Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Vote

I just want to go on record that when I hear people say, “I’m just not voting this year,” I want to punch them in the face.  I kind of wish they had two faces so I could punch both of them.  If you’re one of those people, here’s why you deserve a face-punching:

1.    You’re American, dammit.  Our forefathers DIED for your right to a representative government.  That whole of the people, by the people, for the people is about you having a say in who governs you.  And you want to squander that because what?  Because you’re feeling pouty about who the major party candidates are?  Write in some doof that represents whatever fringe party you want.  Unless you live in Arkansas, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, Oklahoma, or South Dakota (and let’s face it, the only actual inhabitants of South Dakota are an old oil derrick and Mount Rushmore), you can vote for any write-in who has registered.  And if you’re in Vermont, Wyoming, Oregon, New Hampshire, Jersey, Iowa, Delaware (also a fake state) or Alabama, you can literally write in ANYBODY.  No registration required.  Vote for poor, dead, Ronald Reagan.  Vote for “Send Hillary to Prison.”  Vote for Brexit.  Stop being an unpatriotic prick and do your goddamn duty.

2.    “They’re all corrupt” is a loser’s excuse for your own laziness.  How do you know everyone on the ballot is corrupt?  Some folks are running for the first time.  Some are rapists, but some, I assume, are good people.  Oh, wait, that’s Mexicans.  Nevermind. But honestly, I am 99% sure that you haven’t even done a Google search on half of the candidates who are running locally, and you have no clue. 

3.    And let me just add, for those who can’t stand either of the major party candidates for President, or maybe can’t stand the candidates for Senate or HoR, most of these people (one notable exception) got started in local politics.  And guess who elects them to local office?  YOU!  In elections!  So perhaps you should get your ass to the polls and stop these people from their first election, so they don’t grow up to be the big, bad candidate that makes you want to throw up in your mouth.

4.    Your vote actually DOES count.  It’s not rigged.  Well, let me clarify.  The only thing that is rigged is the mechanism that is trying to keep you home, instead of voting.  Voter suppression is a real thing that you can counteract by EXERCISING YOUR RIGHT TO VOTE.  Otherwise, you play right into the hands of those evil politicians that you purport to despise.  The only way your vote doesn’t count is if you don’t vote.  And, please, do not email me your conspiracy theories about the Electoral College. 

5.    “It’s my right to not vote” makes about as much sense as “It’s my right to not breathe.”  Yes, technically, it’s true, but it is against your self-interest.  Are you really exercising the right to abstain, or are you just too lazy to register?  You know it’s not hard to register.  Like, basically, if you walk down the street, you’ll find some earnest college kid who’s just sitting there, on the sidewalk, helping people register.  Just sitting there.  Like, at a card table. 

6.    Not participating and then complaining is childish.  It’s like a person who says, “My car won’t run, but instead of fixing it, I’d rather just rail against the unjust society that broke my car.” Fix the fucking car. Participate in the process.  If you really hate the way things are, contact your local party, and find out how you can run for office.  If you have so many ideas on how to fix things, why not take those ideas out of the comments section of USAToday, and into the world where you live?  Or do you just want to be a big, complaining baby? 
Listen, if I had my way, instead of an election this year, we’d just have a coronation of one pant-suited sassmaster named Hillary R. Clinton.  But we live in America, and we don’t just install people in office.  As we’ve all recently learned from Lin-Manuel Miranda, we have the privilege and the duty to choose our leaders and rap about it with élan.  Why on earth would you willingly give that up?   

 

 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I Like Her

It seems like everywhere I go, people are telling me that everyone – everyone  - just hates Hillary Clinton.  I hear it from the right.  I hear it from the left.  I hear it from Sanders supporters.  I even hear it from Hillary supporters, “Well, I realize she’s not the most likeable candidate, but whaddaya do?”  Stuff like that. 

Here’s the thing: I don’t necessarily believe it.  Hear me out: the American public, as we’ve learned with Donald Trump’s second-grade nicknames, is great at seizing on a narrative and moving it forward unquestioningly.  “Little” Marco Rubio.  “Lyin’” Ted Cruz.  “Bernie Sanders is a Socialist.”  “Hillary Clinton is the Hamburglar.”  You know, that kind of thing.  But just because a narrative exists, even if a narrative becomes part of our common parlance, it doesn’t mean that the narrative is true. 
And truth be told, I don’t think most people know why they dislike Hillary, they just think it’s the right thing to say because everybody else is saying it, kind of like how people always think twice about drinking Coke and eating Pop Rocks because we’d grown up hearing that the kid, Mikey, from the Life cereal commercial supposedly died from that combination, even though there are NO actual facts to show that Pop Rocks and Coke do anything, and Mikey is alive and well. 

Now, I’m sure that several of you are composing your response to me right now, saying, “Oh, no, sister, I know very well why I don’t like Hillary, it is clearly xyz.”  Okay.  I don’t really give a shit.  No candidate, especially now, and especially one with a long and storied record, is immune to doing things that you don’t like.  But I am here to say, I like her.  I LIKE HER.  I am a card-carrying, magnet on my car, voted in the primary Hillary supporter.  Here’s are five reasons why:

1)    Way back when, in 1992ish, when she was first lady, she introduced something called Universal Health Care, which is now, in a different form, known as Obamacare.  Yes, people, socialized medicine.  And when she was booed and excoriated, and called left-wing, and told to shut up and bake cookies, she took it with grace, and in stride, and what do you know, we have it now.  Thanks, Hillary!

2)    Her experience, both domestically, and on the national stage, is excellent.  First lady.  Two-term Senator.  Secretary of State.  She’s got it all.  And no, she didn’t do any of these things AND play the saxophone OR have an amazing sense of humor.  She did her fucking job.  The President is not a babysitter, people.  Needing to be entertained by the President is kind of infantile, don’t you think?

3)    Her pantsuitiness.  Yes, that’s a word.  It’s not just the fact that Hillary’s current uniform is a no-nonsense pantsuity number.  It’s the fact that she’s evolved into the pantsuit.  And we all have to admit, the pantsuit is mad comfortable.  But it also says, “I’m going to be about my message, not my fashion choices.”  I love that about her. 

4)    Her politics.  Let me be clear: I like Bernie. He’s a smart guy, and I love his ideals.  I also lived in a Socialist country – Sweden – so I understand the things that work about a Social-Democracy.  And I could go on and on about the things Swedes give up so that everyone can have a higher standard of living.  But I won’t, because my point is that Hillary’s politics, while not a perfect match for my own, fit within my moderate Democrat framework.  And in the end, that is what I elect every time I vote – a placeholder for the Democratic ideals that are important to me, regardless of the person. 

5)    Um….she’s a woman.  Listen, I’m not gonna lie.  Our country is full of white, middle-aged men telling us what to do.  Isn’t it time we have a white, middle-aged woman tell us what to do?  No, seriously, women are stigmatized for everything.  For working, for not working, for being a single mom, for having an abortion, for asking for a comparable wage to men, for not looking perfect, for getting old, for daring to have an opinion, for breastfeeding too much, for not breastfeeding enough, for not being able to do all things at all times, backwards and in heels…and no dude gets it the way a woman does.  THIS SHOULD HAVE HAPPENED BY NOW.  But now is the time.  And she’s a woman who has shown, time and time again, that she can stand up to the bullshit, and not only survive, but keep moving forward.
And, in the end, when I think of what I want for my country, and what I want my President to stand for, I think that smart ideas, experience, pantsuits, a message I can support, and a good, American baby chute are the right qualities for me.    

Friday, April 29, 2016

Enough with the Cape

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of fake women empowerment advertisements.  You know, the woman is wearing a superhero cape or something stupid like that, and that’s supposed to make all women feel good because I guess in the past we still had to do the same shit but couldn’t wear capes. 

Here’s the problem with that: WE CAN’T DO EVERYTHING.  And, for God’s sake, it’s a fool’s errand to try to do it all in superhero fashion.  I hate to tell you this, but it doesn’t help to wear a fucking cape if you have a job below your capability, you’re primarily responsible for the care of the children and daily household chores, or people disparage your run for Presidency because you happen to have a vajingle.  In fact, it’s offensive.
Now, you may be like, “Whoa, lady, sounds like you want me to put on a pantsuit and be a man.  No thanks, I’ll keep my cape, my tiara, my Wonder Woman outfit, plus all of my Spanx, because I’m gonna look good in all of them.”  Well, that’s not what I’m saying.  But I just had a conversation with my boyfriend where he was perplexed about why one of his guy friends was taking six weeks paternity leave. 

“Why does he need paternity leave?” he asked.  “He didn’t have a baby.”  So I explained that perhaps he wanted to bond with his baby and support his wife. 
“I’d be climbing up the walls if I was home for six weeks,” he said, looking at me as though I was, at that moment, prepping my womb for his children and planning six, no eight weeks of forced paternity leave for him. Incorrect.  But I did explain to him that paternity leave for men should be expected because, otherwise, we set up - purposely or accidentally - a system in which the woman is primarily responsible for the work of raising children and catering to her partner.  I mean, consider this: you’re a woman.  You have baby Slade on Thursday.  Your husband/partner stays home Friday and the weekend, and then on Monday is like, “See ya!” and heads off to work, because….man.  Meanwhile, baby Slade is biting your nipples with invisible razors, pooping and peeing at the same time, crying for no reason, and sleeping so abruptly that you keep holding a mirror in front of his face to ensure his continued breathing.  Husband breezes in after work, and expects a meal, or cooks something rudimentary because if he cooked a balanced meal, that would be bananas.  And then he bitches about getting the baby when he cries at night because, “I have to work in the morning.”  No, that’s ridiculous.  In six weeks, while you heal your sore babymaking parts, your partner should be doing the work of the family.  But, instead, you do it all, and you get a cape.  And this pattern continues as your kids grow.  You go back to work, but you also have to drop the kids off at daycare, do the grocery shopping, make all of the meals, do the housework, provide the emotional support for the family, and bear the criticism for “letting yourself go.”  BUT YOU GET A CAPE.

So, enough with the cape.  Enough with the expectation that we take it all on and smile as if it’s effortless.  Enough of accepting the work that somebody else could do.  It’s not even worth a really cool cape. 

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Actuallying

I just learned this new term: “actuallying.”  It’s used for the act of refuting someone else’s truth with a truth of your own.  It’s generally used this way:

Person one: Hillary Clinton is the right person to lead the country. She’s on the side of women!
Person two: Actually, Hillary Clinton hates all women and if you read her leaked emails you would know that.  BENGHAZI!!!!

Here’s another example:
Person one: I’ve just done a three-day cleanse and I feel great!

Person two: Actually, cleanses are just about the worst thing you can do for your body. I replaced two meals a day with kale and sauerkraut and lost 14 pounds in a week. 
Person one (again): Hey Mandy, go fuck yourself.

So, I just did something rare for me: looked something up.  And here’s the funny thing about the word actually: it basically means “factually.”  The actual definition is, “in act or in fact.”  I just think it’s more fun to say, “Actually factually.” 
But actually factually, here’s the problem with the use of the term: people are not using it to state facts.  People are actuallying to try to give some heft to their own dumb opinions.  And I would like to state for the record that your opinions, my opinions, your mom’s opinions, future President Trump’s opinions….they’re just opinions.  Actuallying them just gets people mad and makes them dig into their own belief more, and then actually you right back with more made up stats from their own highly biased websites.  For example, I just Googled, “Obama is gay” and got plenty of hits from such highly-esteemed publications as www.mrconservative.com, hillbuzz.org, and newsexaminer.net.  I also learned that, not only is Obama gay, but Michelle Obama is actually a man.  So, yes, if someone said something like, “Barack Obama has a beautiful wife and family,” I could respond, “Actually, he’s totally gay and married to a dude,” and have something to back it up. 

If we live in the society that I think we do - one where we have access to great works of art, literature, poetry, the finest thinking and reason – you would think we could do better.  We laugh at those who heard rock and roll, and said, “Actually, that’s just noise.”  We are disgusted by those who read The Great Gatsby, Howl, and Leaves of Grass, and said, “Actually, that’s smut.”  But it doesn’t seem like we’ve learned.  Doesn’t seem like we‘re doing any better.  Well, I’m going to try to do better.  And I hope that next time you find yourself actuallying, you remember these five words: Hey Mandy, go fuck yourself. 

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Attitude, Shmatitude


My father was always full of great life lessons like, “Hey, turn that light off,” and “That gun’s probably loaded,” and stuff like that.  One thing that has always stuck with me is, “If you’re going to do something, do the best you can do or don’t bitch about how it turns out.”

This comes up because I keep seeing this dumb adage about “Your reaction determines your outcome.”  Something like that.  It’s all over the social medias, and I personally think it’s patronizing and rude, along the lines of “I am #blessed because I have a Mercedes, and God hates you because you live in a shack in India.”  Let me explain:

Let’s say that you are just walking down the street, and all of a sudden, some fool in a Mercedes, updating her Facebook status about how she is #blessed, blows a stop sign, and smashes into you, breaking your hip.  Is the fact that you have a broken hip (your outcome) your fault because you didn’t jump out of the way (your reaction)?  Let’s take this one step further.  Let’s say that, you decide that you aren’t going to let this broken hip get you down.  You forgive the #blessed Mercedes driver, you follow your doctor’s orders, you go to physical therapy, and you do everything right.  Your reaction is PERFECT.  Your attitude is flawless.  You can’t even believe how lucky you are to have been hit, because it’s given you such a great opportunity to meet new people and understand how people with one leg live.  But, sadly, because you have inherited osteoporosis from your mother, your hip doesn’t heal.  How in the hell did your reaction, your attitude, or your fucking mindfulness have any effect on your outcome?   

Wait, let’s keep going.  Let’s say that you are like my mother when she had a broken leg, and you sat around and smoked all day, walked on your cast because crutches are for suckers, decided that physical therapy is less fun than watching soap operas and eating chocolate, and still healed like a fucking champion because, like my mom, you are made of Irishness and Brillo pads?  How did your reaction in any way affect your outcome?  How can your attitude of “Ah, fuck it,” work, when your attitude of “I’m going to beat this thing!” not work? 

On the other hand, let’s return to my father’s adage: if you’re going to do something, do the best you can do, or don’t bitch about the outcome.  My father was a firm believer that, sometimes you do things right, and it still doesn’t work out for you.  But at least you can look back and say, “Hey, sometimes shit happens, but at least I know I did everything I could do.”  But you know what?  Sometimes you get hit by a #blessed Mercedes driver, and you don’t heal well, despite what you’ve tried.  It doesn’t blame you for obviously not reacting correctly. For not having the right attitude.

Sometimes, however, you decide, “Fuck it, I’m out,” and instead of working hard, you phone it in.  Well, in that case, it might work out for you, or it might not.  You might heal, or you might end up in a nursing home.  Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t.  But if you don’t, you gotta live with the fact that you didn’t try to rock it out.  Your choice.  

I’m not saying that a winning attitude doesn’t help.  But for God’s sake, we can only control so much. We live in a vast universe with all kinds of people, including very bad ones and very good ones.  What can we do?  We can do the best we can do.  And, most of the time, our hard work reaps wonderful results.  We get the life we want.  But sometimes it doesn’t.  Sometimes Hitler happens, and no matter what you do, your world is torn apart. Sometimes, the best you can do is to do your best and survive.  Your reaction does not determine your outcome.  Your reaction determines your peace of mind.  Your outcome…well, that’s unknown.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Facebook Doctors

So, I just want to start by acknowledging the fact that there is an election this year, and I should be writing sarcastic and snarly things about that, but, given that the current Republican frontrunner feels the need to talk about how he could shoot someone and not lose a supporter, I think my words are a pale substitute for the real thing.

Anyway, given that I’m not up for that conversation, I thought I’d turn my attention to something that I find equally offensive: Facebook doctors.  

What is a Facebook doctor?  It’s a person who is not, in fact a doctor, but thinks that Facebook makes him or her one.  These are the people who are constantly forwarding the articles about how vaccinations really DO cause autism, and that the government made cancer in a shady back-room deal with big pharma.  They are always “curing” themselves and loved ones with the simple tools of one guava, some coconut oil, and arrowroot.  

Don’t get me wrong, I find no fault in alternative medicine.  Where I find fault is in practicing medicine without a license.  Now, I myself am not a doctor.  Scratch that, I am a doctor.  A LAW DOCTOR.  And, given that I spent four of the toughest years of my life learning all of the shit I needed to know to be a law doctor, I can tell you, without a doubt, that I know a lot more about the law than some doof who thinks that “law school” and “Wikipedia” are virtually synonymous.  And I can also tell you that “researching” the Constitution does NOT mean reading someone’s blog and giving a thorough listen to what Rush has to say.  Research means actually digging up cases and reading them – unabridged – and then reading the cases that those cases led to, reading all of the notes and comments, reading scholarly articles written in peer-reviewed publications, and repeating that until you actually understand the personalities of long-dead Supreme Court justices based solely on their writing.   

Applying my understanding of lawyering to doctoring, I am going to surmise that medical school consisted of more than Googling, “What is this rash on my leg?” and just going with that.  So, I find it super – super - annoying when folks really forcefully insist that they’ve “done the research” about why no one should ever even LOOK at a cow, much less eat its meat or milk, why everyone MUST start their day with lemon water and a fucking neti pot, and how prescription medicine is the work of the devil.

And I gotta tell you, I am not a fan of the taking of the medicine, myself. But I am, in fact, a fan of being happy and healthy.  I will also tell you that I did a fun 6 months of trying to “cure” my thyroid disease without medicine, and all I ended up doing was giving myself additional problems that I can now never fix.  I’m certainly not saying that diet, lifestyle, and environment play no role in disease.  We can look at Type II diabetes, hypertension, some types of depression, heart disease, and on and on and say, “Yeah, diet, lifestyle, and environment may have contributed here.”  We can even implement diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes.  BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN THAT MEDICINE WON’T ALSO HELP FIX IT.  

The worst thing though, and I mean the worst, is that these Facebook doctors have friends who have real illnesses.  Cancer.  Heart disease.  Depression.  Who are looking for something to make themselves healthy and whole.  And that, purposely, or not purposely, they are telling their friends, “Don’t seek actual help.  I know better than that.”  Which is such arrogant, narcissistic, and frankly, weird shit, I can hardly comprehend it.  It does absolutely no good to tell your friend with cancer that, if only they had eaten enough turmeric, they might have a different outcome.  Or linking to articles espousing a conspiracy theory that homeopathic cancer doctors are being murdered by pharmaceutical companies.  Or to tell their friend who is depressed that medicine will just make them an addict.  Which is worse, being “addicted” to Prozac, or losing your job, family, happiness, and maybe even your life to depression?  

And that’s the thing about real, meaning Non-Facebook, doctors.  They know there’s not one cure; that every person is different, and complex, and worthy of actual attention, not just Facebook platitudes that serve no purpose but to serve the poster’s own ego. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Running Challenge


From Thanksgiving until New Years Day, I participated in a holiday-to-holiday running challenge.  The premise: run at least a mile every day starting on Thanksgiving and ending on New Years day.  The reason: ass fat.  I asked folks on Facebook if they wanted to do it and support each other, and, long story short, I got a couple of takers.  They are the real heroes of this story.  Not really.  I am the fucking hero of this story and don’t forget it.  But having other people in the boat was great.  NOBODY IS AN ISLAND, PEOPLE, EVEN IF THEY WOULD MAKE AN AWESOME ISLAND.

Anyway, I really thought that the “challenge” part of this challenge was going to be physical.  I have never run every day, mostly because I’m generally pretty ouchy, and my tendons hate me.  I was in a freaking hard splint for 6 months and considered tendon release surgery after an injury from crocheting too hard. That is not a lie, and I don’t know how you crochet too hard, but I have done it.  I’ve had enough cortisone in my body to fully understand ‘roid rage. So, running every day had the potential for peril.  But I live dangerously.  And anyway, that wasn’t the challenge at all.

The real challenge from all of this was mental.  Finding the time to run.  Getting my ass into my running clothes. Figuring out how far at what pace I was going to run. Figuring out how I was going to entertain myself. Getting out of my running clothes.  Taking a shower.  Getting redressed and put back together.  And knowing that it was all going to happen again the next day.  And there was also the challenge of the outdoors.  I managed all but three runs outdoors, and had to account for rain, wind, snowfog (a real thing!), heat, cold, sunshine, darkness, and cars that always want to hit me.  And finding the right damn socks.  Always the socks.  Also, no one in this world loves a routine quite like I do, but I had to shoehorn runs in early in the morning, late in the evening, at lunch, after work, and once, after a glass of wine. And by glass, I mean “glass.”  You know what I mean.

But in the end, what I loved about the challenge actually was the unpredictability, and the sense that today was going to be different than yesterday. The mental challenge.  Was I going to run alone or with a friend? With the dog? In the sunshine?  In a deluge? In my nemesis, the wind? Where was I going to run? How could I run in Manhattan with only shorts and a tee shirt, 30 degree temps outside, and a barely functioning treadmill in a hot, creepy basement? (Answer: learn to love the hot, creepy basement.) What should I do when the sidewalks were flooded and the rain nonstop? (Answer: forego any electronics and run up and down the street four times like I was being chased.) How was today’s run going to feel?  What could I do to make it interesting?  Did it even need to be interesting?  Because really, did I really find it that difficult to spend the twenty minutes it took for me to run a couple of miles alone with myself, with my thoughts, with my breathing, and with the ground passing underneath my feet?    

The challenge was 37 days long.  At around day 20, I realized that I was going to make it.  That I’d already faced ouchy days, shit weather days, days when I really didn’t want to do it, and days that were logistically challenging.  And even on the days when it hadn’t been fun, it also hadn’t killed me. My friend Anita, who also completed the challenge, wrote on my wall one day, “Feeling like I just couldn’t make time for a run. But you know what, I can and I did.  And feel much better for it!!!”  In the end, that was the payoff. Realizing that – no matter what – that I could, and that I would.  And not only do I feel better for it, I think I am better for it.  But seriously, I need more socks. 

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