back ‘in a week or so’?! Bwahahahahahaha!” Western Medicine is not known for his kindness and restraint, which he then displayed by standing right in front of me, air-humping with reckless abandon. A “Dick Dance” as it were.

Yes, I’ve fallen for it again. I actually DID believe my doctor when he said “a week or so” to start feeling better. And this is after believing the chemo people that “I’d probably just be tired”. No wonder the behemoth of Western Medicine is laughing madly away. What was it W said? 

“There’s an old saying in Tennessee- I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee- that says, fool me once, shame on- shame on you. Fool me- you won’t get fooled again.”

I should’ve listened to you George. What was I thinking, right?!

Yesterday I looked up “radiotherapy fatigue duration”. I found a link that spoke specifically to my type of cancer and area of treatment. Right out of the gate, first fecking sentence was- 

“It is common to experience fatigue for three to four weeks after the completion of treatment. Around 20% of cases may experience up to three months of symptoms.”

“HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” I was getting pretty tired of Western Medicine rubbing it in.

So, THREE to FOUR weeks is not “a week or so”. I’m slightly miffed about it, too. There will be no talk of this three months nonsense.

Why am I miffed? Because I’m somehow more tired than when we spoke last time, and I’m now over two and a half weeks from my last radiation treatment. Definitely in the radiation bloke’s time frame of feeling better. Mind you, this is the same geezer who said that we’d probably never know if I’ve been cured or not. A friend who’s a doctor said “Umm, no. At about 5 years you’re pretty much good. Radiation oncologists aren’t known for their bedside manner.” Palm? Meet face.

Lesson learned, got it. I will add it to the list. A lot of doctors have their own agenda, as do we all, so trust my instincts and do the due diligence. Never ever take doctors’ comments as gospel, get second opinions and do the research.

For instance, my chemo doctor wanted to send me back to work NEXT WEEK! I had to argue with the guy to extend my meager disability for a bit longer while I get my strength back- I get tired from a 30 minute walk and the guy wants me back swinging a hammer and climbing scaffolds?! 

He was like- “I’m not comfortable with this, Mr. Huttsez. Disability is for active therapy only.”

And I was all- “That’s cool. I’m sure that I won’t fall climbing a scaffold because I’m severely weakened from the cancer treatments. I also feel confident that I won’t injure my already dodgy back carrying loads of lumber around (three herniated discs lol), thus forcing my boss to pay a worker’s compensation claim and have his rates go through the roof. I mean why not get right back to work woefully unfit?! Sounds like a winning plan to me!”

So he was like- “How does the middle of November sound?”

And I was all- “lol”

IMPORTANT ADVICE ALERT- Doctors don’t know it all. Trust your instincts. Get second opinions and look shit up! Don’t let them bully you, and fight for what you need.

The next time I go to a GP doc, it won’t be to my regular guy. Because I’m firing his ass.

At the beginning of this whole process, back when I first found the lump, the dude fucked up. He was asking me if I felt any pain at the lump’s location.

I said, “Yes and no. It’s like a strange low grade ache that comes and goes, but it’s not really that terribly painful. It’s nothing like I’ve ever felt before. It feels... weird.”

“Okaaay, anything else?” I could tell that homeboy wasn’t quite sure about my description’s authenticity.

“Well, the closest way to describe it is like when you ‘get the willies’ but with some aches.” Cue the douchebag raised eyebrow.

“The willies?” Cue the semi-incredulous tone.

Sigh. “Yeah. You know when you look down something really high like the Golden Gate Bridge, and your balls kinda suck up a bit? And your stomach gets a bit unsettled? That’s the willies.”

OK, perhaps not the greatest description of my symptoms, but you see I’d never had cancer before so I was working with some new material. This is when my doctor fucked up.

As he started to turn away to the sink to wash his hands, the dude rolled his eyes. He probably thought I couldn’t see it. Dafuq?!

“Look, 99.99 percent of the time these things are nothing. It’s almost always some little infection that avoided detection.” He finished washing and turned back to me. “We’ll test you for STD’s and put you on antibiotics for two weeks. These things are usually nothing, you’ll see.” He ended up with a nice patronizing shoulder pat. But his shit worked, I felt “hypochondriac shamed”. The doctor has spoken. 

“Ok. But I’m 100 percent positive that I don’t have any STD’s.” I mumbled.

patpatpatpat “We’re just going to check anyway, ok?” patpatpatpat.

So yeah, his arse is fired. I’m sure the dude deals with a metric shit ton of people that are convinced they’re dying that aren’t dying, and that he’s probably getting a bit ground down from it being in his late fifties and all. I wouldn’t want the job for that very reason. But the difference between me and him is that he took the job and all it’s associated baggage, paranoid patients included. What he’s obviously forgotten is that sometimes the patients get it spot on.

I’m going to get a woman GP, as I feel women have more compassion and empathy than men. My reason for having a man was that I was more comfortable whipping my junk out for a dude. Well, now that I’ve had my balls shaved, groin poked and prodded, and trouser snake moved around and taped out of the way by women doctors and nurses, I’ve lost my inhibitions about the gender of my doctor. The best care I received through this whole process was from the all female surgical team that did my two procedures. The men didn’t stack up as well. Just sayin’.

Right, that’s enough kvetching. At least about that. Sorry, I’m a bit Ranty McRanterton today.

The good news is that the fatigue hasn’t felt like it increased over the last coupla days, so maybe I’ll start on the upswing pretty soon.

Sleeping a lot, like 12-14 hours a day. If it doesn’t start getting better in the next coupla days, I’ll reach out to the geezer. But it’ll start getting better.

 

At the end of my last blog, I mentioned some chemo induced side effects that I’m experiencing. I have to laugh a bit, this shit just doesn’t stop.

CIPN- chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy. Let’s look it up, shall we?

“Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a progressive, enduring, and often irreversible condition featuring pain, numbness, tingling and sensitivity to cold in the hands and feet that afflicts between 30% and 40% of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.”

Neuropathy was just another brushed aside topic they mentioned before I went in to chemo. There was no talk of 30% or 40% of patients becoming afflicted with this. Again, it would’ve been nice to get a bit more information somewhere apart from the bloody internet.

I get it though. If they really told cancer patients about the odds of the multitude of side effects before treatment starts, they’d have a mass of blithering, panicked basket cases for patients. Maybe some people would opt out of treatment because they got so freaked. I wouldn’t have taken that route. I would’ve preferred to know what I was really up against so I could prepare myself for the fight. Maybe I’m in the minority, but I still get it. Just getting my head around the fact that I had cancer in the first place was hard enough, so I get it.

Right, back to my new friend CIPN. My hands and feet hurt and tingle when they’re cold. I get sharp pains in my feet that wake me up at night. If I sit or drive too long, they go all tingly and sore. Sometimes, it just happens without any of those scenarios. It sucks, but I’m confident I can manage it. Because I’ve managed everything that’s been thrown at me so far.

Here’s a silver lining, maybe it’ll be my barometer for when there’s some weather coming, kinda like Grandpa’s knee- “Looks like we’ve got a storm a-brewin’, Mother, my neuropathy’s actin’ up somethin’ fierce. We’d best bring the cannabis plants inside.”

Glutamine, acupuncture, and exercise are my new best friends.

Though I just started using this approach to treat my neuropathy a week ago, I can already feel the benefits. I don’t get as tingly or sore when I sit or drive, and my nights aren’t being interrupted as often.

I’m still too tired for proper exercise, but I’ve been able to get an early walk in the mornings. Can’t wait to hit the yoga and start rebuilding all my atrophied muscles. I’ve spoken to some cancer survivors that said it took about a year to get back to feeling normal again. Makes sense, cancer and it’s treatments are no joke.

Dudes! This entry was a total downer, I’m sorry. But hey, it is what it is. I’m sure there will be much tomfoolery ahead. Until then.

 

That’s it for now.

 

Thanks for reading. See you soon.

 

Huttsez

“...the unread voice of a generation.”

huttsez.com