Shots Fired


Please note that, like most of my posts, this was actually written some time ago.

I’ve had a long day. My truck’s brakes are grinding, my window regulator burned out on my driver’s side so I couldn’t open my window, some asshat backed out without looking in a parking lot and I had to stomp so hard on my brakes I heard a concerning noise in my front end, my truck started idling roughly…I had to wait 25 minutes for a flu shot on my way home from an endocrinologist appointment that left me annoyed that my primary latched on to me being bipolar and passed that along, so now the most pressing issue is me being bipolar instead of the fact that I gained substantial weight last year and haven’t lost a pound of it this year despite diet and exercise — oh, and now I think I probably have a tumor and am going to die…and now I can’t even download the images I wanted to use in this blog.

So right now, wine is the best thing that ever happened.

At least tomorrow I get to pick up my new car and I have a long weekend ahead of me.

Oh, and I quit therapy this week.

This blog was inspired by a Facebook post I saw this past week. A mother with maybe a toddler-aged kid shared a link and said she’d never gotten a flu shot, and now neither her nor her son would ever get one. (I hope you appreciate my punny title now.)

I had to click.

Here it is: If You Know Anyone That’s Thinking Of Getting A Flu Shot This Year, Show Them This

I knew it would be bullshit before I even looked at it, but oh well.

So the theme of this post, once again, is that people can be stupid and science is misunderstood and used to scare people. Basically, people are anti-science.

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Pretty much that.

Except maybe more than half.

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I have lots of pictures for this post. Buckle up.

But let me first discuss the link above. As usual, you probably don’t really need to read it because I’ll quote so heavily from it here.

Fair warning: I’m going to bitch about lack of citations often.

“The verdict is out on flu shots. Many medical experts now agree it is more important to protect yourself and your family from the flu vaccine than the flu itself. Every year the pharmaceutical industry, medical experts and the mainstream media work hard to convince us to get vaccinated against the flu. But we’re not being told the whole story. What we don’t hear, are cases about the adverse reactions or about the toxic chemicals being injected into us.”

Oye…what so-called “medical experts” did you ask? Homeopathic “doctors” (who might somehow benefit from your rejection of real medicine)?

I’m pretty sure you should still try to avoid the flu more than the vaccine. But I just have a degree in biology and am pursuing my PhD in biology. (I’m probably going to say that a lot too — I’m establishing ethos.)

“Pharmaceutical industry” and “mainstream media” are two warning keywords for me. Also, are these the same “medical experts” from the first sentence who don’t like vaccines?

Oh good, a bolded sentence for impact and a poorly-placed comma. It’s not even a comma splice! It’s just…an unnecessary comma. Maybe you meant to italicize “don’t”?

Sorry, incorrect comma usage bothers me greatly.

Ooh, toxic chemicals. Can you name even one? Also, do you know if it’s at a toxic level? Water can kill you in large enough amounts. Just saying…

Let me actually get to the reasons not to get vaccinated:

The flu shot actually makes you sick to begin with

Have you ever noticed how vaccinated children get sick almost immediately following a vaccination? This is because the flu virus is introduced into their bodies. So rather than immunize, the flu shot actually only sensitizes the body against the virus. And the fact that it causes individuals to get ill following a shot indicates immuno-suppression (i.e. lowering of the immunity).”

Yes, that’s how a vaccine works.

Allow me to quote the CDC on how a vaccine does its magical thing: “Vaccines help develop immunity by imitating an infection. This type of infection, however, does not cause illness, but it does cause the immune system to produce T-lymphocytes and antibodies. Sometimes, after getting a vaccine, the imitation infection can cause minor symptoms, such as fever. Such minor symptoms are normal and should be expected as the body builds immunity. Once the imitation infection goes away, the body is left with a supply of ‘memory’ T-lymphocytes, as well as B-lymphocytes that will remember how to fight that disease in the future” (https://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/patient-ed/conversations/downloads/vacsafe-understand-color-office.pdf).

So yes, the vaccine is the virus, but a weakened version so the body can fight it. Yes, you may feel sick as your body’s immune system (which is pretty fucking amazing, if you ask me) fights it off so it’s ready for the real thing, should it encounter it. Trust me, a mild sickness after a flu shot is way better compared to actually getting the damn flu. (Dave agrees and he’s had the flu.)

Consider it an insurance policy. Yeah, it sucks to make payments (i.e. get a little sick), but you’re glad you have it when you rear-end someone or your house burns down (i.e. stumble across some poor soul with the flu).

And sensitizing the body (which I’m going to say means introducing it to the virus ahead of time and building an immune response; not sure what else it might mean here) is immunization. What the hell else would it be?

It doesn’t cause everyone to get sick, and even in those that it does, it’s not immunosuppression. You’re sick, not immuno-compromised.

That was just the first reason. What have I taken on?

Flu vaccines contain other dangerous ingredients such as mercury

The pharmaceutical industry, medical experts and the mainstream media are candid in telling us that flu vaccines contain strains of the flu virus. What they are less likely to reveal though is the long list of other ingredients that come with the vaccine. It is now a known fact that flu vaccines contain mercury, a heavy metal known to be hazardous for human health. Mercury toxicity can cause depression, memory loss, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory problems, ADD, oral health problems, digestive imbalances and other serious health issues.”

Lots of things have long lists of ingredients. Go check out your kitchen.

And shouldn’t mercury be safe? Because, you know, you can pronounce it.

It’s not like I’m injecting liquid mercury into my body. Also consider the amount and form. Oxygen is in water — yay! It’s also in carbon monoxide — boo!

And as I said above, the amount matters. Dark chocolate is good in moderation; a pound every day is not.

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You can’t believe everything you read on the internet…but you can believe this blog
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It’s all about perspective, I guess
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But…but…an apple a day keeps the doctor and his evil vaccines away…

Here’s what the CDC has to say on Mercury in vaccines: “Thimerosal is a vaccine additive, added to some vaccines to prevent germs (like bacteria and fungi) from growing in them. If germs grow in vaccines, they can cause illness—or even death” (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/thimerosal/faqs.html).

Of course, the logic that bacteria in your vaccine is worse than mercury presupposes that vaccines are a good thing.

Also, “You may have heard that thimerosal has mercury in it. Not all types of mercury are the same. Some types of mercury, like mercury in some kinds of fish, stay in the human body and can make people sick. Thimerosal is a different kind of mercury. It doesn’t stay in the body, and is unlikely to make us sick” (http://www.cdc.gov/vaccinesafety/concerns/thimerosal/faqs.html).

Is the CDC an acceptable source for anti-vaxxers? I don’t know. Unfortunately I’m reasonable and don’t think everything (but nature, oddly enough) is trying to kill me.

It’s funny how non-science people are afraid of vaccines, GMOs, and so on — science, basically, while science people aren’t. Maybe because we live and breathe — and understand — science?

Point three!

“The flu shot can cause Alzheimer’s disease

Evidence now suggests that flu vaccines can cause Alzheimer’s disease. Research conducted by Dr. Hugh Fudenberg, a leading immunogeneticist, shows that those who consistently get the flu vaccine increase their risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 10 fold. He believes this is due to the toxic combination of aluminum and mercury in the vaccine. Additionally, introducing the flu virus to an elderly person (who with age will naturally have a weaker immune system) will only increase the chances of that individual becoming susceptible to more serious illness.”

First of all, there are different doses for different age groups. Like that’s that.

I googled Hugh Fudenburg and the one of the first results was Bill Maher: Antivaccination wingnut. After an excerpt from an interview, the author does a little digging on Maher’s sources, and sets us straight on Fudenberg. (Just read it.) So…consider who your sources are quoting. What exactly is he leading in regarding immunology or genetics? Quackery? Woo?

This link also balks at the assertion that the flu vaccine makes you ten times more likely to get Alzheimer’s.

Here, a quote:

“MAHER: I’m not into western medicine. That to me is a complete scare tactic. It just shows you, you can…

KING: You mean you don’t get a — you don’t get a flu shot?

MAHER: A flu shot is the worst thing you can do.

KING: Why?

MAHER: Because it’s got — it’s got mercury.

KING: It prevents flu.

MAHER: It doesn’t prevent. First of all, that’s…

KING: I haven’t had the flu in 25 years since I’ve been taking a flu shot.

MAHER: Well, I hate to tell you, Larry, but if you have a flu shot for more than five years in a row, there’s ten times the likelihood that you’ll get Alzheimer’s disease. I would stop getting your…

KING: What did you say?

MAHER: That went better in rehearsal but it was still good. Absolutely, no the defense against disease is to have a strong immune system. A flu shot just compromises your immune system.”

Way to quote a wacko, anti-vaxxers. Unfortunately there’s more good science supporting vaccines than shit science badmouthing it.

But y’all cherry-pick, don’t you?

Man, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to respond to all of these points, but it looks like I’m going to. Son of a bitch.

Can’t people just be smarter?

The very people pushing flu vaccinations are making billions of dollars each year

In August 1999, the Committee on Government Reform initiated an investigation into Federal vaccine policy. This investigation focused on possible conflicts of interest on the part of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The investigation concluded that many individuals serving on two key advisory committees had financial ties to the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture vaccines. Often, these individuals were granted waivers to fully participate in the discussions that led to recommendations on vaccine licensing and adding vaccines to the Childhood Immunization Schedule. This in itself creates serious doubt as to how effective flu vaccines really are.”

Financial ties doesn’t mean the vaccine is no good. I may be attending RPI, but I have to say apparently it’s a decent school. I didn’t think it was that great but everyone is impressed that I got in and got a full ride with a job, so…

So everyone with some investment isn’t necessarily evil.

Again, pharmaceutical scare tactics (maybe I’ll call them PST from now on) and also, I’d love to see your references for this.

Oh, and this:

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“Lack of real evidence that young children even benefit from flu shots

51 studies involving 260,000 children age 6 to 23 months established no evidence that the flu vaccine is any more effective than a placebo. Additionally, flu shots only protect against certain strains of the virus meaning that you can still easily get the flu if you come into contact with a different strain of virus.”

What is real evidence? Like, evidence? As compared to your non-evidence (like Wikipedia or conversations with your mom’s friend’s neighbor about this shit)? WERE ARE YOUR CITATIONS? I REFUSE TO BELIEVE YOU WITHOUT CITATIONS (AND REFERENCES). IF YOU’RE GOING TO ATTEMPT TO TALK SCIENCE, CITE SCIENCE. HOLY SHIT.

And yes, flu shots protect against the strain deemed threatening for this year. I learned in an immunology class that we look for the first cases of the flu and then make the vaccine based on those strains…so we know what we’re dealing with. The idea is that last years’ strains died out…because smart people got vaccinated or dumb people got sick and died (okay, that might be exaggeration). Yes, this year’s shot is for this year’s strain…because that’s the worrisome one.

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Makes you more susceptible to pneumonia and other contagious diseases

For someone with an already suppressed immune system, injecting strains of the flu virus can have devastating consequences. If your body is already working to fight off a virus or simply operating with low immunity, a vaccine injection could put your body in serious danger of contracting influenza with stronger symptoms, or even worse pneumonia and other contagious diseases.”

You wouldn’t be given a vaccine if you had a suppressed immune system. Being sick isn’t the same as having a suppressed immune system, as I said above.

Vascular disorders

Medical research shows flu shots are associated with an increased risk of vascular inflammation. Symptoms include fever, jaw pain, muscle aches, pain and stiffness in the neck, upper arms, shoulder and hips and headache.”

What medical research? Cite. It’ll probably be bullshit anyway, but cite it so I can be sure.

Children under the age of 1 are at risk

Children under 1 years of age are highly vulnerable to a neurotoxic breach of the delicate nerve center surrounding the brain and central nervous system. The first round of the flu vaccine is administered at age 6 months. A child under the age of 1 lacks sufficient protection to guard against premature damage to the blood barrier in the brain.”

Here’s another instance here citations would be great. As I said, there are different dosages for different ages. I’m not really sure where you got this blood-brain barrier stuff from. Please share. Because right now it sounds like you just threw random words together and hoped they came out coherent.

Increased risk of narcolepsy

There have been dozens of reported cases of children in 12 different countries who have developed narcolepsy (a chronic sleep disorder) after receiving the flu vaccine. The study, which took place between October 2009 and the December 2011, compared 3.3 million vaccinated Swedes with 2.5 million who were not vaccinated. The risk was found to be highest among the youngest people who took the vaccines. For those under the age of 21, the risk of contracting narcolepsy was three times higher.”

Sources. Or else you’re pulling this out of your ass. No, you’re so deep as to be in the duodenum.

Weakens immunological responses

There have been literally thousands of medical journal articles published that show injecting vaccines can lead to harmful immunological responses and a host of other infections. Moreover, weak immunological responses only decrease a person’s ability to fight the diseases that the vaccine was supposed to protect against in the first place.”

You used “literally,” so I stopped listening.

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Ah…I don’t think you know what “literally” means. Or what happened at Auschwitz.

Seriously though, people with suppressed immune systems won’t receive the vaccine anyway and I’ll bet that vaccines prevent a hell of a lot more infections than they cause.

Serious neurological disorders

Evidence now suggests that ingredients in flu vaccinations can actually cause serious neurological disorders. In 1976 a significant number of those who received the flu vaccine acquired Guillain-Barré Syndrome (GBS), a disorder characterized by permanent nerve damage and even paralysis. Flu vaccines can contain many harmful materials including detergent, mercury, formaldehyde, and strains of live flu virus.”

We already went over formaldehyde in vaccines.

Also, again, vaccines are strains of viruses. Good job, you got that through your thick skull. The viruses aren’t just live, though; they’re attenuated. That means they’re been made to be less virulent. They are weaker.

Oh, and what fucking evidence? You’re citing 1976! Surely there’s something more recent. Also, as I said above, consider the form and amount of these horrible chemicals.

Fucking dumbasses.

Allow me to dump some memes, because memes are their own language.

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That was a short dump.

I do have a plan for this blog. First let me discuss some of the comments on this person’s post. They’re in no particular order because, well, they don’t have to be.

antivax1

I’ll get back to the “money making scam” in a bit, but yes, it’s a different strain every year and they use the current year’s strain to make the vaccine. You can protect yourself from an “ever changing virus”…it’s called the flu vaccine.

Maybe people just don’t know how it works?

Even if last year’s wasn’t the right one, it’s not like you’re worse off for getting it. Now you’re ready when that strain strikes.

But I do have to say I love the last comment here. I tip my hat to you, sir. I’ll get to that later also.

antivax2

SHEEPLE ALERT. You know when someone throws around sheeple they’re not fucking around.

It’s also a signal not to take them seriously. Unless, of course, they’re using it satirically.

I just don’t get the selective acceptance and rejection. Measles vaccine okay, flu vaccine big no-no. Why? Because the flu varies year to year?

“Take vitamin C and zinc, drink lots of tea, carry hand sanitizer and get enough sleep. That’s how I avoid massive colds.”

But not the flu. Those things may help, but they’re no flu shot. I’m fairly certain you don’t have a degree in anything biology-related,* so maybe stop doling out medical advice.

*At least I study biology. I may not be a medical doctor, but I know how the body works.

antivax3

Um, no, a lot of people died from now-preventable diseases.

Source: http://vaccines.procon.org/view.additional-resource.php?resourceID=005964
Source: http://vaccines.procon.org/view.additional-resource.php?resourceID=005964

It’s a it blurry (but there’s a citation), but there were over 3,000 deaths from polio in a year. No, polio doesn’t seem like a big deal now, but that’s because people were afraid and dying didn’t sound too good, so they got their damn vaccinations and we’ve eradicated one type and drastically reduced the numbers of another (http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs114/en/). You take for granted what previous generations went through and like a spoiled little brat don’t appreciate what science has done for you. You can walk and, moreover, you’re not dead.

You’re fucking welcome.

“I refuse to get the flu shot. If I get it naturally then by all means I’ll accept that shit.”

First of all, you also don’t get how vaccines work. Second, you accept naturally getting the flu and feeling like shit, but preventing it is bad? What? Natural is better even if you get the flu??? Another issue I’ll talk about later.

Also, I asked my mom what she thought of vaccines, and here if her response:

“My opinion varies depending on the vaccination. Many vaccines have been well tested and I do believe they are beneficial…mumps, measles, chickenpox…I have issues with the flu vaccines that are manufactured each year for the strain they THINK MAY hit. Some of the vaccines…actually I believe it was a “preservative in them” that is suspected of being linked to autism and Alzheimer’s…but that was single dose vials not multidose. My issue is lack of testing because of time constraints. Generally I would stay away, but, heading off to college with thousands of other people, especially where being really sick for a week would be detrimental…I think it is worth the possible risk. Things like Guardasil…why? I mean it was not tested short or long term. I believe it was not an issue for young people not having sex…so why? So some vaccinations definitely…others yes depending…others a definite no.”

When I was younger, I received my vaccinations — I had to be held down, but I got them. The one my mom refused was the Guardasil vaccine. As she said above, it hadn’t been around long enough for her. She wanted to know it wouldn’t have any side effects years down the road. (Keep in mind this was probably ten years ago.I was informed just the other day that 22 is the age limit for receiving it.)

At the time, I was happy because it meant less shots and less needles.

I also didn’t think I’d be having sex before I was married, and HPV was sexually transmitted. If my boyfriend and I weren’t each others’ firsts, he could just be tested and we’d be cool. No need for a vaccine.

I don’t quite regret not getting that vaccine, and I understand my mom’s reasoning, but still…

Well, honestly, I’ve chanced it the past few years by not getting a flu shot, mostly because I abhor needles and the shot always makes my arm spasm into my hand and it’s just a weird and unpleasant feeling.

I wasn’t going to get one this year, but after reading that post and deciding to write this blog, I realized I kind of had to for credibility. I can’t tell you vaccines are safe and cool and then refuse to get one myself.

So I confronted my fear of needles (well, pain) and got a flu shot.

Here’s my proof:

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This happened. I got my flu shot. My arm hurts.

I got a flu shot to prove a point more than guard against the flu.

That’s how devoted I am to this blog and this point.

Anyway, my mom hit on one thing I’ll discuss briefly, which is autism and vaccines. The guy who published the study was proven wrong and banned from practicing medicine. I can’t quote this because it’s common knowledge to me, but I’m sure if you google it, you’ll find it.

But here are some links talking about how vaccines don’t cause autism: New Meta-analysis Confirms: No Association between Vaccines and Autism and Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism

Unfortunately, this one bit of bad science held on and a lot of people believed it.

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Even if this were the choice, dead or autistic, holy hell, I’d like my child to be alive. Autism isn’t the end of the world, as evidenced by my delightful brother. Nate may be socially awkward (like, worse than me), but he’s smart as hell. Sometimes I wish I could be as blunt (and remorseless) as him.

I used to hate how he made everything into a debate but I think now my brain could use it. Because Dave won’t debate with me.

Oh, and obviously you don’t “catch” autism. I think a lot of people know early on that their child is non-verbal, engages in hand-flapping, and so on. Your social five-year-old isn’t suddenly going to “come down” with autism because they got a vaccination.

Anyway, my mom is an intelligent person (my brother and I had to get it from somewhere), yet she’s still wary of the flu shot. (She said in a later email she did get it this year though.)

I guess it’s because it’s a different strain every year. I schooled her a bit — I couldn’t help it — about how they wait until it’s hit then make the vaccine.

I didn’t want to be a dick, but it’s hard being a science person when science is misunderstood.

People have turned science into fads:

FB_IMG_1459104667436fb_img_1475783755952 fb_img_1461721662231 fb_img_1461724530859I’ve used the first picture before, but even my doctor uncle is gluten free now. He does not have Celiac’s disease.

I tried a low carb diet and experienced bad GI upset, so that’s out for me. I’m pro-vaccines and antibiotics — as long as they’re not overused and creating an antibiotic-resistant strain.

And look, I’m still alive.

The cat litter one just makes me smile. If only I trusted my cats to shit outside without getting hit by a car.

And clearly that girl knows how to make money. Much like supermarkets.

Anyway, this isn’t really science. If you have Celiacs, then yes, avoid gluten. It’s like lactose intolerance, but somehow that didn’t catch on.

People are all too happy to latch onto fads, which may or may not be (most likely may not) be based on real science.

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And my favorite:

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So live it up. Have another glasss of wine.

I have a friend who once asked me if he could alkalize his body by drinking lemon juice or something. I’ve been searching for the text to screenshot it, but can’t find it. However, I found a lot of other pseudoscientific gems.

I couldn’t even figure out what the hell he meant because it made no sense to me. (This was before I knew trying to “alkalize” your body was thing.) I’m not sure why attempting to change your pH balance is a thing, except that someone (David Wolfe?) told you to.

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Do people get bored with their normal lives and decide they need to shake it up a bit? Take up a hobby. Go on vacation. Adopt a cat. Don’t try to alter your body’s normal functioning.

It works the way it does for a reason.

Yes, your thyroid may not work like it should and so you take medication, but your blood should remain at a happy pH 7.4. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

Okay?

I don’t even know how people get sucked into these things except that they don’t get science.

But like, why is the post on why not to get flu vaccines any better than this one about flu vaccine myths (i.e. pro flu shot)? 6 Flu Vaccine Myths

Among the myths: “You can get the flu, or a mild case of it, from the flu vaccine…The flu vaccine may not be safe for pregnant women or babies…Antibiotics can fight the flu if you get it…You don’t need to get the flu vaccine if you got it last year — the strains are basically the same…The flu vaccine contains thiomerosal, which may be harmful…Getting the flu can be a pain, but it’s not really a serious disease, so vaccination isn’t helpful.”

Is it because these points don’t agree with your preconceived notions, your pre-existing bias?

Yes, I’m a science person, so I’m biased toward science. I’m open to debate, but will hold strongly to previously-held views. (I could make a joke about how that’s more religion than science, but I won’t.) My “previously-held views” here are scientifically backed. I’m a science person. I speak the language of science. I know how science works. I know good science from bad science. I know woo from fact.

And I cling to to assertion that if your average person, even if they were anti-vaccine, anti-GMO, anti-[insert-scientific-thing-here], actually understood the science behind it, they wouldn’t be so against it, if at all.

The problem is that there’s so much misinformation, misunderstanding, and people profiting from spreading a fear of science.

Let me take David Wolfe as an example. People who don’t follow science pages on Facebook probably know him as someone who lauds a peaceful life in a cabin rather than a city life obsessed with the almighty dollar.

But he also peddles pure bullshit.

He said gravity is a toxin. It causes arthritis. Click this link and watch the video. I shit you not. It’s all bullshit, but he actually says gravity is a toxin at 3:46. (There’s some good crazy about static electricity in the beginning; I didn’t care to watch the rest): Guess Which Mammals Don’t Get Arthritis (Hint: Sleep Upside Down, No Pillows!)

GRAVITY IS NOT A TOXIN. We kind of need gravity. Alcohol is a toxin. Cigarette smoke is a toxin. David Wolfe is a toxin. Gravity is not.

Are we clear?

But people believe him. They believe that kind of batshit crazy (ha, punny).

That’s terrifying.

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The same friend I mentioned above believes microwaves cause cancer by irradiating your water, which affects your food. In ninth grade biology, someone asked if we could die standing in front of our microwave. The response was, “Yeah, if someone shoots you while you stand in front of it.”

He also went on about bad energies and needing positive anions and how vibrations from technology affect us and cause cancer…I only let him go on because I was enthralled by how ridiculous it was.

But when he started going after GMOs I had to correct him. Or at least try.

But why are people so heavily biased against science? I don’t get it.

Because they don’t understand it? I don’t understand men and I live with a man. I don’t understand all the intricacies of building a vehicle, yet I drive two. I don’t understand why my cats run around at three AM but that doesn’t stop me from loving them.

Just because you don’t understand something doesn’t mean it’s bad or should be avoided.

Except the anti-science trend. I don’t understand that and it’s bad. There are limits.

People seem obsessed with natural shit these days.

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There is likely nothing you’ll encounter in your lifetime that’s chemical free. There are very few exceptions.

We need to stop hating on science and those who pursue it. Like it or not, we know better than you.

I can tell Dave the same point ten times, but if he hears it from someone else, they’re right. Or if I point out a biological inaccuracy in a show or movie (or when he quotes something from a show or movie), I’m wrong and the movie is right.

He does the latter to annoy me (telling me that I just have a BS in biology and I’m just going for my PhD in biology), but I think a lot of people share this attitude.

But for some reason this natural, organic trend caught on like wildfire. And it doesn’t help that companies and stores accommodate it. They devote aisles to it, brag about how they’re natural or organic — or non-GMO…I make a point of not buying things that claim they’re non-GMO. It breaks my heart that Doritos betrayed me. Stop catering to bored 40-something-year-old mothers who need to feel superior and start catering to scientists, because we and our vaccines are the reason you’re not dead from a preventable disease.

Just saying, we’ve contributed a lot more than 40-ish mothers. All they did was add humans to the world, and we’d be better off with less people.

Hell, maybe I should delete this post and let some people avoid vaccines and suffer the consequences…

Natural isn’t better. Nature is constantly trying to kill you. It’s natural selection. Selection. Like, you’re supposed to fight to survive. If you want to fight for your life against a disease rather than get a vaccine, cool. You’re a dumbass. Clearly you shouldn’t reproduce anyway.

Naturally we’d live to maybe 30 or so, eat a lot of red meat, and pretty much base our lives around finding food and perhaps reproducing (okay, so that last one wouldn’t be so different).

Oh, and not dying. Talk about goals.

Believe me, I wouldn’t want to live the way other animals were intended to.

We’re lucky we live so comfortably that we can worry about hormones in our food and whether the farmer used pesticides.

And to the people who do (particularly the ones who get all self-righteous over it): get over yourselves. Aw, you don’t eat animals or anything Monsanto might have touched. You’re not superior to me because of that. You’re just more pretentious and annoying, and rightly so, you pay more to be that way.

Maybe we should label GMO food so I know to buy those brands.

Sorry, for a predator humans are surprisingly herdlike, and for that I hate them (among many reasons).

Let me also point out that “science” isn’t trying to make money off you. In the comments I discussed above, someone said that the flu shot was a “money making scam.” While talking with my mom about my endocrine woes, she told me I should stop going if I felt I was getting the run-around and it was just about making money.

I suspect that most people going into a medical field are in it to help people…because that large paycheck is going to go to paying med school loans for a long time.

I went into a biological field hoping to discover something awesome that will help people…just without the human contact.

So it’s likely fueled by a desire to help people directly, or it’s fueled by a desire to help people indirectly.

It’s not about money.

Let me repost that image from above:

big-pharma-illuminati

To people who think we have the cure to cancer and we’re just sitting on it because we’d rather make money: are you fucking kidding me? We’d at least use it on kids with cancer because they could still possibly become intelligent adults, unlike you. We probably wouldn’t use our secret anti-cancer powers on you, because you’re dumb and you wouldn’t believe us anyway and you’d probably think we poisoned that as well. See above for how natural selection would select against dumbasses.

Any job is ultimately about money, but if we’re working to better your health, maybe we have an investment that runs deeper than a paycheck.

When I’m doing research for a living, I’m likely going to be funded by NIH or NSF or something like that. They want good science. They won’t fund me if my science isn’t good. And it’s hard to do science without funding.

Why is everyone so convinced that doctors/researchers are only concerned with money? Like we’ll publish or practice anything to make a dollar? It doesn’t work like that.

Yes, we may have issues with our healthcare system (but unfortunately the dichotomy is not helping everyone or…socialism), but I don’t think your primary is evil just because the system is bad. Your physician doesn’t go into work each day wondering how they can make the biggest buck, nor how much they can make you and/or your insurance pay.

But common sense isn’t everyone’s strong suit.

Like this:

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What answer were you looking for? I mean, I know what you were looking for, but did you really expect a professional to tell you vaccines were bad when all the other medical professionals tell you the same thing? Did you think he would be an exception? That’s the only reason I can imagine you even asked him.

And no, you don’t know more about vaccines than someone with a PhD. With a bachelor’s in biology I know more than you about vaccines. After taking a single college immunology course, I knew more than you do about vaccines.

Just because he didn’t validate your previously held beliefs doesn’t mean he’s wrong. It’s not like you were testing him — does he know the “right” answer? No, you were asking him for his opinion because you wanted to take it as fact…except you didn’t like what he said.

Like this person actually thinks they’re smarter (i.e. more educated) than someone with a PhD (in a relevant field) just because the PhD holder didn’t tell them what they wanted to hear. That’s scary.

People just don’t like to be told things that contradict their beliefs.

Let me take a moment to summarize an old post (Can I Get an Amen?): my religious beliefs don’t impede my science career and I don’t think science is the antithesis of religion. Science tells us about life and nature, but can’t really prove or disprove religion’s claims. You can give me all the data you want and it’s not going to tell me about whether or not God exists. However, it can tell me whether or not a vaccine is safe. It can tell me about whether GMOs are safe. Because vaccines and GMOs are science. Religion is not.

But people get as fired up over GMOs and vaccines as they do religion:

antivax-threat

Let me respond to this with a meme:

escalation

Seriously though, you’re going to “literally” get all up at arms (get it?) about vaccines?

And we definitely don’t need a Facebook page called “Health Thugs.”

Let’s face it, you, a 40-something-year-old mom driving a minivan who follows Natural News too closely is not going to shoot up the League of Vaccine Enforcers. You’re not as badass as you like to think; with your strictly organic, non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan diet. If the apocalypse was suddenly upon us, scavengers who will eat anything (like me) would survive and you’d be the first to go. You also would not have been selected for. You go against all our evolutionary success.

Also, for everyone who’s all organic and shit, please tell me you don’t dare touch alcohol or anything with refined sugar in it. Go big or go home.

On another note, it concerns me that anti-vaxxers are so intense as to imply the use of guns against vaccinations.

Forced vaccinations are for the health of your child, because clearly you can’t be trusted. You’re so crazy as to threaten violence against vaccinations.

If you’re this against vaccinations, don’t have children.

If I were a doctor, I would definitely refuse to see unvaccinated patients and would school any parents that tried to tell me they didn’t want their kids vaccinated.

It’s not fair to make them pay for your stupidity.

Let me make just one more related point. Yes, you’re almost to the end.

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When I talk about doing research, I actually did respectable research. No, I didn’t take the issue up in the lab, but I do my best to look for reputable sources and I don’t cherry-pick.

But as science person, I know how to do research and what’s good research.

When your average person does “research,” Wikipedia, forums, and non-scientific (more personal experience) blogs get picked…because those are the only things that support their anti-science claims.

Yes, my blog is personal, but when I talk science, I mean it. I would never disrespect science.

A personal anecdote or an uncontrolled, undocumented home experiment don’t constitute science, and they can’t be used to argue against science. It’s like pitting your fifth-grade little league team against an MLB team, or racing your go-kart against a Viper.

But with science it’s not just that it’s not fair; it just can’t compare.

So stop claiming you “did you research.” Because I’ve done better research.

fb_img_1464521409630 Pretty much. Like I’d love to deconstruct every poor anti-science argument, but a lot of people would hate me.

So I’ll settle for this: please don’t fear science because you don’t understand it,\ or because someone tells you to. Consider where they’re coming from and consult a scientist. Trust me, we’re more concerned about good science than money.

Science isn’t here to hurt; it’s here to help.

cap
You made Cap swear!

 

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A Case Study

Perhaps you remember my post Why America Scares Me, in which I discussed the Kaepernick nonsense. However, even writing a nice long vent like that didn’t keep me from getting irritated every time I saw someone (like Dave’s mom or Dave’s uncle — I think) posting about it or about disrespecting the country or whatever. Their virulent Islamophobic posts have irked me for some time — even angered me — but I politely kept my mouth shut. Attacking them would get me nowhere. It’d be better to just let them say what they wish rather than get into a war with ignorance.

Dave tried to tell me that technically it’s against the law not to stand for the National Anthem. I replied that it’s also technically against the law to text and drive, to open a beer while driving, or to speed (all of which he’s done or does). Also, compelling people to stand doesn’t sound like freedom and ‘Murica to me. (See below for more on this.)

Anyway, I hate ignorance and stupidity, but you can’t reason with it.

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Well, logic and reason may be lacking, but they make up for it with blind passion

But when I found this post (below), I had to share it. I can’t describe the feeling of satisfaction it brought me.

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It still makes me smile with complete satisfaction

I try not to be too controversial on social media; I’m not looking for an argument. I like to make people laugh (and think). But I couldn’t pass this up. It was too perfect and allowed me to say it without actually saying it.

I knew Dave’s Mom and uncle would see it (let’s call him Steve; I’m not really going to talk about Dave’s mom much), but I didn’t care. Maybe, maybe it would make them think about their unwavering allegiance to the confederacy and how stupid their overreaction to Kaepernick was.

There is a certain genre of people that annoy the hell out of me. They’re the uber-American, yet pro confederate flag, hyper-sensitive to “disrespect”, anti-Muslim — anti anyone different, really — prone to mass generalizations and fear mongering, cherry-picking, non-critically thinking people. Basically the people I wrote about in the above link: uneducated America.

A little background on Steve: he believes in a new world order and if you don’t believe in Jesus, you probably won’t be saved. He actually believes that the apocalypse is happening…soon. He’s a Trump supporter, self-described conservative and, oddly enough, supports pot. He also “liked” Black Lives Splatter on Facebook (I don’t even care to see if it means what I think it does). Oh, and of course he has a fear of socialism and liberals.

Even Dave says he’s “out there.”

Here are a few examples of the type of stuff he’d post…some of which he actually did, and some which just seems right up his ally:

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I mean, if white people weren’t keeping slaves in the first place, they wouldn’t have needed to die…and a lot of white people died to keep slavery…

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Everybody does, dumbass. That includes you.

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There’s your pro gun rights bit. And no, not just a shotgun, but an AR-15 (or what have you). Why not?

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Because, you know, Obama is evil.

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And so is Hillary. I also like that super subtle Kool-aid comment. Who drinks Kool-aid out of a mug? Or is it a teacup?

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Paranoia and distrust of the government? Check.

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No comment needed.

Oh, and this is funny: he posted something that says: “Education is not the learning of facts…it’s rather the training of the mind to think.” I suppose he’s never tried this.

Why am I telling you this? Why should you care?

Because he replied to my post.

Here is a prime example of why America scares me.

john1

Steve is the one calling me an ass. Dave’s mom is the one calling me an idiot. Yeah, his mom is calling me an idiot.

I was going to let it go, or just say thanks and move on, but I was having a bit of a bad day thanks to the medical profession and I was just so tired of IIS (intolerance, ignorance, and stupidity) that I couldn’t. As I told Dave later, if it weren’t for all of the stupid posts and the anti-Islam ones, I would’ve let it go. But I’d had my fill and had to at least speak up. I knew I wouldn’t stop them, but I had to at least tell them that they’re suffering from a disease called, well, IIS.

john2

My full response is below. The point of the PhD bit is that I’m neither ignorant or stupid. I’m damn intelligent and have worked to get where I am.

It’s under the American flag that my mom got a longer prison sentence for mail fraud than Turner did for raping an unconscious woman behind a dumpster, that a veteran caught with pot gets 30 years (or life in some cases). That’s cool with you though? America is still the awesomest?

I was going to point out that I’m not a liberal, but I knew it wouldn’t do any good. In fact, after all this I changed my political views from conservative (which would’ve connoted me with this bullshit) to Not a Fucking Idiot. Because I’m not and I go with whomever isn’t a fucking idiot.

Who do I think I am? Someone with an ounce (or a few gallons) more intelligence than you. Someone who doesn’t have the black and white reasoning of a child.

john3

I was trying so hard to be civil. Name-calling and personal insults would get me nowhere and undermine my argument as a rational, intelligent person.

But I don’t have to be civil here in this blog.

john4

Again, far from a Democrat. Ooh, unpatriotic, the worst insult you could think of. Oh wait, that’s a socialist. We don’t have law and order and respect now, so…

I know I’m smart, thanks. I have no idea of what? Cool, I’ve had family in the military too. My nephew and cousin are both in it now and I really wish they weren’t. In fact, my cousin just re-enlisted and I think it was the stupidest decision he could’ve made. Instead of fueling a stupid war, go to college. Do anything else. (Thankfully my brother would technically be denied because he has autism.)

And there, calling me a socialist because I don’t support the confederate flag and don’t eat, breathe, and shit America, because I support the freedom to not stand for the Anthem. Because I disagree with you. That’s what this really comes down to…but I’ll get into that later.

I sleep under a fucking confederate flag. I live with it and see it everyday. I still think it’s fucking stupid because YOU DON’T LIVE IN THE CONFEDERACY AND BASICALLY YOU’RE SAYING YOU HATE THE COUNTRY THE WAY IT IS AND WANT TO ATTEMPT TO SECEDE AGAIN.

I have a feeling he’s the kind of person who would make fun of me for actually being in counseling.

Yes, your behavior is absolutely disgusting.

I say this below, but yes, we don’t worry about rapists getting off easily. Obviously. But you care more about a fucking athlete or a fucking flag than you do a woman getting raped and getting no justice (and even justice won’t stop the flashbacks, guilt, and pain).

I’m glad you’re more concerned about a piece of material than a human being. Dave has an old flag in the garage that’s technically touching the ground. Is hanging a flag and using it as decoration disrespectful? Damn, he’s disrespecting the confederacy too.

john5
Note, I have no problem with Mexicans or Germans, just making a point — well, antagonizing a bit

I do actually want to learn Russian, but I should brush up on Spanish and solidify my German first. I know someone with a Russian accent and it’s just wonderful.

I’m proud of my entire response, but the “socialist is the insult of choice for people like you” and “I’m not, but nothing will ever convince you of that” bits make me happy. They imply that he, and those like him, default to calling disagreeable (i.e. educated?) people socialists and that I know he’s irrational.

And again, the US has way more important issues to fix than an athlete (or many) not standing for the Anthem. Like how rape is no big deal. But Steve is a man who hasn’t been raped, nor has anyone he’s close to been raped. So that doesn’t matter. But he’s personally affected by Kaepernick. Somehow.

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Again, I have so many pictures I found to add in here. These two just speak to how ass-backwards our (I mean their) priorities are.

john6

He posted a link about how the Besty Ross flag was claimed to be a symbol of hate. Dave’s Mom had shared this earlier in the day, and I didn’t care to read it then because I knew it was stupid.

And actually, it’s Doctor, not Miz. Ignorance actually leads to conversations like these, and people like you. I know for a fact I’m not ignorant.

Also, when I say “people,” I mean you. You like to be angry. Like many uneducated people.

I also hoped the “child” thing would make him stop, because I didn’t really care to continue this. Not that I was “losing,” but I was reaching my limit for stupidity.

john7

Sorry, which part of that was a fact? You shared a link. It came from a damn opinion section, for Heaven’s sake! And yes, we are having a debate (I hate to call it an argument because then I lose credibility).

I think some people read titles and just go ahead and post it. If they actually read a lot of what they shared, they’d realize it’s dumb or much more complicated than a clever one-liner. But actually reading something goes along with not being dumb, and even if they read it, if they lack critical reading skills, they still might share it.

Anyway, I kid you not, this was the entirety of the post. (School District: Betsy Ross flag is symbol of hate) Yes, you can click for the actual column that was discussed here, but this is the post he actually shared:

“A Michigan school district called the historic “Betsy Ross” flag a symbol of hate and profusely apologized after students displayed the flag at a recent high school football game.

‘To wave a historical version of our flag, that to some symbolizes exclusion and hate, injects hostility and confusion to an event where no one intended to do so,’ wrote Forest Hills Public Schools Superintendent Daniel Behm in a letter to parents.

The controversy surrounding the 13-star flag erupted on Sept. 9th during a football game between predominantly white Forest Hills Central High School and predominantly black Ottawa Hills High School, MLive reports.

Forest Hills students not only waved a “Betsy Ross” flag, but they also displayed a Donald Trump banner (behavior guaranteed to get you labeled deplorable).

To continue reading Todd’s column, click here.

My favorite part of this short thing is: “To wave a historical version of our flag, that to some symbolizes exclusion and hate, injects hostility and confusion to an event where no one intended to do so.” Um, the confederate flag is the same fucking thing! But that’s okay for some reason…?

Also, I left the link in there so you can read the column and realize it’s basically another ‘MURICA person bitching about anyone who doesn’t share his beliefs. It’s not written professionally or anything. (“Supt. Daniel Behr is a pinhead.” Solid reasoning.)

The difference with this blog is that, well, I value intelligence and critical thinking and I’m okay with being wrong if you have good evidence. Had Steve made one decent point instead of resorting to name-calling and ad hominem attacks and the like, I could’ve at least respectfully accepted his difference in opinion. My brother is a staunch atheist and opponent to me in many ways and even we can debate and/or discuss respectfully differences in religious opinion. I respect well-crafted arguments and arguments backed by evidence. (Most of the time if Dave quotes some random, questionable “fact,” I ask where he read it. That usually clears up whether I should believe it.)

john8

I knew I’d won when he said I’d made no sense. Either my highbrow comments were too much for him or he knew I made good points and had to act like I didn’t and he couldn’t even reply.

know I made sense. My mom got it. Dave got it. My friends got it. Uneducated America might be perplexed by my logic but smart people get it. That’s all it takes.

I have a good dose of common sense and I’ve had an unfortunately high dose of reality. Sorry you quit at high school (not a jab; he actually did); I’m smart and ambitious enough to go for better. Clearly you don’t understand how much work college is, and especially going on to get your PhD. It not only takes intelligence but drive. I’m not going to forget the PhD because I’m smart enough to get it and also I want a better job than you ever dreamed of.

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I also want to note that it was very nice of one of my friends not only to like one of my responses, but to also comment at the bottom. See, I’m good, extremely intelligent, and reasonable. And I should keep doing what I’m doing.

“Anonymous” commenter, thank you very much. It really does mean a lot.

But, in case I didn’t drive it home before, let me drive home why these kinds of people scare me:

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The south will rise again, eh? So you want to secede again? Fuck it, I think the US would be better with you gone. Damn. Seriously, if you try to leave again, I say we let you go. (This was posted by one of Dave’s brother-in-law’s friend, by the way. I think I’ve woven my way into the wrong family.)

You want the south to rise again? Does that mean bringing back discrimination too? I was telling my mom about my Facebook war with Steve and not only was she amazed by how scary and stupid he was, but she also said he probably has a closet full of white sheets.

The confederate south is nothing to be proud of, and so I scratch my head at the people who laud the confederate flag. Those of you who call it the rebel flag clearly don’t get the historical connotation (Dave…). It’s not a rebel thing; it’s a discriminatory (and racist and slavery) thing.

I’m seriously tempted to buy an Irish or Italian flag to hang in the room. No, German. We’re both Irish. Dave is German, but he hates how I love German culture. German it is.

I got both. It’s worth $16.40 to piss off Dave.

But seriously, unless you fought for the confederacy and lost and are pissed about it, there’s no reason to have a confederate flag. Dave sees it as a rebel thing. No, stop it, you’re not a rebel because you live in the almost-country and sport the confederate flag. Calm down. (I wonder how many times I’ve said that in this blog.)

If you want another civil war, cool, keep flying it. The south won’t rise again; we kicked your ass once and will do it again — but if that’s not what you’re after (say, you live in New York like Dave), then put it away. Grow the fuck up and realize that being a “rebel” is not the end-all-be-all of life.

And then there’s this, by Dave’s mom:

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As I mentioned in my original Kaepernick post, a lot of people claim posts were banned by Facebook when really, there’s nothing offensive about them. They just want an image shared. Sure, there’s a confederate flag in this one, but even I wouldn’t demonize a guy paying his respects to a soldier.

What I do take issue with is the bullshit caption. The confederate flag is about honor and respect? Heritage not hate? Let me direct you to an older post so I don’t have to completely repeat myself: We Need to Focus. (In fact, even in this post I was talking about getting a German flag to piss Dave off.)

Basically, if you’re going to call the heritage card, you’re claiming heritage to those southerners who wanted to secede over slavery — because they wanted to keep it. So, Steve, I’ve done my reading up on history. I must wonder if you ever have.

Okay, so you found one picture of a guy with the flag (which looks suspiciously posed) kneeling at a grave. How about the pictures like the one above, about the south rising again and all the people claiming to be southern rebels because they have the flag somewhere?

And the confederacy was only “rebel” to the union, so if you think southerners are rebels and/or the confederate flag makes the rebel, then you’re identifying with the union.

Dave didn’t like this theory. He said he’s a “northern southerner” and likes the south because of “southern freedoms.” I didn’t realize that was a thing nor could he tell me what they are.

Anyway…the confederate flag is not about honor, respect, or heritage. Supporting it supports a time and place where slavery was cool and you were ready to make your own country to keep it.

While I’m here, I’ve been sitting on some confederate flag pictures and it’s time to dump them:

fb_img_1474743623122See the picture above about those ungrateful black people who haven’t yet thanked the kind white men that died for them.
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*Literally every confederate flag waver since the civil war era ended*

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Ha. Oh, and more on politics below:

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This actually made me smile because it’s funny. I’m neither for Trump nor Hillary, again, but like seriously? Trump wants to mark all Muslims (and I don’t even need to mention the historical issues with that), but Hillary despises and degrades Americans? Yes, she hates racists, homophobes, xenophobes, and Islamophobes — as do I. Because those racists, homophobes, xenophobes, and Islamophobes hate certain groups of people within our country. Oh, and Trump is one of them. As are many of his followers. How else could he have become a freaking presidential candidate? The irony here is great — but the fact that the poster misses it concerns me.

And of course this was one of Steve’s posts.

Some time later I found the following pictures:

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fb_img_1476208854955 fb_img_1474909988365Onward…

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First of all, *Hussein.

Steve shared this, as did Dave’s mom did. Okay, we didn’t forget.

“Muslims” does not mean all Muslims. People seem to have confused this. The people who attacked us were Muslim, but don’t represent all Muslims, like pedophile priests don’t represent all priests, and all Catholics don’t rep those who were involved in the Crusades.

Critical thinking. Actually, basic thinking — life is not “all or nothing.”

OBAMA IS NOT MUSLIM. How stupid can you be? Stop using his “Muslimness” as a scare tactic. He’s not fucking Muslim. Holy shit. Also I like how they included his middle name to further solidify his Muslimness. If his middle name were Alfred they wouldn’t have mentioned it. Ooh, Hussein, must be a link to Saddam.

What is “rampant?” And yes, we’re still allowing immigration.

Muslim does not equal bad. If you think so, you’re a dumbfuck. You are part of the uneducated America I loathe.

WE DIDN’T FUCKING FORGET. SORRY WE DIDN’T BURN EVERY FUCKING MUSLIM AT THE STAKE. YOU’RE SO STUPID IT FUCKING HURTS MY BRAIN.

I can’t take it anymore.

This post equates Muslims with 9/11 and terrorism. Like it just makes the assumption. It assumes Obama is Muslim. When your bigotry is so deeply-ingrained that it assumes Muslims are evil and is more concerned with using that against them rather than attempting to prove why they are, that is a serious problem.

Here’s another example:

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Well, first of all, let me address the whole standing for the pledge bit:

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I just used a picture to talk about a picture. Oye. Is that like inception or something?

The above (shared by Steve, no less) again implies there’s something inherently wrong with Islam that if it’s allowed, then we should be allowed to stand for the Pledge. Get what I mean? It’s like “If this atrocious thing is okay, then certainly we should be allowed to do this agreeable thing.”

This actually gets frustrating for me because I do consider myself smart (if I hadn’t mentioned that in the last two sentences) and yet I can’t understand these people. It makes literally no sense to me. I can explain it away as sheer unbridled stupidity, but whyHow did they get so ignorant? How, no matter how stupid, can this seem reasonable and okay?

Oh, and “What happened to America?” Oh no, we let Muslims live here. How could we let ourselves be tainted like this? And someone on the internet claims we can’t stand for the Pledge anymore — what happened to pride in America?

I don’t know, maybe stop fucking up so much and start being respectable?

I heard today (you know, when I actually wrote this many weeks ago) we had to apologize for bombing Syria and killing their troops because we meant to bomb the Islamic State (ISIS). Um, how is a “my bad” going to make up for fucking bombing someone when you had a treaty saying you wouldn’t? This is how wars get started.

fb_img_1473982159337This quote just supports what I’ve been saying. You can say what you want, but you’re also subject to my reaction. Because I can also say what I want. I’m not the bad guy for disagreeing and/or showing that you’re wrong.

Freedom of speech isn’t that you can say what you want and no one can disagree. People don’t seem to realize that.

Yes, I do keep quiet, but if you feel the need to comment on what I say, prepare for a debate you will not win.

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Really, this whole thing happened because I disagreed with someone who couldn’t handle that fact. I see lots of things I disagree with from people like Steve and Dave’s mom, but I don’t bother. Those who don’t want to be educated won’t be. Unfortunately I also love Dave’s Mom, so it’s hard for me to correct her (she did in fact call this a family feud, which I took to mean I was included under family) or my brother, for example — except my brother is far more willing to debate.

But I said something that someone didn’t agree with and it set off an argument with them. I’m pretty sure I made good points and made sense.

If you disagree with me, I ask for your evidence. I evaluate that before I evaluate you.

People who call you names or insult you because you simply don’t agree with them aren’t to be respected. Your attempts at respectable, civilized argument will be rejected.

Most of America is this way. But I ask for a source before I believe something.

Some people won’t believe you unless you fit a specific definition: conservative, Trump-supporter, Christian, and so on.

I’m not sure there was exactly a point to this post, except to illustrate the ignorance, intolerance and stupidity that scares me. And to highlight the difference between me and the subsect of America I so passionately can’t stand. I see something I don’t agree with, and I pick my battle. Reason won’t win with stupidity (well, it will, but stupidity won’t concede), and it knows that. However, stupidity sees something it doesn’t agree with, and has to attack it and thinks it can beat reason.

I made sense. There was nothing I said that was unclear. Stupidity just can’t make sense of facts or logic if it contradicts what it wants to keep believing.

I don’t really care to get into Facebook debates, but I’d had enough. Sometimes you just have to say something. You may know it’s pointless going in, but at least you tried. And others will see you tried.

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Love Online

As I mentioned in Texting EtiquetteI could write an entire post about online dating. This is that post.

I know this may appeal to a more narrow audience, whether you’ve found the One (for better or worse), you’d never do online dating, or you’re smart and just don’t care to date because you have cats instead. I encourage you to stay for the horror stories. I’ll also try to make a broader connection to life or love or the lazy world or the electronically-obsessed world. I’ll figure something out.

Let me start with this: Why I Quit Online Dating Forever & You Should Too

I disagree.

What we have here is another millennial who gave up something pretty common and is now claiming to be enlightened and telling us to give it up with her (see Women and Wine).

Let me quote the post:

“I’ve been trying to navigate online dating for several years now with honest intentions and I can tell you for certain, it’s changed dramatically — and not in a good way. Actual relationships are rare and drama and disappointment is plentiful. Online dating is mostly bullshit now. I’m five months sober from looking for love online, and here’s why I’ll never go back:
1. IT’S NOT AUTHENTIC ANYMORE.
Many users aren’t looking for anything real, and are mostly trying to kill their boredom or sexual urges. Hours are spent pointlessly swiping, messages go routinely unanswered and people take out their bitter feelings of their last relationship out on a complete stranger. Yay?”

I don’t know, every guy I’ve met online (that I met in person) was looking for something real. If anything, I’ve used it as a cure to boredom. Well, because I had an empty house after my mom was arrested and an empty apartment after things went to rapetown with Matt. I actually just enjoyed the conversation and illusion of company…and sanity.

“2. CONVERSATIONS ARE SO CLICHE.
If you’ve been online dating for a long ass time like I have, you’ll get to a point where the initial conversations bore you to tears, but you have to have them in an effort to get to know each other.”

It never killed me that much. It’s a necessary evil. The sooner you get through it, the better your odds are.

“3. I’M SICK OF THE UNWANTED SEX TALK.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had a seemingly innocent conversation with a guy and he suddenly starts talking about my boobs or makes completely uncalled for sexual comments — or even worse, he sends an unsolicited dick pic.”

Surprise sexual conversations are not fun, and I’ve rarely had an unsolicited dick pic that I was happy about. I do have to agree with this one. That’s not to say that spontaneous flirtation is a bad thing. I was convinced for a long time that Dave wasn’t actually interested in me. Because the most flirty(?) thing he said for a while was that he could use my boobs as pillows. The fact that he acknowledged I had boobs shocked me.

“4. THE ODDS ARE THE SAME IN REAL LIFE.
I’ve been meeting just as many date-worthy men in real life since I disconnected. When I truly think about the logistics, I used to chat with numerous men before just one of them stood out enough to take the connection offline. Now that I’m not constantly distracted by Tinder notifications when I’m out and about, I actually get approached by men again. Nothing has been promising so far, but the number of opportunities in real life are just the same as anything I experienced online. It gives me hope for meeting the right person for me organically.”

Where are you meeting them??? I’ll get into this more in a but, but I never had men at my disposal. And yeah, nothing has been promising, so how is it that much better than online?

“5. SEARCHING FOR MR. RIGHT IN A LAZY WAY IS CONTRADICTING.
It’s actually pretty lazy to think that you can find your Prince Charming while sitting on your couch in tattered PJs with chip crumbs in your lap.”

No it’s not. It’s working smarter, not harder.

“6. IT DISCONNECTED ME FROM REAL LIFE.
Like I said, when I was constantly searching for love online, I would be out and about constantly distracted by my phone and all the dating apps I had…[Y]ou’d be surprised how many opportunities for connection are right under your nose everyday.”

I’m always distracted by my phone anyway (I have Pokemon to catch and hatch). I’ve tried connecting in the real world. Which is why I turned to online.

“7. I’M SICK OF COMPETING FOR AFFECTIONS IN A SHALLOW ONLINE WORLD.
I’ve dated plenty of men who are constantly keeping their options open and continuing to persue and even date other women they meet online even after months of us dating. It’s fucking painful and it happens all the time.”

I never really dealt with this. So I guess it doesn’t happen all the time.

Also *pursue

“8. I’M PERFECTLY CAPABLE OF DATING THE OLD FASHIONED WAY.
I can honestly say my life is a happier one without the constant and daily rejections, rude comments and anxieties that come with looking for love online. I might meet less men this way, but the ones I do meet feel meaningful right from the start and I’m confident that I’m still going to find love, even if I don’t look for it online.”

I’m not. Online love is no different than Facebook or any other social media beast.

How do they feel meaningful right from the start? And I thought the ods were the same, and now you say you meet more men online.

Let me share my “love” story though, as my right eye pulsates and swells from when Dave just accidentally elbowed me in the eye. I was just trying to grab his butt. I didn’t deserve this.

I had many crushes, from preschool to, well, now. As a high school freshman I finally found a guy who at least seemed to want to be friends with me. Literally the only time I’ve been “flirted” with in person is with this guy. He sat down next to me because I was talking about my goats.

Yeah.

Six months later I asked him out. Which to me was couplehood.

It took maybe a year and a half before we actually made it official. Like Facebook official.

It was another six months (I think?) before I tried to kiss him.

I was a freshman in college before we attempted making out, I think. It was a bit awkward, with my family being around, my dog watching us, both us of being inexperienced, and both of us wanting to wait until marriage for the fun stuff.

At the end of our freshman year we broke up. Still friends though.

I was single for seven months. The longest I’ve been single since I started dating. (I don’t count those middle school years of asking guys out…and being rejected, of course.)

I tried to flirt. I really did. I remember making flirty eye contact with one of the butchers at the Hannaford where my mom worked; she kept talking about trying to set us up.

My dad tried to set me up with a guy at his pigeon club. He was around my age, going to Albany College of Pharmacy. One night he happened to be at my dad’s, so my dad called me and I headed over.

He told my dad afterward that I was very pretty and seemed very nice, but his Jewish family was ready to arrange a marriage for him with a girl from Israel. I couldn’t compete.

I went into Michael’s everyday for at least a week, buying one item a day for my art class, claiming I wanted to use a coupon as much as possible. I just wanted to flirt with the cashier. I eventually asked him if he wanted to grab a coffee and he said he didn’t like coffee. I said we could grab a different beverage and he said he’d just been broken up with. Okay, sure…

Come up with a better let-down than “I don’t like coffee,” guy. Geez.

(I saw him recently with Dave and it was awkward for me, but I doubt he recognized me.)

I tried asking a guy out in the art class I was buying supplies for one by one. First it was just that his schedule was packed for now. Okay, let me know when it’s not.

He didn’t. I brought it up again. (Each time feeling like I might actually pass out from being so nervous.)

He said he was still too busy. I told him to let me know when he wasn’t, then.

He never did.

I’m sure I tried to flirt a lot more (hell, I hoped getting a job might help me meet men; they were all married). It was to no avail.

After seven months of singledom and not even so much as a successful flirtation, I decided to try the OkCupid app on my phone (I made this decision during church, no less). That same night I met my future boyfriend.

He told me he loved me on date two. On date three, we became a couple. A week in he cheated, three weeks in he stole my virginity before I was ready, then broke up with me days later, days after my mom was arrested. What a supportive boyfriend…

Whatever. I gave it another shot. I dated a guy with a baby on the way, plus a few others.

I dated a lot between my various boyfriends. Some weekends I had a different date every night (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Sometimes I had to try to juggle two guys who wanted to go out the same night. Somehow they all managed to fall for me (even after only a date or two), and I had to break bad news to a lot of (foolishly) smitten guys.

My next boyfriend happened because my friend swiped right on Tinder. On our first date we decided we should be a couple.

Okay, whatever. Two days later he was telling me he loved me and wanted to marry me and we were choosing names for kids. I knew it was just infatuation, but either way it was a happy distraction from how much life at home sucked.

It lasted maybe a week and a half before he started getting on my nerves. After a drunk phone call asking for a threesome and telling me he was getting turned on by other girls (see Texting Etiquette, again), I decided it was time to end it.

A couple weeks later (like, two) I met Matt, the much-talked about ex. During the course of our six month relationship I moved into my grandparents’ house, where I had a curfew, which put some strain on us. My grandparents just put strain on us. They didn’t like Matt and he didn’t like them.

My relationship with Matt was fraught with arguments and most days I was annoyed with him, but my relationship with my grandparents was also worsening. So after five months living with them, I moved out and into an apartment with Matt.

I thought he was bad before, but he really smothered me there. But hey, I was adulting and away from my grandparents and making a home with someone I supposedly loved.

That is until he raped me and things got really bad, really fast.

I lasted about another week in the apartment, during which time I chatted with a bunch of guys, mostly to keep me sane when I was afraid to be there.

Of course I made dates with some. But I canceled most of them because I just wasn’t feeling it. One guy messaged me right before I was supposed to go meet him to watch a movie to ask if I had a problem with pot. I replied “Kind of” and never heard from him again.

I guess you could call it a “date” when I reconnected with the guy with the baby and he helped me move onto Siena’s campus for about two weeks. He said he felt like he owed me for going MIA many months ago, and he was happy to help me move (I got out in two nights). Unfortunately that was the same night my first date with Dave was scheduled, and I had to cancel. (Long after Dave was annoyed I canceled with him to be with another guy and he would’ve helped me. Not exactly the first impression I wanted to make.)

Dave gave me the benefit of the doubt and allowed me to reschedule. As I mentioned in that same post above, the guy who helped me move out called and texted me a few times during it.

But after that one date I was smitten. I was so dumb.

Again, two dates in we were a couple and on our third date (later that day we became a couple) Dave was telling me he loved me. A week or so later, I moved in.

He talked marriage for a few months. He actually talked seriously about proposing a little after our six month anniversary. We adopted three cats before one year (which turned into five). We argued a hell of a lot for about a year and said some horrible, nasty things to each other, but now we’re heading toward two years at an alarming rate and when I just asked him if we were going to get married, he replied, “Well duh.”

So that’s my entire dating history. Most of it online.

Like all of it except for one guy.

Men don’t approach me in real life.* I’ve had a guy friend tell me he’s surprised that I haven’t had a lot of boyfriends (this was some time ago), a few boyfriends have been convinced guys were constantly flirting with me, and my brother was even shocked that I’d never been flirted with and said I must’ve been missing it. That was practically a compliment.

*The only person in recent years that I’ve had flirt with me that I met in real life is a woman with a fiance.

Despite my rocky track record — okay, my mostly negative track record — with online dating, I still like it, recommend it, and would do it again. Dave has said I should know better and he does, because you only get shit from online dating (and he’s angry when he says it, so it’s not like he’s kidding).

I like it because you have a pool of people at your fingertips, you know everyone is on the same page, and you have an idea of what they’re about before you meet.

Instead of actively searching for and pursuing one victim at a time, perhaps days, weeks, or even months apart, I can lazily hunt a pack of prey. As you can surmise, I like to cast a wide net. The chance of me reeling in anyone is pretty slim, so I toss out a lot of lines and see who bites.

So many fishing metaphors.

Unfortunately, I often got more guys replying than I ever expected. Which meant I might be talking to six guys at once — like, in one night. I had to start assigning different ringtones to different people so I’d know who was texting or messaging (and if I wanted to get back right away).

I blame my bipolar in part for the impulsivity. But also, I never even met some of these guys. Some I entertained mediocre conversation with for a day or two. Some proved they were really only after sex. Some I went on only one date with.

If there was any real emotional investment from either of us, I did my best not to be a dick about letting him down. Or I was good about responding.

Anyway, a big advantage to online dating is that you can scroll (or swipe) through a lot of guys, instead of looking for a potential mate for months.

You’ll also probably get a self-esteem boost when tons of guys (some of whom you also find attractive) tell you you’re hot, beautiful, etc. And for the guys with whom it doesn’t go well, hopefully you get a good story out of it.

Another major benefit is that you know what everyone you talk to is looking for. Does he only want a friend? (Which is like nobody.) Does he just want to sext? Does he want something casual? Is he in the market for a relationship — but not too serious? Does he want a long-term relationship? Marriage?

I asked Dave what his end game was in his online dating days and he said something long-term. I replied that two years was kind of long-term and he told me to get out then. Seriously though, he equates long-term with marriage (even though you could be together for decades and never get married). To him, they’re the same thing.

Marriage was my end goal too, though I didn’t advertise that, nor get my hopes up. Also, it very well may not work out. I went into my relationship with Matt wanting to get married, and he was planning on proposing only two months after we broke up.

There are sites for people looking to get married, though. I was on one of them.

But really, it’s nice to know that people are (hopefully) single and looking for something — and you know what they’re looking for.

And, perhaps most importantly, you have some idea of what people are about, It was important to me that a guy be Catholic (or later, as I relaxed my criteria, Christian, or at least has a religion), like the outdoors, be doing something with his life…yes, people can lie on their profile, but why bother?

I feel like you can learn something about someone even by the way they write their profile.

I don’t want to waste my time on a guy that’s atheist, has three kids and is only looking to date casually. I don’t want to bother with a gamer ten years older than me who only cares to get high and do cosplay. I don’t care to seriously date a landscaper who acts superior because he rarely drinks, whines about doing things on weekends, and cares more about his trucks than he does me.

Wait…

Again, people can lie on their profile and whatnot, but hopefully they don’t and it gives you some idea of what you’re dealing with.

I found Dave’s POF profile (even though I deleted mine months ago, and told him). I can’t figure out what about him first attracted me. I think it was literally that he said he was a Christian and that was it. Plus he was cute. (Note the past tense.) I should’ve known to run when two of his photos were of his car and a landscape.

But a person you met at a bar, or a friend set you up with, or you met through some kind of meet-cute? You have no idea what they’re about. At least online you can match yourself with people you see fit.

I do have to admit, however, that most of us dating online are damaged in one way or another. I, apparently, was too weird for real world dating (and was insecure and whatnot). As time went on, I’d also been cheated on, emotionally abused, and sexually assaulted. At this point, I’m also bipolar.

Dave has been cheated on twice.

Matt was cheated on. He had a host of other issues as well.

Other guys I dated or had relationships with had various disabilities or illnesses. Mental illness seems to be a big one.

Online dating is where broken people go to try to find love from other broken people.

Sometimes your “damage” compliments their brokenness and sometimes it doesn’t. And vice versa.

I think that’s why online dating gets a bad rap. It’s a lot of people who are hurting or have been hurt looking for someone who won’t hurt them. Hurting can be mental illness, physical disability, and so on. Hurt can be cheating, using them, whatever.

Not that people you’d meet in the real world don’t have dark spots in their past, but there seems to be a higher concentration of it online. My theory is that either these people have been rejected in real life (probably many times) because of a real or perceived issue, and so they think online will be better. More opportunities, plus the knowledge that others like you have probably flocked to the site. Or they just don’t feel good enough or confident for real world dating, and going online allows them to be themselves…or whatever version they choose to present.

I know my reason was that I couldn’t find love in the real world (after my first boyfriend). I wasn’t sure whether it was looks or personality; I assumed looks, but my personality wasn’t exactly…outgoing. Or charming. Or nice.

And that was before I earned my bipolar diagnosis.

Online I could give someone a sample of me and let them chat me up if they liked what they read (and saw).

Oddly enough, online guys told me I was attractive. So was it actually my personality that put guys off? But I flirted with and/or asked a lot of guys out before they ever really got to know anything about me.

I think another thing I like about online dating is that it’s easier to be yourself. I mean, I don’t go full-force right away — they need an adjustment period to my sense of humor and misanthropic tendencies — but the risk feels lower because if they don’t like me, I have ten other guys who’ve messaged me and yet more I haven’t even talked to, much less even viewed their profile. The stakes are lower. It provides a safe space for insecure people to venture out of their shell.

One more note on how we’re mostly damaged goods; there’s not necessarily anything wrong with this. My truck has rust and the front bumper is at a bit of an angle and it’s about five shades of black (plus blue) and it was even in a front-end accident (before I got it). I still love it and it’s been more loyal to me than any man. (I just furiously knocked on wood that Angus doesn’t suddenly fail me.)

However, with damage comes desperation.

Which is probably the other major reason most people are online. It’s not a self-confidence issue, but a boredom issue, or a lack-of-patience issue.

I’ll admit I was also on because I was desperate, but in the no-patience sense. Also I wanted to know if there was something so horribly wrong with me that no human male my age could possibly be interested in me.

Desperate guys (and girls, I suppose) are likely another big reason why online dating has a bad name.

People who are lonely, horny, seeking validation…they all get clingy, fast. Or, contrapuntally, they don’t dare open up emotionally (or dump their feelings on you), and instead are only sexual with you. Neither is ideal (unless you’re into that).

On a similar note, online dating taught me how needy guys can be. I mean, not only do most claim to love cuddling (which at this point in my life is needy and annoying), but they get all weird if you don’t respond to their messages or texts immediately and will get super attached after only one date.

Maybe that has to do with being insecure and desperate and damaged.

Surprisingly, a lot of guys say they’re happy to wait for sex, claiming that it isn’t that important. Unsurprisingly, they rarely mean this.

But I always figured women would be the ones who come off as needy and annoying and clingy. Unless I really like a guy, I don’t. And even then, I only seem clingy because I really like him and so I always want to talk to him and/or see him. It’s not like I latch on and make him a shrine in my room and he becomes my entire life.

But after only one date, or a few days of conversation? Yes, I was smitten with Dave and wanted to be with only him after one date, but he felt the same way. (Again, note that this is very past tense.)

Still, being damaged, desperate, and needy are all contributing factors to things going sour.

Going sour in the dating stages, anyway. The fact that Dave and I are wading through a pool of stagnant sludge is more related to long term relationships, not dating.

Ultimately it comes down to being clingy for whatever reason. (I feel like it’s easier to deal with those hyper-sexual people.) There’s a difference in interest, in expectations…after a night of mediocre online conversation, a few hours together, a couple days of on and off texting, some people get really attached, when I’m just not feeling it. They think things went well and are expecting another date, meanwhile I’m trying to figure out a way to let them down (or scrape them off the bottom of my shoe).

Despite the horror stories, the bad dates, the awkward conversations, the players, the missed connections, the clingy ones, the unavailable ones, the hurt, the disappointment, the sometimes short or nightmarish relationships, I still like online dating. I would still recommend it and try it again.

So would Dave.

Which probably says something about our relationship.

Seriously though, I’m in favor of it. Maybe because technology facilitates most everything in my generation (I wouldn’t tell my grandparents we met online until we were like married), maybe because I’m lazy, maybe because I have self-esteem issues, but it works for me.

All I’m doing is looking for love.

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I’m a Proud Pet Parent

Before I get into the meat of this post, I was on the Gweat and Tewwible Facebook last night and saw a video entitled “We Need More of This” with the text “It’s discipline, not child abuse” framing the video. It was about a boy who called the cops on his mom because she hit him with a belt for cutting class. The mother was afraid she was going to jail. The one cop yelled at the boy for calling the cops on his mother and said his own mother would’ve whooped his ass, then returned the belt to the woman and said “Hit him again.”

I was appalled. Like speechless. I showed it to Dave and he was like, “Eh” and didn’t seem the least bit concerned. He said a belt is a bit much, but spanking isn’t.

Something to consider before having kids with him, I guess.

First of all, hitting people is wrong. That’s kindergarten level stuff. But hitting a kid? Someone who can’t really fight back? And your own kid at that?

Let me tell you, you take a swing at me and I’m unleashing hell on you. I may not look scary, but I have a lot of built-up anger looking for a new home.

What I lack in muscle or size I make up for in fight.

- Mark Twain
– Mark Twain

Anyway, while I agree that discipline is necessary, whipping a kid with a belt is not. If that’s your only recourse as a parent, you suck as a parent. You probably shouldn’t have had a kid.

The kid says, “I have rights!” And when he tells the cop his friends told him that, he said he was being fed misinformation by them. Um, what?

My problem in general is that bad parents resort to inappropriate measures or are overly critical of society for teaching their kids wrong when the real issue is that they just suck at parenting. As I said in one post (Blaming Culture), people hate taking responsibility and love to blame everything but themselves.

Like if you’re mad at a movie for teaching your kids values you don’t agree with, maybe you should consider what a shitty job you must’ve done teaching them your values and also how to critically think.

Or if you have to fall back on physical threats to “lay down the law,” I’m pretty sure you’re doing something wrong. Surely there is a more effective way to enforce rules.

I’m sure some could criticize me for doling out parenting advice when I’m not a parent (of a human), but really it’s a critique of societal attitudes, not parenting per se.

Take me for example. My mom may not have been the best (due to the legal issues and fucking up my credit), but I’d be thrilled if I had the relationship with my future kids that I had with my mom.

There was really no discipline necessary. I mean, sure, when I was younger I got sent to my room, maybe grounded once? (I don’t think it was enforced.) But I was never hit.

And once I became a teenager, when some might need straightening out or might require harsh rules and punishments thrust upon them, I did not.

My mom has admitted her parenting style between me and my brother was very different. With Nate, she was mostly hands-off in an attempt to make him love her by not smothering him with rules. He could say whatever he wanted to her and she just took it…unless she suddenly erupted in fury.

I, on the other hand, was always close with her and didn’t require rules. However, if I ever dared to call her out (or once didn’t text for too long while out with my boyfriend) or even got close to acting like Nate did with her, it was a total meltdown. Nate envied me because Mom didn’t unleash her angry outbursts on me, but I envied him because if I took even a single misstep from my “perfect daughter” status, it was the end of the world.

Still, my mom and I had a respect dynamic going, so “rules” weren’t necessary. I respected my mom, so I wasn’t going to do anything she wouldn’t approve of, and she respected me and trusted me not to do anything “bad.”

The point is, whatever you may think of her parenting, that Nate and I turned out okay.

Hell, if it weren’t for her parenting, Nate would’ve been put in Wild Wood and would likely be nonverbal and flapping his hands instead of attending college and having held the same job for over a year now.

I do hope I can be as fierce as my mom was as a parent. Apparently (ha, punny) she was timid and shy like me until she had us, then found her voice. Hopefully I’ll do the same.

Nate may not be the most pleasant person, but he’s in school, has a job, and is very intelligent. It’s not like he’s drinking his life away drifting from job to job and is months behind on rent in a shitty apartment.

And friends (and regular readers) know that I’m now pursuing my PhD, am working as a teaching assistant, and am living on my own (well, not with my family; I live with people).

Were we ever hit? No. In fact, discipline was pretty loose in our house. But we’re okay. We’re functional adults. Mostly. I’m more of an adult than Nate, and I function in public.

Also, and this may because of outside factors, like Nate’s autism, my bipolar, my science background, or our propensity for lawyer-like debates, but he and I can think critically. We have enough common sense to evaluate a news source, pick apart an argument, or enjoy a movie for what it’s meant to be without getting caught up in the “underlying messages.” (Like I want to see Sausage Party, even though people are saying it’s racist. Cool, but I’m going to enjoy it for what it’s meant to be: a movie about a hotdog. Calm down.)

Update: we saw it a bit ago (this post has been waiting patiently to be proofed). It was…interesting. If you’ve ever wanted to see a food orgy, this movie is for you. Yes, you read that correctly.

But my mom is a smart person (despite her lapses in judgment/common sense when it comes to legal things), so I don’t doubt that she encouraged us to, well, be smart. Yes, I watched some “heinous” Disney movies, but I remember my mom telling me Walt Disney had an issue with women, which I then started to pick up on.

Either way, I grew up with a critical eye, which I happily blame on both nature and nurture.

Bottom line: hitting a kid is not necessary and you (and not movies or culture or whatever) are responsible for your child’s beliefs and behavior.

But let me get to what I really wanted to talk about here. (I heard that groan; yes, that was just a lead-in. But a relevant one.)

During the course of writing a previous post (The Lost Nine), I read something about how pet owners need to stop calling themselves parents. I googled this hoping to find the original thing I read, but unfortunately I found others. So here are three examples (the first is the original):

Mom Writes Open Letter To Dog Owners Who Call Themselves ‘Parents’

Pet Parents: Can We Stop Pretending It’s a Thing?

Dear Pet Moms, You Are Not A Mom

I consider myself a pet mom. No, I don’t equate this with my hoo-ha having spit out a small human. I’ll just state that here.

And now I’m going to respond to these posts.

From the first:

“‘[F]ur babies’ are just not a thing. Dogs…can switch homes and owners with relative ease as long as they continue to be well loved and cared for.”

Bitch, furbabies are fucking yes a thing. My cats are my children. Dave even calls them our children. Dave! They are a thing because I love them like family. If you were a true animal lover (which she claims to be), then you’d get it.

Okay, a pet can switch homes with “relative ease” (which I doubt). But for me, the owner? Pure hell. You have no idea. I’ve stayed in bad relationships for my pets (literally only because I wasn’t going to give them up again) and being forced to surrender pets when my mom went to prison or when my ex got violent was horrible and something I still have nightmares about and cry about to this day. I love my pets more than I love most people. I would sacrifice for my pets before I’d sacrifice for most people.

So I guess you’re just a shitty pet owner.

Probably a shitty parent, too.

“People are the masters of domestic creatures. Let’s not forget that animals will generally remain loyal no matter what their owners say or do. The same certainly can’t be said for children. The behavior, needs, and expectations of animals are also mostly unchanging. If only that were true for children.”

I don’t know…I’m pretty sure prolonged abuse will scar an animal no matter who adopts them next. And I’ve been emotionally abused by a few people and still (perhaps stupidly) remain loyal. Because they’re family. My mom fucked me over in a big way and I’m still loyal to her. I get annoyed with her, sure, but she’s my fucking mom.

And okay, the needs of kids change. That’s saying something. A kid eventually learns to feed themselves and they go on to get jobs and maybe help out with household costs (like I did with every paycheck — I paid for our groceries many weeks without expecting to be paid back, which my brother still doesn’t appreciate; he bitched for immediate repayment when our mom borrowed even $20 from him).

Pets depend on you for everything their entire lives. If I forget to feed my (indoor*) cats for a month, they won’t do so well. A ten-year-old kid? I’m sure they’ll scavenge something.

*I keep my cats indoors because we’re on a road with no speed limit, plus there are coyotes around us. Not risking my babies’ lives.

“The urge to commiserate with an actual parent of actual children regarding actual parenting responsibilities when you’re simply a pet owner? Well, it’s misguided at best. If I asked a neighbor to occasionally walk my crate-training toddler once a day while I was at work, protective services would be at my door before I could type neglect.”

Why are you crate-training your toddler?

Seriously though, okay, we get it: pets are not actual human offspring. Kind of an obvious distinction (unless you’re into some weird bestiality shit), but you seem determined to drill it into us. I’m in charge of an animal’s well-bring, just like you’re in charge of…an animal’s well-being. But your animal is more important, so I’m a piece of shit.

“Part of the problem here seems to be rooted in the ever more fluid definition of family. Love has so many shapes and I honor and value all of them, but pet owners who call themselves parents trivialize the very real, ever-changing lifetime commitment that parenting is.”

OMG, fluid definitions! How evil! Except that’s how most people define themselves these days. Gender-fluid is a big thing. Hell, are you going to tell adoptive parents they’re going along with some fluid definition of being a parent? No — or at least I hope not.

So really, you “honor and value” all these fluid definitions except the one that for some reason threatens your self-image (and it seems like most younger parents base their entire identity around being a parent; I’m sure you’re a much more complex specimen of life than that).

What, you can’t denounce gender-fluidity or sexual fluidity and still be accepted by your peers, but let’s make up a new form of fluidity because you’re either insecure in your role as a parent or your life is greatly lacking in some way and so you have to try to fill that void by tearing others down — or both?

That’s what really gets me about this, but I’ll get more into that in a bit.

First here are some differences she listed between owning a pet and being in charge of a kid. In case you couldn’t tell by the fur.

“1. My daughter ages one damn year at a time, not seven. She’s not gonna be a sweet, deaf old girl by 13.”

Okay, so the commitment is shorter for a pet owner, but I have five cats and Dave has a dog. I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t opt for six kids.

“2. Sure, leashes have been adopted by parents. Now, I’m not about that, but I get it. Either way, I certainly can’t leave my kid tied to a pole outside of a store until I’ve finished my business (although I certainly wish I could sometimes).”

…but you wish you could. Okay then. Also, I doubt you could leave a pet tied to a pole outside a store because someone would be calling the police or something.

“3. I can’t drop my daughter off somewhere and pay to have someone bathe her, and, even if I could, it would definitely be frowned upon.”

But I’m willing to bet you’ll pay a babysitter to watch your kid. Animals present difficulties a human might not. I’m sure my cat would react more negatively toward a bath than your kid. The challenge with pets is that they don’t understand us, nor can we explain what we’re doing or why. We don’t have a parent-child bond. They don’t necessarily trust me not to drown them.

“4. I can’t just keep her in the yard either. And I certainly can’t just leave her home with a wee-wee pad and a couple of bowls of food and water. Just forget about dropping her off at some kid hotel to be pampered and fed while I skip town for the weekend.”

Again, babysitters. Also, why even have a pet if you’re just going to keep it in the yard? And one of the reasons I love cats if that they’re independent. I can leave them with food and water and they’re cool. (Dogs will snarf all their food in five minutes and need to be walked.) And whenever I went on vacation, I would leave my pets with my grandparents, who actually cared for them.

“5. I can’t write a Facebook post that includes a cuddly photo and a description of all of her positive attributes, and then advertise that she is in need of a new home because she doesn’t fit in my new apartment.”

Well a good pet owner wouldn’t do this either (unless the circumstances are absolutely dire — again, my life has been so unstable that it would not be fair to bring a kid into it, so I haven’t had one).

Also, if your pet (or child) doesn’t fit into your apartment, you might really want to cut back on how much you’re feeding them.

“6. I can’t have her “fixed” to avoid unwanted early grandmahood.”

But adults can be “fixed” in one sense or another. I mostly had my cats fixed to stop them from marking their territory…a problem I don’t think you experience with humans.

“7. I can’t stick her in a small bag under the seat in front of me on an airplane.”

WHY WOULD YOU EVEN DO THAT TO AN ANIMAL?

“8. I can’t breed her pretty little self and sell the offspring for a mint!”

I thought black market babies were a thing? Seriously though, I’ve never tried to sell a kitten, they’re always free to a good home. Fancy purebreds, maybe. But, um, humans can sell eggs and sperm, so it’s not that far a cry. Yes, they’re adults, but there are still parallels between what humans do and what we do to animals.

“9. Clothes, shoes, underwear, socks, and so much more — it’s all required when parenting a child, and must be replaced with often alarming frequency.”

You can dress a cat. And a dog (my dog was a number of things for Halloween, including a hotdog). Just saying. No, we don’t have to clothe them, but…I’ll get to my main point at the end of this list.

“10. All of that ‘role model’ stuff and the need to lead by example? It’s no joke. The weight of shaping the next Michelle Obama or Mae Jemison is all on me now.”

I play an active role in teaching my kittens how to hunt. Sometimes by acting as prey. But really, if being a (good) role model is a defining characteristic of being a human parent, then a lot of people aren’t actually parents. Or they need to step up their game.

“11. Dealing with other parents is nothing like hanging out with friends at the local dog park. Nothing.

Both sound terrible to me because they both involve other humans. ‘Nough said.

“12. Puberty. Enough said. Fingers crossed I come through that with at least some of my marbles.”

I don’t think either my brother or I were bad during puberty. Maybe my mom had to shell out more money for lady products and dermatologist appointments, but…

“13. That $60,000 plus per year that parents need to come up with to somehow, someway send their kids to college? Try sleeping at night with that weight on your shoulders.”

Raise a smart kid and they’ll get scholarships and grants. There you go. Okay, cool, you spend more on kids than pets. You (presumably) chose to get pregnant…or you chose not to have safe sex.

“14. I will get to be a grandma. I will get to keep being challenged and held accountable for everything I say, do, and believe. She will make sure of it.”

I’m a gramma to two kittens. They challenge me everyday.

“15. Silver lining: It will be my turn to harass her when I get old.”

Laser pointers. Cats. That is all.

“Anyone else totally fed up with animal owners comparing themselves to parents? Weigh in below in the comments!”

Really? You’re fed up with us?

Don’t you have anything better to do with your lives?

Like maybe take care of your kids?

From the second link:

“Petsmart spent $105 million on media aimed at Pet Parents in 2013. That’s a drop in the litter box compared to the $56 billion the pet industry took in that same year. That’s billion with a “B.” For $56 billion, marketers will say anything, push any button they feel gets fanatical Pet Parents to shell out cash for doggie FitBits and gourmet cat food.”

Let me say that my cats are growing up like I did: with enough to be happy, but not too much. I don’t spoil them (I can’t afford to), but they get Christmas presents and, more importantly, a ton of love.

“Pet Parent is a relatively new term people with pets, mostly dogs and cats, call themselves. They didn’t like “owner,” that was too oppressive; it set the wrong tone for their relationship with their animal companions. They tried guardian on for size, custodian, keeper… before they landed on Pet Parent.”

I didn’t really put that much thought into it. I love them and care for them. But the author addresses that later…

“But can you really be a parent to a dog? Can you really be a cat’s mommy or daddy? By the loosest definition, I guess. Although if you check with Webster, both parent and child have to be human and there’s some begetting involved. Pet Parents will argue they adopted their dog or cat and plenty of people adopt children, they’ll say. They probably purchased their Fur Kid, like an owner would, but okay…”

Hell, if Dave and I could conceive kittens, I would. This isn’t biologically possible, so Storm is my surrogate. I believe we still consider human females who used surrogates to be mothers. People do adopt children. They’re just as much parents as the couple who conceived their own. And I did not purchase any of my cats. In fact, Mittens was going to a shelter if we didn’t take him, so I saved him.

“I guess it comes down to what it means to be a parent. Is it simply feeding this other being, caring for it, taking it for a checkup once in a while? Loving it? I don’t doubt Pet Parents love their little Sparky or Snowball. They care for them, feed them, play with them at the park. Maybe they feel like they couldn’t live without them. So by those criteria, if I feed my Ford F-150 gas and oil, wash it, take it out for joyrides, protect it from scratches and dents… If I can’t live without it, am I a Truck Parent? I really love my Häagen-Dazs chocolate chip cookie dough. We have a special relationship, the two of us. I care for it, like any Dessert Parent would, make sure to keep it nice and cold. And, in return, it comforts me and snuggles with me when I’m sad. Can you be a Merlot Parent? A High-Heeled Pump Parent?”

Now you’re just being a dick. I mean, I do name my vehicles and actually do get emotionally attached (I want to cry that my cavalier has reached the end of his life). But vehicles and food aren’t living things with feelings. I feel like this is a bit of a reductionist argument.

My only real question is why you went with a Ford.

“When I got older and got married, I had children, four of them. I’ve raised both and I can tell you, raising children is much, much harder. Sure, they’ll both stick their head in the toilet if you give them half a chance. But you raise children. You care for pets.”

But a lot of people do a shitty job of raising their kids, so a lot of people are missing this memo. How about, instead of attacking pet parents, you go after those parents raising ill-mannered humans? My cats are better behaved than most people. Maybe the people who can’t handle kids should try pets first.

“When pet owners claim the title of Parent it really belittles what I do, what millions of women and men do.”

Well, there’s a reason we preface it with “pet.” I wouldn’t have the audacity to call myself a parent. I’m a pet parent. Difference. Words have meanings.

“Sorry, but your pooch will never go out on his own, find some nice bitch, settle down, and make you a grandparent. They won’t grow up to be president or any productive member of society. Like a millennial living in the basement, your dog will always be dependent on you. And maybe that’s the attraction of Pet Parenthood.”

I think Mittens would be a better president than Trump…or Clinton. Seriously. Oh, and a shot at millennials. How original. Yes, pets are dependent all their lives, as I said, whereas children can be used for labor probably by the age of ten and will resent you by 13, and not need you by 20-ish.

“It seemed harmless at first. Aw, Pet Parents, isn’t that cute? But I think it’s kind of gone too far. Owning a dog isn’t anywhere near the same level of commitment as having children. We need to stop pretending it is.”

I’m not pretending it is. Your sensitivity on the issue makes me question where you think you’ve failed either in life or as a parent.

From the third link:

“I am a mom now. As in real humans with real dependency on me. So when I’m trolling Instagram and I see you posting pictures of your pet, which you’ve given both a middle and last name, napping on your lap with the hashtag #momlife I need to break the news to you. The minute you used those words you surrendered your ‘Totally Sane And Not A Crazy Cat Lady’ card to claim maternity status of an animal.”

My cats do depend on me, for food, water, and clean litterboxes (actually they depend on Dave for that one). Only one cat ever has had a middle name, because Nate wanted to name her “Ape,” and I wanted to name her “Ivy” and I won. She was a cuddlebeast.

And, I’m sorry, what’s wrong with being a bit insane and a cray cat lady? I gladly (proudly!) claim that status. It hasn’t yet held me back in life.

“Because pets are not kids. You are not a mom if you have pets. You are a pet owner.”

Whatever you need to tell yourself to get to sleep at night.

“It is a modern trend that we crossed the line from ‘animal lover’ and ‘pet owner’ into ‘pet mom’ with ‘fur babies’. The Pet Moms have allowed for a new lucrative market of clothing, strollers, spas, exercise equipment and even entertainment for their four legged family members. I can see how the jump is quickly made when you are elevating your pet to human status, using all your maternal instincts to nurture them and spending all your time and money to give them the best.  However, pets weren’t ‘kids’ forty years ago and they still aren’t today.”

I’ll point it out again: “pet” and “fur” act as qualifiers here. We’re not calling ourselves parents or moms. We’re acknowledging we’re pet parents and they’re our fur babies.

And I’m not treating my pets like humans or pretending they are. They are cats, and I don’t wish for them to be anything else. Why ruin perfection?

“In some ways having a pet is like having a kid. Sure, sometimes we put our kids in pens, throw some snacks at them and yell one-word commands while they feign obedience. I’ll admit that sometimes my kid’s ‘tricks’ are rewarded with treats. I’d be lying if I said I never played fetch with a toddler. But I can’t strap my kids to a run in the backyard and leave them a dish of water and food for the day. I can’t feed my children the same thing for every meal of every day without a pint-sized mutiny. I can’t have full blown happy hour on the porch while my kids lounge in the kiddie pool contently gnawing on a bone. I can’t put them on a leash in public places and rub their nose in accidents, at least not without some major questioning of my parental abilities. Even if I would like to do some of these things, a pet may be treated as a surrogate child but a child can never be treated as the opposite. Simply because the two are not the same.”

Again we have a human parent saying they’d like to treat their kid like an animal. Am I the only one slightly concerned about this?

And I know they’re not the same. The fur, teeth, and meowing are a tip-off.

“Pets don’t come with curfew enforcement, mending tiny broken hearts and tutoring homework.”

I don’t know; Storm seemed pretty upset after losing nine kittens. I felt like it was part of my job to try to console her. Again, I believe animals feel. Carrying, delivering, and then losing nine babies can’t be easy. For a while it seemed like she was looking for them to care for, and has substituted the kittens from her first litter. She could very well have been hurting and couldn’t communicate it clearly.

Hell, vets have it harder than doctors because their patients can’t tell the what’s wrong.

“However, unless your ovaries grow fur, and you sprout a tail Rover is not your child.”

Ovaries should not grow fur in any species. That’s not a thing.

 

Okay, so we’ve come to the end of my quotes.

There is a theme here, which I kind of mentioned above.

First of all, I’m not claiming, nor even pretending to be a real human parent. I am a pet parent, hence the “pet” in front of “parent.” I get that there is a clear difference between women who squeezed out a human, or adopted a mini-human. Kudos. You’re doing what I can’t right now, but want to one day.

I feel like most of these people insulted by pet owners calling themselves parents or comparing themselves to parents are insecure in some respect. Otherwise they could just let us be.

But no, they have to make us into an enemy that they can fight.

Because we’re obviously being super evil, saying we’re parents of pets when it’s clear we’re not talking about kids* and just have…pets. Heinous!

*Unless you refer to your children as pets. I could see how they might be confused with animals.

The thing that bugs me most about people denouncing the idea of pet parents does not have to do with me taking offense. People don’t like it? Cool. Dave hates my fact-spouting, but that doesn’t stop me from doing it.

What bothers me, and may be yet another theme in my blog, is that it feels like these people are looking for something to be upset about. Yes, sometimes after a while something will wear on me. As I’ve mentioned a few times in this blog, it irks me when people use “Science” as some flat, catch-all entity when they have no scientific background. Like saying “Science says drinking wine every day helps you live to 100” (if only…sigh…). Like do the research people.

But do I write posts attacking people for doing it? No. I may make note of it, but it’s a very minor point compared to the actual topic I’m discussing.

But like, what? Is raising your kids not fulfilling enough, so you need to pick apart other people for not being parents like you?

(And what if a human parent also owns pets and also refers to themselves as a pet parent? Is that as contemptible?)

People just seem to have this instinct/urge/need to tear others down and ruin their happiness, thereby increasing their own (somehow). And especially in this example, the anti-pet-parent people seem very self-congratulatory. It doesn’t suffice to say you’re a parent, but a long-suffering champion (who would seemingly like to treat your child like a pet).

I don’t doubt that parenting is hard (which is why Tri-estarylla is my best friend), but it’s not like pet owners are actually equating having a pet with having a kid, or else they’d just call themselves parents. That I could see as being an insult, even rude.

But why do you feel the need to ruin someone’s fun? Maybe someone is too old to have children, so they adopt a pet to be a “mommy” again. Or they’re not ready for kids yet (like Dave and I), so they adopt pets as practice or pre-gaming (I was going to say a test but I’m sure someone would criticize that). I’m not saying keeping a pet alive qualifies you or means you’re ready for kids, but if you can’t even keep a goldfish alive, maybe you should hold off on children.

Are you going to go after people who adopted their child(ren) for not specifying they’re adoptive parents? Because they’re not biological parents, which would be assumed when you call yourself a parent?

People who have to look for things to criticize probably have nothing better to do, which means their lives are probably sad and pathetic. If you look hard enough, you can find something to complain about. I could complain that Dave calls me “beautiful” like it’s my name because that shouldn’t be my most important trait. Maybe try “intelligent one”?

So I think it’s either insecurity or boredom that causes people to pick things apart. Maybe they should find a hobby.

Or adopt a pet. Because kittens are cuter than babies anyway.

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A Practical Guide to Driving Like an Asshole

I try to refrain from cursing in titles, but I couldn’t resist.

Now that I’m participating in a daily commute that consists of the Thruway, Northway, and Route Seven, I’ve become well-versed in asshole-driving.

So if you want to be an asshole driver — because, you know, they’re more important and obviously get where they need to be way faster than you and are probably more successful in life as well — this is for you.

Me, I recently put a few new stickers on my back window: “Nobody Likes You” with a Facebook-eqse middle finger; “The closer you get, the slower I go” (I actually do this to people); “I go from zero to bitch in 3.5 seconds.”

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You can’t read them really, but this is my proof

Anyway, here we go:

Tailgate

Get right up their ass. This will signify to them that they either have to move over a lane or speed up. Yes, you have to hope that they don’t suddenly brake because it’ll be your front end that’s damaged, but it’ll be worth it if you can force them to even go five miles an hour faster.

Some good drivers actually leave enough space between them and the car in front of them so that they can brake without making their tires squeal or without swerving into another lane. They leave a comfortable distance. And the faster they’re going, the bigger it gets. Imbeciles.

High-Beaming

If they still don’t get the fucking hint, high-beam the motherfuckers. That’ll teach ’em to only do ten over the speed limit — and in the fast lane! The nerve…

Blow By Slow People

Because, fuck it, they’re not doing your speed limit. This is most effective if you fly up behind them, remain behind them for a minute or two, then angrily change lanes and zoom by them, only to pull back in front of them and force them to tailgate you.

Give Dirty Looks

The above is really only truly accomplished if you also give the offending driver a pissed off look. Something along the lines of “You kicked my puppy” will do. No, they didn’t attack your child, but like, it’s your puppy. If you’re in a hurry because you’re late, you can bump it up to, “You slept with my wife (or husband).”

Not Slowing to Let Others Pass

On the flip side, don’t slow down to let others pass — or especially merge into your lane, hell no. Yes, you can glare at others for not slowing up for you to zoom by them, but you’re not required to slow to let someone pass you or even into your lane for their exit. No mercy. Driving is basically an evolutionary competition; only the most fierce (and successful, obviously) will reproduce.

An extension of this is when you need to get into a lane but some arse is in your way. You could do the reasonable thing and slow down to let them get ahead, then pull in behind them (where there’s plenty of space), but doing the reasonable thing didn’t get you where you are today. No, you throw that directional on (or don’t) and speed up. Race them for that coveted spot. Winner takes all.

Weaving

Likewise, you weave because you have a duty to fulfill. YOU’RE DOING THIS FOR YOUR FUTURE OFFSPRING. You dart out in front of someone, then another vehicle, and another…and that first person watches you until you’re out of sight. But you don’t care about their judgment; you’re more important.

Weaving on a Motorcycle

This is extra fun because you don’t even have to be in a lane. You can cut between two lanes and really speed. Moreover, don’t use any kind of signal. Just appear out of nowhere. The best part is that, even though you’re being an asshole, the driver of the vehicle will always be blamed because they weren’t looking out for you.

Hit and Run

Honestly, it was probably their fault anyway. You shouldn’t feel obligated to assume any responsibility, even for a second. Especially if they were parked and you hit them. Obviously they were in your way. It’s on them, not you.

Hit and Run, Living Creature Edition

Fluffy shouldn’t have been in the damn road anyway. It’s up to pet owners to control their pets, and you have somewhere to be. You don’t have time to stop and pretend to give a shit. And if you manage to hit a person? Well then it’s definitely not your fault. Hell, it’s practically natural selection. Evolution should thank you for your participation.

Hold Long Conversations at Toll Booths

So what, you have a long line of people behind you? Strike up a conversation. Insist you can’t find the exact change. Question the toll booth collector on their life choices. Whatever you have to do to make a lot of people wait. This is even more effective if you do it at a busy time so they can’t easily swap lanes.

Speeding

Asshole driving 101. You are clearly more important than anyone else and the only one with anywhere to be. Never mind that you’re running late because you slept through your alarm; these asshats just don’t understand that you’re in a hurry. Because you matter. People are depending on you. Or maybe nobody is, but you just really want to get your grocery shopping done. It doesn’t matter. Your attitude must always be that you’re most important, or else you’ll never win at life.

Going Way Under the Speed Limit

On the flip side, this is an excellent way to piss people off (and indeed I do this when I have an asshole tailgating me). Maybe you’re lost, maybe you’re looking for a street, maybe you’re just not feeling the speed limit today. Whatever. The world waits for you. Don’t mind the line of people behind you. They can wait.

Wait in the Middle of an Intersection to Make a Turn

Those pesky left hand turns when you have two lanes of traffic coming at you, am I right? The best way to handle this situation, especially if traffic is heavy, is to creep forward into the middle of the intersection and await an opening. When the light turns yellow and you’re still waiting there, continue to sit there until the light turns red — wait for the people who’ll run the red light — and sit for an extra beat so the other light turns green. Make them wait for a second or two, then complete your turn. If you’re behind someone executing this maneuver, feel free to follow them and make everyone wait an extra bit while their light is green.

Roll Through Stop Signs

Just because you fucking can. It’s not like you’re going to get pulled over. You’re just asserting your authority and making your devil-may-care attitude clear. Perhaps as a warning. This will surely irritate those good drivers.

Flip People Off

And do so liberally. This is another gesture that shows you’re an asshole and will annoy those law-abiding drivers. But you should never flip off a driver who flies by you or cuts you off. That affirms their superior assholeness, and you never want to give them that satisfaction. If anything, you should speed up to pass them, preferably cutting them off, with no warning. You need to assert your authority. Only flip people off if you’re certain you’re the asshole.

Drive on the Shoulder

Because you need to get ahead in life, dammit. And when all three lanes are stop-and-go, how else are you going to move forward? No, it’s not technically a lane, but you have places to be, like at home, eating a TV dinner while you watch TV. You have important things to be doing! Especially if your exit is only half a mile away. Anyone who thinks this is unreasonable is an idiot and obviously doesn’t understand that you’re a VIP driver.

Related is when you need to be in the exit lane, but it’s very much stop-and-go. So you quickly dart out into the next lane and speed ahead, then slow down and “beg” to be let in far ahead, poor you. It’s the adult version of budging in line.

Pass When You Shouldn’t

In this same vein, if someone is going 30 on a 30 mile-per-hour road, you should be allowed to pass. Never mind that it’s a double yellow line. Pass them. They don’t understand how driving works anyway. Maybe you’ll teach them. Then no one will have to suffer like you did.

Parking

If you can take up two parking spaces, good. Three, even better. Everyone else who only occupies one space is a pussy. This is a territorial thing. The more space you take up, the more important you are. You go, alpha-driver. Stake out your space. No one else will dare park near you. Bonus: this lessens the likelihood of people scratching your car with shitty parking jobs.

Brake at the Last Second

As I mentioned above, if they rear end you, they’re the ones with front-end damage, plus it’s kind of their fault. So wait until you’re certain you’re going to hit the poor bastard in front of you, then brake. Hard. The person behind you will have to brake even harder. Don’t even let off your gas. Just wait until you must brake.

Run Red Lights

Because, once again, you’re more important than anyone else. So what, it turns red? It’s not like you were going to slow down when it turned yellow. That’s just silliness. People will wait for you, because they are patient creatures. Well, you aren’t, but it’s probably safe to assume everyone else is. Also, if you do unfortunately get caught at a red light and you’re first in line, inching forward until you’re a decent way into the intersection actually does urge the light to change faster. It’s a well-kept secret.

No Directionals

Classic. Assume people will move out of your way. They can read your mind. They know that you’re going to want to fit your 15-foot SUV into that 10-foot long space, and they will automatically back off. They can sense your superiority. If they’re dumb and don’t realize it, you’ll make them move. Also, don’t bother checking your mirrors or your blind spot. You live on the edge.

Wait Until the Last Second to Merge

Oh, there was a sign way back there telling you your lane ended? Probably best to wait until your lane is a quarter of its original size to start thinking about moving over. There’s someone in your way? So what? Other drivers are so considerate (unlike you, naive fools) that they’ll realize your predicament and let you out. They’ll be happy to. And then you’re ahead of them in the lane and in life.

Cut People Off

Another obvious one. This not only works for lane changes or merging lanes (see above), but when you need to make a right hand turn out of someplace. Yes, there’s one person coming your way, with probably enough space before them, but plenty of space behind them. Pull out in front of them. Make them slow down for you. And please, take your sweet time to get up to speed.

Remember, people love their vehicles more than proving the point that you’re an asshole, so they’ll slow, swerve, or stop to avoid hitting you before they T-bone your ass.

Intimidate People

Ahem, guilty. I’m not an asshole driver, but there’s something about being in a truck that makes it easy (and tempting) to fuck with people. Oh, someone just cut me off? Let me ride their ass. I’ve been in a small car with a large vehicle bearing down on me. The instinct is to go faster to get them off your back.

Look, I’ve got probably more crumple zone than you do, plus I’m sitting up higher. (Oh, and I have plenty saved for repairs and/or a new vehicle.) I’m not afraid.

I want to get a push bar so I can “bump into” assholes and put a dent in their Beemer and my Ram won’t feel a thing.

I’m kidding.

Maybe.

This leads me into my next point.

Good Driver Assholery

Like I said, I consider myself a good driver (I use directionals, stop when I’m supposed to, and don’t speed too much). That said, I can’t deny the appeal of asshole driving.

As one of my exes once said, “There’s a lot of ways to give someone the finger without giving them the finger.”

Here are a few ways I achieve that…although I do give a lot of people the finger.

Here’s the most basic: blast your music at red lights and whatnot. Be that guy. The one whose music (and bass, hopefully) shakes everyone’s vehicle and drowns out their own music. Because yeah. You do you. And loud.

Or leave your directionals on for a long-ass time. I don’t know why, but this really irritates people. Even me. Perhaps because they/we don’t know what you’re about to do or if you just forgot to switch it off. Oh well.

Less innocuously, when an asshole flies up behind you and gets right up your ass and then wants to pass you, don’t slow down for them. In fact, speed up. Do the speed they wanted you to do. They reminded you you were going too slow. Basically just make it impossible for them to actually pass. It’s super satisfying when they end up behind you again.

Change lanes after they pass. Love this one. I employ it often. After an asshole has successfully passed you, shift into the next lane. You have to do this like right after they pass. Basically you say that if you’d waited half a second, asshat, I would have been out of your way anyway. Calm the hell down.

As I said above, intimidate. This may be hard if you’re driving a small car, but if you have an SUV or truck (and you’re somehow not an asshole), then get up their ass after they pass you or cut you off. Trucks are associated with rednecks and rednecks are associated with crazy. Good for you.

Personally I have a lot of warnings on my truck (see above, plus “Super Bitch” and “If You Can’t Dodge It, Ram It” — words to live by).

As I said, one of my stickers says “The Closer You Get, the Slower I Go.” I do abide by this. If some asshole is tailgating me, I slow down from 10 over the speed limit to 10 under, or whatever it takes to piss them off and make them pass me. Then I flip them off as they go by and then speed up again. I have places to be — but I’m never in such a hurry that I can’t fuck with someone.

Pro tip: it helps to leave comfortably early. When people zoom by me I just think, “Whatever. I’m in no hurry.” And I’m not. Which makes for the best driving.

But let’s get to the last tip for asshole drivers, whether novice or pro.

Know Where Cops Are

If you’re going to break the law, at least know how not to get caught. Know where cops hide. Be aware of where they might hide. Know where they’re harsher.

For the “mostly” good drivers, just don’t do anything wrong here. When the threat is gone, resume.

For the asshole drivers, good luck.

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Why America Scares Me

Grad school has officially started. I’ve started TAing, written my first quiz, graded my first assignments, and answered my first emails bearing questions.

I haven’t started my lab rotations yet.

But so far I’m enjoying it.

Semi-flowy segue to my topic for today: why America terrifies me.

But why, you ask. I’m white. I’m Christian. I may be a female, but at least I’m not black, Mexican, Muslim — none of those “bad” groups.

No, America terrifies me because I’m intelligent. So when I say America, it’s specifically uneducated America. (Which is a safe generalization.)

What do I mean by uneducated? Not those who didn’t go to college or even finish high school. You can not go to college and still be educated. Not college-educated, but not a dumbass.

When I say “uneducated,” I mean those who lack critical thinking skills and can’t seem to think for themselves, for whom blind hatred and passionate ignorance are their weapons of choice. You know the type: who believe everything they read on the internet, who are prone to mass generalizations or overly simplistic thinking.

I once said that intelligence is the capacity to learn (and the willingness). I must add that it’s also the ability to think critically.

America, on the whole, is stupid. Gasp! How anti-American!

But really, how else could we have let Trump become a prime candidate to be the LEADER OF OUR COUNTRY?

Jokes aside (if that was even a joke), America terrifies me because it can’t seem to evaluate anything critically or with an open mind and sometimes it resorts to what I can only describe as Salem-Witch-Trial-Era mentality. Except substitute Muslims for witches. Or whatever hated group du jour…but it’s often Muslims.

Which brings me to what inspired this post: Colin Kaepernick, Islam, and the Media

I don’t give a single shit about football, but I do care about Muslims, and anything with “the media” in the title is bound to result in an eyeroll, so I gave it a read.

It irritated me. I wanted to rant about it to Dave (and see what he thought), but he was ready for bed and had apparently switched his brain off (which amazed me because that implies it was once switched on). So it kept me awake.

Or that might’ve been the anxiety about going to RPI in the morning.

Alright, so let me dive into this. Unfortunately.

Well, first of all, it was shared on Facebook by a guy who once posted a video about how it’s okay to hit your kids, Dave’s mom said Kaepernick should be fired, and the post is from the “American Family Association.” I’m afraid to see what else is on their site.

But really, what is an “American” family? Since, you know, we’re the melting pot and the nuclear family isn’t really a thing anymore and, Heaven forbid, American Muslims have families.

To me it sounds like the kind of site that tries to propagate a WASP-y, confederate South kind of family. One white, Protestant man, one white, Protestant woman, one white daughter and one white son who grew up saying Grace and going to church every Sunday. They live in a white bread town and only have friends who are also Anglo. Black people and Muslims are either not a thing or are to be regarded with disgust.

Did I nail it?

I took a look at their “Mission Statement” page.

“The mission of the American Family Association is to inform, equip, and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture, and give aid to the church here and abroad in its task of fulfilling the Great Commission…

The American Family Association believes that God has communicated absolute truth to mankind, and that all people are subject to the authority of God’s Word at all times. Therefore AFA believes that a culture based on biblical truth best serves the well-being of our nation and our families, in accordance with the vision of our founding documents; and that personal transformation through the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the greatest agent of biblical change in any culture…

To that end, AFA spurs activism directed to:

  • Preservation of Marriage and the Family
  • Decency and Morality
  • Sanctity of Human Life
  • Stewardship
  • Media Integrity”

These things don’t exactly sound the like antithesis of Islam to me.

Oh, and:

“We believe in holding accountable companies that sponsor programs attacking traditional family values. We also believe in commending those companies that act responsibly regarding programs they support.”

Traditional family values. Well, I’m heinous by that standard. So is my mom, because she divorced my dad. My grandparents might make it, though. Oh, wait, they’re Catholic. So the Methodist AFA probably wouldn’t like them. (I believe my grandmother was Methodist, but converted, much to the chagrin of her family.)

To me the AFA sounds more the like “League of Acceptable Americanness.” If they approve of you, you’re a good and true American.

But I’m Catholic so I’m ruled by the Pope, not the President. Which is why people were wary of JFK.

Anyway, let me move on the to actual text, most of which I’ll probably quote.

“49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made waves this weekend by his conspicuous refusal to stand for the national anthem at the beginning of the Niners’ preseason game Friday night against the Green Bay Packers.

His reason? ‘I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.’ He insists he will continue to disrespect the flag and this country until there is ‘significant change.’

This is exceedingly ungrateful at best and absurd at worst. Here’s a man of mixed race living in a country that has made him a household name and put $120 million in his wallet.”

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I’m a conservative, but like, a reasonable, rational, intelligent one. Yes, we exist.

Okay, I concede that maybe he should have stood (not saying he had to stand), but declined to participate in the actual pledge. If anything, nobody would’ve likely noticed at that point and everything would be cool.

But his reasoning is sound to me. It’s not ungrateful nor absurd. Okay, he’s mixed race; I’m sure mixed race people still face discrimination and also, does the fact that one of his parents is white make it any less important that black people still face discrimination? No. I’d also like to see the citation for that figure of $120 million. Not that I don’t believe it, but I can’t without proper references. It is a pointless sentence.

Also, Dave, Mr. ‘Merica (aka the most patriotic person I know, the kind of patriotic that makes me want to vomit) could recite neither the Pledge nor the Lord’s Prayer. He also didn’t know the actual title of the National Anthem, much less the words. Interesting…

“We can all stipulate that the U.S. has had a problematic past when it comes to race, beginning with its flatly unbiblical embrace of African slavery in 1619. (The kind of slavery practiced in the United States was a death penalty crime in the Bible, according to Exodus 21:16. If the Bible had been followed, slavery never would have gained the slightest foothold in America.)”

Problematic? Try horrific. And we clung to it much longer than other countries.

“But this is also a country which abolished slavery, Jim Crow laws, racial segregation, and has twice elected a black man to the highest office in the land. The reigning NFL MVP is a black man, as is the reigning NBA MVP, and America made Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods some of the richest athletes in history. In other words, America, while not perfect, is a nation to be proud of.”

Abolished, not eliminated. My ancestry may be from various parts of Europe, but even I’m not blind to the fact that African Americans were treated terribly and that this was wrong!

Abolished is a legal term (in that sense). That doesn’t mean that discrimination and segregation stopped socially. There are still issues even now. If there weren’t, we wouldn’t have affirmative action.

And cool, you can name a few black guys who have done well in sports. That’s like my racist (and homophobic) ex claiming that he wasn’t either because he had a black and a gay friend. A token friend (or team member) doesn’t make you non-discriminatory. The best runners come from one tribe in Kenya (http://www.npr.org/sections/parallels/2013/11/01/241895965/how-one-kenyan-tribe-produces-the-worlds-best-runners) and many baseball players are Hispanic (http://www.espn.com/espn/commentary/story/_/id/7058357/are-there-too-many-hispanics-major-league-baseball).

Yes, I talk about having Muslim friends, but I’m not speaking negatively of Islam and using my friends to somehow justify it. Furthermore, I’ve taken time to learn about the religion.

I am not proud of America. I am ashamed. We let stupid, stupid politics dominate our news and give this popularity contest we call a presidential race priority. We don’t know the horrors of what’s going on in Syria (unless we happen to catch the minute interlude between Trump and Hillary’s bullshit), but we know what Trump’s most recent most offensive tweet was.

Holy shit, guys. Get it together.

“Kaepernick speaks as if these things never happened, as if we are still living in the antebellum South. Kaepernick himself is living proof that whatever the United States used to be, today it is a land of opportunity to people of any race who work hard and develop their talents.”

Um, pretty sure the antebellum south is alive in one way or another. Dave once told me his mom (who loves the south as much as he does) would shoot him if he brought home a black girl. Seriously? This deeply troubled me. Dave seemed to think this was funny, or of no concern (at best). Funnily enough, I asked Dave what the antebellum south was and he had no idea.

My ex once said his grandfather wouldn’t hold a door for a black man (but would for white man). I was like, what?

Black people and white people are the same. Literally the only difference is the pigment in our skin. The fuck, guys?

And not everyone could just be an NFL player, if only they “applied themselves.” I could say the same and claim that anyone could get a PhD in cellular, molecular, and developmental biology if only they tried. No.

America is not a free-for-all for those who develop their talents and work hard. It’s also very much about money. And luck.

Not every black, female, or Latino kid who excels in some way makes it big because of that gift.

And if America is a land of opportunity for any race, why did it take us this long to elect a black president? (Oh, sorry, mixed race, because that’s significantly different.) Cool, we finally got around to it. We should be ashamed it took us this long.

“Yesterday, Kaepernick talked repeatedly about ‘police brutality.’ This means one thing: the low-information media shares some of the blame for this mess. Again, we can stipulate that there have certainly been examples of police misconduct. But time and time again, we discover the media sensationalizes violent confrontations between cops and blacks, with the initial suspicion and blame being placed on law enforcement.

When the facts emerge, law enforcement, far more often than not, has been exonerated. But the media is not interested in the truth if it justifies police behavior, and so low-information consumers of news, like Kaepernick, never find out about it. Kaepernick is apparently unaware, for instance, that the ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ narrative in Ferguson, Missouri, never happened. It was all a lie.”

Remember this? North Miami police shoot black man who said his hands were raised while he tried to help autistic group-home resident

This hits home for me because it revolves around a man trying to help a suicidal autistic patient. (I don’t know where I read that he was suicidal, but I did.) Also, Kinsey asked the cop why he shot him and the cop replied, “I don’t know” (http://www.cnn.com/2016/07/21/us/miami-officer-involved-shooting/).

No, the black community, more often than not, takes the blame or is made into the threat. Even if they don’t or aren’t, the hostility and mistrust is aimed at them. Cool, facts (that you don’t cite) say police were innocent (nope, exonerated, sorry). But we here in America aren’t too fond of facts. We do however enjoy blaming victims.

The really disturbing part of this is that Fischer, the author of this word vomit, is trying to justify police actions and make us feel pity for them because they’re always wrong.

He’s trying to make black people out to be the bad guy — when that already happens on a daily basis. That doesn’t need to be perpetuated. It needs to be stopped. The vibe I get from this is that “Kaepernick is wrong because police aren’t the bad guys, black people are and he doesn’t get that.”

You’re trying to defend your wonderful country by putting down its own citizens. Explain that to me.

 “He is apparently unaware that cops are 18.5 times more likely to be shot by a black man than an unarmed black man is to be shot by a cop. He is apparently unaware that cops are actually much more hesitant to pull the trigger when the suspect is black than when he is white.

But the media is only interested in news if it can be sensationalized against those who have a sworn duty to protect and to serve. They lose interest instantly if the truth doesn’t fit that narrative. And uninformed individuals like Kaepernick are duped by their lies and selective misconstructions.”

Again, I would like to see the citation for that statistic. You are not credible without citations.

Did you know cats are 52% less likely to care about their owners’ feelings than dogs? As believable as that may sound, I pulled it out of my ass. Which is about how believable a fact without citation is if you read and think critically.

Yeah, I also don’t believe that cops hesitate to shoot a black person more than a white person. There is an unfortunately pervasive air of distrust, fear, and suspicion surrounding anyone who isn’t white/of European descent in this country.

Fischer has one valid point: the media loves sensationalism. And it doesn’t care much for truth. But the target of this distortion and misinformation is not cops. Not entirely, anyway. Ironically, Fischer may be blind to the experience of the black community because it doesn’t fit neatly into his beliefs…or agenda.

I consider myself a reasonable, rational person, and although I have better things to do than watch the news all day, I think I have a feel for the social climate. (I must, if I’m always writing about society.) Black people aren’t exactly living unfettered in America. Police may be afraid to do their jobs, but black people are afraid to live their lives.

I hope that’s a fair observation, since I am neither black nor a cop.

My grandmother weighed in on this and said if she were black she just would’ve joined the Black Panthers. My 80-year-old grandmother would’ve been a Black Panther.

Even white people are afraid to be black.

Seriously though, it really bothers me that Fischer is standing up for cops — and would probably stand up for anyone as long as they weren’t black.

But let’s get to the part that really made my blood boil.

“There is also some evidence that Kaepernick has turned away from Christianity and embraced Islam. He has an Islamic girlfriend, and has sent Ramadan greetings out on his social media accounts. Islam is virulently anti-American, as exemplified by the rhetoric and behavior of the Nation of Islam. It’s entirely possible that Kaepernick’s mind and heart have been poisoned by the dark energy coming from Islam and the anti-police Black Lives Matter movement.

At any rate, this is a sad development. I have always been a Kaepernick fan, and have been pulling for him to make a comeback and become the happy, carefree superstar quarterback he was when he rocketed to fame in 2013. Instead, he seems to have become sullen and angry. It’s a shame.”

I…I don’t even know where to begin. Give me a minute.

Okay, first of all, WHO THE FUCK CARES if he’s “turned away from Christianity and embraced Islam”??? Except that you believe that Americans can only be Christian. And white.

And there’s some evidence. Like, enough evidence? A rumor? He was spotted near a Mosque once? He said he was Muslim? “Some evidence” is not affirmative evidence. Let’s get that shit straight.

Oh shit, he has a Muslim girlfriend and sends out Ramadan greetings on social media. Holy fucking shit. Two of my best friends are Muslim, I have many friends that are Muslim, and I wish my close Muslim friends Ramadan Mubarak and Eid Mubarak. AM I MUSLIM TOO?????

No, I’m just a sympathizer. Still, sound the damn alarms and send homeland security to come get me.

I’m sorry, Fischer, but that is some dumb fucking bullshit.

Clarification: I’m not sorry. That was sarcasm. I figured Fischer wouldn’t be intelligent or perceptive enough to know the difference.

Those actually practicing Islam are peaceful people who aren’t filled with hate, much like those actually practicing Christianity. I guess that Mr. Fischer isn’t a true Christian by that definition.

But what do I know? I’m a dirty Catholic.

Islam is not anti-American. If anything, America is anti-Islam and is the antithesis of Islam (and likely Judaism, Christianity, any religion with any sense of morality…). What rhetoric and behavior? YOU HAVE TO BE MORE SPECIFIC.

Let’s take a look at this, another post shared by the same guy that shared Fischer’s post.

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“Still we welcome them here.” Them. Them. THEM. I’ll say this for the 487th time, all Muslims are not these Muslims. These Muslims do not represent all Muslims, unless Trump represents all white people. He does not. How do I know? He sure as hell doesn’t represent me, and so he doesn’t represent everyone. And referring to Muslims as them, like I imagine Hitler referred to the Jews, is inherently combative and divisive.

Posts like these, writing like Fischer’s, hateful words meant to demonize Islam just because it’s different and you don’t know a damn thing about it and only know it even exists because of the bad examples — this infuriates me. What terrifies me is that people are swept up by it. People like this poster or Fischer are relying on scare tactics to make a point, not facts or actual evidence, not reason or logic. It’s the severely reductionist thinking that some Muslims are bad and violent, so all are, because the media tells me so. If 9/11 had been perpetrated by Christians, would we be hating on them right now? No, because a Christian would never do that? I’m sure most Muslims feel this way about the violent ones.

Think for yourselves, people.

“It’s entirely possible that Kaepernick’s mind and heart have been poisoned by the dark energy coming from Islam and the anti-police Black Lives Matter movement.”

This one sentence is so absolutely painful for me that Dave asked what was wrong.

Poisoned? Are you fucking kidding me? Poisoned? POISONED? It’s entirely possible that most of America has been poisoned by your type of thinking. Actually, pretty sure it’s already happened. That’s the only thing that’s even remotely possible, much less entirely possible about this situation.

And as soon as you mention “dark energy,” you went like a thousand times negative in the respect I had for you. Because it was already at zero. But if I’d had any, it would be gone by, like, a thousand times.

Dark energy? Really? Is that what we’re resorting to? “Well, we can’t really name how Islam is bad or destructive, so let’s just call it ‘dark energy’ to appeal to those uneducated millennials.'”

I don’t support the black lives matter, blue lives matter, or all lives matter movement. In a sense I’m all lives matter, but not in a way that detracts from black, blue, or any life. A life is a life, and it really has no color. The body has color, not the soul.

And it’s not like it’s black lives versus blue lives, like Saints versus Engineers (my alma mater versus my current school). Both matter, and they shouldn’t be competing as to who matters most. Creating and perpetuating that dichotomy is more harmful than Islam or the black community, and that’s exactly what Fischer is doing.

It’s not a sad development. It’s a necessary one. Sure, you’re sad to see it because you like the status quo and don’t want any group but white protestant men to gain any power or have any impact whatsoever.

Yes, he’s sullen and angry because he sees all the discrimination and injustice everyday. He may have experienced it. You have no idea because, again, you’re a favorable skin color, religion, and sex.

It’s not a shame. What is a shame is that someone like you can write posts like these. That white people can tell black people how to act, when we’re all humans. That in the land of the free, we can get mad at someone for exercising his freedom to not stand for the National Anthem. That white people can criticize black people for being “sullen and angry” when we’re the reason they feel that way. That black people are still discriminated against. That anyone who’s “different” is discriminated against…with the rationale that they should have to assimilate because ‘Murica. That we even have to make a big deal over Kaepernick…when there’s way more important things going on in the world. (How’s that war in Syria going?) That I even have to write this damn post.

“The playing of the national anthem before athletic contests is a powerful unifying force in American culture. Players of both teams and fans of both teams stand together, hands over hearts, to honor the nation we all love. All that now has been placed at risk.”

Well when you feel alienated by your teammates, should they subscribe to shit like this, then yes, I wouldn’t feel all that patriotic or much camaraderie with them. I wouldn’t love a nation that makes my community out to be criminals (which you helped above, Fischer). No, it hasn’t been placed at risk because one man decided to protest it. It was placed at risk when you decided to write your post. You played a part in dividing black Americans and white, black Americans and police officers. Good job.

“We’ll have to wait and see if other NFL athletes join Kaepernick in his divisive crusade against America and its flag. He could single handedly make the national anthem a source of racial division rather than a source of unity. We may see boycotts of the national anthem not only in the NFL but in the NBA and major league baseball. We may see boycotts of the anthem at the college and even the high school level.”

I hope they do. I really do. (In fact I heard some NFL teams w ere going to.) America is racially divided. Why not raise awareness? You have to do it somehow, right? We use celebrities to advertise everything from acne medication to home gyms. Why not advertise equality?

It’s not a damn crusade. Again, I’m Catholic, so I know a crusade when I see one. He’s speaking up, which is apparently heinous in a country which prides itself on freedom of speech.

If we do see further boycotts, good. We need it. Because America is not where it should be. I haven’t said the Pledge since high school, when we were forced to. Yes, I still know all the words, but I’m not proud of my country at this point in time. When I am, I’ll happily say it. Along with singing the National Anthem (the title and all the words I do know).

“Here’s hoping that cooler, wiser, and more informed heads will prevail, so that we can continue as one nation to celebrate that America truly is the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave.'”

Lol. If cooler, wiser, and more informed heads prevailed, I’d be in charge, and you’d fucking hate how I ran things. Because Muslims and black people wouldn’t be the bad guys. White assholes might actually be held accountable.

Speaking of accountability, one of my Facebook friends raised a good point: we’re more upset by Kaepernick declining to stand for the National Anthem to make a statement than we are the fact that a rapist served only three months out of six. Where’s the media stink about that? Can I ask more athletes to boycott the National Anthem until we actually crack down on rapists? Our priorities are so fucked. Hell, the only reason anyone cares is because Kaepernick is a major athlete. If he were a high school athlete, maybe some clickbait would have circulated on social media. But we have a nearly perverted fascination (or obsession) with our athletes and celebrities — when that attention could be focused elsewhere and actually do us some good.

Anyway, America will never advance toward the land of the free and the home of the brave as long as we’re putting down parts of our population.

And can I make an earth-shattering point here: part of freedom of speech is the freedom to not speak. Compelling someone to speak (or castigating them for their silence) is no more freedom than ensuring silence by force. They’re not freely choosing to speak; you’re bullying them into it.

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Also try reading this: This Veteran’s Post Defending Colin Kaepernick Is Going Viral

I’ll quote it briefly here: “[T]hat illusion of respect, is not why I am a veteran. Not so a man should be forced to show respect he doesn’t feel. That’s called slavery and I have no respect for that at all. If Americans want this man to respect America, then first they must respect him. If America wants the world’s respect, it must be worthy of respect. America must be worthy of respect. Torture, rendition, indefinite detention, unarmed black men shot down in the street every day, poverty, inequality, voter suppression, racism, bigotry in every form, obstructionism, blind patriotism, NONE of those things are worthy of respect from anybody — least of all an American.”

Words from a veteran, someone we can and should respect.

Anyway, it is Kaepernick’s right to not stand. You’re demonizing him for acting on his rights. Our country is nearing the point where we make someone into a traitor against America for not expressing and using their rights as we see fit. (I use “we” loosely, of course, because I think this is all so stupid.)

It is not an act of treason to remain silent and not stand for the National Anthem. Again, I doubt most Americans know the name, much less the words. Denying someone their rights by forcing them to act as you please (or else face the consequences) does much more go against what America supposedly stands for.

And it’s not like Kaepernick was making a dumb protest, like he doesn’t get paid enough. If anything, we should thank him for maybe raising a bit more awareness for issues we’re all too happy to ignore.

Oh, wait, we’re still ignoring them because we’d rather tear down someone who dared to speak up? Yeah, America is stupid.

I think it’s funny that people get all upset when someone’s idea of freedom of speech is different than theirs, so not only do they attack them, but they act like they’re the victims. Guess what? Just because they don’t agree with you doesn’t mean they’re wrong. They can contradict you or disagree or even tell you you’re incorrect (whether you are or not) and they’re still protected because it’s still freedom of speech. I’m not sure why this is so difficult for some people to comprehend. Yes, you can say whatever you want, but people are also free to respond as they please.

But please, tell me what Kaepernick did wrong. How is he anti-America? Why should he be fired? Because he cares about what’s going on in this country? Because he stood up for something we’d rather not talk about? Because he’s simply not breathing and bleeding ‘Murica? Because the media jumped on him and played to peoples’ fear and gave them the bad guy du jour?

Ah, I think I’m onto something there.

What really scares me is that people actually believe the shit that Fischer spouts. People like Dave’s mom. People I’m close to.

People actually hate and fear Muslims because, well, they’re Muslim. People are so dumb as to be swayed by the (poor) logic of Fischer’s post.

I’ll quote this paragraph again, because to me it’s the most troubling one of the entire post: “There is also some evidence that Kaepernick has turned away from Christianity and embraced Islam. He has an Islamic girlfriend, and has sent Ramadan greetings out on his social media accounts. Islam is virulently anti-American, as exemplified by the rhetoric and behavior of the Nation of Islam. It’s entirely possible that Kaepernick’s mind and heart have been poisoned by the dark energy coming from Islam and the anti-police Black Lives Matter movement.”

It’s not just wrong (“Islam is virulently anti-American”), it’s fear mongering. Islam is a religion, which shouldn’t be tied to politics. Yes, religious beliefs influence politics, but Islam is a neutral entity, like Christianity or Judaism. Islam is about a lifestyle that is pleasing to Allah, not which countries to hate. Sure, America’s values aren’t in line with Islam’s, but many Muslims still live here without issue. The great majority of Muslims just want to practice in peace. If they do want to reform America, it’s only as much as a Christian (like the true kind, not the Christian-only-in-label kind). You could just as easily say that Christianity is anti-American, but so many of us are Christians and that’s okay. Christianity is okay, Islam is not. Why, exactly?

Maybe because many Christians don’t actually care? Or it’s harder to tell that we’re Christian by appearance, unless we wear a cross. (Or we Catholics wear a Crucifix.)

And it infuriates me that he not only connotes having a Muslim girlfriend and being aware of Muslim holidays (like Ramadan, the holy month, which seems akin to the high holy days of the Catholic church, or of Judaism) with being Muslim, but goes on to imply that this is somehow bad, wrong, or anti-American. Being Muslim is not anti-American. Being Muslim is not a bad thing. Muslims are not to be feared. But things like Fischer’s post create a culture of fear. He called Muslim’s influence “dark energy,” for Heaven’s sake! Oh, plus the Black Lives Matter movement. Because, you know, black people are doing just fine and we just want to make police into the enemy.

Nah brah.

As I’ve said before (in Which Rights are Right?), I’m not a fan of group rights, but human rights. Still, both black people and police officers need protection from being demonized. It’s not a mass scheme to make police look bad and black people look good. Again, it really concerns me that Fischer is so against the idea that black people might actually be victims of police violence.

This whole issue just frustrates me to the point that I want to say fuck it, I’m done with this post and don’t want to hear about Kaepernick again. The masses are dumb shits and I’m better than them because I have a brain and use it.

But I can’t.

I asked Dave what he thought of all this and he said he’s seen vets saying they didn’t fight for “pricks like Kaepernick” and whatnot. (I’m going based off what he said.)

Really, now you choose who you fight for? You fight for America and everyone in it. For their right to speak or not.

Apparently even our vets don’t get it (not all of them). This is why I’m so fed up with this country and can’t respect it. Other countries laugh at us. I don’t have that luxury because unfortunately I live here.

Apparently veterans don’t even get that he doesn’t have to stand up. It not that he disrespects or doesn’t appreciate what you’ve done. In fact, he’s showing that appreciation by acting on his rights.

But I won’t harp on this because I don’t have anything to cite for it.

But maybe read this: The Conservative Outrage At Colin Kaepernick Is Incredibly Hypocritical

However, I do agree that a lot of shit is just used to divide us, as Dave said.

But he just said something else that irks me. He was talking about some guy posing with an American flag into pictures that were banned from Instagram. I said I doubt it. I see a lot of things shared on Facebook about various “patriotic” posts or pictures that were banned, and I can conceive literally no reason for them to be banned. I think they just claim they were “banned” and ask for shares to protest this horrible injustice…just to get shares. Holy shit, if the American flag is more offensive than the confederate flag, I give up. If you’re going to bitch about one, bitch about the confederate flag, which is all over the place.

I don’t think any of that is actually banned. They just want people to get angry and share them to get attention. They just want people angry. Because angry people seems to be the only real weapon America has these days. At least on social media, which is a good part of America. It’s an ever growing undercurrent to society, like that sneaky rip tide at the beach. It’s dangerous and you can drown in it.

It’s just dumb. Stop sharing shit like that.

Oh, it’s stupid? Sorry, keep forgetting that most of America is too. It’s rough being intelligent and educated when so many aren’t.

People are so quick to jump on an argument without being informed or taking the time to think.

Kaepernick didn’t stand for the National Anthem. Automatically BAD. Not because he stood up for something he believes in, not because he put his right to good use, but because he didn’t blindly and happily support ‘MERICA.

Have you seen the outrage over some player who KNELT instead of STOOD for the national anthem? Um, I think kneeling shows more respect — oh, and you can see guys on their phones behind him.

I just can’t take it. I have my limits with stupidity.

While I hate to agree with Dave, he’s right; we like America divided. (Okay, he didn’t say that; I extrapolated from what he said about people trying to keep us divided.)

Agreement is boring. We want conflict. We seek conflict to have something to be angry about…instead of addressing that dissatisfaction in our own lives. No, let’s attack a random athlete.

Why worry about the things that actually matter? Those things are hard.

Because we have to. America needs to stop being bottle-fed by the media and actually start thinking for themselves, thinking critically. If you can’t think (critically) for yourself, then you’re an idiot in my book…which is most of America. There is a theme here.

It’s not that fucking hard. But America doesn’t want to try. It wants to be perfect as-is. YOU’RE NOT. TRY HARDER. HOLY SHIT.

People scare me. America scares me. We’re so happy being narrow-minded, unconcerned and stupid that uneducated is okay, even lauded and fear wins out.

No. Don’t be a fucking idiot. To be smart all you have to do is being willing (and able) to learn, and to think critically.

Give it a shot. Seriously.

I consider myself a conservative, but also not stupid. The two shouldn’t be mutually exclusive. Anyway, I support Kaepernick, because he’s not wrong in expressing his rights, and I’m all about rights, border-lining on Libertarian.

To stand or not to stand…is up to the individual. America should try to understand (and correct) the reason, rather than silence it.

But America is stupid, and stupidity is dangerous.

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Texting Etiquette

This is my last post before I start orientation (although it’ll likely be posted long after I’ve actually started at RPI with the way things are going). You’d think I’d write something about starting a new chapter or how I already miss Siena (with a list of things I miss) or how my therapist says I have a problem with change even though I disagree, but no. I’ll save that for after I’ve gotten settled in.

I can’t decide on what to write about; I have lots of ideas and half-started drafts, but none of them capture my interest. I’d write on some, but they’re mostly variations on a theme in this blog. Which is okay, but I feel like I’ve written on them in recent posts. I don’t want to bore you or seem like I’m harping. Dave hates it when I do that. I don’t care whether he doesn’t like it, but I want y’all to like me.

Whatever. I’m resorting to cat-or-sloth on this one.

Cat, of course, has to do with being an asshole, and cat won.

So here we go: texting etiquette, because I’ll be damned, we need some guidelines.

Of course, this will extend beyond texting.

Give Confirmation

This applies to email, too. I hate it if I text someone, especially making plans or offering to meet at a certain time, and I get nothing back. Please don’t leave me hanging. Sure, maybe I should just take your lack of protest in the affirmative, but I hate to make that assumption.

I also hate it when I email a professor on Wednesday morning about a homework assignment due Friday and don’t hear back until Thursday afternoon. I know you checked your email at least once. At least let me know you’ve seen my email.

In light of this, I’ve vowed that when I’m a professor I’m going to check email often, and even if a student asks a question I can’t answer at the moment, I’m going to reply to let them know I’ve seen their email and will give them a time frame for when I’ll reply…which will be in a timely manner.

Update: I’ve gotten a number of emails as a TA already and I’ve always replied within the hour, usually within half an hour.

Don’t Take Five Years to Reply

Seriously. Especially if I see you on your phone when we’re together (I’ll get to that later).

Like am I that unimportant to you? Especially if you texted me two minutes ago and I replied one minute ago. And then it’s hours before you reply? Did my quick reply scare you so much you fainted? Or you threw your phone on the ground and smashed it to bits, then had to go get a new one before you replied?

Bloody hell.

If I don’t really want to carry on a conversation, I won’t reply immediately, so they don’t think I’m right on my phone. If I want to phase out a conversation, I’ll start replying farther and farther apart, so they don’t think I’m on my phone constantly (I also won’t appear on Facebook; see below).

Yes, the beauty of texting is that you don’t have to reply. I use that to my advantage when dating and suddenly have to cut off contact with a bunch of guys because I’ve settled on one. (Okay, I use a slow fade with some, but not if we’ve only been texting/messaging a day; see more on online dating below.)

But if we’re friends, holy hell, reply to me!

If I’ve Texted You and You Haven’t Replied, Don’t be on Facebook

Even worse, don’t like my posts! (I have friends that do this.) Yes, super-sleuth that I am, I will check to see if you’ve been on Facebook since I texted (or Facebook messaged) you.* I think it’s safe to assume that many people have Facebook on their phone, especially in my generation.

*That’s mostly reserved for Dave. though. Other times I just happen to notice and make the connection.

And then I see that yes, you have been on Facebook. Again, I’m 99% certain you’ve been on your phone in the two hours (or two days) since I contacted you. And I’m pretty sure you use Facebook on your phone (if not Facebook, then some other social media thing which involves using your phone), which means you’ve seen that I contacted you.

With Facebook messenger it’s really easy to tell if someone is ignoring you.

What troubles me is that my so-called friends ignore me.

Don’t be on Your Phone when We’re Together

I suppose long-term couples are a bit different, plus friends who see each other a lot, or close family. But there are still some lines to be drawn.

I still find it rude when Dave texts, or worse, takes phone calls while we’re out having dinner. Hell, once he took a phone call (from his one friend I do not like, for good reason) before we were going to have, ahem, we-time. That certainly killed the mood (yet he didn’t understand what was wrong).

He used to be on his phone all the time with his friends, even during our dates (or he’d somehow invite them along), which irked me. That’s died down, thankfully.

But I’ll be engrossed in Facebook these days just because I know it annoys him to be ignored.

My mom (or grandparents) never had an issue with me listening to music in the car. To me, that’s a sign that I’m comfortable with you. Dave throws a bitch fit if I dare do this, yet he won’t listen to my music with me, so…

I use my phone sparingly around my grandparents, for example. Unless I have a photo or video to show them. I try not to be on it too much.

When out with my bestie (whom I don’t get to see often), we both refrain from phone use, save for a couple times when our SO texts. (She’s terrible at texting, or so she claims, but she seems okay with it when we’re together.) If anything, I text more than she does because Dave is very insecure about us going out together because he for some reason thinks we’re going to get drunk and I’m going to bring home a new boyfriend.

He’s been there anytime we’ve drank together. But he even gets jealous if I text even one friend too much with him.

Anyway…I ignored lots of calls from my mom, plus calls and texts from others, on my first date with Dave. It’s not that hard to put the phone aside.

Hell, I won’t even blatantly text in front of professors I respect, whether or not we’re in class.

So whether or not you text in front of someone depends on your comfort and respect level, but in general, if it’s excessive I’m going to label it “not cool.”

Don’t Suddenly Drop Off if You Usually Text A Lot

Maybe it has to do with my past, but I hate it when someone I text a lot during the day suddenly goes off the grid and doesn’t contact me once all day.

For some this would cause them to worry something had happened to them, but for me it sends me into a panic that something is going to happen to me.

For clarification, my last ex (who was unstable and violent) usually texted me many times a day and complained if I didn’t text right back; the one day he didn’t contact me once I was sick to my stomach with stress and knew something was wrong. When he finally came home, a violent and terrifying break-up ensued.

I asked Dave why he thought I hated when he didn’t text all day.

“You think I died?”

“No.”

Apparently I’d never told him about that one night. I thought I did.

Sure, he’s told me he’s going to Stewart’s (which should be no more than a 20-minute round trip) and forty minutes later he texts me asking what I want at Stewart’s (not only had I been worried, but I wondered WTF he was doing), and I was somewhat worried about him, but suddenly dropping contact for a day could also make someone wonder what they did to piss you off.

If you’re trying to “give them space” (Dave), then let them know before you just stop texting and we’re left wondering if you backed over your phone six times and got a new one with a new number just because you didn’t want to talk to us.

Give Updates

In this same vein, give a person updates if they’re waiting on you. Whether you’re stuck in traffic or something you expected to be quick took way longer than anticipated, if someone is waiting on you (or might worry about you), let them know what’s up.

When we were first dating, Dave texted me that he was going to be a bit late to pick me up and was all worried that I’d be mad. I appreciated it and wasn’t upset in the least. If anything, it gave me more time to agonize over my appearance.

Now, he can say he’ll be home at two and won’t be home until four with no notice. When we had plans. Sometimes time-sensitive. Not okay.

Show some respect and let people know what your status is if they’re depending on you.

No Caps Lock

It’s so annoying to read posts, comments, or texts in all caps…save for some cases when someone has a hard time seeing tiny letters or in the case of my uncle Mike, who always texted in all caps. BRING HOME SOME BOOM BOOMS is one I remember vividly. He was asking me to bring home fireworks from New Hampshire. But that’s Mike, and that’s a special case.

In general, I reserve all caps for emphasis, if italics won’t work. ALL CAPS JUST GETS WEIRD TO READ AFTER A WHILE. IT’S LIKE YOU’RE CONSTANTLY YELLING. YOU DEFINITELY JUST READ THIS AS IF I WERE YELLING AT YOU. I KNOW I DID WHEN I PROOFED THIS.

“LOL” Means “I’m Lightening This Up and I’m Likely Uncomfortable”

So guilty of this. I’ve dated a lot of guys that were super nice, but I just wasn’t into them.

Him: “We should totally hang out again!”

Me: “Yeah, like everyday lol”

Or I employed “lol” liberally when I was trying to phase a guy out.

Him: “So when are you free this week?”

Me: “Not at all. So much homework lol.”

Or I use it when I’m uncertain of what you mean.

Them: “I just don’t get people.”

Me: “Lol yeah…”

Or when I’m uncertain what to say.

Them: “Miss you so much!”

Me: “Hopefully I’ll see you soon lol”

Or, in the case of Dave:

Him: “Love you, miss you, hope you miss me too”

Me: “Lol”

Savage. It’s so accurate and that’s what’s funny. Literal lol.

But seriously, if someone uses “lol,” think about it. I sometimes use it when I’m amused (context should help; if nothing actually funny has happened, that’s not a good sign). If I actually lol, I tell them I literally loled.

Throw a Friend a Like

If I see my close, actual, real life friend updated their profile picture or posted something, I’ll usually like it. I like to think they’ll do the same for me.

Or, if I see they’ve liked a lot of my stuff lately, I’ll like their stuff (which Dave hates because it means I like a guy with a rival beard’s profile picture).

Hell, I assume anyone who likes this blog has to be a pretty good friend. I doubt anyone else reads it.

This blog has made me even more insecure.

If they’re a good friend, you should throw them a “like” automatically. If they’re a middle-ground friend and they have zero-to-six-likes, throw them a “like.”

That’s by my standards though. Seven likes is an okay post for me. It’s nothing compared to some of my friends, whose “okay” post gleans 70 likes, but still…give your friends a confidence boost when they need one.

Proof Read

Lately Dave has sent me a lot of texts with “ducking” or “hitching” in them. As you can see below.
Screenshot_2016-08-10-16-52-59

And then there was this, when I was trying to decide which kitten to keep.

Screenshot_2016-05-09-14-21-07

Like how hard is it to take an extra second to proof-read what you’re sending? If I somehow send an auto-correct, I right away send a follow-up to actually correct it. No hesitation. Even with Dave, who could probably interpret it.

I take the time to read over my text, or Facebook message, or email (especially if it’s important), because I care about sounding smart and looking good. It shows care and effort. Respect.

Check Your Recipient

I’ve only texted the wrong person once or twice in my entire life. Because I’m anal about making sure I text the right party.

If I’m texting (or even emailing) sensitive material, I triple-check the recipient.

Once I was texting a male colleague about an assignment at the same time I was texting my now-ex (the same one as above) and I accidentally texted him something about the assignment and he started freaking out about me texting some other guy. Really?

But now if I’m texting something benign, I double check. If it’s not so innocent, I triple (or quadruple) check. Because “Dave” and “Dave’s Mom” used to show up simultaneously when I searched for “Dave” in my phone. I switched her to “Mom K” some time ago, but still…

I still have to triple check before I send emails to myself with pictures for this blog.

I’ve gotten a wrong number text or two in my time, and I was cool, but next time I’ll probably fuck with them.

Mind Your Tone

Tone doesn’t really translate well through any electronic medium, so you have to be careful. There is no tone electronically. It’s up to the recipient to apply the tone.

I use this to my advantage, but to many, it’s a severe disadvantage.

Consider how what you’re saying will be taken by your recipient.

I love a good ambiguous message, where the meaning of what you said is dependent upon the tone, which depends on your mood/your biases/their mood/their biases.

Love that shit.

It’s like if I texted Dave saying “We still haven’t gone to dinner,” it could be like “Oh yeah, we never did that — we should.” Or “We still haven’t gone to dinner like you said.”

I suppose that might be cleared up with context. But a hearty “whatever” will often do the trick. Or, depending on the situation, an “okay” when a longer or more enthusiastic reply might be expected.

“Ok” means I’m annoyed. “K” means I’m pissed.

potassium

Or, even worse, when my grandfather leaves a voicemail: “It’s Papa. Call me back.” Like WTF? Did someone die or are you inviting me to dinner? Is Gramma in the hospital or do you need a hand with some yardwork? I am 99.9999% certain he does this on purpose. Gramma does it too.

No Drunk Texting

Drunk texts are just the worst. You think you’re clever or funny or whatever, when really you’re just annoying as hell. I mean, maybe it’s amusing if you’re really making an ass out of yourself, but in my experience, it’s like “Imma just throw my phone in the toilet and get a new number.” Then again, I’ve only really dealt with dumb drunk guys asking for threesomes and telling me they checked out other girls, then crying because they love me so much and I’m the best thing that ever happened to them.

Oh, and I’ve been cheated on because my ex was drinking. Maybe I just don’t like or trust guys drinking if I’m not there with them.

Anyway, I may text while I drink, but I proof it like four times (those Grammar-Nazi habits die hard) before I send it and when I get too drunk, I just stop texting.

I realize the point (okay, a major attraction) of getting drunk is doing things you normally wouldn’t — and probably shouldn’t — and will likely later regret.

But screenshots are forever…especially if the recipient is me, who has it backed up in three places before you’ve even started your next drink. By the time you sober up, I’ll have shared it with my friends and we’ll all be laughing at you.

Okay, I’ll have decided to break up with you. That’s more accurate.

Avoid Group Messages

I understand that sometimes it’s a necessary evil. Maybe you’re collaborating on a project or trying to make plans with a group.

But for Heaven’s sake, if you need to ask me and someone else the same question, take the extra second of effort and text us separately. The more people involved, the greater the offense. Even if I want to be a part of this conversation, I don’t want my phone blown up when the other 100 people you’ve made a part of this reply nonstop for a bit.

Okay, maybe it’s only three other people, but it sounds like 100 when my phone is going off every two seconds.

Just don’t do it, unless it’s absolutely necessary.

Don’t Facebook Message Me

That is, if you have my number, or there’s no reason for you not to have my number and text me.

Maybe this is a personal thing; the more names I have in my phone, the more important I feel. So when you won’t give me the satisfaction of adding you as a contact, it irks me. And makes me feel insignificant.

Texting to Talk

It’s not that this bothers me, or that you should or should not do it. I’m just bad at/awkward about it. Literally the only person I text just to chat with throughout the day is Dave. My friends contact me if they have some crisis (I’m like a first responder); otherwise we might text for a few hours at most every couple weeks talking/venting about whatever.

Surprisingly, there are some people I’d actually like to have ongoing conversations with. But they don’t seem to want it with me (see “Don’t Take Five Years to Respond”).

Yet at the same time, maybe because I don’t experience it in my everyday life, I’m like, “Do people really text just to talk? Or is it mostly because they want or need something?” Like what would I even talk about with other people? Dave and I can blather on about most anything and it needn’t flow logically. Do people have that with other people?

What’s wrong with me? (After my first day of orientation, I’m seriously wondering why I’m so lacking in social skills, which will probably be an upcoming post).

Anyway, this is something I just don’t understand.

No Spam Texting

For me, guys that are interested in me (but I’m not interested in them) tend to spam text me. Like they just text me many times with a row without any reply from me.

As I once wrote (and maybe quoted here?): how desperate are you if you chase someone like this after one night of mediocre conversation? I am not that interesting. I’m not even that nice. I’m not even a very good person. And I sure as hell am not so drop-dead stunningly gorgeous that you just can’t let me go.

Also this (and the caps were because I was yelling in my head):

MEN (AND EVERYONE ELSE): IF SOMEONE DOES NOT RESPOND TO YOUR TEXT, THERE IS PROBABLY A REASON. NOW, IT MAY BE THAT YOU HAVE THE WRONG NUMBER OR THEIR PHONE ISN’T WORKING – AND THESE EXUCSES DON’T EVEN APPLY TO ONLINE CHATTING – BUT IT MAY BE SIMPLY BECAUSE THEY ARE BUSY! THEY HAVE LIVES! AND YOU CAN BET THAT, IF YOU KEEP SENDING ONE TEXT AFTER ANOTHER, THEIR REASON WILL BE THAT YOU’RE JUST TOO FUCKING ANNOYING. SPAMMING SOMEONE WITH TEXTS DOES NOT MAKE THEM REPSOND; IN FACT, IT HAS THE OPPOSITE EFFECT. IT MAKES YOU SEEM NEEDY AND LIKE YOU DON’T HAVE A LIFE. IF YOU TEXT THEM AND THEY’RE BUSY, THEY’LL SEE IT LATER. IF THEY DO SEE IT AND DON’T RESPOND, WELL…THAT’S YOUR PROBLEM, NOT THEIRS.

I know I’ve quoted that before.

Anyway, as I said above, if I don’t respond, I’m most likely busy, in rare cases my phone is dead, or I actually don’t want to talk to you. However, none of these are reasons to keep texting me. If I haven’t seen your text already and ignored it, then I have yet to see it, and I will reply.

Hell, I hesitate to text even more than twice in a row, whether it’s autocorrect or I forgot something. If I look at my phone and see four or more texts from you, I’m like what the fuck.

But like really, one text will suffice. If it’s more than a day, another to check up is acceptable. More than that, and I’m either ignoring you or you need to try another method of contacting me. The status of our relationship will tell you which.

No Chain Texts

Maybe these were fun in middle school? That text like “If you don’t do this by midnight you’ll have bad luck for seven years” or “Do this and you’ll get kissed by your crush tomorrow” and of course, you always have to send to like ten other people. Some just tell you to pass it on with no benefit to you.

Like I’ve had seven years of bad luck in two years and Dave tries to kiss me and I fight him off.

It’s not that I feel obligated to pass it on; I’m more like, “You’re my age and you still buy into these things?”

No Texting, then Immediately Calling

An extension of this is calling my home phone, getting no answer, then immediately calling my cell. (You know, when I last had a home phone two years ago.)

If the situation is really desperate — well, go for the phone first. If you get voicemail, send a text. Maybe try calling again. I get that calling is more immediate than a text could be.

But then why text, then call? Are you that impatient for a reply? Then just call first, and text as a follow-up if you don’t get me.

And when people used to call my cell (and I didn’t answer) then two seconds later call my home phone, it just annoyed me.

Leave a Damn Voicemail

I HATE it when people call me and don’t leave a voicemail. How am I supposed to to know whether to care or not?

Clearly it wasn’t important enough to warrant a voicemail…but it was important enough to earn a phone call.

If you feel the need to call me rather than send a text, at least leave a message. Seriously. Or else I’m likely to think it was a butt-dial and never return your call.

Read Receipts

I hate these, yet I’m tempted to do it when I email a professor and want to know if they’ve seen my email (as mentioned above). However, in my experience you choose when to acknowledge you’ve read the email (which I never did because it was asking me to work extra hours).

Also, I feel like it makes you super pretentious and obnoxious, like you’re so important that you have to know if your email has been read. Like when you can pay to use a dating site for “advanced” features like knowing who’s looked at your profile or if someone read your message.

No, be average and wonder like the rest of us.

Online Dating

I’m thinking I may make this a post in itself, because, well, it’s a scary world.

Actually, many of the above points roll into this one. Don’t repeatedly message me, don’t suddenly drop off if we’ve been talking a while with no explanation, don’t stalk me, don’t harass me…I suppose it’s unavoidable to be on (and I know you’re on) if you haven’t replied because the point is to peruse people — but if we’ve been chatting a lot, it might be kind of rude.

Oh, and when I don’t reply or I’m not interested or I try to let you down, don’t freak out on me.

Again, this one is a bit complex to be one point on a list.

No Breaking Up Over Text

BIG no-no.

But, of course, it happened to me. While I was at work. That was a rough day.

To me it just shows complete disrespect, but also immaturity. Like you didn’t even care enough to do it to my face, and you really didn’t give a shit if you decided it’d be okay to do while I was at work, when I couldn’t really react.

I’d only ever do that to someone if I really hated them and wanted them to suffer…but then I’d also want to do it in person to fully relish their misery.

Also, I don’t think Dave would even believe it if I broke up with him over text. He won’t believe it in any form, but especially text because it’s so scummy.

But I think it’s rooted in immaturity. Like you can’t handle the idea of breaking up with me in person because it might get messy. But it’s a break-up. You want out so badly you’re ready to end it. The price you pay is the awkwardness and discomfort of having that conversation.

Yes, I once broke up with a guy on the phone. My plan had been to at least Skype, but it just kind of happened. And I was only going to do it via Skype because I didn’t want to drive to his college just to break up with him and have it get weird. To make a trip solely to break up with someone seems…odd to me.

So, if circumstances permit, have a little decency and break up in person, and NEVER over text.

 

So there we have it. Texting (okay, social media and electronic communication) etiquette. I feel like these things should be common sense, but apparently not, since I had to write this post.

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Women and Wine

I’m so excited because I’m writing this on my new laptop. (You’d think if I were that excited I’d maybe throw an exclamation point in there, but whatever.)

It’s one of those touch screen ones, and I’m absolutely enthralled by it.

I’d like to thank Dave (which I can safely do, knowing he’ll never read this) for researching laptops for me and helping me pick a good one.

Anyway, so I’m done with orientation at RPI. Classes start Monday. But I’m still not going to talk about RPI. Besides, I’m so backlogged on posts right now that by the time this is published anyway, I’ll probably have been there a month.

Ha, I’ve actually been there about a month as I finally proof this.

I don’t actually have a theme for this post, or a topic, really. That doesn’t mean this is going to be scattered rambling though. I mean, no worse than usual.

Here I’m responding to something I read during the week that very much rubbed me the wrong way. And it’s relevant because it has to do with being a woman and I happen to be one.

Here’s the link: Giving up alcohol opened my eyes to the infuriating truth about why women drink

It’s also relevant because I love my wine.

If you’re too lazy to read it, don’t worry. I’ll be quoting it.

So here we go.

Allow me to begin with the title: Giving up alcohol opened my eyes to the infuriating truth about why women drink

2016-08-08_19.57.11
My reaction when someone talks about giving up alcohol

Okay, so for me this translates to: “I’m a millennial hoping for my 15 minutes of fame by rebelling against something a lot of people do (i.e. the status quo) and recording my forced enlightenment on the internet because everyone but me is wrong and I know everything because I’m being *~*AlTeRnAtIvE*~* and because I’m different I’m clearly superior.”

That was annoying for me to even type.

But I’m sure y’all know the type I’m talking about. The clues include: “giving up,” which implies you’re about to say you did something the rest of us won’t/don’t care to so you’re automatically better; “opened my eyes,” there’s your pseudo-enlightenment bit; “infuriating truth” oh you’re MAD…of course you fucking are — is anyone anything but mad these days on the interwebs?; “why women” women is enough of a buzzword now (in a weird way), but then to add “why” so as to attempt to explain why we do something and lump us all together? Presumptuous and pretentious.

But let me actually get to the text.

“I’m newly sober and dog-paddling through the booze all around me. It’s summer, and Whole Foods has planted rosé throughout the store. Rosé is great with fish! And strawberries! And vegan protein powder! (Okay, I made that last one up.)”

You lost my respect with the word vegan. But I’ll permit you to continue for my own amusement.

“At the office, every desk near mine has a bottle of wine or liquor on it in case people are too lazy to walk the 50 feet to one of the well-stocked communal bars we’ve built on our floor. Driving home from work, I pass billboard ads for Fluffed Marshmallow Smirnoff and Iced Cake Smirnoff and not just Cinnamon, but Cinnamon Churros Smirnoff. A local pharmacy, the same one that fucks up my prescription three months in a row, installs self-service beer taps and young men line up with their empty growlers all the way back to Eye & Ear Care.”

Where the hell do you work? And what pharmacy is this? Because I want to apply and they’re onto something!

Also, if you’re looking for (or avoiding) something, you’re going to see it everywhere. If I don’t want to think about the guy that just dumped me, everything is going to remind me of him because life is cruel. If it’s on your mind, even negatively (perhaps especially negatively?), you’re focusing on it and it’s going to stand out to you. If I started paying attention to alcohol advertising and consumption, sure, I’d see it. But right now, it doesn’t stand out to me.

But if people want to complain about something, they’ll find it.

Maybe because they need validation.

“I mingle empty-handed for 15 minutes, fending off well-meaning offers to get me something from the bar. After the fifth, I realize I’m going to cry if one more person offers me alcohol. I leave and cry anyway. Later I order vanilla ice cream from room service to cheer myself up. ‘People love this with a shot of bourbon poured over it,’ the person taking my order says. ‘Any interest in treating yourself?'”

Well, you were at a company-sponsored wine tasting (what a wonderful idea, what an ungrateful bitch), so yeah, people are going to offer you alcohol. You want to cry over that? Geez…maybe you need a drink.

And I’ve never been offered alcohol as much as you have. Which leaves me with one question: what’s your secret?

“That’s the summer I realize that everyone around me is tanked. But it also dawns on me that the women are super double tanked — that to be a modern, urbane woman means to be a serious drinker…The things women drink are signifiers for free time and self-care and conversation — you know, luxuries we can’t afford. How did you not see this before? I ask myself. You were too hammered, I answer back. That summer I see, though. I see that booze is the oil in our motors, the thing that keeps us purring when we should be making other kinds of noise.”

Oh really, everyone around you is tanked? I’m amazed you weren’t involved in some sort of DWI-related accident.

Sarcasm aside, not everyone is tanked, and certainly not all the time. Most people have to live sober lives, and also enjoy intoxicated breaks from that. I like drinking, but I also have to be a functioning member of society, unfortunately. It’s about balance.

And I’m no more tanked than anyone else. And I’m definitely no more into drinking than males…save for Dave.

I take me-time that doesn’t involve alcohol. For example, I sleep.

I’m kidding. I write, I walk, I enjoy popcorn while I mindlessly watch TV…I’ve always understood the importance of me-time, even before I had my first taste of evil ethanol.

I’m not a serious drinker (that smacks of alcoholism), but I am serious about drinking. As a method of unwinding and appreciating and rewarding myself. If you don’t like that, get over it and go back to your yoga.

Relaxation isn’t a luxury, but it is sometimes hard to afford. If I carve out time to unwind with wine, then let me be.

And of course, you were blind because you were hammered. Girl, I don’t think you were shitfaced every minute of every day, and if you were, perhaps it’s for the best that you quit. But during my sober hours I’m clear-minded (if not a bit tired these days) and can think straight. Nobody should be drinking so much that they’re constantly in some drunk/hungover haze.

Booze is the oil in our motors, eh? Okay, so what if it wasn’t the booze making us purr, but a wild and satisfying sex life? Would you tell us that this is also empty and the wrong way to be happy and that we should also give up sex to achieve the same kind of guru-like clarity you’ve achieved?

Like is it wrong to use something to help us be happy? Should we just be in a naturally happy state? Is using food or drink or sex or whatever an artificial route to happiness that’s unacceptable?

And what other noise should we be making? A discontented growl? A long-suffering groan? An over-tired laugh on the verge of tears?

“One day that summer I’m wearing unwise (but cute, so cute) shoes and trip at the farmer’s market…Naturally, I post about it on Facebook as soon as I’ve dusted myself off. Three women who don’t know I’m sober comment quickly: ‘Wine. Immediately.’ ‘Do they sell wine there?’ ‘Definitely wine. And maybe new shoes.’…Have I mentioned that it’s morning when this happens? On a weekday?…And the women aren’t the kind of beleaguered, downtrodden creatures you imagine drinking to get through the day. They’re pretty cool chicks…Why do they need to drink? Well, maybe because even cool chicks are still women. And there’s no easy way to be a woman, because, as you may have noticed, there’s no acceptable way to be a woman. And if there’s no acceptable way to be the thing you are, then maybe you drink a little. Or a lot.”

First of all, that’s why you don’t wear dumb shoes, no matter how cute they are. I survive on flip-flops and boots and I’m okay. (Seriously though, I can do anything in flip-flops because I grew up wearing them and doing, well, anything. So when people are incredulous about my footwear for a hike or ask if I’m regretting the flops, I proudly say no, I got this.)

And really, you trip so you run to Facebook to report it? Shit, I’ve really lost any ounce of respect I had for you after you tossed vegan out there. Facebook isn’t everything, honey. Maybe you’d do well to give that up next and realize its evils so you can tell all of us why we should give it up.

And really, who the hell are your friends that their responses are immediately “ALCOHOL”? Like maybe part of your problem is your work environment and friends, not alcohol. If I were vain enough to post about how I tripped in public, my friends either wouldn’t comment or would lol at me.

I wouldn’t even think about drinking to get over my “trauma.”

Also, the fact that you use “chicks” makes me want to vomit and drink more wine. Also, even less respect. A “chick” is something my brother calls women when describing their assets or his one-night-stands. You’re doing respectable women a disservice by lumping them in with “chicks.” Also, it’s very…’90s?

And yes, being a woman is hard. We get it. I get it. But I don’t go through life as a woman. I stride through as an intelligent individual with a good dose of drive and some mystical air about me that makes people like me. It’s not about being a woman. It’s about, I don’t know, my personality? My intelligence? My skills? My experience?

Never have I faced discrimination because I was a woman, nor do I look for that. I’d assume first that someone dislikes me for any number of reasons (I’m not exactly a pleasant person). If everything else could be ruled out, then sure, being a woman could be an issue. But I don’t walk around like I have something to prove as a woman. If I shouldn’t be discriminated against because I’m a female, then I shouldn’t rely on being female to protect me from criticism. Does that make sense?

Also, I don’t drink because I’m a woman. I drink because I’m always stressed the fuck out and thanks to bipolar I have racing thoughts that I sometimes need a break from. Drinking helps me stop stressing and thinking for a bit. It’s not an escape. Just…a vacation. I know I’m coming back.

You can criticize that, but even going for a drive and blasting my music is an escape. Is that also bad?

Bottom line: I don’t care that I’m a woman. I don’t care if I’m being a woman the “right” way (in fact, I’m most likely not). I care about success. I care about enjoying life from time to time. Sorry if you don’t like how I manage those things.

“Three guys and me, talking to summer interns about company culture. There are two female interns in the audience, and when it’s time for questions, one says: ‘I’ve heard this can be a tough place for women to succeed. Can you talk about what it’s been like for you?’…I assume for some reason that the question is directed at me. ‘If you’re tough and persistent and thick-skinned, you’ll find your way,’ I say. ‘I have.’ I don’t say she’ll have to work around interruptions and invisibility and micro-aggressions and a scarcity of role models and a lifetime of her own conditioning. My job on this panel is to make this place sound good, so I leave some stuff out. Particularly the fact that I’m drinking at least one bottle of wine a night to dissolve the day off of me.”

She goes on to talk about how all three guys undermine her and tell her she’s wrong about what the company is like for a woman.

As soon as you mention “micro-agressions,” I tune out. First of all, if “micro” is in the word, it’s probably not worth paying attention to or it’s something you really have to look for to be offended by. I have a post in the works that’s dealing with this more in detail.

And seriously, if you’re drinking a bottle a day? Either you have a problem or you need to quit ASAP or both. Seriously. That’s not a societal problem; that’s a personal problem. Don’t try to blame it on society making women drink because their lives are sad and inadequate.

Also, how do you not gain weight? TELL ME YOUR SECRETS.

And yes, men are going to speak over you. Find your damn voice. If it really makes you that angry, you’ll find it within you to speak up. I’ve done it and I’m shy as hell. So it’s possible.

“Do you remember the Enjoli perfume commercial from the 1970s? The chick who could bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan, and never let you forget you’re a man? I blame that bitch for a lot. For spreading the notion that women should have a career, keep house, and fuck their husbands, when the only sane thing to do is pick two and outsource the third. For making it seem glamorous. For suggesting it was going to be fun. And for the tagline she dragged around: ‘The 8-Hour Perfume for the 24-Hour Woman.’ Just in case you thought you could get one fucking hour off the clock.”

I don’t remember it because I wasn’t even conceived, but I can confidently say that I’d outsource sex. Because it’s definitely not glamorous nor fun.

Um, anyway…I could bitch that students these days are supposed to be 24-hour students. To get into med school you need a 4.0, shadowing, volunteer work, to be working on a cure for cancer in your basement, to have a solution to world hunger, and also be a leader with extracurriculars.

Nope. I don’t get much time off the clock, especially now as a grad student when I have to balance lab work, TAing, and my core course. I’m going to be damn near a literal 24-hour student. Do you hear me bitching? Well, yes. But not because something need to change. Just because it sucks. Nothing to do with having a uterus.

Also, apparently we women jumped on that idea of glamorous housework, a fun job, and having to have sex on occasion. So, um, kind of our fault too, not just the commercial for putting the idea in our heads (or so you say).

“More tales of my first sober summer: I go to an afternoon showing of Magic Mike at one of those fancy theaters that serves cocktails…A few rows ahead of me, a group of women are drinking champagne through straws. They whoop and holler at the screen as though at an actual Chippendale’s. In the parking lot afterward, one of them says to the others: ‘Girl time! We have to claim our girl time.’ ‘We’ve earned this,’ another replies. And then they drive off in separate directions.”

Bitch, how about instead of hating on drinking like you’re on some dry high horse for a moment, you actually realize that many women don’t get a chance to go out with friends and get their drink on?

We have earned our unwinding, regardless of sex or how we choose to do it. Calm down. I know you’re eager to demonize alcohol and its consumers because you quit, but really, just shut the fuck up. We do have to claim me-time (and girl-time) because life is so eager to take it from us.

She goes on to tell about a baby shower at a nail parlor where the women are drinking and one is egging on the impending mother to drink.

Is it really that hard, being a First World woman? Is it really so tough to have the career and the spouse and the pets and the herb garden and the core strengthening and the oh-I-just-woke-up-like-this makeup and the face injections and the Uber driver who might possibly be a rapist? Is it so hard to work ten hours for your rightful 77% of a salary, walk home past a drunk who invites you to suck his cock, and turn on the TV to hear the men who run this country talk about protecting you from abortion regret by forcing you to grow children inside your body? I mean, what’s the big deal? Why would anyone want to soften the edges of this glorious reality?”

Okay, I don’t have a career or a spouse, yes to pets but definitely not an herb garden, no core workout, my face looks hideous in the morning, absolutely no face injections, and no ubers. I work for a salary independent of my nether regions, don’t have drunk people asking me to go down, and would rather abortion wasn’t such an easy answer. I don’t even know what I care to say here except that your perception of women is wrong.

No, being a woman isn’t glorious, but really, neither is being a human. An adult human. It all sucks in one way or another. Like I said, I don’t drink because I’m a woman; I drink because life is hard no matter what reproductive role you play.

She describes a few alcohol-infused experiences of hers, then: “[K]nives and booze, yoga and booze, 13 mile runs and booze? What’s next to be liquored up: CPR training? Puppy ballet class? (Not really a thing, but someone should get on it.) Is there nothing so inherently absorbing or high-stakes or pleasurable that we won’t try to alter our natural response to it? Maybe women are so busy faking it — to be more like a man at work, more like a porn star in bed, more like 30 at 50 — that we don’t trust our natural responses anymore. Maybe all that wine is an Instagram filter for our own lives, so we don’t see how sallow and cracked they’ve become.”

 I suppose you could also complain about social events that involve food (perhaps as some kind of reward or incentive for going?). How dare they offer me refreshments for sitting through this seminar? They’re going to try to feed me during my orientation? They’re going to have cookies and juice available after I give blood? Evil, I tell you, evil!

Cool, you gave up drinking, so it’s heinous to offer alcohol. I gave up fried foods long ago, but I don’t seethe when others around me eat them or offer them to me. I don’t hold others in contempt at holidays when they eat the delicious desserts I sacrificed some time ago. The only time I fumed (with envy) when others drank around me was when I was too young to buy my own alcohol. If you’re choosing not to partake, you can’t really bitch that it’s available for others, or look down on them for enjoying. Abstaining from something doesn’t give you the right to judge everyone who isn’t following your ways.

Hell, I’m going to assume she’s an average woman who’s likely had premarital sex. So does that mean someone who’s choosing to abstain until marriage get to scowl at her behind her back (or not) and condemn her for such a choice? Maybe she’s using sex to fill the void left by simply being a woman.

I enjoy many things in life without an alcoholic filter. I love hikes. And nature. I love my music. I love my cats. I love sleep. And food. Drinking is just one kind of fun. It’s not a requirement for any kind of fun.

I think that’s what bothered me about my mom drinking so much; I felt like I wasn’t good enough on my own. She could only enjoy time with me if she was drinking. Whether it was relaxing in the evening watching TV or on a camping trip, alcohol was involved, like a barrier between her and the sober world, which was me and my brother.

But that’s not how I roll. I rarely want my senses dulled when I’m doing something I like, because I want maximum enjoyment. I want the full experience. Not one shrouded in an alcoholic haze.

No, I’m not worried about faking anything. Too lazy. Don’t care. I don’t desire to be like a man in any way except that they can lift stuff that I can’t even if they don’t work out and also they’re tall. I don’t wish to be like a porn star because, well, I like to keep expectations low. And I’m going to age either way, so why try to stop it?

I trust my natural responses…except those I suspect stem from bipolar. And again, I don’t drink because of the state my life is in (shockingly). I drink because I have racing thoughts that I want to calm down for once and because I’m always so stressed and tightly wound and I just want to relax every now and then. Yes, I can relax without alcohol, but alcohol has a way of forcing it when I can’t deal with taking more than five minutes for myself.

“Toward the end of summer I take a trip to Sedona and post a photo to Facebook that captures the red rocks, a stack of books, a giant cocoa smoothie, and my glossy azure toenails in one frame. It is scientifically the most vacation-y photo ever taken.  ‘Uh, where’s the wine?’ someone wants to know. ‘Yeah, this vacation seems to be missing wine,’ someone else chimes in.

I go to a stationery store to buy a card for a girlfriend. I couldn’t keep it together enough to track greeting card occasions when I was drinking, so it’s been a while since I’ve visited a card shop. There are three themes in female-to-female cards: 1) being old as fuck, 2) men are from Mars, and 3) wine.”

Again I must ask, seriously, what kind of friends do you have? Maybe they actually have a problem if their first response to everything is alcohol? Once again, maybe your alcohol-soaked social circle is the issue, not the alcohol itself.

And how the fuck much were you drinking if you couldn’t even keep track of things like holidays and birthdays? Holy hell, maybe you did need to quit. Were you that fucked up all the time that you didn’t know when sending a card would be appropriate (like birthdays, Christmas…maybe getting married or having a kid)?

I’ll say it once more: that really screams to be a problem with you, not alcohol in general.

Also, I’ve seen plenty of cards that don’t have anything to do with these things. But why not play to common things? And fun things? The goal is to make money. Nobody wants a birthday card that details the plight of the modern woman in the business world.

Newly sober women have a lot of wonderful qualities, but lack of judginess not one of them. I don’t just stand there mentally tsk-tsking at the cards. I actually physically shake my head at them like Mrs. Grundy. Are you sure you can’t change those things? I think. And have you stopped to think that if you need ethanol — yes, at this point in my sobriety I called wine ethanol, don’t you wish you could have hung out with me then? — to accept them, maybe it’s because they’re unacceptable?

I’m not convinced they have any wonderful qualities, aside from those they have as a consequence of simply being human. You don’t need to be sober to be kind, or a hard worker, or a good friend. I think being sober pretty much just brings out the judginess and bitchiness.

Holy shit, if I knew you then I might actually punch you every time you called wine, or beer, or whatever ethanol. How haughty is that?

What, really, do I need wine to accept? That fact that I have ovaries? That I’m going to RPI for my PhD? That I’m paying for two vehicles? That I have a boyfriend? That my boyfriend is Dave? (Actually…)

There is nothing about being a woman that makes me need alcohol. There are many things about life that make me need time to unwind. Alcohol assists in that from time to time.

Do I need wine to accept that I’m getting older? That kids these days don’t even know what a cassette is? That they won’t have any idea what I’m talking about if I reference old cartoons? That AIM and dial-up are archaic? That I grew up on flip-phones and MP3 players?

Do I need wine to accept that men are basically another species? That I’ll never completely understand them, nor them me? That really I only need them in order to reproduce, yet form relationships with them? Possibly long-term ones?

Do I need wine to accept that I drink wine?

No. I don’t need alcohol for any of these things. Wine doesn’t help me accept anything. It helps me not worry about all the bullshit I’ve had to accept sober.

“The longer I am sober, the less patience I have with being a 24-hour woman. The stranger who tells me to smile. The janitor who stares at my legs. The men on TV who want to annex my uterus. Even the other TV men, who say that abortion should be ‘safe, legal, and rare.’ What the fuck business is it of yours whether it’s rare or not? I think. The magazines telling me strong is the new sexy and smart is the new beautiful, as though strong and smart are just paths to hot. The Facebook memes: muscles are beautiful. No, wait: fat is beautiful. No, wait: thin is beautiful, too, as long as you don’t work for it. No, wait: All women are beautiful! As though we are toddlers who must be given exactly equal shares of princess dust, or we’ll lose our shit.”

Bitch, we’re all 24-hour people now. It’s not just women. Except sometimes I cut a few hours out to drink. Dave tells me to smile, nobody stares at my legs, and I don’t like abortion. To me you’re just an angry young woman, because the media or society or your dissatisfaction with yourself tells you to be angry.

I’m not worried about being sexy or beautiful. I just want to be strong and smart (and believe I am). I need to be strong and smart to get my PhD and eventually a job.

Women are beautiful. I hate all the memes saying every group is beautiful too, but they’re true. We’re human and doing our best, so we’re beautiful. Cool.

“And then I start to get angry at women, too. Not for being born wrong, or for failing to dismantle a thousand years of patriarchy on my personal timetable. But for being so easily mollified by a bottle. For thinking that the right to get as trashed as a man means anything but the right to be as useless.”

Of course you fucking did. Because women are to blame. Not the patriarchy. Ugh I feel like a feminist just writing that. But you’re angry because women drink, eh? Are men also dissatisfied with their lives because they drink beer? I think you assume that all women drink because they unconsciously hate being women. No.

 “We can’t afford to live lives we have to fool our own central nervous systems into tolerating. But who said anything about fairness? This isn’t about what’s fair. It’s about what we can afford. And we can’t afford this. We can’t afford to pretend it’s fine that everything we do or think or wear or say yes or no to is somehow wrong. We can’t afford to act like it’s okay that ‘Girls can do anything!’ got translated somewhere along the line into ‘Women must do everything.’ We can’t afford to live lives we have to fool our own central nervous systems into tolerating. We can’t afford to be 24-hour women. I couldn’t afford to be a 24-hour woman. But it didn’t stop me from trying till it shattered me.”

I’m fine with my life — I can even enjoy it — and I don’t need alcohol. I like it, sure. But I don’t need it. I don’t think or believe that everything I do, say, or wear is somehow wrong. I don’t feel that I must do everything. My life is tolerable, thanks. Alcohol just helps me unwind. I don’t need it to get through every day.
I’m not a 24-hour woman. I have definite hours reserved for me and only me. I’m not even trying to be a 24-hour woman. I have needs. They will be met.

“I am very angry with women that summer and then I’m very, very angry with myself. And I stay that way for months, trudging through my first sober Christmas and job change and flu and birthday and using that anger at every turn as a reminder to pay attention and go slow and choose things I actually want to happen. By the time summer comes back around I realize I no longer smell like eight-hour perfume.”

I choose wine-drinking to happen. Cool, you decided giving up alcohol would help you confront your issues with being a woman. It won’t help. You’ll be shit on either way. Being sober changes nothing but the way you feel about women who do drink. The world is still the same, no matter how you perceive it.

“On Sunday morning [she and a pregnant friend are] reading by the deep end of the hotel pool when the shallow end starts to fill with women, a bridal party to judge by what we overhear. And we overhear a lot, because they arrive already tipsy and the pomegranate mimosas…just keep coming until that side of the pool seems like a Greek chorus of women who have major grievances with their bodies, faces, children, homes, jobs, and husbands but aren’t going to do anything about any of it but get loaded and sunburned in the desert heat. I give Mindy the look that women use to say do you believe this shit? with only a slight tightening of the eyeballs. The woman on the other side of her catches the look and gives it back to me over her laptop, and then woman next to her joins in too. We engage in a silent four-way exchange of dismay, irritation, and bitchiness, and it is wonderful.”

 Of course you’re judging. You’re sober and she’s pregnant. Alright, you think you’re better than any woman who’s drinking,. We get it. You’re not.
All women have issues they want to air. What prompting it takes to air such things differs.
What’s not to believe about it? That they’re drinking when you wouldn’t even dream of doing so? Get over yourself.
Dismay, irritation, and bitchiness? Not wonderful. Just annoying and, well, bitchy.

“Then Mindy slides her Tom Ford sunglasses back over her eyes and says, ‘All I can say is it’s really nice on this side of the pool.’ I laugh and my heart swells against my swimsuit and I pull my shades down too, to keep my suddenly watery eyes to myself. Because it is. It is so nice on this side of the pool, where the book I’m reading is a letdown and my legs look too white and the ice has long since melted in my glass and work is hard and there’s still no good way to be a girl and I don’t know what to do with my life and I have to actually deal with all of that. I never expected to make it to this side of the pool. I can’t believe I get to be here.”

I like Mindy’s attitude (well, the way she describes it even though she just reveled in smug bitchiness). Cool, it’s nice on your side of the pool. Really nice. That doesn’t mean it’s not nice on the other side, or that it’s better on your side. You can be sober and not look down on anyone who drinks. You can enjoy your life without putting down the lifestyles of others. If you have to do that to feel fulfilled, then maybe your life is lacking in a way that has nothing to do with alcohol.

And, um, I actually deal with a lot — everything — in life. Without alcohol. It’s not like I wander through each day wearing my wine googles. Wine time is for when the day (or week) is done and I want to unwind and force myself not to worry about everything going on. Okay, in a sense I’m dealing with life through wine, but I face daily stresses head-on and sober. There’s no alcoholic barrier between me and real life.

And if you think about it, everyone has their coping methods, their way to relax. Maybe you treat yourself to some over-priced beverage from Starbucks and a good book. You carve out time for that. Or you sleep in and wear your pajamas all day. A movie night. Letting yourself eat an entire pizza guilt-free. Massages. Mani-pedis. A bubble bath. Wine time. Everyone has (or needs) to pamper themselves every now and then. Okay, you don’t use alcohol. But you use something to escape and decompress.

And there is a good way to be a girl: be yourself.

I know, I know. It’s not that easy. I saw a video today of a woman having sex with presumably her husband in a public park in front of her young daughter. Yet the title was “Unfit mother of the year!” Um, pretty sure that guy is also having sex, also in a public place, also in front of a child. But the woman gets the bad rap. She’s the unfit parent. Not the man she’s having sex with. Just her.

Yes, it’s hard to be a woman. Double standards and sexism and whatnot are problems we face (as do men). Actually, we women are luckier in that sense because at least our issues are talked about. Nobody mentions the double standards or societal pressures men face.

But my strategy is to go through life like it doesn’t matter that my body is home to ovaries. Because it shouldn’t. If someone has an issue with me, I’m going to assume first because I’m not a very pleasant person. I’m sarcastic, a know-it-all, a bit arrogant, antisocial…all things that have nothing to do with my reproductive identity.

I’m not going to be vigilant for any perceived acts of “microagression” or what have you. Because as soon as a woman starts complaining about sexism, she’s seen as a screeching feminist and is promptly tuned out.

Sure, you could say that my laissez-faire attitude is why women are still suffering under the patriarchy. But yelling and nagging aren’t going to get you far either (have you ever tried talking to a man?).

If I knew without a doubt that I was rejected because I’m a woman, yes, I’d protest it. If I’m clearly more qualified than a male counterpart and he gets the job, not cool. But if we’re evenly matched, well, maybe he did better in the interview because he’s social. Maybe they got a better vibe from him. I don’t know.

I’m aware of sexism and women’s issues. But I’m not looking for things to get upset over.

And really, you chose alcohol to be your scapegoat du jour? Out of all the things that contribute to the oppression of women, you chose alcohol to rail against? Because we enjoy it? What?

Your whole argument is that women drink because we’re trying to ignore how terrible our lives are because we’re women.

My life isn’t all that bad. I’m a low-to-middle class white suburbanite woman who’s had jobs as well as went to college and is now pursuing a PhD. There’s nothing extraordinary about me. I feel like I’m pretty average in one way or another. I’ll say it again: I drink to unwind, not to survive (plus I’m pretty sure I have alcoholic genes running in my family on both sides). I enjoy drinking because I stop caring. Maybe I’m a special case because my bipolar probably contributes to me drinking. The constant worrying, racing thoughts, insomnia…alcohol alleviates those things.

Also, this was a really terrible end to her post/article/whatever. It just feels unfinished. There’s just no resolution. You talk about how you feel annoyed with and superior to anyone who drinks, but how does it actually benefit you? You can remember greeting card occasions. Awesome. But really, aside from providing you with an excuse to be a judgmental bitch, how did becoming sober benefit you? I’m not even convinced that alcohol is that detrimental to women (aside from physically) or that we use it to cope with being women.

Did you reach your word quota and that’s why this ended so abruptly? I just don’t get it. As much as reading this pained me, I’m left desiring something more, some kind of closure.

Woo, your side of the pool is wonderful. But why, exactly? Why is it so much more blissful that I should also go sober and join your ranks?

I just feel like most of this revolved around criticizing those who drink, without providing a real reason to give it up, except a very vague notion that women drink because being female sucks, and you also get to be judgmental.

You have not sold me that alcohol is evil and that I should boycott it as a female.

2016-08-28_20.47.18

That’s my face when making the life-changing realization that I should continue to drink. Because it makes me happy. And that’s all that matters. Because, you know, I hate being a woman so much.

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What Men Don’t Understand About Women

This here post was kind of inspired by an argument Dave and I had.

As the title may have given away, this post is about things men don’t get about women. I came to most of these conclusions based on our interactions, but Dave reaffirmed that “periods and the way we think” summed it up. “Moods and emotions” were added. I’m sure that’s all covered here.

So here we go.

PMS

Let’s get the obvious out of the way (and by that I mean the next few things). Guys clearly don’t get PMS, as evidenced by the question, “Are you PMSing?” No, the person asking me if I’m PMSing has me pissed.

Dave routinely forgets that PMS is coming up or that I’m PMSing. When I eventually suggest it for a reason as to why I’m cramping or cranky, it’s like a light bulb goes on.

To them it’s a convenient catch-all excuse. Or it’s just us women being overly emotional for some strange reason. Maybe a full moon?

No, it’s more that you’re touching my boobs and it feels like you’re stabbing them and I feel like a jiggling walrus and I’m tired and everything you say is stupid.

The fact of the matter is that you don’t have to understand PMS (but imagine being deprived of sleep for a week, pumped with salt tablets and not allowed to drink, having every touch to your man-boobs feel like a nut-tap, and crying like someone’s just died over a picture of a kitten because it’s just so cute)…just don’t make it worse.

Periods

The natural next step.

Guys act like it’s so horrifying and awful. I asked Dave if he thought periods were “awful and horrifying” and he said “Yeah, probably…better you than me dealing with it.”

I’m not entirely sure what the big deal is. I asked Dave and he said “it seems like it would be painful…a shit ton of blood…I don’t know.”

I mean, cramps aren’t a ray of sunshine, but otherwise it’s not that bad, at least for me. Do I enjoy bleeding for six days? Not really. But tampons are a wonderful thing.

I asked Dave why guy are weird about buying tampons. He didn’t know; he’s not.

One day I’m going to make a point of asking him to pick some up whether I need them or not.

But seriously, it’s not like we don’t deal with some “gross” bodily functions of men. (Like honestly, being poked in the back every night? No thanks.)

Oh, and an important PSA to men: women can get pregnant while on their periods. Apparently this is a point of some confusion for men. I’ve had a number of boyfriends/male friends who try to tell me that I can’t get pregnant during my period. Nope, still possible. I’m less fertile, sure, but I still have viable eggs seeking sperm.

The only time during my fertile years that I can’t get pregnant is when I’m already pregnant.

Thank goodness.

The Importance of Foreplay

Men, imagine it’s five below and you go out and start your car. Do you let it warm up for a good ten minutes, or do you just go?

As I’ve learned from Dave, it’s better to let your car warm up for a bit before driving…even in the summer if you haven’t driven it in a little while. Let that oil run for a bit.

It’s the same with women. Start us up and get us running for a bit before, uh, driving us. I will be much more, ahem, receptive if you put time and effort into getting me warmed up.

I know men are ready to go in an instant (or maybe two instants), but women aren’t ready to receive your “gift” quite as quickly.

(And I didn’t put “gift” in quotes to be coy; sometimes it’s debatable whether it’s a gift or not.)

We don’t ask for foreplay to torture you or to put off sex as long as possible. We ask for it because maybe we’d like to enjoy sex too. At the very least, not grit our teeth in discomfort or worse, pain.

Sexyfuntime

In this same vein (then it changes, I promise), men seem insulted that their ramrod isn’t enough. But needing “extra” stimulation isn’t all that odd.

(And those quotations mean it really isn’t odd, not that they/we require something weird or odd.)

Yes, men are — in practice — much simpler than women, but really women aren’t that complicated. Rub us, stroke us — it’s just more specific than a man requires. That’s all. Can you listen to directions?

Oh, you can’t?

Maybe that’s the issue.

Here’s an interesting link that even taught me something about myself: How a 3D clitoris will help teach French schoolchildren about sex. If I can learn from this, then surely men can too.

Related is the issue of orgasms. I only mention this because I watched a video earlier today by AsapSCIENCE on the issue (they also have one on Childbirth Vs Getting Kicked in the Balls in case you’re weird like me and want to know).

I’m going to maintain it’s a quality over quantity thing.

I’d do a section on childbirth but I’ve not yet had that pleasure, so I’m not going to try to write about it…except that my mom once thought she was in labor but it was just dehydration cramps, and I’ve been told that labor feels like bad menstrual cramps, and I’ve had both dehydration and menstrual cramps, so…if a guy asks what it feels like, just kick him in the balls. It may not be accurate but I’d get a laugh out of it.

Makeup (and Our Morning Routines in General)

I don’t really do makeup, but I do spend 15-20 minutes doing what I call “fixing my face,” which is basically just taming my eyebrows, doing hygiene-related things (which is just vague enough to sound weird), and trying to get a brush through my hair. So really the difference between male and female here is that, while Dave can roll out of bed, throw anything on, and be ready to go, I require some time to find clothes and make myself presentable. Usually I’m ready to walk out the door in half an hour or less…if I don’t eat.

But why do we bother when we supposedly look just as good without makeup? When men don’t even see a difference?

Hell, my brother’s ideal woman is a “classic” woman: brown hair, average height, no tattoos, no piercings unless they’re in the ear (lobe, I presume), and no makeup.

So why take the time if men don’t really care?

I’m going to guess that it has to do with insecurity. When I was a new teenager, I wore foundation, blush, lipgloss, eyeshadow, eyeliner, mascara…I think maybe I was hoping to distract from my fatness by making my face “pretty.” When I had acne, I used foundation to try to cover it. Eventually I was down to just mascara because I thought I looked boyish without it. Now I’m just too lazy to spend that extra two minutes (unless I know I’m going to be in photos and want my eyes to stand out a hair more). These days I spend the most time on my eyebrows, because I hate them the most. (But they are real, not drawn on.)

Let me explain it like this: let’s say you have a truck with a decent amount of rust (and if you live in New York, then you do). This is the case with my truck. I’ve bought fender flares to cover some of it, and I plan to truckbed coat the section below the body lines to cover the majority of the rest. I want my truck to look good, but I can’t fix the rust, so I’m covering it up (and hopefully preventing more).

So the same applies with faces and makeup: if you can’t fix it, cover it.

Hair Supplies (and How Much We Pay for Haircuts)

Honestly, I’ve been amazed by my best friend’s collection of hair stuff. It’s like a store in her room. Even my cousin’s makeup stash is…impressive?

I admit I own lots of lotions, body sprays, and scrubs and such.

I think it’s because women are expected to exude, well, femininity. And how better to do that than by luscious locks, smelling nice, and having touchable skin?

Maybe we’re selling out. (Though I only grudgingly shave twice a year. Okay, a bit more often.) But I take pride in my long hair and it makes me feel good to take care of it. I only use men’s 2-in-1 shampoo,* but I don’t need a lot of frills to keep my hair healthy.

*This started when one day I ran out and Dave said I could use his, plus it’s cheaper, and my hair still smells girly despite the manly scent. It must be magic.

But if it makes us feel good about ourselves, are you really going to complain?

Oh, and I wish my haircut cost $10 instead of $50 (tip included). But I’m a girl and have long hair, so…I pay the price.

That is some bullshit!

Matching

I’m not above wearing camo with plaid, or either one of them with tye-dye. It’s happened before and will happen again.

I abide by a few fashion rules, like no brown and black, no spots and stripes, no beige beasts…but I know that if I’m going to break fashion rules, I might as well destroy them.

Hence tye-dye shirt with camo shorts.

But when I want to match, I can. And sometimes I just feel the need to match, especially with lingerie. Dave doesn’t get it, because according to him “it looks best when it’s not on me,” but I match meine Unterwäsche because, well, it gives me a sense of peace, even if no one else knows. It’s pretty much the same reason I love my knee-high socks; no, nobody even knows I have them on, but it makes me happy to know that I do.

Matching is just a thing with us. Maybe because society tells us we have to look nice to attract men. Like you. And to us, matching is looking nice.

Why Certain Things are Tasteless and/or Unacceptable

I never thought I’d be this girlfriend, but when Dave’s beaters are more holes than fabric, I have to speak up. I’ve bought him beaters and socks because he won’t and I get tired of seeing his dirty, holey, disgusting clothes.

I also ensure the sheets are washed from time to time, and urge him to wash up before going to visit my grandparents.

I haven’t told him to redecorate (yet, though that Red Sox picture should go), nor have I gone so far as to tell him to sit instead of stand in the bathroom (I know a woman who did this and somehow enforced it), but bit-by-bit, ever so subtly, I bend him to my will.

I think again it comes down to what society has told us women should be: neat, clean, at our best and on our best behavior at all times…

But it may also have to do with the fact that we, like anyone, like to look good. Not just physically, but in public. Men get lucky in that women, like cats, engage in a lot of self-grooming. And if you’re with a woman who doesn’t care to wash her hair, wears ratty clothes, and so on, you probably don’t want to take her in public. Hell, you’d probably never be with a woman like this. Because you want to look good.

But the public’s opinion of you is more important than your lover’s opinion. Believe me, Dave shares everything from pimples to when he’s experiencing GI upset (my family’s term for diarrhea). For some reason, when he gets home, the walls go down. Boundaries do not exist. Dave will gladly use the bathroom with me in it, but I try to avoid it.

Anyway, I think women prefer to maintain some mystery at home, which translates into a favorable public impression, which involves critiquing things like your neck beard. And somehow, for us, even your ratty beaters affect your, and therefore our, presence in public.

No, it’s not shallow; we know you’re a prize; that’s why we’re with you. We just want everyone else to know (and see) what a prize you are, so they can know how well we did.

Okay, maybe it’s a bit shallow.

But ultimately it’s a compliment to you, right?

What Women Find Attractive

I saw something recently (I think it was in Cosmo) that showed men that women find attractive, men that men find attractive, and those few whom we both find attractive.

I tried to ask Dave what men he found attractive and he had some sort of mini-panic attack and said none and stuck to it.

I don’t get what the issue is (because there’s nothing wrong with being gay).

As a woman in a heterosexual relationship, I can claim other women are attractive and it doesn’t mean I’m attracted to them. I’ve seen plenty of beautiful women and wished I had their looks, but they don’t turn me on. I’m confident enough in my sexuality to say such things.

Anyway, because Dave has been watching American Grit, I asked him if he thought John Cena “looked good.” He said he’s jacked but has a weird head…and that’s all I was getting.

So my point is, men find jacked guys attractive, and so of course they aspire to be jacked. Because they think that’s what women want.

But what do women really want? Well, if you have a beard (and maybe glasses) and don’t have a six-pack (and are open to wearing a kilt), then you’re attractive in my book. As I’m sure I’ve said before, think Seth Rogen.

Oh, also be smart. I love that shit.

Yes, I think Zac Efron and Ryan Reynolds are good looking fellows, but it’s really, actually, honestly their faces that get me. Not their bodies. Of course their faces (and bodies) don’t compare to Dave’s. But if I were asked specifically about celebrities, they would be the winners. And Seth Rogen.

I actually had the chance to date a guy who looked like Seth Rogen (also named Dave, who worked at RPI), and yet I went with my Dave. Clearly my Dave is more attractive.

Women don’t necessarily want jacked. Every woman is different. And I’m sure many are happy with perfectly average guys.

I know I’m not the only one who goes for a Seth Rogen type. Just saying.

So I’m willing to bet that a lot of guys are wrong about what type of guy a woman is attracted to.

On this same note, while it may not be something men don’t get, it’s definitely a difference: men have a harder time admitting other men are visually pleasing than women do lauding another woman’s aesthetic appeal.

Are men fundamentally less secure in their sexual orientation? So much so that they can’t even give a guy props for looking good?

Calling Her Fat

Being told I’m fat (“because I drink wine like a sieve”) and being told I don’t turn him on anymore are both things I’ve been told.

It hurt. A lot.

To a woman, calling her fat = she’s unattractive by society’s standards = she’s ugly  by society’s standards = she’s ugly by your standards = you’re not attracted to her = you don’t want to have sex with her anymore = you’re going to break up with her. Oh, and then she’s too ugly for anyone else.

It’s scarring. Telling her she doesn’t turn you on anymore cuts to the chase, but may be even worse because you hated her so much that you didn’t even bother trying to “save” her ego by saying she just gained weight (note “gained weight” as opposed to “fat”); no, she’s so hideous that she can’t even coax the weakest reaction from your loins anymore.

If you have an issue with your woman’s image, either grow a pair and leave her, or grow a pair and (gently) communicate what’s putting you off. Don’t just say we turn you off or worse, walk away with no explanation.

No, we may not change, but we’ll know that (or why) you were such a dick and we’ll look out for that in the future.

Also, if you call her fat or tell her she doesn’t turn you on and in her most divine mercy she decides to keep your sorry ass, you’d better make her feel like a fucking queen and let her know just how much she drives you wild — so wild you can barely contain yourself around her.

The Way We Think

This may be the most challenging one to discuss.

My first boyfriend once told me men’s brains are like boxes, and women’s are like spaghetti.

Accurate, in a way.

Yes, to me everything is connected.

That thing you said to me just now reminds me of that insult from 32 days ago at 6:33 PM, which, come to think about it, sounds an awful lot like what you said in argument number 212 which you said you’d never say again! Oh and your behavior on six different occasions supports it, especially from April 17th, June 22nd, and September 6th. Just TRY to defend yourself or talk your way out of this one!

Or, another example: I need to buy cat food, which reminds me we’re low on cat litter as well, and I need to clean the litter boxes even though you said you would just like that time you said you’d do the dishes and didn’t — which reminds me, I need to buy dish soap and a sponge. I’m still annoyed that that sponge scratched up my truck so badly. Weren’t you supposed to help me find a way to buff that out? You always forget. You said we’d go to dinner last week and we never did. Hell, I gave you a six month anniversary gift and you never gave me one. It’s over a year later! I need to start thinking about Christmas gift ideas. Ugh my bank account is already in pain. But what would he want? He still hasn’t used the dart board I got him last year. What did he even get me? I hate the holidays.

If I had to guess what men think like, I’d basically compartmentalize all that…and probably leave a lot out:

I need to buy cat food. Oh, and we’re low on cat litter as well. I think we need something else. Hand soap? Maybe? I also need to clean the litter boxes before she starts nagging. Oh, and I need to help her with her truck before I have to hear about that, too. Shit, I promised her dinner as well. Maybe she’ll forget? With all the money I’ve spent on dinner I could’ve done so much to my truck.

Women may overburden themselves with so many tangential thoughts, but without some of those connections, things would be forgotten. Also, a lot of our thinking is tied to emotion (because strong emotion makes things memorable). I’m not saying we’re irrational; I can be logical to a fault. But I think men tend to separate thoughts from associated emotions. Emotion connects things. Remove the emotion, and you can sort things neatly into boxes.

Bottom line: emotion = spaghetti.

Multitasking

Just tonight Dave and I had a “discussion” in which he criticized women for overthinking everything, but then said that’s just what we do. I replied that men don’t think at all…which is why women have to overthink. He disagreed.

But I believe the way we think (and even overthink) has to do with our ability to multitask. If everything wasn’t interconnected and our thoughts weren’t divided between 20 things at once, we wouldn’t be able to juggle doing 20 things at once.

Subtlety

I can drop 20 hints in a day and Dave still won’t have any idea what I want or am trying to say. Women want to be subtle so as not to be seen as nagging. We think if we causally mention something or give you clues, maybe it’ll act as a subliminal message and you guys will somehow magically come to the conclusion yourselves.

Yes, I have successfully “planted seeds” with guys, but that mostly involves me mentioning something only once, in such a persuasive and innocuous way, that it’ll worm its way into his brain and sprout days or weeks later as his own idea. I just have to cross my fingers and hope it works.

Venting Versus “Fixing”

I once dated an engineer. At the same time, I was going through some really tough stuff at home (like my mom going to prison and dealing with my grandparents trying to control me). I would try to talk to him about what was bothering me (he told me to tell him about what was going on with me because he “read that’s what girls like.” Gee, thanks…), but instead of just listening and being supportive, he’d try to tell me how to stand up to my grandparents. I remember specifically one incident when my grandmother, after my grandfather had been badgering me to ask for more hours at work, went in and talked to my supervisor herself. I was livid. I was so mad I went home and called her to “ask” her about it. She said he came up to her and started talking about it…which smelled like bullshit to me.

Quotes from my journal that day:

“Ben called and I was talking about Gramma’s bullshit earlier and he just doesn’t understand why it pissed me off so much. He doesn’t see what was wrong about what she did. It’s so frustrating when someone hasn’t been in your situation and yet tries to give you advice. And it’s even worse when they suggest that you’re overreacting or aren’t reacting appropriately. Like I said, I don’t want to be fixed. I just want someone to listen and I don’t want to be told it can’t really be that bad. It is. Stop telling me it’s not. Sometimes I feel like I should just keep my complaints about them to myself (venting only to you [my mom], someone who understands), but then he asks me how I am, what’s going on with me, what’s wrong, and so on, and expects me to complain. But when I do, he tells me it’s not really that bad. Also, I don’t want to have to censor myself.”

And:

“When I said Gramma had just lied to me, Ben was like, well old people have a different perspective on things. He said maybe Tony [my supervisor] said hi to her so they started talking. I told him Tony said Gramma approached him. Also, for Gramma to say that Tony struck up a conversation is odd because Tony doesn’t know she’s my grandmother. So why would he suddenly start talking to her about me? Think your lies through, people! I’m sorry. I know this is stupid but it really irritates me. It bugs me what Gramma did and it irks me that Ben seems to think I’m being too hard on them. No one but you will ever know what I’m going through so I should stop trying to explain it to them.”

While looking for that I also found this:

“I was talking to Ben and he was going through my schedule with me and trying to suggest ways for me to get more sleep, have more time, etc. Guys like to fix things – but it doesn’t help for him to tell me “maybe less TV time” because I’m up until midnight most nights. I get done with schoolwork around ten and I want to write and relax for a bit, you know? (Also, he skyped with me until after midnight last night.) And he didn’t seem to understand why I get up so early, but you know I like a leisurely morning. I told him I get chores done and do my prayers. I appreciate that he wants to help and that he’s taking the practical guy (and engineer) approach to this, but it actually just stressed me more because it started to sound like a lecture. I have my routine and it’s not changing. It’s after nine right now and I still need to walk Milo and then I’m going to watch TV for an hour while I have ice cream and then I’ll easily spend half an hour or more writing. I deserve this time to myself, right? I work hard all day long and then I want to unwind and it pisses me off when people write off the importance of “‘me-time’.”

Yeah, don’t dismiss my me-time. I used to have a bowl of ice cream literally every night while I watched TV/browsed the interwebs/wrote. It was my time to decompress.

Anyway, I thought maybe it was an engineer thing, always wanting to “fix” problems, but I’ve realized since then that it’s just a guy thing. Maybe it makes them feel useful?

But really, often a woman just wants to vent. She wants validation, not a solution. She wants you to hold her after a rough day at work, not tell her to stand up to her boss. She wants you to nod when she complains about her dumb colleague, not explain how she should handle it. She wants you to tell her she’s right and that her friend was inconsiderate for canceling last minute or not returning a text — again! — not explain away her actions. We’re strong, smart people. We can figure things out ourselves. We can take care of ourselves.

Still not sure whether we really want your help? Here’s a hint: if we want it, we’ll ask for it.

What We Do with Our Friends

This is kind of that same vein. For some reason Dave is convinced that whenever my one bestie and I decide to hang out, that we’re going to go to a bar, hit on guys and be hit on, and get shitfaced.

We’ve never done this. Ever. The one time we did go to a bar, Dave was with us.

He’s also convinced that all we do (and all I talk about with her) is bashing him. No, we have lives, thanks. My existence is more than my relationship with you. Shocking, I know.

However, when we do talk about the men in our life, and even when it’s negative, it’s not what you think.

As I said above, we like to vent. Just vent. Not seek advice. My bestie has confirmed this.

All I want is for my friend to agree that you were an asshole, or acknowledge that I’m rightfully upset…basically validate me so I know I’m not just overreacting (because we get told so often by men that we are).

Here’s the difference: I vent to my friend and she tells me I deserve better and I agree. But she’s not going to judge me when I don’t leave Dave.

Dave’s friend once, out of the blue, told him to “ditch the bitch” and go south (me being the bitch, obviously). One, Dave wasn’t even complaining — he had just told him I was going to RPI on a full ride with a job. Two, you don’t just randomly bitch about your “best friend’s” girlfriend. Three, you don’t randomly tell him to leave her. Four, you don’t call her a bitch.

Five, Dave, you don’t let him talk about me like that!

Female friends know it’s not their place. If they feel really strongly, they’ll find a way to communicate it without being a dick. And if they speak up, it’s because you were already upset and probably want to feel better about how much you’re pissed at him right now.

When my best friend started seeing a guy I had misgivings about, given the situation, I gave her a gentle warning, saying I hoped she didn’t get hurt and maybe even saying what I would do, not what she should do.

Women get that we just seek validation, not solutions. Men think we want to be “fixed.”

Being Independent

Still going with the same idea, I feel that some men expect women to be very dependent, always wanting a man’s support or company, when women are happy to be independent. As I said, we’re strong and smart…and don’t need a male counterpart.

Women don’t need men. I mean, if we want kids, ultimately we require a male’s donation, but we don’t need a man to get by.

Let me also note that I realize some men would rather be with a woman over a man. I’m not ignoring y’all, but this post is about what men don’t understand about women. You’re females. Hopefully you understand us. You got this.

I’m mostly with Dave for a best friend. Someone I can tell anything to. Someone I can let see me at my worst. Someone I don’t have to fear judgment with. Yes, I have this with my besties, but with an SO it goes farther. Dave sees me at my day-to-day self.

Yes, it’s nice to share a bed so we can cuddle and whatnot, but that’s more of a benefit.

The only problem is that I have to train him to respond like a female.

Shopping

For the longest time, I hated shopping. At the very least, I had little to no interest in it. Yes, after my horseback riding lessons my mom would take us to Crossgates to wander around, but it was mostly for Nate to get a pretzel and )maybe for me to get a smoothie?). As we got older, Nate hated being brought along on clothes-shopping-oriented trips to the mall.

But as I got older I realized that taking a friend along was fun. So began the phenomenon of shopping-and-bonding.

If asked (by a male for certain, and possibly by a female) whether or not he enjoys going shopping with me, Dave would probably say no. However, for our second date we went Black Friday shopping (he bought me jeans), he’s told me I need a new purse, he’s bought me Victoria’s Secret gift cards (and of course goes with me when I spend that), and he’s justified a lot of purchases I’ve made so I don’t feel guilty about spending on myself.

So despite his supposed aversion to shopping with me, he doesn’t really seem to mind it that much. (I’m pretty sure he secretly loves the domesticity of grocery shopping.) I mean, he bitches every time I go into this one shoe store (my aunt keeps giving me gift cards to it even though I can never find anything I like), groans when I go into Old Navy or Forever 21 (to try to spend gift cards) and hates when I head for JC Penney because he knows I’ll “look at a lot and not like any of it”…but he’s okay with Victoria’s Secret (go figure).

Yet recently he actually led me into Bath & Body Works…which he usually hates.

The point here is that men either actually hate shopping with their female counterparts or, probably to reassert their masculinity to themselves (and all males around them), roll eyes and voice complaints about being dragged along for shopping when they really don’t mind it or even — gasp — like it. The long-suffering boyfriend is a well-known stereotype.

And why is this? I’m going to hazard a guess that guys just don’t get shopping. Yes, they’ll grudgingly run to the supermarket when they run out of food and when every pair of pants is too holey for church (get it?), maybe they’ll make a trip to get a new pair or two…if their girlfriend or mom doesn’t do it for them first. (Dave only buys jeans on Black Friday, so…once a year.)

But with women, shopping is a freaking event. It’s a thing we actually plan to do with our female friends. It’s a bonding experience…perhaps like guys playing video games? (I admit, that’s one thing I, and I’m sure other women, don’t get about guys: the gaming obsession.)

But for women it is a chance to stroll and chat and accomplish something — plus they’re there for input (or moral support when you suddenly feel like a fatass).

Like I said above, women aren’t afraid to compliment other women, plus we trust our besties to be honest when something just isn’t working on us. I’m pretty sure Dave would be uncomfortable shopping with a guy friend and sending him selfies asking how these jeans made his ass look.

However, when Dave and I shop, I hope he appreciates my input on what would look good on him (if anything, I tuck it away as a gift idea…there I am connecting everything).

Plus it’s a reason for women to vent about body image issues and reassure each other. Sure, I could bring up how I feel like an elephant and I could share clothes over a meal, but it’s more relevant (and necessary for support) during clothes shopping.

Plus I’m pretty sure guys don’t care about shoes. Dave just needs one pair of reliable boots and he’s good. I mean, I really only need a pair of flip-flops and a pair of boots and I’m good, but I have a huge collection of other shoes I rarely wear…because I liked them.

Anyway, maybe our obsession with shopping — again — has something to do with the pressure to look good. The media puts a lot of pressure on women to look good, but I don’t feel that men are as heavily targeted. And if you thin about it, most clothing stores are geared toward women, with a minimal men’s section. We’re raised to shop. We’re bred into this.

So while men are content to wear their small selection of holey jeans, ratty T-shirts, and (one pair of) years-old shoes, women feel like they have to have a large wardrobe so they can always dress their best and impress others.

I have lots of clothes. But I only wear a few outfits because I’m too damn lazy. I feel like I’m an outlier or an exception to lots of things here, but I still get it on some level.

Anyway, I feel that it’s the opposite of nature. In nature, males are all flashy and fancy and colorful to attract females, who are usually dull and boring. With humans, females are supposed to be all dressed up and flaunting it while males…apply minimal effort.

I’d like to note, in case I’m pissing anyone off, that I’m going based on hetero males and females, because this post is about things men don’t understand about women, and I’m getting my info from my relationships. And yes, there are well-dressed straight guys, but I’m with — sigh — Dave, so that’s what I know. And I’ve gone through periods where men’s clothes were the shit — they still are because they have nice, deep pockets, but the shorts are too long and the pants are too baggy for me now…even though I’m about to cave and buy men’s camo pants because I hate skinny jeans and that’s all women have for camo. Anyway, I’ve been through my not-caring phase and now, even though I don’t care a lot, I do care some about fashion.

Engagement

So I dared to ask Dave about this one — not in reference to me, of course — but why do guys feel so differently about getting engaged than girls? Yes, I realize not all women aspire to engagement and have their weddings planned before they’re ten (okay, I was 19 before I really started thinking about getting married) and can’t wait for the day they get engaged.

But I feel like many — enough — do that it’s still a subject of uncertainty for men.

Women tend to be like “OMG I want to get engaged!”

Despite what Dave thinks, I’m not like that. I’d rather never get married than marry the wrong person. He thinks I was pestering him about buying me a ring, but really I saw him spending money on lots of things for himself when he had told me he was saving for a ring, and I was hurt.

Anyway, his answer was that the wedding is really about the woman and it’s really up to her.

But after thinking about that, I realized that was about the wedding, not getting engaged. So I revised my question.

He said getting engaged is just more headache and stress and the man is “just like yeah fuck you” and the woman gets crazy about wedding planning. Because wedding planning starts right after engagement.

Not necessarily…anyway, it’s a good thing we probably won’t make it there…even though he thinks we will.

But again I’m going to guess that, for any women who hope to get married and have a family, getting engaged is an important step and event in her life. It’s not about the ring (although if you can drop $10,000 into your truck over two years you can buy me a decent ring — Dave said I was starting bullshit with this observation); it’s not about everyone else we know doing it (and no, its not really “everyone,” clearly); it’s not even about planning a wedding. I want to be engaged to feel even more confident in our relationship and to know that THIS is the guy I’m going to be with and I can quit looking or waiting and I’m getting my life underway. I like to have as many aspects of my future nailed down as I can.

Not that anything is really certain. Not that people don’t cheat and get divorced and whatnot, but still…I don’t want kids right now, but I could handle being engaged or even married.

And of course it’s a big deal to women…you don’t hear about that many women proposing to their man, now do you? (I mean, my aunt did suggest this to me, but I told her Dave was saving up — about a week before I found out he wasn’t saving up.) Women are supposed to just wait around for their man to decide their truck (or whatever it may be) isn’t that important for a bit and save up for a ring…and then wait for him to plan (and execute!) the proposal.

We women, if we want it done traditionally, have no control over the whole thing. And if we’re really traditional, then we have no idea he’s even planning on proposing. (Clearly Dave and I have discussed it, much to my chagrin.)

Can you blame us for being a bit antsy? We’re actually trusting you to pick out a ring we’ll like and relying on you to actually plan a proposal — and then go through with it!

I guess we just have little confidence in men to shop and spend (when we know they hate that), plan something (when we know they’re bad at that), and actually carry it out.

So you just need a bit of nudging.

Or we move on with our lives…

Bridezillas

I’ve never been a bride, but I’m a control freak, so maybe I can relate. It’s all about money and deadlines and so I suspect that micromanaging and focusing on the minutest of details might be a bride’s way of escaping from the stress of the larger issues.

Plus, nobody’s thrilled when things don’t go right…especially if you’re paying good money for them to, well, go right.

That’s all I have on that.

 

So you survived what I think men don’t get about women.

Here are some things that I, as a woman, still don’t get about women.

Taking Forever in the Shower

Maybe this is one I agree with men on. Maybe it’s because I camped so much as a young one, but I trained myself to be quick in the shower — under five minutes if I have to (this probably stems from unpleasant camp showers that gave five minutes of lukewarm water for a quarter).

Yes, I take a bit of time because I have a lot of hair to wash and women are required by society to shave most of their body. Still, I’m pretty sure I take less time than Dave, who maybe washes his ever disappearing hair.

I can make excuses to a point ladies, but really…

My aunt can take like an hour, plus another hour (it seems) for makeup. That’s incredible to me. Like should we call Guinness or what?

The Duck Face

Who the hell decided this was attractive? Do you think you look like you’re about to pucker up to kiss someone?

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This is the only acceptable duckface

I’ve seen my one cousin (plus many other Facebook friends) do the duckface and I just don’t get it.

I tried to take a selfie of me doing it and I just couldn’t. It just looks so stupid.

Fellow femmes: please, have a little self-respect and take good selfies! (And save the nudes for the guy you’re like 99.9% sure you’re going to marry.)

Rompers

Why does anyone think this is cute, much less sexy?

It’s like you sewed your shorts to your shirt, or you couldn’t decide whether you wanted to wear a dress or shorts.

On this note, women’s pants have like no pocket space. I wore men’s shorts for a long time and I loved all the pockets — deep pockets!

I just don’t get the romper trend…or the high-waisted pants/shorts trend. I’m pretty sure you would’ve once been embarrassed by your mom for wearing something like that.

Let’s just say I don’t get women and trends.

Talking in the Bathroom

For some reason, women think it’s totally cool to hold a conversation from the point you enter the bathroom until you leave.

The last thing I want while I’m sitting on a strange toilet is for someone beside me — or worse, a few stalls over — to try to talk to me. If I wanted social hour in the bathroom I’d figure out a urinal.

Women’s Restrooms

In the same vein, I’m always shocked by how dirty/messy/disgusting women’s restrooms are, especially compared to men’s (and I’ve used enough men’s rooms to know). Do we really spend that much more time in our assigned bathrooms to dirty them up so much more?

Supposedly we’re the neat and clean ones. I guess our restrooms pay the price for that facade?

Going Braless

I never understood why women hate their bras so much, or why they love going braless.

Braless translates into nightmare or probable-wardrobe-malfunction for me. I like everything securely held in place. Plus it’s just uncomfortable to have everything swinging freely. Even dresses/tops that really call for foregoing a bra leave me trying to figure out how I can discreetly wear a bra under them.

For years my cousin would be like, “Yeah I didn’t need to wear a bra today,” or “I didn’t want to wear a bra, so I didn’t.” And I’m just like, “I’ve been wearing one literally every day since fourth grade.” Literally. In the correct usage.

Suffice to say I could never be a hippie.

Nail Polish

This may seem like an odd last subject (yes, I said last), but maybe it epitomizes everything I don’t get about women (and probably a good chunk of what guys don’t get). I haven’t chosen to wear nail polish in years. Last year my bestie wanted to paint my nails, so I let her…but within hours it had chipped and I was peeling it off.

Don’t get me wrong; I enjoy manis and pedis, but nail polish just seems impractical to me.

Why would you either pay money or spend a chunk of time getting your nails done (I’ve known the struggle of using a bathroom with wet nail polish) when it’s just going to chip by the end of the day and look like absolute shit by the end of…day three? It’s been a while.

Many things women do just seem so impractical, unnecessary, inconvenient, and just odd…if I can’t understand them in their entirety…how can we expect men to understand us at all?

 

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The Lost Nine

Quick note: I started this in early August, so timeframes may seem off. 

It’s been a hell of a week. Actually, let me change that to: it’s been a hellweek.

First of all, with the end of July and the beginning of August happening, my stress levels about starting at RPI have increased daily. Then on Monday while I was driving home from RPI (to get my ID and parking permit), my engine started smoking on the Thruway and I had to be towed. The garage said it looked like I had mud in my coolant tank. I still haven’t heard what exactly is wrong with my car.

Update since I started this: I blew a head gasket, which is an $1800 fix, which isn’t worth it when the subframe is already badly rusted…so I need a new car.

But that’s not the worst of it.

I guess I’ll warn you here that this is going to be a heavy post. It’s not just serious, but actually sad and disturbing (at least to me). There’s a point to it though. Just bear with me.

In April my cat Storm had her first litter of kittens. Two teenie weenie bambinis that I named Thunder and Lightning and somehow got to keep.

She quickly got pregnant again (thanks to our other cats Niles and Mittens), and after about two months she looked like she was ready to explode. She was ginormous. But she was unusually distant and calm, even the night before. Dave and I hoped for only three or four kittens.

She had nine.

The entire experience was horrifying.

We woke up at six AM on July 27th to mewing, and I spotted a lone kitten crossing the room. I jumped out of bed and returned it to Storm, who was under the bed with two other kittens.

Dave and I tried to get back to sleep, but three kittens mewing right under us kept us up. (Warning: it’s about to get disturbing.) Around seven I heard my phone fall to the floor, so I figured it was Thunder or Lightning playing.

It was. Thunder was playing…with a dead kitten. He had its entire head in his mouth and I jumped out of bed again crying and yelling at him and eventually I threw him downstairs. Dave tried to calm me down but I was traumatized. He (and many others) tried to tell me it had been a stillbirth and so Storm had neglected it.

Apparently stillbirths are common. When I was a kid and my cat Ivy had her five litters, Mom always removed the ones that didn’t make it so Nate and I wouldn’t have to see, so I mistakenly thought it was a rare thing.

But I knew it was the calico I had seen moving around earlier that morning.

And I was mad at Thunder for doing it and mad at Storm for letting him.

Dave took care of (and by “took care of,” I mean buried) the one kitten when he left for work and I tried to get back to sleep, but the remaining kittens kept making noise and Storm wasn’t attending to them. It sounded like they were up in the bed, so around nine I gave up on sleep and went to find them for her. There were three more, which I put in a cat bed for her. I looked away for two seconds and a fourth had appeared. She immediately started cleaning it and all seemed well.

I went for a walk, and when I returned, she had moved them not under, but into the couch. So I had no idea if she had had any more.

We dared to let Thunder and Lightning upstairs, and they seemed okay. They went under the couch, as did Storm, but we kept hearing the kittens mew, so we knew they were at least alive.

I was still scarred from this morning, but we had four little ones left.

I woke up the next morning to another dead kitten on the floor. It had been dragged out of the couch. It was also silent in the room, even though Storm wasn’t up there. So I knew they weren’t quiet because they were feeding, and for all three to be sleeping at once for an extended period?

I took care of the one kitten and then brought Storm upstairs to see if I could get her to take care of her kittens. I tried to push her under the couch, but she just sniffed something and walked away. Fearing what I would see, I dared to look.

Another one. Its face was bloody. I couldn’t make myself touch another lifeless kitten, so I stayed out of our room until Dave got home. He took care of the one and then went searching in the couch for the other two…which were also dead.

I knew for a fact they all hadn’t been stillbirths, so either something was wrong with them or Storm wasn’t caring for them…perhaps because she knew something wasn’t right with them. But it didn’t really matter, I guess.

Of course I had been crying a lot the past few days, but at least it was over. Yes, I was upset that none had survived, but I wouldn’t have to wake up to another dead kitten.

The next morning I woke up and heard mewing. I was like, “What the hell?” And then I looked and saw another dead kitten right next to the bed. This time Lightning and even Niles were tossing it about, playing with the body.

This was definitely going to traumatize me. I saw so many things this past week that I’d give anything to unsee.

I went to rescue the one I heard mewing…and found another dead one. WHAT THE HELL WAS GOING ON. IT WAS NEVER FUCKING ENDING. I put Storm in a cat carrier with this one. I was going to make her care for this one.

Again I stayed out of our room because one dead kitten a day is my limit. Dave took care of the one kitten while I went out. Before I got home, another fucking dead kitten had found its way out from under the couch (needless to say, the couch is going).

So Storm had nine kittens, eight of which had died. It was a bloody nightmare for me.

But I had salvaged one, and dammit, this one was going to make it!

My aunt lent us a dog crate, some blankets, a water dish I could hook to the side of the crate (so the baby didn’t drown), and a very small litter box, as well as hooked me up with wet and dry food (she works at an animal shelter). This way I could leave Storm with the baby without feeling bad about her not having access to food/water/a litter box. And we named the kitten Butter/Survivor/Signum (my aunt liked Butter because of his color, Dave liked Survivor because he was the only one left, and I liked Signum because it means “sign” in Latin, like a sign from God that this little guy was special — plus it was a bit more subtle and less clumsy than “Survivor”).

At least we’d save one. And at least, I told Dave, I hadn’t yet had any nightmares about dead kittens. It’s the little things.

And so again, we felt that the hideous part of all this was behind us. We could breathe easy…except I was losing sleep over the eight that hadn’t survived and I went to bed anxious about what tomorrow would bring. Three mornings in a row of waking up to lifeless kittens will make you a little…apprehensive.

However, I was happy that I woke up to mewing for the next three mornings.

Monday (August 1st, day my car broke down) started just fine. Butter was crying loudly for Storm and she was responding and tending to him.

By evening, though, Storm seemed stressed and didn’t have any interest in Butter. I had been checking up on him every few minutes it seemed (and wondered how people take care of babies), and I noticed his cries had become softer, then turned into groans, then he eventually went silent. He was also moving around less, and his movements seemed slow. He just seemed weak.

I tried to get Storm to nurse him, but she complained any time I put her in the crate and wouldn’t sit still so he could. Thinking maybe she just didn’t like the crate, we booted the other cats downstairs and let her out and left the crate open (we had been keeping it shut so she wouldn’t move him anywhere weird and possibly forget about him). Dave kept telling me it would be fine and to keep my chin up.

But Storm just kept putting Butter in a corner and leaving him there. When I picked him up to move him back to the cat bed, he was cold. I had had a sinking feeling for a while, but this confirmed my fears.

I tried to make him nurse, and he was too weak to even suckle. And that, to me, was the final nail in the coffin (pardon the metaphor). If he was too weak to feed, then he wasn’t going to make it.

Around this point Dave began losing hope too. Still, he went and microwaved a sock to wrap Butter in, thinking if we warmed him up he might liven up.

His condition didn’t improve, and Storm seemed pretty much done with him. Dave and I were both crying on and off. I held Butter close and stroked his tiny head telling him he was okay over and over. I don’t know why; I’m sure his barely unfolded ears could hear yet and I knew he wasn’t okay and that he wasn’t going to be okay.

But what was I going to do? I knew he wasn’t going to make it. But was I supposed to tell him — tell myself — that he was going to die, probably before morning?

I didn’t want to go to bed. I was ready to stay up all night with him. I wasn’t about to set him down, acting like I was going to hope for the best when I knew the “best” meant he hopefully wouldn’t suffer as he died. How could I leave my little munchkin when I knew that these were his last hours and that I was the one honored with spending them with him?

I wasn’t about to set him down in the cat bed, turn out the lights, and snuggle down in my blankets while this innocent little kitten’s last little bit of life was drained from him. I couldn’t just let nature have its way while I slept, warm, well fed, and with someone to cuddle me.

Dave somehow convinced me that letting Storm take him downtairs might make some difference. Somehow it would revive him, give him back his voice, let him remind her that he needed her…and she would care for him and all would be okay.

So we brought the other cats upstairs and let her carry him down. She set him behind a chair and lay with him…for a few minutes. Then she was roaming around again.

But at least, I told myself, that if she was downstairs and I was upstairs, I wouldn’t know she wasn’t caring for him. Somehow that logic allowed me to eventually fall asleep…but with a very bad feeling.

The next morning Dave checked on Butter. He hadn’t made it. So we buried the last of the kittens.

In the nights following I was still anxious about going to bed, fearing I’d be in for another morbid surprise. (I’ve had a number of dreams involving the kittens over the past few nights.) Even though the kittens were gone, it was finally over, there was still a heavy, somber air hanging around.

It was hard to look at Storm, at Thunder and Lightning, at the cursed couch, at the now-empty crate. It was a few days before I could even think about cleaning it out and breaking it down.

It was hard to tell my aunt about it, because she was rooting for Butter as much as I was.

So now it’s been two weeks since the last kitten passed. It still bothers me to think about, but not to the point where I break down crying.

And to add to my sadness, this past Sunday our semi-feral cat, Paws, was hit by a motorcycle and died. He wasn’t technically mine, but Dave’s mom’s, but I had been feeding him since she left last November.

So we buried ten cats in about two weeks.

Coincidentally, Sunday, August 14th, was the one year anniversary of me bringing home Storm and Niles.

Anyway, so why am I telling you this sad story?

A couple reasons, actually. Since the first day of kittens, I’ve been trying to extract lessons, look for miracles, and make sense of it all.

As you all know, I have an addiction to cats and I’m also very much a pessimist. So this was incredibly hard for me, but I managed to sift through the shit and polish a few turds. I call them “small miracles.”

Storm is okay. She didn’t experience any complications during labor or birth, except for the fact that it took three days to empty herself of kittens. My baby girl is okay, and friendlier than she’s been in a while. While pregnant she was distant and was mostly found sleeping (it couldn’t have been easy carrying nine babies).

While I was devastated by what happened to the kittens, and I fought to save Butter, it’s not like I had a lot of time to establish a true bond with any of them — they never even got to see my face. However, I’ve had Storm over a year now and love her very much. I’d be even more heartbroken if something had happened to her during the pregnancy or delivery.

Also, this makes me appreciate Thunder and Lightning all the more. Really it makes me realize and appreciate how fragile life really is, especially in nature –and by that I mean basically in any species but humans, because we have so much medical intervention during pregnancy and childbirth. Well, I suppose our genus was here for quite a while before we got to this level of medicine and technology…

Anyway, it’s amazing that any of us (species) have made it. Thunder and Lightning were born just fine, Storm was a good mother to them, and they’re healthy, if not a bit mischievous.

It’s also amazing to look back at pictures from the day they were born, when they looked like little hairballs smaller than a mouse. Now they’re miniature “real” cats.

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From this…

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…to this…

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…to this

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This is Thunder
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And this is Lightning

So many emotions right now. Yes, this was mostly an excuse to post pictures of my cats.

As I was writing this, I read something that was basically a parent of a human complaining that furbabies are not a thing and pet owners need to stop calling themselves “parents.”

I’m not going to respond to this here…but I plan to in another post.

Speaking of appreciating life, which I meant in the sense of how fragile, complex, and amazing it is, we also shouldn’t take it for granted. Sunday Dave kept saying that he had taken Paws’s meows for granted, that he should have pet him more often. It’s easy to fall into the thinking that “They’re here today and they’ll be here tomorrow.” Well, maybe not. Enjoy every minute you have with someone (or a pet). You never know when they’ll be taken from you. No matter how busy you are, take time to appreciate others in your life.

There was one more upside to this. Dave and I had been arguing a lot the past couple weeks, but this forced us to get our shit together and support each other. There’s nothing funny about dead kittens, but somehow we were able to make each other laugh even when we wanted to cry.

Like when Dave wanted to warm up a sock for Butter. He asked me, completely seriously, “Can you microwave a sock?” Like he thought something horrible might happen if he did. I burst out laughing because I couldn’t imagine why you wouldn’t be able to safely microwave a sock. As far as I know, socks are not a leading cause of microwave malfunctions.

So there was that. For a bit we put aside our issues and just had each others’ backs. And he even started casually mentioning us having kids.

So those were the happy gleanings. Here are the ones I’m still struggling with.

Life really is not fair. I mean, I can look at my own life and say it’s not fair, but I’m a 22-year-old human with higher cognitive functioning who knows I have flaws and who’s made mistakes and done wrong. But whatever did a newborn kitten, whose whole existence is sleep or crying out for Mamacat for milk, do to deserve the fate they got?

I’ve been trying to make sense of it, to figure out why.

My mom wrote this to me

“I am so sorry…I know what has happened to the kitten is more than sad. It’s traumatic and incredibly painful. It also causes a person to wonder why and think about life. April, I am really sorry.

When we were kids Gramma was so upset when things like that happened, and when I thought about it, it happened a lot. Katie had guinea pigs that had a litter with one very deformed baby an the parents killed the whole litter. There was more than one litter of mini bunnies where the mother just acted like the bunnies did not exist, and one litter where the parents just killed them all. I don’t get it. The important thing is that you don’t blame yourself.  You had no control.”

It made me cry, because it churned up all the questions and thoughts I was trying to suppress. It was bad enough that the kittens hadn’t made it, but then to add that question of “Why?”

Why? How is this fair? Why would God do that? They were innocent little kittens! They were too young to even cause trouble! It made me angry and sad at the same time.

I still haven’t made sense of it. I tell myself (and many others have told me) that Storm probably knew something we didn’t, she had to know something was wrong. She showed me she could be a good mother before. The whole pregnancy seemed odd.

But that doesn’t answer why it happened the way it did. Why bring nine kittens into the world just to have them all die?

It also pains me terribly to think of how Storm must have felt (I believe animals have feelings; if you disagree, keep it to yourself for now). She carried and delivered nine babies, and none of them made it. We could tell she was stressed near the end with Butter. How much did it hurt her to know something was wrong and that they wouldn’t even live to open their eyes?

Dave and I both noticed that after Butter died, Storm suddenly started treating Thunder and Lightning like she had when they were only weeks old. She’d claw at the door meowing loudly to be let up, and would then meow constantly as if searching for them. She’s been cleaning them a lot more and has even started nursing them.

We want her to dry up so we can get her fixed, but I decided it wouldn’t hurt to let her nurse for a bit, in case it helps her cope with the loss. I don’t know.

The other night she was in the room meowing and Dave said she was “looking for kittens that weren’t there.” He insists he meant Thunder and Lightning, but I took it as the nine she lost. It just made me cry. As my aunt said, we don’t know how much she’s hurting.

I just hope I can help comfort her.

And another unfortunate lesson, which my mom pointed out: I had no control.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned that I’m a control freak. I like to have a firm grasp on what’s going on, with nothing out of my hands.

Here I did feel like it was my fault, like I hadn’t done enough. But even when I tried to force Storm to bond with Butter and closed her in with him, I still couldn’t force her to nurse. I couldn’t be watching her 24/7 to make sure he was getting fed. Even if I went the route of bottle feeding him, feedings every two hours would have been difficult to manage.

There’s a reason I don’t have kids of my own yet. Not ready for that.

Rationally I tell myself there wasn’t anything more I could’ve done. I was trying my best, but I’m just one human. I can’t stand in nature’s way. What’s going to happen will happen. I’m not a fan of “it is what it is” if I have any control over the situation, but if I have no control, then I have to accept it…which is still hard. Emotionally I tell myself I should’ve done something sooner. I could’ve figured something out. It’s my fault. I didn’t try hard enough. If I had, they might have survived.

Irrational as it may sound, the lives of each of those tiny kittens meant as much to me as the lives of my other cats. No, I didn’t have the bond with them that I do with Mittens, Niles, Storm, Thunder, Lightning, or even Paws, but they were still living creatures. Their lives still meant something, even if only to me.

So in the midst of arguing over which color lives matter (interesting that we don’t hear much about that all of a sudden; give any issue two weeks in America and we stop caring), we really do need to stop and realize that all lives matter. No, it’s not a slight against any one group. I’m not saying all lives matter to trivialize the black community’s struggle.

I’m saying all lives matter because we should care about each and every life. We should appreciate all life. Be it your mom, your best friend, the cashier at the supermarket, the man ahead of you in line, your dog that you’ve had for ten years, or a newborn kitten, it’s all life, and it all matters.

So maybe that’s why the tragedy of these kittens hit me so hard. These innocent little kittens didn’t even get to open their eyes and experience the world. I had no attachment to them, no real stake in their survival, but they were living creatures and that was enough reason for me to care.

 

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