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Back to School

Do you know what I discovered this week along with the rest of the country? Ferguson, Missouri. I never heard of this town before, but like any decent human being, I am in pain for it and the family who lost their son. Even though my gut tells me that there is a racial component to this shooting (I am praying for peace and grace to envelope all the citizens in Ferguson), I am cautious as to the use of my limited platform to rile up my readers until I’ve heard all the facts. I am disinclined to believe all the details I’ve read thus far being promoted by the extremes of the media on both the right and the left side of the fence. I will not add insult to injury until the whole truth and nothing but the truth is revealed and confirmed. I owe the victim (Matthew Brown) as well as the police officer (Darren Wilson) that respect as human beings.

Consequently, I’ve decided to write on something completely innocuous this week that is a common denominator amongst most if not all Americans: going back to school. (I’m hoping a little levity might bring joy in the midst of these trying times as I connect the dots that show our commonality.) We all either have kids that we need to rip out of the throes of summer fun into the discipline of formalized school days, or we’re teachers, or we have grandkids, sisters and brothers, nieces, nephews, or cousins who are filing into classrooms all over the nation within the next two weeks with varying degrees of angst.

Summers over Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Used by permission: Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

I have been on all three sides of the “back to school” triangle as a teacher, a parent, and a student. If some well-meaning teacher asked me to do written assignments about my reentry into school throughout the years as all three of these actors, my essays would all be comedy pieces, because going back to school is a set-up for Saturday Night Live skits no matter what role you’re fulfilling in response to the brick and mortar places that shape one’s mind and destiny. Below are three essays (all true) as experienced by me in the roles of teacher, parent, and young student.

Back to School Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

Used by permission: Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

***

WRITING ASSIGMENT: BACK TO SCHOOL STORY AS A TEACHER

I was a music teacher for a few years in a private school and the worst class I ever had was made up of six 5th grade boys who would have preferred a year-long trip into Hell over participating in the learning of music theory. Even though this was a Christian school, I knew that I had my hands full the first week when the pastor’s son led four of the boys to try and get the sixth boy to drink his urine out of a soda bottle. After threatening to string them all up by their ears, I finally got them to settle down and start to learn an ascending and descending minor scale when urine boy (UB) raised his hand:

UB:        Mrs. Tomczyk, I hate this. My pop-pop says I don’t need to learn no music theory ‘cause I’m a farmer’s boy, and learnin’ funny notes never harvested no plants. Pop-pop says I ain’t never gonna need this stuff in life.

TEACHER: Randy, Randy, Randy, where do I even begin: the use of the word “ain’t,” “stuff,” or your refusal to have your mind expanded. What if you’re meant to be a country music star? Don’t you think a little music theory might help? Think of notes as a farmer’s musical fruits—waiting to be plucked.

UB:        My pop-pop says I can’t carry a tune, so yo’ class is a waste of time. Pop-pop says my talents are better suited for other things.

At that moment, in a closet-like interior classroom with no windows, six boys coordinated their farts to explode at the same time—continuously—for at least five minutes. (I swear it sounded as if they were farting in harmony, and the smell was as noxious as a sulfur plant.) Urine Boy had brought in containers of baked beans from his farm for each of the boys, and they concocted a plan to stuff themselves with the beans at the end of their lunch hour which was right before my class. As their little asses exploded over and over again, I had to evacuate the class and take them outside to finish the lesson. Of course, they were uncontrollable because every time I tried to seriously talk about half notes as nature’s musical fruits, they fell over in gales of laughter. Although two of them did grow up to be quasi-musicians, one became a juvenile delinquent, and two of them became leaders of a cult. I wonder if my lack of musical connection to their hearts had anything to do with their life choices—yet again, I was a very young, immature teacher, and I may have prayed a curse on their little asses for the year of Hell they put me through. (Just sayin’!)

Sad Professor

  Frustrated Teacher by Zipmeme 

***

WRITING ASSIGNMENT: BACK TO SCHOOL STORY AS A PARENT

I’m not going to lie—I was always glad when school started. I was never Miss Sesame Street as a mother. Don’t get me wrong, I love my children more than life itself, but I could never have home-schooled them, of which they are eternally grateful. They knew my limitations as much as I did.  They barely survived me as an ex-teacher/helicopter mom, as it was.

One of my children had trouble focusing when she was in middle school, and I was very concerned that she wouldn’t catch on to all the details of the various subjects being thrown at her. Her social studies teacher would complain that when my kid should have been concentrating on what was being lectured, as the teacher passed by my child’s desk on any given day, my urchin would whisper-shout something to the effect of:

“Psst, hey Mrs. Poindexter, how YOU doin’?”

[Or if my darling child was feeling especially talkative]

“I like your dress—Is that new? You’re lookin’ good today, with your bad self.”

Talking in Classroom

This particular child was quickly getting on Mrs. Poindexter’s nerves and rising to the top of her shit list. So when a major social studies assignment was sent home (worth ¼ of my kid’s grade), I figured this would be the perfect opportunity for my very smart, albeit, chatty-Cathy kid to redeem herself with just a “tiny bit of help” from her ex-school-teacher mom.

Middle-School Homework Assignment

10 page report on Capitalism vs. Communism

Assignment turned in by kid with helicopter mom’s proud help: “The Integration and Rule of the Bolsheviks vs. the Robber Barons as Compared to the Bonobo Monkey Colonies . . .”

Teacher’s Grade and Comment: B+++++++++. “To the mother of my pupil, I have given you a B-plus times nine. One more ‘plus’ would have gotten you an ‘A’ if you had included a comparison to the government utilized on the Star Trek Enterprise.”

Helicopter Mom’s chagrined “sotto voce” reply: “Bitch!”

First Day of School John Darkow Columbia Daily Tribune Missouri

Used by permission: John Darkow, Columbia Daily-Tribune Missouri 

***

WRITING ASSIGNMENT: BACK TO SCHOOL STORY AS A STUDENT (A HUNDRED YEARS AGO)

I loved school. I counted the days until I could return to school in order to escape the Hell I lived in as a child that is highlighted in my memoir Monsters’ Throwdown.

My kids had to be dragged back to school kicking and screaming.

I learned to love Shakespeare, Dickens, and the Harlem Renaissance writers, to name a few.

My kids learned how to take tests about Hamlet, David Copperfield, and Langston Hughes, to name a few.

I learned how to problem solve and strategically think in an inner-city school in the 60s.

My kids learned how to take tests in one of the best suburban schools in the nation and promptly forget what they learned while studying for the next set of tests. Memorize, test, and dump, memorize, test, and dump was their high school chant.

I learned how to absorb history and have it make an imprint on my psyche. I love history and I remember most of what I learned even though it was over fifty years ago. It is one of the reasons I was able to contextualize my memoir, Monsters’ Throwdown, into the timeline of the exciting history of the 60s and 70s without too much effort.

My kids learned to ignore anything about history that didn’t enable them to ace their AP History courses. They were considered honor-roll students by their school. I blame their teachers for teaching to the tests. I blame our Board of Education for putting that pressure on our teachers. My kids were taught to test well—not to learn. As an ex-teacher, I am in mourning for their lack of sustained knowledge.

Testing Daryl Cagle CagleCartoons com

Used by permission: Daryl Cagle, CagleCartoons.com

I am discovering that, besides love, a solid education is the greatest gift a person can be given. (It’s how I got out of the ghetto.*) Without it, one is a virtual slave, but with it, one can do almost anything the heart desires. Fear of this empowerment is why slaves were forbidden an education in our country, why women and girls are thwarted from attending school in barbaric countries, and why there is such a growing economic divide in America today. The arguments over whether the President’s “Commoncore” educational assessment is a communist plot, or President Bush’s “No Child Left Behind” is a failure, or whether charter schools are the end all and be all, are pointless if none of these “systems” grant us quality teachers and our kids excellent educations as they march back to school this year and in the years ahead. Maybe we should spend a lot less on political campaigns and a lot more on our teachers’ salaries, quality classrooms, and excellent source materials. Maybe we should stop the bi-partisan bullshit and join together to build the best public school education in the world. I bet we could do it if we tried, and if we thought of each kid in America as our own—no matter what race, creed, or color. Oh, and it would be great if our kids could be taught critical and strategic thinking—I’m just sayin’!

Testing Mike Keefe Cagle Cartoons

Used by permission: Mike Keefe, Cagle Cartoons

***

“He who opens a school door, closes a prison.”Victor Hugo

“Much education today is monumentally ineffective. All too often we are giving young people cut flowers when we should be teaching them to grow their own plants.”John W. Gardner

“The illiterate of the future will not be the person who cannot read. It will be the person who does not know how to learn.”Alvin Toffler

 

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR? Check out: www.eleanortomczyk.com

*BUY NOW: Monsters’ Throwdown

BACK TO SCHOOL MONKEY

My worst nightmare as a student

REFERENCES

http://www.longislandpress.com/2014/04/07/thousands-of-long-islanders-opt-out-of-common-core-testing/

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/15/health/avoid-school-germs/index.html?hpt=hp_bn13

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/06/business/a-rich-childs-edge-in-public-education.html?pagewanted=all

http://www.yesmagazine.org/issues/education-uprising/the-myth-behind-public-school-failure

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
11 Comments

Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Monkey See, Monkey Do

Do you know what I’ve discovered this week about taking a vacation? I can’t figure out a place to go on the planet where there aren’t any people. I’m sick of people. If you scan the globe much of the brutality that is happening around the world is caused by bullies. Bullies are everywhere. No matter where you go—from your workplace to the Middle East to Congress to your place of worship—there’s always a bully trying to mess with you.

If the world were the audience of the old Oprah Winfrey show, you could almost hear her proclaiming: “WELCOME W-OOOOOO-R-L-D! Have I got a surprise for you: YOU get your ass kicked by a bully today, and YOU get your ass kicked by a bully tomorrow—go anywhere in the world, and you’ll get your ass kicked by a BUUUULLLY!

World in Chaos Gary McCoy Cagle Cartoons

Used by Permission: World in Chaos by Gary McCoy, Cagle Cartoons

In my disgruntled state of mind, I ran across an article on the “It Gets Better” Project by Dan Savage who birthed this campaign to try and encourage teens who were being bullied. I’ve supported it through my blog in the past and initially thought it was very good. But recently, I realized that as thoughtful as that project was, I don’t think it does get better. Can kids learn not to bully when the adults in the world own the franchise on fucking with people who they deem weaker or less than? Every religion has a major component of compassion within its ethos, yet history has proven that religious people can be some of the worst bullies. It got me to thinking that maybe we are all just six degrees of separation from a bully tango, even in situations that should be considered safe (houses of worship, marriage, friendships, the grocery store).

But what if we had the ability to call bullshit on the bully within ourselves and others? What if an Anti-Bully App were invented (adults only) that would sound an alarm when we or others stepped over the line of compassion no matter how right or empowered we thought we were in the situation? The more I thought about this, the more I wanted to explore the germination of bullying in adults. So I asked my alter ego, the “Dalai Mama” (sees all, knows all) to query her advice column readers for weird, quirky stories of bullying in which my proposed app would have been a handy aid. Below are some of those stories and the Dalai Mama’s response.

(Please note that even though the Dalai Mama is imaginary, the stories are all true. Only the names and the locations have been changed to protect the innocent.)

Bullying Dog

Courtesy of veryfunnypics.eu

Dear Dalai Mama:

I used to attend a church where the pastor’s wife and two of her ladies in waiting had a three-way conference call with me and told me I should not leave home without a full coat of makeup. The pastor’s wife said I was being unkind to the neighbors. I have laughed about that for years, but it did affect me deeply. It is only in the last year that I can let people see me with no makeup. And when they do see me, no one has killed themselves. Go figure! I sure could have used your Anti-Bully App—if only I had realized I was being bullied. (Would it surprise you to know that the wife, who considered herself a “prophetess,” sold “Fancy Me Lovely” makeup?)—signed: Jezebel from Tennessee, age 63

Dear “Jezebel”:

I checked out this sorry-ass woman’s Facebook page—thinkin’ she must be all that and a bag of chips to say somethin’ like that to you. Guess what? She is no Halle Berry; she is what my mama used to call havin’ a face only a mother could love. Does yo’ man like how you look? Then that is all you have to worry about. Go on and strut yo’ stuff with or without makeup and act like you own the world, girl, because you only have this one life to live. Also, next time you see “Miss Thang,” tell her that I said, God don’t like ugly—hearts, that is.

Beauty as You Define It

Courtesy of Quotepix.com/author unknown

Hey Dalai:

Zuckerberg + Facebook = bullying!  I avoided “the Book of Face” for years and only signed up to promote my book, Monsters’ Throwdown. My kids made me do it. They said if I didn’t, no one would buy my book. They said it would be fun. Well, they lied! The Facebook is not fun. People came out of the woodwork wanting to “friend” me that I didn’t remember. I barely could tolerate them if I did know them in the past, and could have cared less about chatting with them in my old age. If I thought they were stupid before my encounter with them on the “Book of Face,” they became verifiably ignorant after reading their inner-most desires and thoughts on their page. As quickly as some of them “friended” me, they “unfriended” me during the presidential election and left attack-dog Tea Party messages on my “liberal” page—“just tryin’ to set you straight.” When I changed my privacy settings, I’m told by Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times* that Zuckerberg kept changing them to less privacy without my knowledge. The Zuck kept demanding to know my business (how old I am, what schools I went to, what type of relationship I am in), and when I wasn’t forthcoming, he kept on and is keeping on demanding I cough up the goods. (I changed my birthday three times to protect myself from identity theft since Facebook insists on broadcasting to the entire freakin’ world that I am an old fart, and Zuckerberg had the nerve to indicate that he would only allow me to change it a total of three times, and then I would be stuck with the last age chosen. I am currently 85 years old according to Facebook.) Now I hear that Zuckerberg tried to categorize and study my responses by manipulating the news feed on my page to make me sad.* When I sent him a nasty note about messin’ with my mind, he said I gave him permission when I agreed to his data use policy. (It is 9,123 god-damn words—I never read all that crap!) I need an anti-bullying gun with Zuckerberg and all my ex-trolls (ex-“friends”) engraved on it, and I’m calling for a rumble on the Facebook campus in the fall.—signed, “So Over the ‘Book of Face'” from Somewhere USA, age 50, 71, or 85

 

Dear “So Over the Book of Face”:

You sound familiar. Is that you, Eleanor the blogger? Girl, go away. This is a conflict of interest. Plus, I only have one thing to say to your clueless behind: “Whoever writes the contract, gets the gold.” Or another way of putting it is “Whoever gets a free online service will get all her shit exploited—so deal with it.”

Bullies Types David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

Used by Permission: David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star 

Dear Dalai Mama:

I know a couple that fought like cats and dogs and took home the first place trophy for bullying each other. To meet them as individuals was to love them, but together they were like two rabid demons from Hell. If they were invited to your house for dinner, before the soup course was served the woman would cut her man down for how he talked, how he chewed, how stupid he was, what a piss-poor man of God he was, and what a poor provider he had been. He would volley with how fat she’d gotten in recent years, what a bitch she had become, and how she got on his every last fucking nerve. In the past, she threw a pan of hot grits in his face, and he retaliated by slashing her craft room into shreds with his chain saw. The man died of a heart attack over a year ago, and the strangest thing happened. The woman was inconsolable. She threw herself over his coffin—weeping and wailing as if she had lost the love of her life. I had to leave the room when she and her pastor tried to raise the man from the dead through prayer and the laying on of hands as she screamed: “Rupert, come back, don’t leave me . . . I need you, baby!” Last month, the woman died. She left behind a daughter. Why is it that somehow I think the woman and the man are still trying to kill each other in eternity? There isn’t an anti-bullying app that could ever be made that would have cut through all their loveless crap. Some people are beyond the pale.—signed, “The Daughter, a.k.a, I’m Never Getting Married” from Honolulu, age 30

 

Dear “I’m Never Getting Married”:

I don’t even know what to say, Baby-girl except I’m so sorry. I’m so very sorry. Some people will never change.

Israelis vs Palestinians Daryl Cagle CagleCartoons com

Used by permission: Israelis vs Palestinians, Daryl Cagle, CagleCartoons.com

I am discovering that if rearing kids has taught me anything, it’s that “what monkey sees, monkey will definitely do.” If we want our kids not to become bullies, we have to be on guard against the slightest trait of this within ourselves and model that behavior.

When I first started blogging, I was trying to find my voice, and I did a humorous puff piece on flesh-colored tights being worn as leotards with sort tops, thus causing major ass display whenever the wearer bent over. I found a picture on the Web of the back of a very obese cashier exemplifying exactly why this was a fashion no-no as her seemingly naked ass was causing people to cover their eyes and flee in horror every time her shirt hiked up. Some stranger had taken her picture without the young woman’s knowledge or consent and uploaded it on the Web. It had a million clicks as people laughed at her over and over again. I used the picture in my blog. Two years later a troll left a comment about my “ass-holy-ness” as a Christian towards this girl. I never answered the troll, but I did repent for my momentary bullying and deleted the post because the troll was right. I called bullshit on myself. We are all just six degrees of separation from becoming a bully, and the children are watching.

Bullies et al Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Used by permission: Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

“A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair.”Abraham Joshua Heschel

“For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?”Bell hooks

If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”Dalai Lama

“One’s dignity may be assaulted, vandalized and cruelly mocked, but it can never be taken away unless it is surrendered.” ― Michael J. Fox

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR? CHECK OUT: www.eleanortomczyk.com

REFERENCES

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2014/07/18/are-you-raising-nice-kids-a-harvard-psychologist-gives-5-ways-to-raise-them-to-be-kind/?tid=pm_lifestyle_pop

*http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-facebooks-user-20140630-column.html#page=1

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 
21 Comments

Posted by on August 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Everybody Hurts

Do you know what I discovered this week? I could get in touch with Santa Claus (formerly known as “Sandy Claws” in my neighborhood) in July. You see, I need a little Christmas in the middle of summer. Why? Because the people on our planet seem to have collectively lost their ever-lovin’ minds (yeah, I’m talkin’ about you—all you Satan’s little helpers who are instigating murder, mayhem, and chaos from the Middle East to Chicago). Have you (the rest of us who are sane and loving) read the news lately? Can you read it without fainting from horror and fear? Even if mayhem is not happening in your neighborhood, how long before it seeps in and grabs you by the throat? Did you know the Ebola virus is on the loose, and Boko Haram, Putin, and ISIS have their own hashtag: #FUWorld?

I live in a suburban town that is unusually peaceful and bucolic. I earned the ability to live in this spot, in what Time Magazine calls one of the ten best places to live, because WW and I worked our asses off to get here! I was born a poor black child, and I finally crawled up out of the sewer into a comfortable life accompanied by the assist of helping hands. But after reading the news all week while sitting in my lovely hibiscus garden and sipping mimosas, I think I have survivor’s guilt—feeling real bad that others are suffering, and knowing there is nothing much I can do about it except pray. Maybe it was mimosa number two or three, but I had a brain fart that I thought would bring some clarity. I made a call to “Sandy Claws” (located him in Vienna) to see if he could make a mid-year visit to my area to provide a personalized pick-me-up.

Hot Christmas Wishes from Vienna Marian Kemensky Slovakia

Used by Permission: Marian Kemensky Slovakia

The connection wasn’t an easy one. Apparently, Claus goes AWOL from January through November and goes full throttle on the Keebler addiction. I put the word out on the street amongst all the hardcore cookie dealers that I needed “a little Christmas” and would appreciate it if the fat man would make an appearance to help me out. Yesterday, I got a call from a muffled voice that identified himself as Claus’ assistant, MJ.

MJ:        Yo, you ET?

ET:         Yeah, you bet your fat ass I am.

MJ:        I’m not the one with the corpulent ass ma’am—that would be my boss. You were sent a packet with some security information in it. We’re pretty sure we know you’re you, but these days we can’t be too careful with our protective services. Claus has had several robbery attempts in the past as well as countless identity thefts. Would you please tell me the alias we assigned to you?

ET:         Auntie Mame.

MJ:        Password song line: (cut time, one-and-a-two).

ET:         “For—we—need a little Christmas, right this very minute . . .”

MJ:        Excellent. Hold please while I connect you with Santa Claus.

I’m not gonna lie, I was nervous as all get out. This would be my first time meeting the great Mr. Claus. Santa had never made an appearance in my poor Cleveland neighborhood when I was a child—ever. Trust me, if he had touched down (white man, bright red suit, sleigh full of goodies in the middle of the night) the Cleveland Plain Dealer would have led with the most salacious headline of its history the following day: “Santa Claus robbed and stripped of red suit by swarm of Coloreds; sleigh stolen, reindeer carried off (the police suspect hungry residents have eaten the sleigh pullers), and Claus left unconscious and naked while clutching a red nose of a reindeer in his hand and whimpering, ‘I’m getting too old for this shit.’” As I was thinking about the juxtaposition of my life then and now, I heard Sandy Claws’ voice on the line.

SC:         Hello ET, long time no see. Ho, ho, ho, ho, ho!

ET:         Very funny Sandy Claws . . . I mean, Santa Claus. How you doin’ with your chubby-ass self?

SC:         Well, give or take a few years, since I’m 1,744 years old, I can’t complain. But I hear you’ve got a few complaints that you think a visit from me might help. I’m more than willing to drop by in July if you think I might be able to lift your mood. Having skipped your entire childhood, I feel I really owe you this request. So sorry for the no-shows in the past—it was complicated. Deal?

ET:         Deal.   What you got in that giant red tote bag that will take away the fear and anguish of the troubles of this world, Santa Baby?

SC:         Well, the pickings are really slim this time of year, but I set aside a few gifts that might distract you from the terrifying news of the world. How about an advance copy of the movie 50 Shades of Grey—complete with the commemorative boxed book set?

ET:         Sandy, you so nasty!   I never knew that about you. Does Mrs. Claus know how nasty you are? First of all, I’m way too old to be teaching my husband this woman’s weird porno fantasies—WW would faint dead away, if the truth be known. Second, what little I’ve read of this trilogy, I think the writing is really piss poor, and there are still too many good books to read and movies to see without me wasting my time. Besides, torture—be it sexual or intelligence gathering—by any other name is still antithetical to love. What else do you have in that bag?

50 Shades Cartoon

SC:         Well, I’ve got this new book on the market about a poor little black kid born in the ghetto who faced the monsters of her past and lived to tell the story. How about that book to take your mind off your troubles?

frontcover

Buy now: Amazon.com 

ET:         Seriously, Sandy Claws—you didn’t know I wrote that book?

SC:         Ho, ho, ho, ho—just checking to see if you were paying attention.   (By the way, Mrs. Claus turned me on to 50 Shades of Grey—so stick that in your pipe and smoke it!) I bet I have just the item in my bag of goodies to engage your mind on happier thoughts—to lose you in the realm of amazing possibilities of things that mean so much to so many: the Kim Kardashian: Hollywood game! It is all the rage this summer. It’s the top App in the Apple App Store with tens of thousands of 5 Star reviews about ways to advance up through the levels by “striking a pose,” “putting on makeup,” “getting a drink,” or “dazzling the crowd.” If you don’t believe me, check out Jessica Winter’s review: “The Kim Kardashian Game Is So Good I Had to Stop Playing It!” Mrs. Claus and I are only halfway through the game so we don’t know if one of the game requirements is to produce your own sex tape and have it inadvertently “slipped” to the public or not.

Kim K Game

ET:         That’s it? That’s all you’ve got? No offense, Sandy baby, but these gifts are pathetic (except for my book, of course). No wonder you never showed up in my neighborhood. There is nothing you could have given me that I could have used against the demons trying to destroy my life. I don’t want this shit in your bag. I’m worried about real terrors, dude—here, there, and everywhere. I want the gift of security. I want insurance that none of this murderous mayhem will affect me and those I love. Do you understand what I’m trying to get across to you old man?

SC:         Not in my pay grade, kiddo. You can certainly bump your request for uninterrupted security to my boss, but I doubt he’ll grant it. Can’t see him answering your prayers for that one. There is no adventure without risk, and no strength of character without suffering. I’ve got one more gift in the bottom of my bag that might help. It’s a bottle of Calamine Lotion.

ET:         What on Earth do I need a bottle of Calamine Lotion for?

SC:         You’re going to need it because in about 10 minutes you will get a call from your daughter who will inform you that your five-year-old grandson has contracted the Coxsackie virus at summer camp—commonly known as the foot, hand, and mouth disease. There has been an outbreak amongst the five and six year olds in their town. He is covered from the top of his head to the bottom of his feet with oozing blisters, and he is highly contagious. You do remember he’s coming to visit you in a few days, correct?  Welcome to planet Earth!

Santa Gift of Grownups in Congress David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

Used by permission: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

I am discovering that there is no totally secure place on Earth. If my poverty-ridden upbringing in Cleveland taught me anything, it taught me that. But I don’t want to believe it. I am an American, and I think I can “insure” my way into supernatural security against everything that could harm me and mine. Provide me with enough insurance for safety and prevention, and I can control what affects my peace on Earth—so I desperately hope.

The other day I attended the funeral of a close colleague’s only child. He was twenty-five years old, and he lost control of his car coming around a curve, hit a tree, and died after several days in a coma. It was a fluke accident, and it shouldn’t have happened. He was a beautiful boy with a lovely girlfriend. He was brilliant, and by all accounts he was a joy and a delight to all who knew him. I can’t wrap my brain around this tragedy. As I looked into the destroyed eyes of his mother as she whispered to me, “we’re never supposed to bury our children, Eleanor”), I kept retracing the storyline to see if there could have been some insurable way her only son could have survived the curve on a road he’d driven a hundred times in his short life. I wanted to roll back the time, and let him take that drive again with the knowledge of what to do right before that moment came into play. But I can’t because I don’t have that power—none of us do. I can only pray for grace through the valley of tears for this young man’s parents and his girl. I can “show up” with the power of compassion and the healing balm of grace as a mother who mourns with them. And when I get those intermittent moments of peace on Earth in my garden, I can embrace them with gratitude and thanksgiving while using my circle of influence to finance, vote for, and work with agents of change in the areas that have been decimated by evil. In the meantime, I will continue to pray for peace in the Middle East, around the globe, and in my own back yard.

Middle East Peace Talks Patrick Chappatte

Middle East Peace Talks: Cartoonist Patrick Chappatte, International NY Times

“Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing.”—Helen Keller

“You’ve gotta dance like there’s nobody watching,

Love like you’ll never be hurt,

Sing like there’s nobody listening,

And live like it’s heaven on earth.”

― William W. Purkey

“Pain is a pesky part of being human, I’ve learned it feels like a stab wound to the heart, something I wish we could all do without, in our lives here. Pain is a sudden hurt that can’t be escaped. But then I have also learned that because of pain, I can feel the beauty, tenderness, and freedom of healing.”― C. JoyBell C.

 

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR? CHECK ME OUT AT www.eleanortomczyk.com

REFERENCES

http://www.slate.com/blogs/moneybox/2014/07/24/kim_kardashian_hollywood_it_s_so_good_i_had_to_stop_playing_it.html

http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/history/42-the-answer-to-life-the-universe-and-everything-2205734.html

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 
14 Comments

Posted by on July 27, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Ripped from the Headlines

Do you know what I’ve discovered this week about blogging? There is no Hell like the one I enter when I walk through the portal that puts me at a loss for words. I don’t eat, I don’t sleep, I don’t bathe, and my poor husband gets no hot meals or happy endings.

After my July 4th post my brain went into hiatus. (I’m not sure, but I think it is vacationing somewhere in Bora Bora.) All this is keeping me from proceeding with my second book. My first book, Monsters’ Throwdown, was published six months ago, and I need to follow up with book two by the end of the year.

Writers block Calvin and Hobbes

Calvin and Hobbs||Cartoonist Bill Watterson

As I fell in full face plant upon my laptop, my husband (WW) came home to no dinner and me still in sweat pants, looking as if “sexy” was a word that had never entered my vocabulary (Hey, never-you-mind: at age 66 I can still work it, baby!). I kept murmuring: “so many words, so many headlines, so little time!” As my editor, WW’s been through this drill before and instantly sprang into action to try and untangle my brain.

WW:      Okay, don’t panic. It’s only words that have gotten themselves all scrambled in your head. Let’s freestyle and bring everything down to basics and do a simple word play to unscramble them. One word only: spill out the first adjectives and nouns that come to mind as fast as you can.

ME:       Ignorant, frustrated, surprised, frightened, mortifying, disgusted, humanitarian, embarrassing, violent, stupid, ship, border, help, wrinkly, Paula, “eeuuw,” ignorant, corpse, football, van, Cuba, zombie, St. Louis, Florida, Robin, elephant, crisis, déjà vu, blurred lines.”

WW:      All right, all right, all right—that’s a start. How many news articles have you read? Never mind, don’t answer that. I can tell by your glazed-over eyes that you’ve read hundreds of online news and research articles. What if I help you eliminate words and headlines that can’t produce an interesting post? Would that clear your mind?

ME:        No. [Said petulantly while scratching my head like a monkey—convinced by my hypochondriac mind that I probably have head lice from not washing my hair for days.]

WW:      Humor your husband—after 35 years, you owe me this. I’ll randomly choose which words can be eliminated in the first round: “Ignorant, frustrated, surprised, frightened, mortifying, disgusting, humanitarian, embarrassing, violent, stupid, ship, border, help, wrinkly, Paula, ‘eeuuw,’ corpse, football, van, Cuba, zombie, St. Louis, Florida, Robin, elephant, crisis, déjà vu, blurred lines.” You’ve read scores of headlines since July 4th. Which ones come to mind that would fit the description of the eliminated words: ignorant, frustrated, disgusted, and stupid?

MM:      Easy! Idiot Sarah Palin Demanding President’s Impeachment—WTF! (Eliminate the words ignorant and stupid)  2/3rds of Lincoln’s Party Agree with Palin and Think Obama Should Be Impeached Causing Lincoln Statue to Burst into Tears—the Lincoln Statue Is Inconsolable (disgusting, frustrated).

Zany Sarah Palin Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Used by Permission: Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

WW:      Yep, toss the Sarah Palin headline. Enough of that Christian poser. She’s just an attention ho. Ignore her.

Let’s get rid of some more words and headlines to help clear your head. Here we go—let’s eliminate: surprised, frightened, mortifying, humanitarian, embarrassing, violent, ship, border, help, wrinkly, Paula, “eeuuw,” corpse, football, van, Cuba, zombie, St. Louis, Florida, Robin, elephant, crisis, déjà vu, blurred lines.” What headlines get flushed from your muddled brain with those words? Go!

ME:        Okay: Online Dating A-hole Rejects Beautiful Woman in Her 50’s Because He Says She has “Wrinkly Skin,” Even Though He is of Similar Age and is Nothing to Write Home About—Dave, The Neanderthal is Upset When Lovely Lady Dumps His Ass and is Now On the Run from Millions of Angry Women in America (wrinkly, violent); Robin Thicke’s New Album, “Paula,” is Attempt to Win Back ex-Wife, But All Agree is TMI Cringe-Worthy (Paula, “eeuuw,” embarrassing, Robin, mortifying, blurred lines); Corpse Slips Out of Funeral Van Onto Street and Freaks Out Passer-byers (surprised, corpse, zombie, van, frightened); Elephant Sobs After Being Rescued from Five Decades in Chains—Promises Never to Forget His Torturers’ Sorry-Asses Whom He Plans to Trample Underfoot in Hell as He Makes His Way to Pachyderm Heaven (elephant).

WW:      Drumroll please. That leaves you with the words “humanitarian, ship, border, help, football, Cuba, St. Louis, Florida, crisis, and déjà vu.” Can you see a blog story on the horizon?

Republican Prayers

Used by permission: Daryl Cagle, CagleCartoons.com

ME:        Oh my God, the word pipes are unclogged! Hey Babe, you’re like Drano to the brain. I should bottle you and sell you to other writers.

Anyway, I think the post will be about the children crossing the border from Central America and how the politicians are using them as political footballs. And although the Dems and the Repubs need to get off their asses and help pass comprehensive immigration reform, this is not an immigration problem as much as it is a humanitarian crisis. The Party that stands for “Pro-life” needs to step up to the plate and help bring God’s grace and mercy to the situation instead of praying that these children will vanish back over the border to the Hell they came from.

And although I’m a true fan of the President, I’m not pleased with his decision to send these children back to their countries, nor the request for border funds to speed up their deportation—in fact, if you’re listening Mr. President, I am really saddened! Members of the GOP are already trying to sue you and calling for your impeachment, what do you have to lose by doing the right thing by these refugees? As far as I’m concerned, these babies have already come with signs on their backs that they are in danger from the enemies they left behind. Just to get to America, some of the children have been reportedly raped and abused, terrified and traumatized. I think I’ll write about how America has never really lived up to our refugee mission statement.   I’ll introduce my readers to the déjà vu story of the Voyage of the Damned—the ship (SS St. Louis) that carried almost 1,000 Jews from Germany to America in 1939 after Kristallnacht (“Night of Broken Glass”) and the beginning of Hitler’s open annihilation of the Jews. Cuba refused the refugees and as the good German captain hung off Florida’s shores hoping and praying that the United States would allow the refugees to disembark, he was forced to return to Germany with most of his passengers while their relatives shouted encouragement to them from scores of small boats feverishly trailing the massive ship of the damned. Except for those who managed to make it to European countries beyond the reach of the Nazi extermination machine when they returned to Germany, many of them were eventually rounded up and sent to concentration camps where they died horrible deaths.

Border Children Pat Bagley  Salt Lake Tribune

Used by Permission: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

ME:        Knowing what we know now, we would have and should have taken in all the passengers of the SS St. Louis. Yeah, that’s the post I’ll write for my blog. Thanks, Babe.

WW:      Happy to be of service, Cutie. In the meantime, why don’t I order in Chinese? And how about I run you a bath? You’re smelling a bit “ripe”—like Pepé Le Pew—almost as if you accompanied the children from Central America across the border.

ME:        Oh, that’s really cold, husband of mine!

***

I am discovering that our country’s mission statement about immigration is full of high-tone rhetoric, but it is only words if the moral component of the Statue of Liberty’s invitation is not embraced and adhered to when the humanitarian situation calls us to do so:

Give me your tired, your poor,

Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,

The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.

Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,

I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

It is easy to boast of our immigration policies and our Christian morals as a country when they don’t cost us anything or come in the correct color, with the desired skillset, and the proper entry point. But if we’re really honest with ourselves, our country has come to this crossroad many times and we have failed to treat the “alien” amongst us as seeing Jesus in the “least of them.” And don’t even get me started about how my ancestral peeps (dragged here against our wills) would have had a much better transition out of slavery to emancipation had the refugee situation been handled with grace and charity instead of 100 years of Jim Crow brutality (one million ex-slaves became sick and died after the Emancipation).

Immigration History robertnielson21 dot wordpress dot com

Courtesy of Ampersand by B. Deutsch || www.amptoons.com

“No country, including the United States, did as much as it might have or should have done to save innocent victims of Nazi persecution – Jews, Gypsies, political opponents and others. Restrictive US immigration policies kept hundreds of thousands of refugees from finding safety in the United States, most tragically exemplified by our refusal to allow the St. Louis to dock with its cargo of refugees – many of whom perished when the ship was forced to return to Europe.”—Eizenstat, May 1997 from “Voyage of the Damned” by Marilyn Henry/Jerusalem Post July 1998.

“One’s philosophy is not best expressed in words; it is expressed in the choices one makes… and the choices we make are ultimately our responsibility.”Eleanor Roosevelt

“The U.S. immigration laws are bad – really, really bad. I’d say treatment of immigrants is one of the greatest injustices done in our government’s name.”Bill Gates

“Most Christian ‘believers’ tend to echo the cultural prejudices and worldviews of the dominant group in their country, with only a minority revealing any real transformation of attitudes or consciousness. It has been true of slavery and racism, classism and consumerism and issues of immigration and health care for the poor.”Richard Rohr

writers block

. . . so that is what it was!

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER? CHECK OUT: www.eleanortomczyk.com

REFERENCES

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robin-korth/sex-over-50_b_5563576.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/ej-dionne-republicans-are-bordering-on-heartless/2014/07/13/cc152306-092e-11e4-8a6a-19355c7e870a_story.html?hpid=z6

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/29/flat-earth-society-psychology_n_2038198.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MS_St._Louis

http://www.holocaustforgotten.com/voyageofthedamned.htm

http://news.nationalpost.com/2011/01/17/none-is-too-many-memorial-for-jews-turned-away-from-canada/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/border-crisis-scrambling-the-politics-of-immigration-policy/2014/07/12/78b6ab16-0920-11e4-8a6a-19355c7e870a_story.html

http://www.ushmm.org/outreach/en/article.php?ModuleId=10007697

http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/14/4231203/an-explainer-on-unaccompanied.html

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 
23 Comments

Posted by on July 15, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Happy Birthday, America!

Do you know what I discovered about American teenagers regarding Independence Day? I ran across a survey where some of them thought it was a really cool movie (okay, I guess I can see that, given the charisma and popularity of Will Smith and all). But in another survey, when gently nudged towards the topic “History,” 14% of them said that July 4th was the day we declared our independence from . . . wait for it . . . wait for it: FRANCE! And according to a dude named Colin Campbell, head of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 5 million teenagers didn’t have a clue as to the meaning of why we celebrate July 4th. (Parents, you got some splainin’ to do!)

July 4th Why We Celebrate Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

Used by Permission: Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

Egads, our founding fathers must be rolling over in their graves. Of course, I can’t be too hard on our teenagers when the adults aren’t representing the true meaning of Independence Day well with our partisan bickering and all. Of course, when we have people like the Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) stating that God “wrote the constitution,” and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal declaring, “I can sense right now a rebellion brewing amongst these United States where people are ready for a hostile takeover of Washington, D.C., to preserve the American Dream for our children and grandchildren,”* what are our children to think? (By the way, even though I think Jindal is a goofy character, don’t make light of his plagiarized statement about a “hostile takeover of Washington, D.C;” the author of that statement (preacher Rick Joyner who despises President Obama) means every word of it because he believes he is hearing from God—he needs to be carefully watched. ** If you want to know what swamp Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann crawled out of, look no further than the influence of Rick Joyner.)

Happy B Day America Bob Englehart The Hartford Courant

Used by Permission: Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant

I actually can’t completely blame these knuckleheads for their misinterpretations and stupid declarations of terrorism. Do you want to know who I blame? I blame our founding fathers. Although I love my country very much, and I truly appreciate all their hard work and sacrifice, I don’t think we’d be in this place today if they had made several unorthodox (for their time) changes when they declared our independence in 1776 and wrote the Constitution some 11 years later in 1787. What, you say? They were already laying their lives on the line—what more could we have asked of them? (Hmmmm, because they were all white, male, landowners who couldn’t see past their own aristocratic noses, they could have included women, ex-slaves, slaves, Native Americans, indentured servants, and new immigrants in the room to give them a broader perspective.)

I’ve always fantasized about becoming a time traveler and going back in time to influence history. Can you imagine the heart-attack scenario if I had the ability to pop into the Founding Fathers’ midst in Philadelphia on July 1, 1776 (yep, you read it correctly: the bill wasn’t signed on July 4th. Twelve of the thirteen colonies voted on the declaration on July 2, 1776, and then they spent the next two days massaging the language—in fact, most of the delegates didn’t sign the document that kept us from having British accents until August 2nd).

Constitution Jeff Parker Florida Today and the Fort Myers News Press

Used by permission: Jeff Parker Florida Today and the Fort Myers News Press

Can you imagine a room full of sweaty men in Philadelphia with all the windows closed and shutters latched (due to the treasonous nature of their activities) on a sweltering day as they tried to function in woolen clothing and wigs—most of them scared shitless at what they were about to engage in?  And “poof,” out pops my chubby-21st-Century ass into the middle of the room.

TIME TRAVELER (TT): Yo, yo, yo FFs—how’s it hanging?

(Several of the FFs faint dead away, but the rest remain stupefied.)

TT: Robert Livingston and John Jay of New York would you please administer smelling salts to Edward Rutledge of South Carolina and Richard Henry Lee from Virginia, and make sure they are awake and listening? I don’t have much time, and I have a lot to say. Besides Livingston and Jay, you aren’t going to have the gonads to sign this document: I know it and you know it, so you might as well make yourselves useful by resuscitating your comrades. No judgment here—just the historical facts.

Gentlemen, I am from the future: 2014 to be exact. My name is Eleanor Tomczyk and I am a writer and a blogger. I just published a book called Monsters’ Showdown that you’ll never get to read, but you should know that even though you didn’t insure my unalienable rights as a descendent of a slave/a Cherokee Indian/a woman—I am free, I am educated, I am intelligent, I’m married to a white man, I live well, and I pontificate on everything from soup to nutty politicians on something called the World Wide Web.  All this communicative power is mine because you will provide me freedom of speech in the Bill of Rights that you’re going to pass on August 21, 1789. Thanks FFs—I am forever in your debt because of that.

Eleanor Censored

Blogger and Author of Monsters’ Throwdown/Photo by C. Tomczyk

But I just wanted to let you in on a secret that unless you pull in some women, some Black folks, some Indian peeps, and some new kinds of immigrants with Spanish accents, before you write the Constitution (yep, you’re gonna kick the Brits asses!), you’re going to set up our beloved country for a world of hurt in the future. Lots of things are going to change by the time 2014 rolls around. Actually you can go on and pass this declaration thingie because it is the Constitution in eleven years that you’re going to really need to expand your horizons on that really needs inclusion of the aforementioned groups.

Right now that foolish 2nd Amendment is causing all sorts of mayhem. It needs to be changed because you didn’t think it through well enough. When you pass that in the Bill of Rights, please note that thousands of precious children will be murdered in the future, and scores of foolish men and women will demand to open/carry their guns in our “marketplaces” just because they think that is what you meant by their “unalienable rights” and the “rights of individuals to bear arms.” What you meant then and the nutty shit we’re doing with guns now would cause you to weep. Also, can you add a little note that the Constitution was not written by God, America is not the New Jerusalem, and you could be wrong on at least a couple of things in the Constitution (ahem: slavery and a woman’s right to vote).

Guns Target Steve Sack The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Used by permission: Steve Sack The Minneapolis Star Tribune

TT:  Franklin, Adams, Jefferson, and Hamilton (you can catch George Washington up to speed once he takes a break from the war), there is a line that you’ll put in the Constitution that bears fleshing out, if you ask me; if you really want to know:

“WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT” (so far so good), “THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL” (should read “that all men AND WOMEN—no matter what their color or position in life—are created equal”) “THAT THEY ARE ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR” (should read “whomever you deem your creator to be”—leaving this open to interpretation will cause the lack of freedom of religion you fought so hard for because hardcore Christians will demand it to be their God, and the Materialists, the Deists, and the Atheists who most of you declared yourselves to be, will have Hell to pay) “WITH CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS, THAT AMONG THESE ARE LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS” (should read “no matter what your gender, color, race, or social status in life”).

TT:  My time is up—wish I could stay longer. Just one more thing: we elected a black president in 2008 for two terms. He’s getting the shit kicked out of him by the haters, but I believe he’s going to make it if one of those 2nd Amendment right-wing nuts doesn’t assassinate him. Every day that I wake up and he’s still alive, I thank my God with all my heart because your 2nd Amendment has been grossly misinterpreted. It has taken on a religious fever against a president that these nuts think doesn’t belong in the White House. Once you pass the Bill of Rights, by 2014 there will be more than 20 attempts to kill sitting and former presidents; 4 sitting presidents will be assassinated, 2 sitting presidents will have attempted assassinations on their lives, and every president from John F. Kennedy on will be threatened with assassination. As you can imagine, threats against our only black President will increase by 400%. Surely, my dear FFs, that is not what you intended when you dreamed up our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution.

July 4th off Parker, Florida Today

Used by permission: Parker, Florida Today

“The assertion that ‘all men are created equal’ was of no practical use in effecting our separation from Great Britain and it was placed in the Declaration not for that, but for future use.”Abraham Lincoln

The legitimate powers of government extend to such acts only as are injurious to others. It does me no injury for my neighbor to say there are twenty gods or no god. It neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg.” ― Thomas Jefferson

“You can protect your liberties in this world only by protecting the other man’s freedom. You can be free only if I am free.”—Clarence Darrow

Statue of Liberty indiereader dot com

Happy Birthday, America (one and all): courtesy of www.indiereader.com

REFERENCES

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/01/hobby-lobby-christian_n_5545618.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

http://www.salon.com/2014/07/02/target_requests_shoppers_not_bring_guns_into_stores/

*http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/20/tom-delay-god-constitution_n_4826503.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/07/01/what-we-know-about-americas-annual-tradition-of-injuring-ourselves-with-fireworks/?hpid=z5

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=92955

http://freethought.mbdojo.com/foundingfathers.html

**http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-wilson/republicanlinked-religiou_b_4031453.html

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on July 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

WTF HUCK!

Do you know what I discovered when I turned 66 this month? Sixty-six is not the new forty-six.  Whoever told us that is lyin’ through their teeth.  I mean I don’t look my age because it is true, for the most part, “black don’t crack,” but my innards are falling apart.  The morning of my sixty-sixth birthday, I swear to God my boobs dropped two more inches in search of the floor, and my stomach distended four more inches making me think I might be pregnant again (generating murderous thoughts toward WW’s thingie until I remembered that I’d gotten the “snatch” 20 years ago, so a pregnancy is damn near impossible).  As to the rest of my lady bits, lately I’ve been using my iPhone to locate women’s rest rooms and planning my events around bathroom breaks with declarative statements like:  “My Potty App is showing a toilet within 10 feet—why don’t I pee while I’m still here and the going is good.”

Old Age Pinterest pin Carol Middendorf

Pinned by Carol Middendorf from Pinterest

As I was “kvetching” over the sorry state of my body, I was mourning the passing of the years and wondering if I had grown spiritually and intellectually, or was I simply deteriorating back into the dust from which I was formed.   While I was downing a pint of coffee strong enough to cause internal combustion, I noticed two news articles online that made me spew my hot coffee all over my computer screen and summarily scream:

“WHAT THE FUCK, HUCK?”

Both news articles confirmed and reported on the second annual March for Marriage (organized by the conservative National Organization for Marriage) in front of the Capitol.  Fortunately, it was a bust with a showing of only 1,500 people (they expected tens of thousands) and one low-level elected official as one of the speakers. This “Christian” hate-filled march was such a yawn that I had no idea they were in town until I read that one of the speakers (Rev. Mike Huckabee) said something which made my head explode and prompted me to place an immediate phone call to Martin and Coretta King at “H-E-A-V-E-N-S-G-A-T-E.”

GLENDA: Heelloooo!  You’ve reached Glenda Angelina, assistant to the good Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his wife, the lovely Coretta King.  How may I help you?

ME:  Good Morning, Glenda.  I’m ET the Blogger and author of Monsters’ Throwdown, and I’d like to speak to Rev. King about an urgent matter.

GLENDA:  I know who you are.  I just ordered your book from Amazon Cloud”—it got great reviews in the Celestial Times.  Congrats.  Monsters’ Throwdown has become one of our favorite reads around here—poor black child makes good due to the courage and sacrifices of activists in the Civil Rights Movement really hits home.

ME:  Thanks . . . that’s so sweet.  I will always be indebted to Rev. King and all the others who laid down their lives for me.  Which is why I’m calling.  There has been an attempt to coopt Rev. King’s words and legacy in the name of an anti-gay movement.  Let me read you the titles of the two articles I read today that Dr. King should know about:

The Raw Story’s Mike Huckabee: Martin Luther King Jr. would agree that gay marriage is like the Holocaust” by David Edwards and Salon’s “Mike Huckabee on Martin Luther King Jr.: ‘I wish he were here today’ to join me in discriminating against LGBTQ people” by Katie McDonough.

Persecution of Gays Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Used by permission:  “Who Would Jesus Hate?” || Pat Bagley Salt Lake-Tribune

GLENDA:  Oh God, not again (remember when Glenn Beck tried to do this?).  Not only will Rev. King be appalled at how this “Rev.” Huckabee is abusing his reputation and words, but I think King Jesus will be none too pleased at how his words of love and not judging others have been twisted into actions of hate and harassment.  Haven’t the followers of Jesus discovered that in the end “love wins?”

ME:  Well, it’s not all Christians.  This Huckabee guy just has a misunderstanding of the Bible and a big mouth.  He also wants to be elected president in 2016, so he’s pandering to the African-American and Hispanic churches because he knows these denominations are still clinging to some pretty harsh anti-gay rhetoric and lack of inclusion within their churches.  Yet, I don’t know a black church that doesn’t have a ton of gay members who are hiding out in their churches’ closets (starting with the choir directors and moving on down to the deacon and mission boards), just waiting for their place of worship to be a safe haven to come out.   I’m a black Christian, and even though I was against gay marriage many years ago—like President Obama, I evolved.  During the time I was conflicted, I made a list one day of all the pathetic “Christian (heterosexual) marriages” I intimately knew about—husbands cheating on their wives, husbands feeling up other men’s wives, husbands abusing their wives and children, churches instilling fear that gay rights would ruin Christian marriages and children while covering up massive pedophilia cases within their schools and Sunday Schools  (all of them virulently anti-gay)—and I compared these vile stories to the lovely gay and lesbian families I knew (solid faithful marriages, better parents than I’d ever been, and more service-oriented toward the homeless and the disenfranchised than any Christian I had ever known).  Not to mention that their gay marriages had not hurt my marriage of 35 years one iota.  At that point I decided I was “mashugana,” and I repented regarding my ignorant stance on gay rights.

GLENDA:  Mike Huckabee needs to do his homework because he is dead wrong.  Rev. King would have been marching with the LGBTQ community in support of Gay rights because he, too, was always evolving.   Anyway, his wife knows where Martin stood on these issues because she spoke to this point on many occasions—not the least of when she spoke at an event in 1998.  If I remember correctly, Coretta Scott King said:

“I still hear people say that I should not be talking about the rights of lesbian and gay people and I should stick to the issue of racial justice.  But I hasten to remind them that Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ I appeal to everyone who believes in Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream to make room at the table of brother-and sisterhood for lesbian and gay people.”

Gay Marriage Horsey Los Angeles Times

Cartoonist David Horsey, Los Angeles Times

ME:  I know, I know . . . I am sure that Rev. King would have lead a march against the NOM organizers and made his position known loud and clear that he despised their stand on gay rights.  Can you deliver my message to him that his legacy and words are being coopted by the likes of that hater Huckabee and have Rev. King do something about this before it is too late?

GLENDA:  I’m afraid neither Rev. King nor Mrs. King can be interrupted right now.  Rev. King is watching the World Cup with Jesus, Gandhi, Golda Meir, Anwar Sadat, Menachem Begin, Harvey Milk, Marilyn Monroe, Abraham Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant , and a slew of Palestinian martyrs (don’t ask).  Mrs. King is having lunch with Eleanor Roosevelt, St. Teresa of Avila, Joan of Arc, Anne Frank, and Rosa Parks.  But I know what Rev. King would say to you.  He would tell you that his fight is done.  He has passed the baton of civil rights for all to you and others like you.  You must fight the good fight and never give up—build on the legacy he left you.  Can you do that?

Gay Rights John Cole The Scranton Times Tribune

Used by permission:  Gay Rights John Cole The Scranton Times Tribune

***

I am discovering that I may be an old fart but I am evolving into a better human being.  As I’ve grown older, I may not be able to hold my urine for more than a couple hours, but I’ve learned not to judge others and how to love those who are different than I am.   There was a time when it would have been against the law for my white husband and me to be married, and there would have been no where we could have lived together without fear of harassment and scorn. Today we live in neighborhoods where our neighbors adore us because of who we are and what we contribute to the common good.  I will not stop speaking out in support of gay rights until my gay brothers and sisters enjoy the same.

Anti Gay Agenda Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Used by permission:  Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

We are each made for goodness, love, and compassion. Our lives are transformed as much as the world is when we live with these truths.”—Desmond Tutu

“Here are the values that I stand for: honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping those in need. To me, those are traditional values.”—Ellen DeGeneres

 “Homophobia is like racism and anti-Semitism and other forms of bigotry in that it seeks to dehumanize a large group of people, to deny their humanity, their dignity and personhood. . . .This sets the stage for further repression and violence that spread all too easily to victimize the next minority group.”—Coretta Scott King, Source: Chicago Sun Times, April 1, 1998, p.18.

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE BLOGGER?  CHECK OUT www.eleanortomczyk.com

REFERENCES

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/06/19/mike-huckabee-martin-luther-king-jr-would-agree-that-gay-marriage-is-like-the-holocaust/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/20/nom-march-for-marriage_n_5515276.html

http://www.salon.com/2014/06/20/mike_huckabee_on_martin_luther_king_jr_i_wish_he_were_here_today_to_join_me_in_discriminating_against_lgbtq_people/

http://www.sdgln.com/causes/2014/01/15/what-would-martin-luther-king-jr-say-about-gay-rights#sthash.RzzkmE3Y.dpbs

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

 
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Posted by on June 22, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Baby Daddies

Do you know what I discovered about Father’s Day?  When you had a sperm donor as a father, as I did, I pretty much wish I could put the recognition day on a remote and fast forward through it.  I talk a lot about searching for my dad as a child in my book, Monsters’ Throwdown, and my one encounter with him being the stuff horror movies are made of.  My father was not worth the carbon used to form him.

Accidental Dads funny dash memes dash blog

Mememaker.net

Fortunately, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some great dads (my husband included in the mix), but I must admit that I’ve met some real deadbeats, as well—“players” who needed to have their thingie put on lock-down before being allowed to get near a woman’s vagina.  When I weigh the absentee dads against the stand-up dads, it seems as if the former outweigh the latter by four to one.  Why is that?  Why did God put baby-making on automatic pilot without some type of mandatory fatherhood training classes that required a license to operate their ignoble member?

I’m going to chill out from blogging for a short break while I celebrate my 35th anniversary and 66th birthday with my babies’ daddy.  While I’m sipping gin and tonics in my garden with him, take an adventure with me into a dystopian society, that I’ve often imagined—where penises have to register and get educated as fathers before “releasing the kraken.”  See you soon!

Parenting

America’s Perfect TV Father:  Bill Cosby/Meme from onthefenceadvocacy.com

******

A DYSTOPIAN FATHER’S DAY TALE, by Eleanor Tomczyk

In the not too distant future, there exists a society where there are no fatherless children because I am the god of that planet and all penises must be registered before becoming operational.  Below is a brief example of the application process and a random interview with Mr. Player.

FUTURE ME:  Hello, Mr. Player.  Welcome to TBDASSS (Thwarting Baby Daddy Abandonment Syndrome—Sperm by Sperm).  Let’s get your registration started.  Name of penis?

PLAYER:  Dick.

FUTURE ME:  Right, that’s the moniker you wish for your stretchy toy for all eternity? Not.  I think you can do better than that, buster.

PLAYER:  Well, when I was five years old, I called it the “whoopee stick.”  And then at fourteen, I named it “Krull the Warrior King.”  How about one of those names?

FUTURE ME:  Ei-yie-yie!  I don’t have enough entry spaces for those names.   Let’s assign your one-eyed monster a temporary name, or we’ll never get through the application process.  You can always change it later. How about Peter?

PLAYER:  Whatever.  Let’s just get this over with.  I just sent out a text to some girl for my first booty call, and I don’t want to be late.

FUTURE ME:  Some girl?  A girl that is somebody’s daughter, sister, cousin, or niece—that some girl?  Player, you are something else.  Let’s get started here before I lose my objectivity about your case.

QUESTION #1:  So you want to deploy Peter.  Does the applicant realize that in so doing, a baby may be formed in the process?  Should you become a father, do you know what it means to take responsibility and “show up,”—not just for the initial moment to kiss your baby-mama’s ass goodbye—but to show up for the rest of your kid’s life?

PLAYER:  Show up?  Yeah, I know how to show up; that’s what I’m tryin’ to do with my first booty call tonight.  That’s why I don’t want to be late.   I got a rep to maintain, woman.  As for becomin’ a father—that ain’t  gonna happen to me.  I’m too young for that, shit.  Besides, havin’ a kid would blow my mojo.

QUESTION #2:  Do you know the lyrics to “I’m a little teapot, short and stout?”

PLAYER:  What does that have to do with anything?  I want to knock boots, not drink tea.  Besides, I drink only Grey Goose or Ketel One.  Just ask me.   I now everything there is to know about vodka.

QUESTION #3: Can you play cops and robbers for hours on end?”

PLAYER:  Is that a sex game?

Father's Parental Leave Tab, The Calgary Sun

Used by permission: Father’s Parental Leave/Tab, The Calgary Sun

QUESTION #4:  Define long-suffering.

PLAYER:  Long, as in the size of my . . .

QUESTIONS #5, #6, AND #7:  How do you handle anger?  Have you ever hit a woman? Do you love your mother?

PLAYER:  What the fuck does this have to do with doin’ the wild thing?

QUESTION #8:  Fill in the blank:  I will do whatever it takes as a father to__________

PLAYER:  Ride my lady all night long!

FUTURE ME:  That’s it, player—you failed the test!  The answer was “I will do whatever it takes as a father to make sure my kids have whatever they need to succeed in the world: I’ll work my ass off, show up to any and every thing they appear in (no matter how out-of-tune or mind-numbingly boring it is); I’ll tell them that I love them on a consistent basis, and let them know how proud I am to be their dad until the day I die.”  If you could have answered the last question, player, you would have been forgiven all the wrong answers to the previous questions because you could have learned how to figure them out as you grew into fatherhood.  Question #8 ascertains whether you have a father’s heart.  Obviously, you do not.

I’m stamping your application:  VAGINA ACCESS DENIED!  COME BACK IN SIX MONTHS TO A YEAR.

PLAYER:  Wait . . . wait . . . you’re gonna turn me down—just like that?  Was it because of the unimaginative names for my penis that I submitted?  I can do better.  How about “Schlong-dong-a-doodle,” or “The Amazing Schmekel”?  Ooh, ooh, ooh; I’ve got the perfect name: “The Single-barreled, pump-action bullock—the fun stick that keeps on giving”!

FUTURE ME:  NEXT APPLICANT FOR FATHERHOOD—THIS WINDOW IS OPEN!

Live in Father Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant

Used by permission: Live in Father Bob Englehart, The Hartford Courant

***

I am discovering that a good father is really hard to find.  When I meet people who have grown up under the tutelage of a faithful, steadfast, adoring father, I am so jealous.  Those people tend to wreak confidence, ooze self-esteem, and radiate courage.  I, however, have always walked with a limp and always will because of the lack of a good father.

To all those wonderful men (my husband included) who determined to show up, be present and accounted for, and sacrifice their lives for their children—HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

Fatherhood Chris Rock

joanhascheezeburger.com 

“America used to live by the motto “Father Knows Best.” Now we’re lucky if “Father Knows He Has Children.” We’ve become a nation of sperm donors and baby daddies.” ― Stephen Colbert, I Am America

 “Dads.  Do you not realize that a child is what you tell them they are? That people almost always become what they are labeled? Was whatever your child just did really the “dumbest thing you’ve ever seen somebody do”? Was it really the “most ridiculous thing they ever could have done”? Do you really believe that your child is an idiot? Because she now does. Think about that. Because you said it, she now believes it. Bravo.” ― Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing

Wise Father Bill Cosby

REFERENCES

Thanks to NCFM (National Coalition for Men) for their collection of 174 nicknames for the one-eyed monster

http://www.fatherhood.org/the-father-factor

http://www.thedailybeast.com/witw/articles/2013/06/28/fatherhood-manhood-and-having-it-all.html

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Eleanor Tomczyk and “How the Hell Did I End Up Here?” with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
16 Comments

Posted by on June 7, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
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