Friday, February 19, 2010

If you're offended, stop listening!

Is calling someone an "idiot" attacking their character?

I often come here to hash out things I don't feel like arguing about on other sites. "Other sites" refers primarily to Facebook or iVillage. I am aware that I have strong, often inflammatory opinions, and I'm just not going to have a comment war with friends of friends.

So here's how the exchange went - my friend put this up as her status update: "My parents raised me to have a sense of humor and to live a normal life. My mother did not carry me around under her arm like a loaf of French bread the way former Governor Palin carries her son Trig around looking for sympathy and votes," - Andrea Fay Friedman, the actress with Down Syndrome who voiced the fictional character on Family Guy that prompted another explosion from the Alaskan fraud, Sarah Palin."

I commented with this: "That's awesome! She's an idiot, and if McCain had been elected, I would've moved abroad just to avoid hearing that horrible voice of hers for 4 years."

Another comment from my friend's friend (we'll call her A.): "Calling Palin an idiot is not really very nice" (her lack of punctuation, not mine)

I responded: "Sorry, just my opinion, A. I claim many personal attributes, but niceness is not among them. :)"

She replies: "It's ok to disagree, but don't attack someone's character."


Ok, time-out. Really?!?! Calling someone an idiot is now a character attack? I use the word "idiot" in daily conversation about as often as I use the word "the." It's filler. Every person who does something I don't agree with is an idiot. Trust me, if I really don't like you, I'll choose another word. I has vocabulary like that.

But the truth is, I *REALLY* don't like Sarah Palin. I think she's an idiot. A big-time, can't-believe-anyone-ever-thought-she-should-hold-a-government-position idiot. I wouldn't have voted for her for county dogcatcher. But that's not what I said on Facebook. What I said, I think, was fairly mild - especially when you consider what I could have said and what I was really thinking.

Is this really what we've come to? Everyone who knows me knows my opinion of political correctness, and I intend to delve into that in more detail in another blog. But are we really THIS sensitive?

We have freedom of speech, but we can't say anything without offending someone. It's pathetic. And it makes me want to stand on the street corner and shout every dirty word I know, just to do it.

Argh.

Family insanity

The term "dysfunctional family" should be permanently removed from use, since it means exactly the same thing as the term "every family." Seriously - there are no "Father Knows Best" or "Leave It To Beaver" families. And I'm pretty sure there never were.

With that in mind, let's talk about my family. On second thought, let's not. Suffice it to say that they're all nuts (present company included). When you look at my dad's immediate family, a flowchart is required to get the relationships straight. As an example, I have two stepbrothers. They are each married (to their second wives). Each wife was married before. To the same man. That's right - both of my sisters-in-law were married to the same man (one was his first wife and one was his second). Yeah, that makes holidays interesting, which is one reason I don't go.

But this is really supposed to be a blog about disappointment - specifically, the ways we disappoint our parents. I've come to realize that I am not the daughter my father hoped I'd be. And you know what? I don't care. He's not the father I hoped for, either. I've spent so many years trying to get him to love me for who I am, and to somehow get him to be the dad I want and need. But it's not going to happen.

It's sad. I saw the movie "Father of the Bride" when it came out in theaters. I was 15, and I dreamed about the day I'd get married and my dad would be like Steve Martin's character. When the time came, it didn't work out that way. But really, by then, I was used to it. My dad did a lot of things right, but he also let me down in a lot of really big ways.

Bottom line, though - I guess if I want him to love me for the person I actually am, I have to love him for who he is, warts and all. But I also know that I have to take care of me first. And if that means distancing myself from him, so be it.

A fun blog quiz

Thank you, RoseAnn - these are always fun!


1) What would you call yourself if you could choose your own name?
~ I'm never quite sure how to answer questions like this. Of course, there are names I think are pretty (Nora being my favorite), but I can't really imagine being anyone but me.

2) What was your worst date (as in going out on a date, not an actual calendar date…unless you have a really bad one to share)?
~ I haven't been on many traditional dates. But there was an evening when I tried to break up with a guy I'd been dating for about 2 months. We were at my apartment, and after I gave him the bad news, he went into the kitchen and promptly fainted, hitting his head on my trash can. His explanation: "I have a physical reaction to bad news." After that, I lost my nerve. We continued to date for a couple more months. When I broke up with him for good, I did it through email.

3) If you had to teach one subject in high school or college, what would it be?
~ I would teach Latin. I took it all four years of high school, and absolutely loved it.

4) When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
~ Well, my husband and my cat make me laugh all the time. But I can't think of an example that would translate well to writing.

5) What is the kindest thing anyone has ever done for you?
~ My husband married me. I know - it sounds like romantic drivel, but it's true. To steal a line from "Titanic" - which I hate to do, but the line is exactly how I feel: "He saved me, in every way a person can be saved."

6) If money or skill-set was no issue, what would you love to do for a living?
~ I would like to edit manuscripts. I'm exceptionally good at spotting typos, and I love to read. My only two conditions would be that I only have to edit manuscripts in which I'm interested, and that I'm allowed to lay on a beach while editing.

7) What is one thing as an adult/parent/spouse you do that you swore you would never do?
~ Oh, man - there are lots of things I said I'd never do. Then life happened, and I realized that "never" is a dirty word. The big one, I guess, is that I said I'd never get divorced. In the end, though, it wasn't up to me. Looking back, that time in my life was hell, but it got me to where I am now, so it was worth it.

8) If you could go back to one particular time in your life (not to live, not to change anything, just to visit) when would it be?
~ I would go to the summer of 1994, when I should have gone to Woodstock with my (now) husband. I believe that decision was pivotal in both our lives. Even if I couldn't change my decision, it would be cool to see him there (sort of like I'd been there with him after all).

9) If your walls could talk, what would they say about you (good & bad)?
~ If I was willing to reveal - in a public blog - all the bad things my walls could say, I'd go on a reality show. Some things are meant to be private.

10) If you could fix or put an end to one problem in the world what would it be?
~ There are, obviously, lots of bad things in this world. But the biggest problem I see, and the one that is at the crux of so many others, is people minding everyone else's business instead of their own.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why I believe in American isolationism

"Isolationism - the policy or doctrine of isolating one's country from the affairs of other nations by declining to enter into alliances, foreign economic commitments, international agreements, etc., seeking to devote the entire efforts of one's country to its own advancement and remain at peace by avoiding foreign entanglements and responsibilities."

from Dictionary.com


First, it is not necessary (or desirable) for us to impress our way of life onto the rest of the world. Americans like to talk about being a "melting pot," but we want everyone to look and speak and act and worship the same way. We don't REALLY value diversity, which is why we try to make the rest of the world just like us. It's no wonder the rest of the world hates us - most of the time, I don't blame them!

Seriously - I don't want to live in a tract home in a cookie-cutter subdivision with a minivan and 2.5 kids. If that's what life is all about, I'll just fast-forward to death now, thank you very much. I've been accused of trying to be subversive, of rebelling for the sake of rebellion, and I'll admit that sometimes I do - but only because I cannot stand that sheep mentality.

We, as Americans, have the same attitude as so many hotshot 18-year-olds. You know what I mean: "I'm an adult. I know everything. I can't possibly learn anything from anyone else." And really, as a nation, are we so different? We've been a country for 233 years - look at the age of European nations and then tell me we're not in our adolescence.

We don't have it figured out yet, but we want to tell everyone else that they're doing it wrong, and they should live like us. That's a nasty attitude - one I'm pretty sure no one would tolerate in their children. But that's the attitude we have as a nation.

Second - and this is the big thing: we have plenty of problems here! I am all about charity, and helping those who need (and want) help. But it makes me absolutely SICK to see every other tv commercial with a graphic stating "Text $10 for Haiti relief." Please don't get me wrong - the Haitian people quite obviously need help (and not just from Americans trying to kidnap their children). But what about the people who need help HERE???

I think most people just don't pay attention, but if you watch the national news, about once a week you'll hear something about [insert dollar amount in the millions here] being approved by our federal government for some kind of foreign relief. We are in the midst of an economic disaster! People in this country, in your community, are losing their homes. They are hungry. The fact that we are sending a single cent to a foreign nation is APPALLING.

And don't tell me that there is government aid available here. Have you ever tried to get government assistance? If you can qualify (and that's a VERY big if), you will be buried in paperwork and appointments required to initially approve and then maintain your assistance. People who are not looking for a handout, but who legitimately need short-term assistance (and therefore do not know how to manipulate the system) cannot get it. And if you are able to qualify for government assistance, and you are employed, you will quickly lose your job because you will never be at work - you'll be spending all your time in line at one government office or another.

I am all for helping those less fortunate than ourselves. And I believe that every person should help by giving or doing all that they can. But we need to fix this country first! No sane person would let their own family go hungry so that they could text $10 for Haiti relief - but isn't that exactly what we, as a nation, are doing?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's called 'work' for a reason...

Ok - so, in my life, I've had 15 jobs. That includes part-time, full-time, and hated-it-so-much-I-only-lasted-a-week jobs. And my experience is that the phenomenon under discussion today is more prevalent in office settings, especially call center jobs. But it happens everywhere. So, here goes...

To my boss: I'm here to work and earn a paycheck. If I wanted to have fun with my co-workers, I'd go to happy hour with them at 5 pm. So please, don't make me go to a summer picnic or holiday party. I don't want to participate in hawaiian shirt day, or crazy hat day, or bring your favorite Pez dispenser to work day. I want to come to work, do my job in peace, then go home and spend time with people I actually like. It is only going to damage my morale if I'm forced to participate.

Seriously - I learned long ago that it's best for everyone involved if I just take vacation time when one of these events is scheduled. I can't make myself have fun, and my lousy attitude isn't fair to the people who actually enjoy these things (who are sick puppies, as far as I'm concerned).

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I'm still here!

I still have so much to say - this blog is not abandoned! Between having limited internet access and a crazy work schedule, I have not been able to write.

Have no fear - more blogs coming soon!