The Year of the Smushed Dead Rat

I didn’t much care for 2017. It was a year lost to breathless whining, hysteria and fear, all of which went nowhere. The sky didn’t fall. In fact, not much of substance happened. The same problems that existed at its start exist as its end.

A sober assessment of the year is that it was squandered, wasted by those empowered to express their saddest feelings that convinced no one who didn’t already share their beliefs. A few more bodies were burned on the pyre. And then I saw this twit* by Huffington Post editor Emily McCombs which summed it all up for me.

At first blush, this was evidence of the hypocrisy of feminism and social justice, a completely insane twit of sexual impropriety that would get any male fired in a flash. But it reflected a deeper sickness as well, one of anger and failure. One of loneliness. The internet has become a substitute family for so many young people, who struggle with finding meaningful relationships, don’t marry, don’t have children, don’t receive the love or sincere validation that comes from a real family.

So you turn to the internet to create pretend friends, who tell you how smart, beautiful, fierce and wonderful you are. And you tell them the same in return. After all, how else can one maintain the farce if it’s not mutual. They rub your tummy. You rub theirs. It still doesn’t feel good, but it’s the best you’ve got, since no one else will tell you the words you need so desperately to hear.

Why can’t someone like McCombs sustain a real-life relationship? Beats me. I don’t know her. But if I had to judge from one twit, she’s a despicable person who has let the crazy in her head come out because people on the internet tell her she’s fabulous. This year saw crazy take charge, and receive the validation crazy desperately needs.

On Friday, my son started to make croissants from scratch. On Saturday, they went into the oven, and the house soon smelled wonderful. By the afternoon, my family, Dr. SJ, my son, my daughter (who prefers I not tell stories about her) and I sat around the table slowly peeling flaky layers of croissant back, putting small dabs of strawberry jam on them, and eating. And talking. And laughing. And making fun of each other. And living.

This morning, there were still three croissants left. As I had my coffee, I pondered whether to take one of the three, thus denying someone else a croissant. These weren’t disembodied names from the internet who like my twit. This was my family, my wife, my kids. These were the reasons I exist, to make their world better.

I took the one that split, rationalizing that it was the least attractive of the three and was therefore less desirable. As if this meant I was less a scoundrel, taking croissants from the mouths of my family. Dr. SJ then relieved me of my guilt by informing me that she didn’t plan to eat one anyway.

So many of you spent 2017 being angry and frustrated. To what end? So Emily McCombs could feel safe and empowered to reveal her inner nutjob and send a picture of a smushed dead rat to a guy who was done with her? So we learn that her feminism only goes so far as to demonstrate her need for a man’s attention?

The perception is that bourgeois values go against every tenet of social justice, even though arcane ideas like family don’t inherently compel racism, sexism or any other ism. There’s nothing wrong with normalcy, with having real, living people to care about, to share with, to love, in actual real life.

You spent the last year gushing your outrage. Trump is still president. Cops still shoot too soon. The Last Jedi sucked, and no matter how many people on twitter think you’re awesome, you still sit alone in your room without anyone who gives a damn about you.

Maybe the old ways, family, normalcy, hard work, are virtues for a reason. Maybe the internet and outrage won’t suffice to replace what you’ve lost in real life. We can enjoy being ordinary Americans and still not hate other people for their color, gender, sexual orientation, religion, nationality. Let everybody be who they are. What do you care? And if wallowing in misery is the best they can do, then so be it. You can’t save them all.

We can eat tacos, wear hoop earrings and make fun of each other’s accents, then all laugh and have a beer together. Guys can tell girl jokes. Girls can tell guy jokes. Everyone can tell lawyer jokes, and we will not only  survive, but have a much better time.

There is nothing that tastes as delicious as the croissants your child made from scratch. You will never find anything as worthwhile on the internet. Enjoy 2018. Enjoy it with people who truly care about you and really matter.

If you squandered 2017 being angry and seeking solace on the internets, don’t do the same in 2018. There’s a real world out there. Seek happiness rather than smushed dead rats.

Happy New Year.

*Emily McCombs has, since this was posted, protected her twits from prying eyes, and so I replaced her actual twit with a pic of her twit.

59 thoughts on “The Year of the Smushed Dead Rat

  1. Conner Leo

    I will not wish you a happy new year Scott, instead like everyone else in my life, I am going to encourage you to go out there and earn it. Make 2018 wonderful.

    1. SHG Post author

      While I fully anticipate living another 100 years, I’m not so wasteful as to believe that any year of my life can be squandered. I plan to make 2018 a wonderful year. I wish the same for you, Conner.

  2. CLS

    It’s lost to history as far as I can tell, but several years ago I saw a video called “It’s the Fucking Internet” where an animated panda whined to a frog about getting banned from a message board that was “his life.”

    The frog’s repeated response was “It’s the fucking internet!”

    If only more people could take the frog’s message to heart.

    As far as me, the last three days I’ve woken with the kids, fed them breakfast, sipped some weird concoction from a Yeti cooler my gym rat friend recommended and written more. Later today I’ll take my daughter to the grocery store, where she will delight in riding in the cart while we purchase supplies for New Year’s Eve’s dinner. Once dinnertime comes around, my son will inform me that if he eats all his dinner he will get to have “bunny crackers.”

    Nothing on the internet can top that magic.

    Happy New Year, SHG.

    1. SHG Post author

      Whenever you tell me about your kids, it reminds me how much I want grandchildren. Happy New Year, Chris. Hug them for me, please.

      1. Mike G.

        Grandchildren are a blessing. Having eleven, ages six to twenty-one, I can attest to that. And the good thing is, you and Mrs. SG can spoil them and send them back to their parents at the end of the day or weekend. It’s your revenge on your kids for all the trouble and angst they caused Dad and Mom growing up.

        Have a Happy New Year and here’s hoping 2018 is a good one for you and yours.

    1. SHG Post author

      There are tragedies, and there are abominations. I love peas, but they will never find their way into my guac. Never. Happy New Year, HG.

  3. wilbur

    The word “dead” was unnecessary in her tweet. No wonder she can’t keep a fella.

    Confucius said “He who will not economize will agonize”.

      1. Jim Tyre

        Suggestion: keep your day job.

        Happy New Year to you and the fam, and may 2018 bring us all more pleasant things to ponder.

  4. Eliot J CLingman

    Making croissants is extremely challenging. Your son is clearly very self disciplined and shows great attention to detail, as evidenced by your photo.

    1. SHG Post author

      I was amazed at the amount of work it takes to make them from scratch. I have a completely new appreciation for Pillsbury.

      1. Kathleen Casey

        Good for him. During 2017 I checked for croissants in a cookbook, eyeballed the recipe and slammed it shut.

        Knowing you I did not include the brainyquotes link but every year I read if I remember:

        Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man. Benjamin Franklin

        2018 will be better we hope.

      2. LocoYokel

        Unfortunately, the last few times we have gotten Pillsbury croissants they were not flaky any more, or as buttery as my wife and I remember. It seems they have succumbed to the cost reduction devil and simplified so now they are effectively just rolls. Still different than just yeast dinner rolls but not croissants.

        So Sad.

        Kudos to your son for having the ability and urge to make them right from scratch.

        Aside from that Happy New Year all, may you avoid the crazies (not you Scott, I know you secretly love their attention), and may your year be blesséd.


            1. Jim Tyre

              LY, the ad currently showing with that cartoon is “view our lawyer directory.” How in hades did you manage to pull that off?!?

              (Yes I normally use an ad blocker, I’m playing with a different browser.)

  5. B. McLeod

    Fortunately, the worth and usefulness of 2017 is wholly unrelated to Emily McCombs and her pot-shots at her former girlfriends.

    I can’t say it was a splendid year, but it hasn’t been awful. It was a busy year. My bank balance grew. My wine cellar is well-stocked. Inside (where I am staying today) it is warm. I have a big kettle of black-eyed peas, with a ham bone in it, simmering in the kitchen. This evening, I will add some Rotels. The guitar is in tune, and I have a fine selection of beer and plenty wood for the fire. Of course, this evening and tomorrow, I will be eating a lot of black-eyed peas, for luck in the new year. But, if 2018 turns out like 2017, I will be OK with that.

    Happy New Year, all.

    1. SHG Post author

      Since you mentioned your bank account, this is your last chance to show a little SJ love in 2017. I have a wine cellar to keep stocked too, you know. Must everything be about you?

      Happy New Year, Bruce.

    2. Billy Bob

      You mentioned black-eyed peas twice. Does that mean you’re a “real” Southerner? Or are you a Southern wannabee? Somehow, we don’t think so! You come across as too,… incapable,… of the Rebel Yell. Rotels? Color me uninformed. Oh, you mean those pasta pieces which spiral like DNA? Now we get it! McCloud, you are an Ace, a Hole-in-One, the Holy Grail of the blawgospher. So glad I {never] met ya?!?

      The guitar is in tune, but can you play it? (Reasonably well.) Does the fire heat you twice, or did you buy from a roadside stand? Did you ever try chainsaw art? Just sayin’. Try it, you might be good at it. Just sayin’,

  6. Jay logsdon

    A happy New Year to you you perhaps not as miserable as this site makes it seem bastard. Reading this site since 2012 or so has really helped me in a lot of ways professionally and personally. Thank you for your willingness to share.

  7. Nemo

    For my part, I apologize for any and all stupidity I have brought to your blawg this year, sir. I’d forgive you for your involvement in instances where my feelings got hurt, but I see no need to forgive you. My feelings are my business, not yours, so there’s nothing to forgive.

    Your blawg’s been one of my daily reads since I discovered it, and i believe I have learned a lot from you and the esteemed comment corps here. You’re a mean-ass blawger. Never change.

    Happy New Year, Mr. Greenfield. May 2018 be a good year for you, yours, and everyone else here. We survived 2017, so the opportunity’s there. As always, there’s hope.

  8. Nigel Declan

    Emily McCombs’ Twitter splash page shows a lapel pin with the words “Feminist Killjoy.” Based on that twit, perhaps her New Year’s resolution is to fulfill her goal of being a killjoy to feminists everywhere.

    Happy New Year to you, Scott, and to Simple Justice – a man and a blog who are devoted to not making people on the internet stupider, an increasingly rare attribute, it seems. Definitely not smushed dead rats.

  9. Fubar

    An ambiguously gendered being of the feline persuasion who hangs out in my garage, and claims to love me when xhe is hungry, was so moved by Ms. McCombs’ plight that xhe implored me to convey this helpful advice:

    Authenticity true love will bring.
    Send a gift that will make the heart sing.
    A picture’s not tasty,
    When chewed it’s just pasty.
    Don’t send photographs. Send the real thing!

    With that, after a remarkably trying year that culminated in discovering a true (human) friend I didn’t realize that I had, I wish you, yours and all here a most joyous new year.

    Peas on Earth, but never in your guacamole.

      1. Billy Bob

        We nominate Fubar for Best [Most Obscure/Most Poetic] Commenter of the year.
        And Judge Kopf, the most Un-Poetic/HarshestThinker [in Flyover Country].

  10. JimEd

    “Happy new year” is all of our plea
    We wish only for you to agree
    That this place can be better
    If we dare to consider
    The plight of those people not me

  11. ShallMustMay

    “The same problems that existed at its start exist as its end.”

    The years … they come & go.

    Best wishes for you and yours for 2018. I hope you continue to write for yourself. We all benefit. The future is open. You will be archived (I presume).

    p.s. That bitcoin was a whopper this year. I hope you took your money but left the rest.

  12. Billy Bob

    If Ms. McComb combed her her hair more than once a week, she might have better luck in her luv-low-life. We do feel her pain. However, be that as it may, for whatever it’s worth,… oh, forget it!
    17 was a great year for holders of paper assets–including real estate, which is no longer “real”–but a terrible year for working stiffs and hourly-wage workers. If past is prologue, 2018 will bring us more of the same, same ol’, sameol’–Prez Trump and the Republicants nothwithstanding. (It was better back in the days of undeclared wars, high inflation, high unemployment, rampant crack-cocaine epydemics, HIV and SARS infections, high crimes and misdemeanors by corporate sponsors, elected officials and their K-Street ADDvisors. Ha.)
    Over and out, for now.

  13. Shadow of a Doubt

    I’m glad to see that despite a youth spent “living” on the internet in chatrooms and usenet, I still turned out relatively OK compared to some of these folks.

    Happy New Year to Scott and everyone else, hope it finds you well.

  14. Ken Bellone

    The wife and I spent the first day of the New Year with our son, likely his last full day home this year, as he heads back to Lord knows where. He’s an aviator and Captain in the Marines and the last time we saw him, we were saying goodbye, as he headed off for a tour in the Middle East. I’m thankful he made it home, if only for a little while.

    Our daughter spent the holidays in Ireland with a fellow that will likely be an addition to our family, even if it’s by subtraction, as she’ll likely rather choose to move there, than he here.

    We too, long for grandchildren. For now, we will be thankful that they’re both healthy and enjoying their lives.

    Wishing you and yours a wonderful and blessed New Year.

    1. SHG Post author

      I would say she’s fucking nuts, but I’m informed by my feminist consciences that calling women emotional or mentally ill is a tool of the patriarchy used to diminish women’s voices. Unfortunately, that leaves us with no words to express the fact that some women (just like some men) are fucking nuts.

      McCombs would be such a woman. In a world dedicated to equality, there would be no reason why a word, like “nuts,” used for a man should not also be used for a woman. To do otherwise would be sexist.

  15. Pithy the Fool

    Bah – worst comment section ever, all hugs and rubs – bah.

    Glad to see you have reached the zenith of blogging – a photo of the food you are about to eat, and some brilliant observation, “This morning, there were still three croissants left.”

    Thank you for the invitation to wear hoop earrings and tell lawyer’s jokes, though i think i need a bigger shtick than that.
    All the best, as Someone Important says, and happy new year one and all 🙂

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