Forgiveness is Overrated.

Via elephant journal
on Nov 27, 2011
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The Continuing Adventures of Eco Boy vs. Yoga Girl.

“Eco Boy vs. Yoga Girl.”

The below is an excerpt of a forthcoming novella. It’s autobiographical fiction (with the emphasis on fiction). Book forthcoming in Spring 2012.

“But tolerance by itself can be a cover for moral laziness.” ~ Bill McKibben

Forgiveness is taught by spiritualists, government officials and rich people so that the oppressed will remember to stay calm and peaceable. Forgiveness is nice. But it is not necessary to the moral life. Non-violent protest borne of righteous anger is the stuff of enlightenment—not a willingness to let injustice get a pass. ~ Dr. Willard Evans

Forgiveness is overrated, he figured. Mothers matter more than forgiveness. Forgiveness is a weak stupid value that pontificated loser liberals like to drone on about.

“Bearing a grudge is like holding a hot rock,” says Buddhism. “It only hurts the one holding it.”

Fuck that. You fuck with my family, I will bear that hot rock longer than Job bore all that bullshit from Old Testament God himself. And if I ever have the luck to be drunk one night, and you have the bad luck to run across my path, I will enjoy punching you in the nose. Twice, if that’s what it takes. I want you humbled. I want you to be sorry. I want you to never do that again to a weak vulnerable ignorant helpless woman.

The Crime.

When Eco Boy was young, his hair still bright red and cut bowl-like, his momma had moved him and their dog Apple out East, where he attended a boring old stodgy Dead Poet’s Societyish-like prep school in Maine on full scholarship (he was a book-reading grade-skipping baseball/basketball playing nerd).

They left behind his friends, they left behind skateboardable cement (Maine seemed to be all trees and mud and cows and grass and a whole lot of nothing going on), and they left behind his childhood home.

In their absence, a Buddhist friend of his momma’s, a realtor and property manager, The Wicked Witch of Buddhism, managed their home, renting it to idiots who trashed it and generally doing a lacksadaisical job. Shit happens.

In 1977, his poor sweet penniless momma had borrowed and scrimped and saved enough money to buy his childhood home, a one floor Victorian on a big development-friendly lot right downtown. It was all they owned. They didn’t have a car, they didn’t have a fucking TV, they didn’t ski, they didn’t vacation. But life was rich: they went on hikes with Apple and went to museums on free days and enjoyed life thoroughly.

By 1987, when they moved to Maine, the house was worth say $125,000. His mom thought that was amazing. By 1991, when she decided to sell the home because 1) she wasn’t living there anymore and 2) she was too broke to pay the dreaded “balloon payment” that was coming due on the mortgage and 3) it was now worth the princely sum of $150K and 4) she would use that money to help pay for Eco Boy’s pricey entrepreneurship education (though 75% of his college was paid for by scholarships for being a little nerd and grants for being poor). So she asked her longtime good friend the Buddhist Witch to put the home on the market.

Within a few months, good news: the house had a buyer. Caveat: Eco Boy’s mom didn’t know shiite about money, and that’s her bad.

So when she was offered $150K, great.

Turns out Buddhist Witch, Bitch for short, never put it on the market. Turns out Buddhist Witch sold it to her own brother at substantially less than it was worth—the college-town of Boulton had become a boom town, real estate-wise, after the discovery of its perfect climate and beautiful mountains by a bunch of frozen-faced California yuppies looking to buy a second, third or fourth home back in 1987. Half the license plates in Boulton, suddenly, were California white (the big World Series San Fran earthquake of 87 had something to do with the migration).

And not only had Wicked Buddhist not put it on the market but (illegally) sold it to her own brother for a low price, ripping off a hard-working single mom who didn’t get money and wasn’t around to smell the rat…she sold it to a literally-pontificating faux-righteous pseudo-idealistic radio host by the name of Daniel Barnstable. That’s what really got Eco Boy’s goat: the rip-off artist (who then went on to fail to make purchase payments in a timely matter until momma finally got a lawyer to defend her pro bono, god bless some lawyers) made his living talking about how to better society and how big evil governments and corporations were big and evil. And all the while he made small evil in his daily life.

So, yah, that was 20 years ago, now.

And Eco Boy was still looking forward to that drink, some night, after which he’d happen to walk through a dark alley and happen to run across that douche-bag mother-stealing radio host and pop him one right in the kisser. He’d be happy to go to jail for it, or wherever they take sons who punch jerks. Perhaps he’d even get to appear on the hypocrite’s radio show, for standing up against The Man.

But, until then, whenever he read a shallow stupid aphorism-rich article about how Forgiveness is Beautiful, he snarled like a little modern, boring version of William Wallace.


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10 Responses to “Forgiveness is Overrated.”

  1. Any boy that snarls like William Wallace in defense of his mom is anything but boring. Love it! This might be random in terms of sequence, but it's probably the best chapter so far…because it elicits an emotional response. I'd like to punch that douchebag in the face right about now!

  2. Andréa Balt says:

    It looks like Kate and I are two of Eco Boy vs. Yoga Girl's most faithful followers. This one made me laugh out loud. And yet, kind of cry too. "Buddhist witch" = priceless. Now I'm hooked. Can you post the next chapter tonight? 🙂

  3. The only thing it needs is a picture of a 17ish, red haired skater bowl-cut "Eco Boy" to go with it!

  4. Vision_Quest2 says:

    Forgiveness is overrated; venting and plotting revenge (without carrying it out) may inefficiently cauterize your wounded soul … but you'd little by little catharsized—and never lost your authentic self along the way …

  5. Emmablue says:

    Elephant Journal press?! Funk yeah!!!!!!

    Love this 🙂 so sweet and fun and truthful. Couldn't have said your story better if I were you!

  6. […] recent post on elephant journal—Forgiveness is Overrated—caught my attention. Here’s an […]

  7. elephantjournal says:

    Well, that's the Buddhist compromise. Dream of revenge, don't act on it. Write it, get catharsis that way. Let losers stew in their own karma; don't become a meanie in going after meanies.

  8. elephantjournal says:

    Hah–well remember the house cost $70K, and she couldn't afford to pay the balloon payment, on a teacher's salary raising a kid on her own, no savings…so not exactly rich. Technically-speaking, below the Boulton poverty line ($30K/year income).

  9. elephantjournal says:

    I'm just saying that he's just thinking that we love to rail against bullies here on elephant, but then we turn around and talk about forgiveness. Peace isn't always peace. Tibetans had no army to speak of, so 1/6 of the country got killed. Let alone widespread rape, forced sterilizations, lootings, destruction of religion, history, culture, art. Sometimes, creating justice and peace takes strength, not forgiveness.

    That's the thesis, anyway. Probably wrong, ultimately. Gandhi espoused both–strong non-violence. Food for thought:

  10. tulasipriya says:

    Oh, I just meant our standard of living (in some respects, not all) is so much higher here, compared to a lot of other places.