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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Friday, April 10, 2015

I Was Wrong

Several years ago, I heard a quote, attributed to George R.R. Martin: “Nobody is a villain in their own story. We’re all the heroes of our own stories.” Isn’t that the truth? Rarely do you ever hear someone say, “Today, I was a real asshole for, when I think about it, no good reason.” Instead, everyone is put-upon, downtrodden, the little guy, the victim, the ONLY one who stands up for right and justice in a world firmly opposed. And that’s so annoying, guys!

Truth is, that sometimes the most beautiful thing you can say is, “You know what? I was wrong.” No defenses, no bullshit excuse, no, “I may have been wrong, but you were way wronger.” Just a simple, “Hello. I was wrong.”

Because, guess what? We’re all wrong sometimes. Sometimes it’s factual, like insisting that the “butter” at AMC movie theaters is real butter, and not palm oil. And continuing to insist that you’re right, even in the face of much internets. Sometimes it’s the way you treat someone, like not listening to someone, or not being considerate of their feelings. Sometimes it’s actions, like cutting someone off in traffic, or being mean. We are all wrong in so many ways, at so many times.

Politicians are famous for never being wrong. Instead, it’s, “My position has evolved over time,” or, “My family has convinced me to look at this differently.” My absolute favorite is, “My position was taken out of context.” Imagine a world where a politician could say, “So, a year ago, I said that the body has ways of preventing pregnancy in the case of rape. Clearly, I was wrong about that, and furthermore, I am an asshole. Just wanted to put that out there. My apologies, women, rape victims, and everybody else. I was wrong, wrongdee wrongdee wrong on that one.”

Imagine if you lived in a world where you could say to your spouse or loved one, “When I said that thing to you, I was wrong,” without saying, “But you started it,” or, “And now you need to tell me what you were wrong about.” Just flat out own your own shit, and not worry about anyone else owning theirs.

Imagine if you lived in a world where you could say to your child, “I just treated your father like shit right in front of you because I was being a dick. I was wrong. That was wrong. I’m sorry.” Imagine how un-fucked up we could actually make our kids if we just admitted when we were wrong.

Imagine if you lived in a world where you could say, “You know what? I judged you before I knew you because you were black/old/overweight/Mexican-looking/female/autistic/whatever, and I’ve done that to a lot of people. I was wrong.” You can’t change a damn thing until you admit what it is that needs to be changed.

And I’ll tell you what, I’ll start: This morning, my key card wouldn’t work on my work garage, so I yelled, “MOTHERFUCKER” as loudly as I could with the window down. Friends, I was wrong. While I very much enjoy yelling, “Motherfucker,” it’s inappropriate at work, especially at that volume.

Wow, I feel so much better!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

I hate your beard

Have I said this before?  That beards are dumb?  And that 50% of the reason why men grow beards is because they are desperate hipsters, and the other 50% is because they are with women who, for some reason, would rather date a man with the equivalent of AN ENTIRE GOAT ON THEIR FACE than just say, “Hey, your beard is awful, so damn awful, like a hot, smelly, fur coat on your face?”  Because that is true.  And yes, I only said “women,” because gay men are far too smart and discriminating to let that shit happen with their loved ones. 

I remember a day when only Chester A. Arthur and C. Everett Koop had beards, and that was fine, because beards were a sign of oddness or worse, and nobody wanted that.  But for some reason, dumb millennial hipsters decided that beards were cool, and started growing them by the mile to show how craft beer-y and bacon tee-shirty they were.  Oh, and tattoo-ey. 

But here is what I have to say about that, and I am speaking directly to you, beard men: your beard is ugly.  And if you had any originality IN THE WORLD you would get that shit off of your face, like, stat, and go about showing the world that you, too, have a chin.  I’ve said it, but I’m going to say it again: your beard looks TERRIBLE, and anyone who pretends that it doesn’t IS A LIAR, including, possibly, you.  You cannot be so hideously ugly that a beard makes you less ugly.  It’s just impossible.  SAVE THE WORLD AND SHAVE YOUR DAMN BEARD. 


The end.