I’m putting my foot down – on parasites

Thursday, February 1, 2018
I’ve been a pretty nice guy for most of my life. I was raised to be honest, down-to-earth, and to help those in need. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon how you look at it, I took this to heart and often put others before myself – this coming from someone who adheres to a philosophy of self-love and self-worship. The problem with altruism is that it doesn’t exist, and “fake it ‘till you make it” simply doesn’t apply. The best – or rather, the worst – you can do is to believe it to be real and moral, and to follow it . . . to your inevitable downfall. In other words, being selfless and nice to everyone was incredibly naïve on my part, and I suffered the consequences, but I didn’t learn my lesson right away. Alas, mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa.

I should probably backtrack for a moment and forewarn you: this is a rant, and no, this is not “bitching.” I stand in staunch opposition to whining and playing the violin in the hopes of garnering sympathy and getting a pat on the back. This is mere venting – a way for me to let out anger and frustration in a positive and non-violent way. Pouring my emotions into such endeavors as writing means that I’m turning something negative into something positive. Also, I reserve the right to complain about things in my own space. I seek no sympathetic shoulders to lean on or emotional support of any kind. I’m proud to stand on my own two feet and I will handle my issues as I have all my life, without anyone else’s help. But I digress...

So what am I venting about, anyway? Predictably enough – people. You see, also predictably, it was not long before people took advantage of my kindness and my caring nature. Suffice it to say that when your own mother uses you as a crutch because she can’t grow up and handle the problems she caused, it really is a rude awakening in terms of realizing that the world, as Sly Stallone once phrased it, “ain’t all sunshines and rainbows.” From having to work odd jobs, like going to the store for local senior citizens in exchange for a few bucks, to providing food because my parent landed us in abject poverty, and wouldn’t get a job (I was 14 at the time), to having to explain to friends why I had no furniture and why my clothes had an odor because I couldn’t even do laundry, I did not have it easy, and I learned a harsh but useful lesson. Don’t help those who would never help you. Looking back, I could have taken all that money and taken care of myself. It’s the job of a parent to provide for their kid, not the other way around. I should have done so, but I was young yet.

As I soon learned, I’m something of a shit magnet, as I soon encountered other people who saw fit to take advantage of my generosity and my good nature. When I finally did get a steady job, I recall buying people packs of cigarettes to feed their habits, with promises of “I’ll pay you back!” that, of course, never came to fruition. I remember paying for an entire hotel room for a friend, who was essentially treated to a mini-vacation on someone else’s dollar, and who later refunded me maybe 10 percent of the total price and never bothered to pay any more than that. I remember, very recently, lending a friend some money, only for that friend to show up on the doorstep of my ex’s apartment at a late hour of night, hoping to stay with us because he didn’t have the foresight to get back to his own dorm before the train stopped running, making a racket when I wasn’t even there at the time, essentially causing trouble until a neighbor ended up calling the cops. Oh, and the money? Never got a dime of it back. Go figure!

Oh, and speaking of ex’s . . . well, don’t even get me started! The last one was a good-for-nothing, narcissistic sociopath who didn’t want to work, but sure as hell wanted someone else to make money for her, cook for her, and buy her shit – but she also wanted to tell that person what to do with the money he made; because, you know, someone on welfare, and who fakes disability to collect monthly SSI checks (an insult, by the way, to people who have REAL disabilities), and who can’t spend even that meager amount of money quickly enough on makeup and clothing, is the first person who should be telling a working person who pays all his bills and puts responsibilities first how to manage money. It was, I suppose, an interesting twist on an old adage – she wanted to steal her cake, then have it, and then eat it, too! But let’s not re-open cans of worms, particularly ones that I kicked out of my life five months ago.

You know, I don’t make a lot of money. I work hard, and I do my very best to keep a roof over my head. I’ve been through a lot in life – I’m not whining about it, I promise. In fact, I’m thankful to have been essentially baptized under fire. I gained so much wisdom and experience. As they say, when the body suffers, the spirit flourishes. My spirit is strong indeed. No one can break my spirit. But oh, do they try. And try, and try again. My enemies are nothing if not resilient. If only they would apply such ambition to their own lives, perhaps they wouldn’t have to piggyback off the kindness of others just to get by. These are people who claim to be somebodies. They’re the first to tell hollow, fabricated success stories. And they’re still stuck in the same shitsplat, redneck towns, they’re still stuck in the same ruts, with the same problems, surrounded by the same sycophants who wipe the proverbial tears from their eyes as they complain about how terribly life has treated them. Take it from someone who knows – life is harsh and unfair. Deal with it. Learn from it. Grow from it. I did. The problems that came up in my life were really gift horses in disguise.

I don’t want to say that I’ll never learn. I refuse to believe that I’m foolish enough to continue helping people who don’t deserve it, rather than learning from my mistakes and growing a tougher skin. I can’t be that cynical. I must remain positive and know that I will always be strong enough to rise above the tide of opportunists, bottom feeders, and ne’er-do-wells who try to stand on the shoulders of others so that they can call themselves tall. It’s a sink or swim world, and the problem is, I’ve been handing out lifeboats for years. I’m done doing that. The assholes can drown beneath the weight of all their inadequacies, and all their finger pointing, all their masochistic perpetual victimhood, all the tears and excuses in the world won’t save them. These are people who don’t learn, and as far as I’m concerned, when tragedy strikes for them, it all comes down to the universe putting itself in balance, and the world getting rid of dead weight.

There are so many people who are on welfare because they need it. There are people stuck in small towns, yet working hard to support their families. These are not the people I’m criticizing. I’m criticizing the ones who I know are just taking advantage of the system, and ultimately, of people.

Today, I am awake. I have no more olive branches to extend, no more helping hands to offer. Knowing and dealing with shitty, freeloading people has toughened me, but has not made me a bad person. Helping people who never appreciate it, who grab the money and run, and never look back, has made me grow cold to the false pleas of manipulative people, but it has not made me lazy or apathetic. It has not changed the way I live my life, or the strength with which I overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles to take charge and make something of my life. It has only changed my outlook. I realize that selflessness is an illusion; something directly in line with Christianity, a religion known for its tenets encouraging weakness, hypocrisy, and martyrdom.

Now more than ever, we live in an age of people who want to be victims. They revel in it. Brush up on your Orwell, folks, because weakness is strength, lies are truth, and slavery is freedom. These days, the people looking for a free ride climb a ladder of nepotism, bawling their eyes out and wetting their pants as they deal with their traumatic, woe-is-me, middle-class, first-world problems – loudly and deliberately, so everyone pays attention to them. As they climb, they knock down others who seek success by honest and legitimate means, and then claim to be the injured party. But the real kicker is what happens when they meet others who have risen far above where they are. You see, people who shove their heads up their asses aren’t very fond of looking up; when they do, they don’t like what they see. So they try and stick to doing what they’ve always done – they use those people, and then turn their backs. When that doesn’t work, they simply move on to their next source of help or income. They’ll take it where they can get it – but they won’t get it from me any longer.

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