Thomas Wictor



I like to research things, just for fun. A few days ago, I decided to look up Victorian American slang. No reason; it was just something I wanted to know about. I’m glad I took the time, because I learned an extremely useful word.

Podsnappery: noun. Willful, complacent determination to ignore the objectionable or inconvenient, at the same time assuming airs of superior virtue and noble resignation.

Boy, does this apply to my own life and the world we live in. The word is based on the character Mr. Podsnap, a complacent Philistine in the novel Our Mutual Friend, by Charles Dickens.

I am and was related to many podsnaps, and others keep finding me. Usually they end up all sad because I bitch slapped them over their stupid political views, which they insist on trying to ram down my neck even though I tell them I don’t like discussing politics. What happens is they push and push and push, so finally I expose them as the prissy, humorless, angry ignoramuses they are, and that makes them upset.

They have no reason to get angry, because all I’m doing is relating facts. As I said, I’m completely apolitical. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to passively swallow truckloads of moronic bullshit. If you insist on fighting with me about this stuff, I’ll accommodate you, but don’t fill your diapers if I prove that you know absolutely nothing about the topic.

Here’s the deal: I love history. That means I read about it all the time. My head is full of names, dates, places, and events. The podsnaps watch TV or look at links on Facebook, so they’re getting a horrendously superficial view of the world. What’s creepy is that they don’t want things to be better than they think.

When you point out that we’re not all doomed, they get belligerent! They’ll hate you for saying, “The world isn’t a giant cesspool.”

I’ll put my hardship creds up against anybody’s. A few of you know the full extent of my damage. I recently told my friend the Father Who Dances, and he said, “How is this possible?”

God bless you, my atheist pal. You’re lucky that you can’t comprehend certain depths of experience. I, unfortunately, can comprehend them all. Nothing whatsoever shocks me. I never ask, “How could a person do that?” I know exactly why everyone does everything: It was once done to them. It’s all learned behavior.

I also don’t ask, “Why won’t people do the right thing?”

They won’t because they refuse to face the consequences of their choices. We see it all around us, every day. Excuses are made, lies are told, goalposts are moved, mind games are played, sarcasm is flung—anything to keep from facing the truth. We’re even told that there’s no such thing as Truth with a capital “T.” This is “deconstruction.”

A philosophical or critical method which asserts that meanings, metaphysical constructs, and hierarchical oppositions (as between key terms in a philosophical or literary work) are always rendered unstable by their dependence on ultimately arbitrary signifiers.

In other words all concepts (meanings, metaphysical constructs, hierarchical oppositions) have multiple definitions (are rendered unstable) depending entirely on the mind of every individual human being (arbitrary signifiers). In our post-deconstructionist world, there are no criminals, no terrorists, no lousy parents, no lies, no bad behavior whatsoever.

To say, “You are a very bad person” is to pass judgment, and that’s the only unforgivable sin.

Screw that.

I’ve learned just how bad people can be. Very few podsnaps could last more than a few seconds inside my head. They’d fall over dead. I’ve earned my right to judge, and I’ll keep on doing it. Nobody’s forcing you to read what I write.

Recently a perfect stranger approached me, having visited my Website. We had a mutual friend. He offered to do some work for me but turned down payment for it. Instead, he said he’d accept a copy each of Ghosts and Ballyhoo and Hallucinabulia. After he did the work, he made a list of recommendations. I immediately implemented one of them.

A day later I got an e-mail from him asking why I’d made the change, and he warned me that it could cause all sorts of havoc. Now, most of you who read that said, “What the fuck?” But I didn’t. This has happened to me thousands of times. I just roll with it. I’m fifty-one; not much longer now.

He then told me that he could completely resolve all my problems, but he wouldn’t. I asked him why he wouldn’t.

You. I do not mean to offend, but you seem difficult to work with. I would rather not get in a situation where—for whatever reason—you become displeased or angry with me.

What can you say to that? I thanked him for his work, and that was that. Except it wasn’t.

When researching a way to resolve my ongoing issues, I came across a post he’d made on his Website. He was upset that I hadn’t publicly thanked him for the work he did.

Well, he told me that I’m involved in a big mess, he didn’t want to work with me, and we’d agreed that I’d give him two books. I offered to pay him, but he said it was so trivial that there was no need. Yet now he’s mad because I didn’t publicly thank him, even though he said he knew how to solve my problems but wouldn’t.

He lives in the same country as my friend the Father Who Dances. I could hook them up and let the Dancer tell him everything about me. But I won’t. It’s just another unnecessary conflict that came out of nowhere and doesn’t mean anything. Podsnappery. A sad-but-brave injured soul will somehow forge ahead, even though I didn’t publicly thank him for confusing the hell out of me and telling me he could fix my problems but wouldn’t because he’s afraid of my displeasure.

What am I, the mailman?

I actually met the mailman. His name’s Hank Garrett, and he’s a terrific guy.

“You’ve haunted me for twenty years,” I told him.

He shook my hand. “Christ, I’m sorry!” Then he signed a photo for me.

I get angry at liars, frauds, incompetents, predators, supercilious nitwits, bellicose alcoholics, and podsnaps. If you’re none of those, you have nothing to fear from me. In reality you have nothing to fear from me no matter what. Who cares if I’m angry at you? Big deal.

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