Getting those pet peeves off your chest is good for the soul
Hey, let’s talk about gay marriage again!
Kidding. I’m kidding! Relax, folks.
Last week’s column was met by overwhelming agreement and solidarity, save for a select few. But boy, did those select few let me know how vehemently they disagreed with me. One lady informed me she was canceling her subscription because she “cannot in good conscience pay money for this kind of thing to be put out in a community newspaper of all things.” Another lady wrote a labyrinthine justification using Scripture from both the Old and New Testaments that amounted to a couple of conclusions:
• That she feels homosexuals aren’t all that different from Nazis, apparently. She writes, “Gays are teachers, principals, writers, scientists, leaders, priests, pastors, next-door neighbors, co-workers, babysitters! Do you honestly believe their lifestyles, opinions, attitudes, practices, and influences will be confined to their unions, safely barricaded within in their own four walls? That’s like saying you don’t care what Hitler believed in the privacy of his own home! No, the dangers are ‘out there’ touching all of us, most damagingly our innocent children.”
• Two ... well, it’s best if I quote her email again: “See, Steve, it’s really simple. You’re thinking like a carnal man because you are one.” Lemme tell ya, that one earned a lot of hooting and hollering among my Facebook friends. One of my buddies offered to print up some T-shirts that say, “Steve Wildsmith: Carnal Man.” Another offered to sell them outside of Dollywood. Any takers?
Seriously, I’m glad those who called or wrote got the opportunity to get their indignations off of their chests. Believe me, I can be an annoying cuss; just ask my brother. And around here, my opinions tend to lean to the left of most folks. So it’s only natural that the forum that is this, my personal column, gets under a few layers of skin from time to time.
That’s OK. Go on and let it out, I say. There’s relief in doing so. Why, there are a few things that have been bugging me of late that I feel the need to share. Take East Harper Avenue, for example.
You know the intersection of East Harper and McCammon Avenue, right beside The Daily Times building and the back side of Studio 212? There is no stop sign there. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken a break to enjoy the sunshine and stood on that corner, watching the traffic go by and chatting with co-workers, when a motorist comes to a complete stop right in front of us.
Why? I have no idea. Perhaps the brick crosswalks seem so startlingly out of place against the gray blacktop that some drivers assume there must be a stop sign around there somewhere. Perhaps it simply looks like a good place to slam on the breaks and send a text. Maybe it’s the fault of those of us standing on the sidewalk. I have no idea, but it’s frustrating, because it’s only a matter of time before someone gets rear-ended and/or jumps the curb and plows into our building. I find myself leveling a stony stare at those motorists and chanting, “There’s no stop sign! There’s no stop sign! There’s no stop sign!” Not that it does any good.
While we’re on the subject of traffic, here’s another one that sticks in my craw: Drivers who are in such a hurry that they pass on the double yellow ... only to come to a stop at the traffic light a few yards later. Yes, Speedy, that dangerous maneuver saved you a whole 3 seconds and got you around grandma, who was apparently not driving fast enough for you. Good for you. Now slow down before you kill yourself and/or somebody else.
Or hey, here’s another one: The jerk who either doesn’t know how to park or doesn’t care, thus taking up two spaces. Most of the time I see this, it’s a fancy new automobile owned by someone deathly afraid of it receiving a ding or a scratch, and so they park it diagonally across two places. Not that I’m the kind of guy who would do so, but such behavior just screams, “I’M A POMPOUS JACKASS; WON’T YOU PLEASE KEY MY CAR?” Seriously — unless you’re the CEO of the business you’re patronizing, get over yourself and park like everyone else.
Whew. I feel better. Those things have been bugging me for a long, long time, and getting them off my chest is an immediate sense of relief. I totally understand now why those so incensed by last week’s column felt the need to unburden themselves and explain to me why homosexuality is immoral, dangerous, wrong and a threat to the fabric of decent society.
I’m sure they’ve spent as much time thinking of it, stewing over it, muttering under their breaths about it and daydreaming various scenarios involving it as I have those aforementioned traffic offenders. It’s no wonder, then, that they had to share those all-consuming thoughts with someone. I’m sure their jobs, their family interactions, even their social lives have been sorely affected by their nonstop consideration of all matters homosexual. I just hope that, now that they’ve done so, they’re able to stop obsessing over homosexual activity and behavior and get back to their regularly scheduled lives.
I know I can. For now, at least. Like those other folks, I’m sure my traffic peeves will rear their ugly heads another day, and I’ll find myself standing on the corner, screaming about stop signs.
Steve Wildsmith is the Weekend editor for The Daily Times. Contact him at (firstname.lastname@example.org) or at 981-1144.