Douchebaggery and Entitlement (Or, It Must Be Thursday)

timelapse photography off water fountain

Photo by Gabriel Peter on Pexels.com

Tis a week before pay-day, and I’m bored with reading about the Duchy of Sussex’s charm school dropout side of the family. So I decided to catch up on what everyone else has been tweeting about, financially important things you should do before age 35.

I should have saved twice my salary. *Cue a bitter fountain of tears*

I am actually one of the Canadians who can’t even manage to save $500.

It should be easier than it looks. I don’t have student loan debt. I live with someone whose annual income is on-par with mine. But I’m 46, and still have kids at home, teenagers at that, with cell phones and the need for new clothes and groceries. Aye, the groceries.

Never mind the consumer debt. I got out of it once; it was nice. Did I mention the teenagers? Or, despite subscribing to online newsletters about responsible spending and saving, and making the effort, I still can’t quite get there? I do everything online. No cheques. No overdraft protection. Always try to avoid bank fees where possible. Cash only.

I have an 18-month-old granddaughter. I like to help out. The amount spent there isn’t garish by anyone’s standards. If I see a deal on diapers, or a book or a toy that combines fun and learning, I’m on it. She’s been eating what her parents eat, by and large, for a while now, which keeps the spending on baby and toddler food to a minimum.

All this said, I get angry when I hear about grown-ass men who have to be forcibly evicted from their parents’ home, where they contribute nothing, not even civilized conversation. Get a hair cut and get a job, ya damned hippie. Be a decent example to your son.

And then there’s Kevin Federline. Due to his overall irrelevance since 2008, following the nuclear meltdown of his marriage to Britney Spears, he’s had primary custody of their two sons and enjoyed monthly child support to the tune of $20,000. Now he says he needs three times that amount. I smell the smell of a man who’s been using one ex-wife to pay for the children he has with other women, which he should be ashamed of, frankly. Ya, ya. Nobody wants you when you’re down and out, right Kev? Oi! Hair cut! Job! Go get ’em.

It pisses me off when I see the 1% being stupid with their money, and still managing to come out ahead. Damned right I support increased taxation on the wealthy, even though I will never see any of it come back to me in the form of child tax benefits, since I owe the government money for the foreseeable future.

This reminds me to call my son – he’s 21 – and tell him to get on with opening a Registered Retirement Savings Plan. His contribution limit isn’t that steep. I don’t want him to look back at age 35, or even 45 or 65, and wonder where all the years of savings went.

 

Spinning The Wheel

Even at this physical distance, I am still trying to process what happened in Toronto this week.

As the mother of two sons who have diagnoses on the autism spectrum, and equally the mother of a daughter, and a grandmother of a lovely, sharp female toddler; I may well be stumped for the right words, too.

Marc Lepine. Elliot Rodger. Alek Minassian. The misappropriation of the term incel.

At the risk of overstating the obvious, Western culture really hasn’t learned a damned thing or made the tamping down of misogyny a priority. Who, or what, can we blame? This is a world that welcomed a perverted parasite to the Oval Office with open arms, and everyone else who can see the emperor for the naked criminal he is are no closer to evicting him, try as they might. He’s all about his base, and it continues to be a dispiritingly strong one.

I also think parents still aren’t talking to their children about consent and entitlement in personal and romantic relationships. Look: it’s never a bad time to do it. And a child’s level of ability, or disability, shouldn’t even play into it. I am signed on to take a workshop next week on the topic of sex and disability, to help me bring my younger son up to speed, in a way he will hopefully understand, but I know there will be a need for remediation based on his personality, if only to remind him to keep his hands away from the front of his pants in public.

It is also incredibly important to keep top of mind that autism did not rent a cargo van and mount a sidewalk this week. Autism is not facing ten counts of first-degree murder and thirteen fourteen counts of attempted murder. Autism does not leave a breadcrumb trail of YouTube videos and a lengthy manifesto rife with vitriol towards the women who turn it down for sex. Autism does not radicalize itself.

We need to start with that, and prioritize conversations about mental health, generally, at home, at school, and in the workplace. Places where people gather, as a matter of course, on a daily basis.

And, since the personal is also political, we must reclaim the base. I am surprising myself by agreeing with Kanye West: self victimization is a disease. No one’s interests are served when it’s the practice to mollycoddle people who routinely behave badly and have learned that there is no real, lasting consequence for it.

If it is my job to teach my children how to get along in the world, why are so many others not out there doing the same? It’s time to get real.

It’s time to replace blame with basic human kindness. It’s time to turn the wheel.