Thoughts That Hurt to Think #043 – The dark side of the moon isn’t actually dark!

The first thing we should be clear on is that this discussion has nothing to do with Pink Floyd. I’m a big fan, but I’m not here to discuss whether or not one of their most popular albums was dark in tone or texture. In fact, we’re not here to talk about Pink Floyd at all.

I don’t know why you even brought it up. Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt to Think #043 – The dark side of the moon isn’t actually dark!”

Thoughts That Hurt to Think #041 – If You’re Not Outraged…

The first time I ever saw the saying on a bumper sticker, I whooped and hollered and otherwise loudly proclaimed my support of it. Very few systems seemed set up to make life anything but hard on me when I was young, and I was kind of mad at the world. Consequently, that phrase really hit home with me at the time. You know the one I’m talking about, still pretty popular among the bumper sticker type…

‘If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention!’ Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt to Think #041 – If You’re Not Outraged…”

Thoughts That Hurt to Think #040 – Abraham Lincoln was Racist!

It doesn’t take much digging to find out what motivated Abraham Lincoln to go to such great lengths to fight slavery. He said it himself, according to history books, that the issue was not as important as the cause. He would have been willing to hitch his wagon to any socially charged issue that came along, and slavery came along.

Abraham Lincoln wanted to be able to tell everyone what they could and couldn’t do. He was not pleased with the restrictions placed on his power by states being allowed to run themselves. In many ways, this particular president single-handedly did more harm than any other president before or since.

He formed the federal government. Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt to Think #040 – Abraham Lincoln was Racist!”

Thoughts That Hurt to Think #039 – A slave by any other name…

A lot of people think slavery doesn’t exist in the United States any more, and some even think slavery has been eliminated worldwide. Although most folks are aware that a number of slaves were brought to America from other countries back in the day, they don’t all seem to know that the circumstances of many people today strongly resemble the conditions slaves existed in yesterday. Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt to Think #039 – A slave by any other name…”

Thoughts That Hurt to Think #037 – Some Rehabilitation Actually Works!

More than one social critic has pointed out that the justice system in America should maybe be called ‘the revenge system’ instead. Whether you agree with the way the country treats criminals or not, you have to be pretty short-sighted to disagree with this assessment. We talked about how no behavior exists in a vacuum last week, in ‘Bullying a bully is still bullying’; let’s go into it a little more deeply here.

Social pressure is a strange thing. It makes for some very pretty diamonds, but it crushes a lot of perfectly good souls along the way. We can’t say we don’t know what life would be like without civilization, since modern day life exists on Earth right there alongside what we would call primitive life. Yet somehow we don’t understand what we give up when we leave that life behind completely.

No, I’m not suggesting a nomadic return to the plains or the caves. Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt to Think #037 – Some Rehabilitation Actually Works!”

Thoughts That Hurt to Think #036 – Bullying a Bully is Still Bullying!

The most ridiculous thing I could start out saying here is that I don’t enjoy violence in my entertainment. Many of my favorite television shows and movies and books have some pretty epic gore in them, and I don’t really see a problem with that. I even enjoy crafting those scenes, when a book I’m writing calls for them. You don’t have to press me to admit that I like watching the baddies get murdered by the goodies, or even tortured under special circumstances. Hell, I’ll proclaim it proudly. This may be the result of me growing up where I did, and having the options to click through that I did; but I wouldn’t know anything about that.

They don’t call it programming for nothing, after all. Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt to Think #036 – Bullying a Bully is Still Bullying!”

Thoughts That Hurt to Think #035 – Undeveloped Brains Make Big Decisions!

When science discovered that the typical human brain doesn’t fully develop until about twenty-five years of age, the government did a strange thing. They put restrictions on things like when a person could drink and vote and get married and fight in a war. Makes sense, right? You can’t prosecute someone who isn’t really responsible yet, any more than you can give them the same freedom of choice that you can adults. Where it really goes off the rails is when you look at what ages got assigned for these things.

None of them landed at twenty-five, the age when brain maturity is actually achieved. The drinking age started as a state decision, but the federal government later figured out a way to get around that. Under the threat of losing funding for their highways, every state that let people under twenty-one drink opted for better roads and a higher drinking age. That was in 1984. The year, not the book.

I know, it can be a little difficult to tell them apart. Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt to Think #035 – Undeveloped Brains Make Big Decisions!”

Thoughts That Hurt to Think #034 – Children Are More Marginalized Than Anyone!

Very few children commit murder.

They don’t wage war, or commit rape, or write ridiculous laws.

All in all, children are the most peaceful and non-violent group that our country can categorize; as our country so likes to do. They’re also more discriminated against than any other group. Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt to Think #034 – Children Are More Marginalized Than Anyone!”

Thoughts That Hurt to Think #033 – Eating is the New Smoking!

You know all those studies they do on smoking cigarettes, the ones that have been quoted repeatedly until yet another group got marginalized for the thing they enjoy doing? Have you ever noticed the asterisks in the legit ones, or read the information in tiny print at the bottom? I noticed when I was a kid, that there were serious qualifiers on every study I read about how bad smoking is for you.

So, what is the qualifying factor?

I mean…smoking is bad, right?

It turns out that they won’t do tests on people that smoke less than two packs a day, and most of them are actually studying smokers that pound through three packs a day or more. Why the giant qualifier? Most people that smoke keep it around a pack a day, and a lot of smokers go through even less. They don’t include these people in the study, and it’s quite likely because they don’t get the results they’re looking for when they do.

Studies show that statistics are wrong, after all.

Can you imagine what kind of numbers you would get if you specifically followed a group of drivers who only drove when they were extremely drunk, or habitually drove at least thirty miles an hour over all posted speed limits? How many accidents might this reckless group get into while being studied, and how many would die? Would it really be fair to subsequently announce that studies show driving to be particularly dangerous, and mention in tiny print at the bottom that results may vary for sober or slower drivers?

Too much of a stretch?

How about this one?

Not long after this country began to consume food substitutes in favor of actual food, obesity became an epidemic in the United States. It’s hard to tell if it’s sedentary lifestyles or unhealthy eating habits that have become the biggest killer in our country, since the two seem to so often go together. They’ve definitely left smoking in the dust, although obese people that smoke often leave behind family that blame the one instead of the other.

After studies showed that second hand smoke is actually a myth for the most part, the non-smokers felt completely comfortable responding to the news with, “well, it’s still annoying”.

If you don’t like the smell of cigarettes, I understand completely. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked up the hallway to the break room at some site I was working and been unable to approach for the smell wafting toward me. When I have some good reason I’m headed there, I hold my breath and go to wash my hands or get some coffee. I try to pretend I don’t notice that the thing in the microwave smells like death warmed over, even if that’s clearly what it is. I also try not to notice that the person waiting anxiously to consume the thing spewing out the noxious smell is invariably wearing their eating habits clearly under their clothes.

Then I go outside, where I can breathe, and notice that the smoke that I have to walk fifty feet to smell is way more appealing to my senses than whatever was about to get eaten inside. I try not to think of the fact that the only way you can smell something is if tiny particles of it actually find their way inside your nose, as I breathe out something I would never put in my body.

Do you see where this is headed?

Well, we’re not ready to get there just yet.

First we should discuss how hard it is to pass someone who overdoes it with food substitutes in a narrow hallway, or how irritating it is to have half of your seat on a plane or at a theater taken up by someone who weighs twice what you do. It’s easy to cry that the seats should be bigger, and many of them are now; but we can’t dismiss the smells that they put off, or the fact that they’re pretty much blowing it in our faces.

If seats need to be bigger to accommodate one excessive habit, shouldn’t every public place be required to provide a comfortable spot for smokers as well? Or should we just keep marginalizing more groups based on their habits?

Is it time to weigh people before allowing them into restaurants, or on airplanes? Is it time to make them eat outside, so the rest of us don’t have to see or smell the habitual overeaters? We could give them a spot fifty feet from the smokers, to be fair to each group.

One of the reasons that even smokers didn’t mind going outside is because it was seen as so dangerous, according to those studies that tested the only group they could get the results they wanted from. I wondered aloud, even as a kid, why everyone seemed to know two facts that stood in stark contradiction to each other.

“What ethnicity lives the longest, from what you’ve heard?” I would ask people, and still do.

I’m asking you, now.

So far, everyone has said, “Asians.”

“What ethnicity is most known for smoking cigarettes?”

So far, the answer has always been the same.

Does that seem weird, or is it just me?

I mean, is smoking maybe actually good for you?

That’s what an acupuncturist told me, when he was giving me the only treatment that successfully keeps me from getting migraine headaches for a couple weeks. I asked him if there was a treatment for quitting smoking, and he laughed at me.

“Why would you want to do that?” he asked, pulling a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and smiling. “Smoking is good for you.”

When he slipped them back in his pocket, he added something.

“Just don’t overdo it,” he counseled me.

Well, that sounds reasonable.

And, it’s good advice for those who enjoy being sedentary or eating food substitutes. Actually, it’s good advice for almost anyone who enjoys indulging in almost anything.

Just don’t overdo it.

That way, we can all have our little indulgences without imposing the consequences of our overindulging on anyone else. I hate to point out to people packing around a bunch of extra weight that way more smokers live into old age than obese people, and that they are a much smaller burden on healthcare all around…but I will if the subject comes up. Just because one habit has been demonized and the other hasn’t yet, overeaters may consider their attitudes towards smokers as time goes by. Sugar taxes are right on the heels of tobacco taxes, and segregation is right around the corner from fifty feet from the door.

Don’t even get me started on how many athletes smoke, or how few of them are obese. Quality of life coupled with a longer expected life span makes smokers the healthier of these two groups, with less trips to the hospital. And those are just the smokers pounding through multiple packs per day. The studies on people who smoke less don’t even exist, because they don’t support the marginalization of this group or the excessive taxation on their indulgence.

While the number of smokers in America drops, obesity is on the rise. The funny thing is, the only folks I’ve ever seen get really up in arms about smokers have been obese people. Not all obese people are rigid and lacking compassion, obviously; that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying the only people I have seen openly criticizing one oral fixation clearly had an oral fixation of their own. Maybe they sense that the taxes and marginalization is heading their way, and they want to feel superior while they still can.

Very few people in America belong to a group that has not been marginalized at some point in some way. Yet all of us have belonged to the group that gets marginalized more than any other, and few of us look back and feel that we were treated unfairly. Even fewer fight for the rights of this group, since pretty much everyone agrees they should continue to be marginalized. We’ll talk about that next week, in a post called…

‘Children are more marginalized than anyone!’

I hope to see you then!

Thanks for reading!

All the best,

J.K. Norry
The Secret Society of Deeper Meaning
Twitter: @JayNorry

Thoughts That Hurt to Think Bonus Post – Eclipse Blindness is Greatly Exaggerated!

Most of the posts in this series are about things I have thought about pretty much my whole life. I can remember being told I asked too many questions as a kid, by the type of person that doesn’t like thinking thoughts that hurt to think. Yet my mind never stopped questioning, and I continue to hope it never does.

Like this last month, with all the eclipse talk going on. I remember being curious about the difference between a solar and lunar eclipse when I was a kid, and hitting the books to find my answers. It wasn’t until this most recent event that I got to wondering about something else, and luckily all I needed was a good search engine to find answers this time.

You’ve probably heard it your whole life, like I have for mine; but we probably both heard it a lot more in the last few weeks. No one should look at the sun during a solar eclipse, because…well, you know why.

It will blind you!


Well, actually… Continue reading “Thoughts That Hurt to Think Bonus Post – Eclipse Blindness is Greatly Exaggerated!”