note: Mental Hygiene is looking for contributors. If you have interesting, controversial, or even inflammatory rants in you that are screaming to get out, share them with the Internet community. Send your information and a writing sample to firstname.lastname@example.org.
i’ve never been much of a rebel. in high school, i got good grades, never wrecked the car i drove, didn’t drink, do drugs, skip school, or sneak out at night. the closest i came to any of this typical teenage behavior was in befriending or dating people that did.
all my friends spent their weekends high, drunk, sneaking off to raves and concerts, or getting laid.
i realize now that i was a very boring teenager. my parents probably suspected that i smoked, or got high, or any number of things when i was out late at night and came back smelling of second-hand teen angst. likely they wanted me to do these things, just so they could provide the proper parenting support for their wayward son. sadly, the only moderately illegal or immoral thing i did when i was out late with friends (my parents never had to enforce a curfew, so long as i was able to drag myself to school every morning) was drive too fast. that and have sex with my girlfriend, but that mostly happened later.
i have only had brushes with the law three times in my life. the first was very early, and probably the root of my paranoia and lawfulness to this day. while making prank phonecalls from a skating rink, an older friend and i pissed off an operator, who had the police called out to the skating rink. we left just as they were arriving. a close call for a child of 7.
the second came on a trip to florida, when myself and another friend went for a walk around our hotel – it was too hot in the room to sleep. an unmarked police car flagged us down and questioned us for about half an hour. it being about 2:30AM and in a less-than-savory part of town, the reason was not terribly surprising – apparently just down the street was a ‘crackhouse’ and there were undercover narcotics officers all over.
my third brush with johnny law was in a state park after midnight. on occasion, myself and a group of friends would hang out on the playground at a local state park. one night we came into the parking lot a little later than usual, and as we were turning around to leave, a park ranger pulled me over and ran my license. sure, there was little she could have done other than give me a warning. we never did stop or park the car – all we did was turn around in the parking lot. regardless, my girlfriend, in the passenger seat, was in tears by the time we left.
my point is this: at the prime moment in my life when i was supposed to figure out who i was, rebel against the system, act out, and generally alienate everyone more than 5 years older than myself, i was, at best, boring.
so, now that i’m older, i have to, on occasion, pull off little rebellions, little fun pastimes that might or might not be agreeable to most people, thet nobody really needs know about, just to keep myself from falling asleep and waking up at 50, wondering what the hell happened to my youth.
and so, i curse. a lot. i tone things down when i’m writing, but when things get heavy in my life, i spout expletives straight from a quentin tarantino film. my favorite form is the long string of profane insults – addressing every aspect of a person or inanimate object from ancestry to hygiene. i don’t tone these down for most people, so i am often met with raised eyebrows, especially at work.
i wear comfortable, often inappropriate, shoes and clothes. if i’m going to be uncomfortable, most importantly my feet, i might as well stay home in bed, because i’m not going to get anything done. birkenstocks and thick wool socks. enough said.
when nobody’s coming the other way, i run red lights.
i change the way i look almost monthly. no photograph of me is ever current for more than a few weeks, as i will already have changed my hair style, shaved my beard, etc. by the time it is deveoped.
i blow kisses to attractive women in traffic. this is especially fun on long trips when i pass the same car several times as traffic thickens and thins – in this instance, i try to do something different each time i catch the driver’s eye. i am sometimes in a foul mood when driving (so much so that it’s a good thing i don’t own a handgun, for the sake of my fellow drivers) and it just makes my day when i blow a kiss to a complete stranger waiting in a turn lane, and she looks over and smiles. on occasion, i’ll elicit other, less savory responses, but at least i know they saw me.
maybe it’s just my sadistic nature coming out, but i really enjoy catching bugs – moths and beetles, etc – and trapping them in spider webs. the big, brown garden spider that lives just outside my door has gotten fat off my generosity.
by far my biggest coup is junk mail. since my address is listed with internic/netsol, i get all kinds of crap – ‘pre approved’ credit card offers, catalogs, investment schemes, sweepstakes, magazine subscriptions – you name it, and i’ve gotten it. all addressed to option8. anyhow, one of the first things i like to do is, when going to a website that ‘requires’ i fill out my name and address for ‘more information’ or whatnot – knowing full well my name will end up on someone’s mailing list no matter what i do – i use my cat’s name. when mail comes addressed to ‘kudzu’ i know where it came from. i like to use the email address of my state representative when i know it’s not going to be important that i receive future mailings.
second, and most enjoyable, is when such offers come with a postage-paid envelope. ‘no postage necessary if mailed within the united states’. lovely. sure, i could cover the address with another one and send someone a letter on mastercard’s tab, but i prefer the alternative. i tear up the offer they sent me into tiny confetti-sized chunks, put them into the postage-paid envelope, and send them back where they came from. i think that if more people did this, and clogged the receiving end with so much confetti they were unable to function, the mass mail houses would get the hint and back off. i only wish this could be done with email spam as easily.
certainly this list has shed some light onto what most people will still consider my utterly boring lifestyle, but consider what it would be like without these little daily affirmations? my greatest desire is that more people will be able to take one or two of my examples and spice up their lives (okay, so maybe it’s taragon instead of tabasco, but what do you expect from someone who’s biggest thrill is writing out rants for his website?)
the next time you see someone blow you a kiss or stick out their tongue at you in traffic, think of me.