Refusing to See the Painful Truth, Columbus was a Dick, and a Story about Work and a High Teenager
Today was a holiday and I could have chosen to be off but I decided to work. It is Columbus Day in the United States but it is not the type of holiday that many people actually celebrate so I didn't mind putting in a few hours on the clock. Plus, from my understanding, Columbus was an asshole who killed a lot of people and gave native, child sex slaves to his men (you can look that one up). I know that some Italian-Americans (who seem to care for unknown reasons) don't like to hear that but I'm (mostly) Italian-American too and I have no problem saying fuck that guy and the horse (or ship, I guess) he rode in on.
Anyway, since everyone else had the day off, it was just me and my manager in the building. He tried to help and he got quite bit accomplished which was much appreciated. However, he received a phone call (from a person who I later found out to be his girlfriend) and excused himself for a moment. I tried not to overhear his conversation but that was impossible because it was quiet in the large echo prone work area and he spoke at a rather high volume.
From what I gathered, my manager's girlfriend had caught her teenage son smoking a little weed and was freaking out about it. He tried to calm her and said that he would talk to him for her but he did not appear to be particularly concerned. When My manager returned to help me with the work, he seemed amused and told me what had happened. His girlfriend's fifteen old son was, as I already knew, caught smoking cannabis. He told me that he had known that the kid was getting high for a while but he didn't want to "snitch" on him to his mother. He said that he knew this because they had been finding eye-drops and food in son's room along with a "mysterious, skunky" odor but the mom did not want to see the signs.
I found it a bit endearing to learn that he had not told on the teenager (kids at that age are going to rebel and underage pot smoking is pretty vanilla as far as rebellions go, we agreed) but I was more interested in the fact that his girlfriend had the same information as him but refused to put the pieces together. I think that her "head-in-the-sand" attitude hints at a tendency that a lot of people have. That is to say, for some individuals, it is preferable to believe sweet lies instead of facing painful truths, even when it prolongs or exacerbates existing problems that would benefit from attention.
I certainly don't think that smoking a little weed at fifteen is a really big deal but, like many other issues, it is not something that should be ignored. When someone starts to experimenting with mind altering substances, he or she is not doing anything wrong, in my mind, but they fare far better in their endeavor if they have proper instruction. Someone needs to tell them that weed being harmless doesn't mean that crack is too but no one can do that if everyone refuses to acknowledge the behavior. Having a "talk" with anyone can be awkward as hell and I understand the impulse to avoid it but, sometimes, it needs to happen. This goes beyond cannabis, and uncomfortable parental conversations, too. The Italian-Americans don't want to admit that Columbus was a piece of shit because it is painful to recognize that their "hero" (despite my own Italian heritage, I never understood why he is a big deal to some of us but I digress) was a "monster." People who are affiliated with political parties often fail to see the glaring flaws in their own "team members" and the horrific policies they perpetuate because that can be difficult and disturbing.
Coming to terms with the truth can be like taking a rock solid dump, to put it crudely. It isn't always fun when it comes out (unless you're some kind of weirdo) but it still really needs to come out. We can't deal with problems unless we are willing to admit that they are there. Life would be a lot less stressful if everything was perfect but it's not. There are issues all around us that deserve our attention. They can range from minor inconveniences, like a high minors, to serious crises, like the authoritarian movements in both major political parties in this country or the frequent abuse of police power. Let's all grit our teeth, give it a firm push, and start taking a long hard look at the shit that we need to address in our lives and our societies.
All the images in this post are sourced from the free image website, unsplash.com.