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Sum of Our Choices

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  Netflix! No, that’s not entirely correct. After binge-watching TV until Netflix imploded on the last episode (“Noooooooo—damn you, Netflix—curses!), I’ve discovered: Orange Is The New Black.  Wait a minute; that’s not exactly what I’m trying to say, either. What I want to say is: “I’ve discovered the delicious ability to pig out—gorge, if you will—on back-to-back episodes of a show I’ve become obsessed with that is based on the true story of Piper Kerman (Piper Chapman in the TV show), the young, WASPy, naïve, graduate from Smith College (Class of ’92) who made a bad choice in her youth that came back to bite her in the ass as an adult when she least expected it.

Orange II Promotional image from the new Netflix series “Orange Is The New Black.” (Netflix)

Promotional Image from “Orange is the New Black”|Netflix

Those of you who are Star Trek fans, the red-headed actress (Kate Mulgrew) on the left was Star Trek Voyager Captain Kathryn Janeway who now plays the unforgettable character “Red” in OITNB

I love OITNB—it is my new obsession!  (Warning: this TV series is not for the easily offended, the mercy/grace challenged, or those who have trouble having an occasional vagina shoved in their faces or even saying the word without choking.)  The show is brilliantly written and acted, and it deals with an aspect of free will that I’ve often thought about regarding my own life.  What if you made a stupid choice in your early twenties and thought you had escaped its ramifications and subsequently built a perfect life—leaving the past in the dust?  However, ten years later (relaxing in your pajamas while working from home at an awesome job in your gorgeous apartment shared with the love of your life) two federal agents knocked on your door and charged you with a crime that would net you a prison sentence of fifteen months—thus blowing your perfect little life to smithereens.

When we’re young we think we’re invincible and infallible. Pretty much everything is a thrill, and we have no idea that karma is a bitch and her arms are long-reaching.  I’ve often fanaticized that if God gave me an opportunity to have magic powers, I would choose to be a super hero that had the ability to “interfere” in the lives of others—especially adolescents—before they made life-altering choices.

I’d have a calling similar to Iyanla Vanzant’s, “Iyanla Fix My Life,” only my magic ministry would be called “Eleanor Save My Ass” (ESMA).  I’d look pretty much like I do now—a slightly chunky bejeweled diva, dressed in flowing diva gowns, and wielding a diamond encrusted fly swatter.  At a perfect time in a teenager’s life that was best known only to God and me, I’d swoop down (Superman’s power of flight would be a given) right before the teen would choose that one thing that could change the course of his or her destiny to their detriment. I’d swat the devil on the teenager’s back upside his head until I woke the adolescent up to respond to the voice of reason.  I bet that parents here, there, and everywhere would be lined up at my door willing to pay big bucks for my services.  (Nothing has proved scarier to me in my lifetime—including being raised a poor black child in the ghetto—than rearing upper middle class adolescents in the suburbs with a free will and access to the family car.)

Teenager Pat Bagley Salt Lake Tribune

Used by permission: Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

My services would work on adult clients, as well.  Although, I must admit my ESMA influence might be a little harder (difficult to teach old dogs new tricks) once my clients were past thirty years old.  But I would try my best.  Think of the potential difference I could have made in the lives of our most recent “poor-choice idiots.”  Had I popped down into the lives of three particular gentlemen ten years ago and done a little triple-edged swatting, all our psyches would have been spared a great deal of mental vomit and disappointment.

CLIENT #1

Weiner Rick McKeeThe Augusta Chronicle

Used by permission: Rick McKee |The Augusta Chronicle

The first time Anthony Weiner had his “Carlos Danger” fantasy I would have slide down the fire pole in his brain and screamed:  “ANTHONY—DROP IT!  DROP THAT WIENERSCHNITZEL!  This is your guardian angel, ET, and I’m here to save your ass (actually, a little more than your ass).  Drop the camera and back away from your drawers.  Let’s take a little ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ journey into the future so that you can see firsthand (no pun intended) how your wiener choice today will fuck up your life tomorrow.  Trust me—no matter how cute you think your ‘one-eyed monster’ is nobody wants to see that thing pop up on their cell phones in the future.”

Weiner Where is the beef John Darkow Columbia Daily Tribune  Missouri

Used by permission:  John Darkow Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri

CLIENT #2

EMSA note to my main man, General Colin Powell:  Colin, Colin, Colin—please say it isn’t true!  Today all the news outlets are reporting some nasty-ass creature has hacked your emails that implicate you in an alleged affair with the Romanian diplomat, Corina Cretu.  You’re insisting that there was no affair then or now.  I want to believe you, but I’ve just barely gotten over the fabrication of Iraq having WMD’s that got us involved in a fruitless war, so forgive me if I’m a little shaken up by this new reveal about your judgment. Colin, my man, if I could swoop down on you with my EMSA swat ten years ago, I would whack you upside the head and command you to pull the plug on any interchanges with this Romanian woman because:

She is from Romania and even my cat could tell she was most likely a spy trying to gain access to national secrets through your “frankfurter.” Ten years ago, every 1.2 people were spies in Romania.

Any woman who sends a married man pictures of herself in a bikini (by the way, from what I’ve seen, that is not a body that one commits adultery over—just sayin’!) is up to no good (why are men so clueless about this shit?).

When a woman’s emails to you allegedly say:  “I did not believe that at 43 I can cry more for a man like a teenager . . .  Nobody (is) saying to go to bed. . . I just want to see you, nothing more . . . “I’ve loved you too much, too many years. YOU were my greatest love of my life . . .,” what did you think she was talking about, General—the Second Coming?

I sure hope you told your wife about this woman’s crush on you when it first began.  My advice to you ten years ago would have been: (SWAT!) “Tell your wife about this hussy, (SWAT!) and then run, Colin, run, because ten years from now, any relationship with Corina Cretu—no matter how benign on your part—is going to come back and bite you in your proverbial black ass!” (SWAT!)

(Sheesh, Louise, CP!  No wonder you got screwed up on the existence of WMD’s in Iraq.)

Colin Powell Mike Lane Cagle Cartoons

Used by permission:  Mike Lane, Cagle Cartoons

CLIENT #3

But there are some people who are incorrigible and can’t be helped.  For whatever reason (laziness, over-blown egos, or stupidity), they keep on doing the same thing over and over again, no matter what the consequences.   I’d pop back in time to try and help someone like Bob Filner (Mayor of San Diego) and the dude would probably think I was there as an answer to his prayers to get a little taste of “brown sugar.”  He’d keep on touching, pinching, and groping, until I shoved all his fingers up his ass.  Some people make so many bad choices that the sum of those bad choices equal one dirty, disgusting old man.  When that is the case, it is best to throw him in solitary confinement and throw away the key.

Filner Randall Enos Cagle Cartoons

Used by permission: Randall Enos, Cagle Cartoons

***

I am discovering that there are many reasons why I like Orange Is The New Black.  Without giving anything away, when Netflix got back on track after two service calls to them and Samsung, the final episode revealed what I had suspected all along about humanity within that TV prison of a couple haves and many have nots:  we are all one bad choice away from creating Hell on Earth for ourselves (no matter what the race, the gender, the income level, or the sexuality), and our hope lies in the “amazing grace” that affords our blind eyes the ability to overcome and survive the decade(s)-long consequences of our unfortunate choices.

I’m also discovering that there needs to be at least two EMSA agencies because I need one to smack me upside my head every once and awhile, as well.  I suspect I’ll need that type of course-correction until the day I die.  I am prone to the poor-choice disease as much as any of my countrymen.  I can’t tell you how many times, in my youth especially, when I was one car theft away from prison (“I was just along for the ride with my boyfriend” doesn’t cut it with the Po-Po or the judge), one physical altercation away from murder (being an abused child with anger issues is no excuse), and one bad church choice away from being engulfed by a cult (refusing to see the handwriting on the wall of church leaders becoming too authoritarian and misogynistic is cowardice not loyalty).  As the collection of OITNB episodes reveal, we are all the same when it comes to being vulnerable to making poor choices that affect the sum of our being.

**

EMSA “freebie” to Anthony Weiner/August 2013:  Quit the race!  Take your hands out of your pants, put the camera down, walk away from the seductive siren of being Mayor of New York, and go into seclusion with your wife and child (bludgeon all your computers and phones with a sledge hammer and determine to be the only person in the world who refuses to trust himself with a cell phone).  Then spend the next twenty years or so choosing only those things that are supportive of your wife and protective of your son.  This advice is free.  If you take it, ten years from now, by the grace of God, you just could be someone your son might be proud to call his dad—then again, maybe not!  It’s your choice!

Weiner Christopher Weyant  The Hill

Used by permission: Christopher Weyant, The Hill

QUOTES

“There are three constants in life… change, choice, and principles.”—Stephen Covey

“We need to teach the next generation of children from day one that they are responsible for their lives. Mankind’s greatest gift, also its greatest curse, is that we have free choice. We can make our choices built from love or from fear.”—Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

“Your Honor, more than a decade ago I made bad decisions, on both a practical and a moral level. I acted selfishly, without regard for others. I am prepared to face the consequences of my actions and accept whatever punishment the court decides upon. I am truly sorry for all the harm I have caused to others.”—Piper Kerman from Drug Trafficking – Woman Sentenced to Prison – Marie Claire

REFERENCES:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/07/31/orange-is-the-new-black-the-daily-beast-staff-debates-who-s-the-best-character.html

http://www.marieclaire.com/celebrity-lifestyle/articles/drug-trafficking-federal-prison

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/colin-powell-affair-article-1.1415208

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.

 

 
20 Comments

Posted by on August 3, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Standing My Ground on Fear

Do you know what I’ve discovered?   I think I need to get a gun.  I haven’t talked it over with my husband yet, but I will when he returns.  I’m becoming increasingly paranoid about the weirdos that I keep bumping into in my neighborhood, at the doctor’s office, in my church, and at the mall.  And then there is the news.  The more I read the more paranoid I become.  The more I think about the Zimmerman case, the more I think that maybe his defense was right when I review the times I’ve noticed suspicious-looking characters and needed to Stand My Ground to protect me from an imagined threat.  The only problem is I’ve never owned a gun, but how hard can it be to get one?  Seems to me, given the 2nd Amendment, any idiot can own a gun.

gun ownership by idiots Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

Used by permission:  Gun ownership by idiots by Pat Bagley, Salt Lake Tribune

So when my husband, WW, called home from his business trip last week, I decided to run my latest “revelation” (that’s what I call my harebrained schemes) by him, and hoped I’d get his buy-in.

WW:     “Hey, Cutie!  What have you been up to since I’ve been gone?”

ANNIE-GET-YOUR-GUN:  “Oh, a little bit of this, a little bit of that, and. . . I’m thinking of buying a gun.”

WW:     “WHAT?  No, no, no, no, NO!  For Christ’s sake:  what brought this on?  I’ve only been gone two days.”

ANNIE-GET-YOUR-GUN:  Fear!  I’ve become increasingly paranoid about the people I don’t know and maybe even some of the ones I do know—especially those who have become Tea Party advocates and Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity supporters. (Remember how our friends used to be sane?)  Well, some of them are not anymore, and they are scaring the shit out of me.  Who knows how long it will take before they believe one of Beck’s conspiracies and come after me to take me out?”

WW:     “Cutie, first of all, you don’t hang with those people anymore and neither one of us has any intention of renewing our acquaintances with them.  Secondly, you don’t know the first thing about guns.”

ANNIE-GET-YOUR-GUN:  “I don’t need to know anything about guns—they are part of my God-given constitutional rights.  The 2nd Amendment is sacrosanct.  Besides, the local Wal-Mart will sell me what I need and tell me where I can go to get myself trained to hit any asshole with my best shot—fire away!   I need groceries, anyway, so when you come back, let’s pick up some household staples and a 9×19 mm Walther P99, German semi-automatic pistol.  That should fit my needs, although it might be too big to fit in my purse.  I’ll have to bring in several of my Coach bags to see which pistol will travel in style.”

Gun for Stand Your Ground Olle Johansson  Sweden

Used by permission: Olle Johansson | Sweden

WW:  “The bastardization of Pat Benatar’s song notwithstanding:  What has gotten into you since I’ve been gone?”

ANNIE-GET-YOUR-GUN:  “Well, since you’ve been gone, buddy:  FEAR—PURE UNADULTERATED FEAR!”  Maybe the NRA is right:  If I get a gun, I will be emboldened to tread where I’ve never gone before.  Did you see the article in the paper that reported several cases of men coming to the doors of unsuspecting homeowners in our area and pretending they were there from the Public Works Department to check out the home’s water lines?”

WW:     “Nooooooo . . . What has this to do with you turning into Django Unchained?”

ANNIE-GET-YOUR-GUN:  “It was all a ruse!  Once they got in, they stole whatever they could get their hands on while they distracted the homeowner in the basement.  Well, don’t you know, a guy stopped by the other day and said he was from the Public Works Department and needed to check my water line.”

WW:     “You didn’t let him in, did you?”

ANNIE-GET-YOUR-GUN: “Of course not— I’m nobody’s fool!  But then he didn’t ask to come in; he just let me know he was on the property and went to the side of the house to fiddle with the water main.  But I could tell it was all a ruse, and he was up to no good because it was just like the newspaper said it would happen, AND he was the spitting image of George Zimmerman—before he gained 130 pounds.  Rumor has it that George has been hanging out in our area.  I think his parents live over in Maryland somewhere.   After giving the “Public Works” guy the evil eye for a while (I stared at him from the window), it was right then and there that I knew I might need to shoot through the window into his ass while he was bending over the water main before he could gain entrance into my castle and steal my shit—or even worse.  I mean, I may be old, but men could still try to mess with me—if you know what I mean.  In fact, the paper said that a ninety-year-old woman got raped the other day.  I mean all systems point to me needing a gun.”

WW:     “Uh huh.  And did you ever find out who the man was at the door because I know and you know that it couldn’t have possibly been George Zimmerman?”

ANNIE-GET-YOUR-GUN:  (barely audible) “Well, he was really a public works man with a legitimate excuse to be on our property.  To tell you the truth, I think I scared the shit out of him because he kept looking over his shoulder at me, finished the job in record time, and raced away in his clearly marked public works truck as fast as he could.  “He was driving so fast that I could hear the tires screeching as he pulled away from the curb.”

WW:  “He probably thought he was going to be shot in the ass by a crazy woman.”

ANNIE-GET-YOUR-GUN:  “Whatever!  There was another man who came by yesterday trying to talk me into letting him install new windows in the house—new windows, my ass!  You will never believe who he looked like?”

WW:  “Let me guess:  Charles Manson?”

ANNIE-GET-YOUR-GUN:  “No . . . the FAT GEORGE ZIMMERMAN—the Zimmerman who has gained 130 pounds!”

WW:  “Oh for God’s sake.  I’m coming home ASAP.  Try not to kill anybody before I return.”

ANNIE-GET-YOUR-GUN:  “Humph!  WW, I have to protect myself, and you need to know that I may not wait for you to return before I start packing heat.  I’m looking up fashionable leather holsters online even as we speak. So don’t use your house key because you might scare the devil out of me and cause me to shoot first and ask questions later.  Let’s establish a secret knock so that I know it’s you.  Try and get here before it gets dark because I’m especially paranoid after the sun goes down, and start calling my name as soon as you enter the house so that I recognize your voice and don’t mistake you for a mad rapist.  Tell the kids not to come home unannounced!”

WW:     “Oh, God . . .”

Standing my ground Daryl Cagle  CagleCartoons com

Used by permission:  Daryl Cagle CagleCartoons.com

I am discovering that the Stand Your Ground law is just another component of America’s love affair with guns that is immoral and has been birthed out of the manipulated fear towards our fellowman by the National Rifle Association (NRA) and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), who have pushed this law into existence in twenty-five states.  In the last thirty years, guns sales had been plummeting and the gun industry discovered that if they could manipulate Americans with fear that our “castles,” our children, our sidewalks, our parks, our neighbors, our places of worship, our shit were just one confrontation away from being stolen or harmed, then they could make money in perpetuity.  The NRA has made us believe that backing away from a public confrontation when it is safe to do so (like staying in your truck as Zimmerman was told to do by the police) and avoiding the murder of another human being is no longer the mark of a godly man or nation, but gunning down one’s neighbor is our constitutional right and one we should be proud to uphold.  And, oh yeah, there is a slight detail that bears mentioning:  the gun industry’s reward for this strategy—12 billion dollars a year.  In other words, my fellow Americans:  we’ve been had by a very cynical, greedy, and sick industry!  (Remember how the cigarette industry pushed smoking as sexy, cool, non-addictive, and not harmful, when its executives had a gazillion studies in their desk drawers that showed smoking was addictive and caused cancer?  Hmmm!)

stand ground reverse response RJ Matson

Used by permission:  Stand ground reverse response |Cartoonist: RJ Matson

I am also discovering that the Stand Your Ground law, beyond that of your castle being stormed by zombies, is a license to kill.  (IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER:  If you break into my home with the intent to rape and murder me and my family, and I can’t get away from you, I will stand my ground and blow your fucking brains out with whatever I can get my hands on.  I get that part of the law.)  But the part of Stand Your Ground law that needs to be adjusted is born out in the following story:

Last year, John Henry Spooner, 76, of Wisconsin

Shot and killed his 13-year-old neighbor who was returning his family’s garbage can from the curb.

Mr. Spooner shot Darius Simmons, 13, on the sidewalk

While the child’s mother looked on in horror

While the child tried to run away, screaming, “Don’t shoot me, please don’t shoot me,”

While the neighbor shot at him several times,

As Darius Simmons died in his mother’s arms on the sidewalk.

When asked why Spooner shot the African-American teen,

The white man said he thought the boy had stolen his shit (his stash of guns)

No evidence of such a theft was found—only Mr. Spooner’s paranoia.

Irony:  the entire murder was captured by Mr. Spooner’s security camera on his house.

When asked if Spooner felt bad about taking the life of a child before he was sentenced to life in prison,

Mr. Spooner’s reply was:  “No, not that bad.”

Darius’ mother’s reply was:  “Oh my God!”**

Guns friend or foe Luojie, China Daily, China

Used by Permission: Guns friend or foe: Luojie, China Daily, China

 “To him who is in fear everything rustles.”Sophocles

“There is no passion so contagious as that of fear.”—Michel de Montaigne

 “You can’t buy six packs of nasal decongestant but you can buy a .50 calibre sniper’s rifle, just like the US military uses in Afghanistan.”Patrick Radden Keefe blogged for The New Yorker magazine

“What has happened is the ‘Stand Your Ground’ law has become so over-arching that the definition has been lost. There are a lot of people claiming ‘Stand Your Ground.’”—Bob Buckhorn

“…if you’ve had a terrible day, if you just don’t like the other guy very much or if you want to try out that new handgun you just bought, you can feel free to escalate the level of violence in a physical altercation by shooting him. Even if you kill him, the law has got your back. You’ll be immune not only from criminal prosecution, but also from any potential civil lawsuits.”—Ladd Everitt from Waging Nonviolence*

Guns are Sacred END David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

Used by permission:  Guns are Sacred | David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

REFERENCES

http://blogs.suntimes.com/backtalk/2013/07/the_bloody_idiocy_of_stand-you.html

*http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/why-stand-your-ground-is-really-kill-at-will/

**http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/wisconsin-man-tells-jurors-he-killed-13-year-old-neighbor-out-of-anger-and-to-seek-justice/2013/07/18/e0f9467e-eff5-11e2-8c36-0e868255a989_singlePage.html?tid=obnetwork

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.

 
19 Comments

Posted by on July 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

HELP! I Need a White Man!

Do you know what I discovered many, many years ago?   Everybody needs a white man as a side-kick to get over in America, especially if they are black, brown, or tan.  People put on you what they fear and they see you through the eyes of their own ignorance.   Because of this, living in America can be rough when you’re attempting to engage in the activity of simply “walking while Black.”  I know this because I’m black, and I’ve been profiled since the age of ten years old, and I’m now sixty-five-years old.    I’ve been profiled so many times that as soon as I could, I decided (if I was ever going to have any peace on this Earth) to get me a white man to ease my passage through life.

Walking while black John Darkow  Columbia Daily Tribune  Missouri

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

When I was ten years old and living in Cleveland, I grabbed my little sister, Pee-wee, who was seven years old and snuck onto the trolley train via the back door.   We rode it all the way to its final stop in Shaker Heights where only white people lived.  I don’t know why I did this.  It just seemed like a good idea at the time.

“Pee-wee, let’s go find the land where only white people live; it will be fun.”  I said.

By the time we got to the end of the line in Shaker Heights where the only black faces were the maids in white uniforms getting off the trolley to clean the houses, Pee-wee and I were totally and hopelessly lost.  The only people left on the trolley was a white couple in their sixties, and when they realized we weren’t the children
of one of the maids, the man became apoplectic and began to yell and scream at us for daring to enter a neighborhood where we did not belong.  Pee-wee and I were scared to death and had no idea how to get back to the “black side of town.”  Because I’ve always had more mouth than sense, I think I said something tantamount to:

“Fuck you, old man—you not my mama!”

On those choice words, the old man chased after us and tried to beat the shit out of us with his cane.  Fortunately, his wife had more sense than he did and pulled him off of us before we were hurt too badly.   I knew right then and there that I was going to need something more than my good looks and sharp tongue to get me safely through life—I was going to need myself one of them white men as a guardian angel!

racial profiling

When I met my husband (WW—“White and Wonderful”), one of the things that I fell in love with was his ability to rescue me out of situations that the profiling of the color of my skin seemed to entrap me into during the day.  Here was a man who had papers from the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) to show his direct lineage to Governor Bradford of the Mayflower.   On top of that, he was always told he could be President of the United States at the very best or a lawyer at the very least.  Consequently, the man thinks the world is his oyster and has no fear. The dude can go anywhere and no one ever questions him “walking while White.”  Awesome!  So we developed a code.  He was to accompany me where “walking while Black” might get me killed if I were alone, and whenever I met an impasse on my own, I would simply holler or ring my husband on the phone with a quick command:  “Come quick—I need a white man to rescue me!”  He would arrive—Johnny on the spot—and I would appear less scary, richer, or more respectable to the profiler (remember this was a while ago—in the early days of our marriage).  It came to be known between us as:  SECRET WHITE HERO COMES TO AID OF ET “WHILE WALKING BLACK.”

Trayvon vs blasphemy of character John Cole The Scranton Times Tribune

Use by permission: John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune

 EXAMPLES OF ET WALKING WHILE BLACK

While living in all-white neighborhood in Virginia Beach, VA and having walked every day for six months with two white friends who lived in same neighborhood, I attempted to walk the exact same route alone one morning.  I wore what I wore every day:  an African head-wrap (as was the fashion of the day in the Black community), a jacket to ward off the chill, earphones covering my ears, and my hands in my pocket to keep the Sony Walkman from banging against my leg and bruising it. 

PROFILER(s):      (Two old white women following me in their car for ten minutes or so who began to shout at me with indignant anger.)   “Hey, what are you doing in our neighborhood?  What’s that in your pocket?  What’s that thing on your head?  Where have you come from and where are you going?  You better not be here when we get back!”

“Baby—I need a white man”:   I stood my ground (couldn’t go anywhere else—I lived around the corner) and white husband walked with me on days that white friends could not.  I never saw the old ladies again.  Never had any more trouble but sure would like to have been able to walk alone again, because that was my time of meditation with my God.  Should have told the old white bitches I was praying but didn’t think they would believe me or care.

African head wrap fashionfordames dot blogspot dot com

African head wrap fashionfordames.blogspot.com

While putting groceries in back of my station wagon in the grocery store parking lot in Virginia Beach (what was it about that goddamn city?), a white man sneaks up behind me and scares the shit out of me.

PROFILER:   “What are you doing in the back of this car?  Whose car is this?  Where did you get those groceries?”

“Darling—I need a white man”:   Profiler disappears into his church van when I stand my ground . . .

“You got a problem with me putting my damn groceries in my own damn car?”

. . . while I threaten to call my white husband to kick his ass.  Husband shops with me for a while to establish a pattern hoping that profilers will get over themselves in the town that Pat Robertson built.  Never understood why the profiler (“the man of God”) thought I’d be stealing diapers, paper towels, eggs, and cleaning products from a car I clearly had opened with my own key.  I wonder what sermon he’d ever heard that profiled black suburban moms stealing station wagons while clutching their grocery list in one hand and coupons in another.

Bag of Candy Defense Florida Gun Law John Cole The Scranton Times Tribune

Used by permission:  John Cole| The Scranton Times Tribune

While jogging in upstate New York, the Po-Po (police) followed me more than once, often interrogating me about why I was running along a deserted country road.  (What’s that old racist joke?  If you see a white man running, he’s jogging; if you see a black man running, he’s just robbed somebody.)  I took to wearing all sorts of bling, makeup, and expensive jogging suits to give off the signal that I was one rich-bitch that belonged in the neighborhood, so piss off.

PROFILER:           (The Po-Po) “Who are you?  Where are you going?  You look like the fifteen-year-old delinquent who escaped from the reform school last night.  Where did you get all this jewelry and these new clothes?  Did you rob a jewelry store and the fashion boutique on Main Street?  Let me see some identification to prove you are who you say you are.  A thirty-four-year old school teacher—who are you kidding?”  (I guess I should have been flattered that I looked fifteen, but I knew I didn’t really—the Po-Po only saw my black skin and profiled it into what he feared.)

“Honey—I need a white man”:    My white avenger moved us to Israel for three years after that, and what a great relief it was to live in a country where I was just the “American” and nothing else.  I could walk around and not be profiled and enjoy myself as a person.  I finally could fully taste freedom.

I’ve been profiled while shopping (“you can look at the watch but I won’t take it out of the case, because you people always steal”), profiled while depositing a check into our joint checking account after the sale of our house (“yeah, right, I’m supposed to believe your name is really Tomczyk—Smith, maybe, but never a Polish name”), and profiled while returning to the US from Canada after a business trip the week after 9-11 (“before you board, security needs to do a full-body cavity search on you, your seat will be changed, and an air marshal will be sitting beside you into DC—it is what it is.  You fit the profile—you are the only black person on the plane!”).  The list is endless and still I love this country, yet I can’t imagine having lived this long if we had had “Stand Your Ground” laws all the times I was profiled. The words hurt, but I got over those and so would Trayvon Martin, if Zimmerman had stayed in his truck and not stalked that child when he was “walking while Black” with Skittles and a tea.

Trayvon Right to Life Adam Zyglis The Buffalo News

Used by Permission: Adam Zyglis | The Buffalo News

I am discovering that the verdict of “not guilty” for George Zimmerman has left me in a great deal of pain, a lot of despair, and an inordinate amount of fear for the future of my grandson.   I listened to and read all of the defense and prosecution’s examination and cross-examination of the witnesses at the George Zimmerman trial.  If I am being honest, I knew the trial was going to exonerate Zimmerman half way through because his lawyers had mounted a much more vigorous defense than the prosecution’s case.   I don’t have a law degree, but I could tell when the prosecution’s case derailed which was high on emotion but lax on connect-the-dots facts.   The jurors didn’t necessarily believe Zimmerman’s lies, but they were charged to convict only if the prosecution had proven the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  I would want that type of defense if I had been in Zimmerman’s shoes.   The system worked, and I can’t fault the jury.  I, for one, will respect the jury’s verdict and leave Zimmerman in God’s hands.

George Zimmerman has been found “not guilty” but that is not the same as being found “innocent.”  Zimmerman knows he lied.  Trayvon Martin knows Zimmerman lied.  God knows that Zimmerman lied.  Martin Luther King once said:  “The moral arc of the universe bends at the elbow of justice.”  God—the “Hound of Heaven,” and my big white man in the sky (just kidding, I know that God is black and is a woman—Ha!)—will have his justice for innocent blood that has been shed.   George Zimmerman has no idea what it is like to be profiled, but he will find out when the God of the Universe gives him no peace until he repents.  So go on Zimmerman—you’ve got a “get out of jail for free” pass now, but God don’t like ugly, and Hell ain’t half full yet!

RIP Trayvon The Truth

RIP TRAYVON

***

“There are very few African-American men in this country who haven’t had the experience of being followed when they were shopping in a department store.  That includes me.”President Obama speaking on the death of Trayvon Martin

“It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-nessan American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”W.E. DuBois

 “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”—Desmond Tutu

 “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have the exact measure of the injustice and wrong which will be imposed on them.”—Frederick Douglass

“One who is injured ought not to return the injury, for on no account can it be right to do an injustice; and it is not right to return an injury, or to do evil to any man, however much we have suffered from him.”—Socrates

“He who commits injustice is ever made more wretched than he who suffers it.”—Plato

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.

 
30 Comments

Posted by on July 14, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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The Temperature Is Rising

Do you know what I’ve discovered?    Flies are sex-crazed, and they do it doggy-style while hanging upside down on light chains, the ceiling, TV screens, treadmills, and Tiffany lamps.  I should know because scores of flies invaded my family room July 4th weekend, and their onslaught overpowered my fly swatter maneuvers.  I had no choice but to study their sex habits while I waited for the exterminator three days after my S.O.S call (apparently bug zappers don’t think a fly invasion is an emergency).  I kept telling my husband that between 2012 being the hottest summer on record and our winter being the mildest that Washingtonians could remember in a long time, the insect population was going to kick our collective asses this summer.  As I watched scores of flies (too many to count) take a stay-cation in my family room as they did the wild thing in front of me, all I could think of was this was one more piece of anecdotal evidence of climate change caused by the “global warming hoax.”  But I’m getting ahead of myself . . .

Summertime insects Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

Used by Permission:  Cartoonist, Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

WW and I were watching a movie in his man cave when we started getting dive-bombed by a train of flies from the ceiling.  It was so systematic that I could swear it looked like an organized game.  As I got up to get a fly swatter to terminate what I thought were a couple of flies that had slipped by me when I opened the sliding glass door, I reached to turn off the Tiffany light that was causing a glare on the TV screen so that I could properly see the two or three skydivers.  As my hand reached up inside the multi-colored glass shade, a swarm of about fifty flies flew up into my face, down my arm, and sent me twirling and flailing my arms and body like a  whirling dervish.  Screw the movie.  Operation Fly Swat became our entertainment as we waited for the exterminator to arrive on Monday.   Although, for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out how the flies were getting into the house. I should have seen the handwriting on the wall the day before when I stepped out on my deck during 95 degree weather after two weeks of non-stop torrential downpours.  There was a brief break in the clouds on July 4th, and the sun was mercilessly bearing down on the house while steam was pulsing up from the ground like a carnival of dry ice.  As I glanced over to the backside of the house, hundreds of flies were hanging out on the white siding as if they had just flown in for a fly convention.  It looked like a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds,” only with black flies.  Not knowing what to do about them, I left the convention of black-winged creatures undisturbed figuring they were outside where they belonged and another rain storm—imminently on its way—would wash them away.  Big mistake—huge!

Grumpy  Toad meme pandawhale dot om

Monday couldn’t come fast enough.  We couldn’t eat, we couldn’t sleep, and I couldn’t concentrate to write because the flies were using my head as a jungle gym and the entrance of my nose and ears as hide-and-seek playgrounds.  As soon as possible my husband, WW, fled into work with a quick:  “Keep me posted on the exterminator’s verdict—byyyyyeee!”  By the time Ernie (the Dan Aykroyd of the two) and Jorge (the undeniable Bill Murray-type) rang my doorbell, my eyes were rolling around in my head as if I were demon possessed, and my right arm (permanently attached to a red fly swatter ) was slicing the air at 90 miles a minute to strike down winged foes that weren’t anywhere near me.  They had become very, very smart in their coexistence with me and had developed a tag-team assault mission from behind and out of eyesight causing me to get a nervous tic in my left eye.

Ghostbusters

Ghost Busters (Dan Aykroyd and Bill Murray) | Image Credit: Everett Collection

ERNIE:   “How’d-yu-do, Ma’am?  My name’s Ernie and this is my side-kick, Jorge.  We’re from the Die You Despicable, Disgusting, Deplorable, Bug-eyed Pest Terminators, and we hear you’ve been invaded by ‘Musca domestica ’—what you civilians call the ‘common housefly.’”

ME:        “Come in, come in . . .You guys are a sight for sore eyes.  I’m completely beside myself.  I’ve  killed hundreds of these damn flies since I called you four days ago.  The basement is littered with their carcasses.  Apparently, quite a few of them up and committed suicide when they couldn’t find anything to eat or drink or maybe they were just bored.   All I know is that I’m about to lose my mind.  No wonder God used a plague of thousands of flies to defeat Pharaoh.  I would have let his people go too after what I experienced with just these few scores of goddamn Musca whatevers.”

ERNIE:   “Well, no offense Ma’am, but you’ll have to let me and Jorge determine just what type of fly we’re dealing with.  You’re a civilian and can’t possibly know what you’re up against.  There are five different categories of Earthly flies:  you’ve got your filth flies, small flies, overwintering flies, biting flies and gnats and midges.  The Musca domestica only accounts for 91% of all the flies in the world, but according to Wikipedia, they’re responsible for 100 pathogens because they walk, vomit, and feed on human shit (pardon my French, Ma’am) and the food we eat.   Those little devils will kill you off in a heartbeat with the salmonellosis, the bacillary dysentery, the tuberculosis, and the cholera—just to name a few.”

JORGE: “Don’t forget the parasitic worms, Ernie.  The common housefly can fuck you up with them parasitic worms—oh, yes they can.”

ERNIE:   “Right you are, Jorge, my man.  Right you are.   Now Ma’am, as you can see, Jorge and I have our guns ready and cocked with our patented spray that will rid your home of these nasty invaders, ‘tout suite,’ but we need to know what we’re dealing with here.  Know your enemy is what I always say, ain’t that right, Jorge?”

JORGE: “You bet your ass, Ernie!”

ERNIE:    “Now, as I was ruminating on, your fly families fall into five categories, Ma’am.  If you don’t mind me asking, what color and size are your intruders?”

JORGE:   “Well, Ernie, just look down on the floor where she’s just killed a legion of the suckers while we’ve been standing here—they are most definitely the Musca domestica of which we know covers the filth fly.  No offense Ma’am—we’re not accusing you of being a terrible housekeeper or anything—it could be caused by you or your neighbor’s garbage cans being too close to the house.  Not to mention the fact that global warming affects everything and has probably affected last year’s heat wave, this year’s heavy downpours, and the rise in the population of Musca domestica in this area.  I mean the sea levels are rising and everything—it ain’t just about polar bears on shrinking ice caps anymore—no siree!”

Global Warming Effects Everything Paresh Nath  The Khaleej Times  UAE

Used by permission: Global Warming Effects Everything—Cartoonist Paresh Nath|The Khaleej Times/UAE

ME:   “Gentlemen, I’d love to stand here and chat with you, but can we get on with “Operation Death to Musca domestica” before I run screaming out into the street?  My nerves are shot, and I still can’t figure out how these demons got into my house!” (SWAT! SWAT! SWAT!)

ERNIE:  “Good one, or should I say good three, Ma’am!  Love the swat you just landed upside my head.  You’re fearless!  Now it doesn’t take much of an opening for house flies to squeeze themselves into a home.  You’d be amazed.  Anyway, I think we spotted the culprit of your fly invasion on the way in.  Looks like a bunny rabbit died underneath the canopy tree right next to the wall where you first saw the fly convention.  I thought I caught a whiff of decaying  Mammalia Lagomorpha, didn’t you Jorge?”

JORGE:  “That I did, Ernie—that I did.  Ol’ Mr. Bunny Rabbit must have gotten sick in all the torrential downpour over the last two weeks and crawled up under the tree that is shaped like a canopy to die.  Just a matter of time before the maggots would have arrived on the scene to start their harvest.”

ME:  “Gentlemen, please!!” (SWAT!)

ERNIE:  “Excellent aim, Ma’am.  Damn, you’ve got the natural swat-arm of a killer.  We’ll just give a good ol’ once around with our super-duper spray and you will be fly-free before I can say ‘ipso facto.’  Ha!  Just be glad we don’t live in Africa.  The flies rule there, and I hear they’re getting even worse (along with the mosquitos, the fleas, and the tsetse fly which causes three million deaths a year).  Doggonit, Jorge, we forgot to tell her about the Tsetse fly!”

Trachoma baby endtheneglect dot org

African child susceptible to trachoma from flies | photo credit http://www.endtheneglect.org

I am discovering that there are many places in the world where flies are inescapable.  The same flies I banished from my house with one quick spray of the foundation of my home and surrounding grounds are the same pests that cause trachoma—the leading cause of infectious blindness in the world.   But I am beginning to think that if the reports are true that 65% of white evangelical Americans (the main base of the Republican Party) think global warming and climate change alarms are a big hoax, then they need to give up the ghost about being pro-life, because there won’t be a planet worth living on for all the babies they are trying to “save” if we don’t act now.

Think about itWhat if all the hoopla about global warming is a hoax?  Then what is the worse that could happen:  we’d clean up the air, the rivers, and the oceans, develop alternative energies, and discard less human waste if we ate less meat—thus reducing the population of Musca domestica and the proliferation of diseases.  Then again, to Hell with global warming—this isn’t what Jesus meant when he said to “love your neighbor as yourself”—right?  Those fly-covered kids aren’t my kids—they don’t live in “God Bless America”—and the last thing I want is more government interference and taxation regarding what is my shit and mine alone.  C’est la vie!

Climate change Pat Bagley  Salt Lake Tribune

Used by Permission:  Climate change Pat Bagley| Salt Lake Tribune

“I believe that global warming is a myth. And so, therefore, I have no conscience problems at all and I’m going to buy a Suburban next time.”—Jerry Falwell,  American evangelical Southern Baptist pastor, televangelist, and a conservative political commentator (died 2007)

“The point is that there is tremendous hypocrisy among the Christian right. And I think that Christian voters should start looking at global warming and extreme poverty as a religious issue that speaks to the culture of life.”—Al Franken,  junior United States Senator from Minnesota, serving since 2009

“If we take all this action and if it turns out not be true, we have reduced pollution and have better ways to live, the downside is very small. The other way around, and we don’t act, and it turns out to be true, then we have betrayed future generations and we don’t have the right to do that.”― Tony Blair, British Labour Party politician who served as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

REFERENCES:

http://www.scidev.net/global/policy/feature/climate-change-and-insect-borne-disease-facts-and–1.html

http://mentalfloss.com/article/49237/whats-difference-between-climate-change-and-global-warming

http://digitaljournal.com/article/349388

http://www.salon.com/2013/07/11/do_doomsayers_care_about_climate_change_partner/

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

 
14 Comments

Posted by on July 10, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Hitting the Airplane

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  I’m finished!  I’m screwed as a blogger!   I can’t figure out a blog topic, and I have no more inspiration to pass along!  I’m tapped out!  I’m all clogged up.  I’m three days late in posting a blog because my brain is fried and I could just scream!  Oh God, I am undone!

Stressed

Cartoonist: Michael Trent Martin | www.strangecomics.com

My husband (WW) has been out of town all week.  I thought this would be the perfect time to get a lot of writing done.  Instead, I’ve been sitting in one spot, disheveled, unwashed (be happy this is not “smell-a-blog”), and in sweats for three days with abandoned cups of coffee, discarded Jelly Belly bags, empty microwave popcorn bags, and wrappers of Dove chocolate scattered here, there, and everywhere.  I’m sitting amidst the junk food carnage like Job of the Bible when he felt God had forsaken him.  My brain has turned to mush.  It is in this state that my husband found me when he returned from his business trip.

WW:     “So, suffice it to say, you haven’t gotten much writing done?”

ME:        “Grrrrrrrr!”

WW:     “That bad, huh?  Is this what a caffeine-chocolate-Jelly-Belly overdose looks like?”

ME:        “I know this looks awful.  I don’t know what happened to me.  I was getting great reader traction on my earlier post about Paula Deen, and felt I’d generated some great comments about racism and forgiveness.  But then she opened her mouth again and tried to justify her racism with a line from an old racist joke:  ‘I is
what I is, and I’m not changing.’
  Either she is stupid as a stump or she’s one clever bitch.  You know why I’m pissed at Paula?  Not because she used an inappropriate word, but because she sold us a brand of authenticity regarding who she was as part of the new South—open-armed, accepting of everyone, full of love and tolerance for all—with her only vice being butter.  Now she’s using a racist joke to underscore that she was not at all as she portrayed herself to be!”

Paula Deen More Butter Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Used by Permission:  Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

WW:     “Well, nobody is exactly who they say they are, cutie—you know that.  We’re all actors on a world stage trying not to lose control of the narrative that we think will keep us safe or help us get over on one another.   I hate to ask this, but what old joke?”

ME:          “You mean what old racist joke?  The joke is ages old, but it’s clearly one Paula might have grown up with, and she allegedly admitted to engaging in these types of racist jokes in her workplace during the deposition.  If I remember it correctly, it goes something like:

There was a black guy and a white guy, and they were debating over whether God was white.

The white guy said that there was only one way to find out and that was to pray.

So they both go up on a hill to pray and after sometime they hear a voice say: “I am what I am.”

The white guy jumps up from his knees and says: “Aha, I told you God was white.”

The black guy says: “What do you mean?  That didn’t prove anything.”

“Yes it did,” said the white guy

“If God was black, he would have said, ‘I IS WHAT I IS!’”

WW:     “Yeah, that’s not even funny, but I could see how racism might be a systemic issue in Paula Deen’s life if she engaged in jokes like that in the work place.  It makes me wonder if she said those jokes in front of her black staff.”

ME:        “I can’t even imagine someone saying that joke in front of me and surviving my wrath.  Anyhow, she’s the least of my problems.  Her brand is never going to be the same again.  I hope that silly old woman enjoyed her entrenched moment in the sun of ‘I is what I is and I’m not changing,’ because it’s costing her the empire that butter built.  Anyway, I have bigger fish to fry.  Part of my depression is over the way SCOTUS gutted the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  That was the Emancipation Proclamation of my generation.  Didn’t the Supremes notice the wide-range voter suppression that took place during the presidential campaign?  Are they blind to the struggles still afoot regarding voting equality?  And who stuck roasted jalapeños up Justice Scalia’s ass?  What the fuck caused him to say that preservation of the Voting Act (instrumental in ending the Jim Crow Era) perpetuates “racial entitlement”?  Good googalimoo!

July 2, 2013

Used by Permission:  Adam Zyglis, The Buffalo News|Cagle Cartoons

WW:     “Well, you need to get out of your funk and find something inspiring to write about.  Paula’s too old to change; racism is here to stay (at least for a while), because you can’t legislate attitudes and hearts.   It is also going to take more than a blog and a day to change the damage that SCOTUS has done against the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  Besides, before I left, I thought you were going to write a simple, breezy post on the local massage parlors.”

ME:        “Day spas . . . day spas—not massage parlors!  The term “massage parlors” sounds so sleazy.  I did all the research, but I don’t know . . . Did you know that I thought the worst massage I ever had was a “sugar massage” at a local froo-froo spa at the behest of a couple of co-workers.  Turns out the word “massage” means different things to different people.  I mean, I’m still pulling sugar out of my butt from that damn sugar massage and that was years ago.  I didn’t know that the teenager that was my “therapist” was going to shoot sugar straight up my ass and call it a day—and she almost drowned me to boot!  Also, apparently in California (because only in California would people be crazy enough to do shit like this) one can get a massage done by a tank full of snakes on your back.  Oh, and get this:  did you know that “happy endings” are legal in massage parlors in China?  They call them:  ‘hitting the airplane,’ ‘playing with little brother,’ and ‘visiting Miss Five.’  That’s why I’ve been stuck here in a daze for three days—to write about ‘hitting the airplane’ or not to ‘hit the airplane,’ that is the question.

blog to blog or not

Cox and Forkum |http://www.coxandforkum.com/

WW:     “Or you could sit very still, detox from all that junk you’ve been eating, and think about your mission statement as a blogger—as inspired by Oprah:  “to help people ask the big questions (with humor) about the hard situations in life.”  So what stories did you find in the cesspool of the Internet while I was gone that will help you, and how can they help you ask the big question this week?

Hard Question

I am discovering that “authentic” blogging is really, really hard work—then again—what isn’t?  It’s hard because in order to meet weekly or daily deadlines, one can so easily become trite and cynical, thereby producing a lot of crap.  There is a certain filthiness attached to gleaning stories from the daily carnage of the world news in order to lend one’s opinion to the Titanic state of the human soul and ask the right questions that will steer us toward love, joy, grace, mercy, truth, and peace—or in other words—the face of God.  It is so easy to fall into the pit of writing for the continued bump in numbers.  It takes a consistent revisiting of one’s mission statement in order to sanitize oneself from the consequences of most human actions.  When it becomes too much, I have to sit quietly in my garden and wait for the stories of the sacrificial lives of people like the Arizona 19 (the brave firemen who gave their lives to save those of their neighbors) to remind me that I am not just a blogger—I am a storyteller that wants to see beyond the stupidity and the cynicism in life.  Knowing what celebrity has let her nip slip out of her dress while she posed on the red carpet in a $2,000 pair of Louboutin’s zippered heels doesn’t touch the unthinkable and the unbearable in our everyday lives.

I can do that.  I just need to stay calm and carry on.

Blogging Cat Meme Fp

“I don’t want to go viral, I want to set hearts on fire.”Coco J. Ginger

“My blog is a collection of answers people don’t want to hear to questions they didn’t ask.”― Sebastyne Young

 “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.”—John Quincy Adams

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

 
16 Comments

Posted by on July 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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We’re All A Little Bit Racist

Do you know what I discovered?   Can we all agree that it is time for us to stop pretending, that since electing a black president, we are living in a post-racial era?  We’ve come a long way as a nation (hallelujah!), but between the virulent racist attacks against Cheerios recently for producing a commercial featuring an interracial family and the Paula Deen debacle, it is painfully clear that we’ve still got a long way to go because this shit is centuries old and layers deep.

Cheerios Meme

Little girl from Cheerios’ interracial family commercial

Personally, I would like to recommend a country-wide field trip to see the musical: Avenue Q.  We need only stay for the one song sung by the Asian character and then go immediately to our churches, synagogues, mosques, or therapists to repent of the fact that no one amongst us can afford to throw stones because we all live in glass houses which cover a history of saying racist things at one time or another about each other (either cluelessly or with full-blown hatred—yeah, I’m talking to you my ex-friend with your Tea Party bias who claims you don’t have a racist bone in your body, but who called a certain race “diaper heads” that you regularly work with and expected me to chuckle over it as if doing so gave us a common bond of disdain as your one black friend with your Tea Party bias).

“Everyone’s a little bit racist sometimes.

Doesn’t mean we go around committing hate crimes.

Look around and you will find no one’s really color blind.

Maybe it’s a fact we all should face

Everyone makes judgments based on race.”

By Lyricists: Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx from Avenue Q

You see, even though I despise what Paula Deen has been accused of, I’ve been wrestling with my own racist demons just this past few months.   Without making matters worse by naming the people group I’m currently having issues with, let’s just say that I have managed to rid myself of most of my prejudices (knocked out my bigotry toward white people by marrying one thirty-four years ago—nothing solves racial ignorance like getting to know, love, and understand the people you were stupid about in the first place).  But there is one race that drives me nuts and partially because I know they have horrid prejudices towards African-Americans of which I’m constantly running into.  Unfortunately, I’m very much in love with my white man so I can’t divorce him and marry one of them just to get over my budding racial ugliness.

Cant We all get along from shelersanon dot blogspot dot com

“Can’t we all just get along” from shelversanon.blogspot.com

The stereotype of the people group that I’m struggling with think I’m stupid, that my skin color is a curse from God, and that I’m going to rob their businesses on any given Sunday.  My stereotype of them is that they’re cheap; they hate black people, and many of them have bought up all the dry cleaners in America giving me no other tetrachloroethylene (dry-cleaning fluid) alternatives but theirs.  My stereotypes are trying to take anchor because I’ve had to change dry cleaners three times in the last ten years and I’m pissed.  The first dry cleaners lost my designer jacket and refused to pay up until I threatened to call the po-po, the second one shrank my silk blouse down to the size of a Barbie doll and refused to be accountable, telling me “it because you get fat—that why garment no fit” (oh, no she didn’t!), and the third one overcharged me four times the amount for a hemming job and hoped I wouldn’t notice (as if!).

I’m now on my fourth dry cleaner and in my effort to not let these ugly stereotype take up residence in my head and heart, I’ve gone out of my way to befriend the owners (a young couple) and their seamstress mother when I pick up WW’s shirts every week. It is working.  We engage in delightful chit-chat and the service they provide is excellent.  I’ve got no complaints.  In fact everything was great for 18 months until a new relative came to America and started working in the store.   I could tell by the way she greeted me, that she did not like black people.  She wouldn’t even look me in the eyes or speak to me even after my many effusive greetings.  I know that she can make eye-contact, smile, and speak English because she does so to the white customers who come in behind me. (I’ve tested my theory several times by sending WW in my place and she has been quite pleasant with him.)

After putting up with this ‘tude for three months, I confronted the new dry-cleaner assistant:  “What is your problem?  You are refusing to understand and follow my instructions, and you’re costing me time and money!  I keep getting my dry cleaning back with stains on them because you don’t mark them as per my instructions in the beginning. You skimp on the laundry marking tape.  Stop being so cheap with the god-damn laundry tape!”  At that point, she looked and me and rolled her eyes and said:  “No, you no understand; this is process—you get one tiny piece of sticky tape (about an eighth of an inch) for entire garment—no more for you!”  Then she said something in her language that could not have been good given the intensity, walked back to her station, and angrily sorted through clothes.

(Jesus, please help my sorry-ass.  I’m getting ready to declare war over sticky laundry-marking tape.)

There you have it—my own laundry soup-Nazi.  I suffer the same angst as Jerry Seinfeld and Elaine did in their soup-Nazi episodes every time I enter that dry cleaning establishment, and I’ve tried to solve the situation by still being nice as possible—plus I only go to the dry cleaners at the times of the day I know the owners will be there to wait on me.  They still treat me with great respect and give me plenty of laundry marking tape.  I’m making a choice to see my nemesis as a “one-off” rude person—no more representative of her race as a black person robbing her store is of mine.

***

But how am I to solve the problem I have with Paula Deen whom I really liked and was so proud of her accomplishments as a woman.  Oh Paula, Paula, Paula . . .

Paula Deen

PAULA DEEN’S ALLEGED‎ SINS: “For instance: admitting that she has used ‘the N word’ (in her and the lawyer’s  words)–‘of course,’ and probably on more than one occasion.   Defending telling racial and ethnic jokes: ‘it’s just what they are—they’re jokes.’  And wishing she could plan a “Southern plantation wedding” for her brother, with African American servers in the part of antebellum slaves. (Deen reportedly didn’t go through with that idea because, you know, ‘the media’ would have twisted it into something. Those media!  Always turning folks’ innocent plantation-slave parties into something racist!*)”—By James Poniewozik||Less Than Accidental Racist: Why Paula Deen’s Comments Insult Her Fans Too||Times Entertainment

*PAULA DEEN’S ALLEGED COMMENT ABOUT THE PLANTATION WEDDING: “Well what I would really like is a bunch of little n!**ers to wear long-sleeve white shirts, black shorts and black bow ties, you know in the Shirley Temple days, they used to tap dance around,” the lawsuit claims Deen said. “Now that would be a true southern wedding, wouldn’t it? But we can’t do that because the media would be on me about that.”—by breakingbrown.com

Racism Subtle

…then again sometimes it is not!

I am discovering (surprisingly so) that I think The Food Network jumped the gun by firing Paula Deen without letting the court case play out until the end.  My husband, who is white, thinks they didn’t fire her fast enough.  WW says:

“In this day and age, whether you’re twenty or ninety, you should have gotten the memo, and you should know the answer as to whether to use the ‘N’ word or not.  (And don’t get me started on Hollywood, comics, rappers/hip-hoppers—because they don’t get a pass for artistic license in my book.)  Given the disdain, contempt, and degradation associated with that word, I think it should be eradicated from our vocabulary—period!)  If I were on the board of directors of The Food Network, I’d have no choice but to fire her butter-laden ass.  Anyway, she has already used up two strikes with me by hiding the fact that her recipes allegedly caused her Type II Diabetes while still peddling her recipes of butter on butter topped off by butter.”by “WW” Tomczyk

Cake and Eat it too

Cartoonist: Mike Luckovich

***

I am also discovering that I think we should forgive Paula Deen because she has repented (albeit, extremely clumsily) and “to err is human, to forgive, divine.”  And even though I don’t consider myself to be a racist, I know that I fall short of the glory of God to love my neighbors as myself on a consistent basis, and I’m really, really trying!  Can you imagine how many trip-wires this old woman, who still thinks the Civil War was the “war of Northern aggression,” must be stumbling over?  I don’t mean that Paula shouldn’t suffer the consequences.  We all have to take responsibility for our actions.  I suggest that the Food Network and other corporations suspend Paula for a season until she understands that she was supposed to be representing the “new South” and part of her charm was to comfort us with her fatty-ass foods while letting go of the shitty hatred cloaked in cluelessness and racial stupidity (Don’t you just love Paula’s alleged answer as to the reasoning for using the ‘N’ word throughout the years:  “. . . it was sometimes used with affection”please Paula, don’t love me so much, you’re killing me!”).

Next, I’d make Paula go on Oprah and let Oprah act as our national conscience and walk her over spiritual “hot coals” like she did to James Frey for lying to her.  (By the way, this is how I know that Paula knows that her use of the ‘N’ word is wrong:  she never used it publicly about Oprah and to Oprah and Oprah’s best friend, Gail, when they visited Paula at her home and helped make Paula and her enterprise a household word.  I know this because Oprah and Gail would have bitch-slapped Paula into the 7th level of Dante’s Inferno and we’d all be saying—“Paula?  Paula who?” right now.)  Finally, after due season, I’d let her return to her TV show(s) with new low-calorie recipes and a new serving up of southern charm and grace without hidden ugliness.  We all have a God-given destiny, Paula, and part of it is to spread the true love of God around like thick butter on homemade biscuits but not spread the sins of our fathers.   This is your wake-up call, girlfriend.

Racism's antidote

“A person may cause evil to others not only by his actions but by his inaction, and in either case he is justly accountable to them for the injury.”—John Stuart Mill

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

“He that cannot forgive others breaks the bridge over which he must pass himself; for every man has need to be forgiven.”—Thomas Fuller

REFERENCES:

http://entertainment.time.com/2013/06/20/less-than-accidental-racist-why-paula-deens-comments-insult-her-fans-too/

http://www.deadline.com/2013/06/nyt-food-network-wont-renew-paula-deens-contract-after-racial-slur-dilemma/

http://breakingbrown.com/2013/06/remember-when-oprah-visited-paula-deen-and-deen-put-her-in-the-guest-house-out-back-video/

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

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Never Gonna Be That Old

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  I am in love with Macklemore and Ryan Lewis.  Let’s try another way of stating this:  I, a 65-year-old-evangelical-Black-woman, am in love with Macklemore and Lewis’ new video release of “Can’t Hold Us” (featuring that cutie-pie, Ray Dalton).  If you know what I’m talking about then you are probably under 30-years old and your jaw just dropped to the floor that a 65-year-old-chubby-ass woman knows and likes the writers of “Thrift Shop”—pee-pee sheets and all.  But if you don’t know what the hell I’m talking about, then you’re most likely a Mormon, dead, a conservative Christian (all over 50-years-old), and you’re thanking your God that you never heard of the alternative hip-hop group from Seattle’s song, “Can’t Hold Us” from “The Heist,” that is now my new anthem.  Just the musical hook alone makes you want to soar if you’ve got any life left in you:

“Here we go back, this is the moment

 Tonight is the night—we’ll fight ’til it’s over

 So we put our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us…

Macklemore Thrift Shop knowyourmeme dot com

Scene from “Thrift Shop” video: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

Remember how I told you in my previous “I Do, I Do” post that it was my 65th birthday and 34th wedding anniversary (I gave my husband to me as a birthday present), and that my husband (WW) and I were going to sit around in my garden, drink wine, and read books (not that there is anything wrong with that on any given Sunday)?   Well, forget-that-Jack.  That lasted about 2 hours.  The next thing I knew we were on a plane to California in search of great friends (translation: not boring, non-judgmental, and generous to a fault friends), good wines, and fine times!

Balloon by Eleanor

(“Traffic Jam” balloons ahead of us) Photo by:  Eleanor Tomczyk/2013

“Did you know that Eleanor Roosevelt said that ‘We’re to do something scary every day,’” asked my friend as she gingerly plopped her little body (no bigger than a minute) into one side of the balloon basket and giving the rest of us the first indication that she might be scared shitless about our adventure?  I wanted to tell her that I didn’t know if the logic of that quote held up on its own because there is some pretty scary shit out there that I personally wouldn’t even want to try because of its aftermath:  you may survive it, but it could leave you maimed, crippled, brain-dead, or de-balled.  Just recently I heard about a scary fad that Baby-boomer men are doing called “tackle-tightening” (a.k.a. “ball ironing”).  It’s a new spa treatment in Santa Monica that polishes the family jewels with a laser and irons out the wrinkles (only in California, right?) to make said balls look younger.  Now the concept of this scares the crap out of me and I would never do it even if I had the equipment—I’m just sayin’.  I asked WW if he’d ever consider the procedure, and he said he’d rather go up in a hot-air balloon and crash-land (thank you very much), and there would be no more discussion about scary gonad scraping as he cupped the family jewels and fled to his man cave.  So there you have it.  Not all things that are scary should be engaged in.

Born to be wild photobucket dot com

Tweety meme from: www.photobucket.com

But I do have a “born to be wild” type of personality, so I soared over the California vineyards with my husband and dear friends and conquered my own fear (a slight problem with vertigo) by holding onto the basket railings and poles in what I perceived to be a nonchalant stance.  I was feeling pretty sure of myself until almost near the end when the pilot announced that we had drifted slightly off course, but he wasn’t allowed to land in any of the vineyards below:

BALLOON PILOT:  “Aw folks—it looks as if we’ve going to have to land on that knoll straight ahead, and it is going to be a rough landing.  Brace yourselves—bend your knees, lean to the left pushing your body into the side of the balloon, grab the rope rings, and hang onto them for dear life!”

The four passengers (my husband, my two newly married friends, and I) tried to look as cool as cucumbers as we crouched below the sight lines of the basket.  But as I sank below the rails, I caught a glimpse of their faces and I swear I could tell what they were thinking:

SHORT FEMALE FRIEND:   (“Eleanor Roosevelt:  you didn’t know what the hell you were talking about, and I even used your useless quote in a business conference to encourage women to be fearless.  It looks as if we’re headed for a crash landing, which means if we survive it, we’re all going to roll down the hill like four Jack and Jills summarily breaking our crowns.  Jesus, Mary, Mother of God—help!”)

FEMALE FRIEND’S TALL HUSBAND:  (“Maybe if we jump from this height, we’ll only break a leg or two!!!”)

BALLOON PILOT (out loud as if able to read our minds):  “Don’t even think about jumping or it will throw off the balance of the balloon and whoever doesn’t make the jump will go shooting straight up in the air and really drift off course.  Now, stop fidgeting, and do exactly what I told you to do!”

WW:     (“Oh, God:  This was my idea as an anniversary fun event, and now we’re all going to die?  Well, that’s awfully rude!”)

As for me, I went all Edvard Munch in my head and stayed that way until we landed:

The Scream

“The Scream” by Edvard Munch

Upon survival of our balloon ride, I think there is a coda that should be added to Eleanor Roosevelt’s epigraph:  “Do something that scares you every day, but regularly live your sorry-ass life to the fullest because on any given day it truly may be your last.”

I can’t remember if I was scared when the pilot finally landed our craft, but I just remember thinking that this didn’t feel like the day I would die.  We all landed without a scratch (albeit a little lopsided) due to the expert steering of our pilot, and other than the inability to climb out of the basket due to my short height and cumbersome ass (so much for my tall friend’s concept of me jumping out of a hot-air balloon in mid-air), it was quite the adventure. (IMP. NOTE:  Our pilot was a Baby-boomer with a quarter century of flying experience, and like “Sully” Sullenberger, who safely landed his plane in the Hudson River without losing a passenger, you really want the old dudes to be your pilots when you’re going down and it’s not your time to meet your Maker—this guy really kicked ass!)

But isn’t THIS ironic:  At one of the wineries the next day, I wore platform shoes (inappropriate for the events of the day, but since I was being transported by a limo, I felt I could risk dressing like a diva), and I slipped and fell on the level ground of gravel, bloodied my left leg something fierce (ruined my to-die-for-outfit), and I can hardly walk today.  It just goes to show you, that we all are going to die someday, and it could be on scary high heels or some scary-ass adventure, but since God only knows the date and time, we might as well chill and just reach for our dreams doing whatever it is that rings our bells!

Prat falls

I am discovering the reason I like Macklemore and Ryan Lewis so much is not because I’m trying to “act young” or “hip” as I used to say in my youth—it is because they inspire me as an artist—no matter what the age.  I love Ben Haggerty’s (Macklemore) backstory:

“All of their success has come in just a few months, and all of it is on their own.  They have no record label and no agents—just Haggerty, Ryan Lewis and a dream.”—ABC Nightline

Their soul-searching lyrics have become an “overnight” sensation which took 14 years of hard work and their big-tent hearts launched the career of 51-year-old Seattle-born Wanz (Michael Wansley) who had given up on ever having a career as a singer.   He had a dead-end job at Microsoft before recording one of the most memorable “Barry White-like” hooks ever:

“I’m gonna pop some tags, only got twenty dollars in my pocket / I-I-I’m hunting, looking for a come-up / This is fu-cking awe-soommme…”—Hook from Thrift Shop/Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

There is nothing wrong with working for Microsoft until one retires, unless you have hopes that bypass a corporate ceiling, you know in your heart of hearts that you ain’t never gonna be that old, and “you can put your hands up like the ceiling can’t hold you” to reach for your dreams and keep doing so until you’re dead!  As a Baby-boomer, I refuse to have my best years having happened in my youth only.  The good times are ahead of me, today, tomorrow, and any day after that (God willing).  I just have to stop wearing inappropriate shoes on my adventures setting me up for classic pratfalls on level ground that everyone on Earth and in the Heavens are laughing their asses over.   Grrr!

Getting Old Maxine

Cartoon by: John Wagner (“Maxine”)

“But I’m kind of comfortable with getting older because it’s better than the other option, which is being dead. So I’ll take getting older.”—George Clooney

 “Nevertheless, I can tell you that you will awake someday to find that your life has rushed by at a speed at once impossible and cruel. The most intense moments will seem to have occurred only yesterday and nothing will have erased the pain and pleasure, the impossible intensity of love and its dog-leaping happiness, the bleak blackness of passions unrequited, or unexpressed, or unresolved.”― Meg Rosoff, What I Was

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intentions of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to slide in broad-side, thoroughly used up—totally worn out—and loudly proclaiming:  ‘Wow, what  a ride!’”—Mark Frost

Baby Boomers grow old Horsey

Cartoon by: David Horsey

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

 
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Posted by on June 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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