I, TOO, AM OPPRESSED: Persecution of a Short, Bass-Playing, Pipe-Smoking, Book-Reading, Cellphoneless Man

Written by John DeGroff on July 17, 2015

There is now a real proliferation of classifications of oppression; so many that I finally realized that perhaps I might be oppressed and not even know it.  After much contemplation, soul searching and inner struggle (actually, just the amount of time it took to polish off a Guinness), I arrived at the horrible truth that, yes indeed, I am oppressed.   

My last column that was posted here concerned the fact that my “white privilege” wasn’t working.   Somehow along the way, I missed out on all the glory that belongs to us white folk and I was wondering what the heck went wrong.  But, thanks to myriad, sundry micro aggressions that have been hurled at me by society at large, my “white privilege”  never had a fighting chance in the first place.  After much trepidation, and the aforementioned Guinness, I have been forced to face the following list of causes for my oppression.

– I’m short.  Go ahead, laugh.  Short people are much maligned and it started long before Randy Newman’s song “Short People”.   At 5’3″ (without heels), I often have to prove how old I am.  But, I guess it doesn’t matter…I’m in good company.  Hitler was 5’7″ while Joseph Stalin was even shorter, at 5’4″.   (I can just about hear all the comments I’ll get from that remark, but it just proves don’t piss off the short person.)   History’s mass murderers and dictators aside, I’ve had to resign myself to the fact that I’ll never have a career in the NBA.  

– I play bass guitar.  Bass players are sort of the Rodney Dangerfield of music, we get no respect.   I’ve often felt that bass players are a lot like a roll of toilet paper-no one ever notices you until you’re NOT there.   I can make that analogy far more graphic but I won’t. Unless you’re a bass player who is also a pretty boy lead singer (no on both counts for me…), you will be ignored.     For a good idea of what bass players put up with, check out a great comedy video by the comedy team of Gamper and Dadoni. 

– I’m a pipe smoker.   I’ve already referenced my favorite beer, so I might as well put it out there that I’m an evil, wicked, nasty person who smokes AND drinks.  I also have other bad habits.  I’ve been know on occasion to fart, belch and scratch with total impunity.   But, no respect for pipe smokers, in spite of the fact that it smells a lot better than cigarettes.   I also like to occasional cigar, but prefer the pipe.   When I last went for a  physical I  told the doctor that yes, I smoke, but it’s a pipe and I don’t inhale. He just looked at me and asked if I was a Democrat.   See, no respect.

– I don’t own a cell phone.   This is more or less by choice, but I feel I’m missing out on what it’s like to be one of those annoying people who stands behind you in the grocery check-out line, graphically describing grandpa’s colostomy bag.   I also actually acknowledge the presence of wait staff, traffic lights, and most of the world around me on a regular basis.  However, I’m feeling more and more deprived because I can’t text anyone on a 24/7 basis, and this sort of leads to my next point…

– I read books.    Books…remember those old fashioned things consisting of printed words on paper bound together between two covers?   You don’t buy the book then pay for separate content, they don’t require batteries or a charge, and only crash if knocked off the table.   Granted, I can’t carry around 500 separate titles, but since I’m not a speed reader, one book at a time works well.   Still, I get some rather odd looks when everyone else is looking at their phones and I’m the only one who pulls out a book and reads, which is a task that does not require the use of my thumbs.    My poor thumbs are not as well developed as everyone else’s.   Totally oppressed here.

      Okay, so that’s the short list of how badly I’m oppressed.  I don’t see it getting  better any time soon, so I just have to ask: where does a short, bass-playing, pipe-smoking, book-reading, cellphoneless person go to get sympathy for my plight?   Where’s the ACLU?   When do I get to take my place in line at the government tit?  

Image: http://flickr.com/photos/old_sarge/150822851

John DeGroff
John DeGroff is the original bass player for the Christian rock band Petra. He currently plays for the band GHF which is comprised of other original members from Petra. DeGroff has extensive experience as a freelance music journalist and newspaper reporter as well as an on-line music reviewer. He is a member of the Gospel Music Hall of Fame and lives in Warsaw, Indiana where he is employed as a care giver for mentally challenged adults.