Trying Something New

Those of you  who have been following my blog for a while are probably aware of the struggle I have had with insecurity when it comes to showing pictures of myself. I am overweight and over fifty and would never have won a beauty contest even on my best days. And when you add in the fact that I am not even the slightest bit photogenic, I’m one of those people who would be a lot more comfortable using a picture of my cat as a profile picture.

It was a huge step for me to post my first selfie here a few years ago. And other than one slightly batty piece of fruitcake with over-the-top negative reaction, the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

Since then, I’ve gotten more comfortable about sharing pictures of myself. I still think my smile makes me look like a serial killer in pictures, but I guess I can learn to live with that. I can color the gray hairs and layer on the makeup to hid the wrinkles, but I have yet to discover a filter that shaves off eighty pounds or gives me better cleavage.

I am, however, working on what I call the Popeye chapter of my life. It’s the chapter where I look at myself, shrug, and say “I  yam what I yam.”

Of course, the thought of yams makes me hungry for sweet potato fries, which tempts me to make a run to Red’s Drive-in in Paw Paw for a double olive burger to go with the fries. And suddenly I am reminded of just why I have to worry about the extra eighty pounds (not to mention acne at the ripe old age of fifty-one).

It’s life, guys. It is what it is. Like my mom used to say, there are better ways to go through life than to be dragged, kicking and screaming.

At any rate, I am slowly working up the nerve to do a video blog post someday. Eventually. Maybe to celebrate my 55th birthday. My older children both shook their heads and said, “no, Mother,” when I suggested it, but I rarely listen to their suggestions.

If I did listen to my daughter’s suggestions, I probably wouldn’t have worn the lavender t-shirt with the silver butterfly on the boobs that makes it look like I’m wearing a bustier. Pictures of me in that shirt should be in the back pages of Glamour magazine with a black bar across my eyes and a caption that says “Fashion DON’T.”

But I’m going to take a leap and put myself out there in a video this coming weekend. Sort of. I have decided to do a Facebook Live Q&A on Sunday, April 30, at 1 p.m. EST to help celebrate the release of my newest book. I don’t know if it will do anything for sales and I strongly doubt I’ll get enough viewers to even mildly dent the internet, but I think it will be fun.

I’ve got lots of coffee on hand for before, and lots of wine for after. If it doesn’t go well, I may hit some of the wine during.

I even did a little test run with Facebook Live last weekend to see how it works. For the record, I was wearing the lavender butterfly/bustier shirt that day, which is how I figured out how awful it is.  Check it out here.

So please stop by this coming Sunday and ask any questions you might have about my books or my blog, or even about those fabulous double olive burgers and sweet potato fries at Red’s Drive-In. Anyone who comments will be entered into a random drawing to win a free digital copy of Victoria’s Promise.

Click on the link below for more information. I hope to see you then!

17857214_1468465233164567_618595048_n
Facebook Live Q&A with A.J. Goode, April 30 2017 at 1:00 p.m. EST
Advertisements

Enough

I don’t like Donald Trump.

I don’t like Hillary Clinton, either.

This election was the worst. I know we say that after every election, amid jokes about having to choose the lesser of two evils, but this one went to an extreme that I hope to never see again in my lifetime. I vowed not to discuss politics on social media or here on my blog, and I’ve done my best to uphold that vow.

So this isn’t about politics.

It’s about something I saw on Facebook early this morning, posted by a man I have always respected. Until now.

Let me just go back for a minute and say that I think it is ridiculous to end friendships over differing political beliefs. So what if you liked Bernie or you voted for Trump or you thought Hillary was your personal savior? Big deal. I don’t care. Different strokes for different folks and all that stuff. I may think you’re an idiot from time to time, but you’ll probably think the same of me once in a while too. Good friendships can weather the occasional bouts of idiocy.

But today, I ended a friendship over something indirectly political, and I want to explain my reasoning.

This man posted a long diatribe on Facebook about the Obamas leaving the White House, and most of his vitriol was aimed at Michelle Obama. He called her a “he/she” and a “shemale” while comparing her to an ape. He said the only way she and Barack should have been allowed in the White House at all was through the servants’ entrance as slaves back in the “good old days” before the Civil War.

This is an educated man. He used impeccable grammar and punctuation as he went on to talk about getting some class and dignity in the White House. He spoke of his hopes that the new administration will punish “faggots” and deport “terrorists” and “camel-jockeys.”

No.

I didn’t know what to say.

I don’t want to believe that people like this actually exist. I can’t even begin to comprehend that I counted this man as my friend.

Looking back over our friendship, I can remember now that he has made similar comments that I took to be jokes. Bad jokes, inappropriate and unfunny, but I excused them because I didn’t want to believe that anyone really thought those things. Felt that way.

And you know what? That makes me part of the problem.

I despise those sensitive snowflakes who take offense at every little thing and actively look for reasons to get their feelings hurt. But damn it, sometimes we have to take offense. Not because of political affiliation or because we want to be some kind of Social Justice Warriors, but because we are human beings.

I should have told my friend that his jokes were offensive and unfunny. I shouldn’t have excused him. At the very least, I should have re-evaluated our friendship. As a parent, I’ve often told my kids that “right or wrong, you are judged by the people you surround yourself with.” But I feel sick now when I realize just exactly what I have chosen to surround myself with. My silence implied approval, whether I intended it to or not.

This election has changed me. It doesn’t matter how you voted or what you believe in politically. I don’t care if you voted for Trump or Clinton because, let’s be honest, neither one was a great choice.

But if you spew hatred, you will no longer be a part of my life. Even if that hatred is part of a joke, followed by your suggestion that people need to lighten up.

Go ahead and tell me that you think about religion or sexual orientation. Talk to me about politics. Sing your praises of whichever political party you think is going to save our world. I welcome intelligent, opinionated discussion whether I agree with you or not.

But I do not welcome hate.

I don’t use the word “hate” lightly. I think it has lost its power in recent years. People whine about “haters” and make jokes about “hater-ade” and basically toss the word around until it means little more than “dislike.” But Webster’s defines it as:

intense hostility and aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury

Think about that. Intense hostility . . . deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury.

I’m done excusing people like my former friend who is so full of hate for anyone who isn’t white, Christian, and conservative. I’m done looking the other way and staying silent when I hear unfunny jokes that try to mask hatred behind a so-called sense of humor.

Folks, this is the world we live in. Black, white. Gay, straight. Christian, Muslim.

Human.

Deal with it.

C’mon, enough is enough. It has to be.

Love wins, love always wins.– Mitch Albom

 

lovewins

Facebook Rant #2

I discovered Facebook when my youngest child was just a baby and I had finally returned to work.  One of the other girls in the salon showed me how to set up an account, but I wondered at the time if I wasn’t too old to be getting involved in something like that.

It’s been five years now, and I’ll be the first to admit I’m hooked.  Oh, I tell everyone it’s all about monitoring the kids and their friends, or networking for my writing career, or helping me keep abreast of school and athletic events.

Sure.

Okay, I’ve reconnected with old friends that I hadn’t talked to since high school.  I’ve found relatives who had drifted out of my life.  I’ve even found relatives I didn’t know I had!  I’ve got a fan page for my blog and my books, and I’ve even managed to buy and sell household items through a garage sale “page” on Facebook.  And it’s a great way to share pictures with relatives that I don’t see as often as I’d like.

But guys, we need to talk.

Parents, think before you shame your kid on Facebook.  Seriously, I am so appalled when I see mothers who get on their page to rant and rave about how lazy their kids are, or how ungrateful, or whatever.  Sure, we all feel that way about our kids sometimes, but how disrespectful is it to use your computer to tell the world such terrible things about your own flesh and blood!  Think about it:  if a fellow teenager dedicates 4-5 status updates per day calling Little Johnny a lazy bastard or an ungrateful little jerk, wouldn’t we jump all over that teenager for bullying Little Johnny?  And yet Little Johnnies all over the world have parents who do the same thing nearly every day and never think twice.

Here’s another way to think about it.  Let’s say Little Johnny gets on Facebook and calls his mother lazy or ungrateful.  Maybe he insults her cooking, too, because that’s just the kind of kid Little Johnny is.   Most likely, he’s going to be disciplined for disrespecting his mother on Facebook, right?

So why does his mom think it’s okay for her to disrespect him on Facebook?

And don’t argue with someone else’s kid on Facebook.  Adults should act like adults.

I also see people complaining about their jobs and co-workers.  Seriously, guys, you realize that you can get fired for that, right?  You really want to call your boss a name?  Okay, call him “Ex-boss” because that’s what he’ll be after he fires your stupid ass for gossiping about your job on Facebook.

And come on, guys; everybody knows who you mean when you refer to someone as “you-know-who” or respond to comments with “Send me a message; I’ll tell you who it is.”  I recently unfriended a woman because she was constantly kvetching about “that one certain person” in vague terms and I couldn’t get past my concern that she was referring to me.  Okay, so I’m a bit paranoid at times, but it was downright creepy.

Then of course, there’s my personal favorite:  women who slam their husband or boyfriends on Facebook.  I’m sure there are men who do this too, but I see so much more of it with my women friends than with my guy friends.  A woman will have a fight with her husband and then go on Facebook to announce to the world that he’s a cheater, an abuser, a gambler, an alcoholic, or whatever.    She begs for pity, getting hundreds of supportive comments reassuring her that she’s a strong and beautiful woman.  Her friends cluster around to agree that she’s too good for the guy, and sling around more insults about him.

Half the time, the poor guy didn’t even know they were having a fight when he left for work that morning.

I guess what I’m saying is that some people just have no common sense about what is and isn’t okay to air on Facebook.  Girls, nobody cares about your period or how long it’s been since you’ve had sex.  We don’t want to know  that you have a yeast infection.  Guys, we don’t care that your balls itch.  Just shut up, turn around, and scratch them, for God’s sake.  Don’t make a public announcement on Facebook that your freaking balls itch.

Ladies, if your man just cheated on you or beat the crap out of you, leave him.  Call the cops if you must.  Don’t get on Facebook to tell the world you caught him screwing the neighbor, or post pictures of your black eye and busted lip.  Rather than bitch about the situation, change the situation.

And Moms, think about what you are about to say about your own child.  Would you slap the stupid out of your own kid for saying that about you?  Then don’t say it about him.  Common sense, people.  Before you get out there and post a rant about your kid’s coach or teacher for all of your 600+ Facebook friends to see, take a second to wonder if that coach or teacher might not be offended and perhaps take it out on your kid.  In short, if you insist on calling the coach a dick all over Facebook, don’t expect your kid to get much playing time.

It’s been a rough couple of days here, obviously.   I am in a bad mood.  People are pissing me off, and that just never works out well for anyone.

So come on, everybody.  Talk to me.  What are some of the worst things that you see people do on Facebook?  What really ticks you off?

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.

Facebook “Friends” and True Colors

I just spent two hours writing a blog post that I will never publish.  It was an angry post that ranged in tone from red-hot fury to frost-blue sarcasm.

It was called “Open Letter to An Idiot” and it was not nice.  Not by any stretch of the imagination.  I used twenty-seven different synonyms for “idiot” and I droped the f-bomb thirteen times.

You see, I have just learned that some of my “friends” are annoyed by my behavior in recent years.   I put the quotation marks around the word friend because there are people involved who obviously have no idea what the word means.

I have talked too much about my car accident and about my lingering issues with pain.  I understand that now, and I wish I had been more stoic about it.  I am, after all, not the only person to undergo a traumatic event.  And let’s face it, there are a lot of people dealing with worse pain.  I’m embarrassed when I look back at some of my whining and I wonder that I haven’t lost more friends because of my constant complaining.

The night of my accident, I wasn’t thinking about getting sympathy or attention.  I was thinking that the sky had that funny green-yellow color that sometimes comes with tornado weather.  I was thinking that my children and I were going to die.  Later, when the storm was over and they were wheeling me around from ambulance to ambulance, I stared up at the violets, oranges and indigoes of the sunset sky and wondered if I would ever walk again.

Afterward, I guess I should have moved on better than I did.

My bad.

My angry and unpublishable blog post was prompted by a conversation that took place on Facebook yesterday between people that I had thought of as my friends.  They discussed my accident and my recovery at great lengths, and made quite a few jokes at my expense.  Apparently, these chums of mine decided to advance the theory that my accident never really took place.

I am lazy, they decided.  They called me an attention whore and speculated that I made up the whole thing as a way of getting sympathy and finding a way to get out of working for the rest of my life.  They voiced the opinion that I need to STFU.

Look, people are going to gossip.  I can accept that.  Hell, I’ve been caught gossiping a few times.  More than a few, if I’m going to be perfectly honest.  But I can’t even comprehend saying the kind of spiteful, vicious things these people said.  And right out there on Facebook, in a public forum for all the world to see!

In a conversation that showed up in my newsfeed.  On my page, where I could read every poisonous word they said.

I attacked them in my blog.  I lashed out at them . . . and I did the same thing I was accusing them of doing:  I mocked them in a public forum for all the world to see.

But I won’t publish that post because I want to be a better person than they are.

I know I’ve talked about my accident too much and I’m trying to stop.  Really, I am.  I realize that I can never heal as long as I keep dwelling on it.   It’s a hard lesson that I am constantly re-learning; for example, I recently shared a few details about it with a new friend, and regretted it almost immediately.  It’s part of my past, and it should have stayed there.  I dumped far too much on him when I should have kept it to myself, and I am afraid that I have done irreparable damage to a budding friendship.

I’ve whined a lot lately about pain because it’s aggravated by cold weather – and since Michigan is in the grip of something called a “polar vortex”, it’s really cold here.  I have had to go out into that frigid weather to shovel snow off the steps, and the combination of cold and overuse of shoulder/neck muscles has left me with a level of pain that is nearly blinding in its intensity.

Still, I should have been more considerate of others who are worse off.  I know that nobody wants to see a long string of negative, whiny, aww-poor-me status updates; I should have just put on the big girl panties and kept it to myself.

But to mock me?  To claim that I was never really hurt, to say that my accident never happened, to say that I am “milking” a disability claim because I am too lazy to go back to work?   That takes a special kind of person.  The kind of person I hope to never be.  The kind of person who cannot be my friend.  Not now, not ever.

Because this happened.

Whew!  Luckily, it's a figment of my imagination.
Whew! Luckily, it’s a figment of my imagination.

That’s Todd, holding my head.  Rey taking the picture.  Dave in the yellow coat.  Not a clue who the arm or butt belong to –Mitch, Brian, JC? — but the fact remains that it happened, and they were there.  And so was I.

The “friends” who are mocking me and suggesting that it never happened?  They weren’t there.  Not at the scene, not in the aftermath, and certainly not now.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/01/07/daily-prompt-colors/

Daily Prompt: Make Up Your Mind

question-mark1

Think of a topic or issue about which you’ve switched your opinion.  Why the change?

I have changed my mind about the George Zimmerman trial more times than I can count.  I still don’t know what I think, and I keep changing my mind because I don’t know which information to believe.

I am a white woman who grew up in a white neighborhood in a white suburb of a predominantly white town.  I have no idea what it is like to be black, and I never will.  It’s impossible for me to fully understand what it’s like to be the victim of racism.  I have no idea if I’m supposed to say “Black” or “African American” or “That lady over there in the green blouse” but I know that whatever I say it’s going to be judged as offensive to someone.

I don’t want to be called a racist.

I want to believe that Trayvon Martin was innocent.  That George Zimmerman was an angry, swaggering wannabe vigilante who shot a helpless child in cold blood.  That Zimmerman was 100% responsible for everything that took place that night, and that Martin was 100% innocent.

To think otherwise makes me a racist, right?  A Bad Person.

But we have been so manipulated by the Media that it is impossible to know what to believe.  Like most Americans, I’ve heard this story and that story and a million tiny “facts” that are actually fabrications, until the only thing I know is that I don’t know.

The photo we all see of Martin is of a much younger, more innocent child, not an accurate depiction of the seventeen year-old man-sized individual who died that night.  Innocent or not, plastering the news outlets with that little-boy picture is a blatant attempt at manipulating public opinion.   At making him seem child-like and guiltless, small and unable to defend himself.

I don’t know the truth about who did what that night, but I know that picture is a lie.  And that makes me angry.   If he was an innocent victim, why try so desperately to mislead the general public?

I’ve heard tales of the 9-1-1 tape being edited for broadcast by news stations intent on making a bigger story.     I’ve heard that Martin’s only injury was the fatal bullet wound, while I’ve seen the pictures of Zimmerman’s bloodied head and face.  And yet I’ve heard claims that there are pictures of an uninjured  Zimmerman walking into the police station, suggesting that he was beaten after the fact in a different altercation.

As a white person, I am afraid to voice my doubts.

I feel like I have to be angry about the Zimmerman verdict or risk being branded a racist.

The truth is, I really believed he would be found guilty.  Not because I believe he is guilty, but because I thought the jury would be afraid of the consequences of a verdict of Not Guilty.  I remember the riots after the Rodney King verdict, and I worried that the same thing would happen in this case.

Was the verdict a result of racism, or was it a result of six jurors who made a decision based on evidence alone?  I don’t even know if such a thing is possible, especially since Zimmerman was basically tried and found guilty on Facebook and in the court of public opinion long before this ever came to trial.

I am disgusted that one of the jurors has already done interviews and signed a book deal.  This strikes me as a terribly opportunistic move.  She should be ashamed, as should the bottom-feeders who have taken advantage of her thirst for fame and attention.

But what about the people on Twitter and Facebook who are calling for the death of the jurors and Zimmerman?  What about the folks fanning the flames of racism and hatred?  If there is more violence as a result of all of the exaggeration, hatespeak and outright lies, who is responsible?  Whose fault is it?

People, it’s not okay to protest racism by advocating more hate.  More violence.

Just because I am white, don’t assume I am a racist.  Just because I am questioning some of the stories circulating about Zimmerman and Martin, don’t assume that I think Martin was in the wrong or that Zimmerman was in the right.  I wasn’t there, and I don’t know.

And neither were you.

Black or white, we are better than this.  We are smarter than this.   We need to stop letting ourselves be spoon-fed by news media whose only agenda is the next big story.   We need to ask questions and not automatically believe every rumor, every bit of gossip, every inflammatory bit of anger-inducing crap that is posted on Facebook or shared on Twitter.

Black or white, we need to think for ourselves.

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.

Of Porcupines and Ducks

IMG_20130416_145430

My mom used to call them “Prickly Days”.  Those days when one of us was just feeling defensive or particularly put-upon, when our response to everything was a snarl or a snap.  A conversation on one of those days might go as follows:

Mom:  Good Morning!

Me: What’s that supposed to mean?

Mom:  Just . . . good morning. 

Me:  You always loved (insert random sibling) more!  Stop picking on me!

Prickly.  Like an angry little porcupine.  Don’t touch. Don’t speak.  Don’t try to smooth things over.   Just walk away.  Do not pass Go; do not collect $200.

Lately, it seems as though the entire world is having “Prickly Days” and they are using social media to express themselves.  I have to wonder if it doesn’t sometimes take an extreme effort to be so very offended by every tiny, seemingly innocuous comment made by some random celebrity, and then spout off about it online.

For example, look at the reaction to Justin Bieber’s recent comments in the guestbook at the Anne Frank House.  He wrote:  “Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.” 

Now, that was a really stupid thing to say.  It comes across as a bit of self-promoting fluff that trivializes everything that Anne Frank went through.     But is it bad enough to warrant the hate-filled ranting and raving, the angry demands for a public apology?

Let’s face it; he’s a kid who said a dumb thing.  If people can just calm down for a moment and stop being angry long enough to consider the intent behind his vapid scribble, can anyone really, possibly believe that he truly intended to be so disrespectful?  Or did he just have a stupid moment?

A less notorious–and far less stupid –example of this rush to be offended involves my current celebrity crush.  On February 7, Randolph Mantooth posted the following Tweet:

“I swear! There’s some ignorant, intolerant, crazy ass people in the world 2day & they all seem 2 B on Facebook & Twitter.”

Oh, come on, is anybody really surprised that I follow him on Twitter?

Personally, I think it’s a pretty funny Tweet.  I rather agree with it most days.  I clicked “favorite” and moved on after a good chuckle.

But a few weeks later, he had to address the issue in his blog on his site, Route51, because apparently people were offended by the comment.  It was interpreted as an insult against anyone without a high school education.

Just how hard do you have to squint to see that in his comment?  How much effort does it take to be offended by that?

In a post titled “What I Said” Mantooth defends himself by saying:

“If you read the tweet, you’ll know I never said anything about anyone’s education. . . . Look…. One of the smartest people in my life only made it through the 8th grade. …My father! With only a high school education, my mother successfully raised 4 kids as a waitress… by herself!”

Again, let’s look at the intent behind the words.  Does anyone really believe it was his intent to criticize the educational background of anyone, anywhere?  Or was it more likely the off-the-cuff comment of a man having a frustrating day?

The incident that prompted me to speak up about this outbreak of Let’s-Be-Offended-By-Everything-Syndrome is something that happened yesterday.  In response to the horrific events that took place in  Boston, actor/comedian Patton Oswalt posted some touching words of hope on his Facebook page.  I was never really a fan of his before, but I am now.

In six brief but eloquent paragraphs, Oswalt talks about the bombs and reminds us that the people committing these atrocities are “not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet” and goes on to point out that videos of the carnage show more people running toward the injured than away from the danger.

In the final paragraph, Oswalt says:

“So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think, ‘The good outnumber you, and we always will.’ “

Now, how in God’s name could anyone possibly find that offensive?  But looking at the comments people have made below his words of wisdom, is enough to shake one’s faith in humanity.

Some criticise him for using profanity.  Okay, so I probably wouldn’t have opened with the f-bomb; but Oswalt’s word choice has the desired effect of grabbing our attention.  And I don’t know about anyone else, but I know I dropped the f-bomb, as well as a lot of other foul words, as I watched the events unfold on TV.  I can’t think of a better way to sum up what happened in Boston than with his words:  “Boston.  Fucking horrible.”

Worst of all are the idiots who blast him for being overly patriotic, for over-simplifying the situation, or for using the situation for political means.

He did none of those things.

He reached out to the rest of us to offer encouragement and reassurance that the world is, after all, not such a terrible place.    He did a good thing; his intent was to offer hope and comfort.  I think he succeeded, but even if others don’t agree, they should at least manage to not be offended.

When I was a kid and I would come home crying because someone had been picking on me yet again, my Aunt Marian would tell me to “toughen up” and “let if roll off, like water off a duck’s back”.  God, how I hated those phrases!  I wanted to feel the hurts and wallow in my anger;  I wanted to go right on being a prickly porcupine and take offense at every little thing.  I didn’t want to be a duck.

Then I grew up.

Folks, it’s time to put on the grown-up undies and stop being so easily offended by every little thing.  It’s fine to get angry.  Be angry that someone set off bombs at the Boston Marathon.  Be offended by acts of terrorism.  Get pissed off because we have to be afraid of another Oklahoma City or 9/11 or Boston.

But don’t waste your time being offended over the tiniest of issues.

Is it worth getting worked up over a thoughtless comment made by some bubblegum  teen idol?  Or because of the irritated tweet made by a man who has spent forty years using his fame to support  and promote EMS workers everywhere?  Is it even humanly possible to take offense at the touching words of hope offered up by a man who stopped being a comedian long enough to reach out to his fellow human beings?

I have one thing left to say.

Quack.

It’s All About the Numbers

celebrate

My celebrations this week are rather small, but pretty big to me.

As of today, I have officially hit 1,000 views of my blog; I also hit the 100 mark with comments on my blog. That’s pretty small for some of you who get that much traffic on each post.  But for me, it’s kind of awesome.

I also finally noticed the little numbers at the bottom of each post.  Okay, so observation is not one of my more impressive skills.  I was shocked to see that some of my posts have been shared on Facebook a dozen times or more!  That really left me feeling somewhat gobsmacked, honestly.  People I don’t know have shared my stuff on their Facebook pages.

Wow.

Pretty cool.

Of course, some of the things I have written were awfully personal or opinionated.  Gah, I put my picture in one of them!  And to be perfectly honest, I’m not entirely sure I was wearing a bra in that picture.  Oh, dear.

I also shared links to my blog with my husband and with my mother-in-law this week.  Not easy.  My husband is a wonderful man who loves me, but he would rather gnaw off a cherished body part than give praise; his mother is someone whose opinion I respect deeply.  She is kind, but she is honest.

And I am nervous.

Is it odd that I am comfortable pouring out my heart to strangers – and their facebook pages, apparently – and yet I am terrified of sharing my writing with the people I know and love?

Gesundheit

I have a cold.

As colds go, it’s a pretty miserable one.  Headache, sore throat, coughing, sneezing, the works.  Right now, there is a jumbo ball of snot in the back of my throat that refuses to go up or down, and so it just sits there, making me gag.  Which makes me cough.

Some of you men or younger women may not get this, but sometimes we ladies have an added bonus that takes place when we cough or sneeze.  In my case, let’s just say it involves my having given birth to three ten-pound babies over the past fifteen years.

There’s a reason why mothers always seem to cross our legs when we laugh or cough.  As my friend Lori likes to say, “I sometimes laugh so hard, the tears run right down my leg!”

So I’m sitting here with various bodily fluids escaping from various places, coughing up everything but my left lung, and I have decided to give myself the day off.

I am a stay-home mom.  When I am sick, I still have to work.  Laundry must be done, dishes must be washed, dinner must be prepared.  Even when I don’t feel good, I have to drag myself through the day, whining and wallowing in self-pity about being so overworked and underappreciated.  I jump on Facebook to whine some more, squeezing every possible ounce of pity out of my friends, and then I haul my sorry saggy ass through more chores.

Not today.  Although I do have to take a moment to veer off on a tangent for a moment about Facebook.   Folks, if you feel good enough to get on Facebook and announce to the world that you have a Migraine, you don’t have a Migraine.

People who work outside of the home are allowed to take sick days.  So I’m taking one.  This stay-home Mama is off the clock for the rest of the day.  I’m back in my jammies, on the couch with the Big Guy’s favorite afghan (hey, I’m not getting any assorted fluids on my favorite afghan!) and a big mug of hot Echinacea tea.  It’s noon, and I’ve already taken two naps.

I’m allowed to take a sick day.

Besides, I think I just sneezed up part of my spleen.  Which is probably going to give me a Migraine.