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.  

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Booster Shot Random

Yes, I had a booster shot.  No. I did not turn into a zombie and run amok among the populace.  I got my shot, and except for some "I got punched in the shoulder" aches and pains, all was well.  I didn't even feel sickly.  From the shot, anyway.  

I usually feel sickly most days right now.  The stress gets me.  I seem to absorb the stress of others, too, while I am at it. They feel better, I go home upset. I find that I am clenching my teeth way more at work, so I don't say what I really want to say.  I have more in common with Roy Kent on Ted Lasso than is probably healthy, but that is what is going on in my head most days.  I may be smiling at you, but in my head there are chairs being tossed.  

My child has gone through FOUR pairs of shoes since August.  He has also taken to kicking a soccer ball against the wall at odd times.  Like when his father and I are watching a show that he specifically asked to watch.  That is pretty odd.  It's like he wants us to yell at him or something, just to check in.  I can't blame him too much. When I was a kid I gauged parental feelings by how freaked out they were.  Nobody freaking out equals everything is cool.  The one time in my life that I completely lost my mind was when my dad said the words, "I think we should go to the emergency room."  

My son is in a PowerPoint Ministry.  Yes, the boy is sitting in a tiny, sweaty room in front of a computer during the Mass, and he pushes buttons so everyone knows what prayer we are on, or the words to whatever song we are supposed to be singing.  You see, they removed all of the missals, and all of the song books from the church because of cooties, but people still need to follow along.  Snoozing in church was never allowed, even if you were a kid.  Except if you were a screaming baby--then EVERYONE wants that kid to fall asleep.  NOW.  But my teen seems to like to be in charge of the computer.  He understands computers, at least, even if he doesn't understand girls yet.  

Does anyone else have the ridiculous urge to find whatever baby is screaming on the other side of Walmart and help them so they stop crying?  I am certainly not one of those who would just let a baby cry, but there are those sorts out there.  I just never saw a point.  It's a baby--they don't know your reasons from a hole in the ground.  They just know that nobody is helping them, and that is just sad.  Not even a year old, and people are letting you down.  That is probably why there is so much anger out there now--somebody just left a baby crying for no good reason.      

Okay, that is it.  But I want you to do something for me.  I want you to look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself something nice about your self to your self.  Nobody else has to know.  For example, I will occasionally tell my self that I have nice calves.  It's just a little thing, but it makes me feel better to be kind to myself.  Now you try it.