Saturday, June 30, 2012

Shit My Mother Said, and Related Matters

I've always thought one of the most annoying sayings ever coined was one my mother used to lambaste me with all the time I if I complained about anything: "I wept because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet."

This is an example of the so-called logic that says: "Because something worse is happening, has happened or could be happening to somebody else somewhere at some time, what's happening to you right now isn't bad."

I say this is 200-proof, double-distilled, bottled-in-bond bullshit.

Somebody else's misery may be worse in comparison to mine, but that doesn't lessen mine. If I had no shoes and met a man who had no feet I would feel sorry for that unfortunate man. I would do whatever I could to help him. But the ineluctable fact remains that his lack of feet would not remedy my lack of shoes. (Unless, of course, he happened to have an old pair of shoes that he didn't need any more and was willing to give them to me.)

Another pain-in-the-ass thing my mother used to say to me when I griped because it was raining and I couldn't play baseball was: "Be thankful we don't have tornadoes."

I often wondered what mothers in Kansas said to their kids. "Be thankful we don't have earthquakes," probably.

Similar "logic" is often used to defend Bend's suckalicious weather, e.g., "Well, we could be having 100-degree heat like they're having on the East Coast."

Sure, we could. (Well, no, actually, in Bend we couldn't.) But no matter how badly the weather on the East Coast, or in Alaska, or in Siberia or wherever is at any given moment, it does not alter the sucky attributes of the weather in Bend at that moment. And, since I am in Bend and not on the East Coast or in Alaska or Siberia or wherever, the weather in Bend is what I'm interested in.

So here's a polite request for the next person who tries to pull my mother's old shit on me and tell me it doesn't really suck in Bend because it sucks harder somewhere else: Stuff it.


Anonymous said...

Well, I guess that knowing that it's 800 degrees on the surface of Venus, or near absolute zero on Pluto doesn't really matter. The weather in the Sahara or Siberia is not really any more relevant other than there are folk there that might be wishing that it wasn't quite so uncomfortable (or maybe not, some of us are content with what we have and others not so much), so we can have compassion for them; but whether that lessens one's one discomfort is probably a personal matter.

H. Bruce Miller said...

Jack: If we take comfort from the misery of others, isn't that, in a way, the ultimate in selfishness? Isn't it, in a way, the antithesis of compassion?

This could be an interesting philosophical discussion.

Marshall_Will said...

Sophistry aside, neither Venus nor Pluto are inhabitable by humans. No points awarded, even on the most esoteric level?

And... unless you run guns or club baby seals for a 'living' most of us won't find much in the way of e-m-p-l-o-y-m-e-n-t in the Sahara or Siberia. While unprecedented, careful reading of the Rules allows judges to actually -deduct- points! And in this case, they HAVE.

Back on earth and in latitudes that enable survival for more than fleeting moments without the aid of copius amounts of fur-lined undergarments there's a little issue called... 'affordability'?

While the South of France probably lavishes itself in the climate most to my liking. Unfortunately they've moved out the millionaires to make room for the billionaires.

Or perhaps pause to consider how many states/climates are in effect *Insolvent* with no choice but to turn around and STICK IT to local constituents on an annual basis. Oh screw that, we've (3) Sewer Rate hikes in 2012 and the year's only half over. Then there's Cadillac pensions that need to be paid for!?

Sorry for the less than convivial response but entertaining delusions about the weather OR fiscal responsibility ( unless money's no object? ) is no way to kick off the week.