During his extended battle with mylodisplacia, Carl Sagan wrote something to the effect of, “I would almost recommend almost dying to everybody. It’s a character building experience like no other. You get a much clearer perspective of what’s important and what isn’t, the preciousness and beauty of life. I say almost because of the irreducible and essential element of risk”. I’ve actually had a similar epiphany, but being so much more vindictive than Sagan, I’m employing it in a different way. I’m finding it’s just as therapeutic though.
I’m not putting up with tedious self-absorbed leaching sociopaths any more. I’m sure you know the type, the human remura, every thing is about them, their relationships, their boss, their family, their terrible life, their aches and pains, and everyone is against them. If they call you there is a 50/50 chance it’s for a ride in the middle of rush hour or an emergency “loan” that you’ll never see again, etc.
I’m not talking about people who are down on their luck for a few months, or who suffer horrible accidents or fall prey to terrible disease or are single-handedly raising five children. I’m talking about the manipulative lazy jackasses who are perpetually in crisis, year after year after year, who prey like experts on your generosity to bail them out of those crises which are almost always entirely of their own making. They are usually unwilling to do the simplest thing, like get a goddamn job even if it isn’t an ideal six figure dream position, but are more than happy to suck down your hard-earned loot, food, cable, use you for rides and anything else they can get out of you.
Fuck them. I’ve methodically told them, in a reasonably kind diplomatic way, that I have a real health issue to deal with and I won’t be able to provide them one-sided, non stop 24/7 emotional and financial support for the foreseeable future. It was three people I’ve known for thirty plus years, and they confirmed my judgement when not a single one of them gave a goddamn about my heart attack. All three fired back with variations of “You were never a true friend” alternating with how their latest self inflicted latest crisis is the worst ever and pleas for me to not make their burden heavier.
Like wise I reached out to every personal friend, every ex girl friend and every extended relative I’ve not kept in touch with or had some stupid falling out with telling them how much I valued knowing them. The criteria: every one of these people has, through strength of character and decency, proven themselves time and time again to be caring compassionate human beings, who genuinely like me, and who have collectively made my life so much better than it would have otherwise been. The mere possibility of having gone through life and never having met them, never having done the fun things I’ve done with them, frightens me. Another thing that unites them, they too get used right and left by the moochers and predators of the world.
This may seem like common sense, but that’s what it took for me to appreciate those who love me and want the best for me, and kick the few remaining louts posing as people who care to the curb. It’s not easy, users are skilled at what they do, they know how to manipulate you, they know your buttons, they know exactly how to guilt you. Folks, if you have someone in your life that fits into either category, good or bad, I can tell you, laying it on the line feels good, real real fucking good, It’s such an affirming, self esteem building experience I would almost recommend it to anyone, almost, if not for the irreducible and essential element of risk.
I’ll be writing more traditional science and political content soon folks. I beat the widow maker and heart problems won’t be a major theme going forward. Thanks for all the emails and comments!