Being an early riser I tend to be up and about sometime between 3 and 4 a.m. each morning. This is a good thing as it affords me the opportunity to follow the advice of one of my favorite Rockaway Times columnists, Helen Kilgallen (Be Well, Be Happy), to conduct my morning meditation and check into the collective consciousness to see what’s coming to the surface and being felt by us as a community and then envisioning for the day before proceeding to go outside on the deck for my morning movement routine.
For all of you non-introspective people out there still in search of your inner Zen, the above means I fed the cats, dog and Bearded Dragon, started the coffee, lit a cigarette and fired up the old laptop read the daily online editions of the national and local news before taking the dog out on the deck to do his business. Last week I kept seeing the word “offended” coming up over and over again. Then something hit me — I had heard the following statements literally hundreds of times over the past several weeks. “That’s offensive.” “What that person said was really offensive.” “I would never do that because that’s offensive.” “If you call someone this, that’s offensive.” And on it goes. I realized that whether it be in articles, videos, conversations, or comments online, this was becoming a HUGE collective norm. The problem as I saw it was that being socially unaware or "non-woke" if you will, I was not part of this new-found norm.
Having spent my formative education years under the kind tutelage of the Sisters of Charity, a misnomer as there was nothing charitable about them, and then later in high school with the Christian Brothers, yet another misnomer but that's another column. I then underwent five years of active sensitivity training with the United States Marines Corps (two enlistments), followed by 31 years of social work with the New York City Police and Correction departments. That being said, I have come to view myself as a laid back kind of guy, pretty much incapable of being offended and thus incapable of participating in this new norm of the victimhood of offense. I realized right then and there that I was doing something wrong and I had better get off my butt and fix it post haste!
Over this past weekend I participated in a 6-hour online course designed for people just like me that teaches the ability to easily be offended is no longer a luxury but a down right necessity in this life. The course was entitled "How to be Offended." In a nutshell, this course taught me how to become easily offended by realizing that people have every right to see things from their own perspective as long as it is the same as my perspective. Ergo, all I need do is simply listen carefully and attentively to what the other person is saying and then selflessly make it all about me by taking it personally and becoming seriously offended even if it has nothing to do with me!
I now realize that people have every right to see things from their own perspective as long as it is the same as my perspective. Now when other people do not see things the way I see them, I just get in their face all offended and such, and it teaches them how not to see things from their point of view.
Just this morning I read a sports article about some high school team upstate named "The Cougars" and I immediately dashed off a self-important email letting the school administration know that the term is offensive and must be changed since saucy old tarts like to call themselves cougars!
And speaking of old tarts, at 67 years of age I have also now declared war on “ageist stereotypes” including the words "old," "elderly," "frail," "mature," "senior" as I now feel they are terms that diminish the perceived value of our aged selves. When I see these terms used in news articles or elsewhere I now fire off a blistering missive to the author as well as AARP demanding that they use the more inoffensive alternative, “older adults.”
Sure, there’s a crayon for every color, but why won’t Crayola acknowledge the fact that the white crayon has the most privilege? I fired off a quick email to the Crayola people over in Pennsylvania about this one. Even my trips over to Stop and Shop now find me offended at the turn of every aisle. Did that cow ever give you CONSENT to milk it? Um yeah, I didn’t think so. Another blast to the dairy farmers of America! I also had a stern word with the store manager who looked at me incredulously and suggested that I "man up!" Oh Yeah? I told him in no uncertain terms that saying "Man up" is totally offensive as it tells a man that he should stop feeling and conform to a false, unattainable stereotype. Shaming me into being tough is a surefire way to create lingering damage to my psyche and no sir, I won't stand for it.
Oh, and don't even mention the produce aisle. Nothing rhymes with orange. You know who that affects? Rappers. This word ruins the careers of rappers. But then again, rap is sexist and it promotes violence. On second thought, never mind. I actually don’t know how to feel about oranges.
Quite honestly since completing the course and now being open to offense and becoming a "victim" I have been experiencing life-changing results. I realize now that people who don't get offended are insecure, take no personal responsibility for anything and have no purpose in life. I feel sorry for them for I now see them as I once was! Since I've learned how to be easily offended I feel I now bring joy to everyone I meet as they feel like they are free to be themselves when they are around me as long as they don't offend me! I'm just happy I now can make such a big difference in the world.
So all of you non-"woke" people out there, join me and ....be offended — be very offended!
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