Ten Types of People I Avoid for Sanity’s Sake

Over the years, I have learned to ask these traveling hucksters if they have a minute to hear about apostolic succession which usually gives me enough time to slam the door in their faces.

  1. The Know-It-All:

Cliff Clavin

We’ve all met this type. Say for example you’re heavy into a conversation with a theoretical physicist at a dinner party or a barbeque (what? it could happen…). Out of nowhere comes the Cliff Clavin in sheep’s clothing, espousing all kinds of nonsense he’s read on the internet (and we know it must be true if it’s on the internet, right?). He’s not afraid to go to toe with specialists in a field like astrophysics, having memorized names like Einstein, Feynman, Greene, and the ubiquitous Neil de Grasse Tyson from whose television series Cosmos he will quote from diligently but never give proper credit where it’s due. And it doesn’t stop at theoretical physics. These people are shameless. The Know-It-Alls, or KIAs, understand the basic workings of everything under the sun. Just ask them. They will tell you, going on ad nauseum if you let them. KIAs will tell a carpenter how to frame out a house without having taken a wood shop class much less worked in construction. Ditto for writing books. Never mind that the KIA couldn’t string a sentence together if his life depended on it, but he will tell you all you need to know about what constitutes a good novel and what tropes one should avoid in storytelling.

  1. The Eternal Questioner:

Questioner

The EQ (Eternal Questioner) is often a friend or a colleague whose sentences conclude with an upending inflection that turns even the most demonstrative statement into a question. Example: “If my boss doesn’t get off my back, I am going to quit this job?”

  1. The Closed Loop:

screamingatcomputer

The best place to encounter this breed is in their natural habitat called Facebook. They are known to prowl other social media as well; such as Twitter. Loopers, as I like to call them, seem utterly unaware of any other positions with regard to politics, religion, life, the universe, everything. They will never entertain someone else’s point of view; no matter how well-informed someone outside their closed loop of thinking might be. They are the ones who complain about neighborhoods changing (read: minorities moving in to their once-predominately white neighborhood), they are the ones who have it on good authority that President Barack Obama is in fact a high-level member of Al Qaeda sent to these United States to ruin our country , and they cannot accept any idea that threatens the very foundation of their otherwise limited perception of reality.

  1. The Blindly Devoted, Serial Alien Contactees, and Other Assorted Creepoids:

tinfoil hats

This would include Jehovah Witnesses and anyone else compelled to go to door-to-door to dole out conversion. Over the years, I have learned to ask these traveling hucksters if they have a minute to hear about apostolic succession which usually gives me enough time to slam the door in their faces. I am equally suspicious of those who commune directly with angels, extra-dimensional entities, or dare I say even God. Seriously. Whenever someone mutters “Because the Bible tells me so,” I generally back away calmly and vacate the area.

  1. The Perennial Conspiracy Nut:

alex

At some point in their lives, Perennial Conspiracy Nuts, or PCNs, were in touch with reality (at least the reality that rational people share); but this is no longer the case. The average PCN is out of touch—typically with their family and often the most basic of human needs. PCNs know all about The Illuminati, UFOs, 9/11, the JFK Assassination, and those pesky lenticular clouds they often mistake for chem trails. Plenty of theory to go around, but no hard evidence…ever.

  1. The Self-Proclaimed Gifted Writer:

Black-and-white-writer

Any writer my age or younger who openly professes to other writers my age or younger to be better than the following writers:

  1. Vladimir Nabokov
  2. Flannery O’Connor
  3. Joyce Carol Oates
  4. Robert Stone
  5. Dorothy Allison
  6. Thomas Pynchon

etc, etc.

  1. The Henry Rollins Is a Literary God Mob:

HenryRollins2010

This includes anyone who thinks Henry Rollins spoken word work is better than the aforementioned writers in #6. One only needs to visit the homes of these types and see the lack of books in their possession to know just how badly they have been duped.

  1. Tea Baggers in All of Their Full Tea Baggery:

tea party npr

  1. Militant Femi-Nazis:

milifem

Really, we get it. Please just stop.

  1. Animal Rights Nuts:

animalrights

This would include anyone with an affiliation to any number of animal advocacy/rights groups whose position on the homeless problem in this country (and around the world) is for said homeless to get a job and their troubles would be over. How anyone can advocate for the rights of animals but turn a blind eye to the homeless, as if they are someone else’s problem, is beyond me. Perhaps one day rescued animals will turn on their masters, and the homeless can move into the vacated domeciles of the recently departed.

Angels in Small Doses

There are people in life who believe there are no coincidences. I was never one of them. Well, I wasn’t until recently. What happened to me was sort of big. Real big, but hardly tangible, and, worse, I have no way of substantiating what happened. It was, one might say, a leap of faith. And here is where some readers will inevitably say Ok, I’m getting off at the next stop. That next stop may be the period that follows this sentence. Or this one.

So, here’s the thing. I have always had a fascination with angels. It all began when I was a little boy. I don’t remember the age now. I might have been six years old or seven years old. It doesn’t matter. My mother had these little ceramic angel figurines. Cherubs, they were. When I was boy I had a recurring dream that I met those angels beneath the kitchen table. They were bigger in my dreams, the angels I mean. Maybe as big as me when I was little. In my dream we talked. Sadly, I no longer remember the content of the conversations. But then who among us remembers the dream conversations of their youth? Anyway, talking to life-size angels beneath your mother’s kitchen table was weird. What was more weird was how I got to the kitchen. In my dreams, I floated down their stairs (L-shaped) in our old house in Camden, NJ. Even as a boy, I thought it odd that my feet never touched the steps; likewise, I hovered several inches over the floor of the dining room that led to the kitchen where I would come to rest before the table beneath which the angels huddled. Then I would duck down beneath the table and join the celestial pow-wow already in-progress.

When I visited Roman Catholic churches, I was always fascinated by the angels. Statues, wood carvings, paintings on vaulted ceilings and what have you. There was something about their faces that always intrigued me. Angels found their way into my art. They even took up a big portion of my first novel which I self-published some years ago. The name of that novel was The Last Dark Place, a tale about Satan charged with finding the first soul ever created in order to prove his worth and get back into Heaven. Weighty for the first time out? Sure. But at heart my novel was a comedy story. If you want, check out the book yourself and see for yourself.

Some time after 2000 and maybe 2007 I dabbled with letter-writing. I found a web site, or maybe it was in one of the many books I had read about angels, that suggested a person might want to write a letter to an angel, a specific angel, and ask for whatever it is you wanted in life. Not money, power, prestige, or anything like that. Simple things. Little things like peace of mind, someone getting over an illness, or help with grieving the loss of a loved one. I chose Michael. Once I wrote the letters, may be a half-dozen in all over the course of several months, the directions said seal each one in an envelope and tuck them away. Later, it was ok to open them. I moved around in that time, carrying the angel letters with me. Southern Jersey to Philly, Philly to central Jersey, and then here where I live in Havertown, PA. I recently opened those six letters. Everything I asked for came true. Sure, I am still as poor as the day is long, and my emotions experience peaks and valleys just like every other human being on the planet. What matters is that I asked for things of spiritual value, for peace in my life, for love, for simple things that are worth more than monetary or material things.

Since opening those letters I thought often of the archangel Michael, what he meant to Christianity, to the Roman Church; how he vanquished Satan; but more importantly what he meant to me. A couple of years ago I went to pick up my son at school. I was thinking about Michael. I even told my son about him, how we can call on St. Michael to protect us (from bad dreams which was my son was experiencing at the time). So, there I was at my son’s school and I look up. There’s a single cloud in an otherwise blue sky in the shape of an angel. I took a photo of it because I thought it was cool. I even posted on my facebook page.

I am no longer convinced of the randomness of life, but I am human and I still do have doubts about matters of spirituality, etc. For me, I think there are energies greater than us at play. Maybe they are angels, maybe not. Maybe I’ve met them and maybe not. What’s the old saying from the bible about entertaining angels unaware?

A long time ago I used to be freaked out by things I cannot explain. Last week I experienced a lucid dream in which a bright light in the shape of a man was standing beside my bed. At first, I thought it was the sun coming through the blinds; but then I remembered my windows were to my right and the light man was standing beside my bed on the left. I felt no alarm, no reason to be afraid.

That experience reminded me of those dreams I had as a boy, meeting angels beneath the kitchen table. Over the past few days since that incident I thought about angels, their role in our lives. Maybe that was why when a young woman walked into the place I work and told me she wanted to purchase a silver chain for a pendant she had I didn’t think it was a coincidence. The young woman showed me the pendant. It was St. Michael the Archangel. Strange as it may sound, I was waiting for that young woman and her pendant. I can’t explain it. Validation? Maybe, maybe not. All I do know is that I am leaning less toward coincidence, and a little more toward things happening for a reason. In our day and age there are no more burning bushes, no celestial wheels spinning in the sky the way they did for Ezekiel. No, angels work on smaller scale now. Even Michael, whose name in Hebrew means “One who is like God,” doesn’t get to flex that much anymore. Small doses, as they say. At least it works for me.