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KEEP LOOKING UP

Cartoon Used by Permission: 228305 Some Pig by Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune, UT

THE NATIONAL CONSCIOUSNESS POST—MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR TRIBUTE

By Eleanor Tomczyk (Satirical Columnist)

8:41 p.m. Saturday, January 18, 2020

As the nation prepares to celebrate the birthday of one of our greatest heroes, the Washington Post-Ipsos poll was just released that states 8 out of 10 African Americans (83% of those polled) blame President Trump for the inordinate increase in racism in our country, and 65% say it is a bad time to be Black.  Our newspaper wanted to follow up on these jarring statistics in the shadow of the celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday.  We were able to get in touch with quite a few WWMD clubs across the nation to interview them about their reaction to the Post-Ipsos poll.  Usually a secretive club (I learned about them just several days ago through a friend of a friend), they were very transparent with me as a reporter because they felt that so much of what Dr. King worked for is being destroyed and all good people need to come out—front and center—and do the right thing.  What follows is a conference call interview with one particular club in Virginia.  It best encapsulates fears of African-Americans from sea to shining sea during these post-Obama years.

REPORTER:   First of all, I want to thank you for doing this interview on such short notice. I understand that you are a group of African-American septuagenarians who meet together on a regular basis to pray for our country.  Maxine Reynolds, my research notes indicate that you are the President of this local chapter.  Can you give me an overview of what you stand for?  For instance, what does WWMD mean?

MAXINE:      Yes, I am, and welcome! Good to have you here, my friend.  WWMD stands for “What would Martin do?”  We started meeting on an informal basis right after President Trump asked the Black community “what do you have to lose by voting for me?”  We were so alarmed after 8% of the Black community did vote for him, that those of us who still had our common sense intact said a collective “Oh Shit!” and formed this club.  We did so to illuminate what Dr. King lived and died for before the country got consumed by Trump’s hatred.  Our fears regarding the damage Trump could do were really underscored when the tikki-torch, Confederate flag waving White Supremacists murdered that sweet young protester, and Trump didn’t disparage them but declared that there were “good people on both sides.”

Cartoon Used by Permission: 228472 Trucking in Hate by Pat Bagley, The Salt Lake Tribune, UT

REPORTER:  Why did 8% of African-Americans vote for Trump? Surely they are not that gullible as a race.

BARBARA:  Barbara Wakefield speaking.  I’m the VP of our local chapter of WWMD.  No, we’re the least gullible of America’s people.  In fact, given our history, Black folks are very sharp politically.  I suspect 8% voted for Trump because they always voted Republican and couldn’t bring themselves to vote as a Democrat (we are not monolithic, you know), or they just downright hated Hilary.  You surprised?  You think White Republicans are the only ones who can’t stand the Clintons? 

MAXINE:  As an African-American, I voted for Hilary, but I have to tell you, I held my nose when I did it.

REPORTER:  Interesting… how many members in your group?  How many nationwide? Are they all in their seventies?  Charles, you’re head of the membership drive, can you field my questions?

CHARLES:  Sure.  In the beginning, the group was made up of those who were part of the Civil Rights Movement and marched with Martin back in the day.  We’re the generation that gained the most from Dr. King’s sacrifice and courage.  We’re the ones who first got college educations in our families, first to become captains of our industries, and the first group of Black folks that lived better than our parents. As to membership, we had a hard time in the beginning getting people to join.  A lot of our folks got lulled to sleep by the election of our first Black president.  We were so busy patting ourselves on the back that we swallowed the lie that racism was dead now that a Black man was in the Oval Office.  What we didn’t realize was that the racism was just in hiding underneath the veneer of a polite society, and the sight of a Black family in the White House made a large percentage of White America’s blood boil.  By the time Trump came along and started his birther nonsense to discredit the legitimacy of President Obama, he whipped the haters into full White Supremacist frothy hysteria.

Cartoon Used by Permission: 92443 Birther Reality COLOR by Monte Wolverton, Cagle Cartoons

REPORTER:  Of late, I’ve heard that you’ve had a membership surge and most of the new members to the WWMD club have been White.  Do you think the birther issue woke them up to the danger of the eroding of Dr. King’s movement?

GEORGE:  I can speak to that since I’m White and a new member. First of all, not all White people are racist. That really burns my cookies when people lump all White people together.  We are not a monolithic group either.  The way I figure it, only about 30% of us adhere to that racist BS.  Most of us suffer from the sin of cluelessness.  We figure if it hasn’t or isn’t happening to us than other people are fine also.  We are clueless as to the daily racial sufferings (especially the micro aggressions) that Black people go through.  I can drive by a Confederate flag, and I might not like it but it doesn’t affect me on a visceral level. I might even buy the bullshit that the flag represents my White neighbor’s heritage.  On the other hand, my Black friends (notice I have more than one Black friend, thank you very much) tell me they get violently ill when they see that “in your face” marker of White Supremacy because it definitely represents their heritage—one of bondage, brutality, chains, and lynchings.  I don’t want my grandchildren to inherit a Trump world and ideology that hurts people.  I want them to love all races and be aware of what causes others pain.  I joined after the debacle in Charlottesville, the wide-scale voter suppression in the Black communities in 2018, the growing revelations of police brutality, and the awareness of the growing income and educational disparity in the Black community.

Cartoon Used by Permission: 212482 Voter Suppression by Steve Sack The Minneapolis Star-Tribune, MN

MARY ANN:  I’m White and a Born-Again Christian.  I joined WWMD because I realized much too late that Trump was the leader of a cult and he had sucked out the soul and the brains of so many of my family and friends.  The more Trump’s immoral character showed itself, the more my friends and relatives turned a blind eye and started imbibing the hate talk-radio rhetoric of the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones.  Many of them wear the bracelets WWJD (“What would Jesus do?”), but by the way they worship at the feet of the Liar-in-Chief, the answer is:  Jesus would do absolutely nothing in response to Trump’s blatant immorality, and therefore neither will I.   When the Christian Trumpers anointed him as the “Chosen One,” I joined WWMD to save my soul and find a place that honored good character, truth, and integrity before it was too late to find it in the public square or at the church altar. 

Cartoon Used by Permission: 208900 MLK by Milt Priggee Oak Harbor, WA

REPORTER:  Well, that’s a fascinating twist.  Are there other White Christians in the room who can elaborate on that?

AMBER:  Yes, I can.  My name is Amber.  I grew up in Evangelical Christianity.  My parents were part of the Jesus Movement, and I thought I could ride out the stupidity of Trump idolatry when it hit our Pentecostal/Charismatic church.  I figured the Church would wake up sooner or later and get back to enacting WWJD.  But the more I waited, the more I noticed our collective soul and any intelligence we may have had slip-sliding away.  I belonged to one of those mega churches who I now suspect support Trump because they lust after his money, the men lust after his fake-tit wife, and the women lust after the fake-tit wife’s glamorous life. 

Anyway, I had halfway divorced my parents and had one foot out the door when I heard a woman on a “Christian” radio program who had called in to protest the fact that Michelle Obama had been named the most admired woman in the world for the second time in a row.  The woman was apoplectic over what she perceived was a miscarriage of justice. She falsely accused Barack Obama of being a pedophile (in cahoots with the Clintons) and both the Obamas of being money launderers (because how else could they possibly have such nice stuff).  The “Christian” prayer warrior proceeded to pray that God the Father would reveal the true identity of Michelle (who she knows for certain is a man whose name is Michael and Michelle secretly has a penis), and that God would further reveal that the Obama children are not theirs but Barack’s best friend (apparently, the kids are on loan to promote the ruse that the Obamas are a heterosexual, loving, Christian family).  The woman could not understand how her fake-tit goddess (Melania Trump) could be overlooked by the world for a man in drag (i.e. Michelle Obama) when Melania is so beautiful, classy, and speaks seven languages.  It seems the Jesus lover forgot about Melania’s butt-naked pictures that are all over the Internet and that she’s done nothing significant except plagiarize Michelle Obamas speech when she first came on the scene, and express to the world her callousness and disdain when visiting the traumatized children at the border.*

I screamed, “I’M OUT!” and I haven’t looked back.

Cartoon Used by Permission: 212191 Melania fashion statements by Dave Granlund PoliticalCartoons. com

REPORTER:  Unfortunately, I know that conspiracy theory.*   It’s been bouncing around Right-wing talk radio for years, and Trump’s base believes it hook, line, and sinker.  The racism is mindboggling, but if so-called Christians can’t do what Jesus taught them to do, how can emulating Dr. King help you get beyond the anger and fear these types of conspiracy theories must engender?  I mean, Dr. King said that he wanted African-Americans to be judged on their character.  Who has demonstrated more outstanding character than the Obamas?  Yet, when the haters can’t find any blemish in their character, they make up stuff.

MAXINE:  Please… that crap doesn’t have anything to do with Jesus and he ain’t listenin’ to their idiotic prayers.  My visceral reaction is to pummel this woman and everyone like her.  But if I did that, my heart would turn to stone and I’d become as stupid as that woman.  Martin (and Jesus—the God who Martin loved and served) would tell us to not embrace hatred but to love our enemies.  So I pray for people like her.  It ain’t easy, but I do it anyway.

BARBARA:  I think loving the Trump supporters is a tall order.  I’m just not there yet.  What I can do and am doing to recoup Dr. King’s legacy is that I’m dispensing kindness to each and every person I meet along the way.  Whether it’s a genuine smile to a stranger, helping someone in need, writing a note of encouragement or just not returning evil for evil—I know I’ve done something significant to push back the hatred that divides us as a country.  Every time I hear of some hateful racist story against my people, I make an extra effort to be kind to those I know and don’t know.  Maybe someday I’ll be like Martin and Jesus, for that matter, and learn to look into the darkness, fear not, and see the love emanating from my heart illuminating the dark hearts of the haters.  That’s what Martin would do.

Cartoon Used by Permission: 205175 Keep Looking Up by Jeff Koterba, Omaha World Herald, NE

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES ABOUT KINDNESS

“I shall pass through this world but once. Any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”—Stephen Grellet

“I make mistakes daily, letting generalizations creep into my thoughts and negatively affect my behavior. These mistakes have taught me that the first step to successfully choosing kindness is being more mindful about it, letting go of impatience and intolerance along the way.”—Daniel Lubetzky

“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.”—Og Mandino

ALL QUOTES COURTESY OF BRAINYQUOTES.COM

Cartoon Used by Permission: 189869 MLK statue COLOR by Dave Granlund, Politicalcartoons.com

*The conspiracy story and the prayer that was spoken is true and the author of this blog vomited her lunch when she heard it. In fact, she’s still vomiting…

Eleanor Tomczyk is an author and a humorist who is an award-winning voice-over performer.  In 2011, she created the blog, “How the Hell Did I End Up Here” which features mostly satirical posts that have thousands of readers around the world—although she was recently banned in Pakistan (for real!).  Tomczyk’s three books were featured in a recent book festival:  “Monsters’ Throwdown,” “Fleeing Oz,” and “The Fetus Chronicles—Podcasts to my Miseducated Self.”  Currently in her 70s and living life like it is freakin’ golden, she is a consummate storyteller and much sought-after motivational speaker.  If you don’t believe me, just ask her!

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 January 18, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

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I AM SLOWLY GOING CRAZY . . .

Do you know what I discovered this week? It is easier to go crazy than I thought. All it takes are a few people to check their good character at the door when interacting with you as a trusting human being and “BAM!” there you have it—their actions have the ability to tip you over the edge, and before you know it, you’re nuttier than a fruit cake. Recently I started hearing voices in my head and thought I might be losing my mind when I couldn’t stop a familiar tune from my children’s childhood from coursing through my brain on a nonstop loop:

I am slowly going crazy

1-2-3-4-5-6- switch.

Crazy going slowly am I

6-5-4-3-2-1 switch.

(Repeat, faster each time!)

Voices meme FP

That incessant children’s song from Sharon, Lois & Bram’s “The Elephant Show,” the popular children’s’ entertainers from 1980, popped into my head about a week ago at the intersection of one house selling, one house buying, one blog neglecting, one yearly physical taking, and one book launching. At two o’clock in the morning, during a sleepless night of tossing and turning at the overwhelming magnitude of it all, this song became my unwelcome mantra.

The next day my six-year-old grandson called and asked if I would engage in a treasure hunt to help find his favorite toys the next time I came to visit.  Apparently, they had all gone missing. Feeling like I was walking into a trap, I cautiously asked him what had happened to his favorite toys.

BABY-BOY:         “She” took them from me and hid them in places where I can’t find them (how does she do that?), and she says I can’t get them back until Jesus returns.

MEMA:                  I take it that the “she” is your mommy—my daughter? Why did she take away your toys? “She” must have had a reason?

BABY-BOY:         There’s never a reason, Mema! She just likes to torture me, that’s all. I told you and Grandpa before that you have no idea what this woman does to me when you’re not around.

MEMA:                 Ha! I think I remember your mother saying the same thing about me when she was your age.   I think it was either her or your aunt who angrily said to me (with fists firmly planted on hips) when I confiscated their toys for misbehaving one day, “Does our father know what goes on around this place when he’s not here? Does he know how you treat us? ‘Cause we’re gonna’ tell him as soon as he gets home and boy will you be in trouble.”

BABY-BOY:        What did you say, Mema?

MEMA:                I told your mother and her sister to knock themselves out—tell the entire neighborhood if they wanted to—and then I took two more toys away for sassing me!

BABY-BOY:        Oh, Man!

MEMA:                Put your mother on the phone, please.

Grandparents vs parents Larry Wright CagleCartoons com

Cartoon used by permission: Larry Wright, www.cagleCartoons.com

MEMA:                You heard?

SHE:                    Yeah, I heard, and I hope you realize your grandson is full of crap.

MEMA:                Well, I had your back—I took your side of things, Mommy. But just between you and me, whatever my precious boy did, it can’t be all that bad that you would confiscate his toys until the end of time, Honey. Isn’t that a little bit excessive? Don’t forget that the punishment has to fit the crime.

SHE:                    Oh, please! Who is this woman talking to me, and what have you done with my mother? You invented tough love. If I had done what your grandson did, you would have not only banished all my toys to the fiery abyss, but you would have torn up my behind, and Dad would have supported your decision and spanked me again when he got home.

MEMA:                Surely, you exaggerate. What did my angel do?

SHE:                    When I went to volunteer at his school last week, a gaggle of 5-year-olds were lined up in the hallway in front of the principal who looked as if he was going to have an apoplectic fit. Bags of potato chips, candy bars, and packages of cookies were stuffed in their underpants, up their coat sleeves, under their hats, and down their shirts and blouses.   A select group of kindergarteners who participate in the afterschool program had “bumped” off the snack cart in the kindergarten room and were acting as mules to transfer and distribute their contraband to the attendees in the afterschool session.

Dennis the Menace

Cartoonist: Hank Ketcham (March 14, 1920 – June 1, 2001)

MEMA:                What does that have to do with my precious grandson? He is six years old (my little cherub) and in first grade. Was he in the line up? Does Principal Chen have any evidence against him? I would demand proof. You know how hard it is out there for a Black man. Whitey’s always tryin’ to keep the Black man down.

SHE:                    Oh, for God’s sake, Mother. Principal Chen is Chinese! You are incorrigible. Our little terror was nowhere to be found near the scene of the crime. He’s much too slick to get caught. But someone squealed. I think it was your grandson’s arch nemesis—the little redheaded girl who tattles on everybody and who thinks she’s the boss of the universe. Once the “intel” came in, it soon became apparent under intense interrogation by Principal Chen that their ring leader—the one who had organized the robbery, the one who had handpicked the gang, the one who had devised the hiding places, the one who had the primary motive—was none other than your grandson. And to make matters worse, he was skimming off the top. He was getting a payout of two bags of chips, one candy bar, and a bag of cookies once his “gang” crossed over the state line from the kindergarten class to the afterschool program in the gym.

MEMA:                Ha! I love it—reminds me of you when you were that age. (Payback is a bitch, ain’t it?) Hee, hee . . . that’s my boy! He’s an entrepreneurial genius, don’t you think?

SHE:                    Mother!! Cut it out! This is not funny! Stop being a starry-eyed grandmother and become the mother that would have torn up my chubby ass over this type of misbehavior. In fact, if you think losing his toys “forever” is excessive, wait until you hear part two of the punishment. He is going to use his money that he was saving for more Legos and games to restock the snack cart. “If you fuck up, you need to own up”—isn’t that what you used to tell me?

MEMA:                Well, I didn’t say it quite like that . . . but you’re right, Honey.   I’ll be serious. How did the “just barely out of diapers gang” get caught? And why did baby-boy organize a raid on the Kindergarten snack cart? He knows better than to steal other people’s shit.

SHE:                     First of all, he didn’t fess up right away. He lied which made the crime more egregious. I had to threaten to cancel a decade of Christmases before he finally admitted his involvement. He says that the after-school teacher never gives them enough snacks, and they are all starving when they arrive at 4:00. He asked the teacher to give them extra snacks, but the teacher refused, so your grandson took matters into his own hands. The only problem is that he and his “gang of kindergarten misfits” did not think through their life of crime. No one stopped to think that maybe—just maybe—their bodies making crunching sounds as they walked to the gym or looking like they’d gained twenty pounds in their five-year-old mid-sections and in their arms would be noticed by the passing adults. And absolutely none of these “hoodlums in training” thought through what would happen to the contraband when they started playing basketball. Packages of cookies, chips, and candy started leaking out of the bottom of pants, exploding out of tops of shirts, and flying out from under hats as the kids got caught up in playing. I was so upset when I found out my son—YOUR GRANDSON—was the ring leader, I almost had a heart attack. When I asked him what possessed him to do such a thing, he said: “I don’t know. I guess I must have forgotten to take my good character to school that day.”

Monsters under bed FB Update

Cartoonist Bill Waterson—Calvin and Hobbes

***

In the meantime, I am discovering that one can run into adults—people who should know better—who forget to take their “good character” to school, work, church, and play in our everyday lives, and it can drive the recipient of their misguided choices f’ing crazy. This week I had a realtor show my house, leave the door wide open with the key in the lock and the lock box open and then left and went on her merry way. She did not leave a card behind, so if I had been burglarized or vandalized (I had a premonition to return home early—thank God!), I would not have known who had left my home so vulnerable. Fortunately, I’m not an idiot, and with a little Google snooping I found out everything about where she worked and who she worked for. I waited three days to see if she would “own her fuck-up” and apologize to my husband and me personally once I had notified our agent about this person’s unprofessional and disturbing behavior. (Apparently, she brought her baby along to show my house, had to change the kid’s diaper, and got distracted.) It took me writing to her superiors and demanding she be kept from entering my home ever again to get a personal written apology from her through my agent. (UPDATE: I met the agent who went out of her way to make amends for her actions.  She is a lovely woman; she found her character and profusely repented; we hugged, I forgave, and all is well.  This is the way the world should work.)

On another front, I had a doctor lie to me by telling me that I couldn’t request a copy of my medical records when I move, when all it took was a 10-second Google search to discover that it is against the HIPPA law for a doctor to deny a patient access to their records.

And then there are the riots in Baltimore. I get the grief and the anger, but the people looting weren’t the friends and relatives at the funeral of Freddie Gray who pleaded for peace in his memory. The hard-working people who live and work in those neighborhoods are seeing their homes and businesses destroyed by lowlifes who can’t even spell the word “character,” let alone possess any.

People who leave home without their good character make life so exhausting and cause all good people everywhere to go absolutely cray-cray—“Crazy going slowly am I—6-5-4-3-2-1 switch.” (Repeat, faster each time!)

Baltimore Looting

***

INSPIRATIONAL QUOTES ON GOOD CHARACTER

“As a parent, you have to figure out how to shape your kid’s character. You want to have human beings who learn about good character. You have to be able to see your child with clarity, see the good side and the bad side of them, and work on the bad side and make them better so they fulfill their potential.”—Joan Cusack

“Good character is not formed in a week or a month. It is created little by little, day by day. Protracted and patient effort is needed to develop good character.”—Heraclitus

“The notion that public service requires men and women of good character now seems quaint.”—Elliott Abrams

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”—John Wooden

QUOTES COURTESY www.brainyquote.com

***

GUESS WHAT’S GOING ON WITH MY SECOND BOOK, FLEEING OZ?

Editor Gets Book Meme

FLEEING OZ LAUNCH DATE—MID-MAY!

A PEEK AT THE EARLY MARKETING SCRIPT FOR FLEEING OZ:

“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.’”

***

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

WANT TO READ THE AUTHOR’S LATEST BOOK (Monsters’ Throwdown)? ON SALE 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 April 28, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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