Dalai Mama: Speaking Truth to Stupidity

22 Sep

Times Square|image by Eleanor Tomczyk 2012

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  The first third of my life I was just trying to survive, the middle of my life I was simply trying to “get along” and almost lost my soul, and now that I’m entering the final phase of my life, I plan to kick some ass on behalf of truth and on behalf of those who don’t have a voice.

I went to New York City recently and returned with a new moniker:  Dalai Mama.  I was baptized with that name by a young man who is on his way to becoming my future son-in-law and I like it!  (TRANSLATION:  Dalai Mama—she tells you the searing truth whether you want to hear it or not.)  It is from that perspective and newly-crowned status that I rolled into New York City as the conductor announced, “Welcome to Gotham City!” (I did not need that—NYC is scary enough without that added patina.)  Although I used to live in the city over forty years ago, much has changed.  If the Frank Sinatra song is true, I’m probably not going to make it anywhere, because I sure couldn’t make it there. In truth, NYC kicked my ass, and I have a love/hate relationship with it.  I go back to soak up the latest gifts to the theater gods as I fantasize what might have been and, more recently, I go because it is the home of my grandson.

As I maneuvered my way through the teeming crowds in Times Square around the Naked Cowboy who is apparently suing the Naked Indian for trademark infringement (“I’ve been here 365 days, every day, for 13 years and change; he’s only been here 16 days and missed two already!”), I resisted the urge to pinch his buns (they really are tempting and I’m not that old!) as I learned that he has his own website and would gladly remarry WW and me in a ceremony starting at the low, low price of $499 because he is apparently an ordained minister.  (I swear to God—only in New York City!)

Naked Cowboy/Times Square|image from

Naked Indian/Times Square|image from

That night as I watched the Broadway musical, Newsies, I couldn’t help but reflect on the true story (the Newsboys Strike of 1899) that Disney is making a freakin’ fortune tap-dancing its way all the way to the bank while they “cutesefied” the human misery of the poor of yesteryear.   The titans of industry (Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst) were defeated in a two-week strike by thousands of homeless children as they campaigned to earn a penny or two more for delivering the papers owned and produced by the rich.  As I watched the show, I wondered about the fact that the poor and disenfranchised are ever with us, while the rich and powerful either try to ignore them or exploit them.  In reality, the poor are just not singing and dancing about it.

Real Newsies of the 1900’s/probably Albany, NY|image from

“In 1875 a popular writer of the period wrote, ‘There are 10,000 children living on the streets of New York….The newsboys constitute an important division of this army of homeless children. You see them everywhere…. They rend the air and deafen you with their shrill cries. They surround you on the sidewalk and almost force you to buy their papers. They are ragged and dirty. Some have no coats, no shoes, and no hat.’ However, the common ill-treatment of the newsboys was not a major concern of society.”—Wikipedia


Strolling to my hotel after the Broadway show while trying not to vomit from the proverbial sewer smell in Times Square (you can clean up Times Square a thousand times a day, but the age-old sewers will always smell the same—they smelled forty-two years ago and they smell even worse today—somehow that must be a metaphor about life), I wondered how my grandson would fare growing up in this city.  Would he make it?  Would he lose his soul to it?   Or was he destined to become one of the leaders of it?  In a city where the top 20% earn forty times what the bottom 20% earn, if my grandson were to be a future leader in Gotham City, contrary to current Repub belief (“cough—Romney’s take on the 47%”), he wouldn’t need to grow up to be a Wall Street wheeler dealer or a CEO powerbroker, he’d need to have a strong moral compass that gave him a heart for the poor and
disenfranchised, because they will always be with us along with the Gotham “makers” who will bow down to the god of mammon and sacrifice the “victims” to the altars  of industry.  (Come to think of it, we could use a Republican candidate for president with that moral compass.  Maybe I’ll send Mittens a note on my new stationery, “Speaking Truth to Stupidity” and sign it “Dalai Mama.”  Think he’ll read it?)

I am discovering that some people don’t have a clue what it is like to live as the lower part of the 47%:

Ann Romney Meme|Image from


Ann Romney:  “We got married and moved into a basement apartment. We walked to class together, shared the housekeeping, and ate a lot of pasta and tuna fish. Our desk was a door propped up on sawhorses. Our dining room table was a fold-down ironing board in the kitchen. Those were very special days.”—Anne Romney (daughter of a wealthy industrialist married to Mitt Romney, son of an automobile company CEO and governor of Michigan illustrating how she used to be “poor.”)

Mitt Romney: “. . . there are 47 percent . . . who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That’s an entitlement.”—Mitt Romney who wants to be our next president but only of the 53%.

Eleanor Tomczyk: “How about a perspective buster, Ann?  At eight years old, my five-year-old sister and I ate every other day, if we managed to pull enough dandelion weeds and raid enough garbage cans of chicken bones and partially eaten food for our mother to heat up on a hot plate located on the board covering the bathtub which substituted as a kitchen counter.  By the time The Cleve’s Family and Social Services rescued my sister and me, our stomachs were the size of basketballs from the distention of malnutrition and worms.   Queen ANNtoinette, I’ll trump ‘your poor’ with ‘my poor’ any time of the day.” (NOTE HISTORICAL REFERENCE POINT:  This was 1954—Ten years before the Food Stamp Act of 1964 was passed to ensure the poor would not starve to death in the richest country in the world.)

Dalai Mama:  (Speaking truth to stupidity):  “My Lady and my Lord, Jesus said (remember him—the Jesus in the ‘Latter Day Saints’ marque?), ‘. . . I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me . . . whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’”

Stephen Colbert—American political satirist, writer, comedian, television host, and actor

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.


Posted by on September 22, 2012 in Uncategorized


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25 responses to “Dalai Mama: Speaking Truth to Stupidity

  1. imagesbytdashfield

    September 22, 2012 at 5:59 pm

    Hey you! When were you in NYC because we were just there too! I wasn’t feeling either naked characters (pun not intended) but did you see the black naked cowboy? Tuna fish and pasta would’ve been heaven to some people I knew. And don’t get me started on stretching a box of guvment cheese! Best stuff for mac n cheese – baby!

    • etomczyk

      September 23, 2012 at 12:06 am

      TD: I was there last weekend. Maybe I passed you in the horde. I know what you mean about those naked characters–they were definitely disconcerting, including the black one. And I’m cracking up about the “guvment” cheese making the best mac n cheese because my sister and I have always said the same thing. Was it some type of Velveta concoction? The mac n cheese I now make is all “Martha Stewart” and it can’t even come close to the taste of the “guvment cheese.” You’re such a hoot! Thanks for stopping by–next time I hope we run into each other.

      • imagesbytdashfield

        September 23, 2012 at 5:27 pm

        Haven’t the foggiest idea what was in the “guvment cheese” and it’s best we don’t ever find out! Maybe one day we will meet 🙂

  2. momshieb

    September 22, 2012 at 6:29 pm

    I love your passion and your strength, Ms. Eleanor!

    • etomczyk

      September 23, 2012 at 12:07 am

      Thank you Momshieb! I feel the same about you!

  3. Kim.

    September 22, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    And the Dalai Mama has spoken! Wonderful, insightful and a tad bit nauseating in light of our “Christian nation’s” poverty prevention policies…oh that’s right, there aren’t any! Our government makes sure you’re nice and starved before they offer any “assistance” and even that’s looking to be short lived if Romney has his way. Shaking my head. Can we ever be rich enough, out of debt enough, economically stable enough to help those in need?

    • etomczyk

      September 23, 2012 at 12:09 am

      Hey Kiddo. Love the comment because it is so true! Thanks for reading and jotting down your thoughts. MUAH!

  4. carlos cordero

    September 22, 2012 at 11:24 pm

    Like your prose, and appreciate your humor. You should take this up as a career.

    • etomczyk

      September 23, 2012 at 12:16 am

      Welcome Carlos! Thanks so much for your lovely comment. (I think I might take you up on your suggestion 🙂 Come back anytime!

  5. Elyse

    September 22, 2012 at 11:25 pm

    That’s the way to bitch slap Mitt and Ann. Especially Ann. Every time I see her I think of you, Dalai Mama!

    • etomczyk

      September 23, 2012 at 12:26 am

      Elyse: I gave them a lot of grace for a long time but the last two weeks just took the cake. Thanks for stopping by. . .really appreciate it.

  6. Mal

    September 23, 2012 at 5:39 am

    Wow, cannot believe that eating a lot of ‘pasta and tuna fish’ means you are poor… Gosh, sadly, some people just don’t know what ‘being poor’ is! Thanks, Eleanor, for this ‘food for thought’..

  7. Valentine Logar

    September 23, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Dalai Mama, it fits perfectly. I suspect with teachers like you that grandson of yours will grow to be a shinning example of leadership and a strong moral compass necessary.

    The examples of poverty are all around us, that Ann and Mitt would dare to compare their ‘poor’ of selling stock to survive to true poverty only shows their poverty of spirit. Epic failure.

  8. composerinthegarden

    September 23, 2012 at 9:52 am

    Dalai Mama, you have a very astute future son-in-law – thank him from me for a great moniker that fits you to a T! And thank you for your truth-saying; powerful and to the point, as always. And thank for your quoting Steven Colbert – under his funny and zany exterior, he is also a truth sayer. Naked men in Times Square? Haven’t been there for a while; sounds like a scene from a Stephen King novel 🙂

    • etomczyk

      September 23, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      Hi Lynn. Yeah, I may exhange Dalai Mama for Big Mama. Dalai Mama is more definitive. I couldn’t believe the naked men in Times Square either. One of my readers reminded me that there is a black naked cowboy and a semi naked cowgirl. That city is crazy! I’ve actually seen pictures of the naked cowboy in the snow. Seriously? Thanks for your kind words and for returning every week. Your assessment of what I write means a great deal to me. Cheers!

  9. nonnie9999

    September 24, 2012 at 7:45 pm

    since you were just visiting broadway, i think it’s fitting to greet you with….

    Hello, Dalai!

    (someone had to say it!)

    i am so sick of marie ann-toinette talking about poverty being some kind of romantic notion. first of all, she has no clue what being poor is really like. not having to work and having a roof over you head is a luxury, even when the stocks you’ve traded in (and never paid for, because daddy-in-law provided them) only covers tuna fish and pasta. there are plenty of people who would think that pasta and tuna fish are luxuries. in her own words: stop it, ann!

    • etomczyk

      September 24, 2012 at 10:08 pm

      Well, hello Nonnie! So glad to see you in my neck of the woods again. Hope all is well. I actually gave Ann a wide berth and a lot of grace until her speech at the RNC convention. At that point, I knew we were dealing with someone just a small step above Sarah Palin and then I lost it! Talk about a sense of entitlement, the Romney’s are practically salivating over imagining themselves as Lord and Lady of the White House born. I have a daily prayer: May the closest the Romney/Ryans ever get to the Oval Office is in their nightmares as they watch the Obamas take up residence for another term. Amen! 🙂

  10. aFrankAngle

    September 26, 2012 at 8:46 am

    I can’t believe you passed on pinching the Naked Cowboy’s buns! After all, he’s from Cincinnati!

    Ok – back on topic -You know the stereotype of the country club folks who look down to others who aren’t members? Well – that’s the Romneys. What he said was not a gaffe, but something that he actually believes and the belief of a good number of Republicans.

    • etomczyk

      September 27, 2012 at 7:25 pm

      Frank, I had no idea that dude was from Cincinnati. No wonder he can stand out in the snow in just his tidy-whities; he’s got strong Ohio blood running through him.

      I agree with you 100%–Romney’s true colors came through at that fund-raiser event. I read a theory today that maybe one of the reasons Romney dosen’t shake up his campaign and bring in fresh blood is because someone might get embittered and become a whistleblower about what is in his undisclosed tax forms. Interesting theory. Is that why he gave them bonuses, I wonder?

      • aFrankAngle

        September 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm

        The Romney campaign is a mess … but they seem to be both ignoring criticism and making adjustments. BTW … You’ll love this. Last week in OITS, I gave him 4 suggestions. Within the next 24 days, Nincompoop gave him suggestions. SO … my upcoming post has a graphic comparing my suggestions with hers.

      • etomczyk

        September 27, 2012 at 7:30 pm

        Frank. I can hardly wait to read that. . .

  11. aFrankAngle

    September 26, 2012 at 8:47 am

    PS: I love the Dalai Mama moniker … and with bling to boot!

  12. wanderingstarrz

    September 27, 2012 at 4:12 am

    Hi Dalai Mama,
    I Enjoyed the candor of your post; particularly the portion where you talk about your own childhood experiences; real poverty. You said, it was before the Food Stamp Act, which was passed to save the poor starving to death in the richest country in the world; I think that is a poignant statement. Maybe, the US has been so rich so long because it didn’t provide social welfare to its citizens. In the UK we do, and to be honest, the money never seems to get to where it needs to be anyway. My Father was in a similar situation to you when he was small, and we had the ‘Welfare State’ during that time in the UK. Nothing seems to prevent the ‘Ruling Classes’ of Government getting away with not facing up to their responsibilities; and that is working to represent their electorate properly! It seems every country has a bone to pick with its Government because of an improperly executed ‘Welfare’ system; I currently live in Madrid and they too are having similar issues now. When will it ever end.

    • etomczyk

      September 27, 2012 at 7:47 pm

      Hi Bex (“Wanderingstarr”): Thank you for reading so many of my stories and for such gracious comments. I try to look through the lens of humor at life in general because it keeps my sanity! You’re so right that there is abuse on all sides in every government that tries to help its poor, but, having escaped a horrific state of poverty as a child to live an educated, magnificient life of which I am honored to give back to others who need a hand up, as well, I will always err on the side of giving because therein reigns the spirit of God.

      I am so appreciative that you took the time to read my stories. Do come back! Cheers!

      • thesavvysenorita

        September 28, 2012 at 6:33 am

        Hi Dalai Mama,
        I have enjoyed reading them! Thank you for appreciating my comments! I agree with you, otherwise we’d all be crazy with frustration! I understand your point perfectly, your experiences have been horrific, and you have risen like a Phoenix from the ashes of them; deserving great respect!
        I will come back, and thank you for writing such eloquent, humorous and interesting articles 🙂


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