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The Fear

“The Fear” by Pulp
This is the sound of someone losing the plot –
making out that they’re okay when they’re not.

You’re gonna like it, but not a lot
and the chorus goes like this:
Oh baby, here comes the fear again.
The end is near again.
A monkey’s built a house on your back…
and here comes another panic attack
Oh here we go again.

 

My son is ten.  But if you ask him how old he is, you may have a fifty-fifty chance that he will tell you that.  Instead, he may say he is six.  Or he may say he is good.  Or he’ll just stare at you and repeat something from an episode of Blue’s Clues or Dora the Explorer. He sort of knows his address.  And he does know his name.  But he’s autistic, and we have no idea if he will ever be able to answer those questions correctly all the time or get along by himself.  Yes, it’s a fear.  But it’s something that we have to deal with.  And it’s something we will continue to deal with.

But there’s another fear.  And it’s one that was made very clear in a story on CNN yesterday.  In Tennessee, the mother of a nineteen-year-old woman with a severe mental disability decided that she couldn’t deal with her daughter anymore, and she dropped her off at a rural bar to use the bathroom.  Then drove off and left her there.  The girl couldn’t share her name, her address, or any information.  Doctors who examined her discovered that she had a vocabulary of only 30 to 40 words.  When the police finally tracked down the mother, she told them that she “could not and would not” care for her daughter. So the nineteen-year-old has been put into a home because she is unable to even care for her basic personal needs.  She is supposedly “doing fantastic.”

Now let’s get back to the fear.

What’s life going to be like in nine years for us?  Where will Simon be?  As a nineteen-year-old, what will he be capable of?  What will he be able to do?  Will we be at the end of our ropes, wanting to leave him at a bar to be put into a home?

No, I don’t think that’s what will happen.  I can’t imagine any scenario that would have me doing that.  But it’s happened.  It’s out there, circulating in the air that we breathe and the world we live in.  Someone felt so alone, so overwhelmed, that she decided that her best possible option was abandoning her daughter.  She couldn’t have known that the outcome would be good.  What if no one helped her?  What if she had just wandered off,  got hit by a car?  Died of exposure or some other issue?  Are we back in ancient Greece where we pierce a baby’s heels and leave them on a hillside?  Because, while this girl may be 19, she was, for all intents and purposes, a baby.

There’s no way for me to know what drove that mother to toss her “baby” by the roadside, and all I can do is try to make sure that the same thing never happens to me or anyone I know.  And maybe if everyone else goes around with the same mindset, it won’t happen again ever.

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Ah Republicans, I love you – because you make everyone else look so much better!

Joke_Seal_of_the_Republican_Caucus_of_the_Senate_of_CaliforniaWow, so first, we have the joy of Republicans.  Then we have the joys of Texas.

I won’t go into why Rick Perry sucks so much – I can just provide you with a link to the article while he basically says that he doesn’t have to do what the government says because being forced to let “patients shop for insurance or expand the government health care program” is apparently wrong and “brazen intrusions into the sovereignty of our state.”  Uh-huh.  But funneling TIF money into his own little slush is just a personal brazen intrusion and therefore all good for him.  (I’ll stop screaming about it now…my throat does hurt.)

So while Perry tries to keep the poor from getting health care, Republican candidates in Houston for the position of Sheriff (wait, let’s look at that again – SHERIFF!) have histories that include domestic violence and abuse of power.

My favorite one?  The sheriff who was arrested for beating his wife, she reported it, he lied and was caught on a lie detector test (his response – “polygraphs are investigative tools, and they’re not accepted in one court in this land”).  She later retracted it because officers came to her office and intimidated her.

Wow.  Way to go, law enforcement!

Honestly, I mostly love Texas.  Guns.  Heat.  Violent sheriffs.  What more can a girl ask for?

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I’ve gone viral!

photograph of the human mouth/throat
Photograph of the human mouth/throat
By Klem (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

But not in a good way.

I always get sick when I fly.  It’s some universal truth.  Plane = illness.  Blame it on the air.  Blame it on too many people in too small a space.  Blame in on stress.  Whatever.

It’s been a few weeks, though, and I’m still sick.  My throat hates me.  My nose is runny.  (And it’s not funny! For those that get the joke…)

So today I went to the doctor, managed not to throw up on her when she took my throat culture – go me! – and found out it’s not strep.  We don’t think.

Now I just got to wait until I feel better, and in the meantime, I can whine and complain a lot.  So consider this my whining and complaining.  Cause now I gotta get back to work.  Or sleep.  One of those.

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Vegan? Vegetarian?

Showing angus steer at the Prince George's County fair.
Showing angus steer at the Prince George’s County fair.
USDA Photo by: Bill Tarpenning

Yeah, that’s never going to happen.

Here’s the thing – I almost wish it would.  Part of me wants to be a vegetarian.  I watch movies like Vegucated.  I read about famous people who are going to Twitter their vegan journey.  But then I watch a comedian like Jim Gaffigan, and he tells a joke that is me.  “I’m a vegetarian, but not a strict vegetarian. I eat beef and pork. And chicken. But not fish.”

Every time I say I want to go vegetarian, I forget.  I go to an Italian place and order a meatball sub.  I eat a few salads, and then crave a steak.  I can’t imagine eating tempeh or seitan or any of those other proteins that remind me of snot.  (Sure, I like tofu, when it’s fried…but I’m not sure that really is much healthier for me than any of the unhealthy “meat” options I like.)

And the biggest problem of them all – I’m not meant to be a vegetarian.  I’m a predator.  My eyes are in front.  I’m meant to hunt, and not just vegetables.  My teeth tell me I’m an omnivore.  They aren’t meant for just eating fruit and veg.

Now, I’m not saying that I don’t pay attention to what I eat, and that I don’t try to always make sure I’m buying the most “friendly” food possible, but I just can’t imagine not eating meat.  Or eggs.  Or cheese.

So please, no hatred of my non-vegan ways.  I don’t buy furs.  But I buy leather.  I buy eggs from cage-free hens.  I refuse to eat veal.  But give me a steak any day.

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How the Daily Show Taught People to Care

By Official White House Photo by Pete Souza (whitehouse.gov) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Official White House Photo by Pete Souza (whitehouse.gov) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A long, long time ago in a galaxy far, far away…  Okay, so it was more like 1999 and here in the U.S. when Jon Stewart took over the Daily Show. 

As usual, the elderly voted in droves, and while I had been taught the importance of voting (a civic duty! the right and requirement of every citizen!), most of my peers didn’t seem to care.  Did they even know who was running for office?  Or what a political party was?  Would they understand the controversy over paper ballots versus electronic voting machines?  Or why a “hanging chad” would and could be important?

Some of them may.  But even if they bothered to care, they were often ill-informed, fearing the news because it was too much talking head and not enough slap-stick humor.  Because, really, who can take their politics seriously or with a straight face?

The Daily Show, before Jon Stewart took over, was funny, off beat, and quirky.  It had some “news,” and they interviewed interesting people and had other funny bits.  But that was it.  Then Jon Stewart came aboard, and the generation once considered apathetic and apolitical went out into the world, making a difference. 

The Daily Show had an uphill battle at first.  Who wanted to think that Comedy Central, the channel known for such gems as South Park, Viva Variety, and Strangers with Candy, was suddenly making a difference in the world?

Yet it was.  And it did.

Numbers began to pop up, showing that more and more people were getting their news the Daily Show.  They covered major elections, beginning in 2000, and have (since Jon Stewart appeared) won 16 Emmys and two Peabody Awards.  They’ve been nominated (and sometimes even won) Astras, BAFTAs, GLAAD Media Awards, Teen Choice Awards, Television Critics Association Awards, and Writers Build of American Awards.  Their “busiest” night, when President Barack Obama appeared for an interview on October 27, 2010, led to over 3.6 million viewers tuning in.

What had been a society of disassociated and alienated youth became a society that wanted to learn about and discuss hypocrisy, truth, justice, and the American way.  The people who once couldn’t be convinced to leave vote were now so interested in political satire and knowledge that in 2005 the Colbert Report began, a spinoff with a different twist.  While Stewart went for the liberals, Colbert attracted the conservatives, even though both shows lampooned and harangued either side for laughs.

So when I saw the question of what TV show or movie had impacted society and why, I couldn’t help but think of one show that really made a difference, changing the entire face of “news” and showing us that the line between humor and reality could be blurred, allowing everyone to take part and be involved in the world.

This scholarship is sponsored by USDish.com.