Category Archives: issues

You’re gonna carry that weight; carry that weight a long time

I was a skinny kid. Photos of me from back then are all pigtails and smeary glasses and I’m usually covered in mud. And I’m sometimes brandishing things like frogs or buckets of mucky water, for whatever reason. I probably had a plan for those buckets. Maybe I was going to put the frog in them. I don’t know.

Then puberty hit. You can’t fight science, people. I come from hearty peasant stock on both sides of my family. Dad’s side are all, in his words, “built like tops – big on the top, skinny on the bottom.” (I attempted to explain to him that’s not exactly how tops work, and also we don’t spin very well, but he was all “WE ARE LIKE TOPS!” so who am I to argue with him?) and my mom’s side are all built like the Goddess of Willendorf. Curvy doesn’t even begin to explain it. Genetics decided I needed a little of both, apparently.

Now, Dad had been heavy growing up, and teased about it mercilessly. He lost quite a bit of weight when he married my mother (who was, and remains, thin; she’s the only one in her family that is.) Dad saw that I was starting to gain weight and immediately feared that I was going to be teased about it at school.

His solution? Constantly watch everything I put in my mouth, tell me how disgusting being fat was, tell me I needed to be working out and/or being active every single minute of every single day, tell me I was never going to find anyone to love me if I was fat, and call me things like “elephant.” If I got upset about this, he was genuinely confused. “I just want you to be happy,” he’d say. “I just want you to be pretty and thin.”

Now, I don’t know what size you’re imagining me in high school, but if I remember correctly, I was about a size twelve. A twelve. I was probably around…oh, I don’t know. 140 pounds, maybe? 150? Just about the thinnest I’ve ever been in my adulthood, anyway. I certainly wasn’t fat. And I’m fairly tall. 5’8.

I WAS COMPLETELY NORMAL.

However, years and years of being told, by the person you love and admire most in the whole world, that you are ugly, fat and worthless, take their toll. My self-esteem, never overly good to begin with, wasn’t getting much better.

Senior year, I was tired of being so ugly and fat (although I was neither – I look at photos of myself from that time and think “GOOD GRIEF, WHY DIDN”T YOU REALIZE HOW GORGEOUS YOU WERE?!?!”) and went on a crash diet. This diet was basically a bowl of cereal at breakfast and a can of Chinese vegetables at dinner. Sometimes some chicken. No lunch. This was what I ate every day for about 8 months. I worked out for hours at a time daily. I lost about fifty pounds. I could see my hipbones and my ribs and my cheekbones. My collarbones were so prominent I would sometimes accidentally bump them and leave bruises.

It was the first time my father ever told me I was beautiful. He followed it with “See? All you had to do was lose weight. I knew you were beautiful underneath that.”

I was starving. I had headaches constantly. I was tired all the time. But I was THIN. Boys were paying attention to me. One of my teachers told me, “Don’t you dare ever gain weight again. Don’t you DARE” which at the time I was all “Aw, nice!” and now, looking back, I’m all, “Um. CREEPSTER!”

I think you can see where this is going. Can anyone maintain that kind of diet and exercise regimen in the long-term? And not get scurvy? And not go CRAZY? I mean, I couldn’t eat ANYTHING. I was counting the calories in CORNSTARCH. I’m not even kidding you about this. This is not a way to live a life.

I gained the weight back over about a year. I felt terrible shame. I’d let everyone down. I was disgusting. I was ugly and fat again. I had no self-esteem; I didn’t like to go out in public, I didn’t like to go out with my friends, I didn’t date because who would have me? I drank a lot, though. Liquid courage, right? Mmm-hmm. Works every time, except when you start needing it for everything, ever. Like getting out of bed in the morning, or to get to sleep at night. Or for everything in between.

I’ve fluctuated in weight ever since. Sometimes I’m heavier; sometimes I’m lighter. And here’s the thing; as I age, it matters less to me. I still don’t love what I see in the mirror every day; I still see photos of myself and think, “Good grief, that’s an unflattering photo.” I still have residual shame. I still think “If only I was thinner, life would be easier, in a million different ways.” But it’s not a daily thing. It’s not even all that often anymore.

And before you start to hate him, Dad understands, and has repeatedly apologized, for what he did when I was younger. I often think most of parenting is a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants affair. He really, truly thought he was doing the right thing. He thought he was stopping me from the ridicule he’d experienced as a teen. He didn’t realize – and did anyone, back then? – the long-standing effect that kind of treatment would have on my psyche. I’ve forgiven him. He doesn’t say a word now. And he’s said, without prompting, many times since, that I’m beautiful – no matter what size I am. He loves his daughter.

We live in a culture where it is not allowed (well, it still happens, but it’s not appropriate) to make racial jokes, or jokes about someone’s sexuality, or mental illness. But we’re still allowed to make fat jokes. Because fat jokes are funny. Fat PEOPLE are funny, right? Because, well, we CHOSE this. We chose this because we eat ALL the Twinkies and chips and cake and pie and sit around all day doing nothing. We chose this, and because we are fat, we are lazy and we also smell. Of course we do! And sometimes we fall. Ha ha! How funny!

So the best thing to do is make fun of us. To shame us. Because, as this VERY scientific study proves, it’s the only way to make us get off our lazy asses and get thin. Thin and therefore healthy. Oh, because, I don’t know if you’re aware – if you’re fat, you’re immediately unhealthy. There’s no such thing as a healthy fat person. We’re all one HoHo away from our first (or second, or third, or last) coronary. So the thing to do is shame us. According to this “prominent bioethicist” (I don’t see “ethics” coming into this at all) what you should say to any fat people you know, I mean, if you care about them at all, is “If you are overweight or obese, are you pleased with the way that you look?” Because of COURSE they’re not! And they just didn’t realize it until you shamed them! Oh, what a favor you are doing for them. They will thank you on the finish line of their first triathalon! They will shout your name from the top of Kilimanjaro!

Or they might tell you to shut your nosy piehole. Because I’m going to tell you something right now, and if you take anything away from this, I want it to be this.

My body, his body, her body, their bodies – anyone’s body but your own – ARE NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS.

I don’t care if you’re fat-shaming them, thin-shaming them (yes, it exists, please read sj’s amazing post about it, and the comments, and I know from personal experience, as I have a dear loved one who has constantly been picked on about being too thin, which she can help JUST about as much as I can help my body shape, so it’s real) or ANYTHING shaming-them, or if you say you’re doing it because you’re worried about their health, or what, exactly, your impetus for putting your nose in someone else’s business is. You have no right. None. You have no right to tell them they should lose weight (unless you are their doctor, and even then, sometimes, it gets worrisome, because there are some doctors who prescribe weightloss as an easy out for everything from asthma to a sprained toe because they don’t treat the patient, they just see a fat person and think, “I KNOW WHAT’S WRONG IT IS FATNESS!”); you have no right to say things about their lifestyle choices, their clothing choices, who they’re dating, what they’re eating, how loud they’re talking, or anything whatsoever. Keep your eyes on your own test, buckaroo. I’m sure you have something you’re not proud of. Would you like someone walking up to you and saying, “Man, that’s a huge nose you have there. You should get that surgically reduced. You know, for health reasons.” Or, “I noticed you have a very small penis, Man I’m About to Have Sex With. Have you thought about getting that surgically enhanced? You know, for health reasons?” IT WOULD BE THE SAME THING.

Here’s some Fun With Fat-Shaming. Don’t even think I didn’t research the hell out of this.

First, we have Kate Upton. Who is, I think we can all agree, STUNNINGLY GORGEOUS.

She also really likes bikini shots, so it was hard to find a photo of her clothed. Hell, good for her. She is smoking hot.

She also really likes bikini shots, so it was hard to find a photo of her clothed. Hell, good for her. She is smoking hot.

Well! Were you also aware she is “well-marbled,” “thick,” “vulgar,” and – this one’s my favorite – a “little piggie?” Or – well, how about a whole paragraph of hate? Sure!

Huge thighs, NO waist, big fat floppy boobs, terrible body definition – she looks like a squishy brick. Is this what American women are “striving” for now? The lazy, lardy look? Have we really gotten so fat in this country that Kate is the best we can aim for? Sorry, but: eww!

YES! She has been called out as too fat to model by a VERY reputable blog site called Skinny Gossip. Two things I loathe! People who judge others’ bodies and gossip! (Also, she tagged the post with “fatties” and “thunder thighs,” because, well, why not?)

Guess why she’s not model-material? BECAUSE SHE’S NORMAL-HUMAN SIZED. Well, no. She’s actually quite a bit less than normal human sized, as normal humans are, what, a size 12 now? 14? Something like that? I don’t think she’s that size. But she’s not waif-thin, and apparently, Skinny Gossip thinks that’s what size you have to be to model clothing.

Psst, Skinny Gossip, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS. She’s stunning. And it can’t possibly make you feel any better about yourself to call people pigs, can it? Really? Do you sleep well at night knowing you put something like that out there in the world? That kind of hate?

Next: employees at CVS will now be forced to take a BMI test and a blood-glucose screen to remain on their healthcare plan, or risk a fine. Why?

The company’s rationale? Coercing employees to submit to health testing will provide incentive for workers to get—and stay—in shape.

Huh. “Coercing.” Forcing, really, because the fine is $600 and they don’t pay much above minimum to work at CVS. And what happens once you take the test? Do you have to see a counselor about your totally fat fatness? Are you told if you don’t lose weight, you’ll be let go? Are your test results posted in the breakroom next to a photo of a bag of Cheetos with a red circle and a line through it? WHO KNOWS.

Or, how about, let’s fat-shame our children with this new ad campaign? Because there’s nothing that kids need more than to be shamed. I mean, it’s worked out so well for me, right?

Please read the article that accompanies this photo. It’s kickass. It has excellent examples of fat-shaming. HEARTBREAKING examples. And, sadly, TRUE examples. People think it is ok to walk up to perfect strangers in the grocery store and QUESTION THEIR FOOD CHOICES.

(True story: I had a woman come up to me in the grocery store and tell me she worked for Herbalife and they had an excellent line of diet pills I might like to try. First thought: shame. Second thought: WHO THE FUCK DO YOU THINK YOU ARE. Second thought won out over first thought; I told her I was not at all interested in a pyramid scheme for products that don’t work in the first place, and I was sorry she felt the need to walk up to strangers and judge their body type, and walked away. She was offering them to the next woman that walked past as I checked out. So apparently my words meant nothing.)

So, anyway. Yes, that’s an ad campaign for (well, against, I guess) childhood obesity, targeting overweight children. Because they probably aren’t aware they’re fat. So let’s do a whole ad campaign for it. That’s a good way to help kids with positive self-esteem. Way to go, guys.

Of course, there’s also good old Southwest Airlines, who expect their fat passengers to spring for two seats. And even their not-so-fat passengers. Whoever THEY deem as a little too fat. They SAY it’s if the passenger can’t put the armrests down, but as Kevin Smith found out a few years ago, that’s not it at all – it’s racial profiling, only with your weight. It’s fat-profiling. He was able to put his armrests down; the passengers on either side of him told the flight attendant they had plenty of room. They still kicked him off the plane. And when he got back on a later flight that they hurriedly put him on once they realized who he was and that he was tweeting millions of people about this practice, they fat-profiled another person, then put her in his row, so she’d tell him about it, and he’d know it wasn’t just him, and feel better.

DEFINITELY taking up way too much room. He should have purchased the WHOLE DAMN PLANE. *eyeroll*

DEFINITELY taking up way too much room. He should have purchased the WHOLE DAMN PLANE. *eyeroll*

Yes! Because nothing makes us feel better than to be shamed in front of a crowd of people than to do it to someone else. NOTHING. (I read his book Tough Shit recently which went in detail into the incident, and my heart just broke for him. Because no matter what you think of Kevin Smith – you all know I think he’s fantastic, but you can hate him if you want, just don’t tell me about it, ok? – when that happened, he was just an average guy, being fat-shamed in front of a full airplane of people. Worse, he was a FAMOUS guy being fat-shamed in front of a crowd of people, and if it was an average guy, it might be a laugh or two, but with a famous person, it’s news, you know? He took control of the news and labeled it “too fat to fly” himself – he’s very good at self-deprecating – but it hurt. Of course it did. Because no matter who you are, where you are in the world, being shamed for your body size is not something you can laugh off. It just isn’t. The shame should be on Southwest Airlines, not the people they’re profiling.)

Then there’s this. I can’t embed a Facebook thread, so sadly, you will have to click. Here’s a screenshot, though, because pretty pictures, right?

Now, you have to click to see the comments. The comments are really what makes this. Because this STARTS OUT as normal, then this person shows up who hates fat people. HATES THEM. Only, no no! She doesn’t HATE them. She has MANY FAT FRIENDS! (Does this sound at all like someone who makes a lot of racist comments, then says, “What? I’m not a racist! I have MANY MANY BLACK FRIENDS!” Yeah, to me, too.) So she starts writing things like “no, it’s a known fact that all fat people are unhealthy and many doctors refuse to operate on them because, well, they’ll just die on the table. Because, well, fat, you know?”

Don’t worry. There are some kickass commenters on there. They give her the smackdown. She doesn’t ever shut up, but they win intelligence. She doesn’t win anything but idiocy and mouth-flappery.

This is, by the way, called “concern-trolling.” It’s like being a troll, only you’re pretending it’s because you CARE. Isn’t that nice? A whole new way to be a douchecanoe!

Sara, from Laments and Lullabies, wrote an amazing post recently about fat-shaming, which you all should read. Her post, and the terrible comments on that Facebook post up there, were what finally made me realize I needed to write my own post. Here’s her post. You should all a., read, and b., comment. Oh, and c., follow her blog.

There are more. There are so many more. But this is edging into way too many words for a Saturday territory, and also I’d like to get to bed at some point.

I will leave you with some bullet points. Because, who doesn’t like bullet points, am I right?

  • Other people’s bodies are none of your business. Keep your words off them. Unless you’re telling them they’re beautiful. Everyone likes that shit. Even if they pretend they don’t.
  • Pretending you’re “worried about someone’s health” is not an excuse for commenting on someone’s weight, whether they’re heavy or thin. Again, see the first bullet point. Even if they’re naked with you, their size is none of your business. Whose business is it then, Amy? THEIRS. No one’s but theirs.
  • Making fat jokes is a., not funny, and b., lazy. There are actual funny things in the world to point out. Like misspellings. Who doesn’t like a good misplaced apostrophe or missing comma? The answer to that is NO ONE.
  • To reiterate what we learned in the first bullet point: before making a comment about someone’s weight, please think the following quietly to yourself: “What is my least-favorite attribute. Now, would I like someone to loudly mention it and say it is ugly and/or unhealthy for me to have, and publicly shame me about it?” The answer to that question is always no. ALWAYS.
  • Also: if you think you are too fat, and everyone’s judging you, and you’re ugly, and OMG I CANNOT LEAVE THE HOUSE, guess what. No, seriously, guess. Hardly anyone even notices. The only people that do are assholes. And who cares what assholes think? I hope you don’t.
  • Finally: I’m going to tell you something I’ve learned in my old age. Ready? Shh, don’t share this one around, it’s kind of radical. WE ARE ALL BEAUTIFUL. I know! Every single last one of us. Fat. Thin. Tall. Short. We’re a lovely bunch of coconuts. Except – there is one thing that makes you ugly. Guess what that is? Hatefulness. Being hateful. You can’t be beautiful with hate in your mind, soul, or mouth. So get rid of that, and guess what? You’re gorgeous again. And everyone will see it. I can see it right now! Whoa, babe, dial that back, you’re blinding me with it.

We’ve become a culture of shaming. We’re rape-shaming and we’re slut-shaming and we’re thin-shaming and we’re fat-shaming. It’s repulsive and this shit’s gotta stop. Like, immediately.

Stop shaming anyone. Including yourself. You are beautiful. The people around you are beautiful. No one should be shamed for how they look. The next time you look at yourself in the mirror, be amazed at how gorgeous you are. And tell the people around you how beautiful they are. Don’t allow them to blow it off and say things like, “Oh, I look like a cow in this top” or whatever, either. Nope. Not today, buckaroos. Tell them they’re beautiful AGAIN. Until they actually believe it.

Then, all of that stuff? Do quadruple that for your kids. Make sure your kids enter the world with the strongest self-esteem possible. They’re going to need it, and you can help them with that.

We might be surrounded by shame, but we can combat that with love. Is that the opposite of shame? Don’t care. For our purposes it is.

Love you guys. You’re gorgeous. Every last one of you.

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Don’t be hanging ‘round old Catfish John

We haven’t talked about current events in a while, have we? Shame on me. Shaaaaaame.

We could talk about Lance Armstrong but honestly, I just don’t care. I think it’s shitty he spent years saying “no no no I DON’T DO DRUGS” and all along he was doing drugs. That’s shady. But I didn’t watch the Oprah interview, because honestly, just don’t care. Mostly I feel bad for Dad. He LURVED Lance Armstrong. He thought the whole thing was a government conspiracy. (I just asked him about it, and he said “I was duped by a dope.” He sounded SO SAD. I felt terrible. I’m totally mad at Lance Armstrong. See, Dad doesn’t like many people at all. At ALL, at all. Because he thinks everyone is tricky and trying to fool him. And he constantly tells me not to love people. “THEY WILL BREAK YOUR HEART!” he says. Then, when someone does break my heart, he says “I TOLD YOU! Never love anyone! Ever!” But he LOVED Lance Armstrong. He stuck up for Lance Armstrong all through this and now he’s just crushed. I feel SO BAD about this. I mean, I have a long and storied history with heartbreak. Poor Dad, he’s a newbie here. I want to punch Lance Armstrong in his remaining testicle for hurting my Dad’s feelings.)

You SHOULD be ashamed, Lance. YOU UPSET AMY'S DAD.

You SHOULD be ashamed, Lance. YOU UPSET AMY’S DAD.

Nope, we’re not going to talk about Lance Armstrong, he makes me angry. I don’t like cheating.

Let’s talk about this whole football-player-Catfish-thing, because I find this fascinating.

OK, so in case you’ve been living under a rock (I totally just found out about this yesterday, so I’m kind  of one of those “living under a rock” people) apparently what happened is this:

There is a football player for Notre Dame named Manti Te’o. (That’s kind of a kickass name, yo.) He is apparently quite good. He’s gotten a lot of media coverage because earlier in the year, within days of each other, his beloved grandmother and girlfriend died. And he threw himself into the game and won all these things (shut up, I know nothing about football) and people were pushing for him to get the Heisman Trophy because oh, poor Manti Te’o. There’s nothing the media loves more than a sob story.

See? He's all footbally and shit.

See? He’s all footbally and shit.

Well, there’s this website called Deadspin, which I’ve never heard of in my life ever, but like I said, I live under a rock. Apparently it’s like a gossipy sports site? From what I can tell? Deadspin did a little digging into this dead-girlfriend story.

And there was no dead girlfriend. Or even a girlfriend.

This is where things get confusing. There are a lot of lies going on here. And it’s not 100% at this point who’s doing the lying.

Apparently through a combination of news reports and reports from Te’o and such, he met this girlfriend in 2009. Her name was Lennay Kekua. They were just friends for years; they became a couple in early 2012. In mid-2012, she was in a terrible car accident and almost died. When she was recovering, the doctors said, “oh, you have leukemia, too, by the way.” She died in September 2012. Te’o would stay on the phone with her for hours while she was in comas; his voice would make her vital signs get better. (Um. I don’t know about this. But I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on television.) This all sounds very soap-opera-y.

Various people in his life said they met her, including Te’o. Or the media reported this, anyway; it’s a little convoluted whether or not anyone actually SAID they met her.

Deadspin investigated this, because they thought something was hinky. I like to think of the Deadspin staff as the Scooby gang, right? Anyway, they found out that the photos being used on Lennay’s Twitter site were some horrified girl who was all “OMG NO WHAT THE HELL?” and that Te’o didn’t meet her at a game, as reported in the media, but on Twitter. The girl whose face became the face of a fake dead girlfriend was all, “wait a minute, I gave this photo to this guy I know” and she called him and he started acting all weird.

Come to find out, this guy (Ronaiah Tuiasosopo) was friends with Te’o and seems to be behind the Lennay accounts, but has gone all mum. Hmm. Wonder why.

This is Ronaiah. Shady, right? I think it's the weird hair-point going on there.

This is Ronaiah. Shady, right? I think it’s the weird hair-point going on there.

So the story broke. And all the people in Te’o’s life who were quoted as saying they’d met her said now, “Um, no, we never did.” So who knows if they were lying THEN or NOW or the media was lying, really. And Te’o came out and said, “I WAS CATFISHED.”

But more and more people are coming out and saying he knew about this all along, and he and Tuiasosopo were in it together and it was all for the sympathy and the media coverage and the attention.

Notre Dame is standing behind him and saying he came to them a while ago and told them he’d been Catfished (which begs the question why they didn’t come out and tell anyone, but any press is good press, right? And Te’o was getting a LOT of press.)

You all remember Catfish, right? The movie that might or might not have been a documentary about the guy who fell in love with a chica online and decided to go meet her with camera-crew in tow and she ended up being a 40-some year old housewife with a husband and she was kind of a crazy-person? And for those of us who live online it was TERRIFYING?

Here's the guy that got Catfished. Spoiler alert: I find him very pretty.

Here’s the guy that got Catfished. Spoiler alert: I find him very pretty.

Now there’s a Catfish television show which I just discovered when I was researching this. So because I’m completely thorough, I am watching repeated episodes of the Catfish television show while I’m writing this. WHAT? Some of you have BETTER things to do with your Friday nights? Well, aren’t YOU fancy.

The Catfish television show is about people who contact the guy who was catfished in the Catfish movie and want to know if the person they’ve fallen in love with online is all they’re cracked up to be. All that and a bag of chips, if you will. The first episode I watched, the internet boyfriend ended up being a transgender woman. (SPOILER ALERT, the girl still loved him even though he lied to her and they are still very much in love, aw, well, good for them!) The one I’m watching now, this adorable college lacrosse player is being catfished by some trickster-woman who is catfishing a whole bunch of OTHER guys as WELL and I don’t know what will happen because it’s not over yet. I’ll get back to you on this.

(I think I will probably be obsessed with this show and watch it a lot. I can see this happening. DAMMIT MTV AND YOUR ADDICTIVE PROGRAMMING!)

Anyway, back to the Te’o situation.

Do I think he was catfished for three years? I don’t know. It’s all very suspicious. It’s all kind of falling apart like a house of cards, now, isn’t it? And the media jumped all over that dead-girlfriend story and didn’t even check on it. It took a weird gossipy sports blog to break the story. This is all very mysterious and shady.

(OMG SIDE NOTE. The girl that the lacrosse player – and all the other fellas – were talking to was totally NOT EVEN A GIRL but a very sad, shy young gay man. And the lacrosse player looked so sad and so broken. But he wasn’t punchy, which was nice. He seems like a very nice boy and I approve of him. The sad little gay man said he was catfishing OVER 100 MEN. And being the online catfish girl got him KICKED OUT OF COLLEGE BY HIS R.A. BECAUSE HE ACCIDENTALLY CATFISHED HIS R.A. This is all very distressing and terrible and he actually said, “Being Amanda feels better than being myself” and I totally just want to give him a hug. That poor, poor kid. Also the poor, poor lacrosse player. This show is making me sad. Yet I plan on still watching it. BECAUSE IT IS FASCINATING.)

OK, so the Te’o thing. My dad thinks this is RIDICULOUS. “That is a LIAR,” Dad said. “Don’t you write about that on your blog. HE LIED ABOUT THAT GIRL EXISTING. FOR ATTENTION!”

Dad hates people that need a lot of attention. As do I. We are in agreement on this.

Apparently Notre Dame has some sort of ultra-strict no-lying policy? And this could all be a lot of trouble for this guy? But he’s kind of out of the news because his team lost some sort of big game? As I said, ironically, since the name of my blog has football IN it, I know nothing about football other than it runs long and constantly makes The Amazing Race run late.

If he really was catfished, well, that’s sad. But I highly doubt it. I’m very suspicious about such things. I assume most people are lying all the time. Which is why I only trust and love like a handful of people. Part of this is me being broken, part of this is my dad yelling at me not to love anyone because THEY WILL BREAK YOUR HEART, AMY!!!, and part of this is because, well, honestly, when I love someone, I give it like 247%. I don’t have time to give everyone in the world 247%, I’d die in like a week, yo. (Which is why, when I lose someone I love, it hurts 247% more than it would hurt a normal person. Please see above re. “broken.”)

So I’m guessing this was all a scam for publicity, which makes me sad. Who invents a dead girlfriend for attention? Seriously? That’s something a high-school kid would do. If this is what happened, this is very distressing. You don’t invent a cancer-patient girlfriend.

Then again, you don’t lie to my dad, either, LANCE ARMSTRONG. You are so dead to us right now.

OK, now it’s time for more Catfish the tv show. Some guy thinks he’s online dating Miss Teen USA. Well, from like years ago. She’s not a teen anymore, that’d be more To Catch a Predator than Catfish, I think. (Again, spoiler alert, it wasn’t Miss Teen USA, it was his platonic friend and she’s a pathological liar. This show is terrible-awful and I CANNOT STOP WATCHING IT.)

I’d say I was watching this for research but at this point I’ve totally gotten obsessed, yo, I’m not even too proud to admit it. Happy weekend, internets. Don’t sext with strangers, they might not be who you think they are. What’s that? You already knew that? Oh, well, that’s ok, then. Nice job, you guys.


I’m not broken. It’s SCIENCE.

I read this article the other day, and it was like a light totally went on in my head.

I AM NOT BROKEN. IT IS SCIENCE.

OK, so I don’t date. I have, in the past. Sure I have. Sometimes that went better than other times. Sometimes it wasn’t painful and sometimes it was like Elaine’s favorite mode of evaluating badness and could be measured in Hindenburgs.

Never, however, did it go well. Or was it a repeated event. I’m…um…kind of the worst at dating. That’s really all I have to say about that. You’d think I’d have all these uproarious stories but mostly they range from sad to things that made numerous therapists say “um. That’s not…I don’t know what to say about that” so I don’t go into details. I promise you that you don’t want me to.

HOWEVER! I am very good at falling in love with people. If awards were given out for this? I would win them ALL. Having it be requited, well, no, those awards would not be gracing my trophy case. (SIDE NOTE: no. No, of course I don’t have a trophy case, what would I put in it, my spelling bee awards from junior high? I don’t even know where those ARE. FINE THEY’RE AT MY PARENTS’ HOUSE ARE YOU HAPPY?)  Sometimes it’s a quick thing and sometimes it takes forever but all of a sudden BAM I fall crazy in love with someone and then I’m a stupid giddy schoolgirl and eventually I end up getting my heart broken or I have to tough-love myself and say, “AMY. You stop this RIGHT NOW. This person IS NOT INTERESTED.”

OK, so anyway. I don’t date after the failed internet-dating experiment of 2005 (I DON’T WANT TO TALK ABOUT IT) and I try REALLY REALLY HARD not to fall in love with people who aren’t interested (and honestly, if I fall in love with them, they’re not going to be in love with me, because I can pick ’em. Ooh, can I pick ’em. I have a RADAR for the people who aren’t going to fall in love with me. They’re the ones I want, apparently. You know that song about “I love a parade?” That’s me, only with a CHALLENGE. I love a challege!) I try hard. It doesn’t always work but I try really hard.

But then I found this article and I realized WHY I am broken and choose these people, even though they’re honestly kind of jerks most of the time. And I’m really quite intelligent otherwise.

IT IS NOT THAT I’M BROKEN IT IS SCIENCE.

Here’s the thing that all of these men have in common: they ALL do this same thing. So apparently I have a type.

They act TOTALLY INTO ME and then they act ALL COLD AND WEIRD and then they act TOTALLY INTO ME AGAIN and this goes back and forth and back and forth and I have no idea what to make of it and it’s like a person watching a tennis match until they get all dizzy and fall over. And then get hit by a bus.

You’d THINK that would make someone say, “Hey, this person I’ve hitched my wagon to, they’re an asshole, time to move on,” but NOPE. Not me! I sit around waiting for the crumbs of acknowledgement.

So I THOUGHT it was because I was broken and also quite stupid, until I read that article I linked to above. NOT BROKEN. SCIENCE!!!

It’s apparently the “allure of unpredictable romantic partners.” That sounds nice, doesn’t it? Like a romantic comedy. Possibly starring Ewan McGregor. I’d watch that. Probably while crying.

So the sciency types did this test where they gave subjects fruit juice and water and scanned their brains while doing it. The subjects’ brains lit up like a Christmas tree with dopamine when the fruit juice/water rewards came at unexpected intervals, while the brains just kind of yawned and played another hand of solitaire when the rewards came at predictable 10-second intervals.

Apparently, our brains, going back to CAVEMAN TIMES, are programmed to signal us to pay attention when something unexpected happens. They signal us by releasing dopamine. Dopamine, in case you’re not obsessed with weird-ass shit like I am, is your pleasure chemical. Among many other things, it signals a feeling of bliss. It’s one of the chemicals your body’s stewing in when you’re all stupid-giddy in love.

So being with a partner who’s unpredictable about his/her affection is like being inconsistently given fruit juice – it fires off your dopamine like a shootout at the OK Corral. The smart, thinky part of your brain might be all “THIS IS THE WORST SUCK!” but your animal brain is all “Ahhhhh that’s the stuff! SIGNAL! SIGNAL!” and is filling your brain with DRUGS. Drugs that make you feel PLEASURE.

Your brain is a dark alley on the bad side of town filled with drug pushers. Didn’t your mom teach you to stay away from those places? Tsk.

So our smart brains say “this person is bad news!” and our drugged-up brain lolling around in an opium den is all “NO NO GIMME MORE” so you’re torn and according to science you keep going back to the person, but you don’t even KNOW you’re doing this shit, because it’s happening WAY DEEP DOWN IN YOUR PSYCHE.

This is super-distressing, science.

I totally knew I was doing this, I just didn’t know there was a reason. Other than the brokenness, of course.

This reminds me of the study with the rats and the uncertain results. Our beloved Andreas attempted mightily to find me a link to this and could not, but here, I’ll let him tell you about it, he’s better than a link anyway:

(Ignore where it looks like I’ve repeated the same thing three times, that’s just because he’s responding to my tweet three times. I promise I don’t say the same thing over and over. Well, I *do*, just not that obnoxiously. MOST of the time, anyway.)

So I remember reading about this study, probably in one of my psych classes in grad school. There were these rats. And the rats were in a cage with a lever. The lever could distribute food whenever they pressed it, or the lever could be dicked with so it gave food out at unpredictable intervals.

As Andreas said, the rats that were in the cage where they knew the outcome, they’d stop on by the lever if they wanted a nosh.

The rats in the unpredictable cage would beat their little paws bloody against that lever, hoping against hope that this time, this press, this would be the one. The one that would bring the manna down from the heavens. Because it happened once. IT COULD HAPPEN AGAIN.

(I think this is probably the same mentality that leads people to gamble until they lose their homes.)

I’m the rat. I’m the beating-my-paw-bloody-against-the-lever rat.

BUT, according to SCIENCE, we ALL are. It’s not just me! It’s ALL of us! Because of the effing DOPAMINE!

Also, being a person with a screwed-up brain (no, seriously, that’s why they put people like me on antidepressants, because our seratonin and such are all out of whack) I can only assume my dopamine is probably all weird like the rest of my brain chemistry.

SCIENCE! Why are you screwing with me? It’s not bad enough you gave me bad skin, eyes, and frazzly hair? Now you have to make me fall in love with jerks, too? (Well, happy to say, most of that is in the past. Because as an adult, I just decided I’M NOT DOING THIS ANYMORE and refuse to fall in love at ALL. That’ll teach ’em. I just removed myself from the game. WINNER!)

Well, here’s a newsflash, people who think they can just be assholes because science backs you up and therefore you can just treat people’s hearts casually: science might be drugging us up, but our smart brains eventually get fed up.

Like addicts who have had enough, we finally reach a breaking point where we’re tired of waking up on some stranger’s porch wearing poorly-chosen clothing choices with a taste in our mouth akin to used kitty litter and we say NO MORE and we start attending AA. Or we go cold turkey. Or we just say, hit the road, Jack, no more of your stupid games, I’ll find someone who actually gives a shit ALL the time, not just when they feel like it or need something or just for the fun of it all.

Also, you might be a little bit of a psychopath. Just think about that for a minute, ok? If you’re not interested in someone, TELL THEM THAT. Don’t leave them hanging. Just tell them you’re not interested and let them move on, jerko.

BUT, that being SAID, I am just so pleased science has an explanation for why I’m a rat with a bloody paw. Thanks, science. You really came through. Now let’s talk about this unruly hair thing, science. SURELY YOU HAVE A REASON FOR THIS. I am tired of looking like a rooster.


Kind-of-Sort-of Ask Lucy a.k.a. I CAN ANSWER THAT! (Volume 9)

Well! Here we are, my most beloved of all my beloveds! Have we got questions? Oh, have WE got QUESTIONS. I can’t even. SO MANY QUESTIONS. Like eleventy-billion questions. No, no, maybe less than that. Like eleventy-million. I don’t like to exaggerate, that’s just déclassé.

Except when a kitten does it. Then it’s ok.

So, in case you don’t remember, here’s a quick rundown of what’s going on here. I don’t know, you might need to know. Like, if the FBI questioned you or something, you’d have to tell them SOMETHING. ANYWAY, because the search terms posts tend to be was insanely long, I break them up into two posts: an open letter to people who find my blog accidentally (that’s yesterday’s post, in case you have goldfish-memory) and a post with just the QUESTIONS that drive people to my blog. And I give advice, and I answer your questions, and it’s really kind of stellar. What? It IS. Isn’t it? Don’t tell me if you don’t think it is. I don’t even want to know. BE NICE.

So, yet again!

Welcome to…

Kind-of-sort-of Ask Lucy.

Subtitled: I CAN ANSWER THAT!

These are all ACTUAL SEARCH TERMS that brought people to my blog. So these people totally need my help, obviously, because they came to Google SEARCHING FOR HELP. And I can answer these questions! Well, some of them. Maybe not all of them. But I can sure as hell try. I’m really good at trying things, even if I fail spectacularly.

what to do if someone is putting trash in my mail box?
kids keep leaving trash in my mailbox, how do i get them back? I got a lot of searches for this this month. I don’t know what’s up in the world. Why so much mailbox-litter? Weird. The first person here just wants to know what to do, and the second wants REVENGE, which makes me laugh. Reveeeenge! Hello, my name is Person Who Randomly Searches Google, you put trash in my mailbox, prepare to die. Listen, I don’t know what to tell you, babe. They’ll stop eventually, is my guess. Kids get bored of such shit. Kids have short attention spans. I wouldn’t put a bomb in your mailbox or anything. You’ll get arrested. Plus you could hurt your mail carrier. I know a mail carrier and I like him very much. I’d feel terrible if you hurt a mail carrier. You’re welcome, I’m sorry someone’s letterbombing you, pun most definitely intended.

which country has lots of sluts Hee! I have no idea. By “sluts,” do you mean legalized prostitution, or do you mean whorey girls that’ll put out? I’d think any country has those. Some more than others. Smaller, more religious countries maybe less? I don’t know. Anyone have any advice for this guy? Is the country you live in slut-laden? Also, sir (or, ma’am, I suppose, don’t mean to be sexist) “slut” is a rude term, and if you use it, women are less likely to sleep with you. Just a tip. We prefer “shady lady.” You are welcome, wear a condom.

why do i always obsess last guy i made out with Well, I would hope it’s because you had feelings for that person, because why are you making out with random people? From experience, I can tell you making out with people you have no feelings for doesn’t even rev your engine a little, while making out with someone you like is TOTALLY engine-revvy. I mean, well, not that I ever made out with RANDOM PEOPLE. Ahem. Cough. Cough. Misspent youth. I always knew who they WERE, for the most part. That guy who was the other guy’s friend who had nice hair. Friend S. from the theater. The pretty boy with glasses I met at happy hour. It’s not like I picked them up on the BUS, come on now. So, the answer to your question is: YOU HAVE EMOTIONS. You’re a human, not a robot. Welcome to the human race, it’s nice. We have cake, sometimes. You’re welcome, wear Chapstick.

Emotions are part of the package. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

is lucy football grownup This made me laugh so hard I snorted. Yes. Yes, I am, my friend. I am almost 40. I know. It’s surprising, considering I talk like a sixteen-year-old. But, yep. I’m an adult. I can vote and drive a car and get a tattoo or a piercing and I have grey hair and everything. And I’ve done/have ALL of those things. I’m about to hit my midlife crisis head-on, baby. It’s gonna be GLORIOUS. You’re welcome, I’m glad I could tell you personal information about myself that you seem to need for some strange reason.

what is the meaning of molasses The…meaning? It’s thick, dark brown uncrystallized juice obtained from raw sugar during the refining process. I got that from Google, it’s not like I knew or anything. I like molasses cookies alright. They’re fine. Sometimes I get a craving for them. But I don’t know that there’s a MEANING. It’s not like it’s a EUPHEMISM. Well, I don’t think it is. Ken? Is molasses a euphemism? You’re welcome, stop trying to find the meaning in everything. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, you know?

Sweet sassy molassy!

can I change my gender with a spell or potion Oh. No. No, you…no. Please tell me you were kidding. I know I blogged about this once, but I was KIDDING. As was the eBay seller of the potion. Well, they weren’t KIDDING as much as they were looking to rip you off, but still. Sentiment’s the same. No. If you want to change your gender, there’s no Polyjuice Potion, my love. You need to get surgery and therapy and take lots of hormones and it’s a tough go but it’s worth it to become the person you need to be. I’m sorry. I wish I had a better answer for you. You’re welcome. I hope you’re ok.

Only in the movies, babydoll. Only in the movies. And books, first, of course.

what are some charlie brown relationship patterns Aw, well, I love this. Let’s see. Charlie Brown loves The Little Red Haired Girl from afar, but never gets up the courage to talk to her. Sally loves Linus but he doesn’t give a shit. Lucy loves Schroeder but HE doesn’t give a shit. Everyone bullies Charlie Brown except for Linus. Lucy treats Charlie Brown like dogshit. Utter dogshit. Snoopy’s just the best and so full of life. As dogs are, you know? Especially beagles. My favorite TYPE of dogs! Patty and Marcie seem solid and everyone always said they were lesbians, I don’t know. Patty’s pretty bossy but Marcie seems down with it. So…the relationship patterns in Charlie Brown’s world are…well, really pretty shitty, to tell you the truth. Lots of longing, no one ever gets who they want, everyone’s pretty miserable when you think about it. And did I name my blog after this cartoon? Yes. Yes, I did. You’re welcome, write a term paper about this and let me read it, ok?

did glee ever do a lana del rey song I’ve missed the past couple weeks of Glee so I can’t answer this with any sort of authority. The internet seems to think they did “Video Games” back in May. Am I forgetting this? Glee’s gotten pretty effing forgettable lately and I kind of hate it, to tell you the truth. You’re welcome, watch American Horror Story, it’s better. (Oh, research tells me that, yes, they did, but it didn’t make the episode. Here, you can listen. Puck covered it, so it’s pretty and dark and kind of twisted and now I’ve been listening to it over and over for like twenty minutes. I miss Puck, by the way. Sigh, Puck.)

do men get erections just from seeing someone? “are you happy to see me?” Ha! I don’t know. I think in high school that happens. But I think when they grow up they get better control over such things. This is a very funny question. Men, you can chime in here if you want, I don’t have a trouser snake, I’m not any sort of authority here. You’re welcome, please keep that in your pants. And, yes. I’m ALWAYS happy to see you. Just not…like that.

EUPHEMISM.

do you have to wear a turtleneck with something else Well, I hope with SOMETHING else. Not JUST the turtleneck. With your bottom half all naked? That’s not even REMOTELY sexy. Even someone SO sexy couldn’t make that work, I wouldn’t think. But, yeah, I have a couple of turtleneck sweaters I wear just on their own, well, with pants and shoes and all. Sometimes a skirt. I don’t wear them UNDER anything. Is that your question? This is weird. You’re welcome, coming to me for clothing advice is like going to the ocean to ask it about the desert, honestly.

This made me laugh SO HARD. Look at his little monogram on his sleeve! SO FANCY! So he doesn’t forget who he is, I guess!

from what were animals made out of? This sounds like a Biblical question. Like, Eve was made from Adam’s rib (coughbullshitcough) so the animals were made from…what? The answer is MAGIC FAIRY DUST. And RAINBOWS. You are WELCOME, please feel free to quote me at your next Bible study. I’m sure it’ll be a hit.

I’m sorry. This made me laugh SO HARD. Well, married readers? Is it? Is it just like this? With wild animals and foliage and such?

how do kakopo feel if you touch it Like…a bird? With feathers? I find that birds feel a lot less substantial than you’d think when you touch them. Like, they look all big, but underneath their feathers they’re just spindly. But kakopos are magical and hump your head like it’s a sex-hat, so…yeah, probably don’t touch ‘em unless you want ‘em to be humpin’ up on you. You’re welcome, don’t be screwing a bird.

Aw, kakopo. Poor little horny kakopo.

how to make a paper mache whale I’d think…um…build a whale out of balloons and masking tape, then cover that in paper mache and then wait for it to dry? That’s how I build shit out of paper mache, if I have to do it. Once I built a whole set out of paper mache. It was the messiest thing I’ve ever done in my life, and I ruined a billion sets of clothing and shoes and it was in my hair for WEEKS. Set was kickass, though. You’re welcome, best of all things with your craft project.

HOW CUTE IS THIS. Someone make me one.

how to wear skinny jeans or jeggings without cameltoe Ha! I love you guys, most sincerely. Well, I’d say, don’t wear ‘em, they look silly, but if you have to…I don’t know. Just don’t wear ‘em so tight, maybe? Or, wear extra paddy underwear? I have no advice, here. I don’t wear these types of pant-items. I wear boot-cut jeans and khakis. End statement. Oh, in my house I wear pajama pants that fall down all the time because they were purchased when I was substantially larger. Speaking of which, do you think if you lost a lot of weight without trying, you’re dying? OK, just wondering. For a friend. You’re welcome, dress appropriately.

What’s the male equivalent of cameltoe? Because I’m going to assume, on front-view, this guy’s got that going on.

is being called a fucking bitch normal? “Normal?” I don’t know. Were you acting like a fucking bitch? Does it happen, like, every DAY, or just once and a while? I don’t think calling people names like this is NORMAL. I mean, I call people things like this, but not to their FACES. Like, there’s this person I know. I won’t say where, or when, but a person. I know. And every time I interact with her, she is SO NEGATIVE. So as I walk away from her, I say, under my breath, “I think you might be the biggest bitch I have ever met” or “You make me want to stab baby kittens” or something along those lines, you know? But not TO her. To her face, I am VERY POLITE. It takes a lot to make me shout, actually. I have to be pushed pretty far or be really really tired. I know. You’re probably surprised, I seem all volatile. So, “normal?” No. I don’t think it is. And I think if you’re in an environment where that’s happening, you need to get out, because that is a poison environment. You’re welcome, I don’t think you’re a bitch. I think you’re a lovely special snowflake.

is it normal when kids had the flu after to be so crenky Hee, “crenky.” Yes. That’s normal. The flu is the WORST. It makes you feel like DEATH DEATH DEATH. And little kiddos are less able to deal with such things than grownup people. So, sure it is. Be nice to your little convalescing babies, you. Oh, I spoke to The Nephew today, he told me he was going to be Buzz Lightyear for Halloween and that Buzz Lightyear says “To infinity! And BEYOND!” and I told him, “You are the BEST Buzz Lightyear!” and he giggled and said, “YES!” so I think I win Halloween. You’re welcome, be nice to your little ones, I wish I had some around to spoil rotten.

My little Buzz is better than this. Sorry, real Buzz Lightyear. My little guy’s more excited than you are about…well…everything.

are there social anxiety pills I hear there are. My friend offered me some once, to get me to go to a party with her. I did not take them. I learned in an Afterschool Special you don’t take other people’s prescription medication. So, yes. I think so. Xanax, or something. Ask your doctor. Don’t ask the internet. You’re welcome, isn’t social anxiety the best?

Oh, well, you don’t need pills. You can use PSYCHOLOGICAL TRICKS. This is good news.

is tiger tiger burning bright ee cummings Nope. It’s William Blake. I don’t think (not that I can FIND, anyway) that cummings even referenced the Blake poem.    It’s a nice poem. I like it. I like cummings better, though. I’m a cummings fangirl, what can I say. You’re welcome, I like your curiosity about poetry. Keep it up, sweetpea.

how to see theyr underware with your phone WHAT THE HELL? Your phone is not XRAY SPECS. You are NUTS. And kind of GROSS. And a PEEPER. Cut this out right now. Also, your spelling and grammar are atrocious. STOP IT YOU. You’re welcome, NO NO NO.

Well! There we go, jellybeans! All the questions! All the answering! All for YOU! I hope that was helpful. I love your faces. Until next month, may your questions be answered and your searches bring you to someone who is helpful. Or, lacking that: may they bring you to me, because I try REALLY HARD to help. I totally do.


He was different, he wasn’t cool like me

The news has been very, very depressing lately. I KNOW, it’s ALWAYS depressing. But it’s more depressing than usual. Am I the only one that’s noticed this? I can’t be, right?

Even this pug wearing clothing is super-depressed.

OK, first, this whole thing about the bus monitor in Rochester that was bullied by middle school kids has me insane. INSANE. I tried to watch the video and I absolutely could not do it. I watched approximately a minute and a half and had to turn it off. Yes, yes. I know. The world stepped right up and donated her a ton and a half of money, because if there’s one thing people are good at, it’s throwing money at something that makes them sad to make themselves feel less sad. (Sorry. That’s rude. I’m sure people have the best of intentions.) So far, as of the writing of this post, the fundraiser to send her on a vacation has raised about $668,000. That’s a hell of a vacation. I’m not judging, and it’s not sour grapes, but there are a lot of people saying she “deserves” this money. Really? There are a lot of us who were bullied that much or more by children. Other teachers, even, according to my friend who teaches junior high. Do we also deserve that kind of payout? I don’t think anyone in the world deserves anything. I know, that’s kind of insanely conservative, coming from me, right? I’m a big fat enigma, what can I say. Is it nice that she’s gotten all these donations? Sure, it’s nice. Is it DESERVED? Debatable.

Whew! NOW my conscience is appeased!

That’s not the point. The point is, middle school. MIDDLE SCHOOL. Those children were, what, 12-14 years old? What the HELL are we teaching our young adults that they think it’s ok to verbally harass a senior citizen to the point of tears? Did you watch this? Did you all watch this? I think everyone’s watched this, right? I’d link to it but I don’t want to. I just don’t even want to. You know how I feel about bullying, you know that. I know how cruel children are to each other, of course I know that, but when did children stop having even a little bit of respect for an adult in authority? None at all? Really? I mean, sure, we were all kinds of eye-rolly at adults when we were children, sure we were, but we didn’t taunt adults to their faces until they cried. Is it the mob mentality? Like, these children weren’t really all that bad, but as a group they all just got meaner and meaner and meaner and spurred each other on? Or are they? Are children this bad now? My teacher-friend says they are. I don’t want to think they are. I can’t think that, I just can’t. Not without my head exploding.

See? THIS is how I want to imagine junior high kids. All shiny-happy-people. DAMMIT LET ME HAVE THIS.

I don’t know what the solution to this is. First, we didn’t have bus monitors when I was a kid. I asked my parents, and they said this is a thing now. Well, good. The buses were a NIGHTMARE when I was a kid. Just complete and utter chaos. Like, Lord of the Flies but the island was a moving motor vehicle. People were beaten, having sex in the back seats, things were thrown at each other, out of the windows, at the busdriver – and our bus was worse, because it had kindergarten through senior year on it, so you can’t tell me those little five-year-olds were safe with senior year hooligans around them. So, yeah, a bus monitor is a good idea. But apparently not in this case. What was HAPPENING on this bus? This shit kept happening? The busdriver didn’t stop it, or stop the bus? Did this woman report these kids? It’s obvious she wasn’t able to do her job as bus monitor. So were all the other kids she was supposed to be protecting unsafe, because she wasn’t even able to protect herself? I am kind of flummoxed by this entire situation. This couldn’t have been a one-time incident, right?

Look at this shit. This is what happens on the bus, don’t think otherwise. Buses are UTTER CHAOS. On WHEELS.

And listen, I was not an angel-child by any means. No no no. I was often quite cruel. Mostly because I was dealing with a lot of personal shit and I lashed out inappropriately. I don’t think it’s called PTSD when you’re currently experiencing the trauma. Current-traumatic stress disorder? I don’t know. Anyway, I’m just saying, whatever the reason, I wasn’t always nice. Far from it. I was often mean and sarcastic and bitter. Middle school kids are terrible. Just terrible. All those hormones? It’s lunacy.

SO MANY EMOTIONZZZ!!!!

The whole thing makes me nervous and upset. Do I think the kids deserve punishment? Hell yes. Everyone, no matter how old they are, needs to understand there are consequences for their actions, and that you can’t treat your fellow man in such a way. These kids grew up in a culture where anti-bullying was taught as part of the curriculum. According to the Greece School District Website, they teach using the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program.  (I have my doubts that these programs work, really, but they have to be better than not having a program at all, right?) It’s not like these kids don’t know what bullying is. Were they not aware that bullying an adult is the same thing as bullying a peer? Did they just not care? I know they’re minors, but I’d love to hear the kids’ side of this. What led them to do this? Were there thought processes involved, or was it just something that seemed fun at the time (like most things we do when we’re hormone-addled teens?)

I’m thinking about this too much, aren’t I? I do that with things like this. They upset me more than they should. Andreas wrote a very compelling post about compassion in the human race recently, but I don’t think it’s compassion that’s fueling my cyclical obsessive thoughts about this. It’s childhood trauma, and my need to know why. Why did this happen? What led to this happening? How can we stop it from happening again? Can we stop it from happening again?

And then, THEN, political shit has turned the country into lunatics. There is SO MUCH SHOUTING RIGHT NOW.

So, so much. And hating. And the Republicans are at war with the Democrats. WE HATE EACH OTHER SO MUCH. We can’t be friends. Because the Democrats are a bunch of dirty damn hippies who want the government to give them free…well…everything and also hate Merka and complain a lot and hate God and want us all to be vegetarians and also smoke all the legal weed, and the Republicans hate women and poor people and people of color and illegal immigrants and love guns a lot. So of course we can’t get along because we’re like cats and dogs or maybe oil and water and THERE IS SO MUCH SHOUTING. We seem to forget we’re all just people, and when we finish work, we go home, and we all worry about bills and our loved ones and we like to laugh and we sometimes cry and wear shoes, and we sleep, and we are sometimes loud and sometimes quiet and we’re all a little nuts. Nope. We’re not humans. We are DEMOCRATS or REPUBLICANS. Or, I suppose we can be something else, like Socialists or Green Party members or Independents or whatever, but no one takes those parties seriously. Probably because they aren’t shouty enough.

Listen, I love election season.

YIPPEE!

LOVE. I love that it gets all exciting, and that there are debates, and people get on television with charts and graphs and you try to guess who’s going to carry which states, and best of ALL you get to VOTE, which, listen, I love so much, I’ve mentioned that before, my insane love of all things voting-related. I love when the vice-presidential candidate(s) are announced. I love when these SCANDALOUS stories come out like “ZOMG BIRTH CERTIFICATE!?!1?!?” or “Romney was a total bully in high school” or “I can see Russia from my HOUSE” or whatever. Love. It all makes me very excited. I love how our political system works, even though it’s a little confusing even though I’ve totally studied and researched it and I’m quite intelligent. I love that we get a say in it. I love that there are PEOPLE whose JOB it is to decide what COLOR TIE a candidate should wear to best come across as compassionate or diplomatic or intelligent. I love it. All of it.

Listen, Merka. You are SUCKING THE JOY OUT OF MY ELECTION SEASON WITH THE SHOUTERY.

I don’t remember us hating each other this much four years ago. I really don’t. We all started hating each other this much since Obama became president? I’m confused by this. He really doesn’t seem to be doing that bad of a job. I mean, were you all asleep during Dubya’s presidency? The mess Obama stepped into when he entered the White House – I mean, I think if it was me, I would have just put my head down in the Oval Office and wept for like a month. It’s like everyone forgot the Dubya years. I didn’t. I didn’t forget them at all. At least now I don’t have to apologize for the president when speaking to people who aren’t American. I did that a lot during the Dubya years. There was a lot of “yeah, I KNOW, it’s so EMBARRASSING, what can you DO” coming from me for 8 years. A LOT. I haven’t had to say that once in the past four years. Mostly because I’m not embarrassed of Obama. He doesn’t make embarrassing gaffes or stand under big old “MISSON ACCOMPLISHED” signs when the mission wasn’t even accomplished or stare off into space for seven minutes while reading My Pet Goat while his country is under terrorist attack.

This just makes me sad.

Obama’s intelligent. Have you heard the guy talk? He’s intelligent, and he’s personable, and he’s got a sense of humor that’s more New Yorker than frathouse shenanigans. He doesn’t give his staff members nicknames like “Boner” and “Hillbilly Frank.” Is that the problem? Do people resent him because they think he’s smarter than they are? Don’t we WANT a President that’s smarter than we are? I know I sure as hell do. I want the person with his (or her, dammit, her, HER BEFORE I DIE PLEASE) finger on the button to be smarter than I am, and not think kegstands and/or red Solo cups are a good way to spend a Friday night WHEN YOU ARE IN YOUR FIFTIES.

Do you WANT someone like this running your country? I mean, maybe you do. I don’t know your life. But I’m going to hope not.

We’re talking politics. Sorry. SORRY. I know, I try not to do that here.

All I’m saying is, can we stop with the shoutery and the hating? Please? I know. It’s a lot easier to hate someone than it is to put yourself in their shoes for a few minutes and think, huh, if you put aside the politics, we’re just all people. Or if you stop bullying for a minute and look, that person is being injured by what I’m doing, and how would I like it if someone did that to me? Or if (and the kids who did this in Rochester are getting some of this now) people I love saw what I was doing, would they be proud of me right now? What if someone was doing this to my mom? My sister? My grandmother? Would I allow this to continue?

If we all just try to realize that every single person in the world is just that – a person – and trying to do their best, even when they’re being an INSUFFERABLE ASSHOLE – maybe we could just be a little nicer. And then I wouldn’t have to avoid watching the news or clicking on links or talking to my dad about anything but the weather. I need more happy “look, this guy rescued a dog for no reason other than he was a nice man” and less “another kid killed himself because he was bullied into thinking he was worthless” stories. Can we work on that? Any chance? Thanks so much, so appreciated.

This entire photoset is worth seeing. It’ll lighten your day. I almost promise it. Click. What can it hurt?

You know, we really are capable of such amazing things. Why are we wasting our voices and energy on shouting and tearing down when we could be singing and building up?


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