This is really upsetting, isn't it? It's really upsetting for me. It makes me cry and it's hard to look at. I realize opening a post with a photograph like this is possibly as questionable as opening a post with a car accident showing a couple of dead bodies that haven't been cleared yet. I have one of those. I considered it for a while. This is better though; much higher percentage of driving the point, points really, home. Yeah. Um, no. It's not fucking OK to punch Nazis. It's not OK to hit anyone and if you don't know what I'm talking about stop reading, open a google browser and type Nazi punching. Then come back.
The conversation began to the left of me toward the end of the the evening about forty minutes after I needed the house to be empty but only T had gone. The girls were in the kitchen and I'd picked up my knitting on the couch all the way to the right having retreated after a too passionate conversation about exactly why the house was going to be dumped and when. I was done.
"...I'm not arguing about whether it's alright to punch Nazis or not, I'm arguing about..."
Me: Whoa! Back the truck up! It's not OK to punch ANYONE. I hope that was a metaphorical statement?
Mike: Mother, I don't punch anyone, I just needed to be able to back up my belief system logically without emotion and that was the argument I was having at the time.
The truck backed up because I found myself listening to my son talk about examining his belief systems, not really sure where they came from and then questioning whether or not they worked for him because he felt he needed to defend them. Logically. Rationally. Without emotion. He is his maternal grandfather's direct descendent.
I explained social mores, their root, their purpose, and why we need them; all the while Lucia's man sitting to my left, vigorously nodding his head in agreement until I got to the part about being willing to understand that social mores only support a community of a certain size with certain needs and after that the community next door needs its own set and those would be different depending on what the community needs to sustain itself.
He looked at me.
Me: Mike, when we try to talk to each other its usually from our own viewing point and then suddenly we want that community to adopt our beliefs and that just isn't going to work and suddenly we're all emotional, usually because we feel threatened and the yelling and screaming starts and nobody hears anything, nothing can be solved and you have Israel and Palestine
and the Irish German Ashkenazi left side of the couch exploded into fragments and when it unstuck itself from the walls and fabric it spoke.
NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN! ISRAEL NEEDS TO GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE THOSE RIGHT WING BASTARDS ARE SO FUCKED UP
Me: Dude. Settle down. Have you ever been to Israel? Met and Israeli? Walked through the streets of any major or even minor Israeli city? Do you even know anything about Israel other that an American perspective because what I'm hearing isn't exactly jiving with personal experience so I'm just curious about where this is coming from.
DOESN'T MATTER, I DON'T HAVE TO KNOW, I KNOW WHAT THEY DID, WHAT THEY'VE ALWAYS DONE, WHAT THEY ALWAYS WILL DO AND WHO THEY ARE. THEY DIDN'T HAVE TO GO THERE, THEY COULD HAVE COME HERE!!!! WHO DID THEY THINK THEY WERE, TAKING THAT LAND?!!!
Mike: Dude. We didn't want them.
Dude: Well, my family came here.
Mike: Dude. That's great but we didn't want them. Perhaps you've heard of a certain ship turned away, off the coast of Florida? There were others. Anyway, that ship was overflowing, people were hanging off the sides, starving, people were in the hold dying. The children were being fed, they wanted the children to survive. They turned around. The Netherlands, I think, could be wrong, took some of them. The children and the rest went to the camps. Just saying. Most everybody we turned away died.
Aslo, Dude. That land was given to them. They were put there. They were put there because nobody wanted them.
The conversation never stopped being heated until we backed away from it. Dude has a great deal of emotion associated with that small sliver of land. I'd be interested in finding out why someday.
Back on Nazi punching.
Wow. There were a lot of photographs out there when I went looking. One is of a man I can almost place. I remember this guy, he was outed at rally and then hunted. The white people following the white man in the suit carry a sign that reads: White Lives Matter Too Much.
I believe there is a good bit of truth to that. And these truths as well:
- Northern (Yankee) lives matter too much
- East coast lives matter too much
- West coast lives matter too much
- New York City lives matter too much
- DC and surrounding area lives matter too much
- the 1 and 2% lives matter too much
- College educated people's lives matter too much
- People in white collar jobs lives matter too much
I could continue but if I haven't made my point with that list I'll be blunt: The people who believe they SHOULD be in power because they are smarter, or have more money, or do more important things, or have control of what America is really all about, or truly understand the way things work, or on the winning team, or have the most of anything, those are the people who honest to God BELIEVE their lives matter more.
Matter the most to the point where all other lives matter really very little at all and there is a very fine line between the actions which say - you all don't matter a damn - and the words that just come right out and speak them. Sometimes that fine line is a few glasses of wine and the safety of your family.
I don't mean to throw anyone under the bus so we'll pause and look at that for a minute. My family, in many ways represents any American family and if you think it doesn't then it's time to pick up that mirror we hold out in front of us (the one we all use, it helps us see other people and might help them see themselves too) and turn it around. I'm not suggesting judgement, just that you might not be able to see something in you that lives right out in the open in me. I'm pointing this out because most of my life people have walked right up to me and expressed, with emotions that run every color of the spectrum. You freaking lunatic; you amazing woman; you should write a book about your family; there is no one like you; you people are insane; you're a train wreck (that's my all time favorite, in all seriousness, it is); you are the strongest woman I've ever met; you are the most open, compassionate person I know; you have some serious balls, lady (is that a backhanded compliment? I can never tell); you make my eyes bleed; what the fuck is wrong with you?; you sure do wear the pants in your family, don't you?; did you emasculate all three of your husbands?; were you damaged by all three of your husbands?; do you have any control over your emotions at all?; are you ice queen? do have any emotions?; are you always this brutally honest?; maybe you shouldn't be so direct; aren't you worried about people discovering the truth?; how do manage to get all that done?; you are an amazing mother; you are a horrible mother; you would never have worked if you had the choice, right?; why haven't gone back toward senior management?; you're really very good at what you do, aren't you?; God, that's such a waste of your talents; your kids are amazing; your kids are seriously damaged; your kids are neglected; you over parent your kids; you're not doing enough; you do too much; why aren't you dating?; there's no way you should even think about getting involved right now; you really need to get out more. Really, this is all of us one way or another.
It took me a while to recognize that despite my belief that I lived on the fringes of society, I do in fact live dead center in the middle of America. If I climb the highest possible tower (we have plenty of them in this part of the country because we're damn special and therefore you would THINK we'd have better vision) and turn very slowly I can also see that I live dead center in the middle of the world.
If I take a minute to let that settle two things come to mind.
- The world does not revolve around me therefore I can not be at the epicenter; no one is at the epicenter
- The world does not revolve around anyone therefore anyone at any one time is and can be at the epicenter making us all equally responsible in some way for the state of our lives and the world.
And then there's this which my social mores support to the bone:
- Some lives matter more than other lives at any given moment depending on needs and circumstances. This may not always be so and it doesn't diminish any other life, but those lives matter more in that moment and therefore become a focal point
Not all social mores support this belief. I have to accept that. If I don't accept that I'm out of my freaking mind because I've just invalidated the neighboring village with social mores that don't support the belief.
Key: Why don't they support the belief? What need does not supporting the belief serve the community? What don't I know about them? What am I missing? This has nothing to do with right or wrong and everything to do with why we go to war and why trade centers get bombed (we care enough about that shit to support a war that's been going on since my seventeen year old daughter was nine months old) and why Beirut gets trashed (we sort of care about this but we may not be aware that Beirut is not its own country) and why the ethnic cleansing is still happening in Myanmar (we don't give a damn and probably aren't even aware and most of us have no idea that once upon a time Myanmar was Burma and why the name was changed in 1989 - well, I think it matters)
I can't HEAR you. Even worse: I can't SEE you. Most egregious: I don't know that you and I are tied at the hip and my survival depends on yours and your survival depends on mine. God, its awful.
Nazi punching. How is that any different from assaulting people of color on the streets because we could? There was good reason for assaulting people of color on the streets. They were uppity. They didn't know their place. I might have just been in a bad mood and needed a punching bag and that's what they were for. Dammit. That was our belief system, so deeply ingrained in a good part of the country that to be a white man, or worse, a white woman and try to fight that was a death sentence for somebody. Just because it turns out we have decided people of color weren't doing a damn thing wrong and hopefully (oh please, sweet baby jesus, let it never happen) we are never going to decide that the local Nazi population is perfectly right and good and weren't doing a damn thing wrong (OK, face it, this shit could happen) punching them is WRONG! It is morally and ethically wrong and the people who are doing it need to go to jail for assault. Period. End of story.
And probably a little therapy wouldn't hurt.
And also, oh my god so important, this business of free speech. I will almost always revert to Harvey Milk. The right to free speech does not protect you from the consequences of your speech but it does not remove a couple of key rights, like the right to not be punched in the street which is what's going to happen when you upset people but those people still get to be arrested for assault and battery. AND you are still protected from being shot in the street by a person in uniform. At least in theory. Harvey Milk. It has to work both ways as with flag burning. It has to be. We don't get to pick or someone will be picking for us someday. Christ, people.
OK, so here's where the conversation got really hard.
We were talking about how forty-five came to be in office and Dude (I think that's his name at least for this post) had some very strong beliefs about the electoral college and the fact that the red states, what we've been calling the fly-over states, and I never will again after last night, can outvote us and should not be allowed the power.
Why the hell not?
Because they should not be allowed to represent America.
Why the hell not?
Because they're ignorant.
I'm not following.
They're not clued in, they don't see the broader picture, all they hear is what forty-five promises them and they don't even pay attention to the rest.
So you would take away their vote?
Yes. I think the weight of the votes should be on the East and West coasts.
Am I really hearing this?
Yes, this is America. Here on the coasts where the decisions are made and people can think.
Am I really hearing this? I got news for you, we are ALL America. Seriously. We are ALL America. Those farmers out there? They feed your ass. Just sayin'.
Well, they can keep feeding me but they sure as shit cannot put a monster in the Whitehouse.
Well, there we have a problem, don't we?
Yeah, we have a problem, they don't think when they vote.
Maybe we need to find out what's going on out there.
Why the hell do I need to do that?
Holy shit, Dude.
Those are your brothers and sisters.
Let's pause for a breath. During the Obama administration the very hardest thing I had to hear was conversation about Obama's birth certificate. Every time that conversation came up it was like a punch in the gut. If it came up on Fox news I could tune it out. If I heard it second hand as a Rush Limbaugh sound bite, I could write it off as, well Rush Limbaugh. If it came out of the mouth of someone I considered intelligent and logical it knocked the wind out of me. If it came out of the mouth of someone intelligent, logical, and thoughtful it drove me to my knees. I never said a word. You know why? Fox, Rush, the screaming racists, and the far right aside, for the rest of these voices what was speaking was something very real and very deep rooted. I'm not going to argue with that. There was an entire staff of people responsible for making that particular case and at the time my party was going batshit over it. I stopped talking and just listened and I heard fear and pain and some things I just couldn't identify and it didn't matter because it was real. That was the first time I let something wash over me in waves until it stopped burning my skin and breaking my heart and stopped being about me and in the end I didn't hear my own fear anymore, or maybe what I did hear was my own fear. My own fear was, if intelligent, logical, compassionate people can believe this so strongly than the world is on tilt and maybe they believe other things far darker that I don't want to see because I wouldn't be able to love them anymore. How can people in the north believe these things? In the end I didn't stop loving anyone even though I thought if I opened my mouth I might not be loved. Anyway, when it stopped hurting I could hear.
About Dude's fear: it is epic. Oh my god, it is epic, all consuming, it starts at his feet, flames engulf his body, closing up over the top of his head. Dude sees nothing but however many rednecks with greasy baseball caps and oversized diesel pickups (he couldn't identify a make or model to save his life) living in shacks or trailers spread out across the red states, beer can in one hand, welfare check in another, shotgun on the rack mounted on the back window (sort of but he's not sure how exactly) and they scare the shit out of him.
This is what the media has fed him.
I don't watch the television so I'm not entirely clear what the media is feeding either side but you know there are three types of lies: Lies, damned lies, and statistics. Now we call them alternative truths. It seems no one is doing much thinking these days.
Farmers, I said. Farmers across the midwest growing corn fence post to fence post having stopped the rotating of crops and turned to a fertilizer that has slowly destroyed the soil. Farmers across the midwest growing corn fence post to fence post losing their family farms one after another with no where else to go and nothing else to contribute because this is what they are, lost and angry and frightened having come out of an economy and regime that manipulated agricultural economy, subsidized when it might not have, changed the way we knew how to farm and slowly blew us to pieces. There are lobbyists for industries in the midwest that sway votes for things and reasons you probably haven't even heard of and if you have it's unlikely you understand. There are needs in those communities which create social mores that are so different from your own you might not even recognize them as a social more and step right on top of one creating angst and pain and out of politeness you might not be reprimanded until it's too late and you're backhanded in a way you clearly wouldn't understand.
This, this in the fields in the midwest all the way to Idaho, this IS America. You, we, are not so much. We are something else entirely. If you can put that hat on maybe just for five minutes you might see something very valuable.
Dude lost his ever-loving mind for a few moments.
Mike: Maybe that was too strong.
Me: (when Dude was breathing again) Listen, Dude and Mike, get in your car and drive south. Go to Bristol Tennessee and park your car. Do NOT under any circumstances open your mouth unless you absolutely have to. Start walking. Go into a dinner or small restaurant. Stop at a gas station and sit on the front porch with a cherry cola or whatever it's called (I don't remember) if there's a front porch to sit on. Sit and watch and listen. Stay a few days. Stay a week. When you open your mouth say the words you've heard the way you've heard them with your own accent. Here is how you say Appalachia: Apple At Chya. Never, ever, ever say Apple aye sha. We do that up here, not out of ignorance but out of arrogance and it's got to stop. Stay in Appalachia for a little while and then move on to North or South Carolina and go the the graveyards of the civil war and tell me where the flags have gone.
Dude: THEY LOST THE FUCKING WAR GET OVER IT!
Me: They did not lose any war. We did not win any war. Our ancestors fought a war. And now that I think of it, you did not lose anything, you just got here as recently as the last century, therefore, you have very little to say about it. I got here sometime before the Revolutionary War, possibly much earlier and therefore maybe I do have something to say about it but not a lot because my family was on a border state and I have no idea where we stood (I could probably work it out). What I do know is they lost family. I lost family. Their family is buried, my family is buried. We have desecrated their grave-sites. We have no right. We have taken their flags, we are taking their statues and we have done so without creating permission.
Dude and Mike: Those statues have got to go. We don't keep Nazi statues.
Me: We don't have any Nazi statues and if we do, they're sort of ridiculous, Hitler wasn't an American issue. They are, however, still erecting statues of Stalin in Russia. It's all a matter of perspective. I'm not saying those statues should be there. It's just that we suddenly decided they needed to go and down they came and down they're coming. The point is, they aren't our statues to remove. You just finished telling me those people basically are not Americans so where do we get off removing their statues?
Dude: THEY LOST THE WAR!
Me: Are you saying we own them? That they are property because we won the war? This is what I'm hearing. They aren't Americans, they don't have rights, they don't have a vote, they don't get a say, so we own them?
Me: Do you know what time of day they take down the statues? I just found out.
Mike: At night. They take them down in the dead of night.
Me: What does that tell you?
Mike: That they'd have some casualties if they did it in broad daylight.
Me: And what does that tell you?
Dude: That they're freaking stupid. THEY LOST THE WAR.
Me: Dude. Just for a second can you consider that an alternative perspective might have some validity? I ask you because your answer could determine the fate of the free world. Or any world.
Dude: Yes. I can do that.
Me: OK then you have to be quiet while I finish my thought. Can you?
Me: Here's the thing. I don't like those statues. I don't think they should be there. There are a lot of things in this country we should probably reconsider. There are a lot of things in this country we probably can't even see; giant blind spots that we'll probably see eventually when we've evolved far enough past the time when we needed them. The problem with removing those statues right now is that we didn't negotiate. We didn't take into consideration the people. We didn't care about the culture and what those statues meant, what that flag meant. To use those things only meant one thing and we only see one thing because, um, we won the war. Our social mores give us only one answer. We can't see the pain, the angst, and most of all we can't see the fear caused by the invalidation of who they are. We just told them with one big fuck you that they don't matter. So when Black Lives Matter is so thoroughly rejected we might want to stop and have a look as to why. When Black Lives Matter is replaced with All Lives Matter we might want to take a look at the people holding those signs and ask ourselves why. Where did that sign come from? What's going on? It doesn't invalidate BLM at all. You stand behind that the same way I do. Do you really think you need to have 100% agreement for BLM to mean something? Are you crazy? Do you really think it's all or nothing? In a binary world we all die. Take a look at Fibonacci and then get back to me; there's something about that spiral and the way we fit into it...
Dude is not breathing but he hasn't opened his mouth. Mike, on the other hand is sputtering.
Me: Mike. No. You may not speak.
Mike: (lowers head and clenches jaw) I'm listening, Mother.
Me: OK, that's good because this is really, really important. This country is enormous and there are several theories that suggest it is really made up of either seven or eleven different countries. Having spent a fair amount of time in most of the geographic regions in the last twenty years I agree with these theories. (EXTREMELY simplistic article on the subject and not necessarily one I support but it illustrates the concept). The problem we face is that this great body of land is a democracy.
"Democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others." This is attributed to Churchill who did not really say it (he said something sort of similar) and I don't exactly know who did but I rather like it. We forget that we are a democracy. We forget the definition of democracy which is basically control by the majority and isn't that what we have? What I hear you asking for is control by the elite which is a plutocracy. I don't actually think we have the sort of democracy we're taught to believe in anymore, by the way. I think we've pretty much surrendered our rights as well as our obligations because it was too much to bear and now we're trying to get it back. I think we believed in something called a direct democracy and that ended a very long time ago when there were a lot less of us and that was manageable. I think what we have is a totalitarian democracy. Shit is happening and we can't do a damn thing about it except maybe elect different people next term. Maybe.
So, listen. In these seven or eleven or however many countries, it's all one great big lie. We're all in this together. We like to hold up a mirror and help them see their blind spots.
Mike: It's so hard to see our blind spots.
Me: I know, right?
Mike: I guess if we weren't so harsh about it and listened first. I try to listen to make sure I know what I'm right about so I can make a logical argument.
Me: Well, it's good to know why you support your own social mores.
Mike: I don't want to be an asshole about what I stand for.
Me: That's a good thing. Blind spots though, they're so damn big.
Mike: I know. The bigger they are, the harder it is to see them.
Such a set up.
Me: You know there's only one person who can help you see your blind spot, right?
Me: No, not really because I'm mostly like you. I'm just showing you a little blind spot right now. The only person who can show you the big mother-fuckers are the people you'd go to war with.
Me: For you I think it would be the person you have the least regard for because you consider them racist, loudmouthed, dishonest, dishonorable, hurtful, deceitful, that sort of thing. I think that's your nemesis. That person pushes your button hard enough to send you into the stratosphere. The only time I've EVER heard you talk about using violence was with one person and you consider him dishonest, dishonorable, hurtful, and deceitful. You want to punch him and you just might if given the chance and he never actually did anything to you directly that I'm aware of. Add loudmouthed racist to the mix, and shit, son, we'd have to tie you to a chair and pin your eyelids open.
Mike: So, you're talking about a Republican David who might have spent too much time with his brother.
Me: Pretty much.
Me: Dude. I have a host of people for you. I might send you on a tour. You might have to go to Israel first and spend a week or two with my friends and I might want you to take a couple of farmers from Idaho. You'd be so torn it might kill you. The farmers from Idaho wouldn't know what the hell to do with themselves and might make a mess of things completely unintentionally and be deeply unhappy about it (or not give a damn, I don't know) and you'd suddenly find out what it meant to be an American. You'd have to defend and protect them. You wouldn't be able to distance yourself. On the other hand, you'd find yourself face to face with some of the most liberal people on the face of the planet who WILL, by the way, do whatever it takes to stay alive. You too, when faced with pretty much constant threat of annihilation since 1948 would be ready to pick up a gun or rocket launcher or whatever and shoot whenever the fuck necessary. You might stop calling them militant animals. After that I'd send you to the Deep South to work on what's left of a family farm. You can kill two birds that way. We'll have you get up at dawn and all that and work yourself until you drop. Maybe we'll be lucky and we'll get you there in the middle of a drought. You get to stay there until you understand what has that family get up in the morning.
In the end you'll have to tell me how much that one person's vote should count. And also, maybe they will get past their manners and tell you what they see.
Nobody and everybody tells me what they see. It's pretty much constant feedback but it comes in from odd angles. Sometimes I get slammed over the head with it and it's too hard to hear and sometimes there's just nothing which is everything. To really hear it I have to leave the state. I have to leave the region, the country, the planet or at least find a way to get past myself. That's so damn hard.
Here is what you should know about Dude before you spend a second judging the man, so listen up. Dude put himself through school (I'm not really sure what was going on with his father but something was up) and he did so with zero debt because he worked his way through the same state school Lucia went to, but earlier because he's got about four years on her. All he ever wanted to do was write. Since he was ten, maybe, even earlier could be. He got an English degree because that seemed to make sense although it didn't matter because he never intended to use it for a job. When he graduated he straight off got himself a union job pushing a broom at the Fairfield, CT school system. This pays well enough to live outside of Fairfield County and insures remarkably well. You work in the afternoon and also at night. They started him at the high school but that didn't last long. He's kind of adorable and the girls flocked. He ran and they put him in the middle school which was perfect because that's the age group he writes for. Mostly the girls just look at him and if they get close he hides in a broom closet. I am not making this up. He has confessed.
He wrote and he wrote and he wrote for seven years. Most of the time he didn't even get a rejection letter. In the sixth year he got an offer from Skypony Press with an editor and he began to do something he'd never done; rewrite and rewrite and rewrite until the book was published in August at which point he was signed for a second book and well into chapter three. He toured the existing brick and mortar bookstores and had official signings across the mid-atlantic and unofficial stealth signings (this is a thing, apparently, where you tell the store after the fact, they get all excited and start putting stickers on the books - he carries a bunch of sharpies just in case at all times). Regardless of how well his book does or the next or the next after that, he has no intention of giving up his job. It is grounding. It has excellent benefits. It connects him with his readers.
He teaches a class one evening a week when school is in session. They cannot pay him because he does not have a teaching cert and cannot have one without a masters. The class is for struggling middle-school students although there has been discussion about adding a class for high school students. He teaches writing one oh one and after the first semester his roster went from ten to maxed out at thirty which was six more than allowed. There is a waiting list for the next three semesters and you do have to be struggling to get in; it's more than a letter grade issue. There can only be one class a week because he can't afford more time. He wishes he could. He wishes he could trade some of the broom pushing hours for class hours but he isn't entirely certain because he needs those quiet hours with the broom to think and let his brain settle down. He is an extrovert's introvert, like I am, like Mike is. We are very social animals right up until we're not and then we hide in broom closets and beg the world to let us be.
On Friday afternoon when school let out for Christmas break he hid in the auditorium because he could not bear the thought of all those teachers coming to say good-bye to him. It was too much. In the end, the two or three that stay late were alright but anymore would have knocked him over. The auditorium, which hadn't been used in five days, was very, very clean when he was through.
Dude cares about women's issues so passionately I think he'd throw himself in front of a train if it meant keeping an entrance to a Planned Parenthood building free and clear. Racism is a thing that can bring him to literal tears. He cannot bear it, his heart breaks. What has happened to me, to my daughter knocks the wind out of him because he feels helpless, he feels guilty by association. He can't figure out how to stop this in the world and when he talks about it I see the weight of male behavior sitting on his shoulders alone. His mother is no longer in his life. Whatever has happened to her has created, allowed, whatever, behavior which is so unbearable that neither he or his much younger sister can cope and have therefore walked away. This has left an open wound he tries not to look at but he has turned to me in a way that says, please love me, please don't betray me, please tell me I am good, please don't hurt me.
He struggled so hard to listen last night because whatever comes out of my mouth apparently has enough weight to get past his grief. I need to listen to his grief because it is so intense and he is that person that pushes one of my more intense buttons, the once called intolerance. He held up a mirror last night and I finally looked. I can listen outside my own state and my own region and my own country because I can isolate myself. I am a good ambassador. I have learned to be respectful and to listen and to see the boundaries for the most part and not step on them, best as I can. Inside my own circle I have some serious blind spots which have grown out of my anger and resentment at what is happening to my country and what is happening in the world. I have neglected to listen to my own community.
When my son goes off about anti-vaxers, I get it. There's nothing to question there, he and I are speaking the same language. When he goes off about the ignorance of people freaking out about GMOs I tune him out because I've decided he's gone nuts in the other direction which is extremely disrespectful. Of me. We aren't speaking the same language and not only am I failing to give him the chance to tell me, I'm not even bothering to tell him I don't agree or why I don't agree. I have dismissed him.
I am certain they both heard quite a bit last night. This is good. I am also certain I could have heard quite a bit more. The good news is they'll be back in a few days and I can ask the questions differently. And then I'll shut up. Some of it will probably feel like battery acid pouring over my skin but that's sort of the point, isn't it? That's when your own stuff actually gets revealed.