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JB's Third Annual "Airing of the Grievances"

It’s that time of year again. Welcome back for the Third Annual “Airing of the Grievances” blog. I am thankful to celebrate a holiday (Festivus) that allows for this tradition. Clearly one of the best things to come out of the Seinfeld television series. As always I will trying to stray away from the low hanging fruit of politics (as best I can). Additionally, to my colleagues in Higher Education---I hate to disappoint you this year because there is so much material, and our profession is very broken, but that blog will have to wait until retirement for my self-preservation. Time to get this party started.

Anyone that has not already blocked me or hid me as a friend on Facebook knows that I have slivered around the edges of my low patience when it comes to the Emotional Support Animal (ESA) phenomenon taking our nation by storm. Today I will make my loathe and disdain for the abuse of the current system (or lack thereof) "social media official" with this year’s first grievance.

I would be the first to acknowledge that there are truly individuals in serious need of the comfort an ESA can provide. However, in a country that regulates everything, from soda consumption to school lunches-- with great scrutiny I might add, we somehow have turned a blind eye to provide even a modicum of standards for a person to be able to legally have an Emotional Support Animal. So anyone that wants to have a pet accompany them in places typically not allowed (or where they probably shouldn’t be to begin with)--- has to do little more than shake a toy Magic 8-ball that says “Make it so” and they are eligible for and Emotional Support Animal. It is truly almost that easy. I was able to go on the internet and sign myself up as an ESA (I make a great Mexican Hairless Chihuahua by the way). As fascinating it as it may sound, I have no desire to ride wing man on a cross country flight with a Peacock sitting shotgun—much less watch it crap all over the aisle next to me mid flight while I am trying to choke down some brutal low grade meal I just overpaid for while witnessing all of the fun, praying I don't have to use the vomit bag.

That doesn’t even get into the little kids being bitten on airplanes by ESA dogs gone Cujo or the dead beat owners of said animals that can’t possibly understand how this happened given the extensive training the animal had (wink wink). Don't blame the animal--blame the owner. Also, I think you are in need of way more than an ESA if you have to have a set of twin emotional support hamsters and one of the twins suddenly die so you get a request to bring in an additional hamster for the surviving rodent because it is emotionally wrought by watching his sibling flushed down the toilet (This truly happen in our residence halls—you can’t make this stuff up).

So for the people that truly have needs, I sincerely feel bad for you because the abusers of the ESA system have made a whole lot of people cynical and distrustful of a system (or lack of a system) in need of deep repair and structure. Let’s get some true regulations and strengthened policy put together so we can move forward from this one and get it off the list. Maybe we could go back to "Pet Rocks" to help bridge the gap. In the mean time I will be petitioning my state representative and senators for “Emotional Support Cigar” legislation. I really am nicer and more relaxed when I have a hand rolled cigar. Wish me luck. I live in Illinois--anything could happened, right?

Wouldn’t be an “AOG” blog without mentioning some sports. No one in the world loves Major League Baseball more than me, but I have become tired of all the champagne celebrations after winning the regular season division and then again after every subsequent playoff series all the way up to, and including the World Series itself. I can get behind it if you win the World Series--then you get to celebrate all you want---hell I will even give you winning the pennant in your league, but that is as far as it goes for this guy. This over celebration after winning every playoff series isn’t nearly as rampant in any other sports so we know it can be corrected.

While I am on this topic--if you are going to choose to act like three year olds playing grab-ass in the Rompa Room by shooting champagne all over each other then don’t wear goggles. Grown men acting like an ass clowns should embrace their stupidity all the way if they wade into it in the first place, which means take your booze baths without goggles. The poor sports reporters in their covering you post game don’t get that luxury of eye ware protection. Why should you? It all seems like a big waste of potential mimosas and New Years Eve celebrations dying on a locker room floor to me. Be better.

This year I had my first bout with the struggle of owning a more modern car (because I am cheap and have not had a really modern vehicle). These newer cars (2011) are apparently held together by an intricate electrical and computer systems on which the entire function of the car is dependent. Nothing scarier in the world than driving down the street and the entire electrical system in the car goes out suddenly –shutting down the car completely. Then you find out the key fob is also disabled and you have a “whole thing” on your hand to try and sort out. Count me out on the modernization game. I want to go back to the times when the guy at the corner gas station (not a dude in the NASA control room) could fix your car. I want a real key to get in my car in order to turn it on and drive. In fact you can even give me windows that roll themselves up and down manually. I also liked owning a vehicle that didn’t talk back to you if you didn’t wear your seat belt.

This world has gone and got too damn technical and fancy. While the rest of you move towards driver less cars (which clearly don’t work) and hover boards I will be trolling eBay looking for a 1978 Oldsmobile Delta 88 with velour cloth bench seating, that can seat nine. If I am lucky I will find one that I can take the key out of the ignition while it’s running, so I can lock it and keep it nice and warm in the winter when I run into the store to get something. Bottom line here is to count me out on putting my confidence in your electrical and computer technology. If you want to worship at the altar of the Stephen Jobs and SheIdon Coopers of the world go right ahead. Sure is great when it works but if it doesn’t you are completely screwed.

Additionally, having no computer in your car makes you harder to track if there is ever a coup or sudden uprising against the government (which seems not to far from the realm of possibility to me these days) in case you need to get away quickly and undetected as you permanently leave the grid.

For a long time now this next one has grinded my gears but I have kept away from it because my Father (who I love—sorry Dad) is a serial offender. It is probably a generational thing (which means I will likely be met with some resistance on this one)---with all due respect to my elders, it makes me crazy to see “Same Side Sitters” (people sitting on the same side of a booth while the other side remains empty) when out on a date by themselves in public. Maybe it’s more romantic. Maybe it is cute. Maybe other people doesn’t suffer from boundary issues like me. Or maybe I have just become a cynical curmudgeon, but it makes me nuts. Just seems REALLY awkward to me. I guess in the age of texting, Snap chatting, and Facebook messaging this whole concept could make a big come back with millennials, since it gives them a perfectly reasonable explanation (for which they currently don’t have) not to have to ever look at each other throughout the whole date while silently communicating with each other---all the while looking straight down or ahead (never at each other). But if you old school folks think it’s cool to “Same Side Sit”---Go ahead and do you. You just may be setting a trend. I guess what is old again could be new.

Last one for the year before I mention a few annoyances. Recently I had to go into the Doctors office for my annual physical (I know –you are stunned I made it to doctors without being on a gurney--props for me). Turns out the hardest part of the physical is filling out the incredibly excessive amount of forms now required by the government these days (so don't blame the physicians). My Master’s thesis was less cumbersome to complete. That doesn’t even get into some of the questions they ask on these forms. Ranging from “Are you good at filling out forms?” to “Do you drink in the morning regularly?" then moving to a darker place by asking a series of questions related to “Depression” that only make you question your existance. If I wasn’t depressed before going through the forms, I certainly was by the end,  I wonder how many people actually answer these things truthfully. I wonder how many more just want to mess around with whoever has to load them in the computer.?Who knew that a colostomy procedure in now less invasive than your annual checkup thanks to all this paperwork and mandated regulation----but hey, we don’t have the ability to regulate Emotional Support Animals. (I know I need to let it go). The good news is between Ancestory DNA collecting all our DNA and the Government uploading all of our medical information, the Aliens will be grateful to find all this stored in just a one one when they come to take over. 

I lied--just one more before I finish. This one is personal and truly close to my heart. It isn’t as much a grievance as it is something that is just a fundamental injustice in my eyes, that can never be corrected. This past summer I lost two dogs in five days and I have had scores of friends that have also lost pets in the last calendar year. Charlie and Maddie (both thirteen years old) led great lives, even it was for a short time. When God created this world there were a ton of spectacular things to celebrate and be in awe of ---many of which continue to surround us all each and every day. In all that beauty, perfection, and creation there was a gigantic error. One of the greatest creatures ever engineered is a dog. Yet they live on average one seventh of the time of us humans. They are kinder, more loyal, and more loving than humans as a general rule, yet they are penalized by being given only a brief period of time to walk this earth comparatively. 

Maybe God is selfish and wants them in Heaven where they deserve to be. Maybe these four legged angels without wings, living among us deserve a more heavenly place to live because of their behavior. Maybe it is just big old lesson for all of us two legged creatures, that we continue to ignore. I don’t know –but either way I am pissed and sad. I miss my dogs. I know that if I ever have the privilege of getting a personal audience with God---before I ask him who shot JFK and where Jimmy Hoffa is buried (things I deeply want to know) I am going to ask him why he takes these beautiful souls away from us soon. I can only hope that it is because the “Big Dog Park” in the sky is Disney World on steroids for our lost fur-ever friends. Rest in Peace to all the dogs and pets that were lost this past year. Definitely one of the ultimate grievances, for those that experience it.

There are a lot of little things I am annoyed with these days, including the cesspool that social media has become (no one ever changed their mind because of your meme). I am also over the NBA (never will be same as when we had Dr.J, Larry Bird, and Magic—hell I would even take the Michael Jordan years back). Additionally, I truly think that we are in a period of time where there is a dearth of good music and classic movies. Don’t even get me started on airports and the airline industry in general and not even with “Fast Food” customer service. You may get to see some or all these topics more in depth next year. Until then, raise a glass to Frank Costanza (the creator of our wondrous holiday), get your Festivus pole out, and start your preparation for the “Feats of Strength”.

I think it is time for me to get my designer “Get off my lawn” sign ordered now, and beat the Festivus rush as I prepare for my twilight years.

“Another Festivus Miracle”---Kramer

Charlie's last Festivus  December 23, 2018


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