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Archive for January, 2012

I may be a bitch, but at least I’m not a bigot

I used to have employees. Until about three and a half years ago. That’s all you really need to know for me to tell this story. I still receive emails sent to their old addresses. I have them filtered to a separate folder, and scan them periodically to make sure nothing important has been sent by a client. It’s pretty rare anymore that something does, and I can probably eliminate the addresses. One of my former employees (let’s call her Janice) still gets personal email, however: renewal notices from the library, prescription pick-up reminders from Walgreen’s, and messages from someone I presumed to be a family member (let’s call her Agnes – and she turned out to be an aunt). In the beginning I sent things along and/or responded that Janice was no longer using that email address. Then I stopped and just deleted things.

Aunt Agnes continued sending things to Janice. Generally, forwards to groups of people. Mostly I ignored them. A few weeks ago I read one. I don’t know why. It was about a store in a mall in Texas that is run by Muslims, and that it was going to be closed on September 11 supposedly in honor of one of the pilots who flew into the Twin Towers. It was so bizarre that I had to investigate, so off I headed to Snopes, my favorite internet myth-busting site. It was, naturally, a ridiculous misunderstanding and gross misrepresentation of the facts 

I despise stuff like this. People are too lazy to verify things before they forward them, and generally these stories are based on fear and ignorance and do nothing but harm. They get people fired up by playing on prejudice and perpetuate total bullshit. If you read the Snopes article, the store’s proprietor faced ongoing backlash for something he didn’t even do. When friends and acquaintances send emails of this nature and post them on Facebook, I have no qualms about sharing the information I find to debunk the myth.

What to do.

I responded to Aunt Agnes with a brief note that Janice hadn’t been at that email address for more than three years. And that the story in the email wasn’t true after all, along with the link so she could read more. I figured that was the end of it.

Wrong-o.

The next morning I got a message from Aunt Agnes, sent to Janice’s email, but this time clearly for me. It was another forward, sent only to Janice/me, and it was about Snopes. How Snopes is funded by the left, and is in Obama’s pocket, and isn’t a reliable source, and it’s all a big conspiracy.

Hmm….again…what to do? I wasn’t looking to pick a fight. And obviously I couldn’t use Snopes to debunk her email, because Snopes lies. (eye roll)

Good thing I had urbanlegends.com to help me out! I responded with no commentary, just three links addressing the major points in her forward, including this one.

So far, so good….right? Maybe.

Her response to Janice/me was,

“I think the devil is working overtime and maybe the LORD is comming [sic] very soon!! So many people have turned their backs to GOD.”

Um. What??

Again, I wasn’t looking to pick a fight. I just like to get people to stop spreading emails filled with falsehoods, especially when they’re easily proven so. But now it was getting….personal. Pretty sure Aunt Agnes just called me a heathen. And here she’s never even met me. Usually people have to know me for at least a day or two before coming to that conclusion! Maybe I shouldn’t have, but I responded.

“If the devil is working overtime, it’s by spreading false propaganda in the name of fear. I see nothing godly in the messages you’re sending.”

And I stand by that. I can’t believe in a God who wants people to hate and fear and distrust each other simply because they are different. I won’t. And I will call you out on that at any opportunity.

Aunt Agnes wasn’t very happy, either. I can’t include “[sic]” every time I would need to, so just know that this is verbatim.

“What is Godly about snoopes?? I am a Christian FIRST! If a president or anyone running for office says they are for gay marriage, abortions,and He don`t even go to a church( as he himself said it would cause a problem), And, I have a video where he is giving a speach and told the muslems he is one also. That came from his mouth. Remember, his mother was white and his dad a muslem. He isn`t a black man. You surprise me by accusing me of propaganda.What messages are you talking about? Christians need to be very carefull who they vote for. I am independent and will vote for either party if they stick to not being for the top things I’ve already said. AND, I see nothing in the message you sent me that is very christian. I will make sure I don`t send you anything else.”

And then my head exploded. I truly can’t understand this mentality. You have your values and I have mine. Maybe they’re different. That’s fine. I want to respect you. But if your values are that everyone who disagrees with you is wrong and dangerous, you scare me. Because I am different. I’m a liberal Jew in Indiana. A woman who isn’t scared to identify as a feminist. Someone who doesn’t think socialism is a dirty word.* And there is no place for me in a world defined by people who think Christianity is the one and only measuring stick. Aunt Agnes doesn’t care what is true. She only cares about what is Christian. Which, ps, seems like a pretty vague definition to me.

So you see, I had to respond.

“You didn’t see anything in my messages that was Christian because I am NOT Christian. Snopes isn’t about being godly, it’s about being FACTUAL. All the messages you send are propaganda. You don’t care if they’re truthful, and the messages are about hating people who are different from you.”

I haven’t heard from Aunt Agnes since. I did, however, hear from Janice. She was not happy, to say the least. How dare I treat her aunt this way, just because we disagree? I should have simply deleted the messages. And some other fairly unpleasant things. Fine. I decided there was no point debating anything, and did a preemptive unfriending on Facebook to prevent residual nastiness.

Maybe I shouldn’t have responded. Maybe I should have just continued deleting the messages. Maybe I am a bitch. But at least I’m not a bigot.

 

 

 

*Please note, I am not a socialist. I just don’t get offended or worked up when people cry socialism.

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Why Being Single is Awesome

(AKA, why someone who I used to be married to may have been correct when he called me The Most Selfish Person In The World.)

  • If you don’t feel like taking out the trash, or “forget”, not only is it ok, but no one will ever know. Except the garbage man, who maybe just thinks you’re really green because let’s get real, you only put the trash out about once a month. But mostly, he probably doesn’t give a shit. Or notice.
  • You can leave fuzzy socks all over the house in ridiculous, random places. So that when your feet get cold, they’re right there, waiting for you. And then you can take them off and leave them wherever you want. Same thing with shoes – the taking off and the leaving.
  • You get to decide what the thermostat is set at. (So not caring that there’s a preposition at the end of that sentence.)
  • You can sleep with the TV on.
  • You can eat weird meals, like cereal for dinner or cupcakes for breakfast or nothing but peanut butter sandwiches for a week.
  • You can plan ALL of your vacations around only what YOU want. For example, if you love to ski, you can go skiing without wondering if anyone else wants to spend all that money on a ski trip.
  • You can stay up stupidly late at night without feeling unspoken (and probably imaginary) judgment.
  • You get to decide if the dog is allowed to sleep on the bed. (Duh, of course she is.)
  • You learn that you can deal with spiders & bats. (Shudder. Maybe the bat story should move over to the blog one of these days….)
  • You develop many rich and special friendships with strong, funny women who make you say things like, “Why can’t we be lesbians?” or “I’ll rock/paper/scissors you to see which one of us will have a sex change.”
  • You can have a fake boyfriend (no, NOT THAT) who helps with house projects and goes places with you but you can cancel without feeling guilty. And if he doesn’t call when he says he will, you don’t get neurotic about it.
  • You get to sleep in the middle of the bed. Or sideways across it. And you get all the pillows and all the covers. Unless you have a dog, in which case somehow she gets a lot of all of those.
  • You can hang eleventeen paint chips in the bathroom for six months without anyone giving you grief about painting it already. And when you do paint it (say, in another month or two), you can paint it eleventeen colors, should you so choose.
  • You get ALL THE CLOSET SPACE!!!!
  • You can buy tools with flowered handles.
  • You can hit snooze as many times as you like without annoying anyone.
  • No in-laws.
  • You never have to listen to music you don’t like (ahem, Madonna). Well, at home anyway. Or on road trips. Unless you go on road trips with friends who have bad taste in music.
  • You can spend your money however you please.
  • You get to control the remote.
  • You can do whatever you want, whenever you want. Whatever. Whenever.

It’s totally awesome. J

Holy. Crap.

I should complain about not getting flowers more often.

These just arrived – how is that even possible??

Happy Saturday!! 🙂

Why Being Single Sucks

  • You have to kill and/or remove _______ yourself. (Fill in the blank with whatever it is that really, really freaks you out: spiders, bats, mice.)
  • You have to plan your own birthday.
  • You have to take out the trash.
  • You have to shovel the sidewalk (but if you’re smart, like me, you buy a house without a driveway).
  • You don’t have a built-in travel partner.
  • Cooking for one is sort of not worth the effort.
  • There’s no one to rub your feet. Or anything else.
  • The holidays are brutal. Especially any holiday that shoves diamond commercials down your throat. Like Flag Day.
  • No one sends you flowers. (Of course, no one usually sends me flowers when I’m unsingle, either…hmm….)
  • You can’t put together a king-size headboard by yourself. And you for damn sure can’t flip the mattress by yourself. This will not prevent you from trying, because YOU ARE A STRONG, CAPABLE WOMAN! This will only lead to (hypothetically) getting trapped under the mattress and/or between the mattress and the wall. I said hypothetically!!
  • Sometimes couples act like what you have might be catching. As in, they can only socialize with other couples.
  • There’s no one to take care of you when you’re sick.
  • It makes you do stupid boys. Things! It makes you do stupid things!
  • There’s no one to help you put on a bracelet.
  • Your dating endeavors are a source of endless amusement for your friends, even when it’s sort of painful to talk about.
  • Every time you slip in the shower, you’re pretty sure that’s how you’re going to die.
  • The world wants you to be coupled. Not just the world of advertising, or Hollywood, your real world, too. No “catching up” convo with a friend is complete without the inevitable, “Are you seeing anyone?”
  • When your feet are cold, there’s no one to stick them against in the middle of the night.
  • You have to do ridiculous contortions to zip up a dress by yourself. Who the eff designs this shit???
  • You worry about who will take care of you when you’re old…like 50.
  • You have to make all the big/important/scary decisions all by yourself.
  • It’s not something you can “fix”. Even if you want to be in a relationship or dating or whatever (and maybe you don’t and that is an excellent option), you can’t make it happen. You just have to wait until it does. And maybe it never will. Which can be scary.

 

Grandma and the F-bomb

Phew, it was easier to crank this stuff out when I was on vacation! J

Not long after publishing The Fuckwad Report, I got a notification that I had a new follower on the blog: my grandmother. Those of you who are friends with me on Facebook might have seen a comment that I was somewhat alarmed, even though I had warned her that my language might be….graphic, shall we say. My dismay was unwarranted; later that day, I got the loveliest email from Grandma, telling me how much she enjoyed reading the blog, how long it had been since she’d read anything I had written, and that she had subscribed. And then she said,

“As for the ‘adult in nature’ language, remember Florence?”

Muahahahahahahahaaa. Oh yes. I remember Florence.

Let me just get this out of the way: sorry, Grandma. However, since you survived my telling this story at your 80th birthday party, surely this will be ok. (Huge grin, with a possible dose of begging for forgiveness)

Many of you know my grandma. Who am I kidding, the whole world knows her. You all think she’s amazing. Her column in the newspaper, your favorite teacher, this board, that committee, trail-blazing woman in the community, blah, blah, blah, zzzzzz……oops, sorry, I fell asleep for a second. Yes. She’s wonderful for all those reasons you already know. However, most of you probably don’t know that my grandma is the uber-badass grandma to end all grandmas. Yup. I have a couple of stories to illustrate said badasserie…I’m sure she’d like me to share them…oh my god, I’m so evil, I just called her to verify one of the details and I didn’t tell her why. (Also, three out of three friends surveyed just agreed that “badass” is one word.) Ok, story time!!!

Badass Grandma, exhibit A:

The summer between my junior and senior years at Michigan (wooo, Go Blue!), Grandma took me to Italy for a lovely vacation. We were there for about a week and a half, and other than being ghastly hot and G’ma almost selling me to a man from Africa (true-ish story for another day) it was a fantastic trip. And I would say that generally we got along swimmingly, other than when she soundly kicked my ass over and over again playing gin rummy. However, we did have one kind of rocky day, when traveling from Rome to Florence. For the record, neither of us speaks Italian, which might have added to our woes. Grandma had reserved seats, but somehow we ended up on the wrong train (still heading to Florence). We were ok staying on the train, but ended up sitting in some other people’s seats, who nicely didn’t kick us out – or if they did, we didn’t understand what they were saying. Maybe we were just jetlagged or something, who knows, but the day wasn’t going according to plan and we were crabby. When we arrived in Florence, I was helping Grandma off the train, and getting our bags. I set down my suitcase, and seeing as it was 1992, it was old school: 4 crappy, unstable wheels with a “leash” to pull it. It immediately toppled over, and rolled off the platform. I believe my grandmother was slightly annoyed by this. I’m sure I was pissed. I sighed and set down her carryon so I could retrieve my fallen suitcase. Her bag promptly tipped over, and off the platform. It had exterior pockets that were open, so magazines and whatnot came spilling out. Oops.

About one second passed. In my mind now, it lasted a year.

Grandma. My respectable, respected, proper grandmother, who believes in dressing for travel and taught me important things like you only use one hand to hold a sandwich. Grandma.

Grandma said….

“Oh, fuck.”

The words hung in the air. In bold italics. And then….

We absolutely dissolved in laughter. It could not have been a more perfect tension breaker. My. Grandma. Dropped. The. F-bomb. Instant classic. Some nice non-English speaking people helped us figure out the right coins to put in the thing to get a trolley to haul our bags. I’m sure they thought we were drunk or crazy, seeing as we were howling so hard we could barely stand up. End of bad mood, Grandma forever seen in a different light.

Badass Grandma, exhibit B:

A couple of years later, I was living in Michigan with my boyfriend (before he was my fiancé, husband, and ex-husband J ). We got home one day and had a message on our answering machine (gasp – remember answering machines??) from Grandma. It went something like this:

“I just fucking got home from fucking seeing ‘Pulp Fiction’ and I wanted to let you know that I really fucking liked it.”

AHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!!!!!!

I kind of wish I still had that little tiny tape.

So there you have it: my grandma rocks. I’m certainly not sharing this to shake up the iconic image you have of her; perhaps just to round it out into someone more relatable. And oooh, ooh, I just thought of this one – to show that I come by my trash-mouth honestly. Fuck yeah, I do!

And just in case she’s pissed, if you see her, maybe tell her how much you enjoyed this, dig?

The Fuckwad Report

Omigod, omigod. I had The. Best. Idea.

I was driving home from the movies, flipping around on the radio, and one of the stations was doing a phone-in dealio called something like Exile Your Ex. People could share horror stories of exes so foul that they feel the world needs to be warned about them. I laughed. Really hard. Because everyone has someone like that. And then…..LIGHT BULB.

We need a website where we can record the transgressions of the very worst exes.

And then people can do research when they’re considering dating someone to find out if they’ve ever done something truly heinous. Like carfax.com…

“Buying a Used Car? Just Say – Show Me the CARFAX! Don’t run the risk of buying a used car with costly hidden problems. Get a detailed vehicle history report from our nationwide database within seconds.”

 You’re with me now, right?

“Ready for a second date? Just Say – Show Me the Fuckwad Report! Don’t run the risk of dating a proven asshole with emotionally costly hidden problems. Get a detailed relationship report from our nationwide database within seconds.”

Now. This would have to be reserved for abominations so severe that they are indisputably unforgivable. Furthermore, they must be factual in nature and specific, rather than subjective. For example, it can’t be something like, “He forgot the date of our first date.” or “She is the most selfish person in the entire world.” (No, I’m not.) Obviously we all have quirks and different things annoy each of us. But surely we can agree that “He fucked my best friend,” or “I got an invitation in the mail to his (next) wedding and he hadn’t even told me yet that we were getting divorced,” or “She stole all my furniture,” are the kinds of fuckwaddish, fact-based atrocities all future potential dates deserve to know.

It needs to be free to users, seeing as this is really a community service we’re providing, so we’ll need to find corporate sponsors like Cymbalta and Match.com to get it off the ground.

To keep things flowing, this will have to operate under the honor system. Of course, if you lie, Aphrodite will smite you, yo.

I don’t have all the specifics worked out yet….other than the smiting….

And for the record, the wedding invitation story is true – friend of a friend.