A persistent buzzword— along with “AI” and “machine learning,” which we use without a clue what they mean — is “-shaming.”
We have body-shaming, fat-shaming, skinny-shaming, donut-shaming, phone-shaming, slut-shaming, lunch-shaming, poor-shaming, rich-shaming, Trump-shaming, fascist- and socialist-shaming and every manner of -shaming that are verboten, as all shaming should be.
People apparently shame people because they feel ashamed of themselves. For relief they project their self-loathing on others. At least that’s what my therapist said when I laughed at his medical certificate and wispy beard covering his weak chin, called him a fraud, and then smashed his desk trinkets and rolled into a ball and cried until I laughed again. Good session.
Since my therapist diagnosed me for insurance-reimbursement purposes as “shameless” (which oddly I could not locate in my dog-eared DSM-5), I decided to make lemonade from a sow’s ear, as the saying goes. I’m telling everyone not to shame me for anything I am, say or do, lest I ramp it up by shaming them back to eviscerate their very souls.
For example, if you say my mother was a hamster, I’ll respond, “No, YOUR mother was a hamster!!!!” (Since mine bred me with good manners, I shan’t descend to shame my shamers with further tired Monty Python references.)
Suffice that I am shedding all pretense, doing me, letting me be me, and embracing that I am proudly shameless.
As such, I cannot be shameless-shamed. So nobody can attack my personal agency by, for example:
1. Missed deadline-shaming. You have no idea the unhealthy stress that’s painfully tightening my lumbago with sciatica radiating down my leg caused by shamelessly insensitive bosses that pressure me to deliver projects when they need them, as we agreed on, in exchange for the money they paid me.
2. Filthy home-shaming. I’m allergic to all household cleaning products, even planet-sensitive all natural locavore ones, and also that weird burning smell the vacuum cleaner makes. And I hear climate change is causing ocean sponges to die, so I will not be part of the sponge genocide by the big oil and chemical companies just to rid my commode of evidence of my humanity.
(By the way, I looked up “ocean sponges dying” and saw this post on ReefSanctuary.com: “My wife put this sponge in her nano a few weeks ago and since it has started to turn white on the backside. Is this thing dying and needs to be taken out or what’s the deal?” I have no idea what that means, but can’t stop laughing on account of my shamelessness.)
3. Bad table manners-shaming. This is how I eat, ok? Love me, love me for who I am, or maybe you don’t really and you’re a liar who is too damaged to love? No shame if so.
FYI, chewing with my mouth open lets in oxygen that aids in digestion. Wiping my mouth on my rock band tee-shirt sleeve at a black-tie dinner saves a tree that would be killed for your fancy napkins. Guzzling your “priceless” 1999 Lafite-Rothschild is how I, myself, appreciate fine wines while sneering at their snottiness. Using utensils is a white privileged Ms. Manners First World conceit that makes no sense when the human hand can deliver for example pasta more efficiently like I once read the indigenous Italians did.
4. Bad driver-shaming. Everyone drives like a jerk sometimes. Recently while driving I texted someone about how the idiot driver in front of me didn’t move when the light turned green because he probably was texting someone about the idiot in front of him who was texting someone about the texting idiot driver in front of him, etc.
I’m still a better driver than the other 99.9 percent. Shame on any bad drivers for projecting their bad-driving shame on me.
5. Older privileged white Western cisgender male identified-shaming. Yeah, yeah, I know — I should be ashamed of what my ilk has done to Earth and humanity. Believe me, it’s hard sometimes to sleep at night given my shame and also age. Please know I’m draped in repentant sackcloth and ashes and complaining how they’re scratchy and altogether uncomfortable.
As a pathetic older white guy, sorry, I can’t even do shame right. Shame on you for shaming me.
Jeffrey Denny is a Washington writer