Sunday, February 27, 2022

Are the 80s back?

I feel as though the 1980s are repeating themselves, what with Russia acting the fool and trying to bully the rest of the world.  War, particularly the nuclear kind, was one of the main topics of conversation when I was in high school, right next to what Mr. Stant was teaching in senior English. The entire era of the 80s was all about the bombs dropping, end of the world, so party hard NOW.  Russia's at it again, it seems, and now my son is talking about Ukraine with his friends.  More horrible decision appear to be heading our way, mostly in the form of higher gas prices.  

Then I thought about all of the actual horrible decisions I made in the 1980s, including spiral perms and college Trash Can Punch. For the unenlightened, you buy a clean trash can and pour ALL of the alcohol in there, and throw in some Kool-aid for flavor.  If I remember correctly, the concoction tastes like nuclear waste of some sort.  The hangovers were ridiculously painful, and we all swore that we would NEVER drink that stuff again, just beer.  That promise was never kept, because generally the punch was free and the beer was not.  College was a time of frugality, after all.  

Other aspects of the 80s appear to be showing up in stores, such as the Little House on the Prairie dresses.  The show was all right, and maybe I had ONE dress that might have qualified as prairie-wear, but I looked as though I were dressed in a sack wearing it. Actually, I think the dress was made by Gunny Sak, so that makes sense. Not in the least bit attractive.  And what is with all the long hair with a middle part?  Is there some strange, poorly dressed cult out there that I don't know about?  Not that there's anything wrong with that, I suppose.  I just find it odd that women who are coming in to their own would enjoy looking like every other woman. 

Thankfully, Cabbage Patch kids have NOT made a comeback. 

My point is that maybe the 80s are better off in the past. It wasn't a horrible time, but I cringe now thinking about the decisions I made with my hair (like an accidental mullet), my fashion sense, and my social life.  It was a darn good thing that there was no such thing as a smart phone back then.  Perhaps everyone could just repeat the trends that were popular 100 years ago, instead of the 80s?  How about if we repeat the trends of the 1920s.  The Jazz Age, short haircuts, flappers, those cute little dresses with the fringe and the adorable hats?  Those were the bee's knees!  




Friday, November 26, 2021

Porn Alert

We were in Walmart looking for the drinks we usually offer to bring for the annual Thanksgiving hullabaloo. Just the usual beer, wine, soda, and tea.  That means that Zane and I take our time and look around, since Dad isn't prodding us to hurry up before we spend more money.  

"Mom!! Come quick! There's PORN!!!"

Really, what do YOU hear about while shopping with your kid? 

My first thought regarded the idea of porn in a Walmart as completely ridiculous, before I remembered the vibrators I had just seen in the pharmacy section.  

That thought made me approach Zane cautiously, so as to respond appropriately.  It doesn't do to completely freak out in front of a teenager; that is the entertainment that keeps on giving for years.  
And indeed, there was porn.  The word was right there on the cover of the magazine, there for all kids who can read to see.  It was actually right at the four- to six-year old eye level.  I'd just walked right past it, because the sexualization of guns in America gives me hives.  

But Zane did.  And he wanted to know about the porn.  Which wasn't really porn, just a word on the cover of a magazine designed to make the reader buy the magazine and take it home to peruse in the privacy of their own home.  The word 'porn' is like the bell Pavlov used to get his dogs to salivate, particularly people who don't understand that they are being played.  So my son and I had a lively discussion about propaganda and advertising and classical conditioning, and how they all play a role in capitalism.  

I'll probably get a phone call from the school on Monday.  I am actually looking forward to explaining the entire situation.

Also, dear Walmart, where I tend to shop often because you are less than a mile from my house, Please put all the gun magazines ABOVE waist level, so the babies are not exposed to such violent content.  Thank you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Be a Kindness...Ninja

 I was all for the "Pay it Forward" movement.  The idea that if someone did something for you, you did something for someone else, like pay for their Starbucks, is lovely.  My son and I had fun secretly paying for the pizza ordered by the car behind us at Little Ceasar's one afternoon.  I still enjoy doing that on occasion, but I've been a little disconcerted by the impression that kindness is a transaction.  An exchange of goods or services.  A crying student in my office who says, "But I was nice to him!"   

I can see where the confusion came in, especially with all the pandemic isolation and political anger.  Kindness, however,  is not a transaction.  It never has been. Kindness is an act of love.  Love of people.  Someone in need, and you help.  Someone in pain, and you comfort.  When you love someone, even your neighbor who likes to blare their music at the crack of dawn, it's unconditional.  It's not about what they can do for you; it's about what you can do for them.  When you give a blanket to a homeless person, it's an act of love.  If you expect that homeless person to follow you about singing your praises, that's a transaction.   

Back when dinosaurs walked the earth and electricity wasn't  even a thing, kindness was how you created a community. People in a group would come together to help each other.  That is simply what they did.  No agenda, no transactional conversation, just...kindness.  Neighbors would arrive from all over the area to help a farmer build a barn, and their wives and children would ride along to help  It meant a lot for a farmer to take a day off of working their own fields to help build a barn.  

Over the past two years, people have forgotten that they are part of a community.  Part of a neighborhood.  Part of a church. Part of a team.  We have been isolated for so long that we began to focus on a "what is in it for me?" view of the world.  Transactional.  This behavior was encouraged by the anger and rage of the adults, and we all bear some responsibility for that when it comes to our children.  I have had many conversations with my own child about this topic; he needed a reminder to be kind to everyone, even if they weren't kind back.  

I decided that kindness isn't a transaction; it's a ninja.   Ninjas do not expect anyone to give them anything back; mostly because they were assassins, but let's turn a negative into a positive.  Be a ninja, who steps in quietly, makes another person feel loved, and then is gone, without any expectation of reward or adoration.  Be a kindness ninja.  

You can wear the fancy ninja outfit, if you want.