Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Let Me Clear My Throat - Complaining Edition

This is bad karma. I know it.  This post was completely written, and I sloppily hit some function keys with my hand and then it was deleted. I'm rewriting it, and am bound to be struck down for doing so.

I rarely (a few times a year over the last five years) use River Mud as a bully pulpit because it's just not my style.  Sometimes, though, I get aggravated.  And I have a few/eight gripes to share, none of which warrant their own blog post.

1. To the loose cannon bloggers:  I am so tired of the overused, ridiculous meme of "here on my blog,  I pull no punches."  First of all, who the hell are you, Dirty Harry or something? Wolverine? No. You're some dude who works a 9-5 gig in an office, probably drives either a Toyota, Subaru, or Jeep, and who happens to have an outdoors blog.  Stop taking your opinion so seriously.

"I pull no punches!" Do you know how dumb that sounds?  Here, I'll tell you.  It sounds like, "This is my blog, and I act like a four year old boy being told he is going to Princess Camp this summer!"

Most precisely, it sounds like, "If you sponsor me or my site, I will most definitely embarrass your brand at some point."

If you write for Fox News or MSNBC, those are all good things.  Otherwise, they are not, and readers are almost always put off by the braggadocio.  So please, don't not pull any punches on my account.

"I have no special skills and have
never seen the places you blog
about.  So hell yeah I'm leaving a
useless and nasty comment!"
2. To the message board/blog bullies:  The statements that follow phrases like, "In my humble opinion," are no more humble than the statements following the phrase, "I mean no disrespect, but..." are respectful.  And, in my humble opinion, they are no more intellectual than a statement that follows the phrase, "I don't want to sound racist, but...."

Of course, this is merely the tip of the "live from my mom's basement couch" aggression, moving well past the, "Only an idiot would do that ...I woulda handled that situation better."  and into the "I do what I want.  Nobody tells me what to do.  You're dumb for having a job that won't let you hunt 300 days per year.   That's why I made the choices I have, like living with my parents, working at Easton Pizza Hut, and driving a Yaris with the spare wheel permanently installed. Signed, Hardcore X-Treem Hunter Deluxe." 

Whatever, dude.  For every one of you who goes away, three more message board bullies show up.  It's unending. But it sure is entertaining!

3. To Hipster Mommy:  Your 1-year old's "favorite band" is not, in fact, "Belle and Sebastian," any more than my 2-year old's "favorite stock analyst" is "Richard Sylla."  If, at age 10 (or 6), your kid loves quality music, I'll celebrate that fact with you.  If, however, she likes the modern equivalent of N*SYNC or NKOTB, I'll be happy to share a drink and a laugh with you.  Let your poor kid find her way, before you get her pre-fitted for custom hipster Ray Bans. She is not you - she is of you.  Definitely expose her to good music......but don't project it on her, as if it is hers.  You know, I started listening to punk rock at age 11. On tapes. It's in my blood forever.  And yet, I'm happy to sing along with my kid to "The Fresh Beat Band." FTW!

My child is soooo gifted,OMG!
Now where's my ambien?
4. To Uber Mommy:  Your 1-year old is not, in fact, "definitely going to skip a grade."  That is a blindingly moronic claim. The world's best child psychologists could in no way predict that claim, and more importantly, they could not predict whether that accomplishment would lead to success and happiness (or even graduation from high school) in a mid-21st century society.  Neither can you.  Stop predicting and enjoy the ride.  Enjoy your child's youth and innocence, rather than trying to push them ahead (4 years before the beginning of kindergarten!!!!) so you can brag about how smart they are.  Celebrate your kid's successes.  Help her understand her failures.  And give her (and yourself) the wisdom that success and failure are sometimes very narrowly separated.

"Hey man, don't tell my kid not to bite.
We're teaching him to learn his own
rules, and not depend on society's
norms like "don't eat poop."  Leave
him alone, he's not a robot, dude!"
5. To Daddy-Too-Cool:  Yeah, my 2 year old kid shares his toys and says "please" and "thanks." Not asking for a reward for that fact.  But for comparison's sake,  your 6 year old is running around acting like "Sloth" from "The Goonies," stealing toys from 2 year olds after pushing them down, and you can't be bothered with it.  Don't give me a tough guy look for stepping in and trying to straighten it out.  Right. I'm the cretin here.

And heads up - none of the mommies at this birthday party are going to sleep with you, as you spend the party lurking in the background, picking at your hipster beard, and acting too cool to chase your kid around.  Your son will be in sports soon.  He'll find out what happens when he pushes around a kid his own size.  You'll have another opportunity to be a good parent then, and I hope you use it wisely.  If not, and you decide to tell me all about it anyway, I might straight up hang you with that stupid scarf.

Clearly superior tactics and quarry,
compared to catching a 20lb steelhead
on a spinning rod
6. To the Fly Fishing Snobs:  How anyone feels about pretentiousness in fly fishing is well-reflected by comments they leave for lesser fly anglers and spin fishermen (me, on both counts). I enjoy fly fishing.  I know lots of people who fly fish who are wonderful people.  But a few of you still think it is 1940 and you are the President of a sportsmans club in Long Island, along with the Rockefellers.  The creme de la creme of sportsmen.

Oh Orvis Jesus, forgive me, you are so far superior to me because we use different types of $200 fishing reels made in the same factory, and made of the same exact materials, nearly identical rods made from the same blanks in the same factory, and nearly identical lures to catch the same fish in the same river.  How can I even sleep at night, faced with such inadequacy in myself?

 Look, now, fly fishing's license to act snotty ran out about 70 years ago. Regardless of the fact that it requires more skill than baitcasting or spin's still just another way to get a  hook in the water.  Love it. Embrace it. By all means.  But don't chastise others for not caring about $200 floating fishing line.

Farm Bureau sees no conflict between
their mission to sustain American
farming and their lobbying to allow
farmers to subdivide and develop
their land at the highest possible
7.  To the Farm Bureau "in some states":  I hope you see the maelstrom coming, you good ol' boys.  You publicly support farmers' right to sell their property to developers, yet lament the resulting conversion of farms to subdivisions.  You also lobby against farmers' rights to sell their property to local government under some terms that you don't like (i.e. to make way for public infrastructure in areas where ALL THE FARMERS ARE SELLING THEIR LAND TO DEVELOPERS), while claiming to be an advocate for farmers' rights to sell to anybody.

You lobby against real estate taxes on farms, yet complain when ample funds for farm conservation (funded by real estate taxes) are not available.  You claim to support voluntary pollution reduction on farms, yet when the opportunity arrives, tell your farmers that enrolling in such voluntary programs is inadvisable and will lead to "government control."  You claim to support landowners' rights, but spend tens of thousands of dollars in lobbying every year to retain blue laws preventing landowners from hunting their own properties on Sundays, even when it is legal and safe in 44 states to do so.

You guys have been winning battles from a long time, so I'm sure you don't see the end coming, and don't care.  I've pulled up a lawnchair to watch the inevitable crash.

Yeah bro, I hunt 40 days a season because I'm willing
to take my commitment and sacrifice to the
next level, bro.  Simple as that. You just got
to make hard choices, bro.

Oh, and my mommy said my three kids
could stay with her for two months.
For free.

That too. 
8. To My Kid-Bearing Friends with Local Parents:  I'm jealous.  There, I said it.  Now on to you.  Please don't complain to the rest of us because your free day care for 4 years isn't available 3 days per year.  Please don't complain because your parents can "only" watch your kids for free for "the first two weeks" of your vacation (who gets a 3 week vacation anymore?). Please don't complain that you "only get two date nights a week" and one of them, one week, got ruined (ruined, I tell you!) because your parents couldn't take your kids (for free, again) one night.  Here's a reality check: most of us have to spend $8K - $12K per year, per kid on day care.  Most of us have to pay a babysitter $50 a night (plus her dinner) if we want to go out with our spouses for dinner and a movie.  Each time.  Yup.  That's what it costs.

So please don't act like a tough guy because you get to go piss around at a mountain cabin for the weekend and ride on a forest road in a Subaru "good thing for the AWD!", with no prior notice or planning, all possible only because your mommy can (and will) watch your toddler who poops on himself every 6 hours.

You are not, in fact, a tough guy (or girl).  You are fortunate to have a wonderful, positive, and local support system.   When you blog or post about your totally gnar-core mountain weekend, I want to read that guy/gal's report - the one who is conscious and thankful of everything they have.....gracious.  Not Capt. X-Treem who happens to have free day care and free babysitters for life, and forgets that poignant detail less than 30 seconds after dropping off his kid with his parents, for free, again, for a week.

Well, thanks for reading my complaints.  Hopefully it'll be another six months before they queue up again! And no, none of this is about you.


Tim Borkert said...

I can relate with most of these. I don't participate in message boards any more because I don't have the energy to deal with the jerks. The fly fishing snobs make me want to be violent. I had one this fall act as if he had the right of way on the stream because he was the fly fisherman and I used a lowly spin cast.

I would I like to add one to your list: Traditional Bow Hunters. I use a crossbow and am looked down on because of it. Not everyone has the time to practice or innate skill to be consistent with a traditional bow. I use a crossbow because it decreases the chances of a wounded animal. And they are fun. They preach about how crossbows are too modern for the "primitive weapons" season while they drive to their hunt in a new truck, use a modern climbing stand, and find their way out of the woods with a GPS while talking on their cell phone!

Maybe I should have done a complaint post on my blog!

Anonymous said...

Now that's a quality rant.

Mike Sepelak said...

Whew! You've GOT to feel better now. That's a lot of steam blown off. Don't fret, you've said what many of us are thinking on a regular basis.

And what do you mean it's not about me? Isn't everything? (My #9)

e.m.b. said...

Hear, hear! Good for sanity, rants...which I have to do on a regular basis...Jay has to hear the brunt of it.

BrookfieldAngler said...

Are you trying to say that I shouldn't bring my fly rod with me next week??


Good stuff - I snorted/chuckled at quite a few of those

Passinthru Outdoors said...

I bet you that felt good. You should be good to go for a few months now. Way to let it out.

Devin Angleberger said...

I will not even say some of the things I have encountered. For some reason, some people look down upon a 15 year old making a fishing blog-I have removed like 5 nasty comments from my blog already!

Kirk Mantay said...

I am frankly embarrassed that this (of ALL THINGS I post on the web) is what struck a chord with all of you!

That said, good on you!

Tim - yeah, traditional bow hunters. I don't get that. The crossbow is a 1,500 year old invention. Not a "new concept." Deal with it.

JGR - thanks, I hope it helped you power blast through your wednesday!

Mike - some of those things have been bottled up since last summer, time to exorcise those demons!

Erin - hope you enjoyed it!

Kirk Mantay said...

Nick - bring whatever's legal. I might harass you regardless of your gear choice. Up until the point that you have caught more fish than me, which will not take long. Then I will shut up.

Passinthru - yeah, other than a major conservation-topic-related blowout on another site last fall, this is almost a year's worth of complaints. I live a blessed life.

Devin - they are jealous. So am I. *I* choose to encourage you, because it's awesome. *They* are just haters. Don't even worry about them.

cofisher said...

Wow, did that feel good. Let's get together and do another one.

Kirk Mantay said...

Howard, I fear that our combined gripes might cause the universe to implode on itself.

Alex said...

Excellent rant! People around me in the Burger King that I'm stealing internet from are giving me strange looks every time I laugh out loud haha. Glad you got that off your chest

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