Attack of Conscience

I honestly don't think there's any way I can write the following post without sounding like a total assholeshitfacejerk. And so, into piranha infested waters I dive...

Last Friday night, an acquaintance of mine was beaten up, held at gun point, and robbed of keys and phone. This happened in Silver Lake, an area of Los Angeles that has opened its arms to the artsy fartsy, the lefty greeny, the faggy dykie. A magical place where cappuccinos are dry, customers bring their own shopping bags to grocery stores, and bohemes somehow make Birkenstock with black socks look cool. In other words, Ann Coulter would spontaneously cumbust were she ever to set stiletto in Silver Lake.

Acquaintance was walking from one hipster joint to another, the stretch not at all well lit, and was jumped right in front of my daughter's school!! He immediately went to the hospital and is told this is the ninth of this kind of attack in two weeks! What was first thought of as fag bashing, because all those attacked were men, seems not to be the case. At a community meeting Thursday night, the police informed us that no epithets were uttered, thus these were probably not hate crimes but gang initiations.

It actually doesn't matter the reason. Crimes of this sort are detestable. Those who were attacked deserve our full compassion and the perps deserve electrodes on their nads.

But back to Acquaintance... I personally cannot abide him.

He's a button pusher. He's into mind games. He will find the soft spot of any situation and exploit it for some grotesque sense of one-upsmanship. He'll recall things you've said years earlier, take it out of context and throw it in your face. And, heaven forfend, you choose to rebut. He'll counter with this faux therapist voice, "And this bothers you?" He will fight for the last word, and yet skillfully dangle a carrot for you to defend. And when, against better judgement, you choose to clarify the previous point, he's right there with another fucked up observation that leaves you feeling unheard and combative.

The only way I have found to deal with him is to be perfunctorily cordial and go on my way. But he's a pro at insinuating himself. A regular tick of humanity. There are few in my circle who honestly like him. And on December 16th, 2006 I did something I've never done to another human being. I banned him from my house.

When Michael and I first moved here, we had a yearly, black tie Christmas party. Catered affair. 120 people give or take. Everyone would bring a Toys For Tots gift. It was an impressive haul any given year: bicycles, boom boxes, action figures, fairy wings. On a couple of occasions, I've been told it was a highlight of the holiday season. Friends throughout the year have said, "I hope I'm still on the list." The list??? I have a list? I finally felt I had power in LA. My own little fiefdom. Small fish, perhaps. Life on the Q list, maybe. But I had my very own list from which I could ruthlessly revise depending on my whim.

Since having kids, we entertain much less frequently, putting what little extra money we have into college funds and vodka. The last Christmas party we had was two years ago. It started out to be one of our best. And then, just as it was beginning to wind down, in walks Acquaintance, uninvited, and his boytoy, also uninvited. Now, Michael and I are not sticklers about the invite. Even if someone is not on the list, we welcome them into our home, offer them sustenance and libation. It's Christmas, for Christ sake.

But Acquaintance had to hold court. He bragged to anyone who would listen how he crashed the party. How he should have been invited in the first place. I went along with his bizarre humor. He then made the pronouncement in front of others that I put on weight and looked older. Even still, I did not take the bait. He continued on in this vein, and was so obnoxious, even his date, a man I had never met, apologized to me. I finally had to walk away. But then it got back to me that he was an asshole to the catering staff, and to prove he's really bi and not gay, he made out with a female guest. This ended up embarrassing the guest, humiliating the uninvited boytoy, and prompting me to lance this boil before his poison spread further. "Don't you ever darken my doorway again!"

And I've been quite pleased with that decision until now. Good Angel and Bad Devil have been bickering on my shoulders...

BAD DEVIL: He deserved it.

GOOD ANGEL: No one deserves getting beaten up.

BD: He's an asshole. It was only a matter of time.

GA: He's needs reconstructive surgery.

BD: Maybe they can fix that honker of a nose while they're at it.

GA: He had a gun placed to his head.

BD: I wish I could have been there to see the look on his face...

GA: He's a father with two kids. Where's your compassion?

BD: You want to see compassion? I'll show you compassion.

Bad Devil sticks out his tongue and gives Good Angel a raspberry. Good Angel shrugs in response. Bad Devil lifts his leg and lets one rip. It's loud and long and makes tears come to Good Angel's eyes.

GA: You're disgusting.

BD: Neener, neener, neener.

GA: You are such a child.

BD: Karma's a bitch, sweetheart.

GA: Fine. That's your stance. I'm thinking of calling him.

BD: You don't like him enough to call him.

GA: I think it's time to get beyond all past grievances. To reach out and do the right thing.

BD: You do and I'll fart again.

And on and on and on it goes. Never resolving. I expect better of me, but I have the feeling I'll end up taking my own advice and just go on my way.


(F)redddy said…
Lemme put it to you this way. I'm sure W. had lots of friends when he was, say, 30. He's probably off many Christmas lists now, and I'm certain there are some in his life that wouldn't bat an eyelash if the Taliban unleashed a holy war on his ass. If you haven't given two shits about acquaintance for the last 3 years, don't start now. You'll only come off as fake and an opportunist. Acquaintance probably just did it for the attention because he finely looked up and realized he was standing alone and wondered where everybody went. Yeah, sure he needs someone to talk to right now. Those people are called THERAPISTS. Because, honestly, if it happened to you, do you really think it would register on that person's radar? Me thinks not.
Vodka Mom said…
It's hard to feel sorry for an ass. But I think that you DO. Which makes YOU the better person.

that post had me at vodka. p.s.
Girl said…
Love the dialogue between GA & BD. Would make a great one-act!
~Static~ said…
"I honestly don't think there's any way I can write the following post without sounding like a total assholeshitfacejerk. And so, into piranha infested waters I dive..."

LOL! You had me with that statement.

It's true, that news would be a bit of a struggle when the guy seems really abrasive, but then again nobody deserves to be a victim of violence...except for Fred Phelps, inbred bigot pastor of Westboro Baptist Church. He deserves a good flogging with a wet spaghetti noodle.
Thinkinfyou said…
So I'm dying to know....did you contact him,or send flowers to his attacker??
CK Lunchbox said…
I hate that feeling. You know it's time to draw the line, but for some reason doing so makes you feel shitty. Why is that? Especially when there's no doubt you're right. It's almost like assholes can wield a degree of power over us. I try not to wish ill of these sort of people, hoping fate will take care of their future.
Kisa said…
Very funnily presented! A good read. As usual :-).

You can feel terrible that this kind of thing happens to anybody, in general, without feeling terrible that it happened to this particular person.

The world is full of assholes, and this beating is irrelevant to the fact this asshole is someone you don't want in your life. Keep it that way -- don't give him a way back in.

Which is not to say you can't honestly express your horror that this happened if you see him in a wheelchair next month.
To me, what would have been appropriate was for someone to smack him BECAUSE he's an asshole. He was just randomly beaten by strangers which is senseless. He may deserve it, but he won't learn from it. I say, go visit him in the hospital, wait for him to recover and THEN punch him in the nose, explaining WHY he's being beaten. You know, so it's appropriate violence.

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