AMAZING!

Scrolling through Facebook recently, I saw the video that one of my friends posted.  “You GOTTA watch this!  It’s AMAZING!” he said, so I clicked on the link.

It certainly was amazing, but not in the way I expected.

It was one of those dash-cam videos, showing the highway and countryside speeding past as a family chatted and giggled in the car.  A baby cooed and gibbered happily somewhere in the background.

I don’t know what I expected.   I thought it was going to be something funny, something silly.  Maybe something truly amazing, like a UFO streaking by.  Instead, an oncoming car suddenly lost control, flipped over the median and plunged into the windshield, crushing the dash-cam.  The last sound was the screams of terror and agony of the family.

Really?

You know, I love going to the local racetrack.  My favorite events are the Factory Stock heats, because those cars are moving junk heaps driven by people who have little interest in keeping the cars pretty.  They bounce off each other and slam into walls and occasionally roll over upside-down.  The crashes are the best part.

Sort of like the fights at a hockey game.  Hockey is no fun at all when the players behave. That’s not to say I want to see the Kalamazoo Wings hire the Hanson brothers to “put on the foil” and re-enact the movie Slapshot.  But if somebody doesn’t throw down his gloves and punch somebody else, hockey is nothing more than men on skates chasing a piece of rubber with big sticks.

It’s all about the excitement.  The chance of danger.  The thrill of knowing that something unpredictable could happen at any time and somebody just might get hurt.

But there’s also the knowledge that those racecar drivers are wearing HANS devices, fireproof suits, special helmets.  The cars have roll bars, five-point harnesses, and other safety devices that I won’t even pretend to understand.  Hockey players wear masks and padding and protective gear.  If any of these guys get hurt, it probably won’t be anything serious.

I guess I am as blood-thirsty as the next person.  When I go to a hockey game at Wings Stadium or a “Night of Destruction” event at the Kalamazoo Speedway, I expect to see some violence.  Maybe a little blood.  Just a little.

When I click on an “AMAZING” video on Facebook, I don’t.

What is wrong with us, as a society, that any one of us would take such joy in sharing a video of a family being snuffed out in a car accident?  This is not entertainment.  This is tragedy.  This is horrific.

I’ve seen this same video shared by two people on my friends list.  One was a guy from my high school; I don’t know him well, but he always seemed like a pretty nice guy.  The other was my cousin’s husband, who is one of the most good-natured, friendly people I’ve ever met.  Neither one of these men is the type to take pleasure in the suffering of others, and yet both shared this horrific crash video with the same kind of enthusiastic preamble:  “You GOTTA see this!  It’s AMAZING!”  Or some variation of those words.

It wouldn’t be so bad if even one of them had said something along the lines of, “Oh, man, this is really terrible!”

It’s human nature to be drawn to violent and horrifying images.  Obviously, I know that.  Just like everyone else in America, I was glued to the TV after Oklahoma City and September 11; I watched the footage of the destruction in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the Joplin tornadoes.  In short, I am not condemning anyone for watching the video, or even for sharing it.

The part that turns my stomach is the enthusiasm and celebration that seems to come along with sharing it.

I would love to use this as a soapbox to make a statement on our world, and about the way people today seem to have become numb to the suffering of others.  I could complain about Facebook or start “unfriending” anyone who shares a violent video.

But instead, I’m going to ask that you all just take a moment to think before you share something on Facebook or any other form of Social Media.  Think about that video of a family’s final moments and terrifying deaths; if you absolutely must share it with others, do you really have to do so with such obvious glee?

If so, maybe you should ask yourself why you think it’s so AMAZING.  Ask yourself why you enjoy it so much.

I wonder if you’ll like the answer.

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Boo, Dumbass

Okay, Boys and Girls, it’s time for Mama A.J.’s list of Top Ten Halloween Dos and Don’ts.

 

  1. If you want to give a nasty note to chubby kids while giving candy to the skinny ones, DON’T.  Just shut your door and skip Halloween.  Maybe even enjoy a quiet evening of extracting your head from your ass.
  2. If you think Halloween is the work of Satan and feel that it’s your job to tell innocent children they are going to burn in Hell for celebrating, DO join #1 in the head-extraction process.
  3. On a similar note, DON’T hand out Biblical pamphlets about the evils of Halloween.
  4. If you think it’s actually called “Whore-o-ween” and want to dress like a porn star, please DO so at an appropriate venue.  Which is NOT the elementary school costume party.
  5. If you think it’s okay to dress your 13-yr old in a costume from Fredrick’s of Hollywood, DO seek help for yourself immediately.  People shouldn’t wonder whether she is trick-or-treating or turning tricks.
  6. When decorating your home, DO try to recognize the line between scary and horrifyingHint:  Making your driveway look like a murder scene two weeks before the big night is horrifying.  And not funny.
  7. Part two of that?  When decorating your home, DO remember that trick-or-treaters are children.  A little scare is fun, but there’s no need to make them want to go home early and have nightmares for months. Halloween for a five year-old should NOT cause PTSD or require years of psychotherapy.
  8. If you have a negative opinion about a child’s costume, DO keep it to yourself.  Nobody cares that you think it’s wrong for a boy to dress as a princess.
  9. When choosing costumes for yourself, DO try not to be offensive.  Seriously, nobody thinks blackface is funny. Nobody.
  10. DON’T take everything so seriously on Halloween!  If a little girl dresses like an Indian, maybe it’s about a girl wanting to be Pocahontas and not about disrespecting an entire race.   If a child dresses like a devil, it doesn’t mean he has sold his soul in exchange for a Zagnut.  And the afore-mentioned idiot in the offensive costume is exactly that: an idiot.  Not necessarily a racist or a bad person.  Just a stupid one.

 

And there it is, my little bit of sunshine and happiness to spread in the aftermath of Halloween.     You’ll have to forgive me for being cranky.  But I am alone in a house with two overflowing trick-or-treat bags that don’t belong to me, and the chocolate is talking to me.

I know there’s a Toblerone in there somewhere, darn it.

LOL, JK, OMG

I’m a bit grumpy today.  Maybe it’s because it was just too humid to sleep well last night, or maybe it’s because somebody ate the last Amish doughnut this morning.  It might even be due to the fact that our enormous Astrolorp rooster decided that today was the day to assert his authority by chasing my five year-old around the yard. While I galloped after both of them and hollered at the top of my lungs and the Big Guy laughed his ass off, I made a conscious decision that everything about today is going to piss me off.

For starters, I’d like to tackle “just kidding” and its bastard cousins “lol”, “jk” and the demented colon-parenthesis-smile of idiocy.

Basically, people seem to think they should use these adorable little tidbits so they can say any horrible, insulting or demeaning thing they want — so long as the offending words are followed by some form of “just kidding!”

But you know what? It’s not okay.  Hurtful words are hurtful.  Period.  Spoken or texted, saying something mean and spiteful should not be given an automatic pass just because it’s followed by “just kidding!”

Maybe I’m just a bit hormonal this week, but I’ve decided to respond here to some of some of the things I’ve heard in recent days, and I’m going to reply in the spirit in which these humorous words were offered.

“I wish I could just sit around on my butt and do nothing all day like you. Gee, I want to be disabled too.  Just kidding!”

“And I wish a tree would fall on YOU and break YOUR spine in five places so you can be in constant pain, too.  Just kidding!

“You’re such a beyotch.  Lol.”

“And you’re a worthless asshole sponging off society.  Lol.”

“Your husband needs one night with a real woman.  Can I borrow him?  JK!”

“Only if you can list the names of the fathers of all seven of your kids. Or did you forget to catch their names while you were catching their social diseases? JK!”

Oh, wait; is this the point where you all roll your eyes and protest “It was just a joke!  Don’t take it so personally!”

Followed by my personal favorite:

“Don’t you know how take a joke?”

“Don’t you know how to tell one?”

No, I’m not over-sensitive.  Yes, I do have a sense of humor.   I just don’t see anything funny about hurting other people’s feelings and then pretending that you’ve done nothing wrong.

I’m not suggesting that we all have to be nice all the time.  But if you’re going to blurt out some nasty, snarky thing, then have the balls to own it.  Want to call me a bitch?  Then don’t hide behind some giggly little mutation of the word and weaken it even further by adding “I’m kidding!”

If you think I’m a bitch, call me a bitch.  Don’t like me?  Hey, Snowflake, chances are good I’m not fond of you, either.  Drop the games.

And here’s a suggestion for the men out there.  If your wife makes you a special dessert — after picking the cherries, washing and pitting them, digging through your mother’s recipes to find your favorite cherry pudding dessert, and then baking the whole damn thing on a hot summer day in a kitchen with no air-conditioning — do not say “It’s just not as good as Mom’s.  Just kidding!”

Because you may wake up the next morning to discover that leftover cherry pudding has been stuffed up your ass while you were sleeping.

Just kidding.

If . . . Then

Okay, boys and girls, it’s time for Mama A.J.’s Words of Wisdom (aka Ten Things That Are Pissing Me Off).

  1. If you call in sick but feel good enough to spend your day on Facebook talking about how sick you are, then shut up and go to work.
  2. If you can drive yourself to the ER to get shots of pain meds for your Migraine, then chances are good that you don’t really need the shots.
  3. If you get Disability for a “bad back” but get cash for doing roofing jobs “on the side”, then you are slime.
  4. If you get Disability for Narcolepsy but can still get a Driver’s License, then our system is totally screwed up.
  5. If you get Food Stamps and WIC but can afford $300 extensions and bi-weekly gel manicures, then we have a problem.
  6. If you have lost a lot of weight and you feel the need to whine and wheeze about how hard life is now that you are skinny, then shut the hell up and eat a damn cheeseburger.
  7. If you bitch about your employer and co-workers on Facebook and you are surprised when you get fired for it, then you are an idiot.
  8. If you use social media to make public announcements about private matters, then you forfeit the right to tell anyone to mind their own business.
  9. If you post your writing on a public site and bawl like a little baby the instant someone doesn’t praise you, then don’t post your work on a public site.  Hang it on your mommy’s refrigerator and get a new pacifier.
  10. If you can’t remember the last time you said something that wasn’t a complaint, then suck it up, Snowflake.  We’re tired of hearing it.