Bring This Essay To Your Next Gun Fight

Police have a tough job.

It’s not a particularly high-paying career, especially starting out. You’re expected to deal with people who dislike and distrust you for no good reason, other than that you’re an authority figure. The work is physically demanding and mentally stressful, and there’s a chance you’ll get shot in the line of duty.

Sorry, did I say police? This was supposed to be my description for teacher. I’ve been doing this for 26 years, and I “accidentally” drew one rhetorical weapon when I meant to grab another. But I guess this works pretty well for cops, too.

It seems that cops are getting a bad rap lately, and while we can debate the reason, one possibility is their propensity to kill unarmed people.

While I can’t personally fix that, I can sell you some rhetorical ammunition without a thorough background check. Use the ideas here for your next family dinner, Reddit conversation, or wherever else you might encounter a bootlicker on whom you’d like to viciously dunk.

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There Ain’t No Doubt, I Love This Land

I’m an American, and that means a few things.

It means I’m self-made. Everything in my life was crafted from three simple ingredients: my two hands and a lot of hard work. I won’t take any guff from a communist like you who relies on “big government” for sustenance. If you don’t like the way I live, then fuck you and the horse you rode in on.

My horses? Self-fucking-made, chief. I personally tracked down and bred two wild horses to create my own horse. Once my pony was old enough to ride, we galloped into town—which, incidentally, I built while waiting for my horse to grow up—and we gathered raw materials. God’s green earth provided its splendor in the form of wood, iron ore, naturally-occurring copper wires, and shag carpet. Oh, and six day laborers from Guatemala.

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We’re Trying To Have A Society Here

The act of “canceling” people is as old as civilization itself.

Sometimes we canceled people via exile. Sometimes it was through removing their heads from their bodies. But the reasoning was always the same:

You did something that badly compromises our community’s shared values, so you gotta go.

Before humans started divvying up the hunting versus the gathering, we already had the basics of a limited social contract. It went something like this:

“What’s up, fellow hominid? Here’s my offer: in honor of the fact that you look vaguely similar to me, I won’t kill you when you turn your back. In consideration thereof, kindly don’t kill me when I’m not looking, either. Sound good? Kthxbye.”

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Deliver Us From Upheaval

In a few hours, I’ll be in my car.

It’s a nine-year-old Toyota Prius that bears nine years worth of scars. Rear-ended three times. Sideswiped by a crafty pole that jumped out of nowhere. One headlight is perpetually brighter than the other like it’s a nine-season NFL veteran. Still going strong. And one headlight is brighter than the other, did I mention that?

I’ve slept in that car, sometimes while parked. Gotten tickets. Sung countless songs. Done “other things” in that car which, if I someday become a world-renowned writer, will dramatically increase its Kelley Blue Book value when accompanied by this essay. I’ll sign a copy for you, just ask.

But today, I’ll be doing what I’ve been doing in the Prius for the last several months, ever since I closed my business. I’ll be delivering GrubHub orders to people’s homes.

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Beating Our Heads Against The Wall

Are you better off than you were four years ago?

A famous actor once asked that question in a debate with a former peanut farmer. Of course, I’m referring to the classic intellectual joust between Sir Anthony Hopkins and George Washington Carver. It was really tough to organize the event, given the fact that the two participants lived in different eras. A lot of people don’t know that.

The line was repeated with devastating effect in 1980 when former Governor Ronald Reagan (R-California) debated incumbent President Jimmy Carter (D) in a bid to deprive Carter of a second term.

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The Bell Tolls For Thee (When Your Head Smacks It)

Because we’re human, we’re capable of transmitting and receiving communicable diseases from one another. That means we’re only as safe as the most vulnerable among our population.

Because we’re humane, we understand that ideas like removing vulnerable people from the gene pool, putting afflicted* people in leper colonies, shunning immigrants out of fear they’ll bring disease, and purposely infecting everyone around you, are all incompatible with living in a “developed” society.

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Are You a Problem Announcer?

My dog, Lemmy, isn’t much of a problem solver. He’s a world-class problem announcer, though.

Lemmy’s definition of “problem” ranges from “someone rang a doorbell on TV” to “someone rang the actual doorbell.” In other words, my dog is a redundant doorbell. And unlike my actual doorbell, Lem Lem shits a lot. My actual doorbell hardly ever shits.

I’m just kidding. I don’t have a doorbell. This blogging thing doesn’t pay doorbell-having money. If you want to see me in person, you’ll have to knock on my door. I won’t answer it, but to be fair, I also won’t answer it if you push the spot where the doorbell button is supposed to be. Lemmy will flip the fuck out either way, though. Your move, Knocky.

“Problem announcing” has much less value to society than problem-solving. That’s why Lemmy still lives with his mom and dad at 28-dog-years-old: his complete lack of marketable skills.

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Hello, 911? Can You Send A Sociopath?

Imagine you’re a reporter. After a long day of work, you start having excruciating chest pains. You think this may be the end.

You call 911, and barely squeak out, “My chest is tight, I can’t breathe.” The minutes blur as you lie on the floor, bargaining and pleading with your maker to survive until the ambulance arrives.

At last, the EMT rushes in. He comes to your side and immediately kneels down to whisper something to you:

“I see you need my help. I can help you. But first, I want you to do us a favor, though. I want you to get on the news and say you’ve discovered incriminating details about my ex-wife. She’s done a lot of bad things, and it would really help everyone.”

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These Are The People In Your Neighborhood. Sorry.

Every year, the Kennedy Center Honors are awarded to venerable artists in the United States for lifetime achievement and impact on American culture.

I check my mailbox once or twice a year in the hopes I’ll be recognized. Truth be told, I really just want a cool rainbow medallion. I could probably save a lot of time and money with a trip to Michael’s, versus all that “honing my generational talent into a marketable craft” crap. Not to mention I could stop checking my mail outright. I never get anything, except Bed Bath & Beyond coupons and angry letters from debt collectors. Exactly how do you propose I catch up on my bills when Bed Bath & Beyond has such great deals AND an extra 20% off? It’s a vicious cycle. Get off my back, Visa.

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To Tell The Truth, I’m Obviously Lying

Plausible deniability is a crucial component of any ongoing violation of laws or norms. If you’re going to intentionally engage in nefarious deeds, you have to have your story straight for when the eventual scrutiny (such as, let’s say, impeachment) comes.

That which you are straightening is indeed a “story” because it is, by definition, not a true reckoning of whatever drug deal you’re up to. It is at best a quasi-believable version of events that counts on the listener giving you the benefit of the doubt. At worst, it’s a thinly veiled lie.

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