So here we are, 2014 and all that. As I continue down the path of that mid life crisis I've hinted out several times, I have spent some time contemplating what life in retirement might be. Oh, I'm at least 15 years from that, but still, I do tend to wonder what it will be like getting up in the morning and not going to work. And these thoughts in my mind lead me to wanting to write some sort of blog-style manifesto of sorts about how my life has changed in the past few years, and how those changes impact life at home.
This has never been a political blog but I have on occasional made statements that could be politically charged. I don't think you as a reader come here to read what I have to say about ObamaCare or whether or not Bush was a war criminal. You'll have to visit Fox or MSNBC for that sort of crap. But it probably is relevant for me to share a little bit of background on how my views have changed so much. I mean, when I first started blogging here on Break Out, I used to come home from work, turn on Fox news and listen to the entire line-up - Hannity, O'Reilly, Greta, all those idiots. In conversations with friends at work, I was a regular regurgitator of the previous nights political talking points topped off with a good dose of Limbaugh thrown in for good measure. The funny thing was, I kept thinking to myself, if these people ever saw my blog, they would totally oppose everything I believe in. And that was the thing; why was I parroting shit I just didn't believe?
I do feel like I have the basis of a conservative leaning, in that, I totally believe that our tax system is broken, our spending is out of control, and in general, the theory of the welfare state is simply not workable. On the other hand, socially, I think the religious right has taken over the conservative movement. No longer is it about fiscal constraint, but rather moral bondage. I have always supported the rights of gay folks to have the same benefits that heterosexual couples have. Call it marriage (I do) if you want or don't, but there are too many cases where long term gay partners got screwed by the tax system or by hospitals etc.
That whole Duck Dynasty thing was just a big publicity stunt as far as I'm concerned. Of course the Robertson's aren't for the gays. I say big deal. Better that the public know who these actors are for real rather than to continue to watch the 30 minute infomercial for their merchandise and not know. My point is, we don't all have to agree on everything, but that was what my life was becoming when I spent so many hours watching all those talking head shows. In spite of my own views on matters of personal choice (abortion, gay rights, the right to privacy, porn!), I was somehow finding myself on the side of pundits who treated political discussions like sports. You know, if you are a fan of a particular team, the rfs always make the wrong call when it goes against your team, and always make a good call when it goes against your opponent. I despise the political discourse of today; it doesn't matter what a person says or does, it all matters what party they are affiliated with as to how these talking heads spin the discussion.
And speaking of that Duck Dynasty thing, why were the pro-gay people so immediately against what the guy said (about gays). His comments just weren't much more than one guy saying that he doesn't understand how a man could prefer asshole over pussy. Okay, he's not gay, so what do you expect him to say. Would there be a national outrage if a gay guy, say Dan Savage, said, "Pussy is nasty, yuck"? Even more perplexing is why the big hullabaloo was about his comments on gays and not the outrageous assertion that some blacks were better off during Jim Crow. Really? Either way, the political junkies took sides based on the sports team of their choice, and there you have it. I defend everyones right to be an idiot.
When I started to open my mind up and consider that, just because my opinions didn't necessarily always match those of "the team" I was on, I began to rethink a lot of the positions I had taken in the past. First and foremost, religion. I have never been a religious person but as a conservative, I was on the team that said there is a war on Christmas and that people's right to religious freedom was being lost. But then, I looked back at the people who were asserting their personal religious views on me. To be clear, I do think that one of the things that makes this country great is that we can have all sorts of religions and non-religious people living together without having civil wars. In general, we respect other people's right to choose to burn in hell if they don't adhere to our own religious beliefs. I've never thought it was an inconvenience to stand silently while other people pray (but I don't bow my head), and I surely would never purposely offend someones religious views if they were not offending mine.
But the reality is, a lot of people in this country believe that if you assert your own opinions or freedoms, you are somehow attacking their religion. A common theme is that the gays are trying to force the gay lifestyle on us all. Bullshit. Ditto for abortion. My view on abortion has always been the same. I think abortion should be the last choice, but it should be a choice. And it confounds me that for the most part, the people who are so vocally opposed to abortion are the same ones that are so vocally opposed to sex education that could help prevent some of these abortions in the first place.
------OOOOOO------I'm getting worked up. Let's move on to sex. We have a serious crises boiling over here where anyone with a cell phone, as Dan Savage accurately puts it, has a mobile porn production studio. The days of a husband pulling out the Polaroid camera and taking pictures of his wife's tits with a promise not to show them to anybody (but of course, he does) are gone. Now, women willingly take naked pictures and send them to friends, husbands, and guys on the Internet without as much as a second thought. I love this new world, and I won't lie; I've sent my nude pics to people and people have sent their nude pics to me.
What has changed for the worse is, now young people are doing the same thing and it really, really concerns me. If my good friend Aunt Clara (a reader of this blog) sends me pictures of her boobies, she and I trust one another enough that she knows they will not go any further than my inbox. But if the authorities looked at my e-mail, even if they did see Aunt Clara's boobs, there would be nothing illegal involved. But what about these teens sending pictures of their tits to young men. Now, both of these kids could be charged with a crime. And heaven forbid you stumble upon some of these web pages that post these pictures.
I've become a huge fan of Tumblr. It is a near addiction in that, I can log in,scroll for a few minutes and see a bunch of naked pictures, then log off and go on with my day. What I have found however is, on more than one occasion, people are posting pictures of people who in my mind, seem to be under the legal age. Don't get me wrong, I know that these days it seems impossible to to look at someone and know their real age. The girls that are 14 today do not look anything like the girls that were 14 when I was 14. I do know that there are some well paid porn stars who are of legal age but who have the look of much younger people. I don't get the fetish, but my point is, how can you tell? And with all this lack of privacy these days, how long is it before some poor sap finds himself facing charges just because someone sent him a nekkid picture that turns out the girls was 17 and not 18. How would you know?
If you are a parent, please, please warn your teens not to send or receive nude pictures. They need to know that it could get them in trouble, and more importantly, I don't want my fun time looking at porn to be interrupted by your 14 year-old daughter's boobs.
Oh - only slightly related, and please don't think I condone a 40 year-old school teacher porking a high school student (either man teacher or woman teacher), wasn't it only 100 years or so ago in our own country that 14 year old girls routinely were married off to men, often older men? When life expectancy was only 30 or 40 or 50, 14 year olds were getting married and pumping out kids. Again, I'm not promoting the idea of underage porn, I just think that if a girl whips out her boobs and sends a pic to her boyfriend, it isn't the end of the world. When I was 15, I was having sex and there was no law against it.
------OOOOOO------If I could start my life over, I think I would have opted for an open marriage. It is safe to say that my wife and I do have somewhat of a sexually open, don't ask, don't tell thing going as far as my bisexuality. And, my wife has had her own share of side action. I am in one of those relationships where, I'm not getting divorced. We are committed to growing old together and no matter how miserable either of us ever became; I would never consider leaving her destitute. In our case, I have always been the primary breadwinner, and not that my wife isn't a smart woman, but for her to start from scratch at her age, the truth is she'd basically have to move in with one of my kids. I do believe in the idea of commitment in a partnership for living, but I also believe that more marriages would be better if sex outside that primary relationship was not such a big deal. Am I just totally nuts on this? I have read about polyamorous relationships, but I don't see that as a viable thing for me or my wife. I think it is great for those people who want to live that way, I just think the logistics of it all is overwhelming. Just good old fashioned fooling around seems like the way to go.
This all brings us back to my mid-life crisis. During the holidays, I took several days off from work both weeks. What I found was that, I often feel trapped in my own home. I've told readers here that my time for blogging is in the early morning before work while my wife sleeps. In a way, that is a positive thing because it limits me from spending hours at a time looking at Tumblr! But there is more than just the ability to spend an hour blogging or catching up on the blogs I love to follow. The trapped part comes from my wife's need to be attached at the hip. When I come home from work, we eat, then start going through the DVR to catch up with all the crap we need to watch. The idea that I might spend a few hours in the evening reading, alone, or maybe surfing the Internet (not porn, but actual entertainment), or maybe working on a hobby would come off in her mind that I don;t want to spend time with her. If that was just hurt feelings, it might be fine, but it leads to fights.
I look at this routine we have been in and I have started now - 15 years out - telling my wife that when I retire, I plan to do volunteer work, a lot. These days off have left me feeling the need to just get out of the house. As cold as it is, I've gotten a lot of yard work done! Please don't get me wrong; we have a lot of good time together and enjoy doing things together. It's the home alone time that becomes a waiting game for me. Waiting for the TV shows to be over so I can go to bed and get up and start the next day. And look at blogs and porn in private. For an hour.
I know this has been long and rambling - if you read it all, thanks. Sometimes, ya just need a place to vent, and this is it for me.