Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fear and Loafing

Way back before the dawn of Pinterest and the social media onslaught of cutesy quotations, sometime around the early paleolithic era of 1997 or 98, I found a book on the shelf at home that was a dictionary of quotes.  It had thousands of quotations listed by speaker and by subject.  We lived on the river, which is about fifteen minutes from the booming metropolis of uptown Fairhope.  We called it that because Fairhope is far too genteel for a downtown, and because it helped us know the locals from the tourists.  Anyway, I came to peruse this volume because we lived too far away from my friends and no one, Mom, wanted to chaffeur me as often as I required.  Boredom is what I'm getting at. One of the quotes that stuck with me was, "It is better to die on one's feet than to live on one's knees."  Or something.  It stayed with me, I think, because it's about fear and how fear gets in the way of life.  I'm pretty sure that I even used that quote in a paper I wrote for my G/T class in middle school.  That's Gifted/Talented, thank you very much, or more appropriately, Smart Mouth/Nerd class.  So, yeah, I liked to use quotes as a middle schooler.  Here's what we can learn from this: 1) You're never too young to be a pretentious ass, 2) teachers who have too strict of a word minimum get what they deserve, and 3) I've always been preoccupied with the theme of fear.  The first two are absolutes, but the last one I've had to put some thought into.  I've decided that I'm so interested in fear because it's such a part of me.

I'm fearful in many ways, but none quite so much as with health.  I can spiral into anxiety in an irregular hearbeat when I start reading about how this additive is linked to this calamity, and this dye causes goats to grow two goaty beards instead of one, and how the whole planet is being inundated with carcinogens, and how autism is caused by each and every thing a mother does.  I should just avoid this kind of information, but instead I eat it up, even though I know that a lot of it is skewed or incomplete data.

One thing I read, or heard, or maybe made up entirely is that one way to delay dementia and keep your mind active is to vary your routine.  An example being, that if you normally brush your teeth with your right hand, occasionally using the left will force your brain to do something neat, the specifics of which I'm not clear on. Natch.  I think the idea is that it creates new pathways.  This is where I think the mind is fascinating and why worrying about disaster is a joke.  So, I think about this recommendation every single night of my life when I take out my contacts.  I always take out my left contact first, and each time I think about how I should switch this up more. If not, my brain will rot and I will lose my mind and not be able to care for myself and I will die in squalor, not knowing my own name.  All this happens in about two seconds.  Instead of creating new pathways and keeping my mind active, I've conditioned myself to contemplate my own mortality every single night between brushing my teeth and washing my face. This is the danger of science in the hands of amatuers.  This is why it's better to not know sometimes.  When I am senile and in the aforementioned squalor, I believe I'll just wear my glasses.

Monday, September 24, 2012


  Have you seen this new McCormick's commercial?  You have if you're currently on maternity leave with a ten week old baby who will only nap when he's held.  What this means is, sometimes I'm tied to the couch for two hours.  You could say it's my choice not to go to the bathroom at these times, or sneeze, or shift my weight, or breathe too deeply, but you also may not have been screamed at by a tired infant in a while.  What I'm saying is, I've been watching TV.  If you're wondering, Michael Strahan is a surprisingly fun co-host for Kelly and Katie Couric's new show is also quite good.

   As a recap,  I do a lot of TV watching and diaper changing, and very little getting dressed or eating with two hands.  

    Back to McCormick's.  They have a commercial right now that says, "Life is a Fajita."


   And that's the end.  What does that mean?  There's no end to the metaphor.  Nothing.  Life is absolutely not a fajita.  A fajita is a fajita.  I need something more, Seasoning Sirs.  Couldn't they at least throw in something about sizzle or steam.

Life is fajita.  Don't touch the plate. 

   Another headscratcher is the old Bagel Bites commercial.  Do you remember it?  "When pizza's on a bagel, you can eat pizza anytime."  Was the crust holding us back?  I support anything that makes 'round the clock pizza a go, but I'm just not sure a bagel does it.  

  One that has blown every remaining bit of my mind recently is the new commercial for Hefty.  Let me set the scene.  Two women are in the kitchen.  A baby, presumably the home owner's, is making a mess eating.  The other woman looks on in horror and says, "What do you do with the diapers?"  We find out at the last moment that it's a commercial for odor blocking trash bags. I wanna connect the dots.  My fragile new mother mind needs logic and order.  I think I get where they're going, but they Just. Don't. Get. There.  It appears that there is an intended poo joke, but come on Hefty, if you can't land a poo joke, you need to hang it up.  Really.
     And what about these Charmin commercials with the evidently filthy bears?  I can't even.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Politics Shmolitics

Bleeeeehhhh. I dread election season like I dread a root canal, but I'd do that every four years to never see another hateful shared Facebook post. I'm so grateful to live in a time and place where I have the right to vote. I believe in the notion, no matter how far reaching from reality, that each voice can be heard. Here's the thing, though. I see most political debate as nothing more than disgusting vitriol, top down. From Presidential candidates, to pundits, all the way down to some yahoo from Facebook who I haven't seen in twelve years, I hate it. It's not that I can't handle disagreement. Disagreement is my bread and butter as a lawyer. What I can't stand is the "us versus them" war of words. First of all, what a ridiculous fiction? The difference between the us' and the thems is de minimus. But mostly, I can't stand the idea that for one person to be right, everyone else must be an absolute idiot. I'll say this, many people that I love and care about deeply are very vocal in their beliefs that are polar opposite to my own. I know them in life to be kind, thoughtful people.  I believe that they are wrong. Absolutely wrong. But I also believe that life is complicated and that there is more grey area than there will ever be black or white. That's why there will always be different ideological camps. I don't, however, think that they are stupid, or naive, or unChristian, or (insert various insults here.)

I don't often spout off my social/political views. For one thing, I assume no one cares, but also because I have a job and I like it. I have to admit, I assume anyone who posts offensive or inflammatory political views, no matter which flavor, is either under employed or at the top of the food chain. It is a bad idea. It just is. It's my opinion that stating your views publicly is one thing, but going extreme or inflammatory conveys a whole host of negative qualities. It shows, I think, that you don't fully understand the issue. There wouldn't be a debate if there weren't at least two equally valid sides. Pick one. Have your belief and hold to it strongly, but don't undercut it with the complete inability to see past the tip of your own nose. If the strength of your opinion is dependent upon the degradation of opposing views, it probably doesn't hold water.

Again, I'm not hiding any of my views, but I will always keep my cards a little closer to the vest than to say something out right inflammatory in order to support my views. Why? Because I'm cool like that. Ok, maybe not, but at least because I value self-control. The mean kid on the playground doesn't win because he gets the sandbox to himself. He just ends up alone with sand up his shorts.

 Plus, I heard some kid peed in there earlier.