This summer I felt like reading something anti-establishment, so I picked up a copy of Anton LaVey's Satanic Bible. I'll admit that I only read the first 105-110 pages (after page 100 it turned into a treatise on spell casting, something that modern, rational human beings shouldn't pursue, in my humble opinion) but I found myself agreeing with most of what Mr. LaVey said. Before you picture me sitting in the middle of a flaming pentagram drinking goat's blood from a human skull, don't get your knickers in a twist. Satanists don't even believe in God, let alone a malevolent being called the Devil. They just basically preach that humans are animals who have evolved beyond the need to believe in gods, goddesses, demons, angels, etc. Ironically, one of the major points I disagree with Satanists on is revenge. LaVey urged people to warn wrongdoers (those who try to walk all over you, disrespect you, etc.) once to stop then, if they don't listen, strike out at them with all of the force you can muster. If we've evolved beyond the scope of primitive superstitions, shouldn't we also grow up past the infantile urge to strike back against all who supposedly wrong us? Doesn't that pretty much take us back to shit-chucking monkeyville? Probably the chapter of LaVey's book that hit home with me most was one called "Psychic Vampires". No, these aren't people who suck your gray matter out of your brainpan. They are folks who pretty much suck at life, yet still feel the need to tell others how to live. You've met 'em before: the total losers you went to school with who constantly cut others down because they (despite the cocky, blustery exterior) had low self-esteem, the people who have no lives so they insist upon leeching off of others who do, etc. Anyway, Sir Anton urged his readers to simply cut ties with psychic vampires without engaging them in arguments or other such nonsense. Because, if you jump down into their little mosh pit of despair and misery, you're only going to waste a bunch of time and energy. In the end, all you've accomplished is feeding the vampire's lust for drama...which is exactly what they craved and you wanted to avoid. In the past six months I've been irritated by co-workers, so-called friends, and one family member from the psychic vampire category. Each time I've found myself eager to face the confrontation headon (I've never been one to avoid it much), but thankfully I've thought it through for a few days and decided not to waste my time. Why urinate directly into a gale force wind when you despise reeking of piss? The fear I've always had of giving people the idea that they can use me for a welcome mat to wipe their feet on has, so far, been unfounded. When a friend attempted to engage me in an e-mail argument, I simply never responded. When a relative called me eight times within two days to push unsolicited advice down my throat, I let them spew their toxic venom into my voicemail box, then I deleted the messages without calling the person back. In the end, this relative was calling and apologizing (although only half meaning it) for being such an ass. Later I found out this relative was calling me names behind my back (apparently I'm a "dumbass who refuses to be told what to do"). Of course this made me angry and I was sorely tempted to call and/or write to defend myself and explain just how much of a douchebag this relative was being, but, after a long bike ride and some serious thinking, I calmed down and decided that reeking of psychic vampire urine is not on my list of life goals. This relative is over sixty years old and most certainly will not change due to engaging in Jerry Springer-style verbal combat with me. My friend I mentioned earlier is over thirty, so ditto there. So, basically, I've come to the conclusion that, if you're over twenty-five and you aren't someone I have to deal with on a daily basis, I'm not going to waste my time and energy on your drama. You're set in your ways. I'm set in mine. If I ask for your advice, give it. If I don't, keep it inside your own thick skull. I'll try to do the same...granted, if you're a junkie in need of an intervention or a friend who's joined a magic Kool-Aid drinking cult, that's a different story. Then I may have to impose some unsolicited advice on your sorry ass.