THE MINISTRY OF STUFF

Putting stuff in its place

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Be Patient. I’m lowered.

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Driving through the town the other day, I was held up by a car going ridiculously slowly over some speed bumps.  OK, that’s kind of what speed bumps are for, I get that, but this car was going preposterously slowly.  It was one of those silly cars as well.  You know, the ones with the extra wide wheels, the full body kit, tinted windows, and a set of decals that were as ill-conceived as they were badly applied.  The crowning glory though, was a bumper sticker that read ‘Please be patient, I’m lowered’.

Upon closer inspection (and there was plenty of time for detailed study), the car had indeed been lowered, and was barely clearing the relatively small speed bumps.  As the sticker suggested, my patience was called for in order that the car was not damaged while the little baseball capped bell end eased it over the speed inhibitors that any regular car could have done at 4 times the speed and still not have been a threat to itself or others.

Mulling this over, I realised that his little sticker should have read “Please don’t hit me.  I have deliberately disabled my car.  It looks cool though, doesn’t it?”

Clearly the young chap had seen one too many Need for Speed movies and was recreating them in a discount supermarket carpark, oblivious to the fact that the vehicles he had seen on the big screen were designed only to look good on camera.  I haven’t seen any of the movies beyond the trailers (ads for the movies – there are no actual trailers in them.  It’s not about those sort of cars), but I suspect that the scene where the crew went to Aldi for a pack of sausages and some toilet paper was left on the cutting room floor.

People want to emulate their heroes, and that’s fine, but sometimes they forget that their heroes aren’t quite real.  They forget that a lot of them are just regular folk doing things for show.  You can see Britney Aguilara Gaga strut from her limo to an awards ceremony in an arrangement of leather straps and a pair of nine inch heels.  She looks fantastic, but trying to imitate her look is unlikely to work out well if you are trying to strut from your Ford Fiesta to Barry’s Emporium of Discount Shit.  She has 20 meters to walk and is accompanied by a team of support staff.  You would have to navigate the freezer isle and make it back to your car with 6 carrier bags and some cat litter. 

It’s a worrying trend.  People deliberately disadvantage themselves, complain that they are now unable to function like regular human beings, and feel discriminated against if the rest of us don’t make allowances.

I watched a show last night about the extremely tattooed and bodily modified.  It was a cry from the heart.  A plea for acceptance.  A request to be treated just like everybody else.  They felt as strongly about this as they clearly had about getting their faces tattooed in the first instance. They wanted to be different.  They had branded themselves as ‘other’.  They had broken with the conventions of society in the most permanent and visual way possible, then pissed and moaned when the ‘normal people’ from whom they wanted to distinguish themselves in the first place, no longer accepted/loved/employed them. 

Perhaps we should get them bumper stickers, or even better tattoos like the ones on my new friend’s lowered car. 

“I have chosen to make myself look disturbing.  Please treat me normally until I want to be the centre of attention again.”

Obviously, in an ideal world, a face full of ink and piercings wouldn’t be a problem.  Personally, I have no issue with it.  I have known several very lovely people with nearly as much ink as skin. But we don’t live in an ideal world.  We live in a judgemental, small minded one, and I suspect that these guys knew that before they started on their needle fuelled journeys.   

The fact is that we all do things that others find difficult from time to time, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  It’s difficult, though, to understand why so many people expect everyone else to make allowances for them.

So if you choose to lower your car, accept that it’s now your fault that it doesn’t work properly, and take it on the chin when people are pissed at you.  If you decide to wear shoes that make you a fashionable cripple, accept that nobody is obliged to help you or slow down to accommodate your decision.  If you colour your face blue, accept that people will be wary of you.  If you decide to be vegan, accept that not every restaurant is going to cater for you.  If you decide to take on one of the more niche systems of faith, don’t be upset when nobody else gives a shit. 

You aren’t being discriminated against, you are merely suffering the consequences of your actions.

Either live with it or stop it (you dick).

Grantham Montgomery

Minister of Stuff.

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