Just Outside the Big Tent

So. Some discussions on here last week would seem to indicate that things I think are incredibly obvious are perhaps only obvious if you’ve been so tremendously fortunate as to be reading Left of the Dial for some time. Which means when I unexpectedly get linked to and consequently get a couple hunnert new readers, they don’t realize my blistering snark is just a shield I put up to keep the world from realizing what a scared little boy I am deep down inside.

Or something like that.

Anyhoo, here’s a piece I first posted nearly two years ago, but mayhap it bears repeatedly every now and agin, albeit with minor tweaks because our fambly situation has changed slightly and, hey, I’m theoretically two years better at this bloggity thang.

It can be lonely being me.

I know what you’re thinking. How on earth can I, the idol of millions…thousands…hundreds? Okay, scores. Well, dozens. All right. One. The Boy idolizes me. I’ll take what I can get.

Anyhoo, how can I be lonely when my house is never less than seemingly packed to the rafters? It’s because I don’t fit in anywhere.

Now, I’m used to that. I didn’t fit in with my family much growing up. All four of my siblings were a year apart but then I was the youngest, three and a half years younger than brother John, a mighty big gap at that age. They were into sports. I was into reading and music. They were cool. I was a geek. They worked hard in school. I refused to do homework and, on one memorable occasion, simply refused to take a test.

(That one blew Dad’s mind. Looking back on it now, I can see why. But, I mean, seriously, who the hell cared what Uruguay’s major exports were? Other than Uruguayans and those who wanted to import stuff from Uruguay? At the age of thirteen, I most certainly did not fit into any of those categories.)

Later, my remarkable propensity to avoid doing work actually led the Dean of Students at my college to explain that I wasn’t allowed to come back the next semester, largely owing to the 1.2 GPA I’d achieved—that remarkable number translates to three C’s and two F’s for those keeping score at home. The dean “suggested” I take some time off and decide if I really wanted to be a student. After working two jobs, one of them literally digging ditches, something to which I was very much not physically suited, and taking three classes at a branch of UConn, even knowing the credits wouldn’t transfer, and being cut off from all my high school and college friends, I thought, oh yeah—I really, really want to be a college student.

But I digress. My point being that none of my college friends failed out of college. None of my high school friends failed out of college. And my siblings damn sure didn’t fail out of college.

I’ve never had a friend who liked Shostakovich. Or one who really dug Miles. Or Sonic Youth.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I’m on some desert island friendically. I’ve had friends who loved the Beatles and Bruce Springsteen and U2. I’ve had plenty of friends who love Monty Python and Batman and Scrubs and going for long drives where you try to get lost and then try to find your way back home again.

But I’ve never had a friend who quite clicked totally. Hell, I’ve never even met someone who did, much less liked them. Although, obviously, if I had, they would have liked me. I mean, that goes without saying, right? Right.

Here’s the thing. I’m about as left-wing a liberal as they come. I’m not just pro-environment (polls consistently show that the overwhelming majority of even Republicans are greener than the Democratic party, never mind their own party), I actually used to work for an environmentalist lobbying group; that’s right, I was one of them annoying folks what showed up at your door at dinner time to tell you how polluted your local river was and can I have some money to help fix it? (And I got it too—and, interestingly, the batting average got way higher the less wealthy the neighborhood; you didn’t need to tell these blue-collar joes their river was polluted since they’d been fishing it for fifty years and had seen the difference.)

I’ve never gotten stoned, never even seen the majority of drugs and yet I’m all for the legalization of them, believing our drug policy is unbelievably asinine, does nothing but hurt innocents and enriches the evil and powerful and all stems historically from a big business playing on racism to achieve their own nefarious ends. I’m for incredibly strict gun control. I’m against any kind of censorship.

I believe there’s not one compelling case to be made for the death penalty, ethically, morally, economically or practically, and at least a half-dozen strong cases against it. I’m for affirmative action, believing that the American Dream isn’t achievable if we don’t all start from the same point and that, alas, at this point in our history we’re still not close to all being there yet.

I’m for higher and progressive taxation believing not just that the more you have the more you owe morally but in addition that the more you benefit economically from others also being raised up. I’m in favor of gay rights which, really, just mean making sure they have the same rights as any other American and not special rights as is sometimes erroneously and maliciously claimed. If I’m leaving any major issues out, it’s probably safe to assume I’m with my liberal brethren on that too.

Except for one. I’m pro-life. I’m all about the civil liberties and who’s more in need of protection than those who can’t protect themselves?

And if you think being a fan of Shostakovich and Sonic Youth can get lonely, it’s nothing compared to being a pro-life Democrat.

All of my liberal friends are pro-choice. All my pro-life friends are conservatives. And the thing is, it’s easy to find pro-choice conservatives: the worst of both worlds, as that means they’re wrong about absolutely everything. The one thing—the one damn thing—their party gets right and that’s the issue they depart on. Never fails. People, man.

This means that I know whenever I post anything other than a cute story about the kids, I’m almost guaranteed to bore or piss off a goodly percentage of Left of the Dial’s regular readers. Pal Dave asked me if that ever makes me nervous. It doesn’t exactly make me nervous but it doesn’t make me happy either. I guess maybe it bums me out a little, but hey. There’re worse things. It is what it is and I yam what I yam. What can I say? As Van the Man said, and Paul Westerberg later echoed, it’s too late to turn back now. (Here we go.)

So. If you sometimes wonder why I’m such a curmudgeonly bastard, maybe this is at least part of the reason. It’s because I don’t really fit in anywhere and never have. There are lots of folks with whom I agree on this, that or t’other thang, but no one in this entire world I match up with perfectly.

Well, except, of course for Top Management. We may and do live pretty damn near the poverty line. But at least there’s one person in this whole wide world who gets me, gets how I can be down with most of the Greenpeace agenda and yet against Planned Parenthood, how I’m with Alito on Roe v. Wade yet wish he weren’t such a lying bastard and wish he hadn’t gotten confirmed because, in general, I think our Supreme Court justices shouldn’t be lying bastards who’ll say absolutely anything to get a gig as this jerk clearly is and clearly did. She groks how I’m all for stem cell research but against embryonic stem cell research even though I’ve got two kids who it’s not inconceivable (no pun intended) could benefit from that research. She understands that our pro-life acquaintances are too religious for my tastes and that our liberal friends are so tragically misguided on this one.

So it’s just the two of us. Which means it’s still kinda lonely sometimes. But at least we get to be lonely together. And since there’s nothing else I’d rather do than be with her, even if it means we’re being lonely together, that’s okay.

So if there’s anyone out there who doesn’t have someone to be lonely with, there’s my Christmakwanzakah Wish for you—that you find someone you can be lonely with. Having someone huddling in the bunker with you makes everything bearable. And sometimes a whole, whole lot better’n that.

Now I just gotta work on getting her to appreciate Miles. Or at least Shostakovich. Sonic Youth, I’m thinkin’, is a bridge too far. But one can always hope. After all, what are the odds I’d have found her in the first place? And what are the odds that she’d be so perfect and yet still have this one weird blind spot and fall for me? If that can happen, just about anything can.


About the other scott peterson

Writer of comics and books and stuff.
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9 Responses to Just Outside the Big Tent

  1. patience says:

    I can’t imagine anyone finding you boring. And this’ll make you laugh – I’ve always thought you were one of the cool people! By the way, I’m a pro-life liberal and I know exactly how lonely that can be. But try being someone who doesn’t believe in evolution *for scientific reasons*. Quickest way to clear a room is to talk about that.

  2. Emily says:

    I love reading the stuff about the kids. 🙂
    I am a Republican (I even work for them!) but I always read your blog. Do I agree with everything? No. But so what? I don’t agree with everything the GOP says either. 🙂 I’m against the death penalty, I think drugs should be legalized (at the very least, marijuana for medicinal purposes)–two things which are conservative apostasy to my brethern.
    Oh well.

  3. Emily says:

    I love reading the stuff about the kids. 🙂
    I am a Republican (I even work for them!) but I always read your blog. Do I agree with everything? No. But so what? I don’t agree with everything the GOP says either. 🙂 I’m against the death penalty, I think drugs should be legalized (at the very least, marijuana for medicinal purposes)–two things which are conservative apostasy to my brethern.
    Oh well.

  4. shannon says:

    How can one not appreciate Miles? (I am assuming you mean Davis). Kind of Blue is the single best album ever. Be glad you have found someone to huddle with in your bunker.And, by the way, I’m a pro-death penalty, pro-choice Democrat. The pro-death penalty thing is hard for my liberal friends to understand. The pro-choice thing is hard for my conservative friends to understand. As such, I refrain from sharing my feelings about those beliefs. And don’t even get me started on flag burning…
    You are completely right about one thing – no one cares what Uruguay exports.

  5. KathyR says:

    You know, I totally and completely and wholly and forever disagree with you and will never give up the pro-choice banner. Never.
    But I love your blog, including your stories about your kids. Your love for them and Top Management is palpable here.
    And, you know, there’s a lotta Miles Davis to choose from. Start slow. Go with one of those “Love Song” albums to draw her in. You can get to the high wailing stuff later.

  6. Theresa says:

    See, this is exactly why I blog pretty much ONLY about homeschooling. If I blogged about anything else I would lose whatever readers I have, for exactly the reasons you mention.
    I have to admit it is good to know you and Top Management are out there. At least dh and I are not completely alone in the world.

  7. No, you’re not completely alone, Theresa. 🙂

  8. Theresa says:

    Yay! Too bad we are spread across the entire country though.

  9. Kathy says:

    I’m right with you politically (although being in Australia, that’s probably not going to alleviate the loneliness!). Musically….. not quite, but always open to new experiences!

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