Oh, Man

I woke up yesterday morning with a song running through my mind. But not an entire song. Oh, no. Just a few simple melodies and a random word here and there. Sort of like “Something something ENOUGH, never something SOMETHING, Uh-HUH.

I drove my co-workers crazy with it, partly because I am tone deaf and should never ever sing, but mainly because my co-workers are all much too young to remember the classics from the 80’s. But at last, I finally remembered enough of the song to Google the lyrics, and voila! I had the title, artist, and video.

“Room at the Top” by Adam Ant.

Oh, Adam Ant. Sigh. I had such a crush on him. My first concert was him and the Romantics, although that was early enough in his career that he was still Adam and the Ants at that point. Long before his big hits like “Strip” or “Goody Two Shoes” or, of course, “Room at The Top.”

When I went to his concert, his hits were all songs like “AntMusic” and “Dog Eat Dog.” I mean, who else wrote lyrics like “Leapfrog the dog and brush me, daddy oh”?  But it was more than his music. He oozed sexuality. My little teenage hormones went into hyperdrive when I saw him dance and wriggle all over the place.

So I was all set for a steamy trip down Memory Lane yesterday when I clicked on one of his videos to remind myself of just how sexy he really was.

music video 80s new wave 1981 80s mtv

Um . . . well, that was . . . not quite what I remembered.  Perhaps I had him confused with some other sexy artist of the 80’s. Maybe Billy Idol?

music video 80s billy idol eheg im never coloring 80s music videos again

Maybe Brian Setzer?

Not a whole lot of testosterone going on there, guys.

I started frantically searching through 80’s videos to see if any of the men I thought of as sexy were as breathtaking as I remembered. So far, this is the most masculine and powerful image I found:

 

Gotta be honest here, folks. If I were a lesbian, Annie Lennox would SO be on my radar.

But since I am straight and single, I am now totally confused about just exactly what I ever saw in those pretty boys of the 1980’s?  More to the point, I really need to look at pictures of men that I find attractive now.

Mmm-hmmm.

Yes, please.

Image result for eric allan kramer

Goodness.

I’m having trouble breathing, Mr. Gage.

Fireman. Need I say more?

(Okay, so that last one’s not a celebrity. We may be divorced, but I still think he’s kinda cute.)

Okay, all better now. I’m coming to terms with the realization that my tastes in men have definitely evolved a bit over the years, thank goodness.  And while I know I’m never going to go out with Sam Elliot, Taye Diggs, Eric Allan Kramer, or Randolph Mantooth (or my ex!), I can always dream, can’t I?

At least now, I’m not dreaming of men who wear more eyeliner than I do!

What about you? Have your tastes changed over the years? Who do you find most attractive now?

 

 

 

Grasping at Straws

No one was around when it happened, but I got a hug yesterday that turned my world around. I was feeling pretty alone in a crowd of people, and I don’t think anyone else realized what that hug did for me.

It’s been another rocky week around here. I’m doing my best to stay positive and keep a good attitude, but as one of my favorite bloggers said in her post for today, “Life is full of overwhelm.” I’m dealing with money problems, small-town-gossip issues, a broken lawnmower, a job opportunity that fell through, and now there’s a dead mouse in my basement. Life is sucking big-time right now, and not even bothering to use a pretty curly straw.

To be honest, life isn’t really all that bad.  We’re all healthy, and there’s been a lot of good stuff going on, too.  I’ve got my book signing tomorrow, and a possible girls’ night out with a couple of old friends; there’s a visit from my sister and a new used laptop from a friend, and the little store in town just started carrying Toblerone. If I could get Netflix to work on my TV so I could watch something with Randolph Mantooth or Eric Allan Kramer, I’d be content.

sister

It’s just that I argued with some friends this week, and that hurts. They weren’t my best friends, not by a long shot. But they were friends, and life is too short to let any friends go easily. We might not have shared our deepest secrets with each other, but we enjoyed each other’s company. To put it differently, they were the kind of friends who might not have gone into the basement for the mouse for me, but they would have stood at the top of the stairs and squealed in sympathy while I did it myself.

When this passes over – and it will – it’s going to be hard for me to smile and go on with these people as though nothing has happened. I’ll do it because that’s what grown-ups do; I’ll encourage our kids to play together and we’ll all sit together in the bleachers during the different sports seasons. We’ll fall back into the same routines, the same patterns, and I’ll have to remind myself not to hold a grudge. It’ll be a struggle, but everything will be just fine.

For right now, my feelings are hurt. I feel like my soul has been bruised.

There are so many people out there with real problems. It’s foolish to waste even one minute stressing myself out over some petty he-said-she-said rumors and silliness. I just needed something or someone to give me a little kick in the butt or slap upside the head to remind me to prioritize this mess in the appropriate manner.

And that’s where the hug came in.

When I go to the elementary school to pick up my son at the end of the day, there’s a little girl who refuses to smile at me. Absolutely refuses. She’s an utterly adorable and very opinionated little girl with a strong and unique personality. I always ask her if today is the day I’m going to get a “Molly-smile,” and she takes a long, serious moment to study me and consider my question before shaking her head and walking away. Our little routine has become a high point of some of my days.

Yesterday was my rough day.  I was wallowing in self-pity and seriously considering plans for the evening that involved devouring the equivalent of my body weight in food that’s really, really bad for me; I had a hard time holding my head up and ignoring the whispers when I walked by the cluster of friends who are so upset with me. For a few minutes, I felt like a self-conscious sixth-grader trying to find a safe place to sit in the cafeteria on the first day of middle school. I wished my little boy was big enough to walk himself home from school so I didn’t have to face any of those people.

And then, out of the blue, I didn’t get a Molly-smile.

I got a Molly-hug.

God alone knows why that child chose yesterday, of all days, to run up and hug me. She never said a word. Just trotted up, threw her tiny arms around me for a split second, and ran back to her mother.

That was all it took to put things back into perspective for me.

Life is short. Sometimes, it’s “full of overwhelm.” But the world is always going to keep turning; tomorrow’s going to come, the sun is going to rise, and life is going to go on with or without our permission.  We can hang onto hurt and anger and self-pity, or we can allow ourselves to thaw in the warmth that comes from a child’s hug.

We can focus on the bad or we can embrace the good.

We can complain about the mouse in the basement or we can put on our big girl panties and march down there, get the damn thing, and move on with life.

And I guess, if life is going to suck sometimes, we might as well give it some pretty curly straws and enjoy the show.

straws

This is a Finish the Sentence Friday post, inspired by the prompt, “No one was around when it happened…” This week’s FTSF is hosted by Kristi from Finding Ninee, Lisa at Flingo and Jessica from Ramblings of an add mommy

Time Flies

Your local electronics store has just started selling time machines, anywhere doors, and invisibility helmets.  You can only afford one.  Which of these do you buy, and why?

 

A time machine, of course.  No question.

I’d love to say I would be altruistic and use a time machine for the good of the world:  Save the Titanic.  Unload the Eastland before she tipped over.   Kill Hitler before he gained power.  Tell E.L. James to get out of fanfiction and write her own damn book.

You know, the kind of actions that could prevent untold human suffering.

But I’ve read enough Science Fiction to understand that altering the past like that could have terrible consequences. Besides, I think I’ve established here in my blog that I’m basically a pretty selfish person at times, so let’s just accept that I would use a time machine for my own selfish purposes.

I’d go back to Woodland Elementary and pants a little boy named Tripper.  Totally humiliate the little bastard and warn him to leave my six-year-old self alone.  While there, I might also warn Leroy Butler to stay off the monkey bars in order to avoid shattering his jaw during recess, and I’d have a nice sit-down discussion with my mother about sending me to school in home-made “Stretch-N-Sew” polyester clothes.

I’d go back and tell my high school self to stop worrying about being fat and unpopular and just enjoy herself.  I’d tell her to give up the crush on a boy named Bucky, because in thirty years he will still be with the same perky little blonde — who will still be perky and blonde (and much nicer than I ever gave her credit for).  I’d point out the skinny, geeky science nerds and hint at all of the wonderful things puberty is going to do for some of them in a few years.

I’d tell her to savor the moments with Dee, Dawn, Aaron, Dale and all the others who are going to be gone too soon.

A time machine would give me a chance to go back and tell my college-aged self that dropping out of college is the stupidest thing she will ever do in her life.  I wouldn’t tell her just how many other stupid things she is going to do, but she should know that her future will be a mess if she doesn’t get that degree.

I’d tell the young, starry-eyed bride at my wedding to dance with Dad. It’s just one song, for God’s sake.  Not for him; for her.  She needs to understand that he is a good man who did the best he could, and that he never stopped loving his daughters.  She needs to forgive him, and she needs to realize that he doesn’t have much time left.

I’d tell that same bride to keep a closer watch on her marriage and recognize when things start going bad.    Get out sooner, before they hurt each other as much.

On the subject of hurting people, I’d tell myself to name the jerky ex-boyfriend character in Her House Divided  “Lester” instead of “Randy.”  Trust me on this one.  Sorry, Randy.

I’d let the air out of all of the tires of both of our cars on June 21, 2011, so that my kids couldn’t go to Christian Fellowship that night.  Better yet, I’d make a call to the Van Buren County Road Commission a week earlier and tell them to cut down a certain half-dead maple tree on County Road 388 before it falls in a storm and hurts someone.

I’d go back and tell Doug Adams to stay off the treadmill and see a cardiologist.  Beg Kurt Vonnegut for just one more story.  Tell Jim Henson it’s not the flu; go see a doctor.

I’d tell myself to gossip less, laugh more.  Say “I love you” as much as possible, even when no one says it back.  Tell my sisters I love them, no matter what.  Both of them.  Read more books from unknown authors.  Eat less, exercise more, and don’t lose touch with old friends.  Don’t wait for the universe to drop a tree on my head to make me understand that I am loved and I matter to a lot of people.

Of course, if I did all of those things, I wouldn’t have the chance to gain wisdom from the experiences, and my present-day self wouldn’t know what to do with the time machine.  Wouldn’t have the advice and warnings to give . . . which means nothing would change.  Or everything would change. . .

I think I just understood the theory of a Moebius Strip, but only for a second.  Then it was gone and now my head hurts and I suddenly remember why I don’t write Science Fiction.

So let’s just say I would use my time machine to travel back to 1973 so I throw myself at Randolph Mantooth.  Then again, I’d be old enough to be his mother then, and I’m not sure I could pull off being a cougar.  And now my head hurts again.

Screw the electronics store.  I’ll spend my money on Toblerone and Diet Coke.

 

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/pick-your-gadget/

Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For

Since my last several posts have been somewhat dark and depressing, I have decided to lighten up a little bit today.  I’m going to try something I have seen others bloggers do but have never tried myself. I’m going to look at some of the oddest search terms that people have used to find their way to my blog.

People keep finding me while searching for wrestler AJ Lee.  But they aren’t just searching for her name.  They look for “AJ Lee ass,”” AJ Lee boobs,” “AJ Lee string,” ”AJ Lee bikini boobs,” and so on.  If anyone reading this blog wants to assume that I look anything like AJ Lee, please feel free to do so.  You will be disappointed if we ever meet face-to-face, but fantasize all you like.

I’m not sure if these searches end up here because of the “AJ” or because I mentioned Ms. Lee in one post when I talked about the fact that my pen name used to be AJ Lee back in the 1980’s, but I changed it when the other one became so famous.

The word “boobs” seems to bring a lot of people to my blog as well, along with a few interesting variations: “Chi chi boobies,” “chi chis,” “hooters,” “oh my boobies” and my personal favorite, “boobies goo.” What in the hell was that guy looking for?

I’ve written a couple of posts about fanfiction; specifically, I explored the unsettling trends of Real Person Fiction and something called “whumpage,” which explains search terms like “big time rush fanfiction kidnap” or “criminal minds fanfiction Reid suffered.”  But I’m seriously creeped out by the fact that people are coming to my blog after searching for terms liker5 incest,” “ross lynch gay fantasy” or “whipping boy whump tumblr pic.”  And let’s not forget about “emma watson gives tom felton a blow job backstage.”

And while I’m being seriously creeped out, what is up with the people looking for sexual stories about an aunt?  Is this some kind of fetish of which I have been unaware?  “I fucked my sleeping aunt when I was a kid story,”  and “True to life stories my bored aunt give me a handjob and blowjob while im asleep.”

Say it with me now:  Ewww.

If you are finding my blog while looking for these terms, just move along.  Better yet, stop looking for these terms.  Get help.

Randolph Mantooth and his character Johnny Gage show up fairly often in my list of search terms.  I understand that.  I’ve had a crush on him since I was about six years old, so I talk about him here almost as much as I talk about Toblerone.  Which, surprisingly, has never brought a single person to my blog.

No less than five people have found me by searching for “whippoorwill’s ass.”  Seriously.

Some of the searches have been oddly specific:  “what was the name of the candy store in Saugatuck” and “Armstrong farm, corners of M-43 & M-40.”

I’m gratified to see just how many times people have found my blog because they are actually looking for it.  “AJGoode,” “A Good One,” “Her House Divided,” and so on.  That’s a bit of a relief, actually, although a good chunk of those searches were probably done by people I know who wanted to find out if I ever mention them in my blog.

Yes, ObnoxioMom, I still talk about you.  Now go put a normal football helmet on your son with the unique head and stop trying to figure out if I ever mention your real name.  I don’t.

I’m mystified that people have found my blog when searching for “ass.”  Just the one word, all by itself.  Ass.  Not “Great ass,” although “Bigass” is understandable and has brought in many a searcher, thanks to my post about living in The Land of Bigass Denial.  Not even “AJ Goode is acting like an ass,” which I could take in stride because sometimes I do indeed act like an ass.  It’s one of my charms.

The search for “gaysex bringasan” has me baffled.  What, exactly, was this person looking for and why did they end up here?  “Raccoon coffee” is another odd one, as is “red letter days wolfman.” I have no idea what to make of “my husband airs our dirty laundry to our mutual friends.”   What about “silhouette by a dumpster and “fat person short hair?   Did that last one pop up under “images” with my profile picture?  If so, it’s time to grow the hair out, but only because that’s so much easier than losing weight.

I have to wonder how some of the people feel when their searches bring them here.  I mean, if someone is looking for “written smoking erotica” or “sex stories/mommy incest stories” and they end up on my Mother’s Day letter to my mother, there’s got to be a certain level of disappointment.

I don’t want to know about the ones looking for “whippoorwill’s ass.” I really don’t.

Wrong Direction

My first celebrity crush was Peter Tork of the Monkees.  I should clarify here that I am not quite old enough to have watched the show when it was a prime-time phenomenon (although pretty darn close), so my sisters and I watched it together in reruns on Saturday mornings with some of the neighbor girls.

Davy was cute, Mickey was funny, Mike was smart.  Peter was just sweet .   Sweet and stupid.

Not an auspicious beginning for me.

Although my tastes these days run more toward the Eric Allan Cramer/Ed Harris/Michael Chiklis type, I had my share of celebrity crushes on the Peter-type.  Sweet, somewhat helpless, always the underdog.  Never the popular choice.    When everyone else crushed on Johnny, I adored Roy; girls everywhere swooned over Ponch, but my heart belonged to Jon.    My friends daydreamed about Michael Stipe while I had all kinds of naughty thoughts about Mike Mills.

Okay, maybe I was the one on the right track with that one.

The point is that I knew the difference between a celebrity crush and the real thing.  I knew my fantasies were just that:  fantasies.  No matter how many imaginary romantic scenes I thought up about my current celebrity crush, I knew the difference between fantasy and reality.  I knew what could and couldn’t happen in the real world.

I bring this up because of a disturbing trend that I have been seeing on the fiction sites where I post my work for feedback.  It’s called RPF, for Real Person Fiction, and it creeps me right the hell out.

These aren’t all kids writing this stuff.  Some of these writers are my age, and older.   They write and post graphic sexual fantasies about everyone from Justin Bieber to One Direction to The Beatles.  And they don’t just write self-insert tales where they themselves are part of the risqué little romps.   No, that kind of story, while still creepy, is at least somewhat understandable.  Somewhat.

The stories that make me want to take a three-day shower with a heavy dose of brain-bleach are the ones that pair real people up with other real people, regardless of gender or orientation in real life.   Stories that portray members of One Direction performing oral sex on each other back stage, or give graphic descriptions of John Lennon giving blow jobs to Paul McCartney.

I don’t get it.

Then there are the stories that go even farther into “yuck” category.  Stories of incest between Canadian siblings Tegan and Sara, or among the members of those squeaky-clean Disney kidlets known as R5.  The writers create these tales of sibling love as though it is a good thing.  A thing to be envied.  And if a baby is born from these incestuous get-togethers, why, the “characters” rejoice.

Why, why, WHY?

I don’t understand how anyone could even think up a story like that, much less portray it as a thing of beauty.   I get that there are all kinds of sexual fetishes and different proclivities that are beyond the scope of my admittedly white-bread existence, and I am usually more than happy to step back and agree ”to each his own”.   I try really hard not to judge.

All you toe-suckers and role-players, live it up.  Whatever floats your boat.  Or humps it, if that’s your thing.

But I have to draw the line when it comes to writing real people into these twisted tales.  It scares me that there are people out there who would write stories about real people, moving them about like toys in their stories.  It makes me worry about their mental condition, especially when they say things like, “but I’ve heard they read these stories and they like them!”

It makes me want to shake them and ask, “Really?  You honestly think Ross Lynch enjoys stories about getting his sister pregnant or having sex with his brothers?” or “Where did you see Tegan Quin announce that she likes stories about screwing her twin sister?”

Is it too much of a leap to wonder just how tenuous is their grip on reality?

I’ve had my share of fantasies about Randolph Mantooth, okay?  (So sue me.  He’s aged better than Kevin Tighe.)  Eric Allan Cramer has occasionally been a bit naughty in my dreams.  That’s normal.  After all, I’m fairly certain my husband has had some impure thoughts about Faith Hill, pin-up girl Hilda, and the adorable blonde mom from down the street.   Actually, even a straight gal like me can be attracted to those last two.  Totally acceptable to fantasize in that way, as long as neither one of us ever does anything to make those fantasies a reality.

But I don’t write stories about Randy Mantooth and Kevin Tighe doing each other.  Call me a prude, I guess.  What kind of total nutburger thinks it’s okay to publish tales like this about real people?

I have to wonder how Emma Watson feels when she hears about stories that portray her as a backstage tramp screwing everyone from Rupert Grint to Alan Rickman.  Who in their right mind would ever believe that she would be flattered by that?  I question how Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato feel about “femslash” tales that have them performing sexual acts on each other that defy logic and gravity.  How do Ross Lynch’s parents feel about stories that have their underage kids having sex with each other?

There are arguments flying around on Fanfiction.net about the legality of RPF stories, and the possibility of lawsuits brought against the site because of them. Excellent.   I hope it happens, and soon.

But for me, the problem goes beyond a legal issue.  For me, it’s a problem of “How can you think this is okay?”  Some fans get so obsessed with the fictional tales that they begin to confuse reality with RPF fanfiction.   They come up with “ship” names for their favorite pairings.  Andley.  Raura.  Larry Stylinson.

That last one is a fan name for the pairing of Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson of One  Direction.  Fans of this “ship” are at times so vehement about it that they claim they boys have to pretend to be straight just to appease their manager.  The form support groups and sign petitions to help the boys “come out”. These folks have been known to get a wee bit testy – possessive even – if either of the two singers is ever seen in public with a woman.  The hatred and pure vitriol that floods the internet in the wake of such a sighting is truly frightening.

It’s almost as if they forget that the RP in RPF means real people.    Not fictional characters.  These fans don’t seem to grasp that they do not own creative control of Harry or Louis or Ross or Emma –real live, breathing people, who function in the real world.  They are not fictional characters created into a fictional universe, and fans have no say in what these real people say or do in the real world.

Whenever I encounter RPF and its fans, I can’t help myself.  I get a chill down my spine and I wonder just how long it will be before someone makes the jump from RPF fan to Robert John Bardo or Mark David Chapman.

I don’t think it’s an “if”.  It’s a “when”.

And that scares me.

Old 100, Sing!

This is supposed to be my one-hundredth post, full of deep thoughts and introspection.  It’s supposed to flow easily and be a lot of fun to write; like donofalltrades’ recent words about his one-hundredth post, this was meant to be my chance to thank people, reflect upon what I’ve learned, and perhaps shine some light on some of my earlier, unnoticed posts.

Yeah, it’s not working out that way. IMG_20130711_071647

I have plenty of help. Minnie the cat tried to help me type.  Unfortunately, while I was busy reaching for the camera to take this adorable picture, she somehow stepped on some key somewhere that opened up some strange features on my Netbook.  I could no longer type anything because every key I touched sent me into boxes labeled Research or Table of Contents.

After battling  with this for a good half-hour, I finally gave up and re-started the computer. That solved the problem.  Unfortunately, just as I was ready to start writing, having poured a fresh mug of nice, hot coffee, my computer shut down so it could update itself.

While waiting, I got out my tablet, thinking that I could start my rough draft there.  At which point I discovered that my youngest child had left a game running on my tablet all night long – really, there’s a game for exploding chickens?! – so the battery was nearly dead.

I reached for the old-fashioned notebook and pen, only to realize that there is not one working pen anywhere in my home.  Not one.  Could someone please explain to me why we keep non-working pens?  Are we the only family to have a kitchen drawer full of pens that have no ink?

It was at this point that I seriously contemplated putting a shot of whiskey into my fourth cup of coffee, but decided against it because I may need to drive to the store for chocolate in the very near future if things don’t start looking up.  Besides,  the Netbook had finished playing with itself by this time, and the very first thing I saw was an email from a friend asking me if I knew that my family’s favorite TV show had been cancelled.

Sue me, but I love Good Luck Charlie.  At a time when Disney shows were all about popstars with secret identities, or wizards in training in a secret lair, GLC was an astonishingly normal show about people we could relate to.  There were older, nearly-grown kids and a “bonus” baby, just like in our family.  Some of the situations were a little silly, but it was consistently funny and heartwarming, and it was just about the only show that we could all watch together.  It wasn’t dumbed-down for the kids, and it didn’t have sly raunchy jokes for the parents.

And it had Eric Allan Kramer as one of the best TV Dads ever.

He may not be one of the most well-known actors, but he is second only to Randolph Mantooth in my own personal fantasy world.  Mantooth wins by default because I have adored him for so much longer, but Kramer gets bonus point for being a fellow Michigander.  And for having a great smile.  And for being so darned big and handsome.

Besides, he was the Skipper in a Gilligan’s Island remake and he wasn’t afraid to pour that great big body into tights for the movie Men inTights.  I even remember seeing him as a motorcycle bully in an episode of Wings.   The man has no fear.  And he had the perfect onscreen chemistry with his GLC wife, Leigh-Allyn Baker.  Together, the two of them reminded me of a more attractive, less profane version of my husband and me.

I just figured out how to follow both of them on Twitter, and I’m feeling a little bit like a stalker.  Of course, I follow other celebrities too:  Jasinda Wilder, Nancy Gideon, Randolph Mantooth, and others.  But Kramer is definitely more chatty than the others and he just seems so darned nice.

If he showed up on my doorstep with a Toblerone, he would be the perfect man.

Sorry, Randy Mantooth.

So this is my one-hundredth post:  disjointed ramblings about a kitten on my computer, exploding chickens, and the cancellation of a Disney show.  I started blogging to practice discipline in writing, and to help me deal with recovery from a horrific car accident.  I have written about everything from Angelina Jolie’s boobs to fanfiction to flushing toilets in a power outage.  I’ve re-lived my accident and mourned my father and made fun of my own lack of filters.

Overall, I’ve had fun.  And I’m honored that so many of you have allowed me to share my thoughts and experiences with you. Since I’ve written about ADHD being one of my big challenges in life, I think that this particular post is the perfect summation of what my blog has been all about for the ninety-nine posts that came before it:   A little bit of this, a little bit of that, and a whole lot of oooh, shiny!

And it’s got Eric Allan Kramer in 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.

Rampart, we have a problem

I have learned some valuable life lessons over the past few weeks, and since I have been unable to post anything here during that time, it seems like a good time to share what I’ve learned.

1. The flu sucks.  It’s not just a tummy bug or a bit of a chest cold; it’s a nasty, down-and-out, flat-on-my-back, I’d-almost-rather-be-dead kind of thing.  I could never understand how people die during influenza outbreaks.  Now, I understand.  Other than the months I spent recuperating from a broken neck, I can honestly say that I have never been knocked out by anything for so long.

2. Folks, get your flu shots.  Period.

3. Netflix and illness are not a productive combination for me.  I have spent the past three weeks soaking up everything from Sherlock to Coupling to Dr. Who (sue me, I have a thing for Stephen Moffat) to Emergency.  I couldn’t sit up and breathe long enough to do anything else anyway.

4. I could get used to being a couch potato.

5. Mommy takes care of everyone else when they are sick, but loved ones have absolutely no sympathy or patience when Mommy is the sick one.  Okay, that’s not a new life lesson.  I learned it the day after giving birth to my first child, when my mother-in-law told me to let the Big Guy nap because he’d been through so much.

Apparently, having his hand squeezed by me for sixteen hours was more traumatic than my pushing out a two foot tall, ten-pound human being while learning the definition of the term “dry birth”.

And “epesiotomy”.

Not that I’m still bitter about that.

6.  I love Randolph Mantooth.  Yes, it’s true.   IMG_20130412_121053

As a kid watching Emergency with my family, I adored Roy DeSoto.  Everyone else crushed on Johnny Gage, but not me.  No, I loved Roy’s steadfast calm, his sparkling blue eyes, his bashful little smile.  I giggled over his wry sense of humor and his quiet charm.  In fact, my husband is more Roy than Johnny.

But now . . . okay, I’ll say it:  Randolph Mantooth has just aged better than Kevin Tighe.   They may be nearing seventy, but I don’t care.  If Randolph Mantooth ever comes to Michigan looking for a middle-aged, overweight, crooked-spined mother of three, I will be ready for him.

7. I really need a better hobby.  One that doesn’t involve fantasies about Randolph Mantooth.