Supernatural: Manic Pixie God Girl Part 12 – The Gods Must Be Crazy

Supernatural: Manic Pixie God Girl Part 12 – The Gods Must Be Crazy

If you missed Part 11, it’s here: https://atomicfeminist.com/2019/05/15/supernatural-manic-pixie-god-girl-part-11-angles-in-the-architecture/

If Bobby would’ve only been a human still it wouldn’tve been so damn frustrating.  

It happened sometimes with the Winchester Boys, they’d start doing crap Bobby didn’t approve of, things he couldn’t keep his mouth shut about, so he’d take a step back and get busy with his own life for awhile.  After all, he wasn’t their boss and he wasn’t their daddy, and they were grown ass men.  Dumb as balls both of them in their own way, sure, but grown ass men all the same.  Wasn’t his place to tell Sam and Dean how to live their lives no matter how bad they needed for someone to tell them how to live their lives.  So he’d take a step back. 

He couldn’t do that now because he didn’t exactly have a life to get busy with. 

Being Dean’s archangel meant he was a servant, like a butler or a bodyguard, and the expectation was that he would be at everybody’s beck and call.  No one came right out and said it but Bobby knew damn well if he went incommunicado there would be annoyance and snarky remarks, if not wrath.  But he wasn’t any man’s whipping boy, not even God’s.  While Castiel may be ok living like that, Bobby Singer wasn’t.

Bobby decided he was gonna be an angel more in the mold of Gabriel.  More of a doing-his-own-thing kind of angel.  A don’t-call-us-we’ll-call-you kind of angel.  A taking-road-trips kind of angel.  That’s how he came to be standing in front of Sheriff Jody Mills with his hands in the air, looking down the business end of a loaded, cocked double barrel shotgun.  “What are you, because I know you are NOT Bobby Singer?”  She was scared of him, which figured, and he couldn’t half-blame her.  She’d seen loved ones come back in the wrong form before, not that he was her loved one or nothing, but just, you know.  It was understandable.  It might not be him, was all, and he’dve done the exact same had their places been reversed.  “What are you?”

The problem was, he just didn’t know how to explain it.  It just seemed too…stupid.  It wasn’t so much that it was unbelievable, it was that it was plain idiotic.  Bobby found the entire concept of what he was and how he’d come to be, downright humiliating.  “Jody, you wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

“Well, why don’t you try, and then we’ll see if I fill you full of buckshot, or rock salt.”

“If you need to, that’s ok.  I can’t die though, at least, not that way, so don’t be too shocked when I don’t.”

“I bet it will hurt though no matter what you are.  So.”

She was right about that.  “Ok, well, I’m an angel, apparently.  An archangel, I guess you could say, not to put too fine of a point on it.”  And then to prove the case he unfurled his wings, which felt ridiculous and show-offish but seemed like the fastest way to convince her.  He felt a blush rise beneath his beard as he did it.

Jody was unimpressed.  “I’ve seen better tricks than that at the grade school talent show.”

“They’re real.”

“Real like a Kardashian.”

“What’s a Kardashian?”  The name sounded familiar but Bobby couldn’t place it.  He figured there must be some new kind of demon in town.  “And how do you kill it, because if you need me, Jody, you know I always got your back.”

She lowered the gun suddenly.  “Bobby, it IS you, isn’t it?  Really?  Is it you?”

“Yeah.  It’s me.  Unfortunately.”  He sucked his wings back up.  “I keep pinching myself hoping it ain’t true, but then I say ow.”

“How?”

“I got resurrected, or whatever, and then before I could escape into the night I got angelified.  Heh.  I can’t even get left alone when I die.”

“Huh.  Who did it this time?”

Bobby started talking and then stopped.  The words Dean is God tended to get stuck in his throat.  “You got anything to drink?  Because I think this is gonna go down better with a whiskey or two.”

“Can you drink?”

“Almost as much as I could when I was human.”

“That doesn’t seem right somehow.  Like, morally?”

“Angels ain’t what they used to be.”  

Jody fetched a bottle of Wild Turkey and when they’d got good and drunk, he told her the whole story.  When he was done telling it, Jody sat there in silence for a while and he knew she was thinking about the people she had lost.  Her son, her husband, friends and neighbors.  All of em things that God could have stopped as easy as pumpkin pie, but didn’t.  “Well, I gotta say, Bobby, I think I’m with Sam on this one.”

“Oh, believe you me, I see that side of it myself.”

“I mean, I guess I always thought that God had some sort of higher purpose, for all the suffering, and it would all fall into place someday, once I knew what that purpose was.  Like, I would feel ok about it once I understood that that was the way things had to be?  For things to be as they should be, you know?  For God’s plan to come out the way it was meant to, in the end.  I never really stopped to consider that maybe God is just an idiot?”

“If you met her, you could see.  She means well.”

“Wasn’t she the one who said the road to Hell is paved with good intentions?”

“I s’pose she knew from personal experience.”

“But knowing didn’t seem to stop her from inflicting her good intentions on the rest of us, now did it, Bobby?”

“Like I said, Jody, I do see that side of it, I surely do.  But.  Well, I think she was just in over her head, a bit.  With Dean to help her now, things’ll maybe be different from here on in?”  He didn’t sound convincing, not even to himself.

“Don’t even get me started on that dubious concept, Bobby.  Dean Winchester as God?  I mean, that’s just crazy!  Seriously.  No way that’s not gonna end up going bad in a big way.  Hm.  If I knew back then what I know now, I guess I should have walked away and let him die one of the zillion times I had the chance.”

“Heh.  Yeah.”  He had thought she was joking but she seemed kinda serious.  She poured herself a full-to-the-brim whiskey and sipped at it.  Bobby didn’t know what more to say, and so said nothing.  But he couldn’t help but think.  Dean as God?  Dean as GOD??  While Jovi essentially turning her back on Earth for centuries and doing nothing with her omnipotence had been bad enough, somehow the idea of Dean, a man of action who’d spent his life rushing in to hordes of slavering monsters to kill everything he could get his hands on and thought plans were for pussies, seemed significantly worse.  It was like following President Obama with President Trump or something. 

Jody was right, Dean being God was the Bad Idea to end all Bad Ideas, and probably literally.  It was only a matter of time before the kid blew his cool in some fashion or another.  People would die, people always did. 

And worst of all, if Dean wasn’t real careful, and and who was Bobby kidding, Dean was never careful, people might find out the truth of who they were really dealing with.

What might humans do if they found out God wasn’t all-knowing, that there wasn’t some benevolent plan, that human misery was largely borne from the misery of a higher power who was hurting even worse than they were?  That the person they’d been counting on to make things all right, was actually all wrong?

Bobby didn’t know, exactly.  He tried to remember being human, the nuances of it, the particulars, but it was fading faster than heaven had faded.  Still, he remembered enough to know that most humans weren’t like Jody.  Most humans weren’t reasonable and sympathetic and decent and slow to react without knowing all the facts.  Most humans were actually the polar opposite of all those things.

Looking at Jody’s face, the disappointment settling in, the defeat, he realized people finding out that God was a lonely needy little girl who was barely hanging on by her fingernails instead of an all-knowing all-seeing type of guy doling out presents to everyone like Oprah, it simply could not be a good thing.  Let alone if they found out about Dean, that there was a brand spankin’ new God who had been a human up till 5 minutes ago, and that he was none too steady himself. 

When you looked at it from the outside it was clear nobody who ought to be was in the driver’s seat. All of creation was careening off a cliff at 100 miles an hour with two scared kids who had stolen their parent’s car behind the wheel.  

Humans would rebel like the angels had rebelled, and the funny thing about people is when they rebel, generally they hurt themselves the most. 

In that moment he knew he’d never be able to be an angel like Gabriel, no matter how bad he wanted to.  Bobby Singer had spent his life fighting against evil and it looked like he’d spend his afterlife doing the same, just in a different capacity.  As a PR rep and cleanup man for the two least awe-inspiring Gods ever.

No matter what the price he had to pay, people couldn’t ever know that the lunatics were in charge of the asylum.    

********************

Over the next several weeks Dean tried, he really tried not to use his powers, and had some measure of success with it.   No more frivolous stuff, he’d decided, no more gambling and miracles and magic tricks.  The juju was for emergency use only.

Dean quickly learned, much to his dismay, that not using his powers actually started to hurt over time, like having a toothache or an ingrown toenail or one of those giant zits you get that just won’t pop no matter how hard you squeeze em.  The urge was an ever-present, irritating, dull ache.  He felt antsy and squirmy and just a little swollen all over his entire body.  He felt tender and sensitive and bruised.  His ears rang and he felt a sensation behind his eyes like there was a monkey in his brain tugging relentlessly on his optic nerves. 

And that was on a good day.  On a bad day the discomfort swelled into insatiable hunger and unquenchable thirst and intense desire all wrapped up with something he now recognized as the creative urge.  Those days he longed for release so he could feel normal again, so he didn’t feel like he was climbing the walls and that his skin was crawling. 

He found giving up his powers harder than quitting drinking, which he also did, but easier than quitting Jovi, which would have been impossible if not for the occasional maintenance dose of hot fury.  He would have missed her terribly except for how dare she, how DARE she create him, create the ridiculous, inexplicable, bottomless pit of emotion he felt, and then reject him?  It made his blood boil which was good because anger was the only thing allowing him to function.  If he didn’t have his anger to cling to he thought he might end up curled in a ball crying or something and Dean Winchester didn’t cry over women and he certainly wouldn’t cry over THAT one.

He was fine without her.  Fine and dandy.

Dean decided to look at his suffering as a means to an end.  Because the more he hurt, the more he felt like he was gonna explode from pent up energy, the stronger he was getting.  And the stronger he was getting the closer he was to defeating Lucifer.  Life was pain, Dean was miserable, but it wouldn’t last forever.  It hurt, it hurt bad, but it was temporary.  Endurable.  It was only a means to an end.  The pain would end when Lucifer was vanquished.  Forever this time, no more half-measures.   

That God had been trying to defeat Lucifer for eons, well, Dean preferred to not dwell on that too awfully much.  Accentuate the positive.  He would win, and he would win SOON.  He just had to get strong enough – mentally, physically, metaphysically – to defeat Lucifer and then with that chore off their to-do list finally, surely Jovi would soften.  Once Jovi wasn’t so stressed out, wasn’t so worried about the fate of the world, she’d be more receptive to new things, probably.  New developments.  Plus, come on, she’d have to be pretty dang impressed that he’d worked the one trick that she never could. 

Not that he cared, really, because he didn’t.  All the things Sam said about her were totally right, and besides that, she wasn’t his type anyway. 

Giving up booze made him sleep better, which surprised him since he’d generally gotten drunk so he could sleep.  He got 10 hours of sleep a night and even took naps in the midafternoon like a child.  He started drinking kombucha, which was awful, and kefir, which was ok, and various fresh squeezed juices, which varied, instead of living off coffee by the pot and the hair of the dog like he had been.  He went Paleo and gave up gluten. He started eating foods he’d never heard of like Acai berries and coconut oil and quinoa.  He communed with his mitochondria and was pleased to find they were full of gratitude for his efforts.  

He did these things even though he knew damn well that it was pointless.  Alls he had to do was have Castiel heal his vessel to be in perfect health.  But Dean discovered there was value in the effort.  He felt in control, he felt like he was accomplishing something and it was only when he dwelled on it too long that he admitted it was probably all just mental masturbation.  

He could feel himself getting stronger again, but so slowly.  Too slowly.  His glory was like a big empty rain barrel filling up and even though it added up it was still just trickling in a few drops at a time.  Chronos was living up to his end of the bargain and keeping the lesser gods on the move, but it wasn’t a perfect system and Lucifer was still catching an unlucky one now and then.  It was a race to the finish, Dean knew, and it was impossible to con himself enough to believe that drinking a flaxseed/spinach smoothie and sleeping in could really be the key to winning Armageddon.

But he did it anyway.  At the least, getting healthy gave him something to focus on.  It gave him something to hang onto, a vine to pull himself out of the divine quicksand he felt like he was sinking in sometimes.

Even as he lamented how slowly his glory accrued, he found he had an excess of physical energy so he took up jogging and weightlifting and kickboxing.  He could exercise for hours on end, then have Castiel heal his vessel and exercise for hours more, putting all his anxiety and misery into smacking a heavy bag and with every punch he threw he told himself he was that much closer to proving to Jovi once and for all that she wasn’t good enough for him.

When one sport got boring he switched to another.  He found his body could learn in days skills that it took humans years to master.  He went mountain biking and golfing and bowled 300 at every alley in the United States which was a huge, strange source of pride for him.  He took up tae kwon do and krav maga and archery and this weird stupid thing called parkour and he got satisfaction in knowing the next time he encountered Lucifer, even if he couldn’t kick his ass, at the least he’d be able to run away in an interesting fashion.   

And yet the pressure kept building.  God was who he was now and he couldn’t just leave it behind and take up a new hobby.  Just like Dean Winchester had once been a Hunter, now he was a Creator.  Needing to create was like a pebble in Dean’s shoe, a burr in his saddle; it poked at him as he was riding a bike down a rocky slope and tickled him as he was putting a golf ball across a green.  The more he hungered to create, the more he came to resent that he couldn’t do it as well as Jovi could, and the more frustrated got about how bad he sucked at it.  He would look at the trees as he whizzed by them on his bike or the blades of grass under his feet on the golf course and feel extreme awe that Jovi could construct something so absolutely perfect completely out of her imagination.  Along with a surge of burning jealousy that he couldn’t do it himself.

Copying things she had already made wasn’t good enough for Dean.  Not anymore.  He wanted to make his own things.  He urgently wanted to show Jovi that he could create things himself, new and dazzling things, so much better than her creations, so she would feel that same awe of him that he felt of her.

But he couldn’t.  He couldn’t even practice.  Freaking Lucifer.  Dean couldn’t even make a fly.  He had to be strong enough to fight Lucifer.  He didn’t have the glory to waste with experiments that would likely end in failure. 

Eventually Dean decided that since he couldn’t make stuff, he would just DO stuff instead.  Fix problems, correct errors.  Perhaps that was where his talents lay.  The things Jovi created were ok and everything, some of them were pretty cool like hummingbirds and watermelon and the Grand Canyon, but surely there was room for improvement.  Just look around, look at the world, what a freaking disaster.  What a mess it all was.  Maybe he could take Jovi’s creations, the things that didn’t work as well as they should, which was most of them in his very humble opinion, and give em a tweak.  Home improvement projects, he thought of them as.  Like training his muscles required small repetitive motions over time, surely he could hone his ability to create the same way.  Little adjustments, again and again, until he mastered creation.

People seemed to be the main problem, thus Dean decided it was people who he’d fix first.  Since he didn’t have the glory to waste on kicking ass, he had to work smarter, not harder.  He did the math and calculated that only a very small percentage of the human population committed most of the violent crimes. He could sense them sticking out of humanity like a sprinkling of black pepper on mashed potatoes.  God, how he loathed them.  So he very, very subtly began to change the odds so the worst people would be just a little more likely to die.  He didn’t kill them, exactly, he just made unlikely, unpleasant events a little more likely to happen until eventually they’d either contract some rare, usually incurable illness or manage to kill themselves through some sort of delicious, poetic justice-y freak accident.

It didn’t take him anywhere near the kind of effort that killing them all outright would have done; in fact it took barely any effort at all.  He could do it on the sly and keep gaining strength at very nearly the same pace.  It just…took the edge off, was all.  Of course he was doing it to make the world a better place and everything, but it also took the edge off.  He figured it was like methadone for a heroin addiction.  A pale imitation of the thing you really wanted to do but somehow it got you through.  

More important, it didn’t attract any untoward attention.  

Dean understood instinctively that the concept of a real live God performing real live miracles, particularly killing-people-related miracles, would have a negative effect on humanity as a whole.  Not only would it scare them, but people seemed to need the uncertainty of it all; the “does God exist” question seemed to spur them in ways that absolute faith couldn’t.  He had read that when training animals, intermittent punishment and intermittent rewards were much more effective training tools than consistency.  Which was mighty effed up when you stopped to think about it, but maybe that was one of Jovi’s careless mistakes that he needed to fix.  When he was strong enough he was going to fix all her mistakes.

This went on for a few weeks before Death wised up to the game and paid Dean a visit. 

Dean had been surfing, his latest endeavor.  He’d been at it for three days and was getting pretty good.  He’d had a crowd of people watching him, even.  As he came out of the surf he saw Death appear, and so he sent his admiring onlookers away with a thought.  “Hey, D-Man. Pallid as ever, I see.” Death was a guy who needed to give up gluten and take up mountain biking, for sure.  Dean stuck his surfboard into the sand and shook his head to dry it.  He was pleased to see that a whole lot of small beads of water flew from his hair to splatter across Death’s black suit.

“You should see yourself, Winchester.”  Dean knew all too well that despite his best efforts at eating clean, despite having spent the last 3 days in the Australian sun, his vessel was still was a little gaunt, a little pale.  His eyes were still sunken and red-rimmed.  He still had more healing to do before he was ready to face Lucifer even though it felt like the healing was killing him.  “I’m sure you’re aware why I’m here?”

“No.”  He was, of course, but it seemed smarter to play dumb.

“Been killing rather a lot of people lately, haven’t we?”

“So?”

“I thought you’d learned you can’t disturb the natural order?  Remember?  When you tried to do my job for a day and made such a mess of things?”

“Ah, but that was by saving people who were meant to die, not killing people who were meant to be alive.”

“Semantics.”

“It isn’t semantics.  Your argument is fundamentally flawed, Death, because I can’t go against the natural order.  When I was a human, yeah, sure.  I was subject to the natural order.  But I’m God now.  I create the natural order.  I make the rules, so I can bend em whenever I see fit.  You got a problem with that?” 

“Well, I don’t, no.”

“Jovi sent you?”  Dean found the concept of a messenger sent by Jovi more than a little thrilling, which was irritating.

“Not exactly.   We spoke, and you’re causing her distress.  I took it upon myself.”

“Why?”

“Old friends.  The oldest.” Dean knew that Death and God had been together since the very beginning and just the idea that Death had ever known Jovi so well, had ever had the privilege to be alone with her for a second let alone for trillions of years, caused a flare of jealous rage so great that the earth shook under Dean’s feet.  If Death felt it, he ignored it. “I don’t like to see her that way.  Death is my domain, as her domain is life.  I try to protect her from it, when I can.”

Dean wondered if it had ever been love, as unlikely as it seemed; he wondered if there could be something there still, which seemed even unlikelier.  He realized that even if Death was no more than a friend to her, he did not want Jovi to have a single friend other than him and the earth shook again.  “You have no need to protect Jovi from me.”

“Not from you, Winchester, from the consequences of your actions.”  The concept that Death felt interceding between him and Jovi was even remotely acceptable was infuriating.  Dean wanted Jovi to be for him and him alone, a trillion years in the past and a trillion years in the future.  He knew it wasn’t right and it wasn’t fair to want that but he wanted it anyway.  “What you’re doing is stupid anyway, there’s no bloody point.  You’re making a rookie mistake, don’t you realize that?”

“I don’t make mistakes!  I act, and it’s up to everyone beneath me to react.  Nothing I do is a mistake. I am the Word.”

“She is the Word as well, and she doesn’t like killing for no reason!”

“She’s allowing evil people to live.  And they kill.”

“Once they’re dead, they cannot be redeemed.  She allows the evil to live to allow them every opportunity for redemption!”

“They don’t deserve redemption.”

“Redemption isn’t deserved, it is bestowed!  Redemption is a gift, not a payment for services rendered!!”

“I have no interest in arguing about the finer points of Godhood with the likes of you, Death.”

“Well, you should discuss it with someone, because you’re botching the job!”

“Says who?”

“She does.  And honestly, she seemed a little sorry to have made you at all.”

Dean remembered what Lucifer had said, that Jovi wouldn’t have created him without the ability to destroy him, and he remembered that Death’s Scythe maybe-just-maybe could kill God.  Even if the scythe couldn’t kill Jovi, maybe-just-maybe she had made it so the scythe could kill Dean.  Maybe Death was the failsafe that Lucifer had been so sure existed and he felt goosebumps rise even though he was baking in the warm sunshine.  “Is that why she sent you here? To kill me?”

Death laughed drily.  “She didn’t send me.”  The temerity of it, that Death had taken it upon himself to come here!  That Death thought he was worthy of standing in judgement on the actions of God!  The rage boiled inside Dean then out of him and because he knew he couldn’t kill Death, he reached out with that precious power that he’d been so carefully preserving, that had taken him so much effort to accumulate, that he knew he shouldn’t be squandering, and he snuffed out every one of the evil men (and a not-small group of evil women) that he’d been killing off one by one by one.  Snuffed them in a heartbeat. Death sensed it immediately, of course.  His beady eyes went wide and a flush of red appeared on his pale cheeks. “I had plans tonight!”

“Guess you’ll have to reschedule.”

“I’m trying to explain, what I came here to try to explain, Winchester, you can’t just kill off the evil!  It doesn’t work like that!

“I know, because it looks suspicious.”

“No, because it’s pointless!  You realize every evil person who falls, more rise to take their place?”

“What?”

“Evil is largely about opportunity, you twit.  Human nature and opportunity.  The world is full of people who would simply love to be evil, to do evil, but they just never had the chance yet.  All you’ve done is created millions of job openings that will soon be filled, and the precise sort of chaos in which evil thrives!”

“Maybe, but the world will get a couple good years before they do.”

“You’ll see.”  And he disappeared.

That night, the evening news breathlessly reported millions of inexplicable deaths across the world.  People were saying it was Armageddon.  There were bank runs and all the food in all the grocery stores was gone because people were hoarding it.  Riots and revolutions had broken out around the globe.  People were sacrificing animals and virgins.  There were mass suicides, mass murders, genocide.  North Korea launched a nuclear warhead into Portland, Oregon.  Apparently Death had been correct, there were still plenty more evil people left to take the place of the ones Dean had killed.  Hundreds of thousands of innocent people were dead already and the number kept climbing.  It was like the aftermath of a tsunami where the death toll keeps rising and you’re wondering how high could it possibly go.  

Exactly like a tsunami, he realized.  He had unleashed a tidal wave of divine wrath and the world was drowning in the wake of his temper.  He may as well have made it rain for 40 days and 40 nights.  Dean, of course, didn’t have to watch the news, he already knew everything that was happening.  He knew because billions of people were praying at him, giving him a full accounting of the penalty humanity was paying because he had faltered for a split second.  He felt each and every one of those prayers like he was being poked all over with small icy needles, millions of them per second. 

It didn’t seem right that you could be good – better than good, great, practically perfect even – like 99.99% of the time but with a single, brief moment of weakness, just like that, boom, everything is undone.  It occurred to him that of all the demons they had ever fought, he had just done worse than them all combined because he was upset that a girl didn’t like him any more.

He knew it all already.  He didn’t need the news to tell him, he knew how bad it was.  He had turned on the news so Sam could find out about it without Dean having to actually tell him what he’d done.  Sam and Castiel sent alarmed looks back and forth at each other as they watched the images on the screen but no one said a word.  Dean sat on the couch and stared into space and chewed the inside of his cheek till he tasted blood.  He couldn’t decide if it was worse that they didn’t say anything, or if it was better.

They didn’t even look his way. 

After a while Dean got up and left the room.  He got drunk for the first time in weeks and took sleeping pills at the same time.  A whole lot of sleeping pills.  He figured it didn’t matter, not like he could die anyway, so he took the whole bottle and then conjured up another whole bottle and took that too.  Then he took some other stuff he found in the cabinet, cough syrup and antihistamines and painkillers and he washed it down with whiskey.

There was something symbolic about it, ritualistic, even though he knew he couldn’t die.

If he could have died, he would have, he would have died to take it all back if he could but he didn’t have enough power to undo what he had done and he couldn’t die.  If he could have died he would have died of shame.  Dean was so ashamed of himself, of his anger, of his pride, of his lack of self-control that he wanted to die and so he pretended that he could.  He just wanted to be numb, completely and totally numb for a while.

It worked.

*********************

Sam called Bobby back from South Dakota.  

It wasn’t because of what Dean had done, it wasn’t because everyone on Earth was freaking out and killing each other or that it was all Dean’s fault, because that seemed like such an insurmountable thing Sam just wanted to push it away forever and never think of it again, even though that made him a bad person or something, probably.  

Sam called Bobby back because the bunker was full of animals and Dean wouldn’t wake up.  Dean was making animals in his sleep.  Wild animals.  Lots of them.  He couldn’t create things when he was awake, but apparently when he was unconscious he had the knack, and Sam couldn’t get him to wake up.  Castiel had healed him, had filtered the drugs and alcohol out of his system, but Dean still wouldn’t wake up.  It was like he didn’t want to wake up or something.

Bobby already knew what had happened of course and when he appeared he waved off Sam’s apology.  “I was on my way anyways, ya idjit,” he said as he kicked what Sam recognized as a Komodo dragon away.  “I saw the news.”  Bobby ducked as a peregrine falcon swooped past his head in pursuit of one of the hundreds of small rodents that scurried across the floor.  “It’s like Noah’s frigging Ark in here!”  

“Tell me about it!  What do we do?”

“Well, put em back where they came from, I guess.”  That’s the way the night went.  They tried to get Dean to wake up, tried everything from cold showers to coffee, but he wouldn’t wake up.  As the animals appeared Sam would Google them and try to find out where they belonged and then Bobby and Castiel would drop them off whereever it was on Earth – an adventure made all too thrilling by the frequent appearances of Bengal tigers and alligators, animals which Dean had a particular affinity for.  Thankfully, Dean didn’t seem to be able to create dinosaurs which he also loved, or, as Bobby quipped, “We’dve had to open up our own version of Jurassic Park.” When the angels were gone and couldn’t see him doing it, Sam pray-screamed at Jovi to come and help them, to do something, to do anything, and she didn’t answer, naturally.

Sam was so over Jovi it wasn’t even funny.

Gabriel, thankfully, did hear and respond, and a good thing too because Sam didn’t think they could have managed without him.  He seemed to think the entire situation was hilarious and cracked jokes and threatened to give Dean a cocaine enema if he didn’t wake up soon.  Somehow his high spirits were contagious and pretty soon they were laughing even though everything was infinity miles beyond awful. 

When Dean woke up the next morning, Sam was dozing on the couch fitfully.  Dean had stopped making animals a couple hours prior and the angels had gone off to see what they could do to mitigate the civil unrest.

There was only one animal left, the last one Dean had made.  It didn’t have a place in the world any more since it was technically extinct.  Sam hoped against hope that Dean might find some joy in it.

Dean had finally managed to make a Dodo.

Dean shuffled in, holding his body stiffly, his fists clutched tight and drawn up to his chest like he was sore or injured or really cold.  Sam knew that he couldn’t be hurt because Castiel had healed Dean repeatedly during the night and he realized with a chill that some injuries are on the inside where no one can really see.  Sam sat up as the dodo waddled over to Dean and gazed up at him with an adoring expression on its cartoonish face.  Dean stared at it blankly.  “You made it in your sleep.”

“Did she come, Sam?”

She hadn’t, of course, and Sam was overcome with a sudden need to change the subject. “The dodo, Dean, you did it, see, isn’t that awesome?  Now you can just copy it and…”

“Did she come, Sam, and if you ask who, so help me…”

“No.  She didn’t.”  Dean sighed, and blinked, and sighed again.  He looked at the dodo and much to Sam’s dismay the rotund bird disappeared into a cloud of dust and then the dodo dust disappeared into nothing.  “Dean, wait!  What?”

“You can’t just remake old things, Sam.”

“What? Why?”

“It’s against the natural order.”  Dean shuffled in that strange stiff way into the kitchen and stopped.  Since he’d been on his health-food kick the kitchen was full of vitamin bottles and exotic fruits that Sam didn’t recognize.  “It had its chance.”

“But I thought you wanted…”

“I wanted?”  Dean’s voice cracked and he spun around and the expression on his face, Sam didn’t recognize it.  Like, he barely even recognized it was Dean that’s how different he looked.  Like, unhinged, totally unhinged.  If Dean’s eyes had been twirling in spirals, they would have matched what rest of his face looked like.  “I WANTED!?!  Since when has what I WANTED mattered?  In my LIFE?  Never?  I didn’t think so!”  As he yelled spit flew out of his mouth, so much spit that Sam could see it from across the room.

“Dean.  It’s ok.  Who cares, about the dodo, or whatever.  It doesn’t matter.  Just…it’s ok.  It’s fine!  Do you…do you want to talk, or something maybe?”  Sam desperately hoped Dean would say no because Sam didn’t know where to even begin, I mean what could a person say that could begin to make yesterday even remotely ok?  He hadn’t the foggiest notion.  They didn’t exactly make Hallmark cards full of encouraging platitudes for when God gets cranky.

Dean tugged the refrigerator open way too vehemently and everything inside sloshed and jostled in protest.  He bent over to rummage around inside it.  “And what, pray tell, might I want to talk about, Sammy?”

“Uh, I don’t know, yesterday?”

He slammed the fridge shut and turned, his arms full of juices and smoothies and other mystery potions.  “Do I WANT to TALK about YESTERDAY?”  Dean flung a bottle of wheatgrass juice at the wall.  It shattered, leaving a massive green splot on his Van Gogh.  “Hell YEAH I want to talk about YESTERDAY!”  He flung a bottle of something vivid orange at the floor roughly in the neighborhod of Sam’s feet, which were bare because he’d been sleeping.  Sam could feel droplets of icy juice splash his lower legs.

“Hey!  Dean…!?”

“But do I want to talk you YOU, Sammy?”  He flung a yogurt smoothie in a plastic container at the TV.   It went right through the screen and exploded on the wall on the other side and Sam recalled Dean had supernatural strength and didn’t feel particularly awesome about being right in his line of sight.  “I can say pretty EMPHATICALLY…” He threw another bottle Sam’s direction, so fast Sam couldn’t see what it was till it hit the floor and drenched his feet in purple fluid.  Beet juice.  “…That I DO NOT!”  The last bottle whizzed right past Sam’s head and hit the wall with a loud ker-sploosh.

As his brother spun on his heel and yanked opened the fridge again looking for more ammunition, Sam took the opportunity to flee, ignoring the tiny shards of glass burrowing into his bare feet as he did.  He heard another bottle breaking behind him and felt more liquid hit the back of his legs.  As he shut the door behind him, another bottle hit the door hard enough to shake the entire wall and Sam wondered what would have happened if he’dve been ten seconds slower and the bottle had hit his skull instead.

Castiel and Bobby appeared beside him.  They were both filthy and exhausted and they’d only been gone a few hours.  Whatever Dean had unleashed, it was bad.  “What’s the ruckus?”  Bobby asked, but Sam could only shake his head.

From behind the closed door they could hear the sounds of smashing plastic and shattering glass as Dean obliterated the vestiges of his latest self-improvement project.  The destruction continued until he must have run out of stuff to throw.  There was a long moment of silence and then Dean howled in frustration, an inhuman sound of pure wounded animal agony that shook the entire bunker.  Sam clapped his hands over his ears and winced because it was so loud his teeth hurt, but more than that his heart ached for his brother.  Before Sam could stop him, Bobby opened the door to go to Dean’s aid.

The horrible sound stopped.

There was no glass, no mess.  It was like nothing had even happened.

Dean was gone.

Part 13 is here: https://atomicfeminist.com/2019/05/18/supernatural-manic-pixie-god-girl-part-13-crazy-on-you/

 

 

 

 

Supernatural: Manic Pixie God Girl Part 11 – Angles in the Architecture

Supernatural: Manic Pixie God Girl Part 11 – Angles in the Architecture

It’s been awhile, but I finally finished this bit of fluff!!  Link to Part 10 is here: https://atomicfeminist.com/2018/07/20/supernatural-manic-pixie-god-girl-part-10-with-friends-like-these/ and if you want to start at the first one, it’s here: https://atomicfeminist.com/2017/10/31/supernatural-manic-pixie-god-girl-part-1-dean-does-dead/

Dean and Sam and the angels rushed around preparing for World War Three (probably literally) and he frantically called to an unanswering Jovi every second or two but then nothing happened.   An hour passed, and then two, and then three. Dean was thinking about maybe ordering some pizzas when someone pounded on the door of the bunker. It was Jovi and she had Chronos with her. The guy looked pretty rough; Lucifer had worked him over good and he even had a couple bites taken out of him by the looks of it.  But he was alive, which was good, Dean supposed. “Why did you knock?”

“The door was locked!”

“Well.  Ok. But why didn’t, you know, you just show yourself in?”

“It’s warded, you idiot!”

“Oh, I didn’t know that.  Sorry.”

“Who cares, would you help me?”  Dean realized suddenly that Chronos was leaning pretty heavily on Jovi and he leaned in and took the weight off.  He realized with a start that Chronos had only one foot.    

His other leg ended at a bloody stump with a bone sticking out from it.  “Yeah, he ate my foot!! Can you believe that? What kind of a fricking freak eats a guy’s foot!?”

“A fricking freak that’s gonna be defeated very soon.”

“That is only one out of many possible futures, Winchester, virtually all of which end with us facing horrible defeat, death if we’re lucky, but most of the time an eternity of torment and servitude groveling at Lucifer’s feet.  Both of them.”

“Welcome to my world.”

Dean managed to get Chronos over to a couch where he could lay down.  Jovi glared at Sam, who had wandered in when he heard the ruckus. “Get these wards down now, Sam.  We need Oriphiel!”

“Well, actually, Jovi, uh.”  Sam apparently had something he didn’t particularly want for Jovi to know.  “Um. Crowley can come in whenever he wants. Already.”

“Oh, so they’re me wards, and not him wards.  Got it.” She looked up and to the side as if thinking about something very far away and a moment later Crowley heeded the call and appeared.  He was wearing khakis and a weathered t-shirt advertising a band Dean had never heard of, the Stone Roses. He was wearing black Converse high top sneakers and the shoelaces had smiley faces wearing sunglasses on them.  Dean was stunned because it was the first time he ever saw the guy not wearing either a suit or those horrible silk pajamas. “We need some old people, Ori.  Like, super old, doddering if you can find anyone that’s doddering, and sick…”

“Old people taste like cough drops!”

“Shut up, Chronos.  It’s the best we can do.  Oriphiel, seriously, I mean like, practically dying.  And make them kind of bad, maybe, mean people, could you?  That no one likes?”

Crowley nodded.  “The naughty list, eh?  I’ll see what I can do.”  He vanished.

“He’s not gonna eat any people here, Jovi.”

“He has to, Dean.  He needs food and that’s all there is for him to eat!  The apples are gone now and no one worships him any more.  Ok? I know it’s messed up, I get it that it offends your delicate sensibilities, but it’s just like one of those nature shows with the coyote chasing the baby wildebeest, and maybe you’re rooting for the baby wildebeest to get away the whole time but you know in the back of your mind that the coyote has to eat too!”

“People shoot coyotes.”

“That’s gratitude for you.  I saved your life!” Everyone ignored Chronos.

“Dean, um, I hate to tell you, but for all you and I know, if people stopped worshipping us, and the way things are going nowadays who even knows, we’d be right there with him.  Think about THAT.” Huh. He hadn’t ever stopped to consider that could be the case. “If you can’t handle it, leave the room. I’ll tell you when it’s over.”

Dean and Sam went to mull about in the hall, which was fine since Dean had a question or two for his little brother.  “Did you or Cas make a ward to keep her out?”

“Yeah, like, a while ago.”  Sam said it in a defensive way that made Dean mighty suspicious that he’d been left out of the loop on that decision on purpose.  “I mean, it wasn’t a secret or anything.”

“Just a teeny tiny little old non-secret that nobody thought to mention to me, I see.”

“We would have told you if you would have asked.”  

“How would I have known to ask about something I didn’t even know existed?”

Dean, it wasn’t a secret?”

“What if I wanted her here?  Did you ever think of that?”

“She could come in if she was invited.  Just not…randomly.”

“Well I want her off the list, Sam.  No more wards. Lucifer, of course. Duh.  Demons, sure, you bet. But not Jovi, for cripes’ sake.”

“What if we don’t?  Want her here, I mean.  Uninvited.”

“Do it anyway.”

“Oookay.”  Dean could tell Sam was pissed, but what ya gonna do, can’t please everyone.

“Now.”

Sam sniffed and sucked in his cheeks and rolled his eyes all around and stormed off with his hair fully aflop.  Dean snorted a laugh and leaned against the wall to wait, his mind buzzing with prayers he didn’t have the strength to answer.  He blocked them out the best he could and thought about dodos. Maybe he couldn’t make the exact same dodos that Jovi had done but maybe he could mix up penguins and ostriches and a hint of pelican together and see what came out.   He filed that concept away for further investigation at a later point in time.

Faster than one might have thought – Dean shook off the image of a frat boy chugging his way through a case of beer – Jovi poked her head out into the hall.  “It’s done.”

There seemed to be no remnants, no remains of whatever had transpired.  Chronos appeared to be back to his usual self again, healed and perky, the proud bearer of two feet, upon which he stood.  He was complaining. “Horrible, that was absolutely HORRIBLE! Ugh!!” He groaned as if he felt nauseous. “Gawd that was like eating Butter Flavored Crisco!!”  Crowley was gone; Dean assumed he was dutifully getting rid of the evidence. Jeez, might be nice to have an obedient minion for a freaking change. But who in their right mind would’ve ever have bet on Crowley to be the desirable choice?  “Please, Mr. God, Sir, may I have some more?”

“Don’t press your luck, Chronos.”

Chronos extended his regrown foot to the side to peer at it appraisingly.  “I can’t even believe he could catch me in the time stream. He came up behind me, ME??  In TIME, and chomp! That’s…that’s…you guys, he’s really getting stronger.”

“Yeah, tell it to my face.”  

The offhand remark reminded Jovi about the boxing match.  “What were you even thinking, Dean, that was so stupid of you!”

“I know.”

“If something had happened to poor Chronos because of you I would have totally gone medieval on your ass and believe me when I say, I know how!”

“I KNOW.”  Poor Chronos.  Waaahh.

“You weren’t strong enough to face him yet!  And now he KNOWS that!!??”

“Jovi, I know, ok?”

“Is that all you have to say for yourself?”

“Look, I didn’t come after him, he came after me.”

“Oh sure.  Just like you didn’t deliberately answer prayers after I told you not to.”

“All right, I cop to that one, but the Lucifer thing just kinda…happened.”

“Well, it shouldn’t have.  What are we gonna do?” Jovi’s face crumpled; he hadn’t even realized she was that upset about it but apparently she was.  Before he could, you know, offer her a shoulder, Chronos was already there. Geez.  Dean couldn’t even get a half a chance it didn’t seem like.  Somebody was always right there every time.

“Hey, it’s ok, come on.  I’m gonna help you guys, I promise.  I was being an ass before, but he ate my foot.  Some things are just unforgivable.”

“But how can you, Kiki?”  Had she just called him Kiki?  That seemed awfully affectionate-nickname-y.  “You’re not strong enough to take on Lucifer.”

“I don’t need brute strength, Mom, I have cunning.  Personally I think only nincompoops want to stand around whailing on each other to see whichever one of them falls down first…No offense, man.  I just prefer to defeat from afar.”

“You’re gonna get yourself killed again.”

“Nah.  I don’t have to take him on, directly, Jovi, don’t you see?  I just have to beat him to the punch and exit stage left before he catches me.  I’ll buy you guys enough time to…do whatever it is you do…to recover, or whatever.  Recuperate.  Regenerate.  Go to the spa. On the seventh day, He Rested?  And/or she.  That kind of thing?”

“What do you mean?”

“Play keep away.   Keep away from Lucifer.”

“You mean…”

“Yeah, I just keep the gods on the move.  He’ll show up whenever, but I’ll already know that, of course, because the timeline will be all effed up, and I’ll go back and get there just before he does, and evacuate everybody.  So then he’ll waste a bunch of time looking around for a god that’s supposed to be there, but isn’t. And then when the coast is clear I just drop everybody right back where they’re supposed to be.  Lucifer stays hungry, the timeline is safe.”

“That’s…that’s a really good idea.”

“Resurrecting me was a brilliant one.”  Dean believed that that remained to be seen.  “I can’t guarantee that it’ll work, but all we can do is try, right?  I’ll keep you posted.” He pressed a noisy kiss onto Jovi’s hair (grr) and disappeared.

Dean blinked, considering how nicely things seemed to be working out.  “He seems, uh, nicer than I remember.”

Jovi’s eyes widened and she shook her head quickly.  “No, he’s totally up to something.”

“Really?”

“Oh yeah.  Big time.”

“Like teaming up with Lucifer?”

“Uh, no, not quite that big time, I guess.  Small time. But something. He never helped me voluntarily before unless he needed something or had an angle.  Like, in all of history I don’t think. Ever. It’s always been tit for tat with us.” Dean did not love that choice of words.   “Just…don’t trust him, that’s all. He’s very charming when he wants to be and a lot of fun, I honestly think the two of you could be great friends if you take him as he is and don’t expect anything…oh, I don’t know, human…but don’t trust him.  Not even to like, turn your back to pee.”

“Can I trust you?”

“Of course.  But don’t pee in front of me though.”

He laughed and waited for her to continue but she didn’t.  She smiled and swallowed a gulp of air and tilted her head which was her tell, the signal that she was about to disappear.  To stop her Dean felt himself blurting words, a word, actually, before he thought it through. “Pizza!”

“What?”

“Do you wanna, I was thinking about, getting pizza?”

“Oh, sure, I guess.”  But what he had thought would be pizza for two ended up as a three-way when Crowley showed back up.  Then everyone invited themselves and somebody told Gabriel and he swung by for a while bringing a couple of cases of beer along with him, and pork rinds, and cigars.  Dean made a God-size dent in the beer and found himself staring at Jovi delicately crunching salty fried pigskin across a smoky room full of people and entities and pizza boxes and half-drunk 2-liter bottles of Coke products and wondering if she still liked him and how he was gonna make it the next several months without using any of his powers because he really kind of enjoyed using them, a lot.   

Jovi ate only vegetarian pizza and Crowley teased her mercilessly for it, considering that she had just fed several elderly human beings to a hungry god, and she laughed and laughed.  He wasn’t funny at all either by the way. One time he saw them entwine fingers just for a second but it could have been just a friendship thing, maybe. Friends did that, right? He didn’t have any female friends to compare with since the women unlucky enough to pass his way never seemed to survive long enough to befriend.  She flirted with Bobby, sitting on his lap once and stealing his hat and putting it on her own head; Dean figured she probably could’ve had the old coot eating right out of her hand by the end of the performance. Even Castiel seemed to be warming up to her although he still gave Crowley the ol’ stinkeye.  Sam wasn’t, preferring to sit alone in a corner and scowl, but screw him.  

Dean felt happy and sad at the same time and wished everything could be just like it was only with a couple of the places switched around maybe.  There was this beautiful normalcy to it and in his life, Dean had had precious little of that.  It was mindblowing to think that there was a whole planet of people out there who did stuff like this all the time, every weekend, just got together with friends for impromptu pizza parties.  Even more mindblowing, the only reason they could do that and have that life was because of him, because he was looking out for them, keeping the world spinning and the laws of physics in place and the forces of evil at bay.  The latter had always been true to some extent, but the God angle really took the weight resting uneasily on his shoulders to a whole nother level. And he couldn’t even help them, the humans; here they were crying out to him for protection and he could do nothing.  A God who couldn’t use his glory, what was even the point? He was useless.  Just like Crowley had said, he was impotent.

On that cheery note he decided to go out for some air.  Nobody noticed, and he was glad. He slipped outside and walked down the road a ways into the darkness, looked up at the stars and even when he reached out for a moment and connected with every particle in the universe, he felt very alone.  Most of it really was just empty space; he had heard it said before but now he could reach out and touch it and prove to himself that it was true.

It must have been hell for Jovi, outgoing as she was, alone for so long in the endless nothing.  Alone in a way that he couldn’t even fathom, alone for eternity practically, most of the time weak like he was weak now, waiting impatiently for her powers to regenerate so she could cut another piece of them loose to take the next step, set into place the next building block of her creation so that eventually she wouldn’t have to be alone anymore.  He remembered how scared she had been that night she cleavered her arm; how bad it hurt and he’d only done it just on his pinky. And how embarrassing she seemed to find it for people to know, as if she was ashamed of it all. The courage, or desperation it must have required for her to make that sacrifice again and again, innumerable times, to have created everything in the universe that way including his own worthless impotent ass was humbling and heartbreaking and he felt tears sting his eyes just from trying to imagine it.

Dean heard the door open and shut and figured it was Sam coming to demand that he get everyone out of the bunker because he wanted to go to bed or some stupid thing like that since Sam was incapable of having fun, ever, but it wasn’t.  It was Jovi, he could feel her. He said nothing, didn’t move, didn’t even breathe. Part of him wanted her to go away and part of him didn’t. Despite the pitch dark and his silence she approached him so easily it confirmed for certain that she really could sense him just the way he could sense her and he felt all kinds of ways about that.   “Are you ok?” Again it was like she had read his mind and again he wished for the ability to do the same. “Things are gonna work out, Dean, they always do…”

He kissed her.  It wasn’t something he thought through, the urge just took him and he did it.

There weren’t words in any language anywhere for the sensation.  The nearest thing he could come up with was one of those compilation videos where a whole bunch of nuclear bombs went off one right after the other to Rob Zombie music only he was standing at ground zero for every one of them getting the flesh blasted right off his skeleton.  In a very, very, very good way. Very.

Don’t let it go, don’t let it go, don’t let it go…but she let go.  She took a step back and blinked real slow as if in a daze and he thought for a moment that was it, he had her, he won and it could last forever.  But then she stepped forward instead and slapped him right in the face and it was like being hit by Lucifer all over again. He hadn’t been expecting it though, didn’t brace himself, and she laid him out flat, he fell over hard to the side and couldn’t even get his hand up to break his fall.  He actually said oof. His ear where she’d smacked him rang and hissed and throbbed and he saw stars. He worked his jaw to try to shake the feeling.

She stood over him with her tiny fists clenched.  “You had your chance!”

***********************************

Gee, what a surprise, it all blew up in Dean’s face.

Sam would have loved, seriously, loved, to possibly get a word in edgewise with his big brother at some point during that day but Dean was too busy getting in fistfights with the Devil and sacrificing old people to immortals and inviting God over for pizza.  And after dinner he had disappeared, off somewhere with The Flying Spaghetti Monster apparently, since she was missing too.

Looking over at Castiel and Crowley playing XBox and laughing together – he didn’t think he’d ever seen Cas laugh that much in like a whole entire year, let alone a few hours and it sure looked like he was getting over his whole angel-demon hybrid issue – and Bobby who hadn’t stopped grinning since she had buttered him all up and given him a lap dance practically, Sam felt like he was the only being in the universe who hadn’t completely lost their minds over their new addition.  It just added insult to injury when Jovi suddenly reappeared in the bunker, making Sam long for his dearly departed wards. By the look on her face he knew right away something had happened, they had argued, maybe. Good. She tugged at Crowley’s arm. “We’re leaving.”

Before they could disapparate Dean was back.  He had a rapidly blackening black eye but he didn’t look angry, he looked humiliated and maybe…hurt?  Not physically, either. Emotionally, and Sam had never been too awfully sure that Dean even had emotions in the way that most people tended to define them.  “Leaving? How does it feel to be that whipped, Crowley?”

“Glorious.”  Crowley smirked and he and Jovi vanished.  

Dean kicked the nearest chair and it flew across the room and into the wall.  It shattered into a million pieces and he called it back and repaired it inside a second but as soon as it dropped back into place he kicked it into the wall again.  “Dean!”

Much to Sam’s surprise Dean pointed a finger at him.  “This is all your fault!”

“MY fault!”

“If you would have just given her a break then none of this would have happened!”

“What happened?”

“It’s none of your business what happened!”

“Dean, calm down!”

“I could have had everything, everything, Sammy, and you had to ruin it for me!”

“How did I…what did I…what…”

“How many times are you going to completely eff up my life, Sam?  Were you born to do it, or is it like, just the most random string of coincidences ever?”

Sam hadn’t noticed at first, but Castiel had risen and approached Dean.  Sam had always found it interesting how Castiel could calm Dean down when no one else could.  He figured it was because Cas and Dean didn’t have all the brother baggage between them, but it grated on Sam’s nerves when Dean seemed to respond more to Castiel and even Crowley in some ways than he did Sam.  And in the meantime, Sam had no such luxury; no release valve, no wing men, no real friends to turn to when Dean was pissing him off.  All his friends were Dean’s friends first. Didn’t seem exactly fair sometimes. “Dean, come on, let’s, let’s not say anything we might regret here.”

“Tell that to him, Cas, he’s the one that can’t keep his damn mouth shut!”

“Just, just, just…cool off first, all right, kid?”  Bobby. “Sober up. You can sort it out in the morning.”  Something about the way Bobby said it made Sam realize with a start that both Castiel and Bobby blamed him at least in part for whatever was going on too, and that was, just like, so totally ridiculous since he didn’t even know what he’d done to start out with.

“What did I even DO?”  He really literally had no idea, because it was obviously about Jovi, and what had he even done to Jovi, ever, except simply remind people, on occasion, of all the things that she had done in the first place.   A pretty bizarre state of affairs when somehow the person who wrongs everyone again and again gets off scot free with no repercussions because they’re little and cute and look sad and say they’re, like, so totally sorry and everything, while the person who simply, on occasion, brings up those wrongs and says hey maybe we should, you know, keep these things in the back of our minds, here, guys, even if she has boobs somehow gets morphed into the bad guy.  That’s really, pret-ty bizarre when you stop to think about it.   He hadn’t. even. done. anything!

“Aw, Sam, shut up for a change.”  Bobby really did seem to think that he, Sam, innocent bystander, had some part in all this when he was just sitting there like a good little scapegoat.

Regardless of what Sam had or hadn’t done, Cas was able to work his magic on Dean despite that because Dean ground his teeth and swallowed the rest of whatever it was he’d been about to say.  “I’m going to the bar.” Which seemed like the worst idea ever but no one wanted to say that and risk getting Dean all riled up again.

“I’ll go with you.”  Castiel inspected Dean’s eye which was nearly swollen shut and was turning shades of violet that Sam wouldn’tve thought the human body could produce and well, maybe it couldn’t.  “Let me…”

“Leave it.”

“But…”

“Leave it!”  Dean turned and stormed towards the door.  About halfway there he disappeared.  Castiel sighed and looked at Sam, and then Bobby, and Sam again, and followed suit.

Sam turned to Bobby and rolled his eyes.  Bobby raised his eyebrows. “What? You too?”

“I, just…I don’t think you’re that dumb, is all, Sam.”

“Well, apparently, I am, Bobby.”

“He loves her, ya idjit.”

“If he does, it’s only because she forced him to.”

“I don’t know about that.  I ain’t so sure.”

“Well, I am sure, Bobby, and it’s kind of my job, as Dean’s brother, to, you know, point that out?  Even when people don’t particularly like hearing it.”

“I don’t get the two of you, sometimes, Sam, I really don’t.  It’s like each of you exists to screw up the other one’s life.  I mean, dysfunctional don’t even really start to cover it.”

“Bobby…”

“I want you to take a second and think, if the roles were reversed here, and you were sitting where Dean was…”

“He’d be doing exactly what I’m doing, Bobby!”

“You bet your ass he would, and that’s my point.  Just when things start to get good, just when either one of you have a chance at some scrap of a normal on life on your own terms…”

“How is being turned into GOD in any way normal?”

Bobby ignored him.  “…in pops the other one to pull it all down, and drag ya back down into the mud.  He’s done it to you, Sam, you know he has, with Jess, hell, even you and Ruby seemed kind of happy for a while there…”

“Ruby was evil!  And I was miserable!”

“That’s neither here nor there, it’s the same thing is what I’m saying.  Even with that veterinarian lady you were telling me about…”

“Dean had nothing to do with me and Amelia.”

“…just the idea of each other, it keeps you from letting other people into your inner sanctum, you know, your heart, or whatever, and I’m gonna kick your ass later for making me say that.  You can’t tell me that you weren’t holding back some with her, with Amelia, because of Dean. Because you figured he’d come back someday and you knew you’d choose him so you let her go back to her husband because eventually you knew you’d be gone.  It’s not normal, Sam! What you guys got between you, it’s beautiful, it’s amazing, but it ain’t normal. Don’t you think it’s long past time you just, one or the other of you, I don’t know…disengage?”

“Bobby, you don’t understand.”

“I understand that the love of a man’s life ain’t supposed to be his brother.  That much I understand. You’re missing out, boys. You got so focused on each other and on this goddamn war you’re fighting that you’re missing out on the one thing that makes it all worthwhile.”

“What do you know about it?  You’re just as bad as us.”

“That’s cause the love of my life died.  I had her and I lost her and so for me, all that was left was the war.  But you knuckleheads, you never took the chance. Maybe you, for a minute or two, with Jess, had that kind of happiness, I don’t know, but I know that for sure Dean never has.  He maybe thought he tried it with Lisa but I don’t think he ever really did, because if he had, if he jumped in with both feet ‘stead of just dipping a toe into the pool, he never would have let go.”

“That was for her protection, Bobby, he had no choice!”

“There’s always a choice, Sam.  You make the choice and you make it work.  No matter how much it costs you.  But you and Dean, you two keep choosing each other. You boys are like goddamn Siamese twins, stuck together.  Someone needs to come along with a hatchet and give you a good chop down the middle and force you to live on your own.  Whether you want to or not. Cause this…this ain’t healthy.”

Bobby got up and left and Sam just sat there thinking for a while.  

Later that night Sam went into the closet and took a long look at Jess.  He tried to remember what it had felt like, being with her. He tried to remember what it had felt like to be in love, not cautiously, not like it had been with Amelia with both of them guarded and scarred and looking over their shoulders every moment waiting for ancient history to rise up and clobber them over the heads, but new and fresh and exciting, like everything in the whole wide universe, like their love was the only thing that mattered.  He couldn’t remember any more. He could remember experiencing an emotion and academically he comprehended that emotion was what people called love. But he couldn’t remember what that emotion felt like and he wondered if love was another thing he had sacrificed on the altar along with his parents and his life and his soul.

For what, for what?  Who even knew. So Dean could have, as he said himself, everything.  Magic powers, an eternal lifespan, supernatural creatures fighting over who got to be BFFs with him, and a hot chick to bang.  And love like a big fat cherry on top of the “Dean gets everything” sundae.  Sam couldn’t even remember what love felt like and yet Dean had it handed to him on a silver platter.

Ok.  That seemed totally fair.

Dean came rolling in around 5 am.  Castiel had come in hours before looking worried and defeated.  Sam knew all this because he hadn’t slept. He was waiting for Dean to come home and the sheet covered lump that had once housed Jess stood nearby.   They looked at each other carefully, cautiously. “Where have you been all this time?” There was no reproach in his voice, only curiosity. He was over the worst of it by that point.

“Waitress.”  He made it look so easy, to forget that way, but Sam had tried that path a time or two himself and he found that it didn’t work.  By the look on Dean’s bruised face it hadn’t worked for him, either. He seemed embarrassed and Sam had the distinct feeling Dean would have much rather no one witnessed his walk of shame.  Even though he didn’t particularly want to, Sam felt a rush of pity for his brother.

“Get rid of her.”

“What?”

Sam gestured at Jess.  “I don’t…the person who was with Jess…is dead.  Or gone. Or something. That part of me is…broken, I think, Dean.  And…I don’t think it would be fair…to Jess…to bring her back for the sake of somebody that doesn’t exist any more.”

Dean said nothing, but he understood.  He nodded slowly and on the 5th time he nodded Jess was gone and the sheet fell to the floor, empty.    

standing up by backing down pt. 2

standing up by backing down pt. 2

A couple weeks ago I had a blog entry  about how conservatives should, like, STAHP with the appeals to the Founding Fathers and invoking the ghost of Davy Crockett and work at humanizing ourselves to people in NON-political ways.  This is a necessity because Republican leaders both political and cultural have seemed to go out of their way to embrace their role as the Black Hat Evil Darth Vader Society in some weird faux pageant put on for the benefit of the American voters.  The trouble is, the Republican leaders both political and cultural did not realize that somewhere along the way a whole lot of liberals started to believe in the weird faux pageant and that the Democrats really actually hated us, no more playin’.  They have come to see us as real live unremorseful unrepentant bad guys who wanted to turn back the hands of time to a 1932 or something while evilly laughing mwah-ha-hah.

Liberals have come to see conservatives as evil villains who need to be eradicated, either by waiting around for old people to die, or maybe even by taking some steps to hurry the #winning process along a bit (such as, letting 16 year olds vote, for instance.)

It’s a good piece, probably better than this one will be LOL, but it got long and philosophical and as sometimes happens I had to set aside some of what I wanted to say to allow my argument space to breathe.  But my brain keeps coming back to the stuff I left out, and so I think I gotta take a moment to lay it out for everyone again, just from a slightly different angle this time.

As some of you know I occasionally write stuff for Ordinary Times which is a kind of online news magazine where people across the political spectrum come together to talk about political stuff, cultural stuff, and all sorts of other stuff.  The philosophy of Ordinary Times is meant to be “there is more that brings us together than separates us”, a cause which I’m fully on board with.  Mostly, I think the real live point of Ordinary Times is more a place where some very tame or very foolish conservatives show up to be tag teamed into submission into by some really aggressive liberals – and a few nice ones – who don’t seem to have jobs or something (or have super flexible ones) since they have what appears to be endless amounts of time to argue online.  But I digress.

So to my dismay, through no fault of my own since I have no ill intent towards liberals whatsoever, I find I’m pretty quickly becoming one of the main conservative baddies at Ordinary Times.  I may even be growing into a role as the actual ringleader of the bad guys, a situation which is both astounding and mindboggling to me, a person who really mostly just wants to write about sandwiches.  But that’s kind of the point of my thinkpiece, here, right??  That liberals, even nice ones, seem to really and truly think, that conservatives – even people who are pretty reasonable and fairly liberal in a great many senses of the word and if you’d only stop to listen I could explain all my opinions but ok I guess we’re making this about the Confederacy instead ok whatever jeez louise – are actually real live villains who want poor people to die and like to put children in cages and we all hate anyone who isn’t like us.

They think we are a stereotype.  And it’s not even an accurate stereotype.

Over the past few weeks I’ve been told that I should be able to relate better to a liberal (who I wasn’t having any trouble relating to either by the way) because they’d “gone to a tractor pull and made their own bullets”.  I’ve been told that the only possible example of a movie with a “conservative message” was Top Gun a movie which doesn’t even HAVE a message that I’m aware of.  I’ve been told all other movies other than Top Gun simply had to be liberal in origin because conservatives only care about Jesus and jet fighters.  I’ve been told that conservatives hate cities and only live in the country and that yes, actually, liberals do hate people who live in the country.  I’ve been told again and again in numerous ways how these people see me and it’s as a patently false stereotype – an extremely Christian, extremely militaristic hick who hates cities and art and good food and gay people and loves guns and Twinkies when none of those things are true.

As it’s dawned on them (slowly, so very slowly) that I don’t fit too neatly into their expectations for a person who calls themselves conservative, now they’ve switched gears and are telling me I’m not an “actual” conservative because adjusting their concept of of what a conservative is was too painful for them.  They prefer to continue to believe that the middle of the country is populated by hordes of Bubbas and Beulahs who are living on high fructose corn syrup and hate.  These are very thoughtful, seemingly normal people otherwise.  Yet rather than admit that their stereotypes of “conservative” were possibly incorrect or probably way too narrow (because there are some Bubbas and Beulahs out there, of course there are, although even the most Bubba-y Bubba who ever Bubba-ed is more complicated and 3 dimensional than my liberal peeps would acknowledge) instead they told me that I’m not really a conservative after all.  LOL.

I am a conservative though.  I promise.

I’m telling you folks, the vast majority of liberals have NO CLUE what conservatism is even about.  NO CLUE.  They’re not bad, they’re not stupid, they just don’t know what we’re even about so it makes it very, very, very easy for them to think the worst of us.

That brings me to Juno.  Most people have probably seen Juno by now.  It’s a wonderful story of a winsome and clever girl who gets pregnant and decides to give the baby up for adoption rather than have an abortion.  She becomes overly involved with the prospective adoptive parents and the adoptive dad – one of those guys who refuses to leave the sex, drugs, and rock and roll phase of life behind – decides he’s in love with Juno and wants to leave his wife and set up housekeeping with Juno and the new baby.

During the same conversation in which I was informed Top Gun was the pinnacle of conservative filmmaking, someone (who I felt was actually making an effort to understand me) asked me “Well, what do you think of Juno?  On the one hand it has an anti-abortion premise, on the other, it shows teen sex and it has an LGBTQ star!!”  I found it an utterly depressing question.  It shook me, not gonna lie.  Really brought it home to me how deeply liberals believe that conservatives are incapable of being reasonable, incapable of watching fictional situations that don’t completely confirm and verify their priors every second of the entire story.

Even among conservatives, the entire point of fiction is setting up conflicts and then seeing those conflicts get solved in ways that speak to you on an individual level somehow.  Fun fact, if you agree with every person’s behavior in a movie every single frame, you’re not watching a movie, you’re watching propaganda.  Maybe this is why some liberals get so bent out of shape by movies that aren’t balls-to-the-wall PC every second of every day.  Maybe they want propaganda.  IDK.  But personally I don’t need constant conservative rah-rah when I watch a movie, and in fact I think preaching of any flavor, even flavors I like, gets in the way of a good movie.

And no, I don’t care about an actor’s sexual persuasion, actually.  I don’t care a whit if a writer has had a chequered past like Diablo Cody, the writer of Juno has had. (Feminist alert – note how this kind of thing only applies to women! as if anyone thinks Hemingway was sexually pure, LOL.)

Juno is in fact 100 million billion kajillion percent a conservative movie.   The teen sex is not glorified and it has consequences.  The pro-life protester was a relatable character (a young, attractive minority girl who was legitimately caring about the fate of Juno’s baby, rather than an old, white, mean Christian bully stereotype).  The good people in Juno all behave responsibly.  The good people are treated sympathetically even in areas where they may have flaws (for example, it would have been very easy to demonize Jennifer Garner as a shrew who pushed her husband to act badly from her drive to succeed professionally and/or her fertility struggles – and indeed, a “liberal” movie would have done exactly that – would have painted Jason Bateman sympathetically, or even told the story entirely from his viewpoint).

Juno’s dad and stepmother are endearing, caring, and wise even though they’re blue collar (Juno’s dad is an HVAC technician but still was super into learning about Greek myths – which I find more accurately represents what blue collar people are about than assuming we all go to tractor pulls, LOL).  The villain is a person who refuses to grow up, refuses to behave responsibly, is completely self-absorbed and obsessed with coolness, and is willing to screw over his wife and a teenage girl for his own (mostly sexual) gratification.  In the end, the good people are rewarded and who cares what happens to the bad guy, I can’t even remember what happens to him.

It is OBVIOUS to me that Juno is completely and totally a conservative movie.  It’s actually stunning and to be honest, extremely dismaying to me that anyone could watch Juno and ever assume “oh boy I bet the cons HATE this movie.”  It’s depressing how wide a gulf there is between conservative reality and what liberals think they know about conservative reality.  The fundamental problem we have as conservatives is that people do not understand our worldview. We can’t communicate with those who don’t even understand where we’re coming from.

This in no small part because our conservative worldview is at present in flux, being transformed from primarily rooted in religion to being rooted in other ethical philosophies and in real world outcome (more about that another time), and in no small part either because conservatism is a big tent and we’ve got a lot of people with different beliefs within it.  But in not-so-no-small part it’s because we, the everyday normal conservatives, haven’t been good at getting out there and selling ourselves.  We let the people running the Republican movement – both politically and culturally – carry the banner for us and they did a freaking terrible job of it.   And we sat silently by and let them, and what’s worse, we let the liberals in charge of Hollywood and the media define who we are!

Hey, I get it.  I know why.  It’s because we’re busy working and raising families and we don’t have the time or the energy to push back on this 500 foot tsunami of liberal culture that’s been washing over us the last 60 years.  But if people don’t understand our worldview because we never told them what our worldview even was, they’re just gonna fill in the gaps and what they fill the gaps in with is gonna be the vision of us that best serves their interests.  Many liberals, and ALL liberals in position of political and cultural influence, WANT to see conservatives as bad guys because they need a bad guy so they can continue to play the good guy.  Their narrative is that they are The Good Guys and if we aren’t Actually Bad, it undercuts that narrative.  They have a vested interest in keeping us fulfilling the Bad Guy role.  So they’re gonna fight and fight hard to keep us shoved into that Darth Vader costume even though it doesn’t fit and never actually did.

We have GOT to start pushing back, and we’ve got to push back in ways that don’t continue making things worse.  Too often (and I understand the temptation) in attempting to push back, conservatives start to embrace and celebrate the negative stereotype.  Some of us have learned to take delight from being the bad guy.  Some of us troll and insult and offend and trigger.  Some of us have even started to buy into the us vs. them dichotomy and become ever more “US” even though we were never “US” to start out with!  This accomplishes nothing and is simply allowing the liberals to continue defining us in the way that most benefits them.

I am a person who is not into tractor pulls.  I’m not gonna let someone tell me that I am into tractor pulls.  I’m not gonna get sucked into an argument in which I defend the greatness of tractor pulls just because they’re a thing “my side” is supposed to be into!  I’m not gonna get sucked into arguments in which I defend child beauty pageants or Kevin Sorbo movies or calling people “snowflakes” or the shenanigans of Jesse Kelly or saying “cities are cesspools” or the Young Earth Theory or The Noble Cause or Pizzagate or conversion therapy just because those things are supposed to be “my team” or whatever (if you believe in those things, by all means, carry on, but if as a lot of cons do, you find you’re repeatedly getting sucked into arguments in which you’re defending things you really don’t even believe because you think you’re supposed to, just stop.)   I am not gonna continue making things worse because it only makes things worse.  Please, please stop making things exponentially worse because you want to “own the libs”!

Owning the libs is temporary.  Saving America is forever, hopefully.

We’re better than the stereotypes.  By far.  All we have to do to prove it is share our actual conservative beliefs.  The things we really believe are awesome and self-evident, we just gotta let people know what they are.  We don’t have to be assholes, we just have to stay true to the things we actually believe rather than buying into what people who directly profit from us playing the bad guy are telling us we are.

So given that, how DO we push back, anyway?  If I’m saying (and I am) that we shouldn’t go too deep into politics and philosophy because it turns people off, and if I’m saying (and I am) that we can’t go all in on “conservatives pounce ur triggered lulz” either, how do we push back?

Your path may very well be different than mine, but I believe the key is a one-two punch of humanizing those of us on the right while simultaneously illuminating the underpinnings of conservative thought without trolling or preaching.  We have to both convince our opponents that we are not the bad guys, while simultaneously bombarding them with positive, informative, educational examples (both in reality and fiction) of what conservatism really is about rather than leaving them to blindly accept the Hollywood interpretation.

For me, this is doing things like writing articles about sandwiches in which I celebrate how amazing it is that a group of people from many different walks of life have come together in peace and friendship to make a country that while not perfect, is still pretty damn awesome.  For me it’s about writing reviews about movies and TV shows that, like Juno, reflect a conservative worldview WITHOUT being overtly Christian or ridiculously patriotic.  For me, it’s joking around with people who expect conservatives to have no sense of humor and being kind to people who expect conservatives will be cruel to them.  These things work.  I believe I am making inroads with people who are no longer willing to immediately write me off as being Eva Braun Junior just because I have  a different way of looking at the world.  And then when I hit em with the occasional political argument, they’re way more receptive to me than they’d be otherwise.

It takes time, and it takes a willingness to swallow my pride that isn’t always easy, I admit.  This hasn’t been an easy path and I haven’t always lived up to my highest standards in every interaction.  But I do think it’s helping create some paths of understanding in my little corner of the world.

We tend to look at history as a Big Picture.  Big People doing Big Things and making Big Choices that have Big Effects.  But history is made up of billions of people, like you and me.  What we do matters because even though our individual acts may be small, the effect of a billion small acts outweighs even the biggest act of an individual.

We have the power to turn the tide.  Spread the word.

And be good.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mata Hairy

Mata Hairy

Or, why do conservative men feel such a burning need to tell the world who they would prefer to fuck?

Oh sorry, did I curse?   It’s because I just read this tweet and it irritated me

Screenshot 2019-04-02 at 12.20.01 PM

I’m such a bitch sometimes.  Because that guy is nice!  He is really and truly nice.  I like following him, I like reading what he has to say, and he’s far too nice to deserve some creeptastic Internet rando like me screenshotting his tweet and using it in a thinkpiece.  I would actually love to blank out his name that’s how nice of a guy he is, but I don’t know how to do that.  Fucking technology.  😦 Anyhoo this is something that’s been much on my mind of late and it so perfectly encapsulates a particular mindset being espoused by a large number of conservative men that I just had to use it (and please forgive me, my dude, it’s for the greater good I promise).

Because there is this whole thing lately where conservative men feel the need to share with the world what they find attractive.  I have seen conservative men repeatedly declaring to the world – uninvited and unsolicited – who they would fuck and who they wouldn’t.  No pottymouths, as we’ve already established, and then there was this:

Screenshot 2019-04-02 at 12.40.49 PM

and this

Screenshot 2019-04-26 at 7.54.13 AM

Now, as you may know already Jesse Kelly has a surprising amount of influence on Twitter (I was off Twitter for a year, during which time he went from being a seemingly normal guy I actually joked around with a couple times to some kind of Twitter superstar, which is entirely bizarre) and while his schtick – sort of a funny sexist Neanderthal – is meant as humor and often is quite funny at times, I think it resonates with a lot of conservative guys a little TOO much.  Women – especially conservative women – are meant to be demure, modest, classy, highly accomplished, well dressed (sexy but not too sexy), heels only, no flat shoes, perfectly groomed (and this means BELOW the equator, you know what I’m talking about) moisturized, manicured, and thin.  But they need to do all those things while simultaneously being frugal, sensible, a demon in the sack, and eschewing plastic surgery as well because that is not natural.  BTW could you make us a sammich while you’re at it?  And don’t talk during the sportsball match or you’ll be told to shut up, woman.

Well, that is one hell of a narrow window we’re supposed to hit, now isn’t it, ladies?  It is as if these guys took the absolute worst elements of the liberal media’s overly narrow beauty standards and coupled it with some sort of Hollywood fantasy about the way women acted and behaved during the 40’s and 50’s when in reality they probably did nothing of the sort.  It’s like a fair number of conservative men have totally dropped the idea of honoring and respecting all women regardless of their appearance.  Instead they seem hell-bent on enforcing the impossible-to-achieve and highly sexist beauty standards that liberals have inflicted on women while coupling it with a desire to maintain control over women in an outmoded way that really was in many ways oppressive for women.

(helpful hint: the liberals were right about some stuff)

Something very cruel I’ve witnessed on several different occasions involves the childish shaming of overweight liberal women, usually activists who’ve chosen to appear in the nude publicly for some reason.  Now, would I choose to do that personally, no (never say never, but it would have to be one hell of a point I was making).  Do I choose to look at those type of things voluntarily?  No.  But a lot of conservative men seem to delight in posting these graphic pictures for their conservative buddybois to mock and ridicule, quickly devolving into a race to the bottom with every poster trying to outrude the rest.  It’s disgusting by any metric, but these conservative men are behaving this way in full view of conservative women some of whom also happen to be overweight, or who may become overweight at some point in the future.  How do you suppose that makes them feel?  These are your sisters, wives, daughters; these are your friends, neighbors, coworkers.  These are your comrades in the good fight!  How DARE you go out of your way to declare it to the world, in front of their very faces, that overweight women make ur peepees sad.

NO ONE CARES WHO YOU’VE DEEMED FUCKABLE.

I got into it not long ago with some conservative male friends over an issue of Cosmopolitan that had Tess Gallagher on it.

tess

Their whole argument hinged on the fact that Tess Gallagher shouldn’t be on the cover of Cosmo because they didn’t find her attractive.  But where is it written that people on magazine covers have to be attractive??  You know how many people on magazine covers I don’t find attractive?  A lot.  I’ve seen Bradley Cooper on tons of magazine covers and I find his beady sunken eyes, too-narrow lips, weird square peppermint Chiclet teeth, and hatchet-sharp features very unattractive.  George Clooney physically repulses me and I see his smug sallow jowly round head everywhere.  People are on magazine covers for all sorts of reasons other than attractiveness.  This “law of magazine-cover attractive” only seems to apply to women.  You can see Jonah Hill and Seth Rogan on magazine covers.  You can see Jesse Eisenberg and Michael Cera on magazine covers.  You can see Mick Jagger and Keith Richards on magazine covers for cripes’ sake.  Attractiveness is not a prerequisite for being on a magazine cover!  Tess Gallagher, a famous model, has every right to be on a magazine cover regardless of whether or not any given person finds her attractive.

This goes back to the argument about cursing women we started out with.  A lot of men (and it’s not just conservative men, let’s be clear about that) go through life with the unspoken but firmly held conviction that women’s life choices ought to be governed to great extent by what dudes find attractive.  Women’s behavior and appearance should be subject to society’s, and particularly men’s rules of attractiveness at any given point in time, despite the fact that “attractiveness” especially when it comes to women, especially especially when it comes to women in this shallow modern world in which we dwell, is a capricious and cruel master, largely dependent on the winning of a genetic lottery, and carefully calculated to sell shit to people.

And punishing real live women for lies that global multi-national corporations told you, my dudes, is stone cold bullshittery.

One of the most fundamental parts of my personal conservatism is the idea that all human life has intrinsic value and worth.  Babies in the womb have intrinsic value and worth.  Handicapped children have intrinsic value and worth.   People who are terminally ill have intrinsic value and worth.  And yes, believe it or not, women who are less attractive than other women also have intrinsic value and worth.

You know why I’m pissed at you, Jesse Kelly, and all your ilk?  It’s not because you don’t think I’m attractive.  It’s because YOU’RE NOT ACTING LIKE CONSERVATIVES.  It is no fucking wonder liberals roll their eyes about conservatives being “pro-life” when they see you act like porcine hooligans towards your fellow human beings because they have more junk in the trunk than you personally happen to prefer.  You’re betraying the most fundamental precept of conservatism – the right to life – so you can remind the world that sometimes you have boners.

NO ONE CARES.

One of my things is that I have hairy armpits.  (If you look close you can see it in my avatar.)  I started this little experiment for my husband because he was into it.  That’s a mondo conservative dealio – a wife doing something for her husband because he’s into it, right??  Then it turned out once I tried it, I actually preferred it.  I have sensitive skin and the ability to go through my day without my armpits being in constant pain was a revelation (and I am not exaggerating about that, either – imagine a raging and non-stop case of the worst razor burn you ever got, in your pits 24-7).  I didn’t even know how much it bothered me until it wasn’t bothering me any more.  Because I’m a conservative I believe in personal freedom and the ability to make one’s own choices as long as they don’t hurt anyone else, and I PROMISE no one is hurt by the presence or absence of hair in my pits.  My right to swing my armpit hair ends at the other guy’s face, not his line of sight.

Body hair or lack thereof is not a political issue, it’e a personal choice.  Body hair is NOT a liberal-conservative issue!  It really isn’t, I promise.

There’s a model named Sofia Hadjipanteli who has really super hairy eyebrows that she doesn’t pluck.  I think this is pretty freaking clever of her; after all there gotta be a kajillion girls trying to make it in the Instagram game, why not capitalize on something that makes you stand out?

sofia

Personally I think she’s stunningly gorgeous.  I mean really, is this type of eyebrow any better?

pamela

A few weeks ago the Jesse Kelly Branch of the He-Men Women Haters Society got hold of a news story about Sofia Hadjipanteli and started ragging on her ruthlessly because, you guessed it, they don’t find her attractive.  And it’s SO STUPID because this chick is a conservative icon, or she should be in a better world.  She took a look around her, sized up the competition, thought “what do I have that no one else does”, saw a spectacular set of eyebrows and thought “I’m gonna roll with what God has given me.”  Sofia Hadjipanteli is pretty much a walking breathing ideal of free market success and yet a good chunk of conservative men felt fully entitled to scream at the sky “DO NOT WANT” on behalf of their penises when they should have been fighting for the honor of this lovely and damn clever young woman.

Remember that whole thing where conservatives are gentlemen, gentlemen??  Remember how unfair it is when liberals act like conservative men are a bunch of depraved hooting frat boys because as we all know conservative men take care of women, they protect and elevate them, they put them on pedestals, they don’t objectify and treat women like disposable sex objects like liberal guys do.

Except for the women who don’t fit this incredibly narrow definition of the word “attractive” that was mostly invented by the Hollywood whose shallow, hollow, debauched values we purport to hate, right?  Then it’s game on I guess.

In the interest of full disclosure let it be known I rock a pretty substantial set of brows myself and I always resisted the temptation to pluck them even when my friends would sweetly tell me “but maybe just clean them up a little around the edges why don’t you” because I think they’re kind of my best feature.  (There’s actually quite a lot more brow there in the middle that wasn’t picked up by the camera.) I also have a cold sore in this pic, I was way overdue for a tooth whitening treatment, I was not wearing heels, and I have a messy house.  Not the ideal woman according to the Jesse Kelly Gang to be sure.

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And none of it matters because in the words of Amy Schumer, “I can catch a dick whenever I want.”  It’s true.  Despite being old, heavily-eyebrowed AND armpit-behaired, and fat (my girth hidden strategically behind a Poultry Farm sign) if my husband keeled over dead tomorrow God forbid, after a suitable mourning period I don’t think I’d lack for companionship.  Because that’s the way it’s supposed to work, dudes.  Men are not supposed to be going through the world all choosy like choosy moms choosing Jif or something.  Men are supposed to navigate the world of women like Terminator, lurching along till the words “Presence of Vagina Confirmed” flash red on the screen and then going in to chat up the lady attached to the vagina in question to see if they hit it off.

All this shit that is supposedly supposed to be soooo important to being “feminine” in the way that many conservative men are very publicly defining it lately – wearing heels (I never wear heels, another personal choice that hurts no one, least of all Jesse Kelly, and has zero to do with politics and a lot more to do with not caring to be in pain constantly), being super fit and waif thin, having a great manicure, always wearing makeup, rubbing ourselves with thousands of dollars of goo trying to stave off the ravages of aging ever so slightly, not wearing eyeglasses (that is the fucking weirdest, Jesse Kelly) and manipulating their body hair – even the stuff no one ever sees – in highly painful ways like YANKING IT OUT BY THE ROOTS BY HAVING A STRANGER SMEAR HOT WAX ON YOUR PRIVATE PARTS FFS – that is not normal.  No women ever in human history have had to do all this stuff that gals nowadays are supposed to HAVE to do to be seen as a “real” woman.

Some beautification is normal and fun.  We like it, gents, and we like doing it for you.  We like you to take a nice long look and we like for you to like what you see.  But you’ve set us up to fail by asking too much.  What is being demanded of women in terms of beauty – even just to be considered barely adequate – here in 2019 is completely excessive.  At least liberal men kind of pretend to see through it all.  Conservative men on the other hand, many of them, have decided to view it as a moral failing if a woman declines to chase the beauty dragon to the nth degree.  A healthy chunk of conservative men have apparently decided they’re entitled to rest their glorious manly eyeballs upon nobody but the prettiest of pretty pretty princesses even if the princesses are in constant pain, starvingly hungry, and miserably wasting millions of dollars on beauty products.  It’s not normal!  This stuff is NOT organic.  It’s not innate.  It’s totally coming from external influences – Hollywood, the media – and conservatives, we don’t even LIKE those guys!!  Why are you buying into this shit that they’re selling hook, line, and sinker?

It’s stupid and more than that, it’s beneath you.  You’re better than that.

So if you see a girl online and you think she’s repulsive and she makes your peenie shrivel up into a fetal position and sob, I’m sorry you had to endure that terrible affront.  I would never want to force you into sexing up someone you didn’t wanna sex up.  No one is saying you have to think every girl you encounter is Hot Tamales.  But you don’t need to then crawl up to the highest point you can find on the Internet to scream from the rooftops to everyone, “Hey!!!  Now that I have your attention, I’d just like to let everyone know that I would not ever fuck this chick because she’s gross in several ways that I would now like to elucidate over the course of several dozen tweets and I’d like to open up the floor to any other guys out there who would also like to tell the world how they would never ever fuck this girl and what their reasons for that are.”  Because it’s not only mean to the girl, it’s also mean to all the other girls out there who happen to share those physical characteristics which they cannot change.

At least the guy bitching about swearing women being unattractive was attacking a behavior he disliked and not an unchangeable characteristic of who someone is.

But don’t do that either.  Whether or not something is “attractive” to you is not ever grounds for criticizing a woman.  Because women have a right to exist in the world independent of whether any given man finds them “attractive” or not.  And we don’t necessarily want to hear about your opinion on the topic any more than you probably want to hear about how unattractive we find it when you burp and remark in amazement, “That totally smelled like Doritos, but I didn’t even EAT Doritos!!”

It’s enough to make a girl want to swear a blue streak.

 

standing up by backing down

standing up by backing down

I’ve found over the past two years that I have grown less interested in political confrontation.  I still have the appetite and every now and then I’ll write angrily about something or the other, but maybe I’ve finally learned how meaningless it is.

Cause the truth is, any time anyone comes out swingin’ hard in favor of a particular political philosophy – even when they’re totally right and are making tons of good points – everyone just puts their fingers in their ears and says ‘nananana’ till whoever it it shuts up and goes away.  Nobody wants to hear it.  They pick out the stuff that confirms their priors and they ignore anything they don’t have answers for.

Arguing politics is a pointless endeavor.  There are so many better uses of my time.  Like alphabetizing cans of soup in my cupboard or maybe watching paint dry.

But still.  I believe in the idea that people who can stand up, should stand up.  For whatever reason, God granted me an ability to string a couple words together that is slightly better than average, a memory that lasts longer than a news cycle, and I occasionally have a few moments of time I can scrape together now and then to write something.   A lot of people don’t have that ability, or the luxury of time for political agitation.  They’re just people whose talents lay in different areas than mine do, doing the best they can.  They know what they think but they can’t always express why they think the way they do.  They count on others to carry the philosophical torch for them.

I believe that for those of us on the right, even just slightly right like I am, if those who can stand up, don’t, then there will be no one there to speak for, and even protect the innocent people who are just trying to live their life.  They don’t want to fight any more than I do, they don’t want to argue, they just want to be left alone and not demonized and maybe show up to vote every few years or so.  Most of the people on the right tend to fall into this camp.  They don’t want to agitate, they don’t want to organize. They don’t want to make waves, they just want to live their life.  They need people to carry the conservative torch for them so they can continue doing just that.

I want to do my part but at the same time, it feels useless to do my part.

And yet…and yet.

I remember one time I saw Lynne Cheney, Dick Cheney’s wife, on The Daily Show back when Jon Stewart was still hosting it, and she brought along a doll of Dick Cheney dressed up like Darth Vader, and the joke was that Republicans really ARE evil, yukyukyukyuk – and that they’re shamelessly proud of it.

Seriously??

It sometimes feels to me like the strategy of the Republican Party since the first Bush administration if not maybe even longer, was to play the role of the bumblin’ bad guys in some sort of elaborate 3D chess match, in which it’s been predetermined that the right shall eventually lose.  All that is left is the hope that lefties will let the more powerful conservatives exist a little longer once the Glorious Socialist Dawn breaks.  No pushback, no making the philosophical or economic case for conservatism, just a flopsy, mopsy rollover for a tummy scrub by any liberal mouthpiece no matter how odious or wrong they are.

I don’t know why this is, but I have a theory.  Freddie deBoer writes about the idea that on some gut level, many perceive it as more important to have position within one’s own movement than to see your movement succeed – even at the COST of seeing your movement succeed.  Even though Freddie is a liberal and was making a case for liberals, I find that many conservatives – the most powerful, even – appear to have placed higher premium upon jockeying for social cred not only among their fellow conservatives, but among powerful liberals, than actually trying to achieve anything for the conservative movement.   The most powerful, well-known conservatives in existence have been actively refusing to challenge liberal orthodoxy for decades not only because they don’t want to risk social censure from their fellow conservatives, but because they don’t want to be criticized by LIBERALS.

We can sit around and discuss why this is, because it’s fascinating.  I could even try to write a piece about the history of it all, but luckily for me Varad Mehta already did it way better than I could.  Long story short, a whole lot of pretty darn important Republicans left fighting for conservativism behind em long, long ago, ceding point after point in the Culture War to the Left after putting up only the lamest, weakest, most inept of token fights (just enough to placate the evangelicals, LOL).  And they did this because they were never conservatives anyway, preferring instead to play the part of center-leftists in a 2 party system…”Leftie and Leftier”…as long as it kept them walking the Halls of Power and getting invites onto The Daily Show.

Please clap.

Too many powerful Republicans are more worried about looking good for their fellows – and by fellows, they mean “popular political figures and celebrities, including a goodly number of liberals”…not you, and not me – than in doing what it takes to win.  Well, that’s not me.  I want to win, and if I can’t win (which I probably can’t) at the least I want to force a compromise that will at the least preserve SOME elements of conservatism.  In fact I think that it’s imperative for the greater good of everyone, that conservatives if not win outright, at least push back as hard as we can against the liberal movement – which up till quite recently was ascending pretty much without opposition.

Thanks, Mitt.

How do we do that??  How do we conservatives make inroads NOT with each other but with the other guys?  How do we score political ground against liberals when they, and sadly too many of us like Lynne Cheney, have been steeped in the idea of conservatives as Inhuman Bad Guy for the better part of my lifetime?

Freddie DeBoer believed that what liberals needed was more internal critics.  While I agree with him there because liberals have such massive blind spots they may as well be Mr. Magoo, I don’t think that’s what conservatives need.  Conservatives have so many internal critics that it’s sometimes hard for outsiders to understand what is even holding us all together in a single movement.

Conservatives need something different.

This past week CNN ran a story about the Jayme Closs kidnapping.  “Murder, kidnapping, and escape in RURAL America”  the headline screamed.  Can you imagine the outrage if CNN had run that headline about an urban kidnapping?  Making it sound like murder and kidnapping was somehow inherently part of the setting in which it occurred?  The very next week there was woman abducted in a bar and held prisoner for a couple days in a city before she escaped, and it had none of the same dog whistle-y type headlines as the Closs kidnapping did.  In fact, when I tried to look the second abduction up the very next day to include a link for this article, I couldn’t even find it anywhere on CNN.  They were still covering the Closs abduction and plastering pictures of the perpetrator (whose appearance confirms just about every liberal stereotype you can possibly imagine about the sort of people who live in Middle America) everywhere.

This is one of the ways that liberals are winning the culture war.

They’re pigeonholing conservative and/or Red State Americans into the Bad Guy slot not only on The Daily Show but on the everyday show that is our regular life.  We’re weird, we’re creepy, we’re pervs, we’re molesters, we’re racists, we’re judgmental prudes, we’re troglodytes, we hate poor people, we hate cities, we’re unevolved reactionary monsters and we deserve to die.  (yes that’s right we are somehow both simultaneously sex-obsessed perverted child molesters and also super uptight sexually-repressed prudes)

A lot of conservatives want to respond in kind (and let’s be honest here, historically some of these techniques of demonizing an opponent have been utilized by conservatives) and while at times I can’t totally blame them, I don’t want to win that way.  I don’t WANT to live in a world where a stranger is NOT a friend you haven’t met yet, but is instead guilty of unspeakable horrors until proven innocent.  I do not believe that voting for someone with an R instead of a D beside their name on an election ballot makes someone a monster and I don’t believe the reverse is true, either.  I believe that humans are walking bundles of contradictions, that none of us are fully good nor fully evil, that even the “bad” among us are redeemable, and I want to believe the best in everyone I come across.

I guess it’s just the liberal in me.

But again, what can we do?  Real people?  You and me and that guy over there?  Should we blanket social media with long diatribes invoking Bill Buckley or Ayn Rand?  Repost the Sockdolager essay or I, Pencil or maybe don a 3 corner hat and stand on a street corner and hand out small versions of the US Constitution?

Yeah.  All those things have worked out pretty well for us so far.

I didn’t get to be a conservative overnight.  It took time.  A LOT of time.  What started me on the path to where I am today was simply noticing “some of these things I believe do not make any sense given other truths I’ve learned about the world.”  And those things I noticed were NOT always or even usually in the political arena.  They were in real life and they were things that happened in movies and tv shows and books that reflected real life.  I had to have an entire paradigm shift based on real world observation before I realized wow ok it is just plain stupid to hand over scads of power to a bunch of politicians and trust them not to misuse it, because people are not good guys and bad guys, we’re fallible guys and self-interested guys.  I honestly learned far more about the philosophical underpinnings of conservatism from fiction at least to start out with than I did from reading The Federalist Papers or whatever.

We are barking up the wrong tree with the lectures and the diatribes and the appeals to the Founding Fathers, my con chums.  We are barking up the wrong tree prattling about history and natural rights.  And let me tell you why.  It isn’t because lectures and diatribes are off-putting, even though they are, hugely.  It’s not that.

This past week or so I’ve been…fortunate, I guess you could say, although as someone who is not super interested in political confrontation, it doesn’t feel like good fortune LOL…to have the opportunity to interact with some decent and thoughtful liberals who are, well, not sympathetic but at least open to hearing some of my opinions.  And so they’ve listened to me, very politely, very considerately, with what seems to me to be a legitimate desire to understand.

They listened.  They really did.  They just didn’t know what the hell I was talking about.

Up until this week I have truly believed that liberals completely misunderstanding and misrepresenting where conservatives were coming from had to be some kind of an act.   I figured they were just playing dumb, feigning ignorance out of political motivations.  But I have to say that after this week I’m really starting to doubt my previous conclusion.  Liberals, even the decent ones not prone to hyperbole and exaggeration, really DO think conservatives are insane evil bad guys like Darth Vader and Lord Voldemort.  And it’s easy for them to believe that because they don’t understand where we’re coming from, like seriously, at all, because they don’t know anything about us other than what they’ve been told by people who do not have either of our best interests at heart.

Liberals’ vision of conservatives is like this twisted version of the blind men and the elephant where one liberal wise man feels a tail that’s made of racism and another feels an ear that’s made up of hyperjudgmental church ladies and they go out and tell people that’s what conservatism is, even though they only ever felt this tiny terrible part of it.  They don’t see anything else, they certainly don’t see everything else.  They don’t see a living entity at all, they see this isolated fraction (and they don’t even see it, because they’re blind men; they just poke at it with their fingers for a minute or two).  Based on this momentary inspection of a couple of very small and unimportant parts of the conservative movement, they assume they now fully understand the whole.

The author David Foster Wallace once gave a famous speech in which he relayed this story:  A couple of young fish are out for a swim one beautiful morning and they happen to pass an old grizzled fish swimming in the opposite direction.  “Good morning boys,” the old fish says with a grin, “How’s the water?”  The two young fish nod politely and keep swimming.  Once they’re out of hearing range, one of them turns to the other and asks, “What the heck is water?”

We don’t see what we’re in when we’re in it.  The waters of our philosophy are transparent to us.  It takes a lot of work and a lot of effort to learn to see what we’re swimming in.  Think of how tough it is to explain to a small child about air – it’s all around us, all the time, but you can’t see it and you can’t feel it even though you’re sucking it down your lungholes and it’s keeping you alive.  In order to get a child to learn the nature of air, first you have to prove to them that air even exists (and no, I’m not comparing liberals to children, ok?)

Conservatives have something of an advantage in this regard.  We perceive the water, at least a little bit.  Conservatives navigate in a largely liberal world – liberals are in charge of the school system, the media, Hollywood, a lot of government agencies, a fair number of religious organizations, and the tech industry.  As such, these organizations are flooding the world with liberal philosophical water constantly.  Since conservatives are not of it, it’s easier for us to see that.  Now, liberals would argue against this notion but that’s because they don’t see the water.  We don’t see what we’re in when we’re in it.  It’s hard for them to see because it’s the medium we navigate through all the time and if you feel comfortable in that medium, you can’t see it unless you really try.  Liberal water is invisible to most people like conservative water was probably invisible to most people living in Middle America in 1952.  Things were they way they were because that’s the way they were and if you tried to tell them they didn’t have to be that way they not only wouldn’tve agreed, they wouldn’t have even understood what you were talking about.

What the heck is water, anyway?

The job of conservatives is to explain to fish about water and it’s impossible unless we can get them to accept that their water exists and has a certain nature to it.  We can’t assume they see and understand the water the way we do, because they don’t.  It’s their water and they’re comfortable in it and we don’t see what we’re in, when we’re in it.  So making arguments to liberals about any particular characteristics of this water before we’ve convinced them it even exists are useless.  We’re trying to describe something that is to them, invisible.  And making arguments assuming they are swimming in conservative water instead, is worse than useless.  You can’t make an argument to them based on how great things were in 1952 because they don’t think things WERE great in 1952.  You can’t make an argument to them invoking the Founding Fathers because they hate the Founding Fathers.  (and they have sound and sensible reasons underlying both those opinions.) These arguments accomplish nothing and in fact often stir animosity because it gives liberals more data points regarding the tail of an elephant, rather than encouraging them to see the whole animal.

In my marriage, I tend to be a person who never complains until I’ve gotten furious about something.  When I try to explain why it is I’m so upset, I often end up feeling like an idiot because the straw that broke the camel’s back is seemingly small, even petty if it had been taken in isolation.  My husband will roll his eyes and add it to his file of “times Kristin overreacted” – but I’m not overreacting.  My anger was fully justified, it was just that in the past, I’d been underreacting, so any reaction at all feels like an overreaction.  The reason why I feel the way I do is because of a series of true wrongs and legitimate grievances that occurred over time, that I, in a desire to keep the peace, didn’t bring up at the moment they occurred.  Any one of them, taken alone, seems minor, like a nothingburger.  But when you’re handed enough nothingbacondoublecheeseburgers to choke down, even just a nothingslider begins to look like a volley fired in a bigger war.  It’s tough to explain that to the person throwing burgers at your face when you haven’t been pointing it out to them all along.  They don’t even remember most of it and it didn’t seem like a big deal anyway, because you didn’t say anything at the time.  It appears to them like you’re making mountains out of molehills, like you’re the one playing dirty.

Conservatives pounce.  That’s what liberals see.  Us pouncing for what appears to them to be no reason whatsoever because Republicans in leadership for the last 30 years have been playing the part of Darth Vader and we said nothing at that time.  During that last 30 years the rest of us were busy working and raising our families and not only did we not want to fight, we didn’t want to hold our leaderships accountable for fighting badly on our behalf.  And the chickens have come home to roost.  A whole lot of people who came of age during that time know nothing of us other than the story they were told, that we’re Darth-freaking-Vader and proud of it.  We have a lot of ground to make up before liberals begin to realize that we pounce because we feel we have reason to and not because we are faceless maniacal villains dressed in black who hate everything that is pure and good.  That is their worldview, it’s the water they’re swimming in.  Them good, us bad.  It’s because it’s the only thing many of them have ever heard about conservatives, and we didn’t say anything to disabuse them of the notion.

We all have a set of assumptions that are the foundation for our politics.  These assumptions largely don’t come from dry political tomes or the rhetoric of politicians.  They come from everyday experiences and even fictional ones because fiction is a way to allow others to get inside the heads of other people and see where they’re coming from.  Political philosophies appeal to us because they fit into our worldview, because they set nicely upon the foundation of experience that life has already laid.

We cannot talk politics with liberals until we’ve convinced them that we are not the bad guys in a cartoonish morality play, any more than you can build a castle on a foundation of sand.  And the way to convince them is NOT to blab historical factoids and poli-sci philosophy at them because they’ll just put their fingers in their ears and say “nananana” till we shut up and go away.  Instead we must forge connections and regain the trust that was squandered by Republican politicians and pundits thinking they were playing some sort of game with Jon Stewart for social brownie points, and that everyone was in on the joke.  Game over, man, game over!  Dudes and dudettes, these people actually think we’re Darth Vader!  We need to demonstrate to liberals that we are human beings with life experiences that have led us to conclude certain things that are different than the certain things their life experiences have led them to concluded, so that we become more than just a disembodied elephant’s tail of racists to them.

My goal, in doing what I do, wasting time hollering into the abyss, is first and foremost to rehumanize conservatives as the thinking, feeling, goodhearted, sometimes-even-wise people that we are and pushing back on the stereotypes.  I have found cracking jokes into the abyss to be far more effective than hollering.  I have found writing about apolitical things like romance novels and tv shows and Batman does far more to accomplish my goals of making liberal people understand where I’m coming from than droning on and on about states’ rights ever could.  Because there are so many things that inform our politics that are not at all political, and in these arenas, people are still receptive to our messaging.  These things, people immediately don’t drown out.  Conservatives, we’ve got to reconnect with our liberal counterparts via our shared human experience and build a new foundation for our society together, before it’s too late.

Some of you guys don’t make this easy for me, conservative peeps.  And I get it, I do.  I understand why you’re so prickly and mean sometimes.  I know why some of you take delight in confirming the worst stereotypes of conservatives.  When you feel under assault, when you feel attacked and dehumanized and belittled, it’s only natural to lash out and the best way to lash out is to say things you know are guaranteed to get under another person’s skin, to pay back in kind the offense you feel you’ve received.  But we can’t expect liberals to see things our way because they don’t see the water.  You’re asking them to do something that is impossible for them, to believe in something they truly cannot see and getting angry with them that they don’t.  They’re clueless like my husband when I lose my temper with him over something that seems to him to be minor and meaningless when really I’ve lost my temper over the 999 minor and meaningless things he’d done over the past 6 months and I just didn’t say anything those times.  Lashing out without purpose, in a fury over things that other people really truly do not see or remember, does not accomplish anything other than making us look insane.

Conservatives pounce.

The best path forward is to stop responding in anger, turn every cheek in our body and then some, and focus instead on making connections in as many ways as we can.  There is a whole world out there aside from politics and even though a good many people are trying to politicize even the most benign things in the name of divisiveness, we don’t have to accept that.  Make friends, form bonds, find some sort of common ground.  Share your life and listen to others tell you about theirs.  Share the things you love with your enemies, you might be surprised to find they love them too.  Instead of lecturing each other, laugh together.  Write and talk about other things than politics once in a while, even if those things seem silly, like sandwiches and superheroes and short stories.  It isn’t pointless.  By engaging with those who see you as an enemy, you may make a friend, or at the least, become a person to them where before you were a Sith Lord.  In the long run you’re laying a foundation for an effective method of persuasion based on common experience, one that is based upon the waters we’re both swimming in.

It is far more productive a use of time to spread a conservative worldview  – or at least tolerance for that worldview – through kindness and camaraderie rather relying upon heated political debates and philosophical preaching that falls on deaf ears.

To save conservatism, stop pouncing and be a friend.  That’s what I’m trying to do, anyway.

a rock and a hard place

a rock and a hard place

In the media recently I read of a plan to encourage Uber drivers to spot victims of sex trafficking.

While some of the advice given was sound (watching for bruises, fear, controlling behavior from the people a woman is with) a lot of it crossed a line into slut shaming.  Looking for scantily clad women, unprofessionally dressed, wearing too much makeup, and being too talkative/flirtatious were all supposed signs of sex trafficking.

This is obviously outrageous.  If a woman goes out in public dressed like a whore and acts like a whore it doesn’t make her a whore.  And even if she is a whore, she should still be treated like a human being.  Her status as a sex worker doesn’t mean she requires the “help” of a nosy Uber driver.  If a woman is not showing active signs of being in serious trouble, butt the eff out, yo.  As some may recall, I’m of the opinion that it’s a woman’s business if she’d like to trade on her sexual favors for personal benefit.

Men are confused right now about women and sex.  I have sympathy.  Because on the one hand women, including me myself, often point out that it can be scary to be a woman in the world, that men sometimes put women into positions in which they feel a sense of discomfort or outright fear over seemingly mundane interactions.  Guys feel like they can’t flirt, can’t ask a woman for her number, can’t even ask her if soy milk is better than almond in the grocery store, without getting called a rapist, practically.

And we have some things to answer for in that regard, ladies, we surely do.  We’re conflating WAY too much and we need to do better both to be less oversensitive and more empathetic to male concerns.  Because if decent guys can’t even approach us without getting their dicks whacked with the indiscriminate hammer of social justice, demanding they have no reaction whatsoever even as we’re parading around in front of them wearing come-hither expressions and even more come-hither-y clothing, well, that’s a pretty awful position for us to put them into.  We women shouldn’t both perpetually whet the appetite without offering a reasonable chance – not of success, of course, but a reasonable chance of being treated like a human instead of a horny sewer rat.  Men should to be able to approach women they’re interested in without fear that they’ll be destroyed in perpetuity, having their names added to “bad men” lists for trying to reach out to a woman they like, who they thought maybe liked them in return. *

It’s just not a nice thing to do (and nor is it safe for us to do that, because at least some of those guys are not decent guys; bad guys are not vampires, they don’t wait for an invitation.) Pretending that we women are soooo delicate and fragile that we’re destroyed over being asked out when we didn’t wanna be or by clumsy unwanted passes that are easily shut down and that men are usually way more embarrassed about than we are, be is ridiculous nonsense that’s setting the cause of feminism back decades if not a century.  And doing it while we screech “girl power” and prattle on about how tough and strong we are is straight up bullshittery.

Men are confused ostensibly because me saying “women should be able to ride in a Uber dressed like a slut” and “men need to be more aware of the reality that men can frighten women even in non-sexual situations” at the same time seems from their perspectives, an awful lot like me giving women a pass – saying we should be able to act however we want and men just have to suck it up, avert their eyes, and pray not to get a boner like a 12 year old in gym class.  Worse, they can’t even ask us out because we’re too delicate.

I’m quite sure it seems to men like women want to eat their cake and have it too sometimes.

But these things really are not the same at all.  These two beliefs can coexist and if one sets aside their 27 piece set of matching baggage to take a look at them without larger cultural demons whispering into their ears, it’s pretty obvious IMVVVVVVHO.

I think it’s ok to occasionally gently remind men that their very physical size and presence can be threatening to women.  I honestly think men sometimes forget that is the case.  They’re used to being in their own bodies and navigating the world in a certain way, so what feels normal and natural to them may be upsetting, even frightening, to another, smaller person who happens to be nearby.  It’s ok to remind men that some women actually have been assaulted or abused in the past and are even more sensitive to size differences and personal space than the average woman is.  It doesn’t mean we’re indiscriminately calling you rapists to issue this reminder, it just means that maybe it’s worth thinking about now and then.  Because you ARE bigger and stronger than us and sexual assault IS an actual thing that happens far too often.  After all, people give warnings about not standing under trees in lightning storms and getting hit by lightning happens way less than sexual assault does.  It’s not personal, guys.

It’s also ok to say that women should have the right to go where they wanna go, do what they wanna do, and dress how they wanna dress without inviting being narced on big mouthed Uber drivers.  I mean really, are we at the point already in our society where this drive to “protect women” is manifesting itself ALREADY as a prohibition not only women’s sexual freedom, but their clothing?  It’s been like a year of #metoo, I was hoping it would take at least 10 till this happened.  At this rate we’ll be in burkas before 2020.

If you, my masculine friend, can accept those two things, I will lay the following two things on the table:

It should be ok to occasionally, delicately, tactfully, and graciously point out to women that some of the stuff they’re #metooing about involves minor and unintentional gaffes by otherwise decent men who meant well and innocently mistook kindness for romantic interest. (SOME of the stuff!!!  Use your best judgement, of course, and if a woman says she felt uncomfortable in a situation, please respect that). Some women want to both be able to exploit their sexuality to the fullest extent while still playing the victim card whenever it suits their personal agenda.  Sadly, I think this has devolved in a troubling number of cases into a saga wherein rich and/or cute guys get away with just this side of anything while ugly and/or poor guys are getting a rape whistle blown for bumping into a woman on a subway.

It’s also ok to occasionally point out (without being tarred and feathered for it) that while women should of course be able to dress and act however they want, there are real world consequences to doing so.  The way one ornaments their body particularly for females, is a method of non-verbal communication.  And unlike many subtle forms of non-verbal communication (frowny faces, crossed arms, sighing) the clothing we choose speaks very loudly and clearly and the messages we send may not be the ones we intend to.  Social disapproval, judgement, and unwanted attention from men (even otherwise decent men) are the natural consequences of sending mixed messages about one’s sexual availability.   It’s kind of like the “men need to be more aware of the physicality of their bodies” argument.  Maybejustmaybe women need to be more aware as well, and no one ever taught most of us about that.  We were taught about not wearing white after Labor Day and not mixing red and purple and not wearing socks with sandals, but I never once read in Seventeen that I might be sending a non-verbal invitation for male attention by wearing provocative clothing at inappropriate times.

(Aside, I would also point out that many men love – even feel entitled to – women dressing in a sexually suggestive, non-modest way.  Indeed, a good many men pressure women in a variety of ways to dress immodestly even when the women themselves would prefer not to.  But that’s a very complex issue best investigated in another post.)

These four things are all equally obvious to me.  Yet I often feel pressure as a woman to put my head down and embrace this in-between position that’s the worst of all worlds from my perspective – favoring every aspect of the misunderstanding before us that benefits men.  The default position ends up being that men have the unquestioned right to go through life without ever considering how their physical presence affects women, yet women need to guard how they dress and behave always.  Men “deserve” women who keep themselves up and fix themselves up however the man sees fit, and yet men are owed sex no matter their own appearance or level of personal cleanliness.  Women should put up and shut up with minor #metoo offenses and even not so minor ones.  I do at times feel that men go through the world wanting to define the terms of every male-female conflict in whatever way most behooves them.  #yepallmen

Believe it or not, women are not these coldly calculating entities that are plotting and scheming to inflame male sensibilities by dressing like sluts and then denying deserving men sex out of sheer spite.  That’s a fiction.  If such women exist, I certainly don’t know any.  Women dress up because we want to look cute and that’s really pretty much the whole entire thought process involved.  And at the same time, yeah ok most men are not Harvey Weinstein.  But some of them are, and some of them are worse, and that’s an important distinction.

I look around and see women being held responsible for supposed stereotypical behavior that no woman actually does while men say again and again “well not all men do this thing that actually quite a few men totally did, feel sorry for me”.  While I do feel sorry for them, truly (as a conservative person I know it sux to be always held accountable for things you didn’t do) at the same time it feels like this huge terrible double standard.  Women are not only all held accountable for things other women did (let’s be honest, at least some women are cockteases and some don’t put out that much and others have cheated on guys and gotten pregnant without permission and made men pay child support for kids that weren’t even theirs and all manner of scumbaggery) we’re held accountable for things that are totally made up, like that we’re out to provoke men so we can turn them down and laugh.  Even as the same time men demand a pass from us even considering they could potentially do things that really quite a lot of other men actually did.

What it boils down to is this – I simply do not believe that men are that dumb.  I wrote a big long thing about that concept but long story short, I think a fair number of men embrace stupidity as a defense when in reality they just want to do what they want to do whenever and however.  And a healthy chunk of men get off on doing stuff to women that women don’t like.  A healthy chunk more don’t get off on it, but do feel entitled to push the envelope as far as they can – bullying, manipulating, guilt-tripping – women into sexual situations that they don’t want to be in or into agreeing to sexual experiences they have no interest in.  And that is yuck.

If you sit next to a woman on an empty bus in such a way that she cannot leave without climbing over you and start demanding her phone number, uncool.  If you’re asking a woman out and ignoring her body language ~regardless of how she is dressed~, uncool.  If you corner a woman anywhere and continue talking to her if she seems uninterested, even if you’re in public, uncool.  These things aren’t sexual assault.  Of course they’re not.  And it’s wrong that some women have tried to conflate the two.  It’s wrong that men are made to feel like they can’t do anything right and are getting mixed messages from society and from women at large.  But they are still yuck!

Please, if you would be so kind, my dudes, please keep in mind that women feel uncomfortable in situations men don’t, because sexual assault happens and most of us are tinier than most of you.  It’s not because we’re playing games, it’s not because we’re being meanies and snickering over withholding things from you that you desire, like our time and attention and our phone numbers.  It’s because we’re scared, and we all have reason to be.  Some of us have more reason to be than others.

Sexual assault is by any reasonable metric a worse thing to endure than feeling a little butthurt over gender stereotypes.  Stereotypes suck, but they’re words, and I’m told words don’t really hurt like sticks and stones and unwelcome gropes.

Thus, it’s not only ok, but a necessity for some of us girl-type-people to push back on that now and then, even if it reduces my “cool chick factor” by some percent.   Even if it makes my conservative man buds scratch their heads.  That’s why I keep the “Feminist” in my name even though a lot of people take umbrage at a conservative feminist.  I’m a woman and I advocate for women and my needs/wants/hopes/desires and other womens’ needs/wants/hopes/desires do not always mesh identically with the needs/wants/hopes/desires of men, utterly aside from political stuff.  At times women, even supercool conservative women, need to advocate for a position of gender-based reality that transcends inexact political definitions.

Because with so many things, the extremes on both ends are ridiculous and incorrect and the truth is somewhere in between.

* At least till such a point in time as women become more accustomed to, and comfortable with, the idea of being pursuers rather than the pursued.  Personally I’m not there yet.

 

 

 

 

 

fear and loathing

fear and loathing

The question on the table is this – what are conservatives so afraid of?

My concern regarding the direction the liberal movement is headed is a theme I’ve harped on a lot recently. I believe that fear of the left is the primary driving force underlying conservatism right now (quibbles over tariffs and Ayn Rand kinda take a back seat to existential angst) and when I’ve said this, several people have blinked at me curiously and wondered why. I decided it’s too big a question for me to try and answer in a comments section or a tweet in between making my children lunch and walking the dog and doing the laundry. It deserves a slow and thoughtful response, not a rushed one. It deserves a thinkpiece.

So here we go. Thinkpiece powers, activate!

People – the blinky ones – claim to want specifics. They expect, and some even demand, specifics from me, specific instances to support my claim that conservatives are scared of liberals and further, that they have valid reason to be.  

The trouble is, I don’t think that understanding and empathy is really the driving force behind this request. I think these people want specifics so they can disprove what I’m saying. Because by and large, that has been my experience, arguing with liberals. They ask for specifics and examples so they can trap me into arguments about namby pamby details instead of listening to what I’m really trying to say.  (Indeed, I suspect this is why a good many commenters on my fave site Ordinary Times.com often engage in drawn-out exchanges where no one will commit to a position, instead trading bizarre cryptic statements and non-committal Socratic-Method-y questions back and forth until I lose interest and stop reading.) These requests for specifics are not made in good faith, not to further understanding, but to mock, diminish, and belittle my examples so they can undermine my case, even if only in their own minds. They demand specifics only so they can assure themselves that I am crazy or overly sensitive or rabidly partisan.

I am none of those things, so I’m going to vault over the pit of punji sticks entirely and decline. I refuse to give specifics because I refuse to get sucked into an argument about specifics. Instead, I humbly request that any liberals who are reading this, take a look around and using that famed liberal empathy, try to put yourself in the shoes of a conservative – even someone only just barely the smallest bit conservative like me – and imagine how YOU would feel if you were us. And if you really really can’t do that, really can’t conjure up even a drop of empathy, think about that, consider what THAT means. A person who you actually kind of know, if only just a little, is standing in front of you saying “I am scared of the people you’re associating yourself with” and you cannot find any reason other than misguided paranoia at best, outright lies at worst. A person who you actually kind of know is asking for your compassion and understanding and you are demanding specifics not so you can better understand them, but so you can debunk their claims. A person you actually kind of know is trying to share their experience with you but you really cannot find any common ground, cannot conjure any sympathy or empathy for millions of your fellow human beings and so have written them off as liars or lunatics. Suffice it to say I have a firm belief based on my own personal experience and observation that many if not most conservative people in America today are scared of the left for what I consider to be entirely valid reasons. And the few who aren’t are so complicit in the system as it is that they may as well be of the left themselves.

What am I so afraid of? Not specific instances, but in generic terms?

I believe that humans are flawed and imperfect, capable of both incredible good and incredible evil. Humans are selfish, tribalistic, xenophobic, superior, mean-spirited, and even the good ones have a nasty Puritan streak. Despite this, I like people. I enjoy them. I am one myself, I’m occasionally surprised to recall. I’m neither cynic nor a curmudgeon and I remain ever optimistic and hopeful that we’re going to get this silly misunderstanding worked out between us.*  

I’m brimming over with tolerance and camaraderie for my fellow humans of all walks of life, ethnicities, religions, and creeds. My level of cheer on a good day is Pollyanna and on a bad day is Little Orphan Annie. Regardless of whether we agree all the time, I like you and I like talking to you. I treasure our friendship. In the interest of full disclosure, a couple of you I could probably do without, but I don’t HATE you, not even a little.

But delusional I am not. Historically, the human story has been one of horrifying violence and cruelty. If there’s a Bad Thing you can envision, some human somewhere has done it already and lots of others are thinking about doing it right this very minute. Even without the human awfulness factor coming into play, life is hard and will always BE hard because the world itself is out to kill you. Mother Nature is sending cold temperatures and wild animals and solar radiation and bees and starvation and bacteria at you from every direction. Gravity in the wrong place at the wrong time can kill you. Even your own body can kill you (take my word for it, my own body is attacking itself remorselessly even as we speak.)

And yet despite people being these fundamentally depraved, inherently awful critters, despite the very universe itself plotting your demise, humanity is on a trajectory towards better. Things started off terrible in this ol’ world and were terrible for quite some time, but only just recently things have gotten fantastically, unimaginably better. Not only would Og the Caveman be blown away by our world as it is, even people born just a generation ago would be amazed by the lives we are blessed to have. The poorest Americans have a better quality of life than the richest Americans two hundred, one hundred, even just 50 years ago. Thomas Jefferson’s wife died of mastitis. Calvin Coolidge’s son died from a blister on his foot. John and Jackie Kennedy lost a premature son who would have lived had he been born today. By any metric short of perfection, humans who are alive right here right now, even in the worst of situations, are the absolute luckiest sons of bitches who have ever lived. Just because we have painkillers, if for no other reason.

I have a client who is about 20 years younger than me. She told me her grandfather was a professional bicycle racer. Like, he literally made a living racing bicycles. My grandfather rode a horse to school. His feet were deformed because his shoes didn’t fit him as a child and he probably couldn’t have ridden a bike if he wanted to. His younger brother died of the Spanish flu and he himself nearly died in a blizzard – saved only by that trusty horse, believe it or not.  

This happened in 20 years’ time.

America is so fucking awesome it is mind boggling. Modernity is so fucking awesome it is mind boggling. We have freedom and video streaming on demand. Everything is like Disneyland and Christmastime all rolled into one. I have a tiny computer I carry with me everywhere. I have five children and none of them died. In my fridge I have Dr. Pepper which is my favorite food in the whole wide world.  A can of liquid sugar is my favorite food in the world and I can have it whenever I want to. America gave us those things.

So what am I so afraid of?  

I’m afraid you people are going to mess it up.  

Remember the thing where people are capable both of incredible good and incredible evil? Well, the biggest danger of humanity lies in the fact that most incredible evil has been done by those who believe themselves to be doing incredible good. No one ever rode out on a pogrom in the middle of the night thinking that they were the bad guys and they were going out to get innocent victims. They believe they are going out to get the bad people and that all actions are justified because good needs to conquer evil.  

I have come to believe that there’s a culture war going on  – a real one, not the Kabuki theater that Democrats and Republicans have played at since the turn of the 20th century – and conservatives have been unwittingly drafted to play the bad guys. (Gee, thanks, Republican milquetoasts, for taking part in this sham so you could have the illusion of political power for a little while longer.) In this culture war, conservatives are allegedly Darth Vader, the Nazis, Panem, Lord Voldemort, and the Handmaid’s Tale villains all rolled into one. I personally believe that this culture war is obvious and self-evident and that liberals, even liberals I really really like a super whole lot, to some extent buy into the concept. They are the good guys, they are the future, that the right and proper final evolution of human culture will look exactly like what they envision the perfect society should look like, and in order for this beautiful day to dawn, conservatives have to go.

In short, liberals believe they believe they are not only good, but immune from evil. Because they believe they ARE good – not just a person who is good, but that they actually ARE Good, that liberal people are the human embodiment of Good Itself.  They believe their vision of the future represents what an ideal human culture should look like, they believe that they know how to get to that ideal culture that they envision and they believe that I am standing in their way.  Liberals believe that I AM Evil and they are not only immune from evil, but that they are Good.

How can this story have a happy ending – at least for me?

I see signs – and again, I don’t think these signs are anything less than fully obvious – that forces are in motion to turn conservatives into a despised minority (if they aren’t one already, which I’m not entirely sure that they aren’t). Historically speaking, things don’t go well for the despised minority, especially when the despised minority is perceived to have wealth or privilege that they don’t deserve and that others believe they deserve more. People have been murdered for wearing eyeglasses or owning old books (I will be doubly dead) based on this toxic idea. And yeah maybe you’re right, maybe this won’t happen tomorrow. I’ll grant you that. But I don’t worry just for myself, but for my children, who also wear glasses and even read books on occasion, when I force them to by confiscating their video games. Maybe these changes won’t happen in our lifetime, but if this myth where conservative people are the root of all evil continues to spread unchecked, it will happen eventually. Because humans are selfish, tribalistic, xenophobic, superior, mean-spirited, and even the good ones have a nasty Puritan streak.

I have a dear friend who’s a truly wonderful person. She’s so fabulous that she adopted an HIV positive orphan from the Ukraine and when she found out that the little one had a best friend at the orphanage, she adopted a second HIV-positive Ukrainian orphan so they could stay together. She’s an amazing, amazing person; I admire her so much. But she has stated openly and repeatedly that she would not help Christians if they were being persecuted unless it was first demonstrated “they weren’t hurting anyone with their beliefs any more”. She would not take action to prevent people, human people, from being persecuted unless they changed their beliefs to be in line with hers. Not their actions, their BELIEFS. She is an otherwise supremely excellent person (better than me, for sure) and yet she has stated this viewpoint repeatedly, thoroughly, and with crystal clarity. I did not mistake her; in fact I asked her to clarify her position, and she did. Many other equally good people I know agreed with her, applauded her. Many other equally good people I know expressed similar sentiments on multiple occasions.

This is not normal.

This was years before Trump. Harsh and vicious liberal rhetoric is not caused by people being upset over Trump. Trump was caused by harsh and vicious liberal rhetoric.

Scratch that, because it ISN’T liberal. The core beliefs I thought being a liberal entailed, the concepts I embraced when I was 14 years old and first starting to understand politics, the philosophies that I’ve spent 35 years studying, the stuff I still fully believe in to this very day that keeps me from being a Republican, are gone. Belief in free speech and free religion and free assembly. Belief in the rights of an individual to live the way they want and love who they want and to control their own body even when you don’t like how they live or who they love or what they put into their body. Tolerance, true tolerance (fun fact, tolerance is NOT just tolerating people you like and agree with). Understanding that there are no good people or evil people, that we’re all products of our DNA and environments and all human action needs to be viewed in that light, with compassion and empathy. Trying to understand people’s behavior based on our commonalities as humans rather than our differences as tribes. Those things are gone.

When I call liberalism on the telephone looking for those things it’s all like “New Line, Who Dis?”.

 What liberalism was is dead and what has replaced it is not only ugly, it is utterly, completely and totally illiberal. Liberalism used to be about nurturing the best impulses human beings have and understanding that sometimes it’s hard to nurture our fine impulses since we’re all selfish, tribalistic, xenophobic, superior, mean-spirited, and even good folks have a nasty Puritan streak. So we need to codify our finest impulses into incorruptible laws and well-designed systems rather than relying upon fine impulses. The liberal movement in 2019 is not only playing to the worst, very worst impulses that human beings have, it also appears wants to tear down legal protections and cultural touchstones that stand in the way of that agenda. And the good and awesome liberals out there are snoring at the wheel, dreaming of Burning Man or maybe visiting Austin, not even seeming to realize that the vision we once shared is gone. What you guys are supporting and voting for now is something entirely different that I really don’t believe you actually want.

Please wake up. Wake up!! Because you are so much better than this. You are the reason I’ve been proud to identify as a liberal for all these years. You are the reason I spent years begging and pleading and cajoling my fellow libertarians not to get too chummy with conservatives because our natural allies were liberals. You are better than what you’re becoming and you have to stop it because you’re the only ones who have the power to do it and you have to act fast because now is the only time it can be stopped. By the time these things are underway, it is too late to stop them. You may think I’m wrong and paranoid but this is the part of the movie where the crazy old scientist no one wants to listen to is saying “You have got to stop injecting that adorable baby gorilla with HGH, testosterone, and radioactive waste because it’s only going to get bigger.”

I am afraid you people are going to mess it up.

And setting the threat of actual violence aside, because I know you don’t believe that could happen, that the adorable baby gorilla you cradle so lovingly in your arms could never possibly grow up and be worse than Dick Cheney. Set it aside for now and focus on the practical elements instead. The reason I am an economic conservative is because I believe that free markets (and just for the record, what we have now is very far from a free market economy; I don’t like our present economy any better than you do) really truly are better for everyone than managed economies. I believe free market economies create more opportunities for women, minorities, and the poor than managed economies. I believe free market economies create exponentially more wealth for exponentially more people even though it isn’t “fairly” distributed. Managed economies are like putting the fox in charge of the henhouse, giving over power to a handful of corrupted businessmen and bureaucrats who are going to be just as self-interested as ever they were, because humans are inherently self-interested. I believe that moving towards a socialist, managed economy will bring about less freedom, less prosperity, less technological innovation, less access to health care and other necessities than a free market could bring. It will also make the poor poorer in the end, because I believe, strongly, with every fiber of my being that a rising tide really does raise all boats. I believe even more so that a minimum basic income will serve to simply create a permanent underclass from which people like me, barely hanging onto the lower middle class with the very tips of my fingernails, will never be able to emerge.

You’re going to kill what has provided me, an Actual Poor Person, with a lifestyle that the richest man on the planet a hundred years ago could only dream of, as surely as the greedy farmer in the story killed the goose who laid the golden eggs.

And you’re going to do it because things aren’t perfect, aren’t equal, aren’t fair.  They’re more perfect than ever, more equal than ever, and fairer than ever, but they aren’t as perfect, equal, and fair as you imagine they could be if only you were allowed to run the world. Funny thing is, speaking as an Actual Poor Person, I don’t care about “fair.” I don’t care about “inequality” and nor should you. If we are all better off than we would be otherwise, what does it matter if Paris Hilton has too much money and I don’t have quite enough? Because I assure you, even in a socialist paradise, there will still be Paris Hiltons gadding about, there will still be inequality, because all systems are run by people and people are selfish, tribalistic, xenophobic, superior, mean-spirited, and even the good ones have a nasty Puritan streak. Collectivism has failed everywhere it’s been tried because people are selfish, tribalistic, xenophobic, superior, mean-spirited, and even the good ones have a nasty Puritan streak. The socialism you claim to want is only going to protect the rich at the expense of the rest of us. The freedom that has given me the ability to run my own life and own my own body inasmuch as I can, will vanish and others – the king or the prefect or the Politburo will be making essential decisions for me.

Same as it ever was.  

Utopia is not an option.  There is no ending where the bad conservatives are eradicated and the glorious socialist future of humankind dawns bright and free of trouble.  Because even in the glorious socialist future you’re still gonna be surrounded by people, selfish, tribalistic, xenophobic, superior, mean-spirited, and even the good ones have a nasty Puritan streak.  

Even the liberal ones do.

*But I’m still holding onto that case of Chef Boyardee ravioli in my cupboard just in case.