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MOOSE CROSSING

Do you know what I discovered about my new retirement digs? I’ve found a place that White folks been keeping from us. Now before some of my White sisters and brothers get bent out of shape and think I’ve gone all kamikaze racist on your behinds, I’m just kidding—sort of. In 1964 when the Civil Rights Act passed allowing Black folks the ability to travel, live, go to school, eat in restaurants, shop, and pretty much exist in previously restricted areas due to our race, it became a game of my childhood to waltz into those newly opened arenas and soak up all the beauty, knowledge, tranquility, and lusciousness I’d been missing out on for all my poor, pathetic life (see my first book: Monsters’ Throwdown for the entertaining details). I had a mentor (twenty years older than I) who would call me on any given day and announce: “Put on your best Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes and grab a pair of white gloves because we are going to a place that the White folks been keepin’ from us!” It has become a tagline between my husband (who is White) and me throughout the years whenever we encounter something extraordinarily lovely. When we unpacked the final box in our new home and stepped back to absorb the beauty of it all, I said to him, “Look, Honey, we found a place. . . ” And WW (a.k.a. “White and Wonderful”) with arms wrapped around me and tears in his eyes, interrupted me and said: “And can you believe that the same little girl who was born in a toilet in Monsters’ Throwdown is the same little girl who is retiring in this tranquil place—this sanctuary for dreamers?”

Living Rm 2

Photo Credit: Eleanor Tomczyk/ “A sanctuary for dreamers”

I spend my mornings going for long walks in bucolic settings, followed by meditation and reading on my sun-kissed deck. Weather permitting, I have breakfast with my man on the deck overlooking yellow and red hibiscus plants as hummingbirds stream in from the nature preserve that is my backyard, and then I write in an office which has one huge wall of glass that overlooks cultivated yards of red and pink crepe myrtles. I would never leave if I didn’t have to, but I know that sometimes duty will call, and I’ll have to venture back into the not so pleasant world from time to time.

Good Deer

Photo credit: Eleanor Tomczyk/Author’s view from her sun-kissed deck

Such was last weekend. As often happens to my husband WW and me, invitations come that compete for the same dates, and decisions must be made as to the validity, the importance of the relationships, and our finances regarding which one will be RSVP’d “yes” or “no” to. We were invited to the wedding of my nephew and to a reunion of a group of people that I once thought I’d found tranquility with in my hippie days but turned out to be a bust in the long run (check out my latest book on the subject: Fleeing Oz). We chose my nephew’s wedding in Vermont. It was the correct choice—the wedding was wonderful. My nephew and his new wife are delightful and everyone was overjoyed to see us.   I found Vermont to be magnificently beautiful but, as a writer, I found the scores of Moose Crossing signs along the roads to be more than blog worthy—they would have made a great Saturday Night Live skit.

Moose Crossing Sign

Photo Credit: Joy E. Hecht

I don’t know from moose (is the plural of moose “meese,” “mooses,” “moosi,” or “moosen”?)—I’ve never seen one in my life. The only moose I know of is the cartoon moose, “Bullwinkle J. Moose” from the show Rocky and Bullwinkle. So you can imagine my surprise when driving up into the gorgeous mountains of Vermont (another place the White folks been keeping from us—I didn’t see one Black person in them there hills!), every third sign was a warning about moose crossings.

The Bullwinkle moose I came to know in the ghettos of Cleveland, Ohio via TV was benign, sweet-tempered, hilariously funny, and didn’t take himself too seriously. He went to college at “Wossamotta U” and was part-time governor of Moosylvania Island. (Remember the running gag of Bullwinkle attempting to pull a rabbit out of a top hat which was never successful? He would send me into gales of laughter—after Rocky, the side-kick squirrel’s emphatic declarations of “but that trick never works!”—because out of the hat would pop a lion or a tiger or even Rocky.) That running joke never failed to cause me to fall over laughing as a poor Black child. Bullwinkle was one of my first friends, and he taught me humor.

One of TV's greatest animated series, ROCKY 7 BULLWINKLE & FRIENDS, comes to DVD for the first time ever. DIGITALLY REMASTERED DVD BOX SET INCLUDES 26 ORIGINAL EPISODES and never-before seen footage. from BULLWINKLE STUDIOS/Classic Media ( Joint Venture ) **small file size***

One of TV’s greatest animated series, ROCKY 7 BULLWINKLE & FRIENDS, comes to DVD for the first time ever. DIGITALLY REMASTERED DVD BOX SET INCLUDES 26 ORIGINAL EPISODES and never-before seen footage. from BULLWINKLE STUDIOS/Classic Media ( Joint Venture ) **small file size***

Rocky and Bullwinkle/Created by Alexander Anderson (September 5, 1920 – October 22, 2010), Jay Ward, and Bill Scott

So you can imagine my surprise when I asked one very inebriated wedding guest what was up with all the Moose warnings along the highway. “What’s up,” he replied with great agitation, “I’ll tell you what’s up. Those signs are there to save your life. I assume every moose I come across is a serial killer. Your typical moose weighs 1,500 pounds. They are dumb as rocks and mean as hell. They carry most of their weight in their upper body on four pencil-like legs, and if they choose to attack you, neither you nor your car will survive. In my opinion, wild moose are more dangerous than grizzlies and they are full of attitude and aggression. Do you know if they raid your garbage can and return the next day for a follow-up snack, if there is nothing in the can (because the idiots ate all the garbage the day before!), they will get pissed and try and attack your shit—ram your house, ram your car, and stomp the crap out of you if you try and shoo them away? (Why get pissed at me for no follow-up garbage snack? Did I tell them to eat up all the garbage and not leave some for the next day? Dumb asses!) If you happen to hit one when they are crossing the highway, their entire upper body—all 1500 pounds of it will crash through your windshield, and you, the moose, and your car will be singing with Jesus before you can say: ‘Oh look, honey, there goes a moose crossing the highway.’ Moose—the only good moose is a dead moose, as far as I am concerned!”

Moose Bashing

Oy! Oy! Oy! And I thought because of Bullwinkle that I knew my moose!

Try as we could, WW and I never saw a moose while we were in Vermont (probably for the best), but it got us talking about the concept of moose crossing signs, and how they would be most helpful in life when coming across people you thought were one way (benign, friendly, humorous, gracious, kind, loving), but they turned out to be another way (mean-spirited, backbiting, aggressive, controlling, domineering, spiteful, and duplicitous—to name a few). Wouldn’t it be helpful to have “Moose Crossing” signs posted along life’s highway so that you would know to slow down, turn around, back up, flee, or simply take another highway?

Haters Gonna Hate Meme

http://www.spreadshirt.com/gonna+hoodies+&+sweatshirts

***

ELEANOR’S “SELAH” (MEDITATIONS ON MOOSE CROSSING SIGNS)

I am discovering that “moose crossing” signs are just the order of the day to protect this stage of my life in my new sanctuary. (WW and I have decided that we do not care who doesn’t like us; we only care about the people we like, because they are the only ones we want to spend time with or allow into our lives anymore.)

After I returned from the wedding, someone from the reunion—the event I purposely chose not to attend—who I haven’t talked to in years, sent me a message reminiscing about the “good ol’ days” and the great times we had in our Christian community in the 70s (isn’t it amazing the selective memory that people have at reunions?). I, however, remember how this person, who once called me her best friend, verbally attacked me—for no apparent reason—in a car with another person just a few years ago, five minutes before she jumped out of the car to catch a plane, leaving me no rebuttal or recourse. There was never an apology—never a follow up to assess the damage that had been done. I also remember how a year or so after that “moose crossing,” this same woman wrote a caustic comment on my public blog because she didn’t like what I had to say about Sarah Palin (i.e., “perhaps Ms. Palin is not qualified to be a heartbeat away from the presidency”). My “friend” who didn’t know Sarah Palin chose to excoriate me in print, in public, in support of a nincompoop, as if I were a two-month old not entitled to an opinion. (If that is the mark of a best friend, I’d hate to see what an enemy acts like.)

I hit the delete button on my ex-friend’s message, and I erected a “Moose Crossing” sign in her name while I immersed myself back into the sanctuary I’ve been waiting all my life to inhabit.

“I am thankful the most important key in history was invented. It’s not the key to your house, your car, your boat, your safety deposit box, your bike lock or your private community. It’s the key to order, sanity, and peace of mind. The key is ‘Delete.’”Elayne Boosler

Moose Hiding

***

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES

“I think for me, home needs to be a sanctuary. I need to feel like I’ve escaped the day when I get home.” —Bella Heathcote

If we could make our house a home, and then make it a sanctuary, I think we could truly find paradise on Earth.”—Alexandra Stoddard

“Happiness, true happiness, is an inner quality. It is a state of mind. If your mind is at peace, you are happy. If your mind is at peace, but you have nothing else, you can be happy. If you have everything the world can give – pleasure, possessions, power – but lack peace of mind, you can never be happy.”—Dada Vaswani

ALL INSPRATIONAL QUOTES COURTESY OF www.brainyquotes.com

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

WANT TO READ THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOKS (Monsters’ Throwdown and Fleeing Oz)? ON SALE NOW AT AMAZON!

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 July 26, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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MY QUOTA OF DUMBASS

Do you know what I discovered today? I’ve been gone for a month—selling our old home of 18 years near DC and moving to our new home in a different town further south. We almost didn’t survive the “selling” part because the “Mr.” of our buyers was a real dumbass and tried to screw us every which way but Sunday. We summarily won the day, but not without a great deal of desk pounding, lawsuit threatening, panic eating, intercessory praying, and sleepless nights. The Mr. Buyer was such a horrible person that I suspended being a Christian momentarily, and I prayed for a pox on his house (my old home) and on his children’s houses. I also prayed that Mr. Buyer’s balls would shrivel to the size of raisins and would pop off into the toilet the next time he took an agonized enlarged prostate piss, which if he didn’t already have prostate problems, I prayed God would zap him with them. (All right, all right . . . I have repented because most of us know “God don’t like ugly,” and becoming a dumbass in reaction to a dumbass does not make up a world that any of us want to live in . . . but it sure felt good . . . momentarily.)

[Case in point of one of “Mr. Buyer’s” egregious dumbass extortion attempts as told to us one minute before we were to sign the papers for closing: “When we did the walk through of your house Mr. and Mrs. Tomczyk, a couple of the kitchen cabinet doors squeaked.  We want you to put $5,000 in escrow in case we find anything else we don’t like or we will hold up the closing so that you miss the deadline for buying your dream house.” The closing took nine hours, but we were victorious. We gave them “bupkis” (Yiddish for “shivering shit balls”) and a can of WD40.]   AARRGH!!

Horrible Person Meme

For a month I had little to no access to TV or the Internet.  I felt as if I had dropped off the planet and my entire world consisted of selling and buying homes. I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. (I was momentarily jerked out of my real estate torment by the cacophonous shots heard round the world from South Carolina, and I stopped trying to cast curses on the balls of my dumbass buyer, and I prayed for Charleston—I prayed for us all.)   So last night I finally got caught up on the news I had missed while I was gone. And guess what? I discovered that I hadn’t missed much—dumbasses were still trying to take over the world.

There were the dumbasses who set up robo-calls to keep the Confederate Flag in place in Charleston because, as CNN put it, the authors of the call urged people to “not stand with leftist fanatics who want to destroy the South we love.” Or here’s my favorite from the robo-call cited by CNN: “What’s next? This attack on our values is sick and un-American, and it has to stop right here and right now in South Carolina.”*

Dear Robo-call Dumbasses: The Confederate flag was resurrected in South Carolina in the 60s as a direct “fuck you” to the desegregation laws and to the Federal Government that was trying to enforce those laws. Let us not pretend otherwise. Even in its original form it stood for secession, rebellion, and slavery of my ancestors ad infinitum. I am grateful that your governor led the charge to have the flag removed from government grounds to a museum. It is a relic of a hateful past that was used to divide a nation, enslave a people, and crush the hearts and souls of Charleston’s citizens. It is time . . . let it go!

July 5, 2015

July 5, 2015

Used by permission: Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News

Dumbass Wayne LaPierre has yet to comment on the shootings in Charleston, SC other than to say it is too soon to comment. But the EVP of the National Rifle Association never meet a gun massacre that he couldn’t excuse away with the call for guns, guns, and more guns. I wonder how many more death-by-guns it is going to take before we dumbass Americans stuff a sock in LaPierre’s mouth and pass strong gun control laws with or without his comments.

NRA Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Used by permission: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Of course, no one defines “dumbass” like Donald Trump who was all over the news while I was gone. (And I thought Sarah Palin rocked the dumbass crown, but Trump makes Palin look like a Rhodes Scholar.) His dumbness speaks for itself. If he becomes president, I will do what I swore I’d never do again, and that is sell my house and become an ex-pat—somewhere—anywhere but here in the country I love so much, despite all of her dumbasses.

Trump as Victim John Cole  The Scranton Times Tribune

Used by permission: John Cole, The Scranton Times Tribune

Then there is Bill Cosby. Bill, Bill, Bill—dumbass Bill. You’ve got some chutzpah still declaring your innocence against the rape allegations of twenty-five plus women after the release last week of the 2005 deposition where you confess to purchasing and using Quaaludes to have sex with young women. Dumbass Bill Cosby, Dr. Huxtable—with his sweater-wearing innocuous self—that fantasy-world “America’s Favorite Dad” is dead and you killed him. Please go away and take your sweaters with you. P.S. Camille, I get the “stand by your man for better or for worse” thing but blaming the victims for your man’s lack of character puts you in the dumbass category, and you seem smarter than that, my sister. What if the victims were your daughters? Just sayin! ***

Bill Cosby Milt Priggee, www miltpriggee com

Used by permission: Milt Priggee, www.miltpriggee.com

But my favorite—absolute, jaw-dropping favorite—dumbasses of the week are 19 year-old Nick Silvestri of Seaford, Long Island and Arianna Grande of teen pop fame. First, clueless Nick went to see the Broadway play “Hand to God.” According to an article on Salon.com, before the play started, he jumped up on stage and plugged his cell phone into an outlet that was part of the set (it was fake outlet, by the way!). The play had to stop during the preshow music and the crew had to unplug the stupid thing and chastise the audience for inappropriate behavior with a cell phone. When interviewed by Playbill as to his dumb-as-rocks move, Nicholas replied:

Girls were calling all day. What would you do? . . . I saw the outlet and ran for it. That was the only outlet I saw, so I thought, ‘Why not?’ I was thinking that they were probably going to plug something in there on the set, and I figured it wouldn’t be a big deal if my phone was up there too.”

OOOOOKAY! What to do, what to do? Should I give Nick the dumbass crown or should it go to . . .

Arianna Grande (age 22) of “Bang Bang” fame who was caught on video licking all the donuts on a tray that were for sale to the public in a bakery, and then is overheard saying how much she hates America (apparently apropos to nothing): “I hate Americans. I hate America! That’s disgusting.” (In Ariana’s defense, maybe it was a sugar-high reaction.) And the pièce de résistance? It was on July 4th! IMP. NOTE: Arianna did apologize recently, but it seemed pretty lame to me: “. . . The fact that the United States has one of the highest child obesity rates in the world frustrates me . . . We need to demand more from our food industry.” Huh???

Ariana Grande Meme

***

FROM THE DISCOVERY BIN: MY LIGHTBULB MOMENT

I am discovering that the world is predominantly made up of dumbasses (sad but true, or else why would there be so many atrocities the world over?). But every once in a while, I encounter people who stand against the dumbass syndrome—they make my day and give me hope to carry on. (The response of forgiveness to the murderer from the families of the massacred nine in South Carolina is a case in point.) Also, we have moved to a lovely community to retire in the state of Virginia. Our new home is our dream house (everything I’ve ever wanted in a home and then some), and within 24 hours, our immediate neighbors made it a point to drop by with warm smiles and open arms with “welcome to the neighborhood” gifts and offers of “if you need anything—anything at all—please don’t hesitate to ask us.” The previous owners of our new home greeted us with huge hugs and all sorts of great information along with their contact info in case we needed help in our transition. Our closing took thirty minutes and ten minutes of that was where to find the best restaurants.

For my first time readers, my husband and I are an interracial couple (married 36 years) moving to the South in a gated community. Compare our lovely reception into our new community this week to Mildred and Richard Loving’s reception when they got married in DC and moved just north of us in Virginia in 1958. On their first night together as husband and wife, “dumbasses” broke into their home in the middle of the night, pulled them out of bed, and took them to jail. The Lovings were convicted of breaking the anti-miscegenation laws of Virginia and were sentenced to one year in prison—later suspended for twenty-five years “on the condition that they leave the State of Virginia,” according to Wikipedia. Theirs would be the case that caused the Supreme Court to overthrow the anti-miscegenation laws in Virginia in 1967.

What a difference forty-eight years make, and what a difference it makes when people choose to be human beings rather than resident dumbasses. Where do I sign up?!

Dumbass Meme

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES

“I have been primarily interested in how and why ordinary people do unusual things, things that seem alien to their natures. Why do good people sometimes act evil? Why do smart people sometimes do dumb or irrational things?”—Philip Zimbardo

Moral evil is the immorality and pain and suffering and tragedy that come because we choose to be selfish, arrogant, uncaring, hateful and abusive.”—Lee Strobel

“The world’s a mean place. It’s unfair, then it’s fair. It’s hateful, then it’s loving. It’s a very peculiar place on philosophical and metaphysical and religious levels.”—Tim Allen

ALL QUOTES COURTESY OF: www.brainyquotes.com

 

WANT TO READ THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOK, FLEEING OZ? OR THE AUTHOR’S FIRST BOOK, MONSTERS’ THROWDOWN? BUY NOW AT AMAZON!

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

REFERENCES

http://www.salon.com/2015/07/10/put_your_phone_away_or_stay_home_anything_you_have_to_say_do_or_text_needs_to_wait_until_the_lights_come_up/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/07/10/confederate-flag-taken-down-photos_n_7769666.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/christopher-brauchli/words-of-comfort-from-the_b_7666370.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-tells-supporters-we-need-to-take-back-the-heart-of-our-country/2015/07/11/066aecf2-27dd-11e5-b77f-eb13a215f593_story.html?hpid=z4

http://thegrio.com/2015/07/08/bill-cosby-drugging-women-career-legacy/

*http://www.cnn.com/2015/07/10/us/south-carolina-confederate-battle-flag/index.html

**http://nationalisticpost.com/2015/06/19/nra-charleston-shooting-was-a-terrorist-attack/

http://nypost.com/2015/07/12/bill-cosbys-wife-says-accusers-consented-to-drugs-and-sex/

***http://www.eonline.com/news/674973/why-ariana-grande-needs-to-grow-up-and-quickly

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 13, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED

IMP. NOTE:  Author is taking a break.  Last blog until July 12th!

Do you know what I discovered this week? Within the month of June, my husband (WW, a.k.a. “White and Wonderful”) had a minor operation, we sold a house and bought a new house, my witch of a doctor refused to turn over my medical records to move with me so I filed a legal complaint against her, I launched a 2nd book (Fleeing Oz) and reworked my website to support that book. I am launching an advertising campaign, while trying to maintain a humorous blog (getting not so funny by the minute), and I am turning 67 on the same day I celebrate my 36th wedding anniversary with the love of my life (I got married on my birthday). I am also trying not to have a heart attack!

stressed meme

In the midst of all this higher than normal stress level, I thought it would be a good idea to buy a couple of items of outdoor furniture online for my lovely new home, have them sent to me in the old house, so the movers could load them along with the rest of the household goods and plant them nicely on my new screened in porch and deck. If I do say so myself, I have exquisite taste and I went right to the outdoor rich-bitch furniture store catalogue. I picked out a charming porch set consisting of one dark wicker/aluminum couch, two love seats with ottomans, one rather large coffee table, and an expansive patio set with six “rocking” chairs, a massive stone-carved table, and an eleven-foot umbrella. Did I mention that the wicker set was offset by copious “simply-to-die-for” sky-blue cushions, topped off by a shameful overindulgence of floral throw pillows? All I had to do was convince my husband that this was a necessity for the new house. But that was the problem. WW was in no mood to hear about me wanting to spend more money after what it cost to sell our old house and purchase our new one.

Now normally, WW is a very generous man, but there are times when he becomes quite parsimonious—a dyed-in-the-wool Ricky Ricardo, and I become (out of necessity) a “crazy, conniving, lost her marbles” chocolate Lucille Ball when he starts to worry about the bills and ties a knot in the purse strings. During those situations, desperate times have to call for desperate means by moi.  After 36 years I always know how to get what I want because WW has a weakness: if you get it on sale—whether you need it or not—he’ll acquiesce. (I could buy a mink coat to wear to Saudi Arabia in the middle of a heat wave if I got it on sale for 60-75% off.)

Lucille Ball and Ricky

MOI:      Hey Babe? [The wife has waited until the husband is preoccupied with reading the news on his iPad.]

WW:      Hum?

MOI:      You know, our new house has such a lovely, HUGE deck and that great screened in porch; wouldn’t it be great if we got some new furniture to make the deck and porch just pop? I mean, wouldn’t you just love to mix up some gin and tonics and sit back in cushioned rocking chairs while we gaze out over the nature preserve that our deck overlooks?

WW:      What happened to our old furniture?

MOI:      That’s just it—it’s oooooollldddd! Besides, it’s gone. I gave it to the Junk Man—I paid him to take it away.

WW:      You did what? You gave away our great furniture? That furniture was still good. I had just broken in the seat cushions to just where I like them to cup my butt. There is no “testing, testing, testing” as I ease into my spot; I had broken the cushions in so that I just aim my butt to the general location and it guides itself in like a heat-seeking missile. We could have used that deck furniture until Jesus came back, and it would have been fine by me.

MOI:      Seriously, Dude? That furniture was sooooo ghetto. I can’t go living around White folks in that gated community you’re moving me to looking like I’m on welfare. I’ve got a rep to maintain. I’m pretty sure our outdoor furniture is the reason Jesus is tarrying—he’ll come back when he has something decent to sit on.  Take a look at the gorgeous furniture sets I want from Showoff Magazine—the mag for people who have more money than God!

WW:      Uh-huh, and that’s not us. This furniture costs thousands of dollars. You need to sell a hell of a lot more books, Cutie, if you want to get this because there is no budget for that kind of extravagance.

MOI:      Humph. What was that quote you told me about from the retirement seminar at work?  “Money is in motion when life is in transition.”

WW:      I knew I was going to rue the day I ever told you that saying. Yes, we are in transition but our bank account cannot move too much in the downward direction or we’ll have to come out of retirement. Can you say “Fixed Income” twenty times front and back—it works either way.

MOI:      Well, what if I could find what I wanted at a cheaper price—say 60-75% off?

WW:      Really . . . 60 to 75% off? I’m listening.  [The wife looks into the camera with a wry smile as if to say to the audience, “What did I tell you?”]

MOI:      I found the same porch and deck sets at our local big box store with free delivery!

WW:      Yeah, what’s the catch?

MOI:      No catch. Just “some assembly required,” [The wife says in a soto voce manner] which I’m sure a man as brilliant as you will have no trouble putting together. The way the description reads, there will probably be no more than two boxes—tops!

. . . AND THEN THE FURNITURE ARRIVED . . .

(This is how I imagined my lovely furniture would arrive . . .)

USPS NEWS CONSUMER AFFAIRS

Photo credit: USPS News Consumer Affairs

This is something like how my furniture did arrive (in about 20 different boxes—crushed, torn, and open) delivered by two “fresh off the boat” Africans, barely able to speak English who kept saying over my screams, “LADY, WHAT DE PROBLEM? No worries. Boxes a little broken, but hey, if problem, call us back, we take away, bring you others. Happens all the time with us. It’s okay? It’s all good. Sign here. We go now.”

Delivery Packages

Photo Credit: CBS http://www.newyork.cbslocal.com

I was standing in the garage trying to figure out how to camouflage my 20 crushed, mangled, and dilapidated boxes of furniture so that my husband wouldn’t have a heart attack when he saw them, when I heard his footsteps in the driveway as he yelled, “CUTIE, YOU HAVE SOME EXPLAINING TO DO! WHY DID I JUST FIND A STREAM OF NUTS AND BOLTS ALONG WITH SEVERAL ALLEN WRENCHS TRAILING DOWN THE STREET AS FAR AS THE EYES CAN SEE? WOMAN, WHAT HAVE YOU GOTTEN US INTO?”

As I sheepishly handed WW the paperwork to the 20 boxes of furniture pieces, I tried to moonwalk back to the house as he looked down in horror at the four pages of “some assembly required” instructions. I could have sworn I saw a tear course down his left check [The wife looks at the camera and whispers: “If you remember from an earlier episode, being a handyman is not WW’s strong suit”]. I am absolutely sure I heard a string of guttural swear words I never heard come from a human before.

Some Assembly Required

WW was inordinately quiet, and just when I thought I was home free, I heard my husband softly say (you know, that kind of still, small voice that you better not mess with, because that person has had it up to his eyeballs with your manipulation and shenanigans): “Eleanor, you will be helping me with this debacle for the six days and nights that I am sure it is going to take us to put it together—that’s if we have all the parts of which I am doubtful. Please bring me several different sizes of Allen wrenches, all of the regular wrenches you can find, several screwdrivers, my tool belt, my tool box, and a stiff drink!”

I gave him that classic Lucille Ball look that she always gave Ricky when one of her schemes had failed, and I quietly returned in my work overalls (my fat jeans with my “Ask Me About My Book” oversized t-shirt), with a handfull of pliers instead of screwdrivers (who knew, I thought they were the same thing), the tool box, a stiff drink, and no “Steve wrenches, honey, because I couldn’t find them.” I had no idea what an “Allen wrench” was—just remembered that it was a man’s name—so “Steve wrench” sounded good enough to me. WW let out a huge sigh, quietly went to get the Allen wrenches himself, and hugged me when he came back, and we began to dig amongst the boxes for bits and pieces of furniture parts to try and build beautiful furniture together. Whew! Good thing this man loves me, that’s all I can say.

Lucille Ball spider face

Lucille Ball’s classic “spider face” after a screw-up

***

MY A-HA MOMENT FROM MY LUCILLE BALL SHENANIGANS THIS WEEK!

I am discovering that marriage cannot be entered into with any hope of success unless both parties realize that they come together with “some assembly required” labels. Some arrogant wannabe pastor once told me that people have to be two perfect wholes before they can marry and make a success of it (he had an affair and divorced his wife within a year of that stupid statement). There is no such thing as a totally perfect human being. When we fall in love with someone, there are nuts and bolts dripping out of both parties, squished cardboard packaging covering our frames, some of our pieces might even be missing, and it takes a lot of spiritual wrenches and screwdrivers to make the two humans fit together in a cohesive manner that over a lifetime will make a beautiful endearing entity.  Marriage takes a lot of hard work!  If a couple has the glue of friendship, it will go a long way in building a strong unit, and if they have the screws of “stick-to-it-ness” they may even leave a loving legacy for their kids to follow.

HAPPY 36TH ANNIVERSARY WW (“WHITE AND WONDERFUL”). I LOVE YOU MORE THAN ANY WORDS COULD EVER EXPRESS. THANKS FOR NEVER GIVING UP ON ME.  JE T’ADORE!

***

TO MY READERS: I am going to take a blogging break so that I can actually survive June! The next time I see you, I’ll be in my new home, in another city, with a lot of chocolate Lucille Ball stories to regale you with as I try to start a new chapter in my life. I will probably return in early July! Until then, be good, tell all your friends and relatives about my new book, Fleeing Oz, and God bless!

 Marriage Imperfect Human beings

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES

“Maybe what we say to each other is not so important after all, but just that we are alive together, and present for each other as best we can be.”Anne Lamott, Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son

“Happy is the man who finds a true friend, and far happier is he who finds that true friend in his wife.”Franz Schubert

“When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.”Friedrich Nietzsche

“To keep your marriage brimming,

With love in the loving cup,

Whenever you’re wrong, admit it;

Whenever you’re right, shut up.”—Ogden Nash

“There is nothing nobler or more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.”—Homer

Love and Marriage

WANT TO READ THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOK, FLEEING OZ? BUY NOW AT AMAZON!

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

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.

Anniversary Toast

AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOKBMProof FleeingOz

 

 
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Posted by on June 6, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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HYPOCRISY, THY NAME IS “THE RELIGIOUS RIGHT”

Do you know what I discovered this week? The same thing you all discovered: The uber-Christian Josh Duggar from “19 Kids and Counting” fame has become a verb—as in “to duggar you”—and Christianity got another black eye. (Remember he worked [operative word is “worked”—past tense] for the Family Research Council that advocated opposing LGBT non-discrimination laws, birth control, and divorce?) Pretty soon my religion is going to go blind from all of the explosions in the face it keeps getting from the hypocrites whose lying lives keep backfiring who claim to represent Christ on Earth.

Duggar as verb Luckovich  Atlanta Journal Constitution

Cartoon Courtesy of Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

It turns out the Duggar parents had been covering up their oldest son’s “duggaring” while they tried to present themselves as holier than thou to the rest of the world for years. I KNEW IT! I called this hypocrisy cover-up quite a few years ago. When fellow Christians contacted me about their adoration for this family when Mama Duggar won the “Mother of the Year” award in 2004, I took one look at them and decided to distance myself from their media hype, sound the warning bell to any who would listen, and pray that the underbelly of the Duggars would be exposed sooner than later. The more the Duggars tried to hurt and condemn those who did not adhere to their rigid form of Christianity, the more I smelled something rotten in Denmark because I have seen this Christian legalism up-close-and-personal and knew that the outcome always seemed to produce something wicked. I wrote about it in my latest book: Fleeing Oz.

“Show me a place where women are not allowed to be in leadership along with men; show me a religious setting where women are not allowed to voice their opinions without being labelled ‘rebellious,’ and I will show you a place where the abuse of children is not very far beneath the surface of all its piety.” Eleanor Tomczyk, Fleeing Oz

Duggar condemnation

I was going to do an entire exposé on the Duggars and their hypocrisy (tormenting the LGBT community, interfering with women’s reproductive rights, shoving a perverted way of life down our throats as something God was down with), but you can read it for yourselves in the references. The articles are chilling—especially the one by the young woman who could have been a Duggar wife.* In the meantime, Mrs. Duggar—who boasts of having a clown car as a vagina—probably needs to re-examine what it is she’s been doing for the last 20 years “in Jesus’ name.” Mr. Duggar might want to take another look at his sexual philosophy of screwing his wife every other day but Sunday while controlling every single aspect of his wife and girls’ lives (hair must be permed and worn long, dresses must be long and shapeless to keep men from stumbling, hugs and kisses with opposite sex are verboten unless married, and birth control is of the devil). Just maybe Jim Bob’s actions (both controlling and out-of-control) drove his son, Josh, to do what he did (four of the victims being his sisters). The first time I saw a picture of the Duggars (when they were just 14 kids and counting), I didn’t see God’s liberating grace and joy, I saw a woman abused by a “wannabe stud-muffin” who should be ashamed of himself for passing off his “lie of family sexuality” as God’s perfect plan for the Earth. I didn’t see freedom for the female members in his family—I saw abuse—and I wept.

Duggars in Red

Duggars: 14 Kids and Counting

Anyway, going from the disgusting to the mundane, I have got to start packing. We sold our house, we bought another one, and now I have to get moving here. In a week or two, I will take a break from blogging, but I’ll let you know before I go. I am sure I’ll have a lot of blog fodder from moving—the concept of me moving my entire house to an entirely different city is fraught with comedic peril. Just know that this week, I am glad I still loves me some Jesus but no longer hang out in Oz because I am pretty disgusted with a lot of my fellow Christian peeps.

 Moving in the old days

Public Domain Photos (“Moving Day”)

WHAT I LEARNED THIS WEEK:

I am discovering that hypocrisy is one of man’s worst failures. It colors everything we say and do, and no human is safe from its tentacles. Beware of people who claim to speak for God’s laws, and whose interpretation of His ways are rigid, unkind, loveless, graceless, controlling, and lacking in mercy. Even with Josh Duggar committing such vile acts against five little girls, I pray for God to have mercy on him and that his victims will be healed. Maybe through the public admittance of his “Duggarisms,” the women in Josh Duggar’s family (his sisters and his wife) might be set free now that the mirror of hypocrisy has shattered his life. May it start with the son and proceed through the father, who I ultimately hold responsible for imprisoning his family, and who is trying to do so to anyone foolish enough to follow this man’s example. Make it so, Lord Jesus—please make it so—or you’re not going to have much of a church left to bear witness to your character. Instead of Christ’s church, it will be Christ’s hypocrites.

***

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES ON HYPOCRISY

(unless otherwise noted, all quotes are from http://www.brainyquote.com)

HYPOCRISY /həˈpäkrəsē/: “the practice of claiming to have moral standards or beliefs to which one’s own behavior does not conform; pretense.”—Google Online Dictionary

“For me, comedy starts as a spew, a kind of explosion, and then you sculpt it from there, if at all. It comes out of a deeper, darker side. Maybe it comes from anger, because I’m outraged by cruel absurdities, the hypocrisy that exists everywhere, even within yourself, where it’s hardest to see.”—Robin Williams

“There are three things in the world that deserve no mercy, hypocrisy, fraud, and tyranny.”—Frederick William Robertson

Kids have what I call a built-in hypocrisy antenna that comes up and blocks out what you’re saying when you’re being a hypocrite.”—Benjamin Carson

Ben Carson Hypocrisy Meme

“Dr. Carson—dear ‘Christian brother,’ I’ve been wondering why I can’t hear you. . .”—Eleanor Tomczyk

***

BMProof FleeingOz

CHECK OUT THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOK ON EXPOSING HYPOCRISY IN CHRISTIANITY AND HER ESCAPE TO SANITY! AVAILABLE ON AMAZON.

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR? VISIT HER WEBSITE AT www.eleanortomczyk.com

Christian Jerks

Cartoon courtesy of Dan Piraro www.bizarro.com

REFERENCES

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/05/28/how-and-why-a-journalist-tricked-news-outlets-into-thinking-chocolate-makes-you-thin/?hpid=z6

http://www.salon.com/2015/05/28/what_tlcs_duggar_decision_will_tell_us_whos_winning_the_culture_war_between_social_justice_and_christian_grace/

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/05/28/the-duggar-effect-the-end-of-hicksploitation-tv.html

*http://www.salon.com/2015/05/28/i_couldve_been_a_duggar_wife_i_grew_up_in_the_same_church_and_the_abuse_scandal_doesnt_shock_me/

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2015/05/27/the-duggar-name-becomes-new-word-for-hypocrisy-and-child-molestation/

http://www.rawstory.com/2015/05/larry-wilmore-destroys-dangerous-hypocrite-josh-duggar-i-hate-pedophiles-but-i-love-irony/

http://www.salon.com/2015/05/26/how_the_duggar_familys_over_the_top_beliefs_created_an_environment_that_fostered_child_sex_abuse/

http://www.religionnews.com/2015/05/28/ex-trooper-says-he-was-not-told-the-truth-in-duggar-molestation-case/

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 May 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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FLEEING OZ—KINDLE VERSION IS HERE, Y’ALL!

Do you know what I discovered this week? Lots of things.

First: My new book, Fleeing Oz, is now out in Kindle Version! How about that?!

Second: The bookmarks for my book signings arrived, and they look so cool (special shout-out to Earthly Charms Design www.earthlycharms.com):

BMProof FleeingOz

Front and Back of Bookmark for Fleeing Oz

Third: I just discovered an old article (by a month or two) about an Arizona legislator who suggested passing a bill that would demand mandatory church attendance for all Americans (her idea to curtail gun violence). Arizona Sen. Sylvia Allen (Republican) said that it was lack of church attendance that caused people to act the fool and want to shoot each other in the ass (my words). She suggested that if we got more American behinds into the pews on Sunday, there would be less killing of each other on Mondays—thus a solution to more gun laws.

Mandatory Church Attendance Wolverton Cagle Cartoons

Cartoon used by permission: Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons

Fourth: Looks as if going to church 24/7 didn’t help the baser needs of the oldest son of the Duggars (Josh Duggar)—you know that TLC reality family where the mother’s vagina is a clown car and 19 and counting kids have sprung from it in the name of Jesus over the past 19 years? Well, the oldest son has allegedly been outed for molesting five girls (four of them his sisters), and the family kept it on the down low for a long time. They were outed by the Oprah Show via an anonymous tip. After a lot of back and forth and forth and back of what to do about the Duggars’ TV show which preached the moral high ground of “how we Duggars live is how all of America should live (no birth control, no kissing or sex before marriage), and gays should have no equal rights, and vote for Huckabee for president—if he can’t save America, no one can!’” It was thought that TLC might look the other way about poor Josh Duggar’s “indiscretions” until another TLC sage (Honey Boo Boo’s mother) who lost her reality show for dating a convicted child molester that had messed with her oldest daughter spoke up:

“I read that the Duggar family said, this happening with their son brought them closer to God and each other. So they’re saying it’s okay to have family touch time? Hell no.”

The Learning Channel (a misnomer if I ever heard one) has cancelled all episodes of “19 Kids and Counting.”

Finally: That jerk Bill O’Reilly of Fox News has been accused by his teenage daughter of physically abusing her mother (he denies it through his lawyers, of course). This “saint” who has professed his Christianity up one side and down the other, who claims to know who is “killing Jesus” (you are, Bill!), and who has given us multiple quotes on what makes a good marriage and great kids is accused of viciously grabbing his ex-wife around the neck and pulling her down the stairs in front of his daughter. My favorite quote of Bill O’Reilly’s on child-rearing is:

“Any clown can have a child.”

Bill OReilly John Darkow Columbia Daily Tribune Missouri

Brian Williams vs. Bill O’Reilly (Pretending to be something they are not) | Cartoon used by permission: John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune Missouri

That said, my book, Fleeing Oz, has come at a very appropriate time. It’s all about fleeing the hypocrisy of the Church and those that try to judge the rest of us while they are incapable of “walking the talk.” The book is funny, irreverent, and (if I do say so myself) poignant. So if you’ve been waiting for the Kindle Version to appear, have at it! If you missed the paperback announcement on Amazon, click here!

Fleeing Oz Cover jpg

Learn more about the author: http://www.eleanortomczyk.com

***

I am discovering that it is an awesome thing to have finished my second book—that I’m not a one trick pony—I’m a real writer!

What Writing Means Meme

Anonymous Meme

REFERENCES

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/politics/arizona-lawmaker-church-attendance-mandatory-article-1.2164602

http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2015/05/22/what-happens-to-tlcs-19-kids-and-counting-after-the-josh-duggar-allegations/?hpid=z3

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2015/05/22/the-top-quotes-on-marriage-and-parenting-from-bill-oreillys-books/?tid=hybrid_experimentrandom_1_na

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 May 22, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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BIRTH ANNOUNCEMENT: I’VE HAD ANOTHER BABY AT 67 YRS OLD!

Do you know what I discovered this week? I did it—I’m an old fart, and I have had another baby! Actually, she arrived early (scheduled due date: May 20th). It was grueling, the gestation period was fifteen months, and I delivered her without medication—painful as a son of bitch, like a watermelon pushing through the entryway the size of a pea. But she’s here, and her name is Fleeing Oz.

Fleeing Oz Cover jpg

Fleeing Oz on sale now at Amazon!

(Kindle site to launch in 10 days)

I couldn’t be prouder of my new baby. Check out a couple of my first reviews:

“This book took guts to feel, to believe, and to put in print. It is raw beauty, love, emotion, pain, and healing all in one.”A. Gaudreaux, Freelance Writer/Editor

“. . . Though I’ve never been invested in the Church personally, I found the overall story compelling for its insight into how subtly (and then quite drastically) well-intended initiatives and institutions can deteriorate and corrupt those within. But I think my favorite aspects of the book had to do with the author’s treatment of race, namely the problem of maintaining a strong racial (and feminine) identity in the face of a predominately white- (and male-) privileging dogma. In fact one of my favorite lines in the book came rather early in the narrative: ‘It is easy to be color-blind when the people of color within a group naïvely abandon their ethnic identity to fit in, easy to share everything when you don’t own anything, and easy to love when that love hasn’t been tested.’”—Virginia Garnett, PhD, author of “The Podium in Print: The popular lecture in American literary culture, 1865–1914.”

Fleeing Oz Back Cover jpg

Fleeing Oz on sale now at Amazon!

(Kindle sales to launch in 10 days)

***

But don’t just take my word about what my new baby looks like, check out her birth announcement by the “doctors and nurses” in the marketing department that helped bring her to life.

“When you look around and realize that the people filling the pews in your church represent traits you find reprehensible, you can do two things. You can keep your head down and become like them. Or you can follow author Eleanor L. Tomczyk’s example, reexamine everything you believe, and write a hilarious memoir about losing your religion.

“And that’s precisely what she does. Fleeing Oz chronicles Tomczyk’s journey from a wide-eyed, eager believer to a battered but not beaten refugee of the culture wars.

“From her early days as an African-American girl living on a cult like communal farm with a bunch of white kids, to her final escape from organized religion right before Barack Obama’s election in 2008, Tomczyk tells her story with grace. Far from cruel or mocking, Tomczyk resists the temptation to do unto others as they have done unto her, choosing instead to use humor where others might use hate.

“An edgy coming-of-age tale about a baby boomer who wants to follow God without getting crushed by God’s people in the process, Fleeing Oz will cause anyone who’s ever struggled with faith, doubt, and disillusionment to stand up and say ‘amen.’

“This hilarious, irreverent, and brutally honest book tells her story of faith, doubt, and disbelief—and how she walked away from church without turning her back on God.

***

I am discovering that writing one’s sophomore book is harder than writing one’s debut book, and I suspect that it is even a lot harder than writing the subsequent manuscripts. Although Fleeing Oz was difficult to birth—mainly due to the unbelievable nature of some of the stories—it has arrived right on time because the media were awash yesterday with stories about Americans leaving the Christian churches in droves. All the commentators from Fox News to MSNBC have their theories as to why: boredom, too many drums—not enough drums, culture war exhaustion, and right-wing and left-wing politics. That may be some of the reasons, but I don’t think that they are all. I surmise that many Americans are trying to catch the same balloon ride out of Oz that I am on and for the same #1 reason: The modern day church is a poser (not all, but most). For the most part, the church of Christ no longer resembles the character of Christ. Check out Fleeing Oz to see what I’m talking about. Hope it makes you laugh, makes you cry, and most of all, makes you think.

Leaving Religion Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Cartoon used by permission: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

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

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES

“’We’ve known that the religiously unaffiliated has been growing for decades,’ said Greg Smith, Pew’s associate director of religion research and the lead researcher on the new study. ‘But the pace at which they’ve continued to grow is really astounding.’”—Daniel Burke, Religion Writer, CNN.com

REFERENCES

http://www.cnn.com/2015/05/12/living/pew-religion-study/

http://www.newser.com/story/206700/americans-leaving-christianity-in-droves.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.

 
27 Comments

Posted by on May 14, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

BAD MOTHERS

Do you know what I discovered this week? I actually agreed with . . . wait for it . . . wait for it . . . Rush Limbaugh! Ugh! He was cheering the actions of Toya Graham (Baltimore Mom) that saved her son from—at the very least—doing something really, really, stupid and going to jail and at the very worst, getting himself killed, when he picked up a brick to throw it at the police. (His mother had told him to come straight home after school and not attend the protests.) Limbaugh was quick to add to his praise that it wouldn’t take more than a nano-second before some bleeding-heart liberal criticized the Baltimore Mom for “smacking” her sixteen-year-old son and accusing her of “child abuse.” Well, Lord have mercy, that is exactly what happened! My newfound liberal compadres started raising a ruckus—calling Baltimore Mom a “bad mother”—falling short of calling Child Protective Services on the poor woman. As Limbaugh screamed, “I told you so,” the fact that he and I were on the same page about something made me vomit in my mouth—if only just a little bit.

Baltimore Mom Nate Beeler The Columbus

Cartoon used by permission: Nate Beeler The Columbus

COMMENTS BY BALTIMORE MOM WHEN INTERVIEWED BY VARIOUS NEWS ORGANIZATIONS AFTER SMACKING HER CHILD UP SIDE HIS HEAD AND OSTENSIBLY SAVING HIS LIFE

“I’m a no-tolerant mother. Everybody who knows me, knows I don’t play that. He knew. He knew he was in trouble.

“That’s my only son and at the end of the day I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray. I was angry. I was shocked, because you never want to see your child out there doing that.

“Is he a perfect son? No! But he’s my son!

***

After I got over the shock of having been in lock-step with Rush Limbaugh on a subject matter (Lord Jesus, come soon; I don’t know if my heart can take this), I picked myself up off the floor and decided to write a letter to all those liberal columnists and commenters who labeled Baltimore Mom a bad mother. I sent the letter as a Black mother who has successfully raised two grown kids who survived my parenting and me their crazy teenage years.

Baltimore Mom Cartoon Credit cartoonist

Cartoonist Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Dear Fellow Liberals:

We haven’t known each other very long. I used to be an oxymoron—a card-carrying Black, Conservative, Christian, Republican. I recently joined your ranks after being totally and utterly scandalized by my former conservative friends (see upcoming book Fleeing Oz, launching May 20th).

I’m retired now, but before doing so I was a teacher, an actress, a singer, and an award-winning voiceover talent. But the thing I am most proud of is that I was and am a Black mother (don’t let the Polish last name fool you) who managed to rear two amazing women who are in their thirties now. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, and I almost lost the war with one of them—necessitating a couple pops across the noggin and a lot of “tough love” to knock some sense into her head. If asked, that child will tell you about a time when she was on the road to losing her soul and destroying our family. I climbed up on a stepping stool to get my point across—she is almost six-feet-tall in heels and I’m five-feet-tall when I’m lying through my teeth—and smacked her upside her head just like the Baltimore Mom. She will also tell you that the scenario was so hilarious—me, teetering on top of a stepping-stool trying to swat a zig-zagging, belligerent teen—that she fell on the floor, rolling in laughter . . . in other words, my smacks didn’t hurt (neither did the Baltimore Mom’s—so chill), but it got my point across—“as long as you live under my roof . . . you will respect and obey me and the law.”

I read all sorts of criticisms that you wrote about the Baltimore Mom that said she was committing child abuse by smacking her son with her hands (it was her open hand, not a brick or a two-by-four). You said the smacks and the public humiliation would damage her son forever (no, being shot dead would damage him forever), and you said she should have used her “inside voice” to ask him respectfully to drop the brick, leave the riot, and return home with her like the good little boy she knew him to be. When I researched who the critics were—for the most part—you were single, or married without kids, or parents of infants and toddlers (in other words, judging the teen years from afar), or people who had never lived in an environment where the police shoot first and ask questions later. In other words, you were all critics with theories on how to rear teenagers in a hostile environment where the “cradle to prison” pipeline is a surety for 1 in 3 black boys born in 2001.*

I think you might be confused as to who is a bad mother. My mother was a bad mother (anyone that tries to scald you to death, starve you senseless, and attack you with a butcher knife—all before you’re nine years old is not a good mother—see my first book, Monsters’ Throwdown for the entire sordid tale). Honey Boo-Boo’s mother—now that’s a bad mother. And yet I’ve heard some of you same critics laud the fact that HBB’s mom is a loving mom and at the end of the day, they all love each other and have each other’s backs. You see a loving family, I see a modern day freak show. That is, until TLC (what I call the “mutton-headed, cretinous, moronic channel”) pulled the plug on it because “Mama Bo-Bo” started allegedly shacking up with a recently released child molester who had served time for sexually abusing her oldest daughter. (Somebody hand me a brick; I need to whack that woman upside her head to knock some sense into it before she totally destroys poor Honey Boo-Boo!)

Honey Boo Boo Rick McKee The Augusta

Cartoon used by permission: Rick McKee, The Augusta

I know bad mothers when I encounter them. I had a mother call me once when her daughter and my daughter (the one I did the stepping-stool-tango with) were really testing their sixteen-year-old boundaries. I had never met the woman, but her daughter had demanded that she let both the girls engage in something that my husband and I were vehemently opposed to. The mother hid in a closet to call me to see if she and her husband could get together with me and my husband to figure out how to handle the girls. I didn’t realize she was hiding to keep her daughter from hearing her conversation until I heard loud banging accompanied by screaming obscenities: “MOM, WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU TALKING TO? ARE YOU TALKING TO MY FRIEND’S MOM? YOU BETTER NOT BE DOING THAT. I TOLD YOU NOT TO CALL HER!” [starts kicking the closet door], COME OUT OF THIS FUCKIN’ CLOSET AND FIX MY DINNER!”

“Honey, honey, I’m talking to my, my . . . sister . . . don’t get angry; I’ll be out in a minute, sweetheart. . . Mrs. Tomczyk, I’ve got to go, my daughter is really angry; I’ll call you later.” The mother hastily hung up, and I figured that was all I was going to hear from her. But thirty minutes later she called me again—breathless, and apologetic. “Oh my, Mrs. Tomczyk, it’s not easy to trick my daughter, but I managed to do it. Whoo-hoo! I told her that I didn’t have enough potatoes to make her favorite mashed potatoes, and that I needed to go to the grocery store to get some more. She pouted, but let me go, so now we can talk freely. Let’s you and I agree to a time to get together to see what we can do to save our girls. We have to handle this very, very gingerly or I, for one, will certainly lose my daughter. She just gets so angry with me—I can’t handle it.”

My liberal critics, if you had been there that day, I am convinced you would have labeled me a very bad mother because my response was: “Oh Hell to the no! You and I don’t have anything to discuss, woman. Any mother who cowers from her own child is a very, very bad mother, and I don’t want to have anything to do with you. You go on back to your closet and your Veruca Salt child**, and I am going in search of a stepping stool.”

Veruca Salt from Willy Wonka

**Veruca Salt, a character from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

***

In my old age, I am discovering that I was not the best mother, but I was not the worst one either. (My kids were not the best kids, but they were not the worst, so I guess we are even.) When all was said and done, they became amazing adults, and they fondly remember that I was a no-nonsense kind of mom. One of my girls is the mother of my grandson, and she cracks me up because she does not cut the boy any slack. She thinks I’m much too easy on him (I’ve grown soft in my old age), and she constantly reminds me that her black son, my grandson, will not be given the grace to make stupid choices as his white friends will—that the outcomes will be demonstratively different. She’s right. She’s a good mother.

All in all, I am a mother who did her best, who passionately loves her children, and they her, and I am confident they will say what Ben Okri said about his mother when I die: “Her passing away ripped the solidity out of the world.”

***

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY TO ALL THE MOTHERS WHO HAVE THE COURAGE TO REAR HUMANS!

Mothers Day Card Calvin and Hobbes

Cartoonist: Bill Waterson/Calvin and Hobbes

INSPIRATIONAL MOTHERHOOD QUOTES

“No one is more sentimentalized in America than mothers on Mother’s Day, but no one is more often blamed for the culture’s bad people and behavior.”Anne Lamott

“Mothers and children are human beings, and they will sometimes do the wrong thing.”Maurice Sendak

“Even as we enumerate their shortcomings, the rigor of raising children ourselves makes clear to us our mothers’ incredible strength. We fear both. If they are not strong, who will protect us? If they are not imperfect, how can we equal them?”Anna Quindlen

“We never think that our mothers will die. It was like suddenly an abyss opened at my feet – I was standing on nothing. It was the strangest thing. Her passing away ripped the solidity out of the world.”Ben Okri

QUOTES COURTESY www.brainyquote.com

Mother's Day Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Cartoon used by permission: Mother’s Day Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

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WANT TO READ THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOK (Monsters’ Throwdown)? BUY NOW AT AMAZON!

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

REFERENCES

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2015/04/29/baltimore-mother-parenting-science-violence-column/26577751/

http://thedailybanter.com/2015/04/in-defense-of-baltimore-mom-toya-graham/

*http://www.childrensdefense.org/library/data/cradle-to-prison-pipeline-overview-fact-sheet-2009.pdf

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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