South City Confessions: Can we all be a little less offended?

Every December, a heated debate breaks out across the world.

Minds scramble, tempers flare, and the nearby bodies of water start to produce massive waves.

What’s the debate? Should I say “happy holidays” or “Merry Christmas?” Oh, for fucks sake!

Here’s the thing. The world would be a better place if everybody was a little less offended by stupid shit like this. Does it really matter if someone wishes you a different form of cheer during December? People get mad just to get mad. It checks something off their personal “please disturb” list.

Last year, there was a problem with the popular Christmas song, “Baby, it’s cold outside.” Written by Frank Loesser in 1944, the tune was met with waves of disapproval. Women decided the song was sexist nonsense, supporting sexual assault and abuse. WTF!?! After all these years (74 to be exact), several million plays later, it was decided that a classic song was detrimental to the ears of individual humans.

I’ll tell you why people started complaining about a song written in the 1944: The political climate was ripe for a roast. The politically correct police got out their hatchets and took apart a song millions have sung for years, forgetting the song was written in an entirely different era.

It got so bad, they had to get John Legend and Kelly Clarkson to sing a cringe-worthy version of the song. It was so bad and so forced.

It’s not just Christmas though. Everything requires eggshell movement these days. A man can’t make a comment, joking or not, about a woman without coming under fire for it from the Me Too Movement. Due to a few true male monsters, all men are on watch now. A woman can’t poke fun at other women or men without drawing the ire of strangers.

If you are on the radio or television, a single mistake can cost your job and wreck your life. You saw it this year with several TV personalities, such as our own Kevin Steincross. A veteran of over 20 years for Fox 2, Steincross accidentally said a racial slur in relation to Martin Luther King Jr. and was put on indefinite leave and later officially let go. One mistake from one of the nicest guys in the world got him canned.

We are living in WOKE nation right now, and you could be next. The next few words out of your mouth could cost you a lot. Why does it have to be this way? Is there a clear cut reason people need to be offended by every single thing?

How did this start? One day, a few people overheard a couple other souls joking about sex and took offense. They wrote about it, the message spread like wildfire, and everybody became inflamed. I can’t be sure but it’s a fair guess.

It’s not just holiday greetings and songs, folks. You can’t joke about a lot of stuff right now. For example, if you make fun of someone’s condition, it’s pretty much human integrity treason. Joking about cancer, something that affects millions and probably needs a little lighthearted fun to take minds off the dread ahead, is off limits. Okay, but what about every condition?

Example: A few years ago, a friend of mine made a comment about schizophrenia. I had posted on Twitter about someone reaching out to me via direct message about how my writing inspired them and that they wanted some advice on how to start. My friend, who loves to poke fun and chirp, quote-tweeted my tweet and wrote, “Dan suffers from schizophrenia.” He was basically saying I suffered from a neurological condition due to thinking I would inspire someone to write. This friend knows who he is, so there’s no need to call him out.

I took it hard, and the reason is simple. For the past twenty or so years, a close family member of mine has suffered from schizophrenia. There’s been good times, bad times, and some ugly ones-but we’re persevered and found a way to battle it. When my friend said this, I got mad and returned about three fiery tweets in his direction. I sent him a text. I almost called. To put it frankly, I was pissed.

A few months later, I was the one kidding about a disease or condition. I made a remark about a hockey fan staying off the ledge in the middle of a rough season. A different friend of mine, one who suffered from depression and anxiety, wasn’t pleased with my joke. We went back and forth, arguing about it, and by the end I apologized.

Here’s why I shouldn’t have to apologize to my friend, and also why the other friend shouldn’t have to apologize to me: jokes are okay. No harm is implied. Sometimes, you need to take a dire condition and use it to poke fun. Lightening the mood can be a life-preserving move. A motion to enhance life instead of cast darkness all over it.

These days, when I think about the schizophrenia joke, I laugh. I take a minute, understand the intent, and notify myself that it’s okay to laugh. Yes, my family deals with this endless bastard of a condition, but joking about it doesn’t make the situation worse. It lessens the load of pressure for just a few minutes.

We all need to lighten the fuck up and not be offended by everything possible. Schools need to stop punishing kids for lame offenses. Players need to understand the difference between a coach slapping them across the room and yelling at them. Strangers need to shut down the Woke app on their 24/7 person.

Please, for the love of good bourbon, ease up. Let’s have some fun. None of us are making it out of here alive, so we better enjoy it while the clock counts down.

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