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Monday, September 28, 2015

5 Easy Steps to Becoming Awesome

I FINALLY got my computer back up and running (shout out to the awesome resident computer tech).

Pictured:  NOT the resident computer tech.  I just think Homer's hilarious.

... I have to interrupt my post here, since my train of thought is being derailed by the sound of a car alarm going off for twenty minutes straight at a quarter til midnight and for the love of God and all that is holy there is a f*cking button on your keys that makes it stop.

....OR.  I'm just sayin.'

This is actually perfect timing, because there are some of you out there staring at that gif, horrified that I might actually take a baseball bat to someone's personal property just because it's annoying the hell out of me and dammit I'm the one who has to wake up cranky kids for school in 6 hours.

STEP 1 to Becoming Awesome:  GROW A SENSE OF HUMOR.


If you have a Facebook page, you're probably one of four types of people:

  1. The person who rarely logs in and only logs in long enough to check messages and check out recipes and the occasional funny cat video;
  2. The person who logs into Facebook solely to play games, which results in the rest of us being spammed to death with game invites that you probably didn't even send;
  3. The person who loyally likes and shares all the cool stuff your friends post but rarely posts anything yourself; or
  4. The person who uses Facebook as a platform for all your family updates, rants, jokes, opinions, and photos of really cool shit you write/draw/craft, etc.
Anywho, Facebook houses all kinds of snarky, smart ass memes that garner everything from the typical "lol" to the infuriating "OMGEEE WHY WOULD YOU SAY THAT?"  That's sexist!  That's racist! How insensitive!  You're promoting unnecessary violence and I really want to punch you in the face right now! 

It's not just Facebook, it's any forum, discussion board, or random life encounter.  Most people have properly-functioning funny bones and understand that sociopaths only make up a small percentage of the population, and they're generally not wasting their time cracking jokes.  



...and then he said, "that's not an eggplant - he's just retarded!"  *snort*  "Fava beans?"


Things like satire and sarcasm are foreign concepts to these types of people.  Quips elude them.  They live in a sad little world where there are no interrupting cows knocking on their doors (*gasp* I'm a vegan!) and Little Johnny should be in a group home with lots of therapy by now.

But Sandra, you can't grow a sense of humor - you either have one or you don't.  Yes, yes you can. And I'm going to tell you how:

  1. Take a seed.  Any kind of seed, it doesn't really matter.  
  2. Put that seed into a container with soil.  Poke your finger into the soil and spin it around until there's a hole big enough to drop that seed into.  Bury that seed.  Bury it good.
  3. Now sing to that seed.  This step is important.  I recommend "I'm a Little Tea Pot" or "I Feel Pretty."  Sing it with love and fervor.  Sing it loud enough that the neighbors send the police to do a wellness check.
  4. Water that seed.  With vodka.  Soak it 'til it runneth over.  Inebriate the hell out of that seed.  
  5. Now spin in a circle, and focus your attention directly behind you.
  6. Locate the stick that's been cemented in your ass and give it a good pull until it's removed.
  7. Take a deep breath, that probably hurt a little.  You probably don't want to sit down at this point, though.
  8. Now repeat after me:  I am one in a collective of over 7 billion people on this Earth.  No one gives a shit if they offend me, nor should they.  I am entitled to my thoughts and feelings, but not to act like a giant baby and demand that everyone cater to my irrational and quite frankly infuriating demands.  I can laugh at dick and fart jokes among adults without deeming them inappropriate.  I can laugh at that photo of the baby cow and baby pig laying together with the caption that says, "Best Friends Forever" atop another photo of a bacon cheeseburger, because that shit's funny.  And delicious.  I CAN, AND I WILL.

Congratulations!  You've just taken the first steps to growing a healthy sense of humor!  Be proud, and hold on tight - you're in for a hell of a ride.


Also, look how many more friends you'll have when you're NOT offended by absolutely everything!

STEP 2 to Becoming Awesome:  AVOID BEING A DOUCHE.


Okay, "don't be a douche" leaves a lot open to interpretation.  Of course no one wants to believe that they're a douche or acting in a douche-like manner, but hey - it happens.

If we break this down into much-needed sub-categories, there are 7 classes of douche:

1.  The Liar.

This should be a simple enough concept, but the reality is that we all lie sometimes, whether it's telling our BFF that her new haircut isn't that bad or we're trying to convince our boss that we need a day off because our Grandmother just passed away.  For the 7th time.

No, the liar in this context is the person who can't seem to give a straight answer, ever, no matter how big or small the situation.  This is the person who's smarter, stronger, more experienced, and just all-around better than anyone they encounter in life.  The person who stabs you in the back and then says that they were framed when you catch them still holding the ice pick.

Don't be the person holding the ice pick.

2.  The Manipulator.  

This is the person who always manages to get their way, no matter how crazy the situation.  Methods of manipulation can vary from subtle hints to outright temper tantrums, followed by epic guilt trips whether they've ultimately gotten their way or not.  

Don't be the person who has to have their way all the time, or else.

3.  The Drama Queen.

The Drama Queen, quite simply, cannot function in a world without chaos.  There MUST be conflict, whether it's real, imagined, or contrived.  THEY must be at the center of the drama, whether they are the victim (see number 4), or the person pretending to try to help solve the conflict.

...just don't.

4.  The Victim.  

Not to be confused with the Drama Queen, the Victim never has anything good going on in their life, and no matter how many shitty things they've done to others during the course of events, they are automatically the person who demands that everyone rally around them and them alone when the shit hits the proverbial fan.

For God's sake, don't be a victim.  It's pathetic.

5.  The Narcissistic Asshole.

This is the person who pretty much embodies numbers 1-4, but still manages to have people that actually want to have them around.  I don't know how this works exactly, but f*ck that.

6.  The Bigot.

This can be the person who outright declares their hatred and disgust with all things outside their personal comfort zones or belief systems, or the person who throws a disclaimer in front of everything they say.  "I'm not trying to sound racist, but..." "Don't take this the wrong way, but..."

...don't be the "but" guy.

7.  The Total Fake.
  
"You're my favorite person ever!," this person will declare, 5 minutes before they're telling someone else what a complete and total shitbag you are.  You can totally trust this person... to twist every personal thing you tell them into a weapon to use against you at some point in the future - but it won't be a personal attack - rather, it will be an attempt to convince someone else that they are the superior person.  "Compliments" from this person come in the form of vague statements that sound nice until you've actually had time to break down what they've said.  Confessions come in the form of some story about how they were sooo uncomfortable because everyone was hitting on them or someone super-important gave them the most awesome compliments.  This person is so insecure that they momentarily bristle at the sight of their own reflection in the mirror.

What. The. Ever-loving. F*ck.


Me, on any given day.


Avoiding all of this is as simple as, oh I don't know, being you.  I know, you're asking yourself, "but what if I'm just a natural asshole?"  And you know what?  That's cool too - as long as you're an honest natural asshole.   At least then people know what the f*ck to expect.


STEP 3 to Becoming Awesome:  BE A GOOD LISTENER.


This is another one that people seem to think is either naturally there or not.  That is both colossally untrue and also a giant, steaming excuse to not want to allow someone else to have the spotlight for a couple minutes.  So again, Sandra's step-by-step system for being a good listener:


  1. Shut your face hole.  Shut it.  
  2. Look at the person who is speaking to you;
  3. Engage with the person who is speaking with you.  None of that auto-pilot bullshit where you throw out a "yeah" or "uh-huh" or "you don't say?"  Use complete sentences.  Validate the other person.  
See?  Isn't that so much more fun than listening to tv show theme songs in your head and waiting for an opening to butt in and talk about yourself?

 Uh-huh.  Uh-huh.  In West Philadelphia, born and raised.  What were we talking about again?

STEP 4: QUIT BEING SO F*CKING WORRIED ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK.


Welp, there it is.  I don't mean be a selfish douchetard (see Step 2), what I'm saying is that being a carbon copy of what you think is cool or acceptable is a quick way to jump straight into Wannabe Land, Captain of the Miserable, Living Each Day Just to Make it Through to Another Day.  Yes, the world loves its rebels - but the unexpected, amazing side effect of doing things the way you want to do them without worrying about who's going to be talking shit about it is that it makes you happy.

Another amazing side effect of not being miserable in your own life?  You're too busy being happy to give two shits about judging someone else about theirs.   Miserable people see someone smiling and want to punch them in the throat because what the f*ck do they have to be so happy about?  Life sucks.  Happy people see someone smiling and think, "well, look at that.  Rock on brother.  Rock on."

...and all is good with the world.


And that, dear readers, after this epically long-winded brain shart of a blog post, brings me to my final point:

STEP 5 to Becoming Awesome:  RELEARN TO APPRECIATE PASSION.


Quick question:  have you ever had a child run up to you so excited about something that they're almost literally exploding, hopping up and down, arm-flailing, barely able to form coherent sentences because OH MY GOSH A BUTTERFLY JUST LANDED ON MY NOSE and it seems mundane but it was the COOLEST. THING. EVER!

Or what about that friend who, when a conversation leads into something they're really into, gets super-excited for a minute and starts animatedly gushing about it, hands swinging, eyes twinkling, before they suddenly get embarrassed and say something like, "oh, but that's stupid.  Sorry. Never mind."   

No, it's NOT stupid, you beautiful mother, tell me.  

Because, dear readers, we see enough people dragging themselves half-dead along through their day-to-day lives; tired, depressed, crestfallen.  Who the hell mandated that, as adults, we can't get arm-flailingly, squeally, incoherently excited about things?  Why does life have to be soul-crushing to seem productive?

Take a cue from that 4 year old who's been laughing his ass off for the last 20 minutes watching the dog chase his tail.  Lighten up.  Get excited, even if it seems silly.  Hell, especially if it seems silly. And give others the courtesy of getting silly-stupid excited, too.


Googled "silly-stupid excited."  Was not disappointed.

Freakin' Elmo, man.  Bahahahaha.

Anyway.

So, being awesome is more about being true to yourself - but if your idea of awesome has to do with how much other people love you - you kind of have to love yourself first to accomplish that, too.

That's... that's a little too much self love.  Get a room.


Thursday, September 17, 2015

5 Social Expectations that are Totally Weird but We All Have

First, a story:

A few years ago, I worked as the Video Department manager for an entertainment store.  This was perfect for me, because I could hide in my department most days, avoiding human interaction under the guise of alphabetizing, cleaning, and otherwise making my department awesome.  There were only a couple of problems with this job: 

  • Customers still sucked.  Something about retail stores make people revert back to toddler-hood, unable to put things back where they found them and somehow - for some confounding reason that I still haven't figured out - unable to touch anything without sweaty, sticky fingers;
  • Porn.  Oh. My. God.  SO MUCH PORN.  I don't have a problem with porn in general, but holy Rule 34, Batman... just... people are gross;
  • Remember when I told you that I randomly sing about everything?  And you know how the audio that plays on a loop in most retail stores, coupled with the combined clatter of all the people in the store, the coffee machines in the cafe, the different audio playing in each department - you get the idea - makes it really, really easy for people to sneak up on you?

Totally not even necessary.  
 
So there I was one day, happily alphabetizing dramas and well into about the third verse of a song from Fiddler on the Roof, when I get the distinct feeling that I'm being watched.   I ignore that feeling, because I'm in the zone, but my body does this weird thing where it will involuntarily twitch and spasm if I'm left alone and singing or there's music anywhere in the vicinity.  Some people might call this dancing, but dancing is calculated and requires rhythm; this is more like intermittent episodes of a seizure that can't decide if it's worth its time to fully hit or not.


 Imagine this, split up into 3-second pieces, interrupted by moments of deep alphabetizing concentration, alongside a dorky white girl's quiet rendition of "If I were a Rich Man."  Also, I'd be wearing a shirt.  Maybe.


Anywho, there I am, singing and alphabetizing and seize-dancing, when I happen to look up and see three sets of eyes peering at me around a corner.  After another full verse.  

Being the dork I am, I totally played into it instead of shrieking and running away like a normal person would do.  It helped that it was my niece, nephew, and a friend of theirs, but it's not generally normal to do a one-person rendition of old-school musicals at work in the middle of a retail store and not really care if you get caught.

And that, dear readers, is what brings me to the subject of this post - what the hell is "normal" and who the hell decided that it was?  Here are 5 things in particular that I'm still figuring out.

1.  Talking to Yourself Makes You a Crazy Person.

You know how, when you've triumphantly finished all the dishes in the sink and made your way back to the living room to settle in with a bag of Cheetos and a well-deserved Netflix session, and find a stray bowl with a spoon cemented into the bottom thanks to a good eighth of an inch of two-week old milk/Cinnamon toast Crunch crumbs wedged between the couch cushions?  And you mutter to yourself, some combination of half expletive/half guttural grunts - "son of a - URGH" "motha - RAGH!"  And then you continue to mutter-curse, as you carry the bowl/science-experiment-gone-awry back into the kitchen, throw it into the sink, fill it with water to soak because that shit ain't comin' out without a f*cking chisel and how f*cking hard is it to bring a f*cking bowl back into the kitchen like I don't have enough shit to do in a day my family wants to live like a bunch of f*cking feral piglets..."  

...yea.  That's all well and fine in the privacy of your own home, but try that shit at Wal-Mart or just walking down the street, and suddenly people are looking at you crazy and mothers are ushering their small children as far away from you as possible.

Just be very still and don't look them directly in the eyes, baby.  

We all talk to ourselves sometimes.  It can be a muttered rant or deep thoughts that seem somehow easier to sort through when spoken out loud - but we all do it.  So why is it so disturbing to see someone do it in public?

I have no idea, but it's totally fun to walk around quietly repeating catch-phrases on the packaging of products in the store and watching as people scatter like a hyena's just escaped from the zoo and decided to go shopping for reasonably-priced produce.  Plus, it makes shopping trips much quicker when you've scared off those assholes that like to block off entire aisles talking to each other for an hour.


2.  You're Not Allowed to Have Bodily Functions.

Okay so... I get not running around busting ass willy-nilly in public because - gross.  There are far too many examples as to why that expectation is completely acceptable to even list here.

BUT - why do people, especially women, have to pretend that they don't even have assholes outside of their own personal bathrooms, and preferably only when the house is completely empty and all the neighbors on the block are gone to work?  Like a woman would rather literally explode from gas pressure build-up than accidentally let a boopsie slip ever.   

That seven-layer bean dip was a BAD idea.

Alright men, I'm about to destroy everything you thought you knew about women up to this point: Women fart.  Women poop. Yes, just like you.  Only worse, because women are always doing those crazy diets and salad and green tea shits are the worst.   Women burp.  Women sweat.  Yes, even the hot ones - not just Grandma, who's too old to give a shit who she offends and probably doesn't even know that she lets out a little toot each time she takes a step.  

And ladies - we all know that you act all prim and proper and you always smell pretty because you shower twice a day and drown yourself in expensive soaps, lotions, and perfumes - but when you stepped out of the room just now, saying that you needed to grab a pen or get some fresh air or whatever, we know what you really did.   It's the reason your eyes are glazed over and the small dog that followed you is now walking sideways.  

So the next time your Dad or your brother or your husband accidentally rips one in your presence, don't act all judgey.  Don't act like you didn't just do the same thing in the other room under the guise of a cough and a poor, innocent dog who is now brain damaged and doesn't understand why he's being chided for being a nasty, farty boy.  Accept that it's just a normal bodily function and get on with your damned night.  Or have some fun with it, whatever.

Good execution, but the landing was a little sloshy sloppy. Also, please flip the cushion.


3.  The Right Amount of Eye Contact is a Slippery Slope.

We all know that when we're talking to somebody, maintaining eye contact is important for conveying that we're paying attention and interested in the conversation, no matter how many times they've told us about that time they dressed their cat as Snow White and it was sooo funny.


I'm going to kill this f*cking human twice.


But what about when you're NOT having a conversation? When you're walking down the street?  Or when you're standing at the bar just looking around because your friend's having a deep, drunken conversation with someone they just met in the bathroom and you happen to look right at someone who's oddly looking right at you?  Look away too quickly, you're a snob.  Look too long, and it gets all stalkery.  Or they think you want them and they get obnoxiously overzealous.  Okay, I guess that's still stalkery, just on their part.  Either way, no bueno.  

I don't really have a solution for this one, either.  Best I can do is, if they start to look uncomfortable, look away.  Or pretend you were really checking out that amazing painting right behind them and they're the weird one for looking at you so long.  Or, if they return your accidental gaze with creepy porno eyes, run.  Especially if it's followed by a wink or a lame-ass finger gun.

"I don't know, he's actually kind of cute."
-- Seven...teen shots of tequila


You know what?  Just don't look at anyone unless they're speaking directly to you, ever.  It's safer that way.

Speaking of...

4.  If You're Quiet, You're Weird.  Or dying.  Or a Snob.  Or a Psycho.

So you're sitting at a party or other gathering and everyone's talking, laughing, and having a good time, and you're either sitting back quietly observing or have your nose in your phone because either you're shy, you're just not feeling it, or you don't really feel like you have anything to add to the conversation.

"What's their deal," people mutter to each other when they think you can't hear.   Or, they just get right up in your face, "what's wrong?  Why are you so quiet?  Are you okay?  Loosen up!"

... and that just makes you self-conscious.  Your mind reels, trying to find something coherent to say, and all you can muster is a weak shrug as you desperately try to bury your face back into your phone.  

But why, for the love of introverted lack of need to fit into large groups, must a person be vocal if they don't want to be vocal? Why is it so f*cking weird that someone might not want to jump into a group conversation about a band they don't know about or don't like, or a gossip fest, or a dick-joke telling contest (although personally I don't know why anyone would ever want to avoid one of those)?  Maybe they don't know much about whatever's being talked about.  Maybe they don't give a shit about it.  Maybe they're uncomfortable.  Or tired.  Or don't want to say something stupid in front of that hot new person that just walked in.  

... and it was going so well when we first locked eyes ...



Why are we expected to interact with each other just because we happen to be sitting in the same room?  How is awkward small talk any better than sweet, beautiful silence? Damn, some days you just don't want to deal with people - even the ones you actually like.  


5.  No One Gets to Have a Damn Opinion Anymore.

So you just said you don't really care for bacon and your group of friends, the waitress, and the entire population of the restaurant you're sitting in just gasped and is now looking at you like you just stabbed a crippled orphan puppy in the middle of the table.    Or, you simply express the opinion that you don't think Hillary is a bad idea for President, since - hello, she didn't do too bad of a job running the country when Bill was in office -  and Donald Trump busts through the wall like the f*cking Kool-Aid Man and screams in your face that you're irrational and incapable of having a valid opinion because you have boobs and are obviously on your period.  Even if you're a dude.


One doesn't have to understand biology when they're sitting on a billion dollar empire and own the most wicked comb-over ever.


Alright, maybe that last one's a bit of an exaggeration, but holy shitake mushrooms, Batman - state an opinion that differs from someone else's and be ready for the crazy to burst forth and land right in your face, all loud and obnoxious and lacking any logical reasoning whatsoever.


You mean you have thoughts in your head-cave and dare let them seep out of your mouth-hole like they matter just as much as anyone else's?  No, f*ck you, bacon-hating heathen, you're the reason this country's going to hell in a hand basket and I'm going to shove my opinion down your throat 50 different ways, until you either come to your senses or you choke on it.  

Everybody's right.  Everybody's offended.  Somehow, we've reached a point as a society where it's no longer necessary to discuss and debate anymore, where there's no such thing as a happy medium, and we're pretty much the equivalent of a Kindergarten class in grown-up bodies whose teacher got smashed and accidentally left the lids off all the glue in a tightly sealed, poorly ventilated room.  

Ooooh, Doody Head doesn't like bacon?  You will, mutha.  You will.


... and I'm already done with people for the day.  I'm going back to bed.



Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Letter From the Cat




Dear human,


Your attempts at domesticating me have failed.


How dare you assume that you're my superior because you trump me in size and have thumbs.  You are obviously the inferior being; you only see in the daytime, your hunting skills are deplorable, and you defecate into your stupidly loyal canines' main water supply.  


That's another thing - is your self-esteem so diminutive that you had to go out and adopt not one, but TWO brainless canine minions that have nothing more exciting in their lives than seeing you throughout the day?  The little one gets so excited that he urinates.  HE URINATES.  That's not love, human, that is a severe mental deficiency.  


They are infuriatingly insistent on trying to befriend me, no matter how many times I have framed them turned away their advances.  Clearly, they are too stupid to realize that I am the Master and merely tolerate their existence in my realm.


You, human, have shunned my gifts of food, in my attempts to show you how to not be a worthless meatsack who has to have all their food pre-packaged by another, clearly superior hunter.  You sift through my waste, which I am forced to collect in a putrid box at the end of the hall.  You have no grasp of the simplest methods to appease me, insisting on removing me from your keyboard when you are attempting to finish that novel that we both know will never come to fruition and petting me in all the ways that begin wonderfully and end in bloodshed.  


Then there was that one time you forced me into a Santa hat and collar and took pictures.  So many pictures.  I haven't forgotten, human, and you WILL pay for that.


You do scratch behind my ears, which I have a bloody difficult time doing, so that's nice.  And you do give me those delectable little yummies from time to time when you wish to bribe me into giving you my attention.  My food and water dish are always full, you do seem to understand my occasional troubles with those pesky hairballs, and I guess you're learning how to properly follow directions. Slowly, but learning.


Okay, I guess I like you a little.  A little.


Now rub my belly.  I wish to lull you into a false sense of security with my purr, and then bite you until your puny human blood spills from your hand.  


Sincerely,

Shadow Kitty



Shadow Kitty just started a Twitter account.  If you want her to consider sparing you when cats take over the world, follow her @Sandrascat.  Or you can just laugh at all the ways she tortures her human.

3 Trending Topics Everyone Has An Opinion On While Totally Missing the Point

Oh Internet, how you tickle me, hiding all the important stuff behind click-bait and hate-mongering.

If the Internet had a slogan, it would be, "Look, there's a bandwagon that maybe possibly loosely fits my personal opinion if I squint my eyes, plug my ears, and tilt my head 20 degrees to the left.  Hold my beer, I'ma jump on it!"


  ...along with all that baggage.


Dear readers, my brain hurts right now.  Like, my eyes are crossing and I can literally feel my IQ ticking downward.  If you're like me, Facebook and Twitter has become a painful reminder that the world is a scary, scary place.  One with a billion slobbering, snarling opinions and soapboxes and very little logic or willingness to budge or consider an alternate view.  Does nobody do any research anymore?  Does nobody question anything anymore?  

Sigh.

So, dear readers, comes my insomnia-induced rant:  

3.  Kim Davis.




Omgosh.  My Facebook feed has been blowing up with support for this woman, who - in case you've been living under a rock the last couple of weeks - is a Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to follow a US Federal Court Order to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.

Where people are missing the point:  Kim Davis' personal history and religious beliefs aside, she works for a government office.  She knew, upon accepting that job, what the requirements would be for keeping that job.  Granted, she may not have foreseen the eventuality of gay marriage becoming legal, but she could have simply refused to issue licenses or have anything to do with processing those licenses personally.  If she was that appalled, she could have found employment elsewhere.  Instead, she instructed her entire office staff to refuse to issue marriage licenses for gay couples.  

Now, for all of you that are still scratching your head and arguing that she was only following her Christian conscience, let me ask you this:  what if she had refused, and instructed her entire staff to refuse, to issues licenses to mixed-race couples, citing religious belief?  What if she were anything other than a White Christian, like a Muslim, an Orthodox Jew, or a Jehovah's Witness?  Would you be so quick to grant her the ability to force her beliefs onto others using her position of authority in a government-sanctioned office?

...and where does that leave Separation of Church and State?  Because believe it or not, removing the line between Church and State brings a whole slew of problems none of us want to contend with - the biggest being the government being able to tell us what we can and cannot do within our own churches.

Nope, totally can't see where that could possibly go wrong.


2.  The Confederate Flag.

I'm a little behind, I know.  The idea behind this one is that several people want the Confederate Flag and every use of or reference to it banned, because they say it promotes racism.

Where people are missing the point:  First of all, can we just acknowledge that part of this argument is to ban the Dukes of Hazard?  Does that not seem silly to anyone?  Can anyone remember an episode where the Duke brothers hopped into General Lee and in any way participated in any kind of racist shenanigans?  


Because General Lee and his paint job were totally the reason people watched this show.


Here's a quick history lesson:  the Confederate Flag began as one of three in a contest of sorts to create a flag separate from the official American Flag in battles in the Civil War.  It was flown as troops marched into battle against the Union, representing the 13 states that no longer wanted to be a part of it.

Many Blacks (both free and slaves) fought in the Civil War - with the Confederacy - because they loved their homes and also felt threatened by the Union's proposed changes.  Lincoln's stance on slaves and slavery was not the pure, compassionate idea that we were all fed in our history books; he was, in fact, a racist himself and wanted to "free" African-Americans so that they would leave the country and go back from whence they came, because he felt that they had no place among White people:

"I will say, then, that I am not, nor have ever been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races ... I am in favor of having the superior position assigned to the white race."

Does "Southern Pride" equal racist?  I guess that depends on who you ask.  But, one person, or group of people, using something to symbolize hate does not suddenly turn that symbol into a universal representation of hate.   Just because some of the people who flew this flag originally "owned" slaves, doesn't mean that the flag was flown for the sole purpose of keeping those slaves, or even for that purpose at all.

Fun tip:  The official flag of the Ku Klux Klan - which you might recognize as probably the most widely-known white supremacy group - is the American Flag.  You know, the one that hangs at every school and government building in the country?   The Aryan Nation also uses the American Flag - as well as the Christian Flag.  That should throw some dents in a few soapboxes.


1.  The #BlackLivesMatter movement.



Look, I know the media has a penchant for race-baiting and has made a point of only showing us the people who are using Black Lives Matter as reverse prejudice rather than giving us the full picture of what it's really about.  Race-baiting generates clicks.  It brings in viewers and stirs outrage and that, my friends, is a pretty effective way to undermine the real mission behind any movement.

Where people are missing the point:  Once again, yes, some people are using this movement as a platform for reverse racism, racial violence, hate-mongering, and race-baiting.  These aren't the people I'm talking about here.  I'm talking about the people using the Black Lives Matter movement as a method of voicing their pain and frustration and bringing attention to all the things the rest of us tend to overlook in our day to day lives because we have never been faced with them.

It's a rally cry for acknowledgement - and change.

Here's the biggest problem:  They say Black Lives Matter, and you respond with a snarky, All Lives Matter. And you know what?  You're right.  All lives DO matter - and that's kind of their point.

But by circumventing their statement with one that generalizes, you're minimizing the struggles that Black people still face to this day.  We can argue all day long that we have a Black President and that there is no longer segregation, etc., etc., but unless you are a Black person living in America, you're missing the bigger picture.  Tell that young man to his face that racism is no longer an issue in America, right after he's been pulled over and his car searched for drugs just because he's Black.  For the 15th time.  Tell it to the young mother who just had to ignore dirty looks and hateful comments at the grocery store because someone assumed her debit card was a Food Stamp card and she bought something other than rice or beans.

Tell it to the person who's been asked, for the billionth time, if they know who their daddy is, despite the fact that their parents have been happily married their entire lives and provide a better life for them than many people could wish for. Tell it to the unarmed person who had a gun pulled on them only because they were walking home alone in the dark in a predominantly White neighborhood. Tell it to the family that just had to bury their child, because some crazy person busted into a church and opened fire on an entire congregation just because they were Black.

Tell it to any Black person you know - I dare you - and then sit back and listen, really listen, as they tell you some of the awful, shitty things people have said and done to them in their lives - just because they're Black.

There's no "race card" being pulled in so many - too many - of these situations;  it's pretty clear when someone is being targeted based on their race, and it's bullshit.  Racism isn't "as bad" as it was 50 years ago, but it's still there, and it's still a big deal.   It's not something you can measure, it either is, or it isn't.  And right now, in the world we live in, it still very much is.

So when you reply with, "all lives matter," what you're saying is, "Sit down.  You don't have it that bad."  Of course they're pissed; you just denied their status as a human being.  So the next time someone on your Facebook or Twitter feed proclaims, #BlackLivesMatter!, don't take it as, "Black lives matter more than others," consider that it might be the assertion that Black lives matter just as much as anyone else's.

And they're right.





Monday, September 07, 2015

Paranormal Activity

When I was growing up, my mother had an unhealthy obsession with all things Stephen King.  In fairness, it was the 90's, so I'm pretty sure most of America had an unhealthy obsession with Stephen King.

Anywho, she owned probably every Stephen King book that had been published up to that point, and our walls were literally lined with shelves packed with VHS tapes that held every possible B-horror movie that's ever been made.  


Yes, even Return of the Killer Tomatoes, the movie George Clooney wishes everyone would just forget ever existed, already.


Friday, September 04, 2015

For Whom the Bell Tolls

So, I get that I'm kind of a punchline on my own - I'm a grown-ass woman who works in a shoe store. I'm the female equivalent of Al Bundy, minus the horny, money-grubbing wife, slutty daughter and probably-not-mine-anyway son.  And the laugh track.  That might be kind of awesome.


... and Marci would have been buried in my back yard halfway through the first season.


I try not to be too judgey with people about their life choices, since I ultimately have no way of knowing what's happened to them that's put them on the path they're on.  Still - and here's some much needed background, dear readers - I live smack-dab (no pun intended) in the middle of one of the worst areas for meth in the country.  Oh, we're probably not on any official lists or survey data, but the list of casualties I could give you just from the people I've personally known over the last 10-15 years says that this town is far more Breaking Bad than Mayberry.  

To be clear, dear readers, addiction is a horrible illness and I'm neither making light of it nor judging anyone for it.  I could write a bajillion pages about why and how this town suffers from such an awful affliction, and how sad it is to see people you've grown up with transform into unrecognizable shells of their former selves, but this is a humor blog and I'm quickly sliding from being able to find humor in a situation to wanting to weep into a tub of Blue Bell and question all the mysteries of life.


Dammit, even the puppy's depressed now.


The actual point of this post was to explore all the ways that running into people from one's past causes introspection.  When you run into someone your age who suddenly looks like the Crypt Keeper, you dive into the nearest mirror to check for signs of premature aging yourself.  It doesn't matter if your lifestyle was at the opposite end of the spectrum from theirs, or if they suffered from some illness that you may or may not know about, you panic a little.  

When someone you watched as a toddler in daycare walks in grown with a kid of their own, you begin to wonder where the hell time went and dammit, I was 21 yesterday!  You were 5!  Be gone, Time Lord!

Then an elderly person comes in, struggling with a cane and oozing with charming old-school manners, and rather than think, "Oh, what a nice old man," your brain ticks to, "This person was my age once.  Yesterday.  Fuck."  


Sonic Screwdriver this.


I've actually gotten to the point where I have to do math just to figure out how old I am.  That's a bad sign, right?  I remember proudly proclaiming all of my late teens and early twenties, even to people who really didn't give a shit.  Now, I just mumble a joke about being 29 again and hope no one presses any further.  Not because I'm ashamed of my age, but because I'm embarrassed that I have no idea what my age is and I don't have enough fingers and toes to count that high.  That's how freaking old I am.  The number of years I've been alive is larger than the number of fingers and toes I have. It's all downhill when you run out of phalanges, right?

RIGHT??

I'm kidding.  Kind of.  Usually I don't think much about how old I am, until I see a Facebook post from a niece or nephew I haven't seen in years of them posing with their nursing home posse.  For some reason, I forget that as I and my girls age, everyone else does, too.  The oddest part is that I know my girls are getting older, but I don't realize how much they've grown until I look back at pictures 1, 2, 5 years ago, because I see them every day.  It's disconcerting when you see someone at 5 years old and then don't see them again until they're introducing you to their child.   

Some days, I still feel like a teenager - not in a carefree, spirited way, but more like an, "I'm not ready for this shit" kind of way.  I'm not adult enough to be an adult.  Mature?  Responsible?  Sure.  But I've always been those things.  Some days I just need a box of Lucky Charms, for someone to stroke my hair and tell me I'm pretty, and to waste the day watching Disney until all is right with the world again.


{There's no picture here because, for the love of God and all that is Holy, please don't ever Google image search "thumbsucking."  You would think I'd have learned my lesson by now.}



I'm...  I'm done.  I need an adult.




Thursday, September 03, 2015

3 Things We All Feel But Can't Talk About

People are weird.  Humaning is hard.  It's amazing that we all have very similar peeves, but for some reason, society has taught us that the grown-up thing to do is suck it up and pretend that all is well.  

Here are 3 things that we all encounter but can't talk about, lest we be punished, shunned, or thought to be just plain weird institutionalized:

Hating Our Jobs.  


I know, like 2% of the population loves their jobs.  I'm also about 99% sure that 2% consists of CEOs, hackers, and porn stars.

For the rest of us, it may not be the job we hate so much as someone we're forced to work with on a daily basis, customers or clients we get stuck with consistently, or the fact that we'd rather be naked at home watching Netflix while drowning out the world with vodka and double-stacked Oreos.  But alas, bills need to be paid, and Netflix, vodka, and Oreos cost money.

The new American dream.  'Murica.


Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Life and Love and Runny Mashed Potatoes

So first off, there's someone reading this that probably isn't supposed to be but is anyway, so to that person and everyone else I actually like -







Also, there's someone reading this who has been stalking my pages on the DL in the hopes of catching something embarrassing or incriminating or, shit, I don't know, just because maybe I'm their own embarrassing guilty pleasure and they're obviously secretly in love with me.  So to that person, an extra special word of welcome:



Haven't you heard?  It's bird.  The bird is the word.


I just love how that gif plays over and over in a loop, like there's a never-ending supply in there.  It's the gift that keeps on giving.  

Anywho, I'm taking a break from relationship advice to delve into the frightening, philosophical side of my psyche that asks things like, how much of my life am I wasting with sleep, do people ultimately want to do good, and, why the f*ck do people insist on continuing to use the infuriatingly obnoxious term "bae?"

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