Monday, September 28, 2020

You can always count on a few people to ruin everything for the rest of us.


It occurs to me that we live in a kind of science-fiction dystopia. Elections and politics aside, a very small group of people can and do frequently bring ruin to the lives of all the rest of us. Why is this allowed to happen? Because our society is enormous, and there are a ton of people on this planet. Because of this sheer fact, it is impossible not to be affected by the things that a few bad apples do. Case in point:

1) Hackers. Hackers go after everything from regular email to banks to smart devices like thermostats and coffee makers. They lock up your pc with ransomware and steal your information. The result that we all pay for comes in the form of sky-high security with two-factor authentication, facial recognition, passwords a mile long that need to be changed once a month, security questions, secondary emails that passwords can be sent to, registrations within your smart phone so that text security messages can be sent there, and the list goes on and on. Have you seen an old person try to use a device once they've forgotten a password to access something? Have you ever been confronted by an iPad that bricked itself, because too many wrong password guesses were entered? Welcome to the realities of the 21st century. In my own life, I keep track of my aging father's monthly expenses for his nursing home. When his bank that handles his money upgraded to a new website with enhanced security, it literally took me one hour from start to finish to get access to his account to verify that everything was okay.

2) Covid 19 and masks. Probably 90% of people I know wear masks. Then there's the 10% that yell, "Don't tread on me!" and "It's against the Constitution" and blah blah blah. So what is the price that all of us pay for this? Well, our passports are worthless now, 200,000 people have died from this disease, and we can't stop the numbers from growing. It's impossible, and our country is in meltdown. Okay then...seems pretty obvious that a few bad apples have spoiled everything for everyone.

3) Comfort animals on airplanes. It used to be a lot simpler to be able to bring your dog onto the plane. Now, you've got to jump through a ton of hoops because a few people decided they would bring their ducks, their snakes, their rats, and whatever else that they decided was a thing that lowered their anxiety. So what used to be easy is now hard for those with legitimate disabilities to be able to qualify for in order to fly a plane.

4) Renting. I'm old enough to remember when you didn't have to sign a lease for an apartment. People just trusted you to take care of their property, and you know what? The people that moved into that place actually did take care of the property. Signing a lease, paying for first and last month's rent, and requiring deposits all came about because somebody somewhere got screwed by another person, and to try and prevent that, other landlords started putting in safeguards. Now, new people will have to sign their life away in triplicate and have their credit checked and have references just to find a "temporary" and "grotesquely expensive" place to live.

5) Children playing outside. I'm also old enough to remember when kids could play outside safely, and when parents wouldn't panic that their child was out in a park unsupervised. A few kids nationwide met with terrible ends, and it scared the crap out of folks everywhere. Look...I know that's unfortunate and sad and awful. But the backlash has been helicopter parenting, and I don't think children have actually been (statistically) any safer because family can suck just as badly as the random dangerous stranger.

6) Prenuptial Agreements. This didn't used to be a thing, except for the very rich. But now, no one trusts anyone because of a few horrific divorces. I literally have friends who (when getting married) have insisted that their fiancé sign one of these things. That's so romantic, don't you think? It's just another example of how a few bad apples spoiled the bunch.

I could probably go on, but my whole point is that it sucks when we allow a few people who do very bad things completely derail and/or change the way we live. I also don't have any answers as to how you do otherwise. It's simply an observation and a commentary. I suppose my personal philosophy is that a few bad people do indeed ruin life for everyone else. So knowing this fact of life...we should always proceed with the assumption that we are going to get screwed collectively by a few bad people doing bad things, and just try as hard as we can to minimize the damage on our end. Seems reasonable, right?

Welcome to dystopia.


  1. I agree with all of that. (One's comfort animal is a snake?) A few have ruined it for many. We've also become a society where we expect everyone else to keep us safe and don't take responsibility for ourselves.
    Sorry it's such a pain to check your father's money.

  2. I disagree on the rental thing. I think that was mostly when property ownership went from a single person or small company to now where larger companies own most rental properties. So now instead of a one-on-one transaction you're dealing with a corporate transaction, hence more paperwork.

    I think the late George Carlin had a bit about kids not being able to play outside and that was 20-25 years ago. How true that is probably depends on where you live. In most urban neighborhoods it definitely isn't safe for kids to be out playing pretty much ever.

    Anyway, I agree with the sentiment. It's hard for one person to make a positive difference but one person can certainly f**k it all up for everyone.

  3. I have a difficult time looking past the very worst apple ever that's occupying the White House, right now. He's certainly screwing everyone in the world at the moment.

  4. Yes, it's all so very true. Especially all the security. My Dad used to lock up his online bank account on a regular basis, and then he'd want me to fix it. He doesn't go on the computer anymore. As for masks, what is even worse is these college kids having parties and all coming down with it. Completely not carrying about other people and selfishly wanting their own fun.

  5. Yup. There's a teacher who has a great quote, or not a quote but a thing on her wall. If I can recall. . . Every law (or school rule) exists because someone screwed it up. Nope, that's not it. That was the gist, though.