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AMERICANS: WE BE “CRAY-CRAY”

Do you know what I discovered this week? The term “cray-cray.”

CRAY-CRAY: Stemming from the term ‘crazy,’ when referring to someone as ‘cray-cray,’ signifies their craziness to a whole other level.

The ultimate second power of crazy.

This person can either be insane in the brain.

Or simply, TOO DOWN—to the point where it’s not even cool anymore.”—Urban Dictionary

I have no idea whether anyone uses this expression anymore. I called Baby-girl (the harbinger of all things that are culturally au courant to keep her mother from bringing shame on the family name), but I was unable to get a hold of her.  Therefore, I am going to use the word anyway because I came across all sorts of mess in America this week that can only be defined as “the ultimate second power of crazy.”

Cray Cray No One Meme

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There were so many over-the-top “cray-cray” stories in the news this week that I fantasized about holding a contest to choose a Miss or Mr. America Cray-Cray. Imagine, if you will, a pageant for the Cray-Cray Award of the week—taken straight from the headlines. Every American would be eligible for it—all you’d have to do is something outlandishly stupid. Once the king or queen was crowned, we could send them on a national tour for a year as a roving example of being an exception to American Exceptionalism. Maybe after a few gazillion of these tours, we Americans would start to get the point that we are not just all about ourselves, but that we are our brothers’ keepers, and to be exceptional we must embody humility, integrity, and brotherly love.

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THE FIRST (SOON TO BECOME WEEKLY) AMERICAN CRAY-CRAY PAGEANT

HOST: THE DALAI MAMA (ALTER EGO OF E. TOMCZYK, THE WRITER)

DM:       Welcome one and all to the first weekly “American Cray-Cray” pageant. First off, let me clarify that y’all couldn’t have picked a better host because I’ve been cray-cray since day one. My mama was cray-cray, and so was her mama before her. Let’s just say, I knows my cray-cray when I sees it, and although I try to keep it under control, but by the grace of God go I.

Well, without further ado, let us proceed. Our first contestant that was brought to us by this week’s news is Mr. Police Department (a.k.a. Mr. Po-Po) from Ferguson, Missouri. His talent is racism married with strong-arming and police brutality.

Ferguson Rick McKee  The Augusta Chronicle

Used by Permission: Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

DM:       Mr. Po-Po of Ferguson, the stakes are pretty high this week. What makes you confident that you can take first prize in our American Cray-Cray pageant?

PO:        Hey, call us by our street name: The Ganstas of Ferguson. We are exceptional Americans because if “you be Black,” you will be twice as likely to be fined, locked up, and have the key to your cell thrown away (unless you can come up with triple the charge to get your sorry-ass out of jail). What we are most proud of is the Justice Department was able to prove that since 2012, we have made more money (exceeding our departmental budget) than expected because of the funding provided from locking you people up and charging you for the privilege of doing so. Not to mention, we have the best racist emails in police department history (that really ought to count for something). I really like the one that depicts Obama as a chimp and Michelle Obama naked from the waist up dancing like an African Zulu at her graduation (Photo shopping her head on a National Geo pic was awesome!). God, I love our department’s sense of humor. You’ve got to see the email joke about a man trying to put his dogs on welfare because they were mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no clue who their daddies are—simply priceless! On the other hand, we have a real heart for justice. Oh yes, we do! If someone like your White husband lived within our boundaries, and he got a parking or traffic ticket, the Justice Department showed ample proof that we would treat him like the true American he is and quickly make that sucker go away because we give exceptional service to people who look like us. Just ask any White person in town—especially if they are our friends and relatives. I deserve to win the Mr. American Cray-Cray crown just for showing favoritism to our White citizens.

DM:       Boy, you better be glad I know Jesus because I’d take that racist Billy club of yours and beat the cray-cray shit out of you. Now, go on over there and get out of my sight. I’m gonna need a shower in bleach after that interview. (Help me, Jesus!)

dwigh -schrute meme generator

DM:       Our next contestant is the elitist dating website: beautifulpeople.com. Her talent is being a hater. She takes a dollop of disdain, mixes it with contempt, and stirs in an ocean of rejection. Ms. Beautifulpeople.com, why do you think you should win the American Cray-Cray crown this week? You’re not even an American company; you’re from Denmark. You foreigners are always coming over here trying to steal our jobs.

BP:         No, we are not Americans, that’s true. But Americans use our website more than any other country. We currently have 1,457 USA members. And Americans take us much more seriously than France or Australia for instance. We have stringent rules about beauty compliance. In order to be able to join our website, the rest of the beautiful members must vote you in:

1) Beautiful______

2) Hmmmm, OK_______

3) No________

4) Absolutely not_______

BP:         I can tell you right now that you’d never make it, kiddo—so stay married. Plus, you’re much too old, and we don’t accept that many Black people.

DM:       Thanks for nothing, Biotch. I can see that your talent is shallowness as well. Why do you think you deserve to win the crown for Ms. American Cray-Cray?

BP:         Because we’re the best at making people feel like crap! Not only that, we massively purge people from our website if they don’t keep up to par with our beauty standards. We just purged 3,000 people for getting fat (not really fat you understand cause we don’t do fat people, but slightly chubby), and we’ve rejected 8 million people for being “ugly” since our launch in 2003. It’s so awesome to see people’s reactions. An American girl, Tawnie B., got kicked off for being too plain, too flat chested, and too nondescript. She went under the surgeon’s knife, here, there, and everywhere and came back with a vengeance. She’s our star client. She has a new nose, a sculpted chin, blue contact lenses, a pair of breasts that are the size of large cantaloupes (hers formerly looked like kiwis), blond hair extensions, and a 10 pound weight loss (although the cantaloupes added 7 pounds, but we let that slide for the good of the cause). You should see her now—looks like a human Barbie doll! She loves our website and is our biggest champion for keeping up our strict standards.

Online Dating Dan Pizarro

Cartoonist: Dan Piraro http://www.bizarro.com

DM:       Lord have mercy—Heaven, help us! Child, get back in line. Next!

Mr. Bill O’Reilly from Fox News—come to the front of the stage, please.

BO:        Here I am front and center, Dalai Mama. What a pleasure. You know that I was the Mr. Olympia winner in 1965 in NYC, don’t you? I was as big as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno at one time. Arnold won the title seven times through the years, and I won it six times. I would have tied with Gov. Schwarzenegger, but I had to cover the war in Viet Nam, and go on to win the Purple Heart for saving my platoon during a typhoon.

DM:       Bullshit, O’Reilly. I got your number—had it for a long time. I don’t need to ask you why you think you deserve the American Cray-Cray crown. I’ve been following the news. It is very obvious. You’ve been lying through your teeth regarding just about everything. And you really tried to crucify Brian Williams for exaggerating just a few things. You, the star of Fox News. Do you know if I had a dollar for every time a Christian told me that the only media they watch is Bill O’Reilly on Fox News because Fox News is “fair and balanced” and tells the truth, I’d be a very rich woman? And you’re nasty, too! Did you actually tell a reporter he was in “your kill zone” because he exposed your copious lies?   And did you really tell a New York Times reporter that you would come after her with “everything I’ve got,” if her follow-up story did not please you? By the way, did anybody ever tell you that you’re a horrid individual? Go on back in line, you nasty-ass blowhard.

Bill OReilly David Fitzsimmons The Arizona Star

Used by permission: David Fitzsimmons, The Arizona Star

DM:       And now, who are you? Your name’s not on the line-up list.

ME:        Dalai, don’t your recognize me? It’s ET—your alter ego, and the author of this blog and the book Monsters’ Throwdown.

DM:       Oh, hey Girlfriend. I’m so overwrought that I didn’t recognize you. What you doin’ in this pageant?

ME:        I decided to enter the pageant for the Cray-Cray crown because I am losing my mind. I think I deserve the cray-cray recognition. I’m trying to finish my second book, put my house up for sale now that WW has announced his retirement, and move and buy a new house in a completely different town all before May or I fall apart—whichever comes first. I’m on the final chapter of my book (Fleeing Oz), we’ve denuded the house of all personality so that potential buyers can “see themselves living in it with their shit,” and I am sorting through a gazillion houses in our new town—hoping to make the right decision—all while trying to launch a book. This is our last home purchase. It’s got to be fabulous with great neighbors. The next time I move after this move, it will be to roll into an old folks’ home or my grave. I must be cray-cray to have willingly put all this pressure on my shoulders in such a short time frame. What was I thinking?

DM:       No, you’re not cray-cray. You’re “shib cray,” which means you’re bat-shit crazy, Girlfriend! Ha!

ME:        Maybe you’re right. Although I think that title should be reserved for the two American women from Los Angeles who are in line behind me. [Whispering] They were caught carving their initials in the Coliseum in Rome the other day and taking selfies of the damage. Can you believe it? Now that is “shib cray.”

DM:       Yep, I think you might be right, my friend. Well, since I’m the only judge of this pathetic pageant, let’s end this nightmare and go get a drink.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN:

The 3rd place winner of the American Cray-Cray pageant is: LA women who defaced Coliseum

The runner up is: Bill O’Reilly of Fox News (although he’ll probably lie and say he took 1st place)

And the winner is (drum roll, please): Mr. Po-Po of Ferguson, Missouri ‘cause nobody believes the shit they did to the citizens of Ferguson could be happening in America in the year 2015 (being the exceptional country that we are).

DM:       Good night everybody, safe travels, and stay tuned for next week’s American Cray-Cray pageant. We already have a front runner who recently trampled all over our American ideals:

SAE Milt Priggee www miltpriggee com

Cartoon Used by Permission: SAE | Milt Priggee, http://www.miltpriggee.com

DM:       The SAE fraternity of the University of Oklahoma is proud to announce that they believe their well-rehearsed racist chant (see below) on a party bus with tuxedo-clad white brothers and their cocktail-clad dates should cinch first place. Judge for yourselves, and let’s all hope we can get their parents to attend the pageant. They will be so proud—for surely it must have been their upbringing that made these White boys act so horribly and without a shred of sensitivity or compassion.

“There will never be a nigger SAE. There will never be a nigger SAE. You can hang him from a tree, but he will never sign with me. There will never be a nigger SAE.”

DM:      Cheers, my fellow citizens!  Here’s to American Exceptionalism! 

***

I am discovering that we Americans really love to think of ourselves as extraordinary—American Exceptionalism, I think the Republicans call it. But we are all a little cray-cray and need to keep ourselves under control. I actually believe that my rags to riches life, as portrayed in my memoir (Monsters’ Throwdown), couldn’t have happened in any other country than America, and that is exceptional. (What would have been cray-cray on my part is if I hadn’t showed up for the opportunities presented, and walked through the doors kicked open by those heroes who went before me.) What we have provided as a nation regarding opportunities, education, democracy, freedom, and human rights is damn exceptional, except when it isn’t. Our nation’s exceptionalism gets flushed down the toilet the minute we allow bigotry, selfishness, lying, manipulation, arrogance, hatred, greed, apathy, laziness, and the desire to trample upon the love of our fellowman for our own personal, self-centered gains to own us. When that happens—we’re no longer exceptional, we’re all just “shib cray—bat-shit crazy!”

Exceptionalism is the perception that a country, society, institution, movement, or time period is ‘exceptional’ (i.e., unusual or extraordinary) in some way and thus does not need to conform to normal rules or general principles.”—Wikipedia

“Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.”—Dennis Prager

“If everyone were clothed with integrity, if every heart were just, frank, kindly, the other virtues would be well-nigh useless.”—Moliere

Author Going Cray Cray Boo Tomczyk

Evidence of Author finally losing it after hearing about Ferguson Po-Po and the SAE from U of O!—Meme by “Boo Tomczyk”

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

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

REFERENCES

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2980740/Elitist-dating-website-beautiful-people-ditches-THREE-THOUSAND-users-piled-pounds-aged-gracelessly-500-Britons.html

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/03/The-Gangsters-Of-Ferguson/386893/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2015/03/09/ex-fox-newser-tells-cnn-that-oreilly-has-lied-so-many-times/?hpid=z5

http://www.salon.com/2015/03/09/bill_oreillys_sick_pathology_why_his_systematic_lying_is_even_worse_than_reported/

http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/09/travel/tourists-arrested-rome-colosseum/index.html

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/03/10/oklahoma-s-racist-frat-is-very-not-ok.html

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

 
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Posted by on March 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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ELECTRICITY IS NOT A HOBBY

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Due to the urgency of the subject matter, I am rerunning last week’s story to include an update about Eric Garner (Staten Island Man killed by NYC policemen in apparent chokehold for selling loose cigarettes) and Tamir Rice (twelve-year-old murdered by Cleveland police in possession of an airsoft BB-gun). The subject matter of judicial imbalance, racial injustice, and an overall “come to Jesus” meeting needed in America about racism in general is much too important to abandon just yet for the fluff Christmas post that I originally intended for this week. New dialogue and cartoons have been added to the storyline.

Do you know what I discovered this week? While I was away cheating on my vegetarian diet with stuffed turkey and the works, three conspiracy theories from the “man on the street” were texted to me by my roving news hounds who send me blog ideas each week:

#1. Bill Cosby accused of murdering Dr. Cliff Huxtable. A dear, sweet, African-American actor has been set up by “The Man” (a.k.a. white people) who don’t want black folks to be rich and famous.

#2. Ferguson Grand Jury decision purposely delayed from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. to give time for media incitement from both the Left and the Right to ignite bad behavior to fire up dull news cycle (puns intended): (“Ferguson is a powder-keg! Will it blow tonight? Will people manage to stay calm in all their pent-up anger, frustration, and disappointment?), proving once again that “The Man” doesn’t want black folks to have nice things.

#3. Eric Garner Grand Jury refused to indict Police Officer Daniel Pantaleo for allegedly using a chokehold on an overweight black man for allegedly selling loose cigarettes because they hate fat people and love cigarette taxation. Also, it is clear that Obama is trying to start a race war.

#4. Cleveland Police Officer Timothy Loehmann (white), who shot and killed twelve-year-old Tamir Rice (black), is said to have been a “righteous” policeman who resigned from the Independence, Ohio police department for what CNN cites as a “dangerous loss of composure during live range training.”  The Cleveland Po-Po—always a model of law enforcement across America (I know because I was born and raised there)—hired Officer Loehmann without checking his previous employment records. Why?  The conspiracy theory is that this is Cleveland’s way of endearing itself to its minority population and maintaining its title of “The Mistake On the Lake,” and once again, Obama is trying to start a race war, people!

#5. Husband of author of Monsters’ Throwdown lodges a complaint with the Homeowners’ Association and his wife that his house is trying to assassinate him. He says his house is no longer a home because it has joined in conspiracy with his car, the appliances, the plumbing, the electricity, and the gas to eat up his retirement funds and rob him of all peace and joy.

Hell Greets Cosby Daryl Cagle CagleCartoons com

Used by permission: Daryl Cagle, CagleCartoons.com

I’ve got to tell you that the conspiracy theories brought to my attention within the past twenty-four hours have really done me in. I’m horrified on all accounts, and I really don’t know what to think or how to deal with them. One would think that the conspiracy theory that is close to home—my husband WW’s agitation with our home and its inanimate objects—would be manageable. I thought so too until my very intelligent but not-so-handy-handyman decided to take matters into his own hands.

I had just settled down at my desk to put together an outline for my blog, and as I sometimes do, had set up a list of four words that randomly popped into my head (three had come to mind, but I was still searching for the fourth) to focus my mind on the subject matter that I wanted to explore:

Integrity

Justice

Humanity

__________?

At that exact moment, I saw my husband (WW) march past my office door replete with a fully-stocked tool belt, workman’s glasses, a workman’s hard hat, and a pneumatic nail gun. Curious, I stopped typing mid-sentence…

ME:        Babe, where you going looking like one of the Village People?

WW:      Installing a dimming switch for the dining room chandelier for the holidays. I thought we could use more ambience.

ME:        Really? Okay. But it looks as if you’re going to singlehandedly build a three-story house with all those tools while simultaneously dancing to “YMCA.”   I don’t know much about nail guns, but I never heard of one being used to install a light switch. Don’t you use that particular tool to lay down wooden floors? Are you sure we shouldn’t call an electrician?

WW:      Why? Any idiot with half-a-brain can do this simple task. I’m Mensa, I speak four languages, I’m college-educated, and I can read the damn instructions on how to install a dimmer switch. If I call an electrician, he’ll charge me an arm and a leg. I’m tired of being ripped off.

ME:        All right, Honey. I need to get back to my blog. But yell if I can lend a hand.

With a great deal of trepidation, I returned to the outline of my blog. As I researched the stories of Bill Cosby and the alleged rape allegations (cried a bit at the betrayal of my trust by an idol) and Ferguson’s Grand Jury decision and subsequent riots (screamed and yelled a great deal on both accounts), I suddenly heard a piercing scream (“AAUUGH”) from my husband followed by a string of swear words in four different languages:  “Khayim ba-zevel [Hebrew], yup tvayoo materi [Russian], merde [French], skurwysyn [Polish], goddamnit!” When I ran to see if WW was okay, I could smell the fried hair and see the smoke emanating from his head. He had gotten an electric shock and actually lived to tell about it.

Electric Shock Cartoon Stock

Google Image: Respect Electricity Cartoon Stock

Any wife that has been married as long as I have, knows that watching her husband’s head smolder from his electrical misstep is not the time to say “I told you so.” But as I returned to writing my blog, I suddenly realized I had a fourth word to form the arc of my story: electricity. Integrity, Justice, Humanity, and Electricity. There was a story revolving around those four words with Bill Cosby and Ferguson, but I just couldn’t see it yet. Just as a light bulb flashed within my head with an idea, an actual light bulb in the ceiling fan exploded above my head. This time I was the one who did the screaming!

My resident handyman with blond electrical-spiked hair came running, took out a pair of tweezers-plyers from his tool belt, and began to advance toward the offending light socket with bold determination.

“NOOOOOOOO,” I screamed. “Call an electrician!” (It turned out that the entire fan needed overhauling—not just a socket change—and if I hadn’t spoken up when I did, WW would have destroyed the entire computer board in the fan and the remote with his limited knowledge of electricity and his do-it-yourself plan.)

When my husband came back from scheduling the electrician, I asked him if he’d told on himself about his electrical mishap and what the electrician had said. WW said that he had—with chagrin—told on himself, and all the electrician could say was: “Electricity is not a hobby, Mr. Tomczyk.”

*

EUREKA! That was the storyline for my blog: Integrity, and justice, are like electricity which equals humanity. These character qualities are not to be engaged in casually—they are not a hobby! It was with that clarity of purpose and mind that I set out to unravel the things that bothered me about two of our most recent American tragedies.

Truth Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

Used by permission: Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

THE ELECTRICITY HEARING OF THE FERGUSON DEBACLE

INTEGRITY: To the members of the Grand Jury, my fellow prosecutors and I are here to bring clarity to the actions of the players in the recent Ferguson insanity. Why are very few of our blogger’s peeps (African-American and liberal commentators) talking about the thuggish actions of Michael Brown (captured on a security camera) robbing a convenience store in his community of cigars and shoving the store owner who tried to stop Mr. Brown before his encounter with Officer Wilson? The eighteen-year-old was someone’s son, but he was not Trayvon Martin, innocently walking back home after purchasing Skittles and iced tea and gunned down by an overzealous, wannabe cop with a racist mindset. Treating Michael Brown like a hero is a mischaracterization of the truth.

HUMANITY: Hold on Integrity. Brown’s misbehavior didn’t justify him being gunned down in the street and left there for four and a half hours while residents of the community walked by in horror and children burst into tears at the sight of a man lying in a pool of his own blood and policemen sauntered back and forth contaminating the crime scene. Why didn’t Officer Wilson aim for the knees if he felt threatened—why the “kill shot”? Why didn’t other officers get an ambulance to the scene ASAP?

INTEGRITY: True, true. But Humanity, why didn’t the prosecutor recuse himself from this case coming from a home whose father-cop had been murdered by a black man when the prosecutor was twelve years old? That would have been the righteous thing to do because no one could be impartial given those very personal circumstances—no one. Why did it appear that the prosecutor shredded his integrity by acting as Officer Wilson’s defense lawyer rather than a prosecutor guiding the grand jury to take the case to trial? Maybe the outcome would have been the same, but at least it would have appeared to be unbiased.

JUSTICE: Why were protestors burning, looting, and destroying their own community? What does a 70-inch looted TV, a trashed bakery shop, and a torched beauty supply establishment in a place where you live have to do with justice not served? The President called for calm. The grieving parents of Michael Brown called for calm. That was all that needed to be said or done that night. There is a battle of integrity ahead against the realities of a middle-class area that has slipped into poverty and an out-of-control police force (replicated across America), but the integrity of the rule of law must be obeyed or we’re all screwed at some point.

Ferguson Grand Jury Mike Keefe Cagle Cartoons

Used by permission: Mike Keefe, Cagle Cartoons

JUSTICE: Most policemen are good peeps, but we have a problem with too many of them who act as judge, juror, and executioner—especially against minorities. Our blogger is a chubby-ass, upper-middle-class, educated, sophisticated black woman married to a white man. But she never leaves home without identification and looking like a million bucks—even to take out the garbage. Why? Because she has been questioned by white policemen more times than she can count for being in the “wrong area” at the “wrong time” in multiple states. During each encounter with a white policeman, she was where she was supposed to be—either checking into a five-star bed and breakfast, or she just lived a few houses away and had gone out to smell the roses. And yet, not one of her white friends or acquaintances (including her husband) has ever, ever suffered these types of indignities—not even once. And yet it is commonplace for her as a black woman. The pain of this degradation runs deep amongst African-Americans, and it is not something that should be ignored or trivialized by their white brothers and sisters. Work still needs to be done for all races in America to feel as if they are treated equally.

HUMANITY: I want to know why did the policeman, Darren Wilson, not show one shred of humanity toward the Brown family for the loss of their child when he was being interviewed by George Stephanopoulos for ABC? I think it would have gone a long way to ease a tiny bit of pain in Ferguson, if when asked by the interviewer if he had any regrets, the officer had conveyed remorse at having killed a child of grieving and devastated parents. Instead, Officer Wilson said matter-of-factly (as if he had simply squished a bug), “no—I did what I was trained to do.” He said his conscience was clear and he would do it again. Really? I speak as the world’s humanity, and I state that the taking of a life should always give humans pause—even if it’s within their purview as a soldier or a policeman. If humans are graced with even a shred of humanity, killing another human should never be matter-of-fact and comfortable.

INTEGRITY: I tell you one thing: This is anything but Martin Luther King’s dream.

Cosby Allegations John Cole The Scranton Times Tribune

Used by permission: John Cole The Scranton Times Tribune

THE ELECTRICITY HEARING OF BILL COSBY’S MURDER OF DR. CLIFF HUXTABLE

INTEGRITY: To the members of the Grand Jury, my fellow prosecutors and I are here to establish clarity surrounding the recent allegations of Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable’s assassination by Mr. Bill Cosby. There must have been agents, managers, producers, other comics, actors, directors, and even Cosby’s wife who knew or suspected Bill Cosby’s Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde split personality and turned a blind eye. (I know the comedian is innocent until proven guilty, but there is much too much smoke for there not to be a fire here—a reported 19 and counting 21 and counting rape accusations.) Where was the integrity of “good people” who kept this sordid tale so well hidden for so long—somebody besides the victims knew something? Cosby’s integrity seemed to be shoved up in a place where the sun don’t shine when he self-righteously preached to young black males to “pull up your pants,” “read a book,” “fix your grammar,” and “stop having babies out of wedlock” on his big papa lecture tour after writing his infamous book Come on People: On the Path from Victims to Victors? (As if droopy pants are the equivalent of drugging and raping women.) The Associated Press once credited Cosby with a great line about integrity:

“For me there is a time … when we have to turn the mirror around,” he said. “Because for me it is almost analgesic to talk about what the white man is doing against us. And it keeps a person frozen in their seat, it keeps you frozen in your hole you’re sitting in.”

I say, Mr. Cosby, I think it is time to turn your own goddamn mirror around!

JUSTICE: Integrity—that was a bit much. Cool it, Sista! Remember, the demise of the beloved Dr. Huxtable by the hands of his creator is simply hearsay until proven otherwise. I will say though that justice deferred is definitely justice denied, but in the scope of eternal justice, be sure human sins will find them out. The rape allegations against Bill Cosby may have skirted the Statute of Limitations, but they are not beyond that of public opinion—thus the recent cutting of ties between Cosby and his alma mater (University of Massachusetts Amherst), the halting of lucrative projects with NBC and Netflix, his forced resignation from Temple University’s Board of Trustees, and the Navy’s stripping of Cosby’s honorary title as chief petty officer. I suspect there will be more.

HUMANITY: You think!? (That’s sarcasm in case you didn’t notice!) We all should be furious. Even if those women were misguided or naïve, the at least 19 and counting 21 and counting rape allegations were someone’s daughter, sister, cousin, aunt, or niece. In another place, in another time, these could have been any of Cosby’s four daughters and the alleged rapist some other man who had turned his back on basic humanity.

INTEGRITY: Well, I have to admit that I am pissed and hurt, and it will take a long time for me to get over it. Another one of my torch bearers bites the dust!

Eric Garner Mike Keefe Cagle Cartoons

Used by permission: Mike Keefe Cagle Cartoons

THE ELECTRICITY HEARING OF A LOOSIE CHOKEHOLD AND A TWELVE-YEAR-OLD TAKE DOWN

JUSTICE: To the members of the Grand Jury in NYC, my fellow prosecutors and I have come before you with broken hearts. You had a tape, you saw and heard an innocent man without a weapon say “I can’t breathe!” eleven times. Yet you failed to indict the police. I ask you Grand Jury of NYC, how much is a man’s life worth in loose cigarettes? I, justice, have come undone.

INTEGRITY: You’re undone? I can’t stop crying over the death of a twelve-year-old who goes outside to play with a toy gun (maybe not the smartest move on the part of his parents to allow him to do this—still, did he deserve to die over a slip in judgment?), and he is shot within minutes of police arriving on the scene after they were warned that the gun might be a toy by the 911 caller. And get this: Twelve-year-old Tamir was shot by Police Officer Timothy Loehmann who had resigned from another force for what CNN cites as a “dangerous loss of composure during live range training” and an “inability to manage personal stress.” Deputy Chief Jim Polak’s review gave this final assessment: “I do not believe time, nor training, will be able to change or correct these deficiencies.” But, hello! Cleveland hired Officer Loehmann anyway without a thorough background check. WTF?!

HUMANITY: Yikes! Looks like America the beautiful has a problem! It is time for all good people in the land to come together and admit there are racial inequities that must be addressed instead of turning a blind eye and allowing the miscarriage of justice to sweep them under the proverbial carpet. The question that must be asked is “if that had been a twelve-year-old white boy with a toy gun, would he still be alive today? If the answer is yes, then America, you do indeed have a major humanity problem!

Eric Garner II Milt Priggee www miltpriggee com

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

***

I am discovering that integrity and justice are like electricity, and electricity equals our humanity. Without the illumination of a clear sense of humanity coursing through our society, there can be no cohesive and compassionate community, and there will never be a post-racial environment in America. Ignoring these righteous qualities will cause us to constantly be at each other’s throats because of inhumane miscarriages of justice and threatening to burn the motherfucker down at every turn.

If we continue to undervalue individual integrity married to humanity, men will continue to rape women with impunity while society and the law turns a blind eye, and justice will be something that we only read about in fairy tales.

I am also discovering that integrity, justice, and humanity are not hobbies—they are the electricity of life.

***

“Goodness is about character – integrity, honesty, kindness, generosity, moral courage, and the like. More than anything else, it is about how we treat other people.”Dennis Prager

“Where justice is denied, where poverty is enforced, where ignorance prevails, and where any one class is made to feel that society is an organized conspiracy to oppress, rob and degrade them, neither persons nor property will be safe.”Frederick Douglass

“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

“We forget just how painfully dim the world was before electricity. A candle, a good candle, provides barely a hundredth of the illumination of a single 100 watt light bulb.”—Bill Bryson

*

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

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

*

REFERENCES

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/bill-cosbys-legacy-recast-accusers-speak-in-detail-about-sexual-assault-allegations/2014/11/22/d7074938-718e-11e4-8808-afaa1e3a33ef_story.html?hpid=z1

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/11/28/prosecutor-used-grand-jury-to-let-darren-wilson-walk.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/bill-cosby-and-my-dad-a-bond-now-broken/2014/11/21/120c024c-71af-11e4-ad12-3734c461eab6_story.html?hpid=z6

http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/27/showbiz/bill-cosby-umass-amherst/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jim-wallis/a-sad-night-for-america_b_6219540.html

http://www.salon.com/2014/11/26/a_hallucination_of_your_worst_fears_legal_scholar_patricia_williams_on_what_darren_wilsons_testimony_reveals_about_racism_in_america/

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/06/nationwide-protests-eric-garner_n_6280366.html

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2014/nov/24/boy-fatal-shooting-cleveland-police-replica-guns-marked

http://www.cnn.com/2014/12/04/justice/cleveland-police-officer-timothy-loehmann/

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.

 

 
31 Comments

Posted by on November 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Back to School

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

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

Summers over Nate Beeler The Columbus Dispatch

Used by permission: Nate Beeler, The Columbus Dispatch

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

Back to School Rick McKee The Augusta Chronicle

Used by permission: Rick McKee, The Augusta Chronicle

***

WRITING ASSIGMENT: BACK TO SCHOOL STORY AS A TEACHER

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

[Or if my darling child was feeling especially talkative]

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

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

Middle-School Homework Assignment

10 page report on Capitalism vs. Communism

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

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

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

First Day of School John Darkow Columbia Daily Tribune Missouri

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Testing Daryl Cagle CagleCartoons com

Used by permission: Daryl Cagle, CagleCartoons.com

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

Testing Mike Keefe Cagle Cartoons

Used by permission: Mike Keefe, Cagle Cartoons

***

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

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

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

 

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

*BUY NOW: Monsters’ Throwdown

BACK TO SCHOOL MONKEY

My worst nightmare as a student

REFERENCES

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

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

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

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

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

 
24 Comments

Posted by on August 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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