Wednesday, March 17, 2010

News That Makes Life Worth Living (Scentless Apprentice Division)

DETROIT, Michigan, March 17 - A Detroit city employee named Susan McBride successfully sued the city for $100,000 in damages stemming from what she called her inability to breathe and do her job because a co-worker wore strong perfume.
   One term of the settlement, the Detroit News reported Sunday, is that the city will post warnings in city buildings urging city employees to refrain from "wearing scented products, including ... colognes, aftershave lotions, perfumes, deodarants, body/face lotions ... (and) the use of scented candles, perfume samples from magazines, spray or solid air fresheners...." 
   Ms. McBride's lawyer, a woman named Ann Curry Thompson, told the News the settlement is "unique. I think it should be used as a model for other people who are having similar problems."
   Ms. McBride is a heroic example of the rugged individualism upon which America was founded. If others, in their pursuit of life, liberty and happiness, are bothersome, then one simply need stop them, using the long arm of the law if necessary. 
   To get others - in this case hundreds, perhaps thousands - to conform to her idiosyncratic personal needs was the sole aim and end of Ms. McBride's suit. Well, that and the hundred K. 
   The terror of one's own mortality is a painful psychological fact for all humans, and each confronts or ignores it differently. Some bungee jump. Others gamble. Still others help humanity.
   And then there are the Ms. McBrides of the land. They are not naturally given to societal ties. They operate apart from their fellows, existing in a special world of their own mental devising. Their myriad forms of narcissism are so advanced that they believe they are exempt from facing the ordinary existential fear of the Great Void (I can't breathe! I can't breathe!). So they force innocent others about them to rearrange their lives - to do, indeed, their heavy psycho-spiritual lifting for them. In their deluded minds, it is but common sense that the world should fit itself to them rather than vice versa. 
   And yet these same people, who by nature prove incapable of social integration, live with the constant fear and frustration that arise from feeling disconnected, heart and soul, from their fellows.
   Ms. McBride wasn't choking on perfume. She was choking on rage. And because she was too immature to face it - to become, indeed, a part of the human race - she took it out on everyone else. 
   Well, she's the big winner now. 
   And yet, what a loser. 

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