I sat and though about this for a few while working. I'm not angry, not really. I'm pissed off at a lot of things: the direction of my country, the regression of politics, internet cultures, education, etc. But being pissed off is not the same as angry.
When and where I grew up, men did not display emotion. We were supposed to be Stoic rocks around which we build friendships and families. Emotions were for women and children. If you cried as a man there better someone in a casket, and once the box was in the ground you better stop that shit. If you got overly emotional you better be drunk, and we are all going to make fun of you in the morning.
This of course leads to the inevitable conversation:
Adult: Well, Billy, it is a great mystery, isn't it.
I got lucky. About the time my friends started on the path to having this shit eat them alive I discovered the online world and anonymity. With an anon account I could be angry, sad, etc and not have to deal with parents and family telling me to snap back into shape. Some people I grew up with were not so lucky. So I come off as an angry bitter cunt online sometimes (most times?) but that is not really what I am for the most part. 25ish years ago I was living in the void asking, legitimately, why bother keeping on. Then, yes I was angry. At the world, but mostly myself. Now I have a job I love with people I enjoy working with. I have a seven-figure net worth (at least on paper), a house I love living in, a car, money to do fun shit once in a while. I have a hobby that brings me joy with people who appreciate my contributions. I even use my hobby to better the community I live in and can say I'm doing my part to make the place suck just a bit less than when I found it.
I can honestly say that right now, I am content. But that is not really the word I am looking for. The word is Happy. I Am Happy. It's weird typing that out as there have not been many times in my life I could say that and mean it. But yes, now is one of those times. It takes getting used to somedays because I still have that Stoic anti-emotional mindset and appearance that was beaten into me from childhood. But, yea, happy.
200 hours of outreach work this year, not counting setup and tear-down. About 300 hours total over 55 events since January. Write that shit down, document every-fucking-thing and submit paperwork. Wait two weeks or so. And in the end you get these pretty little pins showing that you have done something that only 800 some-odd people have done. I'm tired, I'm a bit stressed from work and life, and the health situation is not in a good place. But these two awards have hit me a bit harder than I thought they would. The awards are numbered, and I honestly believed that there had been thousands of the awards given out. I know other people are doing astronomy outreach, they must not be paying membership dues and doing paperwork. With these two small bits of metal and ceramic and enamel, I have tangible proof that 2017 did not entirely suck a bag of erect cocks.
If the motto of our small community is "pushing back against the darkness" then I can say, with no hesitations, that I am doing my part.
The recent half of the family came over to get the hell out of Ireland when the Brits starved people intentionally, then sort-of intentionally, sort of accidentally started a religious civil war. According to the family bible, they stayed with black families that introduced them to Jewish people before they noped-the-hell-out of NYC and Boston in the 1830's. They ended up in Philly just in time to realize they had to go west. They kept a list of names of people that helped them out along the way and ended up mining in the Rocky Mountains when the Civil War started.
The father of one of the families notes in the margins of Romans 14 and not sure why this stuck with me, but in shaky pen was written: Hebrew fed me beef. First in my years eating flesh of cattle.
The older men in the group had to be in their 40's when they came over, so this was a 50ish year old man writing this statement. I wonder how many more Irish immigrants never ate cow/beef until they came to the US and started working here.
It's not a hope thing. It's an anger and frustration thing. They suck down more in SSI than I make a year, they have a full pension on top of that, have a house paid off, and with Prop. 13 in California are only paying $400 a year in property taxes, less than a third what I pay out in the sticks. And Medicare takes care of ALL their health bills. My dad retired after 30 years in a union job that offered they health care for life, so they get free Supplemental Medicare; they don't even pay deductibles. This is good for me as they are taken care of and I do not have to worry about my mom and dad ending up homeless. And here is where I start to get mother fucking hostile and angry at this generation of fuck shits.
The Boomers are the definition of privileged. They grew up in a superpower that invested heavily in the future. What did they do with the world they were given? Fucked over the planet's ecology, turned the US from the largest creditor nation ever seen to the largest debtor nation (IN EIGHT FUCKING YEARS BY THE WAY) Fucked over the educational system, tore up the unions, and sat in front of the TV for 40 years and did fuck all of nothing with the amazing gifts they were given. Computer revolution? their kids did that. Moon race? Their parents did that. They fucked up the housing market so bad I don't think it can be fixed. They turned College into a necessity then turned that need into a lifelong debt sentence while at the same time shitting on blue collar work that is in dire need of people. The one wage household died and was left as a rotting corpse in a barely read history book under their watch. Vaccinations that eliminated Polio, Measles, Smallpox etc? Their parents did that... they did so well that the anti-vax people are mow mostly the children of the people who worked so hard to eliminate those diseases. Now, Boomers like my parents whine that "those damn kids" (that they raised btw) are ruining everything and nothing is their fault. They are against tax reform unless it lowers taxes to starve the government, while also moaning that SSI is not giving COLAs. They suck down on Medicare while complaining of entitled Bernie people wanting socialized health care. And its not just my parents. It's most of them. The Boomers either became drug using burn outs (while also being the generation that waged an all out war on drugs), yuppies whom sold the industrial base to play stock market or apathetic losers who can't be assed to question the bullshit they suck down 12 hours a day from the media.
Boomers benefited from a functional government that would now be called socialist, then voted for three bands of robber barons that dismantled the benefits they were handed as children. Boomers gave us Reagan, W Bush and Trump. And while I have grave disagreements with Bill Clinton, he is going to get a pass by being lucky to get the benefits of the tech boom that masked the economic chaos of his war on pensions and unions not to mention the roll back of Roosevelt's work to separate banks from the stock market that lead to the '07 crash. More and more in my mind, it seems that everything the Boomer Generation touches turns to pure shit. The only 'hope' is that they all forgot to save for retirement as they voted to gut pensions and they all got fat and lazy so their life expectancy is dropping. We have maybe a decade left of the Boomers as a political force to have their one last hoorah at destruction, thank you for President Trump. Then the rest of us, I hope, can pick up the pieces and make some sort of future out of the ashes.