Old Man Talking

There’s little question that terrorism is a bad thing and if we’re all quite honest with ourselves we’d really rather not get all caught up in any part of that mess. The problem is that no one ever knows when or where a terrorist might strike. They seem to look for those places where people are happy, having fun, doing their normal, everyday dude things, and then do something stupid to turn those good times into unhappy memories, or worse.

There have been a lot of articles all over the Internet about how to fight terrorism, but to date, none of them have really worked, have they? Every week, sometimes every day, there are new attacks on the happy and peaceful lives of chill people just hanging out, doing their thing, trying to abide. If any of those articles had any real solutions, wouldn’t we be seeing a reduction in the number of terror attacks?

I don’t know. Maybe my expectations are too high.

What I know is that terrorists are not likely to stop their plotting and planning simply because I ask them to, even if I said please. Terrorists are a lot like Nihilists in that they just don’t make a damn bit of sense. They say they have a belief system, but their belief system isn’t really anything related to what they claim. They’re not really Muslim. They’re not really Christian. They’re not really anything other than terrorists, which is just stupid.

The problem with terrorists is that, like the Nihilists in The Big Lebowski, they have no conscience, especially when it comes to causing trouble. Cut off a pinky toe to make a million dollars? Sure, no problem! Run over a bunch of tourists for the attention? Absolutely! When dealing with people whose basic philosophy lacks reason, there is no amount of reasoning that justifies their actions. They’re not even good people doing bad things. They lack a conscience. They do only what satisfies them.

Where we run into problems is that terrorists, like the Nihilists, inevitably fuck things up for everyone else. They actually like fucking things up. They like peeing on other people’s rugs. These terrorist beings run around blowing shit up, running vehicles into crowds of people, cutting off the heads of captives, and harshing the buzz of everyone else on the planet.

Cue Walter:  “ WHO’S THE FUCKING NIHILIST HERE! WHAT ARE YOU, A BUNCH OF FUCKING CRYBABIES?”

Yes, they are. Terrorists are ultimately nothing more than a bunch of fucking crybabies. Dangerous crybabies, to be sure, but nonetheless, crybabies they are. Every. Last. One of them. Don’t treat them like they’re anything more than that. They are crybabies.

Now that we’ve established what they are, the primary topic before us is how to avoid becoming the victim of terrorists. This isn’t an especially easy topic because they have this really annoying habit of popping up in places where they’re not expected. Most of the people in the world enjoy going about their daily lives, shopping, working, playing, loving, and not giving a second thought to the presence of crybabies who might interrupt and ruin their lives. So when the crybabies do show up and piss on the rug, so to speak, we’re caught as much by surprise as the Dude was at the beginning of the movie.

Avoiding terrorists doesn’t come with any guarantees, of course. They’re sneaky little bastards. Typically, they don’t move in next door and introduce themselves at a neighborhood potluck. I mean, think of how awkward it would be if everyone’s standing around in Donny’s backyard drinking cold ones and munching on burgers and the new guy introduces himself:

“Yeah, my name’s Muhammad Ramalama DingDong and I’m with ISIS.”

Wow, talk about bringing down a party quickly.

Granted, there are some terrorists who do telegraph their presence. If you see your neighbor hanging out a Nazi flag, that’s a pretty good signal that either someone needs to move or a Nazi is going to get punched. We fought wars to stop Nazis in Europe. We’re damn sure not letting them invade our neighborhoods. Punching Nazis is preventing trouble before it starts.

Nazis aren’t the ones causing the biggest trouble at the moment, though. They know we’re watching them and even though those sons of bitches are mouthy little fucks, when it comes right down to it they know the rest of the world is happy to crack their cranium. Those Daesh and Taliban crybabies are the ones causing most of the trouble. Therefore, we’re going to focus on not being victims of those fuckers.

What’s tempting is to make a list of places to avoid. After all, terrorist crybabies, like other psychopaths, tend to be well organized and follow established patterns. When they perceive that a certain kind of target works well for them, they are likely to continue hitting similar targets. That makes creating a list of places to avoid rather simple. We look at the places terrorists hit most and come away with places to avoid, like these:

  • Hotels
  • Shopping Areas
  • Airplanes
  • Churches and Synagogues
  • Schools
  • Nazi Rallies
  • London
  • Weddings
Old Man Tallking
photo credit: charles i. letbetter

The problem with a list like that is that, dammit, we need shopping areas because even if one brews their own beer you still have to buy ingredients. And food, man, you gotta buy food. You can’t just stay away from shopping areas.

Okay, staying away from Nazi Rallies is pretty damn easy. Not that you can tell from recent activity, but come on, do we actually believe that any of those people in Charlottesville didn’t know what they were getting themselves into when they lit their tiki torches?

And churches. I’ve not had any trouble staying away from churches for several years now. At least, not traditional churches. I have some difficulty staying away from this place, but since there’s no physical structure to this church I think we’re all safe for the moment.

The rest of the things on that list, though, tend to be rather necessary. So, trying to avoid them doesn’t make a helluva lot of sense, does it? Therefore, the question becomes, if you need a hotel, which hotel do you choose? If you’re out of alcohol, where do you stock up? When you have an urgent need to get from Jersey City to Albuquerque, how ya’ going to get there?

I’ve gone through some pain, put myself on multiple watch lists, and gone through multiple bottles of Kahlua to create a list of activities and places that are relatively safe from terrorists. While I can’t offer anyone an ironclad guarantee, my non-scientific and largely unsubstantiated opinion is that terrorists crybabies don’t seem to give a damn about these places and activities, judging by previous behavior. Therefore, they’re probably reasonably safe compared to, oh, having a wedding in the middle of a shopping area in London–that’s just asking for trouble.

 

  1. Go Bowling. For true believers, this is an obvious solution invoked by the Dude himself. When was the last time you heard of terrorist crybabies bombing a bowling alley? Okay, every once in awhile someone like Walter shows up waving a gun around because someone won’t follow the rules. Jesus. That’s not really terrorism, though. Walter was being more of an asshole than a terrorist.

    The way I figure it, bowling is too noisy for terrorists. Every time someone like Donny throws a strike, the sound of all those pins falling is too close to that of a small bomb going off. People who work with bombs tend to be rather jumpy about sounds like that. A terrorist wouldn’t blend in at a bowling alley because they’d have a nervous breakdown before they finished the first game!

    So yeah, go bowling, find your moment of zen as you lay that ball down on the polished wood. Know that you and your buddies are safe from terrorists as long as you stay inside.
    Go outside, though, and you could die. Just ask Donny. Oh, wait … can’t do that.
  2. Patronize the Arts. Note: this is a good idea even if your landlord isn’t directly involved in the interpretive dance scene. There are plenty of other Arts programs that are relaxing and enjoyable and largely unattended by terrorists. Take Opera, for example. Make it one that’s four hours long and in a language few people in the audience actually understand. Find a seat in the dark, sit back, and relax knowing that anyone who was even thinking about committing a terrorist act is going to be sound asleep before intermission. By the time the opera is over they will have missed their opportunity and have no choice but to blow themselves up in a shopping area.

    Symphonies and art galleries are wonderful places to enjoy not being a terrorist victim as well. Terrorists, especially those Daesh crybabies, don’t appreciate art like you and I do. They have no sense of rhythm and form. Most of them can’t sing, either, but that’s totally beside the point.

    Terrorists have difficulty blending in when they don’t understand what’s going on in the first place and nothing has the ability to be more confusing than an arts performance or activity. The only caveat is that I wouldn’t advise trying out your ballet moves at a dance club. Terrorists have bombed dance clubs because they’re jealous. Terrorists have no moves.
  3. Vacation in unexpected places. One of the reasons that crybaby terrorists are able to prey on tourists is because everyone keeps going to the same predictable places, like London and Barcelona. Sure, those are fantastic places to visit, but when millions of people a year all try crowding into the same space it makes a very tempting target for crybabies wanting attention. Solution: spread it out a bit and visit those places that don’t get quite as much attention.

    Fortunately, there are hundreds of thousands of places one can go, have a good time, and not run into any terrorists. Take Santa Rosa, California for example. Santa Rosa’s a reasonably-sized city nestled in a valley about 100 or so miles North of San Francisco. There are plenty of restaurants with locally-sourced food, barrels of regional wines, and, best of all, the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center is there. Dudeists whose patron saint is Snoopy will especially value this award-winning experience.

    Finding places like Santa Rosa really isn’t difficult. Chances are there are similar towns of interest right within your own state or region–unless you happen to live on a very small island, in which case staying home might be your best bet. Terrorists tend to stay away from small islands because crybabies can’t swim.
  4. Attend barbecues and potluck dinners. I have a friend who works for the Department of Homeland Security and she confirms for me that barbecues and potluck dinners have never had a terrorist threat unless there was a high-ranking politician in attendance. Omitting politicians is a rather easy thing to do since they’re all too busy trying to invent new ways to screw the rest of us. That means that your average neighborhood barbecue is probably one of the safest places one can be.

    Now, there are some challenges to attending a barbecue. First, one has to consider exactly what is being barbecued. Personally, I don’t mind beef, pork, or lamb and can even go in for venison in season as long as the person in charge of the barbecue knows what the fuck they’re doing. There’s a right way to cook wild meat; get it wrong and you’ve just ruined the whole evening. Then, one needs to consider whether there will also be cole slaw and potato salad. Do not attend a barbecue that does not have cole slaw or potato salad. That’s a dead giveaway that someone’s going to be asking for money.

    Managing drinks is also an important part of attending barbecues. You want to stay chill and relaxed so that the average annoyance doesn’t annoy you. At the same time, though, you don’t want to get wasted and risk passing out on someone’s front lawn. While there probably aren’t terrorists on the front lawn, there are lawn sprinklers and those fuckers can hurt if you’re lying on top of one.
  5. Shop online. Dudes, we live in the golden age of delivery service! The whole retail competitive chain revolves around who can get stuff to you the fastest. There’s practically nothing you can’t get delivered right to your door unless you live in a backward state like Indiana that doesn’t allow for home alcohol deliveries, which is a total crock of shit. I get my favorite cigars delivered on a regular basis. Great books, like The Tao of the Dude, show up right there in your mail. Even groceries, dude! They’ll deliver your fucking canned cheese and crackers if you want!

    Shopping online totally takes the wind out of any terrorist crybabies planning on bombing a shopping area. What good does it do to bomb a shopping area if no one’s there? Shopping online is like giving your local terrorists a giant middle finger right in their face, except that you don’t have to get in their face because you’re safely at home on your computer.

    Dudes, I even bought my favorite sweater online. I wish we could offer sweaters like that in our store, but we’ve not found anyone who can supply them yet. We’re looking. In the meantime, though, check out all the cool Abide stuff we’ve gathered for you. It’s our personal anti-terrorism campaign.
  6. Fly cheap airlines. Sure, you’re going to be crammed into that metal tube like a herd of cattle and they’re going to nickel and dime you for stupid shit like packing your own luggage, but when was the last time you heard of terrorists targeting a discount airline? You haven’t. Why? Because the service is so lousy even crybaby terrorists don’t want to fly with them. That means they’re perfectly safe for those of us who need to get from Petaluma to Chattanooga and don’t feel like driving all that much.

    Which airlines are the cheap ones? I’m talking Spirit, Frontier, JetBlue, and others of that ilk. They get you from point A to point B on the cheap and chances are pretty high that the person sitting next to you does not have a bomb in his shoe, assuming he’s wearing shoes. All anyone wants when they fly a cheap airline is to get to Grandma’s house in Mobile without passing out from the overwhelming smell of tabouli in the next row.

    Granted, flying cheap comes with challenges like having any leg room and a slight risk of permanent back damage from sitting in those fucking seats. You’ll pay five bucks for half a can of soda and don’t even think about asking for a White Russian unless you detect a very specific accent from one of the flight attendants. Still, no terrorist would be caught dead on Virgin airlines. Fly knowing you’re probably going to make the trip in one piece.
  7. Stay at someone’s house. One thing we know about terrorists is that they don’t like company. While terrorist leaders are charismatic and draw people toward them, the average terrorist is rather anti-social outside the hero worship of their leader. So, it’s fairly safe to assume that you’re not going to find a homicidal terrorist renting out their house on AirBnB. It would kill their standing, so to speak.

    Staying at someone’s house rather than in a hotel room has been a major industry disruptor worldwide and it’s not just the Hilton family who’s upset. Bombing an AirBnB host doesn’t deliver the PR results crybabies get from bombing a hotel. Yet, the value of bombing hotels decreases when no one’s actually staying there. Terrorists can’t win, which is a bit of a good thing. Keep in mind, especially if you’re on a budget, that there are other options besides the at-times-beleaguered AirBnB. Those most seriously strapped for cash might want to give couchsurfing.com a try.  For some, it’s not much different from your current living arrangements, just in another city. You do need to reciprocate your host in some way, but they are pretty flexible as to the form that might take. If more travelers did this, terrorists would be pulling their beards out by the handful.

 

Old Man Talking
photo credit: charles i. letbetter

Terrorists, like Nihilists, are a fucking pain in the ass. You go out dancing with your friends or to a rock concert or your best dude’s wedding and all of a sudden some jackass blows themselves up along with 15-20 other people. Fuck them. The terrorists, that is.

The Tao of the Dude says:

“It is not the things we accumulate nor the things which happen to us that determine the quality of our lives, but rather the attitude we employ in dealing with the world.”

Our ability to directly do anything about the problem of terrorism is largely out of our control. Terrorists are going to be terrorists like Nihilists are going to be Nihilists and while we might make a stand when necessary, most the time our best move is to not be in the places where they plan on wreaking havoc. Let the military and political dudes deal with the terrorists; that’s all kind of their thing, anyway and they don’t need you and me getting in their way.

Meanwhile, we go on living our lives, letting life flow how it is going to flow. We have drinks with our friends, bowl a few frames, then go home and lie on our rugs and smoke a fat one. We’re not going to let terrorist upset us because that would be letting them win. We’re not going to let them keep us from having fun, living life, and doing things. We might change how we do things, but we’re damn sure not going to stay inside with our nose buried in social media.  

Our sympathies are with the victims of terrorism and their families every time something new happens. Terrorism is one of the things we don’t let wash over us because it’s an aggression we cannot let stand. Neither do we want to become victims ourselves, though. There is a balance we must find for ourselves and in that balance, we can abide.

 

Peace unto you, dudes.

 

Abide.

 

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