THE FOLLOWING POST WAS STARTED ON DECEMBER 27, 2013.
“It is impossible for someone to lie unless he thinks he knows the truth. Producing bullshit requires no such conviction.”
― Harry G. Frankfurt, On Bullshit
One of my favorite television shows is Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart“. A few years back, Jon Stewart interviewed a writer, Harry Frankfurt, who had penned a journal-turned-book titled On Bullshit. I bring this up for several reasons.
- One: I always laugh when TV people get away with cursing on the air, for whatever reason. On this particular segment, Stewart must have said “bullshit” 50 times. FCC be damned indeed. Yes, I know, it’s immature but dirty words being said when and where they’re not supposed to makes me giggle.
- Two: I thought it sounded funny to hear Jon Stewart talk, literally, about bullshit for 10 minutes.
- Three: because the author brought up several interesting points when differentiating between lying and bullshit – focusing particularly on the ethical ramifications of both.
- Four: And this brings us back to do: Jabba, the queen of Bullshit Mountain, is at it again.
I’m in South Carolina tonight, to take The Kid back to Jabba in the morning following my Christmas visit with him. This Christmas visit was informative, enlightening and educational – along with an absolute roller-coaster of emotions that I will get into.
Things to keep in mind: The Kid spent the entire Christmas visit with the Auteur and I, much to Jabba’s chagrin. Both The Kid and Jabba know unequivocally that The Auteur and I are living together. that should set the tone for things to come.
I e-mailed Jabba when I arrived in South Carolina last week to let her know where I was staying and when we would do “the exchange”. Here’s a snippet:
Rob: I am in town at the ******. I don’t know what you’re schedule is like, but if he’s available, we’d love to have The Kid over for dinner and/or swimming this evening. (this hotel has an indoor pool.
To this point, I had been saying “I”: I am in town, I am leaving tomorrow, etc. The Old Man was traveling with me, but Jabba took the “we” to mean someone else had accompanied me on the road:
Jabba: We’ll be there. I’m not comfortable with him sleeping in the same room as people who aren’t family. I hope that’s not the case. You wouldn’t be comfortable if I had him sleeping in bedrooms or hotels with men you didn’t know and I understand that. I want to be very clear about why I am and am not comfortable with here. I am sure you understand that.
Upon reading this, it had occurred to me. Jabba thought I was traveling with The Auteur.
Rob: Aren’t family? My Dad is here with me. OH. You assumed The Auteur was traveling with me. She’s not.
It didn’t occur to me then, but this electronic exchange would set much of the tone for The Kid’s visit.
Jabba called not only The Kid, but also me, far more on this trip than she has for any of our other visits. on Monday, the 23rd, she called three times alone. Sure, I get it. She’s likely to call more frequently since it is Christmas – or a few days before as it were. Compared to our previous visits, this was excessive. Something was different with Jabba. There was a different feeling – a different tone to things. The mood had changed. There was almost a hint of desperation to things.
By around the 24th or 25th, I had made it clear to Jabba that The Kid and I were not staying at my parents’ house. We were staying at OUR house – ours being The Auteur and mine – which may be referred to in the following text as “The Auteur’s house” for the sake of clarity and conversational continuity. Jabba got on the phone with me a few times, calmly at first; then yelling in subsequent conversations. She decided to take the position that the entire point of The Kid’s Christmas visit was to spend time with his grandparents (my parents). She even got The Kid to say it one night on the phone! But I’ll get to the manipulation later. At this, I reminded her that our divorce settlement says NOTHING about visitation with grandparents, cousins, aunts, or uncles – one either side. All it discusses is visitation for the mother and the father.
The things is, I get it. I really do. Jabba and I divorced and I happened to be the first of us to meet somebody. Were I in her shoes, I’m sure I would probably be feeling very frustrated and uneasy also. At the same time, it’s over. The proverbial, if not literal, ink is drying on our divorce as I type. It’s time for us all to move on with our lives. I intend on 2014 being all about taking life to the next step.
BACK TO THE MANIPULATION: This is what gets me. Jabba is a smart ass. She prides herself on her “bitchiness”. My son is a good kid, but I can already see his personality being shaped and influenced by her. This sucks because he lives with her probably 98% of the year and will have a bigger impact on his shaping his personality than I could ever hope to. And I get it. I really do. He loves his Mom and wants to make her happy. But I can already see the conflict within him – saying something to make her happy while knowing it’s not true. It’s something he will have to deal with in the months and years to come.
I think the bullshit scares me most because of the way it affected me during my previous life. In the 16 years we were together, I began to fib, lie and out-and-out bullshit people: family, friends, loved ones, strangers. That is one of several bad personality traits I picked up in those years. Unfortunately, old habits die hard and I still occasionally fall into old routines – but I am improving. None of this is an overnight transformation.
THE NEW YEAR’S REVOLUTION CONTINUES…