The problem with being
raised to be a real person
    I don’t usually do any biographical stuff, but this is a little
    animals in a filthy, meaningless culture that is better
    described as a disease than anything else. That wasn’t
    Try this for a combination of social skills - These were the
    values I was raised on:

    Never be a snob.

    Don’t make fun of people less fortunate.

    Don’t make fun of other people’s accents, or how
    they speak.

    Don’t make fun of people for being ignoramuses.

    Treat everyone like they’re real people, not
    deformed, moronic pigs.

    Mind your own business - Don’t be intrusive or
    make personal remarks.

    If that sounds like a recipe for a difficult social life, it is.
    To this day, I’m reflexively polite to people you couldn’t
    pay me to wipe my arse on. When I went to school, in my
    own neighborhood, all I met were some really dumb,
    nasty kids. I still have some physical scars from grade
    school, put it that way. There were a few exceptions later
    on, but it was a revelation I could have gladly done
    without.

    Then there were other families – Tantrum factories for
    the kids, hysterical over-parenting for the parents.
    Psycho discipline. This was rich brat land, and believe
    me, these guys were crap even at that age.

    “Discipline” for my school mates turned out to mean
    actual beatings – Or shameless pandering to the brats.
    My few friends would come to my place to get away from
    it. I was envied for having sane parents. For me,
    discipline was absolutely merciless – And didn’t involve
    any sort of maniac behavior. If I did something wrong or
    stupid, I’d get a look from one or both of my parents, and
    sometimes the dog, as well.

    That look said – “You’re that stupid? You’re kidding.”
    The response – “Er, ah, um… Well…”

    No way out. No comeback. No excuse for later
    accusations of parental abuse. Just an inescapable,
    indefensible position. Believe me, it worked.  

    So – On to high school, and bigger and dumber idiots.
    Fortunately for me, I grew to be bigger than most of the
    other guys at the time, so I was largely left alone. I could
    give a punch and take a lot of punches, so they moved
    on to easier targets.

    Being high school, of course, made a difference. You
    learn to really hate at that age. Actually, I already knew
    that, but it did add a dimension. If you’re thinking that my
    training for social manners was no help, it wasn’t. All it did
    was give me a perspective, to despise those people.

    On to later teens, and to my hippie days in Melbourne. I’d
    never met real suburbanites before, and if all the grass,
    acid, and hash softened the meeting, there was still a lot
    to learn, and dislike. The actual hippies were OK, and the
    most risky thing that could happen was being asked to
    look at someone’s new poem.

    The suburbanites, however, particularly the pseudo-
    hippies, were trash, boozers, and totally disgusting. This
    was some sort of insane version of a Women’s Weekly
    world where everyone had to put on an act. If anyone
    ever tells you the 70s were some sort of magical era,
    they’ve forgotten a lot.

    If my childhood experience of other kids had been
    negative, this was worse. I’d never met such vulgar,
    pretentious people in my life. They were utterly
    obnoxious. The women were apparently used to being
    treated like shit. They lived in ridiculous little doghouses
    like they were the princes and princesses of some TV
    commercial.

    They were mean little bastards, too. What they lacked in
    intelligence, evolutionary development, and hormones,
    they tried to make up with social superiority. In
    “egalitarian” Australia, they were anything but. They did
    everything they could to be superior to others.

    I later went through my junkie phase, and they were very
    like junkies. They’d tear anyone down, backstab, and
    really do damage. Everything was all about them – And
    money. No fairy tale misers ever came near them for
    money grubbing. Much later, I discovered that people
    who try to be superior are really covering for their own
    inferiority. No wonder they had to try so hard.

    The strange thing is that my upbringing, which was the
    recipe for managing the actual antithesis of my social life
    to that point, gave me a perspective. I knew not to take
    them seriously. If you can’t respect someone, any
    relationship with them is fundamentally meaningless.

    These people were never worthy of respect of any kind.
    They had no conversation.  They knew nothing about
    anything. They were always about 30 years out of date
    on any subject. They were coarse, more like farm
    animals than people. I’d met people like that before I went
    to grade school.

    They were also incredibly stupid in their own
    relationships. I used to know a very smart, very attractive
    girl called Marie, a real guy magnet, who could run rings
    around the guys. She was the only person, I think, who I
    ever met who could be a real person in that
    environment.  She could easily outwit her conveyor belt
    of guys, and could hold a conversation on subjects other
    than sex. (This was quite amusing, because she had a
    real sex life, and they didn’t.)

    Need I say that people like that were pretty rare in 70s
    Melbourne. The hippies were usually worth talking to, but
    the city was made of rednecks in suits. After a drug bust,
    (in which I discovered that people in jail were pretty much
    like the suburbanites, but could punch each other clear
    across a yard), I left Victoria and didn’t go back for
    decades.

    So on to a different world, that of Sydney and the public
    sector. More suburbanites. A few tolerable people, sure,
    but the social scene was still at Genitalia R Us level. In
    my mid 20s, I was now meeting “the workforce”, or
    “workfarce” as I continue to think of many of them. In the
    NSW public service, there are some real people – And a
    hell of a lot of hangers-on.

    I got the impression that getting promoted was very much
    a matter of managerial preferences, and I wasn’t exactly
    popular with some of the suburbanite managers. One of
    them later called me “insubordinate”, which is pretty right.
    I’m not a natural subordinate, and even this ingrained
    politeness of mine won’t change that.

    The loathing was mutual, and I was OK with that. Suffice
    to say that nothing I did was appreciated, despite a
    certain amount of fan mail from departmental clients.  

    Getting promotions wasn’t exactly easy. I got two in 19
    years. My social skills, such as they are, were devoted to
    trying to find a woman who could put two sentences
    together without requiring surgery and NASA for logistical
    support. I’m still not married, and I’d have probably made
    a mess of it if I had been, deluding myself that these
    damn animals were possible mates for life.

    I found a total of about 4 women during that period who
    were pretty exceptional – And married or engaged. Like
    an idiot, I didn’t do anything about it. A bit absurd. Why
    was I being ethical? What’s the point of being a member
    of a family of womanizers, if you don’t “ize” a bit? Ah well.
    As I said to my equally unmarried cousin Moira a few
    years back – “This is a family, not a zoo”. If I’d had
    suburbanite kids, I’d be a homicidal maniac by now. It’d
    be like siring a family of cockroaches.

    OK, that’s the story – Now the reason for the story. If my
    “genteel” upbringing was a surefire way of being
    constantly nauseated by my “associates” in life, it was
    also my way out of that scene.

    I was raised to be a real person, not an accounting entity,
    a mediocrity, or some pathetic self-important slum
    worshipper lost in the glory of existential failure in some
    pastel colored oblivion. I spent decades being virtually
    sick at the sight of so many people. I mixed with vermin. I
    had to have working relationships with people I would
    otherwise have put in rubbish bins or flushed down some
    poor toilet which never did me any harm.

    I could never be part of it, and that was my ultimate
    salvation. If I’ve had to use a huge number of spiritual
    barf bags in all these years, I didn’t join the sewer. That, I
    think, is the real vindication of my upbringing. Better to
    be a gentleman than a cockroach, at any price.

    If you hate this cockroach culture as much as I do and
    always have, remember that. You can always be yourself.
    It’s worth doing.