Licking Electrical Sockets and Other Thrill Seeking Tales of Valor

In a world of viral outrage I have retreated more and more back into what we non tech people like to call the real world.  It’s a place where one has to have conversations and resolve things and discuss differing ideas and sometimes agree that  disagree.  The amazing thing in this strange land is that you can see and hear the emotion of your companion.  I am often amazed at the level of anomosity that comes from what on the surface, seems like a rather non emotional and/or clinical issues. 

Gyms and weight loss

Emoticons

Statues

Gluten

I’ve bandied on a few of these topics myself, but in the end summation of anything I’ve ever said or written my conclusion is this…

Take responsiblity for your own shit.

I tried to quit smoking for years.  Years.  I tried herbal supplements.  I tried lozenges and gum.  I tried the patch.  I tried hypnosis.  I tried howling naked under a full moon while crushing dandelions under my heels.  Of all the methods I tried only one thing worked.  Not putting cigarettes in my mouth.  That’s it.  It was very direct and simple.  

I don’t use Purell.  I wash my hands with good old fashioned soap and water.   I don’t go home from work the moment I catch a cold.  I don’t open door with my foot.  I used to work with a guy that was a complete germaphobe and would prowl through the office with a can of Lysol.  This was a very special year in the Chinese zodiac.  It was the year of the bird flu which by the way no one caught.   What I did catch was a face full of a Lysol spray after sneezing in the copy room.  Pow! Right in the kisser!  And he, the germicidal warrior, did in fact come down with what could be considered a plague.  He used so many antibacterial products that he was left with virtually no immune system and was out sick for almost a month.  We used to use pay phones in Times Square right after the semi homeless guy wearing what one could only interpret as a muumuu and a set of adult diapers hung up on his imaginary stock broker.  We didn’t like it but we did it and we survived.   We also drank from hoses and put three thousand pound televisions on TV trays as thin as a sheet of aluminum foil which may or may not have crushed a small child if it fell.  I stayed outside all day and sometimes ate lunch without washing my hands. If we cried and our mothers felt it was unwarranted they promised that they would in fact give us something to cry about.   We were told to walk it off and man up and to never start the fight but make damn sure we ended it. 

I would also like to take a moment to discuss “adulting”.  What fresh hell is this?  This is now a verb?  So???  The act of behaving in a fair, equitable, principled and mature manner is adulting?  I always thought that was mandatory to be considered a..a….

What’s the word?   Ah yes, an adult.  Paying our bills is not adulting.  Raising our children to not murder puppies is not adulting.  Working and contributing to society is not adulting.  And lastly, neither is jumping on every viral outrage that is offered to us. 

Now,  a couple of points on this latest go around. 

Robert Lee (the sports announcer) is not a civil war general. He’s a sports announcer and I may be climbing out on a limb here, but I’m pretty sure that Mr. Lee would like to be able to provide for himself and/or his family without penalty for his commonality in name.  

I believe fervently in preserving history which means the good and the bad.  The reason is simple.  Once we forget the next Hitler or Stalin or Pol Pot will rise and we, the collective whole that has shredded anything unpleasant, will not have the moral or historical markers with which to say, “Wait! Stop! This is wrong!”   

Now, having said that I will also say that anyone unsympathetic as to why this would bother people is deluding themselves.  

Now having said that I will say that this endless moral policing is exhausting.  Not everyone has to agree with you.  And yes, sometimes if you keep baiting the situation, it does in fact make you an inflexible self serving snot.   The world is not responsible for every facet of your life, you are.  I am for mine.  She is for hers and on and on.  I don’t analyze every article of clothing I buy and whether it was made in a sweatshop.  I sometimes use animal tested products. It doesn’t make me inhuman.  It makes me normal.  

Now, having said that I will also say that anyone politicizing this is perpetuating the hate.  Liberals can be nice people. So can conservatives.  I have a simple code.  Actually my tribe does… do you like food?  Are you an asshole?  If the answers are yes and no, you get to join the club.  It’s simple.  

This is about racism not politics. Racism should make each and every one of us uncomfortable. That conversation is not supposed to be sweet and easy.  There is no mea culpa on this.  It should make us angry.  It should galvanize us to make this a better world.  And no, having a diverse group of friends does not exempt you.  I would rather look at my friend and say, “I’m listening.  How can I help?  Can I organize a petition?  A march on Washington?” than advocate destruction.  I would rather square off on politicians with the politicians than the faceless mob online.  Things like, “I have black friends so I can’t be racist LOL/smiley emoji”,  don’t quite cut it.  And by the way?  Take your emoji and stuff it.  We can’t LOL our way out of this one.

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Does Your Inner Girl Have a Vagina?

My husband and I got into a really interesting and intense conversation last weekend.

We were discussing the difference in how men process things versus women.  Women can literally morph an off-hand comment into such an epic shit storm while men can make everything including our period flow about them.

I’ll explain.  My husband can be a Neanderthal.  I love him, but he can be.  He will critique women in what he perceives to be a comical way, but it always seems to revolve around age, looks and weight.

In turn, I can be a diva with an attitude.

I am more than comfortable in my own skin, until…..I’m not.  And finally one night, I just wasn’t.  I was angry.  I drew the line in the sand.  I’d had it.  Primarily because I had been referred to as a man hater.  Why?  Because I refused to put up with being pigeon holed into what he thought I was supposed to be.  We duked it out.  He lashed out and I responded in kind.  We were mean and stupid.  We come from different fighting styles and resolution skill sets.  He avoids fights while I turn into Boudicca at a certain point.  His family brushes stuff under the rug while mine demands that our words and feelings are acknowledged.  My mother used to turn into Adam Sandler in The Wedding Singer during family rows…

We did.  With eye rolls.

Magilla and I are still working out our respective techniques.  He tried to hug me and I leaned against him limply explaining that I was not ready to make nice yet.  I was angry and we were going to talk and listen for a change and this was going to get resolved.  Twice he told me he was listening while the television was on, or his laptop.  Finally I asked simply if I had the floor yet.    I’d listened to every word he’d said and wondered aloud if it was my turn.  When he sweetly agreed, I told him that I expected his undivided attention and since my two other inquiries as to his attention scale were greeted with him typing in his laptop…

He heard the cold neutrality of my voice and looked up apprehensively, bracing himself for the charge.  We turned everything off and put our cell phones in the kitchen and then I explained the unexplainable to him.  He was horrified.

“You say that such and such actress should retire because she’s old, when in reality she’s 5 years older than me but her co-star is 15 years older than her and his shelf life is perfectly intact.  You say that such and such is fat.  Or a famous aging newscaster is ugly.  This politican is stupid not because they are in fact stupid but because they’re a woman.    In all the years we’ve been together I’ve never heard you give merit to a woman’s intelligence or work ethic or integrity or ability.  I’ve never heard you say ‘Wow, she’s smart as hell and I’d love to pick her brain on biosciences’.  I have to hear on a regular basis your sum analysis of women’s worth and if I ever turned around and did such a thing I’d be marked for life as a man hating she beast.”  (For the record – he doesn’t do this daily and totally loves women including his mother, sister, and me and various and assorted other strong ass women – but I was pissed and wanted to make a point).  He sat in our living room and looked at me as if I was leading him into a trap.  His instincts were right.  “Magilla, I’m past my prime and I have put on a significant amount of weight and I don’t really wear make up anymore and I’m probably pretty tired and haggard some days and I’m sure it shows and all of this makes me wonder….do I have value anymore?”

He was horrified.  Aghast.  Angry.  Hurt.  And then he was amazed that a female mind could go there – that we have the capacity for a self-doubt the depth and breadth of which rivals the Mariana Trench.  Yes, it’s true.

But you, dear men, have the ability to relate your paper cut to labor pains so you are equally deranged and self-absorbed.

In that conversation I think my husband saw me in a light he’d never seen before.  Not his wife, not a mother and a grandmother.  Not a daughter struggling to help her father and mother through the unnavigable channels of dementia.  But as a woman with flaws and faults and frailties and fears who sat there across from him and basically after all we’d been through asked as if her life depended on it, “Am I still pretty?”  For the first time, the veil of confidence that I usually have firmly fixed in place was utterly stripped away and left me vulnerable to his judgement.  Both of our shoulders came down as the battle ended and the truth began to pour out, soothing the sting of our previous night’s mud slinging.  My husband is an honest, good, decent, kind, empathetic man; as much as I bust on him he’s the best man I know.  I explained how women don’t get to just check out the way men can.  We don’t just get to go golfing or fishing.  We have to make sure all the provisions are in place before we can do that and that’s just in our own heads.  One contrary word from our partner and we’re riddled with guilt because we put ourselves above our family one time in a million.  We have so many different hats that we wear that at a certain point you just can’t switch gears as quickly as you once could.   There’s the office hat, the house cleaner hat, the dinner cooker hat, the bill payer hat, the clean the bathroom hat, the be sexy now hat, the stop being sexy because the kids are around or your mom called to say your father wandered out of his adult day care building hat, the food shopping hat, the supportive friend hat, the JesusallIwantisashowerinpeace hat.  We, as women, normally don’t allow men to see that often times this constant identity juggle is harder than it looks.  It’s a struggle and we are doing them and ourselves a great disservice by pretending it’s not.  So yes Magilla, as much as I’d love spontaneous moments too, I worry about my parents, your parents, the neighbors parents and whether all the dishes are done and if I have time to do laundry tomorrow and the project at work that has been looming over my head for three weeks.  The moment I started word vomiting all of this out, he started nodding in agreement and then gently reminded me that he usually does the dishes and to get over myself and he was right.

It got me to thinking though about the societal demands that we are still saddled with (and to be perfectly clear and perfectly fair I think men have some pretty unfair expectations of conformity put on them as well).  And also, it made me think about the term man-hater.  I am outspoken, but it doesn’t mean I hate men.  It simply means that I am not willing to conform to something unless it’s my choice.  To flip this, some men I know have resorted to this warped notion that they can “relate” to the daily demands that women have.

So here are some things I’ve heard recently from men trying to relate to women.

I can multi task too.  It’s not that hard.

Cool!  So can we compare notes on what it’s like to wake up at 6:30, get the kids ready and pray that we have enough time in the shower to actually remember to shave your armpits and apply deoderant this morning.  Forget your lunch and then feel guilty for spending the money to get lunch.  And then worry about how you will be serving chicken for the third time this week and for the love of hell how can you prepare differently so your family doesn’t revolt.  You don’t have time to take your truck for an oil change so you wonder if you can squeeze another week out of it even though you’re 2,000 miles over.  You call your mom every morning to check in and make sure that nothing happened that you have to turn your vehicle around and drive in the opposite direction to help them out.  And by the time you get home tonight you’re so exhausted that when your husband looks at you with the hubba hubba look you know so well you actually bark out a laugh in response.  Relate now?

I do the dishes at home.

So cool.  Do you scrub toilets?

I’m a career Dad.

Please see above rant.

So just hire a nanny.

Where to start with this one?

What did women do in the old days?

Put up with bullshit comments like this.  Or died in childbirth.  Take your pick.

I want to be included in girl talk.

You can’t even handle the word tampon let alone the full discussion of it.  How about we talk about divvying up household chores?  Maybe our chore list can be 80% of your chore list?  No?  Huh, funny.  Seems to work in pay scale.

My personal favorite involves a man trying to assuage the minds of others by insisting that his rage and outburst were “totally menstrual”.

DOES YOUR INNER GIRL HAVE A VAGINA?

This doesn’t make me a man hater.  I can damn sure promise you that my inner tomboy doesn’t have a penis.

All’s fair in the battle of the sexes but keep the fighting fair.

 

Benedict Arnold Fat Baby

So I decided to get up at 6:30 AM to make chocolate ice cream instead of going for a run because I’m clearly not the adultiest of adults.  I don’t adult willingly.  Adulting gives me tantrums.  I cry until snot bubbles form and I can’t talk without my breath hitching making every word take a minimum of 15 minutes to come out and I cling to the leg of the nearest grown up (usually Magilla) like a teenage girl with Daddy Issues during her first break up.  I hate adulting but supposedly I’m good at it and people come to me for my viewpoint on things.  Oh the irony.  

Back to ice cream…

Last night I made the custard with Mei Mei and Fat Baby/Wee Baby Child/Benedict Arnold.   That child will rat me out in approximately less than 4.2 seconds.  So the original plan was to churn the custard into ice cream tonight however I went into a coma last night and my mind decided that waking up at 5:30 would be super fun.  My body decided to tell my mind to go screw itself and sleep until 6:30 at which point I woke and stretched and smiled at the fact that I had bed hogged the night through (Magilla is in another city).  I pondered what I should do.  Should I try out my new fig soap?   Should I finish my painting project?  Should I go for a run?  Should I check out the schedule for morning yoga at my local studio?  Don’t be ridiculous.  So out came the ice cream maker and the decision to give my husband dessert since he’d been on a business trip.  I can be nice.  It happens! 

It took 26 minutes to churn the custard into ice cream. I whipped out my handy ice cream container with the pretty green lid that never quite fits all of the ice cream so I’m left with a spoonful.  Every time!  Imagine?  Huh?  You’d think I planned it that way. 

I ran into the dining room where the informant was having breakfast and immediately shoved the spoon in his face.  When Mei Mei noticed the chocolate rimming his lips she demanded to know where it came from.  

He ratted me out.  

I fed this child the chocolate cake we baked on Sunday.  We played soccer.      We picked flowers.  We watched Pete’s Dragon.  We bonded.  It was a magical day.  For me at least.  He was bored shitless I’m sure.   But I thought this is only Tuesday and clearly he’ll remember our glorious fun filled day.  Right?  Wrong.  

The tip off should have been when his mother got home Sunday and asked what he had for lunch.  He pointed at me and said, “Chocolate cake”.

So what does all of this affection buying and bribery get me?  Nothing.  Well not entirely true.  This story.  That’s what it gets me. 

In the past two days the following conventions have been had. 

Where’d that chocolate come from??

He points directly at me.  

Where’d you learn to call someone a mook?

He points at me.  

Where’d you learn to head bang?

He points at me.  

Where’d you learn to spike your hair into horns?

He points at me.  

Ingrate.