Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Change Yourself, Not the World

Many years ago I drove a taxi, and once had a girl get into my car who I knew was what was euphemistically called “a working girl.” She told me she wanted to go on a round trip to the county, with me waiting an hour while she “visited” a “friend” in his apartment,

Since this was be about a $50 round trip – this being a lot of money 20 years ago – I was glad to do it. The whole thing, however, did not go as planned.

While I was sitting in my taxi in the parking lot, reading a book, out of the corner of eye I saw a car hurtling toward my driver’s side at a pretty fast clip. I looked up and thought, “They’re going to hit me!”

Instead, the car slammed to a stop and four guys jumped out of the car with hostile looks on their faces. And they rushed me. “They’re going to beat me up!” I thought. Four against one! It was hopeless.

I rolled down my window and was about ready to yell, “You’ve got the wrong guy!” when one of them pulled out a badge and said, “Police! Get out of the car!” So I got out of the car.

They explained they were vice cops and I had fallen into a sting operation. Did I know the woman I had brought out here was a prostitute? I looked innocent and said just as innocently, “She is?!? Golly, I didn’t know that.”

After that they calmed down, three went inside, and the fourth and I had a nice pleasant talk. I was puzzled why they did not search me or even run an ID check. Something weird was going on here, but I did not know what.

After a short while the girl came out, explained what she was doing for a living (“You are?!? I did not know that.”) and that she did not have any money to pay me, since she had not been paid.

In fact, I remember her exact words to me. “I was playing with his dick and he got up and said he was a cop.” Fortunately I was able to keep the poker face on that one.

I took her home, minus both her money and my gasoline. I was puzzled as to why the cops kicked her loose, since she was caught in the act, although I doubt it would stick in court, since I suspect the judge, after he finished smirking about where she girl had her hands, would drop the charges.

What kind of sting operation was that? I thought. I found out a few days later.

The district attorney, or prosecuting attorney, or whatever they call those sleazeballs, was a lowlife named George Peach, George had a hard-on for putting hookers in jail (a one-year term, it being a misdemeanor) and also for putting their customers’ pictures in the paper, along with their names and addresses.

It turned out that George, during all his escapades, was at the same time seeing hookers himself. He was especially fond of blowjobs, and in the sting operation I fell into (which was aimed at him) he was caught on tape telling a girl he liked oral sex, which would make him “feel good.” I did not keep the poker face on that one.

This is the reason why the police let me and the girl go, and did not search us or check us out. We were not the targets of the sting. George Peach was. The cops weren’t concerned about us at all, but apparently could not direct the sting only at Peach, but had to pretend it was aimed at prostitution in general.

Oh, I forgot -- the girl had left an empty quart bottle of beer in the backseat of my car. The police saw it and told me to throw it in the dumpster. They also smiled at me and told me that driving hookers around was a felony – soliciting prostitution. Not that they cared, they hastily reminded me.

In other words, I’d be getting out of prison right about now.

Of course, George had to resign. I remember seeing him on TV saying how sorry he was for what he did. I thought, no, George, you’re not sorry for what you did; you’re sorry you got caught, you candy-ass little punk.

But I did think, why in the world was this guy trying to rid the area of the world’s oldest profession, when he was obsessively seeing hookers himself? I realized that because George could not change himself, he was projecting his problems on the world and trying to change it.

Carl Jung might have said that since George could not accept the split-off Shadow part of himself, he projected it onto innocent people. That makes sense to me, but whatever the explanation, George was one hell of a hypocrite. At least he got away with resigning and not serving a year in jail like some of those girls, although if I had my way, he would have.

After all, if George had been running the sting operation I fell into, do you think I would have escaped, or else spent the weekend in jail since I would not been able to make bail? He’s lucky I’ve never seen him since that day. He’d be sorry.

Projecting a person’s unacknowledged and unaccepted impulses onto other people causes a lot of trouble in this world. It’s the reason people like Jimmy Swaggart railed against people’s sex lives and then got caught twice with hookers himself. I believe, like Dana Carvey’s Church Lady, he blamed it on Satan.

These days, whenever I see someone who is rabidly against some “sin,” the first thing I think is that is their chief sin, and since they are repressing it and can’t acknowledge it, they are projecting it on other people.

Extremely judgmental people are the worst, since they are not interested in understanding themselves, others, or any of the issues involved. Being that judgmental and self-righteous – and maybe even obsessive-compulsive -- their main “sin” is anger. Not toward themselves, but towards other people.

Instead of trying to change the world or others, these people should worry about changing themselves. I always remember Jesus hung out with tax collectors and hookers and the other rejects of society. All the lawyers and politicians and other lowlifes – the self-righteous judgmental types --he mocked and sneered at them. And he told people to “change their hearts and minds” because they had “missed the mark” (which used to be mistranslated as “you must repent, for you have sinned”).

But not a word from him about changing the world, just admonitions to change yourself. This is something all politicians should do, since they are notorious about ignoring their own substantial failings and meddling with everyone else’s business.

Since that day so long ago, I always look askance at politicians (the word “politician” comes from the same root word as “prostitute” and guess which one I prefer?), and should be surprised, but am not, that supposed adults still think government is the tit from which all good things flow. They don’t seem to realize many politicians become politicians because they can’t change themselves and are projecting their problems on us.

And we pay for their problems a lot more than they do.

Apparently many people, dull-witted social primates that they are, look to “leaders” to take care of them. Looking to legitimate authority for answers is one thing, but giving your freedom to a bunch of mental-case politicians – and all government is based on force and coercion – is another thing, and a very bad one, altogether.

As for refusing to change and projecting your problems onto others, I am especially reminded of modern-day chickenhawks, who are cowards who have convinced themselves that rabidly supporting war (as long as they don’t fight ) is a sign of their courage. Those who oppose war, no matter how principled the reason, are, in the minds of the chickenhawks, cowards, In reality the chickenhawks are the cowards, projecting their own unacknowledged cowardice onto other people. (“Fervent patriotism as well as religious and revolutionary enthusiasm often serves as a refuge from a guilty conscience,” writes Eric Hoffer.)

As for George Peach, if Freud was alive, he’d be chortling. I have no doubt about it.

I sure am, even today.

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