Stop Being Stupid

I have come across these conversations quite a number of times on social media lately.

A lot of times it’s in the pet department. Someone takes a goofy picture of their pet, or dresses them up in silly clothes, and posts it with a funny caption. Maybe it’s not always in the best of taste, but we get it — it’s supposed to be funny/stupid/nonsensical.  Most times we keep on going, sometimes we stop and type “ha ha” and then move on.

Except for that one person that starts it all.

Someone come out of nowhere, saying how cruel the image is, how could people laugh at such postings, that there might be something wrong with the animal and it should reported to the vet.

This negative mini tirade brings out a tit-for-tat. Someone stands up to the misinformed with a nasty retort. Other people jump on the bandwagon, getting carried away and calling each barely-acceptable names, tit-for-tatting until the original poster takes the post down.

Is this a result of being quarantined too long? A result of rampant Covid-19 cases or being laid off and not being able to pay the bills? Is this mind state being fueled by the frustrations and unrest and circus attitude of our current state of politics?

Or is it more of a case of prejudice, animosity, or anger? Is it just an excuse for people to be mean?

Look. We all disagree on all kinds of things. Politics, health, psychology, food. Heck — some people put ketchup on spaghetti and peanut butter on burgers! Is that a reason to run at the mouth the first pissy thing that comes to mind?

My first impression is often geez, how can someone be so stupid? The picture of the dogs pushing their heads against the wall as they’re being scolded or the cat in socks and dress are JOKES. No one has gotten hurt — even the pets. Why does there always have to be a stick in the mud that doesn’t get it?

But those are passing thoughts. Like saying you’re going to knock out the next person who calls you Sweetie. You don’t act on them. You aren’t supposed to use those thoughts as verbal bullets to make fun or bully someone else.

You’re supposed to be better than that.

Maybe the “Be Who You Are” movement has had its day.

I want to tell the parties on both sides to stop using the Internet and Social Media to spew out your frustrations, hatreds, and misfortunes. Stop being a cranker. We all have problems. Trust me. Be nice. Keep your smarmy comments to yourself.

GET A LIFE.

Although I’m sure there’s not much help for ketchup and spaghetti crowd….

 

The Process/World is Flawed…Not Me

Angry-faceThere is this big misconception of non-creative people that creative people have it easy.

That just because we haven’t majored in Accounting or Nuclear Physics (or even if we have, for those of you peeps out there), that all we have to do is sit and write or draw or curl some yarn around a little metal doodad and “art” appears.

There is also this big misconception of creative people that if it’s too easy it’s not Art. Well, fortunately for me, I’m contributing to that second misconception.

I have this wonderfully creative novel I’m editing with the dreamy, non-connected hopes of someday getting published, and/or printing it out for family and friends. I’ve added quotations at the beginning of each chapter which creatively explain what’s going to happen next. (Sorry for all the self-generated affirmations…it’s getting me through this…)

Well, imagine my reaction when, after REALLY REALLY editing the hell out of the first 13 chapters, I find NO quotes and little red stars with comments interjected on the page?

I have been editing the wrong copy all this time.

I even marked this one “EDIT THIS ONE” in the title of the file which sits on my desktop. I do have older versions, but they’re clearly marked with dates so I DON’T DO SOMETHING STUPID LIKE THIS.

I knew I had quotes for every chapter; I just couldn’t find the right copy. Later, rather than sooner, I did find this obscure file that said “Updated Chapters.” Like I would have known what that meant. So, throwing a little temper tantrum, I shut everything off with the intention of working it “later”.

But isn’t that stupid?

Isn’t that a waste of valuable creative time?

I have to believe that everyone goes through these things, or else I will start to believe that I am senile, demented, forgetful, and/or sloppy.

But back to what set off this little tirade.

I hate being stupid. I hate doing things twice. I hate forgetting. And I hate cleaning up my own messes.

I try and be organized; I try to slow down. I try not to jam 10 lbs. into a 5 lb. bag anymore. I try and stop and smell the lilacs and get some sun on my face and play with my grandkids.

So what this has to be, then, is not paying attention. That’s the same reason that people get hit by cars or text themselves off the road or burn themselves on the hot stove.

I know — these are small potatoes. That everything can be fixed. But it’s not just that. It’s rewriting and not clearly marking the differences or downloading images you’ve already downloaded or transposing numbers in a deadline. It’s the little things that eventually mess up the big things.

I am thinking my integrity is so fragile and my ego so bumpy and my fear of becoming senile so great that any little screw up is like looking through a magnifying glass. I don’t know if it’s getting older or never having confidence from grade school on that has made me judge every little thing I do.

The sad truth is, I know I’m not as flighty as I make myself out to be. In this case, I can compare documents, take the first half of one and set it atop the second half of the second. And the world will never know.

It’s the process that’s flawed, not me. And I’m going to stick to that.

For now.

 

Did You Know You Spoke Chinese?

I have a grandson who is starting kindergarten in a couple of weeks. Ahhh…innocence floating out the window. No, not him — me. Or rather his mom. Brings to mind a blog I wrote back in October of 2011. Think it still rings true.

I Didn’t Know I Spoke Chinese

Do you believe that children and their parents speak two different languages?  Do you ever try and communicate with someone who hasn’t a clue as to what you are saying?

The teen years are stressful for those going through them. Puberty comes crashing in any time between the ages of 12 and 16, estrogen and testosterone fighting for space inside a body that is growing in too many directions at one time.  But hey. What about the ones on the other side of those swings? Those who pay for hot lunches and gym shoes and nail polish?  Not only do we have to put up with I-pods and cell phones, but we have to learn to speak a whole new language in order to be understood.  It is as if we have stepped over the threshold of reality into an entirely new universe.

Life seemed so much simpler when our kids were toddlers. The years between two and, say, five, are probably the most rewarding for all forms of parental figures.  We can do no wrong; our children hang on our every word.  They fear and revere us. They bounce around from moment to moment wanting only to please those in charge.  Pick up your toys?  Of course! Eat your spaghetti?  Of course!  Clean your room?  Of course! We speak, they listen, and things are ideal.

Then comes those “cute” years, say, six through nine.  Everything they do and say is cute, especially when they pout and say “no” with wide-eyed enthusiasm.  Pick up your toys?  No! I wanna play with ‘em a little longer.  Eat your spaghetti?  No! I want pizza instead.  Clean your room?  No!  I gotta have twenty dolls in the corner!  They are starting to catch on to the power of being an individual.  They still brush their teeth and do their homework and go to bed pretty much on time, but they learn to manipulate the world by talking or playing or whining, probably all three.

By the time middle school comes around, there is a slight Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde-ish personality starting to surface. Football games and study nights with friends start to take on a bit more significance as our middle schoolers begin to feel the strength of their own convictions.  Pick up your toys?  Oh please, I don’t play with ‘toys’ anymore.  Eat your spaghetti.  Red sauce? I’d rather have cheese.  Clean your room.  Oh mommy dear and/daddy dear — it is clean!  A little clip in their voice should be the giveaway that they are catching on to you.

Just when you think you have settled the beast that rustles inside your child, their high school days hit you right between the eyes. Music becomes some thundering beat with  talking rather than singing; wearing jeans that cut low enough to show off underwear or vertical fissures becomes the fashion statement of the day. Homework becomes an enigma.  School semesters are identified by fall, winter and spring sports, and words like Paris and Pink suddenly take on a whole new meaning.

You wake up one morning sprouting antennae from your head. Your voice becomes a booming echo down an empty tunnel or a high-pitched squeak riding the airwaves.  Suddenly you speak a foreign language: ρτε τα παιχνίδια σας  (pick up your toys in Greek);  съешьте ваше спагеттио (eat your spaghetti in Russian), and 投入您的衣裳去, (Chinese for clean your room). Their eyes become glazed and their expression reminds you of eating a lemon.  One day you are a friendly, loving parent, the next moment you are Godzilla’s cousin.  You don’t know what you are talking about ― your ideas or so old-fashioned they will be amazed if you make it to 50.

How did this happen?  How did we fall off of our pedestal?  One moment our child is reaching up to be held, the next moment they cringe if you hug them in public.  Is this the reward for all of our hard work?  All our love?

Well, trust me.  This too will pass.  As your children approach their twenties, they are amazed at how smart you’ve suddenly become.  Your old-fashioned ideas transform into newly discovered truths of their generation.  The older they get, the more human you become.  Your antennae suddenly don’t seem so out-of-place; as a matter of fact, they kinda look cute on your old frame.  You find a common ground through life and all its ups and downs, and they finally understand what you’ve been saying all these years.  Words and ideas flow once again, and your pedestal gets packed away somewhere deep in their heart, only to be pulled out when you are not looking.

Either that — or you have finally learned to speak Chinese.

Bombardment Central

October-18-2011-20-12-49-DoubleFacePalmEven when I am well-intentioned, I tend to screw up. I don’t know if it’s that I don’t think things through, or I don’t know how things work so I don’t know what the outcome will really be — it could be a thousand things. But I always wind up having egg on my face.

I had waited a long time to relaunch my Sunday Evening Art Gallery. I’d added images, found the right theme, cropped the images so they were all pretty much the same size — it was going to be a GO. And it was.

But I didn’t realize that every time I re-posted a blog, or actually posted it for the first time, it would hit the airwaves like a newborn child. Every new blog blew away the one previous, acting like it was the only flash in the pan.

It overtook my Humoring the Goddess Sunday Evening gig with new artist John Lemke; readers didn’t know whether to read A or B or Z. My zealousness almost caused me readers.

I suppose I could blame it on adult-onset A.D.D. I know I’ve been antsy all my life, but only in the last few years have I found a name for it. Not being able to sit still has caused me all kinds of problems, the least of which was almost my job. Now that I’m older it causes me loss of sleep, anxiety, restless leg syndrome — the whole gamut.

It also tends to put my cart waaayyyy before the horse. I have so many projects, so many ideas, so many things in my head that I sometimes think I have hail pounding me on the head. I tell myself to slow down 10 times a day. But most of the time it’s too late.

So to you that were bombarded with Sunday Evening Galleries, forgive me. I more want you to enjoy John and his work, then move along to the next collection, and the next. I put 4-5 images in my HtG blog, then three times as many on the Sunday Evening site. That was the whole purpose behind the SEAG. I’m catching on…it just will take a while.

I hope you will visit both sites more often, and if you have any suggestions for slowing down my pretzelly condition, I’ll take those too.

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The World is Full of A…Donkies

3328880852_4310e8f431_zI have known for a long time that the world is full of asses.

Now, don’t misunderstand — there are millions of people who have good intentions, good hearts, who go out of their way to help those they’ve never met. It’s part of being human.

I’m beginning to think being an ass is part of being human, too.

Sometimes one can’t help being stupid. Not paying attention, getting older, driving and texting — the reasons go on and on. I put myself am on that list now and then. Case in point. Asking the attendant if I could go in and wash my hands when they were clearly cleaning the bathroom. I knew I should have turned and just gone to another bathroom, but like a deer in the headlights, I stood there stupidly, asking a question that, if I were her, I’d wanna smack me.

But I’m talking about bigger asses. Not ones who are total horrid beings (like those who drag dogs behind their car or put their pit bulls in fights)…that’s for another story (one I’ll probably never write).

I’m talking about asses who on purpose do things that are stupid. Like they spend their lives thinking of ways to step out of the box and into the silly putty. People who on purpose take up two parking spaces. People who speed like crazy in driving around you only to put their signal on 500 yards further and stop and turn in front of you. People who spit out their gum on a busy sidewalk. People who throw their garbage out the car window. People who smash your cart to the side in the store so they can get to their side of the aisle.

What in the hell are wrong with these people?

Is it the thrill of doing something “naughty”? Were they deprived or beaten or super spoiled as a kid and now they need to check out the “other side”? Did they watch the movie Jackass and think it was funny?

I read on Yahoo today a story about two teachers who gave a “certificate” to a learning-challenged child that read, “8th Annual Ghetto Award” and the category was the “huh?” award.

Who does that?

I followed a well-dressed woman to the check out line a few weeks ago, and one of her items was not marked down like the others. Instead of talking it over with the sales person, she belittled her with snide remarks and complained about the store and customer service and demanded to see the store manager. She had the girl almost in tears. And for what? A few dollars discount?

Who does that?

I’ve known people who’ve had their work stolen word-for-word, theory-for-theory, and advertising-for-advertising, by others who wormed  their way in  by “friendship”, taking what they want, and throwing out the rest like the punchline of a joke.

Who does that?

I know people have their patience tested more than ever these days. Between being denied coverage by insurance companies, the price of everything going up, false advertising, hidden fees, rush hour traffic — all of it gets on our nerves one way or the other. But that is a universal burden, not an individualized one. It happens to everyone in one way or another. Why do some people insist on taking out their frustrations on someone they don’t even know?

How many times have you picked the wrong lane to drive in? The wrong lane to check out at the grocery store? Dressed for sun and the weatherman was wrong and it poured? How many times have you come home and found the dog couldn’t hold it and they pooped on the rug? Or the cat threw up on the sofa?

Shit Happens.   But does that give you licence to leave your mark on the world by keying someone else’s car or making fun of the disabled or showing your boobs to the camera?

Most people are able to get over it. When I hear of people being deliberately mean or deliberately stupid, they add to the stress I’ve already had to deal with.  Sometimes their meanness carries over into bullying or shaming. Having gone through that in middle school, I never had the foresight to realize that they were the stupid, messed up one, not me. Now days I’d blast them open a new….well, you know.

Ignorance is one thing. Stupidity is another. Neither one should be part of one’s life. Yet the media thrives on the latter, until we all are nauseated and infuriated at the same time.  To get your stunt in the paper, on TV, even talked about around the dinner table, is enough for some. And until the time stupid people stop doing stupid things, we will be dizzy with them and their tactics.

I guess it takes a world of asses to make the world go round. Or at least to make us dizzy.