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[I wrote this yesterday afternoon; despite Brad's assurances, it doesn't seem to have posted. I should probably proofread it because it's very . . . vitriolic, but I think maybe that would be cheating.]

I really really feel like punching someone in the face right about know. Someone specific, but almost anyone will do in a pinch, so you'd better watch it, mister.

This guy I'm kind of friends with at work, Eskendar -- we just had lunch, I and he and Frank. Frank has this friend who made a habit of capturing neighborhood cats in a Hav-A-Heart trap and trucking them out someplace else, because they walked on his car. Because they walked on his car. Cat's paws do not excrete any kind of corrosive substance, I swear. The worst thing that would do is leave paw prints. And I don't give a rat's ass how you feel about cats, they fucking belong to people who DO like cats. And those people -- please prepare a mental image of a cute little blonde 6-year-old girl in pigtails, I think that will work best -- were probably really really upset when their cat disappeared. Again, I don't give a shit how YOU feel about cats, that's absolutely irrelevant. People who DO care about cats think of them as members of the family, and that should fucking be enough.

So Eskendar starts talking about how there are squirrels who go in his house, but he deals with it. "In your house?" I ask. Turns out he means just in his yard. Then he tells me he was going to kill them, but his neighbors objected, so he decided not to. What a fucking saint.

I have no objection to killing animals for food, or experimentation, or even clothing, and I think maybe I'm all right with hunting, if the mindset behind it is one of respect. And even to deal with an animal if he's, say, burrowing under your foundation, or damming a river that's causing flooding. But to kill another living thing simply because he lives on your property is fucking bullshit. These squirrels -- as Eskendar readily admitted -- weren't damaging his home, or eating his plants, or being noisy, or anything. They were simply there. People should live here, and animals should live in the zoo, Eskendar said. No overlapping.

Do you think Eskendar should go to hell for this, if there is a hell? Because I do. Right now I do, at least. Such a casual disregard for another life is astonishing to me. I told him the animals were here first, but he didn't seem to care. I'm pretty sure that if you removed every animal except people from the suburbs, something ecologically awful would happen, but I couldn't think real quick of what that might be, so I didn't say that. I'm pretty positive it would be boring, though. And if you don't think it would be boring . . . then I don't know what to say to you. "How on earth do you find Joy in your day-to-day life?" Maybe that's what I would say.

I'm one of the most selfish people I know, ask anyone. But I try to observe and appreciate and respect everything around me, living and artificial and elemental. There is beauty in everything, my friends. Everything except this one lemur that I saw on a John Cleese nature program, but besides that lemur (I believe it's called the eye-eye lemur), everything is beautiful. Even bugs. Even fat people. Even power lines. And that lemur -- man, it was ugly, but I gotta give it props for forging on through life being the ugliest being on the planet. Props to being ugly, eye-eye lemur! I think I have some measure of respect for everything that shares this planet with me, certainly everything living. Because everything can do at least one thing that I can't, and no matter how useless that thing may be to me, I gotta fucking respect that. Respect is the one thing that everything deserves, and to so casually deny an animal your respect simply because you're bigger and smarter is ridiculous and arrogant and I think you should go to hell for it. Additionally, I feel that hell should begin to advertise this fact, so as to give people like Eskendar a chance to wise up.

Not that he will. Eskendar is the most frustrating person I've ever met, but this morning was a little frustrating for me in the first place, and then to have him say this shit to me at lunch time, my relaxing time -- man. Four-thirty will not come soon enough, my friends. No, fuck that -- four-thirty Friday will not come soon enough.

But I don't think I'm done yet.

Eskendar also said something about "survival of the fittest". I was amazed. "Are you kidding?" I asked. Survival of the fittest is not referring to destroying something simply because it irks you. The existence of squirrels on his lawn is not affecting his livelihood in any way, not ANY way.

My thoughts on this obviously aren't very organized, but I think a lot of it stems from the fact that I'm currently reading Timequake, by Kurt Vonnegut. Vonnegut is possibly my favorite author, and I may write about him later, but a thing he keeps talking about in Timequake is that we're all in this together. If there isn't a god, he says, then the most important thing out there has to be community. If there's no god, then we're all just trying to stumble through this fucked-up life, and if we would all just help each other out, we'd all be a lot better off. And if everyone has such disdain towards squirrels, then people aren't far behind, and then, I think, we're fucked. And I don't want to be fucked (not like that, anyway). I think living is a pretty fucking amazing thing, and it seems like everything just keeps going down the crapper, and I really hate George W. Bush, and I'm sure that fits in there somewhere.

Man, I hope you guys don't try to rip me apart, because . . . just because. If anything, I think my guilt is hypocrisy: I draw the line where I feel it is convenient. If anything, I think I should be nicer and more compassionate and empathetic than I am now.


( 26 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 9th, 2001 06:21 am (UTC)
No, you're right on, as far as I'm concerned. It sounds to me, though of course I don't know him and wasn't there and stuff, that this Eskendar is the type of person who has his own stupid ideas and no matter how wrong they are, and no matter how much you tell him how wrong they are, argue, discuss, whatever, he's gonna ignore you- this is important, ignore all rational thought and discussion- and continue on thinking his ignorant thoughts. And man, I fuckin' hate that too. How could you not?

I mean, I actually laughed out loud when you said the part about "people should be in houses and animals should be in zoos" thing. I mean, damn, that's so retarded it's funny- but of course you can't just laugh in somebody's face...

As for that last paragraph. Somebody pointed out to me recently that it's ok to be judgmental, because that's why you have a brain: to make judgments. 'This is safe to eat;' 'that looks sharp;' on down to 'this person is a fucking idiot.' The thing is, we are trained to accept everyone and everything no matter what, and that just kinda gets us to this thoughtless, homogenized society where nobody has anything to say or talk about or anything, which is no good. I mean, listen: the eskendar guy is retarded. There's no reason for you to think otherwise. And, especially since you didn't yell at him or punch him in the face... I don't see any reason, at all, for you to be feelin' bad. You know?

I mean yo: you draw the line, for yourself, where you feel it makes sense ("where I feel convenient" is one of those self-deprecating comments that hides the truth of the situation)- where the fuck else are you gonna draw it? Where Captain Eskendar would draw it?

PS. I am absolutely in love with that TMBG album, even though I've only listened to the first half or so, a couple times. And I think some of the songs are a little too out there. But, thanks.
Aug. 9th, 2001 06:21 am (UTC)
Eskendar also said something about "survival of the fittest". I was amazed. "Are you kidding?" I asked. Survival of the fittest is not referring to destroying something simply because it irks you. The existence of squirrels on his lawn is not affecting his livelihood in any way, not ANY way.

IMHO, and AFAIK only IMHO, survival of the fittest is this - two similiar or identical (species-wise) creatures are placed in the same environment, same bad things, same good things, and whichever comes out on top is the fittest, and has therefore survived.

A squirrel and a guy with a gun are not, regardless of what many people think about the potential danger level of squirrels, in the same boat here. One has a bit of an advantage. That's like saying survival of the fittest is putting a fox and a chicken in the same room. Blah. Someone around here is a retard.
Aug. 9th, 2001 06:43 am (UTC)
My thoughts, not that you asked for them:

- Eskendar is a fucking retard.

- The killing squirrels thing is retarded and pathetic.

- Trapping people's cats and taking them far away is a pretty harsh thing to do.

- He's got a right to be pissed that other people's pets are walking on his car. People should control their pets. If they're walking on cars, they're crapping on lawns too. I think he has every right to be pissed off about that, as petty as it might seem to anyone else. It's his right to keep his car spotless if that's how he wants it. The carwash costs money. So, irresponsible people who aren't controlling their animals are costing him money. A valid complaint. He shouldn't have to simply put up with that. But I still think the measures he's taking are ridiculous.

- And another thing. About trapping cats, and killing squirrels, I say he's full of shit, on both counts. I'm saying, that's a fact. He's lying. Who does that? He's just trying to get attention or look like a badass or some insane shit. Which is fucking pathetic.
Aug. 9th, 2001 08:34 am (UTC)
Hey, I have no problem with him having a problem with cats on his car. I just think he overreacted. He can get a car cover (if he's a freak about his car, this would be useful for other things like pollen and rain and bird poop), or he can respectfully speak to his neighbors.

See that word there? Respect? I think that's the big issue here. No, he doesn't HAVE to get a car cover. But if people only ever do what they HAVE to do, then . . . that's the "world going down the shitter" thing again.

[Oh, and Eskendar wants to kill the squirrels, but Frank's friend got rid of the cats, so they're too entirely different people.]
Aug. 9th, 2001 09:01 am (UTC)
Blah. My bad about the cats/squirrels thing. Thought it was the same idiot. Okay, it's two different idiots. I need to read more closely.

>> Respect? <<

Well, I think that goes out the window, 'cause the people who are letting their pets run loose have already shown a lack of respect for their neighbors. No need to show respect to people who haven't shown it to you.

Still, I'm saying, taking your neighbors pets away is pretty harsh. But I think the neighbors are asking for it. The guy with the car is the victim here. Not the neighbors. Poor cats. It's not their fault. They're victims too. But not ONLY victims of the cat hater. First and foremost, they're victims of their owners' negligence and disrespect.

Just my opinion. Everybody's got 'em. Just like... something else. I forget what.
Aug. 9th, 2001 11:04 am (UTC)
I'm kind of beating a dead horse, but here goes:

Cats are, by a large number of people, considered to be acceptable "outside pets". Like, you have to have a dog on a leash in NJ, but you don't have to have a cat on one.

Whether or not we agree with this, THAT'S why the neighbors should be spoken to; in my opinion, they aren't out of line that they had them out in the first place, because I think most of the time, cats don't really do much except kill birds and moles and get in fights with other cats. Although I guess I see your point that they should be kept inside if they're a problem; that makes sense. I don't happen to agree in general, but that certainly makes sense, and if they're being a nuisance, then yes, they should be kept inside, or in their own yard, or what have you. I guess I mostly agree with you after all. If the neighbors pull a "well I don't have to keep my pet indoors, it's not illegal to let them out," then that's bullshit and someone should catch the neighbors in a Hav-A-Heart trap.
Aug. 9th, 2001 09:03 am (UTC)
>> See that word there? Respect? I think that's the big issue here.

or the guy who owns the cat can respectfully keep it ON HIS property. the initial respect is what's missing here.

say something the first time, maybe, but after that- forget about it. especially if it's a multiple offender.
Aug. 9th, 2001 07:22 am (UTC)
i'll give you the squirrel thing because, honestly, the guy could be shooting something a little more challenging, but the cats... i think manning summed it up well enough. go ahead- bag 'em up and throw 'em up elsewhere!
Aug. 9th, 2001 08:01 am (UTC)
poor little animals.
Aug. 9th, 2001 08:36 am (UTC)
Once I was hanging out at the elementary school at night, and a bunch of drunk older kids came up to me with an ax and a dead cat, and asked me to chop off its head for them since they were too drunk to do it themselves and they wanted to put it in some guy's mailbox. I tried, but the cat had been dead so long that it was so stiff that every time I swung the ax just bounced off.

Oh oh yeah. The point is, I don't care about little animals. You guys just like them because they're cute. I bet if he were talking about big nasty rats you'd be all, "GROSS!" and not give a fuck.
Aug. 9th, 2001 08:47 am (UTC)
My friend Brett had a pet rat he taught to drink whiskey.
Aug. 9th, 2001 11:09 am (UTC)
Straight? Neat!?

That's nasty. With Pepsi, I could see . . .
Aug. 9th, 2001 11:40 am (UTC)
Yeah, that rat was indestructible, except for by the ravages of age. Brett'd pour the whiskey into the bottle cap, and Rat (his name was Rat) would drink it up.
Aug. 9th, 2001 11:07 am (UTC)
Actually, I don't really find any mammals (except for the eye-eye lemur) gross. Bugs, heall yes. I don't have as much compassion for bugs as maybe they deserve.

But I never understood people who would say about animals like raccoons or woodchucks, "ew, they're such dirty animals". Well, ah, they live outside, you know, in the dirt. That's not their fault. And yes they eat trash, but they wouldn't have to if we people hadn't moved in.

But if it were tarantulas that Eskendar were proposing to kill, I admit that I most likely would not have gotten so heated. So you still win.
Aug. 9th, 2001 08:50 am (UTC)
okay, i hate cats as much, if not way, WAY more than the next guy. but once upon a time, such was not the case. i owned a small kitty & i loved him dearly. his name was caramel or something like that, i think. (gimme a break, i was like 6) unfortunately, the stupid little bastard had a proclivity towards taking cat naps on the double yellow line that runs down the center of Atco Avenue. needless to say, it wasn't too long before this bad habit caught up with caramel & my precious kitty was nothing but a furry grease stain & some fond memories. when my dad broke the news to me, i remember bawling, just totally losing it. it was my first pet and my first real experience with death. and it was horrible. anyone who would willfully remove a pet from its family is a cruel & heartless individual, & there is a special place in Hell reserved for those who do so without penitence. it doesn't matter if the beast is a terrible burden to you or just a minor annoyance. if you have a problem, you should talk to the motherfucking PEOPLE who OWN it.

my pops used to trap squirrels in the hav-a-heart trap & drop 'em off in the woods. see, he really didn't want to keep killing them, but they continued to disrupt the harmony of his garden environment. so he wanted to inflict psychological torture, separating the squirrels from their squirrel friends & families by sometimes 20 miles or more, hoping this would learn their godless species to stay the hell out of ron hunt's yard. they never did.

one more thing. i totally agree with most everything you say here. except If there isn't a god, he says, then the most important thing out there has to be community. If there's no god, then we're all just trying to stumble through this fucked-up life, and if we would all just help each other out, we'd all be a lot better off. i believe in God. and i think most of this still applies. helping each other out, practicing basic human kindness, even to those who don't "deserve" it, is doing service to God. love is God's work. the way people in our society are evolving, morally, ethically, makes it some of the most difficult work there is. but at least i'm trying.

hal, sorry if this comment is too long for your tastes. i got carried away. i apologize to you, chancellor of livejournal etiquitte.
Aug. 9th, 2001 11:21 am (UTC)
Re: opine
First of all, I always forget that you believe in God, and it always really throws me when you mention that you do.

Secondly, you're not really disagreeing even, because I agree that if God does exist, then the community thing certainly still applies -- it's just that Kurt is a humanist (and humanists don't believe in a god), so I was simply paraphrasing his thoughts. But the acceptance of a God ALSO brings forth the logic that anything that He has created has dignity and purpose and should be treated with respect for that reason alone. I was going to put that in the post, but I forgot. It's really long, as you can see, and also I'm forgetful, particularly when I'm angry.
Aug. 9th, 2001 01:25 pm (UTC)
What you should do is, next time that friend-guy walks on your car, you should be like, "you just walked on my car." then you should hit him, just knock him out cold, and then drive really far away and drop him off. in the woods or something.
that'll show him to walk on your car, right?!?
Aug. 9th, 2001 01:31 pm (UTC)
You boviously weren't paying attention to the nub of my gist.
Aug. 9th, 2001 04:39 pm (UTC)
an HOOP!
Aug. 10th, 2001 06:30 am (UTC)
Woo! Sean's got the right idea.
Aug. 9th, 2001 04:44 pm (UTC)
Well, enough people have already backed you up on, yes, this guy seems to be an asshole. But i wanted to throw in with the thought that it seems by his attitude toward eliminating his backyard wildlife that he's a guy used to being able to do whatever he wants, no regard given for consequences. This says to me he didn't get his ass kicked enough when he was a child. By his mother, father, by the neighborhood bullies, by a Catholic school nun, whatever. Such a shame. In my experience, people who got their ass kicked alot when they were young grow up to be among the best people.

But regarding this guy: i take comfort/amusement from realizing that no matter how bad he wants them gone, no matter how many steps he takes, there'll always be critters on his property. No shortage of squirrels in the suburbs. I know you're probably more bothered by the fact that any'll have to die, (so he says. I'm with Manning; he's full of shit) but some consolation lies in the fact that he'll never ever win. Moreover, the guy probably couldn't even count how many bugs are in his "people only" house. Though maybe i'm speaking only from experience there. Hey, if we're gonna get even smaller, he has literally billions of tiny little life forms on him right now and he CAN'T GET THEM OFF!!!
Aug. 10th, 2001 06:10 am (UTC)
i take comfort/amusement from realizing that no matter how bad he wants them gone, no matter how many steps he takes, there'll always be critters on his property.

Hey, if we're gonna get even smaller, he has literally billions of tiny little life forms on him right now and he CAN'T GET THEM OFF!!!

These two things totally occured to me, too. He can't win! And if Andromeda Strain taught me anything, it's that if he DID ever succeed in eliminating all of his interactions with other lifeforms, his stomach would explode. Also there are little bugs that keep your gums clean, right?
Aug. 10th, 2001 11:42 am (UTC)
I'm chiming in late on this, but lemme add in: I've never known one of those "I kihh aww pests" guys who wasn't a total fucking psychopath. To wit:

I was dating this girl whose father was a cruel ass, alcoholic gynecologist (figure it out yourself folks). A real winner all around, he kept a shock collar on this beautiful wolf/husky mutt of his, and would fire it up if the dog were to so much as touch his nose to the sliding glass door. BZAP! Cheated on his wife, misappropriated funds, used to do that passive incest shit to his three daughters (you know what I mean, always complimenting them on their increasing womanhood? "I tell you honey, back in my day, girls with breasts like yours didn't need to worry about college!" Fucking hell) ... whenever she had friends over, he'd come out to laugh at them. Awesome man. Big friend of mine made him pee his pants once. But that's another story ...

Anyway, here's something he used to do: He'd set squirrel traps in the front yard. When a squirrel'd get caught, he'd go grab this fucking Russian Army issue rifle out of the pantry and fucking shoot it, from about a foot or two away.

I was over one night that he was out of town, saw that fucking thing when I was looking for the Captain Crunch. I disassembled the hell out of that gun, and hid the pieces all around the property.

Hopefully, the squirrels got most of it.
Aug. 10th, 2001 11:56 am (UTC)
Wow! You KNOW you're a pussy when you and a gun against the squirrel isn't enough.
Aug. 12th, 2001 02:52 pm (UTC)
better late than never
I know this is way late, but I was wondering what you think about people who shoot animals with paintbll guns for over an hour until the animal collapses in wretching pain and dies? The killer rationalizes that this violence was warrented because the creature was eating out of the 100 pounds of trash left on the back porch not in trash cans - just heaped there. I was simply curious as to how this one sits with you.
Aug. 14th, 2001 06:52 am (UTC)
Re: better late than never
I think that it's awful. And whenever they bring it up (and there's such GLEE in their voices) I wince and try not to pay attention until the subject changes, or I leave the conversation.

We obviously know a lot of very STUBBORN people, and trying to reason with them would be futile, so I don't bother much of the time, all it does is frustrate me. I apologize for my pussy-like behavior.
( 26 comments — Leave a comment )

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