The Ravings of a Sick Person

A while back I wrote a post in which I was accused of being “the most hateful sick person in the history of the universe.”

Guess what?  I have strep throat again, and while I was waiting in the car for my husband to get my prescription filled, I had a revelation. I really am the most hateful sick person in the history of the universe.

So I decided, what the hell?  Just go with it.  I’ve decided to embrace the hatefulness, if you will, and not only that, but spread it around.  I’m sick of being sick, everything I see annoys me, and I’ve compiled a list of the top offenders.  Maybe your own great annoyances are on the list.  Maybe you think I’m just being mean.  You’re right.  I am.  Shut up.  That’s what hateful people do.

  • Is it really so hard to park a car in a parking spot?  I mean, if that giant land yacht is so big that you can’t drive it effectively, get a freakin’ Scion or something! I don’t care if you are driving an Escalade!  When you have to spend five whole minutes parking it, you still look like an idiot!
  • While I’m on the subject, who cares if you drive a vehicle that cost more than my first house?  Guess what?  You don’t just look like an idiot–you look like a pretentious idiot.  Can you say “nonrenewable resources?”
  • I understand that you are probably not in as big a hurry to get out of the grocery store as me.  Few people are.  I also understand you don’t get out much, so visiting the grocery store is probably a wonderfully exciting journey that you wish to prolong as much as possible.  But please, for the love of John Henry, stop blocking the whole aisle with your shopping cart! The aisle is wide enough for two carts to pass each other with no problems, but not when you are parked across the whole thing!
  • How many times have you been through the drive-through at McDonald’s?  Fifty? Two hundred? A thousand? Do you really have to set there for two presidential terms trying to figure out what you want?
  • Here’s a potentially touchy subject, and one that is very regional: Attention coal miners–I love coal.  I’d eat coal for breakfast if I wasn’t worried about breaking my teeth.  I love electricity, which is generated by coal (which I love.)  I think people who mine coal are awesome.  I come from a long line of coal miners on both sides of the family.  But I would make this one plea: for the love of all that is holy, wash your face after work! Every time I go into the grocery store or stop to get gas, I see one of these awesome guys walking around with coal dirt all over his face and hands.  I get that your clothes are probably going to be dirty.  You can’t exactly wash your clothes before you get home, but surely you can spare five minutes to wash your face and hands.  I have to wonder if you leave the dirt on there just so people will know you work in the mines.  Dirt makes us all sad.  Soap makes us happy.  Remember that.
  •  Ditto on the scrubs.  When did scrubs become the standard uniform for everyday life?  I noticed this trend a few years ago.  At first I thought, well, these folks just got off work and haven’t been home yet.  Then I would see people at soccer games early in the morning, and I’d overhear them talking about what all they were doing that day, which did not include work, and they were wearing the scrubs. Um, okay…..
  • I know I’ve been on about this before, but I can’t even help myself.  I don’t want to see your fat rolls.  Now, I’m not one to hand out fashion advice, but by God, you’d better believe my flab is safely ensconced in several layers of protective material.  I saw a large-ish girl when I was out the other day, and her shirt was so tight you could see her bellybutton.  Really.  Things were just swingin’ and swayin’ as she walked along, her head held high.  And that scariest thing about this all-to-common scenario is that she actually looked in the mirror before she left that day and said to herself, “Damn girl! You’re looking fine today!”

I’m going to quit for now.  I’m tired and my head hurts.

I hope you enjoyed the hatefulness.  Come, share it with me.  Embrace it.  You know you want to!

Very Superstitious

You can’t escape your past.

The following is a transcript of an actual conversation between my son and myself:

Me: “Don’t walk with one shoe on and one shoe off!”

Ian: “Why?”

Me: “It’s bad luck.”

Ian: “Are you serious?”

Me: “Shut up.”

As usual, this got me thinking.  I didn’t put a lot of thought into it before I told my son not to walk around with one shoe on and one shoe off (by the way, my son hasn’t lost his mind–he was putting on his shoes and thought of something he wanted to tell me, so he came through the house to tell me while he was putting on the other shoe.) Anyway, I just sort of blurted that little bit of age-old wisdom before I even knew it.

Why?

Well, because my Granny told me.

I was raised by The Grandparents. The Grandmother’s mother (stay with me here) was my “Granny,” and I loved her with all of my heart.  She was the coolest old lady I ever knew.  She always wore a dress, but she would still work outside, and once she even tied a scarf on her head and went with me on a four-wheeler ride, much to the disgust of The Grandmother.  I have a multitude of memories of her.  She was a major part of my life, and, obviously, a major influence.

It’s funny how our upbringing slips out when we least expect it.  I’m not really talking about the major moral and educational stuff, but those little things that are more like habits and tendencies.  They are drilled into us as we are growing and can’t be undone.

For all of her kindness and humor, my Granny was also very superstitious.  Here is a completely true list of things she warned me about:

  • Never walk with one shoe on and one shoe off, because it’s bad luck.
  • Never rock a rocking chair with no one in it, because it means someone is going to die.
  • If your ears ring, it means someone is going to die.
  • It’s bad luck and bad manners for a woman to whistle.
  • She hated black cats, regardless of whether they crossed her path.
  • She would freak out over a broken mirror–seven years bad luck, anyone?
  • She believed if you said a deceased person’s name too much, it would disturb their eternal rest.
  • She totally believed in ghosts.  She used to terrify me with ghost stories about a house she lived in when she was young.
  • She thought a man could get a kidney infection from peeing into a North wind (not to mention wet shoes.)
  • You didn’t dare walk under a ladder in front of her.
  • Spilling salt would literally ruin her day.

I’m sure there are more, but these are the ones that come back to me on almost a daily basis.  Silly things to everyone–myself included–but you have no idea how they are imbedded in my mind, and, what’s more, how much I catch myself repeating them to my own kids.

Superstition wasn’t the only thing she planted in my mind.  She was also a top-notch story-teller.  For example, she told me a story once about a friend of the family who……wait for it…… got picked up and carried off by a large black bird.  I swear I am not making that up.  Now, before you short-circuit your keyboard with drool from laughing so hard, try to remember I was just a little kid.  You can laugh even harder, if you’d like, at the image of me keeping an eye on the sky whenever I was playing outside.

You might also be amused to know that I link my morbid loathing of vultures to that story.

I bet all of us have some of that stuff buried in the files of our brains–maybe some things we don’t even realize.  Little beliefs and habits that we don’t even think about.  It makes me wonder what I might be passing along to my own offspring.

Oh well.  I can’t worry about that now.  I have to go tell the kids a bedtime story……..

 

What superstitions did you hear growing up?  I’d love to know, mostly so I can convince myself that I’m totally normal. Check out other great writers hanging out all in one cool spot at yeahwrite.me!

read to be read at yeahwrite.me


 

Church, State, and the Whole Crazy Thing

I seldom have debates with people about religion or politics.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my life, it’s that those are arguments you can never win.

So instead, I’ll take the passive-aggressive route and write a blog post about religion and politics.

When it comes to my belief systems, I’m sort of purist.  I don’t have much patience for people who like to hand-pick things to believe in.  The Bible is a great example of this.  People like to pick out certain verses of scripture that go along with the things they want to believe.  They take that and run, while completely disregarding the whole message.

Our constitution is another good example of this.

Folks love to talk about freedom of speech and of religion, but usually they think it only applies to their speech and religion.  When someone offends them, suddenly their beliefs in freedoms get a little murkier.  Just lately, the whole “separation of church and state” thing seems to be of growing concern.

Here’s the thing: if you truly believe in separation of church and state, then it has to be all the time, not just when it’s convenient or easy.  Same-sex marriage is a real hot button issue, and to a lot of people it doesn’t have anything to do with church and state, but I think it has everything to do with it.  Who is opposed to same-sex marriage? The various religious communities who say that marriage is sanctified by God as the union of a man and woman.  Those religious communities have every right to believe that.  (Freedom of religion, remember?) So from my perspective, the government can’t come in and tell a church they have to allow same-sex marriage.  If a church doesn’t want to do that, then they don’t have to.  It shouldn’t be up to a vote or a town council whether it’s okay.

There’s a flip side, though.

If a government wants to allow a non-religious civil union between same-sex partners, then the church has no jurisdiction to stop it.  Right?  Separation of church and state.

Here’s another one that I find particularly outrageous: some Catholic-based institutions were recently mandated by the Department of Health and Human Resources to provide abortifacient drugs, contraception, and sterilization to their employees.  Then the government (aka the state) stepped in to determine if the Catholic Church’s protests to this mandate were valid.  Here’s a little lesson for those who don’t know–the Catholic Church does not believe in abortion at any stage, artificial contraception, or voluntary sterilization.  The government has no right to step in and make the Church violate those beliefs.

However, this country is strongly Protestant, and so most of have been brainwashed into thinking that the Catholic Church has waged a war on women and women’s rights.  In short, based on the public reaction, people think the government should be able to tell the Catholic Church what to believe, and how to practice those beliefs.  The Catholic Church has had these same beliefs for centuries, and millions of Catholic women believe in them just as strongly–no, correction, they believe in them even more strongly than the men, since it affects them personally.

How would we feel if the government suddenly stepped up and declared that Baptists having church on Sundays wasn’t appropriate anymore?  Maybe the government might decide to appoint ministers to make sure a fair and equal message was being spread to all.  Can you say “communism?”

So my point is this: separation of church and state means just that–separation.  Freedom of speech and religion applies to everyone, not just Baptists and people who share your opinion.  The government has no business sticking its nose in people’s religion.  I certainly don’t want them telling me what to believe.  I have a hard enough time figuring that out for myself.

What about you?  Do you need the government to guide your religion?  Do you want them telling you what you already believe is wrong?

I didn’t think so.

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

 

Little Leauge Life Lessons

Generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of kids playing organized sports, and in a minute I’ll tell you why.  First, though, let me tell you why I let my son participate in little league soccer.  There are a couple major reasons:

  • exercise
  • to learn teamwork and sportsmanship
  • to be around some other kids since he’s with me so much

There are also some minor reasons:

  • It gets us out of the house a couple of days a week, and….
  • …it gives me a chance to have an actual conversation with actual adults.

We live in an area where soccer isn’t all that big.  We aren’t quite as serious about football here as they are in the deep South, but it’s close.  Our local citizens fight to keep open substandard high schools just so they can keep their football teams.  I’m not making that up.  But I digress.  My point is that, for the most part, our team is pretty easy-going.

When the kids are very small–Ian started playing in first grade–it’s very informal.  When he was that age, the biggest concern on his mind was whether or not they could have pizza and/or ice cream after the game.  They didn’t keep score, and everyone got a trophy at the end of the season.  The parents sat around and chatted and ate nachos and cheered for everyone if the ball came within ten feet of the goal.  We knew the kids and parents on both teams.  In short, it wasn’t a big deal.

All that changes as the kids get older.

Now here’s the part about sports that turns me off:  at some point it becomes about the parents.  I suspect some of the kids wouldn’t even be involved in sports if they weren’t pushed into it by their parents.  Also, parents–around here, at least–seem to be more concerned about sports than, say, education.  Kids play games farther and farther away from home, they play late games on school nights and practice five days a week.

And of course, winning suddenly becomes very important.

My son is twelve now, and his soccer games are a little more serious.  But we still sit and chat, and, for the most part, it’s still fun.  Confession: I was playing Words With Friends Sunday during the game.  Not the whole time, but still.

My son is the king of laid back.  He likes to win, and he tries hard, but he doesn’t get too wrapped up in it.  There’s usually one parent who is hounding his kid the whole time, but for the most part it’s fairly relaxed.  I have been to football games and other soccer games where there are parents who are red-faced and shrieking, and heaven help us if their kid makes a mistake!  They throw up their hands and shake their heads and stomp around.  I’ve seen dads jerk their hats off and basically act as though some crucial life opportunity was just missed by their preteen child.  I think maybe they forgot that it’s the kids who are playing, and not them.  I think they forgot that it was supposed to be fun.

Sunday we played a team that was pretty good.  They are from a neighboring county which has a much bigger program than us.  They started off right away in the process of whipping our butts.  They were fast and talented.

They were also aggressive.

There were times when I wasn’t sure if we were watching soccer or tackle football.  There was shoving and tripping and full body contact.  I should add that the referees were just kids themselves.  The other team’s coach was also aggressive, shouting at his players and frowning mightily at everyone.  Even though his team was running over the top of ours, he seemed to get angrier and angrier, and the players got more and more physical.

The climax came when one of smallest players got slammed as he ran with the ball.  He literally flew up and turned in midair before thumping onto the ground.  I am not exaggerating.  He was hurt badly enough to not get up, and he was crying, which is a big deal for boys his age.  Our coach started to go out onto the field to get him and the other coach yelled, “Get off the field!” So the injured player’s mother marched out to get her son, and our coach called an end to the game.  He called the players over to him and, in short, we left.  That was it.  Game over.

At first I wasn’t sure how I felt about it.  You don’t want to teach your kids that when things get rough, you quit.  But after thinking about it, I realized that our coach is responsible for those kids, and things were getting out of hand.  No one was going to do anything about the way the other team was playing, and so he did what he thought was best.  He took the kids aside and told them it wasn’t their fault, and that he was sorry he waited so long to do something.

The more I thought about it, the more disappointed I was.  Those kids were taught to play that way.  Period.  More than that–they were encouraged to play that way.  The refs were too intimidated by the other coach to make any calls.  And all the while, the parents cheered them on.

Afterwards, my son and I had a long, long talk about it.  I think he was sort of in shock.  He said, “Why would you purposely try to hurt someone just to get a ball?”  The innocence of that statement both makes me sad and fills my heart with joy.  It also tells me our days of organized sports are coming to an end.  I intend to put my energy into his education–that’s my obsession.

And if you think those sports parents are crazy, just try to take a book away from my son.

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