09 December 2018

I'll Probably Have Friends in Hell

I'm not good at feeling things.

If I had a dollar for every time someone has told me that I'm detached; emotionally stunted; distant or cold, I'd be a motherfucking millionaire. I am none of those things.

The problem is that I feel too many things. So, so many things. I care, deeply, often too much.

I couldn't survive if I didn't just shut down sometimes. But I also couldn't live with myself if I quit caring. It's a fucked up balancing act.

I'm working on it.

I wish strangers wouldn't throw their feelings at me. I don't throw feelings at the people that I love and I know love me.

I'm working on it, not real hard, but fucking baby steps, yeah.

My feelings tend to overwhelm me. I ignore them. Avoid them.

Of course I know that is not healthy.

Fortunately, I have a pretty great set of like-minded friends that make it seem normal.

I love all of you cold, distant, angry, detached, self-medicating assholes. You know who you are.

Okay Enough Mom

So my kid told me she smoked pot. I didn't react, because she's mostly a tiny Krissy and the worst thing I could possibly do is react.

In some sort of weird Mom-moment, I figured I should share this information with her father. Apparently he thinks if I was an "actual mom," I would be angry and punish her.

Weird.

Reminding him that he was smoking a literal fuck-ton (Pretty sure fuck-ton is an actual measurement) of pot at her age was super unproductive.

I don't want my kids smoking pot. But I'm also not naive enough to think that they won't. Especially during that super awkward middle school age.

So I didn't tell her it was okay, but I also didn't get angry

Maybe not reacting harshly and grounding her for a few years makes me a bad person and a shitty mother.

I feel like her willingness to tell me she tried it, though, kinda makes me an okay enough mom.

I'm good with that.

28 August 2018

What Cancer Really Is

Technically, cancer is simply an uncontrolled division of abnormal cells which results in disease, says Google.

Google can't feel.

Cancer is so much more.

It's regret for every harsh word spoken, for every other thing left unspoken and for every moment taken for granted, or worse, not taken at all.

It's hope and fear all swirled together in a strange black hole that settles somewhere between my stomach and spine.

It's a tightness in my chest that forces my shoulders inward.

It's pride and faith that forces them back out again.

It's prayer to a God I don't even think I believe in, and to several others I know I don't, just in case.

It's blinding love.

It's an odd mixture of hope, fear and adrenaline.

A sort of fucked up fight or flight response to someone's pain. A compulsion to help do anything, everything, because cancer isn't a problem I can fix.

It's a need for more time together.

It's agony, seeing his pain.

It's immeasurable happiness, seeing his joy.

It's overwhelming, heartbreaking and yet also heartwarming in terms of the support received.

It's treatment and doctors and side effects and pain.

It's a realization of just how little time we all have together.

It's the time taken to notice all the stupid little things that actually matter.

I'll never call it anything but evil but it has changed my view of life and understanding of family and priority in ways that nothing else ever has.


I love you Big Brother. You're the strongest person I've ever known.

31 December 2015

My Grandfather's Wife

I’ve tried to write this a hundred times, but had a hard time finding the right words. I was very close to my grandmother. She was so loved. She is so missed.

My grandfather sat in a chair near her bed, resting his head on their joined hands. After some time, he stood, smoothed the hair from her forehead and kissed it gently. He stood there for a while, simply looking at her. I could tell he didn’t want to leave her and I felt a bit guilty for witnessing such a private moment. When he finally did leave the hospital room, he came out holding her single shoe as if it were a child. It is a picture of grief I will never forget.

What does someone say in that moment, when they are saying goodbye to the person they’ve shared their life with? I love you. Thank you for loving me, for our sons, for everything. I’m not ready to lose you. I’m sorry.

My own thoughts reflected the selfish side of grief. I’m not ready either. I still need you. Are you proud of me? And later, standing in a department store, trying to pick out shoes through a haze of tears, I can’t do this Grandma. You aren’t here to tell me whether these are appropriate for a funeral or not.

Sitting at the funeral home and watching people come to pay their respects; I thought about how much of our lives belong to other people. Carolyn was a cherished, long-awaited only child. For a time, she belonged only to her parents. Later she was a student, a friend, an employee, a neighbor and a million other things. For many years, as a mother, she belonged to her four sons. As a grandmother, she belonged to us. As a great-grandmother, she first belonged to Trinity, the baby girl she never had. I was happy to share, and am so grateful for the bond she built with my daughter.

A lot of people can claim pieces of the years she spent on Earth. But as I watched my grandfather, bent over her recently closed casket with his head in his hands I realized that most of her had belonged to him.

I was humbled and a bit ashamed that I’d not considered her life before it included me, aside from the vague understanding that she’d had one. I imagined my grandparents when they were young, bringing home their first baby, buying their first home, building the family and life we all claim as our own now. I’d never before thought of them as being the same people that they’d been when they started their life together. I only truly understood the enormity of my grandfather’s loss then, when I realized that for everything she was to others, she’d spent the largest portion of her life, 58 of her 76 years, being his wife.


It was a strange moment of understanding. Not unlike the first time a child realizes that teachers are real people and have lives outside of school. When I looked at my grandmother in her casket, I saw the woman I’d always seen. I imagine that my grandfather saw much more. I’d imagine he saw his high school sweetheart, the girl he married, the mother of his children, the woman who made a home and life with him. I’d guess that when my grandfather looked at my grandmother
in her casket, he saw his whole world.

31 December 2014

Douche-Bagging America

There's been so much talk about the pussification of America. Personally, I have the feeling we're creating douchebags. 

You see, there I was walking down Bourbon Street in NOLA, and there's some poor bastard camped out in the middle of the street, between the blockades. I asked the guy if he was okay where he was, or if he needed help to get to the sidewalk. He said he'd rather be on the sidewalk. I attempted to help him stand up. 

While I was holding this guy's hand and trying to help him stand, some fucking kid walked by and pretended to kick him in the head. Having already had more than a few shots of tequila, I informed the kid that he was a fucking douchebag. To which, the kid replied, "I was just joking. I'm really a nice guy." He asked the street guy if he could help. I told him I'd shoot him if he touched the street guy again. 

I felt like if I didn't, at this point, inform the kid that he was a ridiculous piece of shit, probably no one in his life ever would, so I did. I also may or may not have threatened bodily harm. 

And what does this have to do with douche-bagging America? Fucking everything.

 We keep telling our kids that they're so special, and making sure they feel like they're worth something that we forget to teach them that they aren't the only worthwhile people in the world.

We forget to tell them that they're lucky to be here instead of "there," wherever "there" might be. I don't care if the dude in the middle of the Bourbon Street gets hammered and camps there every night. He's still a person. At some point, he was someone's son; maybe he was someone's brother, father, uncle or husband. I don't know what brought him to the place he's at now and I don't care.  

I can teach my children a lot of things, but I can't imagine anything more important than teaching them compassion, empathy and responsibility.

And also mostly just not being fucking douche-bags. 

03 September 2014

Ferguson, Cows, Racism and Pickles

The chief of police in Ferguson says that there isn't a black and white divide in the city. Apparently, that guy is an absolute moron. There's a black and white divide everywhere. Hell, there's an everything divide everywhere. Whether there should be or not is a moot point. It isn't going to change. Most of us are inherently racially biased, which is not to say that we're all lynch-mob, ignorant fucks.

Babies, who are by nature, selfish little pricks, learn racial bias by the age of nine months. I'm no doctor or anything, but I'd assume baby thinks something like this:
         Oooh. That face looks like the face attached to the booby milk. I'm going to look closer and see for sure before I manipulate it by being all cute and shit so it'll continue to feed my helpless self. 
Baby studies face intently. Then another face comes into view, a face that is a different race than the booby-milk face.
What the....doesn't matter, not the booby-milk.
And so, by the age of 9 months, baby learns that faces who belong to the same race as the booby-milk are good things. And since babies see everything as an extension of self, they would recognize this group of people as us. And other races as... meh.

It's not that we all grow up to dislike people of other races, it's more like we just don't see them. Which is why black people all look the same to white people, We've conditioned ourselves, as infants, not to record the information as important. Because, once again, babies are assholes. See, here's a study.

I'm no expert, but I'm guessing that as much as we want to pretend otherwise, race will never be a non-issue. Most of us agree that racial oppression is a bad thing and that we all, as humans, are entitled to certain basic human rights, but most of us reserve our outrage for violations of such rights for our own races. 

In Ferguson, MO, a grossly disproportionate amount of white police officers are policing a population where the majority of the residents are black. I can't imagine how this wouldn't lead to an "us vs. them" mentality among residents and officers. Not because black people commit more crimes, but because there are more black people than there are white people. It's something like the full-moon effect. People aren't crazier during a full moon, we just think so because we remember when the full moon is. Our brains seek patterns and often make them up. 

Then we have to consider society's reaction to certain events. Clive What'shisname for example... He broke the law. The government was going to come take his cows. In response to the federal law enforcement presence,  a shit ton of armed militia people showed up. The feds were all like, well hell, guess we lost this one. Let's go home.

In Ferguson on the other hand, a young kid, an unarmed one, broke the law...At some point, we think. I don't even know. Regardless, the local government took his life. Whether it was a good shooting or not isn't for me to say.. And when people gathered in protest of his death? The local government sent this:
Yes, people began looting. I've seen the whole, this is how you mourn a dead kid, by destroying your community's businesses?

Shut up. You're stupid.

This is how they make sure they are heard and seen. We see this one incident as a wake up call, while they see it as a last straw because they live with shit like this every single day.

And while we are on that... what do think would have happened if the government had sent a similar force out to the cow guy's ranch? And on the other hand, why the hell didn't they? There was a guy in a fucking sniper position for God's sake. Ferguson is throwing rocks at cops. And furthermore, where the fuck are the hundreds of armed militia guys and their hatred of big government in Ferguson?

In my humble, non-expert opinion, this is not the time to talk about racial equality, we've been over, under, around and through that issue for so long we don't even know what it means anymore. It's time to acknowledge the fact that we will never "unsee" race. So instead of trying to force an unnatural oversight of race, how about acknowledging the fact that we will always be equal and also separate to some extent and tell Ferguson to hire some black cops for fuck's sake.

On an unrelated note, Mark brought me homemade pickles today, so I'm going to go eat them now. They are, no joke, the best damn pickles I've ever had.

30 April 2014

Babies Shooting... Everything

I got an email the other day from a guy writing an article about firearms. He asked a question about kids and guns, which prompted a rant I'm not sure he was looking for. 
How do we stop kids from thinking that guns are toys? How do we prevent little kids from shooting their parents, siblings, dogs, themselves and whatever else happens to be in front of the muzzle?

Well, in my non-expert opinion (which, thank God I have, because the experts appear to be overwhelmingly ill informed) we can approach this several ways: 
We can use fear to teach children to never, ever touch anything that looks like a gun. 
"Guns are bad. Guns are dangerous. Don't ever touch them."
Which pretty much ensures that these children will be the first to pick up and play with a firearm he knows nothing about. We teach them that drugs are bad, too. Thank God that's never inspired any curiosity...

Or we can approach it the same way we do fire safety in school. "This is a gun. If you find a gun, do not pick it up. Call an adult immediately." Sort of like that whole, "never play with matches" thing. Because, certainly none of us ever played with matches the very same day that the school had the presentation.

Or, we can maybe try a little common sense. 
I have three children.
I also have a Glock.
My older children have been shooting. My oldest knows how to clear a slide and even take down a Glock. She's 12. 

What does that mean exactly? It means that my oldest children's curiosity about firearms has been mostly satisfied. It means that I am somewhat confident that they are informed enough to never point a firearm in an unsafe direction. It means that instead of being afraid of guns, they have developed a healthy respect for the destructive nature of firearms.

It does not mean that I leave them unattended, with firearms laying around on tables and floors. It does not mean that they are aware of where the gun is kept when it isn't on me. As much as I trust my children, I know the appeal of showing off.

And so the answer to how do we stop babies from accidentally shooting shit? Common fucking sense. 
Again. 

Don't leave your guns in your kids' toy boxes. Or on the floor. Or on the kitchen table. If you can't manage this? Don't have kids. 
If you're worried about kids finding guns at other people's house? Teach them.
Don't keep your gun in a shoebox in your closet. Who the fuck does that anyway? If you want to hide a gun in your home, at least put it somewhere inaccessible to your children. 

Most importantly, even if you've taught your children to respect the power of a firearm, do not underestimate the pull of showing off. Teaching your kids about guns doesn't make them tiny adults that know about guns. It makes them kids that know stuff some of their friends don't.  

Again, this is only my opinion, but the number of accidental child shootings in my house? 
Zero.