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PLEASE BLOW SMOKE UP MY KEISTER

Do you know what I discovered?  Trump taught me something recently.  (I know!  Aren’t you amazed!)  He taught me how a person can get people to blow smoke up his or her behind, and it can sometimes be a good thing.  I’m sure you all saw it or read about it.  He called his first cabinet meeting and after touting his royal greatness, he had his cabinet sound off one-by-one about what a fabulous job he’s been doing and what an incredible leader he is.

Trump Cabinet Steve Sack The Minneapolis Star Tribune

Cartoon used by permission: Steve Sack, The Minneapolis Star-Tribune

BINGO, I thought.  This is sheer genius!  Trumpee has taught me something I can use.  Why don’t I apply this methodology to getting reviews for my new book, I thought?  You see, I just learned from my publicist that if I can get 50 reviews from people who have read my new book, The Fetus Chronicles: Podcasts from my Miseducated Self, Amazon will list my book in its newsletters and other promotions.  Isn’t that cool?

BMProof-FetusChronicles

“The Fetus Chronicles” Book Mark Proof: Su from Earthly Charms

 

I bet you’re saying to yourself, “I’d love to write a review for you Eleanor, but if the truth be known, the thought of typing something into Amazon cares me to death.  How do I go about it, and what if I get tongue tied, or in this case, finger tied?”  Don’t be afraid.  It is quite simple.  You don’t have to be Hemingway; you can say as little as, “I liked this book,” and all you have to do is follow these very simple instructions:

How to Write a Review

In the meantime, while you are thinking about how to “blow smoke up my ass” on Amazon (if you hate my book, remember that my name is “Smeegle Klondonovich”), please enjoy a redo of my first published writing that started it all.  I got beaten by the writing bug, so to speak, after I wrote this.  This story will hopefully remind you what a “brilliant, talented, outstanding, deeply profound writer I am”—don’t you agree?

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WILL HIGH SCHOOL EVER END?

(Repurposed post from 2013)

Why is it in real life, as in high school, we exert so much energy trying to impress people we don’t know, won’t ever see again after our season of random internment, and who have no financial or emotional investment in our future?

I have beautiful, White girlfriends who won’t go to a swimming pool while on vacation because they don’t have the figures they had in college anymore, and the strangers across the pool from them, who they don’t know and couldn’t care a rat’s ass about, might become scornful of their cellulite or less than perky boobs. When in reality, they should be embracing Joy Behar’s classic observation of things that shouldn’t matter one iota:  “So what – who cares?”

All my baby boomer girlfriends have better bodies than I, but even though I’m at least 50 pounds heavier (when I’m telling the truth), I have a black woman’s sensibility about this issue: accent the positive, suck in the negative, and skirt the thunderous. Then bedazzle the shit out of your goddess self with a rhinestone cover-up and rhinestone flip-flops, and “drop it like it’s hot, baby”!

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Author Doing Her Bedazzled Thing: Photo Credit–J. Tomczyk

Not too long ago, my husband and I took an extended cruise in the Mediterranean.  It was the trip of a lifetime. Everything was better than we had fantasized: the weather was picture perfect, the people were warm and accepting, the 3,000 passenger ship was outstanding, the food was superb, and we were like newlyweds reveling in each other’s company. The only thing that seemed to cause just a tiny bit of consternation was the very aggressive touring itinerary (4 days of excursions, 1 day at sea, 3 days of excursion, 1 day at sea, 2 days of excursion, 1 day at sea) that we had been given. But I wasn’t overly concerned because even though I’m a “fat-bottom girl,” it doesn’t mean I’m not in good health. I’m a daily exerciser and had trained for this trip for 8 months.  I added strenuous hills to my daily, treadmill workout, climbed the stairs at work in the afternoons, and special ordered shoes a triathlon athlete would use.

What I didn’t expect and what my research never revealed was that all of our 10 touring sites were perched on the top of ancient hills or mountains with steep inclines to protect the antiquity inhabitants from marauders.  Most accesses were like scaling a wall.

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Port of Malta: Photo Credit–E. Tomczyk

Every evening we were given an overview of the activities for the next day.  In between the instructions for the cake decorating class and the marzipan demonstrations was listed the information the cruise director felt we needed in order to survive our shore excursions.

Ship Brochure: It takes 600 steps to reach the top of your fabulous destination.  There is a cable car if you prefer or you can employ a donkey to transport you up and down the ancient stone stairs.  Wear comfortable shoes. Cost: $100 – $400/person. The ship departs at 5:30 – if you miss the departure, you will have to make your own way to the next port to meet the ship.

Translation: The 600 steps are straight up the face of a mountain; the cable car often has a two-hour wait, and you will miss your ship utilizing that mode of transportation. The stairs are shared by donkeys that slip constantly on the descent and leave slippery “pooh” all over the staircase from Hell. No manner of footwear is capable of keeping you upright once you lose your footing going down – you might as well kiss your sorry ass goodbye. Before you leave this beautiful island, the tour guide will make sure she dumps you in the shopping area that has only one way in and out to the stairs or the unreliable, overly-crowded cable car system. The shopkeepers will try to help you by relieving you of as many Benjamins as possible to lighten the load of your descent. Trying to balance yourself on a donkey while your hands are stuffed with chotzkies however will be proof-positive that you have lost your ever-loving mind – once and for all. Good luck, silly over-weight Americans!

DAY THREE TOUR:  On day three, my husband (the Energizer Bunny), a gay couple (the extremely handsome, not-one-ounce-of-fat-on-their-bones Neil Patrick Harris and his partner David Burtka look-alikes), a lesbian couple (50’ish with similar body frames as mine whose bodies had each born children in their former lives), an octogenarian grandmother from Iowa sporting a recent double-knee replacement, and an old dude of an age somewhere between 90 and Methuselah began our shore excursion.

Because I temporarily lost consciousness, I can’t remember at what point I lost my mind and reverted back to high school.  I do remember approaching a sky-high escalator in a museum with hundreds of other people in sweltering heat and watching the escalator break down right before my group got on.  Because there was a wall of people behind us, we were forced to go forward and mount a circular ramp that seemed like twenty flights of stairs that shot straight up to the heavens. The lesbian mothers, the grandmother from Iowa, the Methuselah dude, and I stared at each other in total horror! Hadn’t we just climbed 300 steps the day before and 200 steps the day before that, as well as an unexpected 100 steps in a museum that wasn’t listed?  Didn’t the brochure assure us there would be no more steps to climb on this tour? I could have sworn someone said we’d catch a break today.

Carnival Dave Granlund Politicalcartoons com

Cartoon used by permission: Dave Granlund, Politicalcartoons.com

All I know is that my husband, who has the ability to walk faster than most people can run, took off up the ramp to find the tour guide who was nowhere to be seen.  As the rest of our group began to ascend the inevitable, the gay boys began telling us about a rather large, fat-bottomed woman (whose ass was the size of Cleveland) who couldn’t make it up the last ramp in the previous city, and they just couldn’t understand why people didn’t read the ship instructions about the strenuous nature of the excursions.

(Had they seen my ass, I wondered?  Was this a veiled hint about moi?)

“I mean, really now, why can’t these people ‘just say no’ if they’re too fat to complete the course without looking like they’re going to die,” said our Neil Patrick Harris look-alike cruise mate. “Personally, I feel like making an announcement tonight at dinner over the PA system.  ‘Really people – know your limitations; because you need to cut the rest of us some freakin’ slack!  We’re having heart attacks here just wondering if you’re gonna have a heart attack right in front of us’”!

The lesbian couple, the grandmother, the tremulous old man, and I gingerly laughed along with the boys, but we silently heard the “Rocky theme song” roaring in our ears (or was it the blood rushing to our heads before the onset of major strokes as we secretly wondered if they were ridiculing us?).  We took off up the incline like thoroughbreds at the Kentucky Derby trying to match the gait of the Adonis boys, leaning almost at a 45 degree angle to balance our bodies on the slope. As I passed the old man at my road-runner pace, his eyes widened in terror as his lips mouthed, “What the fuck?” but my team and I had to leave him in the dust.  Keeping up with the Adonis-looking critics was all that mattered, even if it meant moving at the speed of light and losing a soldier along the way.  These bodies had born children and nursed babies, goddamnit! The fat on our asses, our low-hanging breasts, and puff-n-stuff stomachs were badges of honor.  Maybe the gay boys had children, but they sure as hell hadn’t “had” children!

The octogenarian dropped out about two-thirds of the way (clutching her side) and gasping for air. My lesbian sisters and I made it to the top without dying, but I had a Charlie-horse in my ass that wouldn’t quit. As the girls and I high-fived each other (sisters, hangin’ tough!), I could see (being the chubbiest in the bunch) that I had impressed the boys. What they didn’t know was that I couldn’t say more than two words without gasping for air or I would keel over and die.  I didn’t dare speak without great measure.  I knew if I tried to articulate more than one five-word sentence without pausing, I’d be the gay boys’ prophecy come true: one fat-bottom woman careening into their perfectly fit, athletic bodies and knocking them back down the slope like a giant chocolate snowball from on high.  So I took out my Blackberry (remember those?), nonchalantly leaned against the museum wall, and pretended to check messages as if I were some high-muckety-muck at a Fortune 500 company and the business couldn’t live without me.

Uphills Meme

Runner Meme: Courtesy of @ Cook in Canuck

“Some hike, huh?” said one of the gorgeous boys.

 “Uh, huh. . . .” I whispered, while trying not to lose consciousness as my heart almost exploded in my chest from over-exertion.

“Great ship, isn’t it? said the other Adonis boy. “What’s on your agenda tomorrow?  We’re going rock climbing.  Isn’t that exciting?!”

 “G-r-e-a-t!” (tap) “Me doing” (tap) “pool” (tap) “water volley-ball tournament” (tap) “against a bunch of twenty-somethings” (tap)—”gonna make them eat my” (tap) “dust.”

“Excellent!  You go, girl with your bad self!”

Clearly, I had impressed the boys.

The next day found the quivering old man with both hands glued to a walker while arduously climbing into the hot tub (he was still there at dinner time with a smile on his face).  The lesbian couple, the grandmother, and I met up at the spa first, and then we subsequently waddled to our separate “quiet” corners around the adult pool (cellulite, thunderous thighs, and saggy tits on full display).  We spent the afternoon sipping rum punches and napping the day away in rockin’ bathing suits while our mental health applauded our goal-setting activity of just being ourselves and being proud of the hard-earned battles won by giving and sustaining life with our amazing bodies.

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ELEANOR’S SELAH (“AHA”) MOMENT

I’ve discovered that if my girlfriends (old and new) and I ever want to shake the specter of high school, we need to finally travel at the beat of our own drummers in our old age, because it’s the condition in which we arrive at the final destination, not the opinions of others, that really matters.  Joy Behar really is an oracle whose mantra we should adopt when the high school spirit tries to tear us down and make us forget the amazing women that we have become in our mature years: So what – who cares!

Write a Review FB

Writer’s Meme: Courtesy of LianaBrooks.com

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

HAVEN’T YET READ ANY OF THE AUTHOR’S DISCOVERY SERIES?  CHECK OUT HER AUTHOR’S PAGE ON AMAZON!

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

 
2 Comments

Posted by on June 20, 2017 in Uncategorized

 

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Celebrate, Good Times—Come On!

Do you know what I’ve discovered?  People like me—they really like me, and I’m gonna do what Cool and the Gang have exhorted me to do:  “Celebrate, Good Times!”  As of this moment (more by the time this blog is posted), my blog has received 100,321 hits.  593 hits happened on my best day for the review of Skyfall in November (note to self:  do more movie reviews), and I’ve been spammed 8,625 times.  I am spam worthy, y’all!

100000 hits thank you

Google 100,000 Meme

This 100,000 hits and counting is all so ironic because I never wanted to write a blog, had never read a blog before writing one of my own, and didn’t think I had anything to say that anyone wanted to hear.  I got into this gig as so many others do because I wrote a book and arrogantly thought I’d get a literary agent on try #5 (actually I did get a nibble but she rejected me in the end) and a publisher at try #20.   (I did get a nibble from a small imprint publisher who wanted to feature my book as part of their African–American section, but after months of holding my manuscript, he decided they were going in a different direction.)   When I got my 236th rejection, various literary agents confirmed that it was generally due to the fact that I was a “nobody” with no followers (code for:  “Nobody wants to read a ‘nobody memoir’—become notorious and we’ll talk.”)  One of my published author friends counseled me to start a blog to get my style of writing and name out there, and when I balked and asked him what I should write about, he said: “Anything and everything—it doesn’t matter, just write.”

For weeks I pondered what a chubby-ass, post-menopausal black woman would post on a blog and in what format?  I had recently gone rogue and had taken back my belief in God after thirty years from it being hijacked in the clutches of right-wing conservatism, and I had a lot to say about being duped in life.   And then I got a revelation:  make ‘em laugh, sista’—make ‘em laugh at you and them.  I’ve always been a storyteller so I started writing stories about the absurdities in life because I’m old, and just about everything I’ve seen and done in the past can be laid waste by the magic wand of absurdity.  I can be absurd, you can be absurd, our neighbors can be absurd, sex can be absurd, politics is definitely absurd, religions at their worst are absurd, and the world at large is absurd because we all take ourselves much too seriously and do great damage in the wake of that absurdity.  I figured if I could make people laugh at themselves, maybe they (we) would take a look at the truth of the matter and change any of their (our) ways that were hurting themselves or our world.

Blog status

At first the stories were low-hanging fruit and easy to come by because I am a pratfalling, Lucille Ball-type of character who tries to pretend that I’ve got my shit together in real life.  But once those stories were all used up, I started looking to my family who immediately rushed forward to tell me what I could not write about:

ME:                        “Hey, Babe, can I write about our sex life?”

HUSBAND:          “No!”

ME:                        “Why not?  Sex is funny at any age and when you’re old, it’s hilarious.  What about that time we were doing the ‘wild thing’ and I fell asleep?”

HUSBAND:          (Total silence, which is how my husband responds to me when he has had enough of my shenanigans and doesn’t see the funny in what I see as funny.)

Then I started using stories about my kids when they were little or my grandson as he makes his way through life, but I’ve noticed over the last few family get-togethers that qualifiers are being placed on stories that my urchins share with me about their lives or the lives of their friends:  “This is not blog fodder, Mother!”

Politics made for great blog ingredients for a while, but I was glad when the presidential campaign season ended.  Tea Baggers, so-called Patriots, and folks who claim to be Born-again Christians dedicated to saving our country from Socialists and white-people-hating bloggers like me (one troll’s frothing response to my Black History piece) have absolutely no sense of humor.   These folks can be quite rabid when you poke fun at them or their media darlings, and they come after you with guns a blazing—morphing into “trolls” that definitely made me realize that getting everyone’s approval is not what makes a successful blogger.

Blog approval Mimi and Eunice

Mimi and Eunice |www.mimiandeunice.com

Pretty soon I couldn’t encounter a person or a situation without wondering whether they or it was a potential blog story.   I never exist in the moment anymore (not that I ever did) because I’m either thinking about writing a blog, actually writing the blog, or I’m editing a blog.  Like the time I went to a gorgeous spa for a quick get-away with my husband to have a romantic weekend and be rested enough so I didn’t repeat the faux pas of falling asleep (oops!), and while getting a quick mani-pedi, the nail technician began to regale me with her stories:

NAIL LADY:         “So you’re a blogger, huh?  What types of things do you blog about?”

ME:                        “Oh, anything and everything—whatever makes me laugh and has an underlying life-lesson.”

NAIL LADY:         “People tell me that I should write a book or something because you won’t believe some of the stories I hear sitting in this chair.  People tell me everything.”

ME:                        “I bet you have some juicy stories to tell.  But I warn you, anything you tell me could and probably will be used in an upcoming blog.”  (At this point, I woke up from my laid-back state of mind and turned on my inner tape recorder as I mentally took notes for what I could “smell” would be delicious comedic blog fodder for weeks to come.)

NAIL LADY:         “No problem.  Just don’t mention my name or the resort’s name and you can use anything you want.  Anyway, the funniest thing I ever had happen sitting in this chair was when a really young woman with tons of money came into the salon to get a mani-pedi.   You know the type:  blond, fake triple D tits, spray tan, and an engagement ring the size of Mt. Rushmore.   Miss “Got Rocks” immediately started telling me that she had recently married a man much, much older than herself, and they had come to the resort for a romantic weekend because, due to his age, they had been having trouble getting it on—or should I say, getting it up.  I had just finished her manicure and put her feet in the pedicure bath to soak when her cell phone rang.   At first she ignored it, mouthing (‘it’s my old man’), but he kept ringing her over and over until she picked up the phone.   She immediately became agitated and started screaming at him:  I can’t come back to the room now—I’m just starting my pedicure.  What?  You took the pill already?  But you knew I had this mani-pedi appointment, and I’d be here for a while.  Why did you take the pill so early?  Well, doesn’t the damn thing last for four hours?  What do you mean, that’s if something goes wrong?  Oh, fuck!  All right, I’ll come back to the room now—oh, for God’s sake!’   I try to tune out to my customer’s phone calls, but there’s not much you can do when you’re squatting near the floor scrubbing somebody’s feet.  Finally with a huge sigh of frustration, she told me that her ‘old man’ had taken his Cialis pill thirty minutes ago, and it looked as if his fun stick was beginning to droop at half-mast and he was in a panic.  He needed her to get back to the room ASAP before he was left aimlessly swinging in the breeze like a mourning flag at half-mast.”

ME:                        “Well, what did you do?”

NAIL TECH:         “The only thing I could do.  I suggested we reschedule her pedicure because if I polished her toes they would surely be destroyed in the morning’s ‘aerobic exercise’ with her husband.  She never returned.”

ME:                        “So I guess falling asleep while doing the wild thing isn’t the worst thing that can happen to a couple, right?”

NAIL LADY:         “Huh, what?”

ME:                        “Ah, never mind!”

Cialas Cartoo funnytimes dot com

http://www.funnytimes.com

When I first started my blog, I could hardly wait to get comments.  The first comments were from friends and family, but comments from other bloggers took a while until I established myself by consistently posting stories and leaving comments on their blogs.   It was as though credible bloggers were waiting to see if I was worth their time.   I learned to be patient, write quality pieces that would attract readers (make ‘em laugh, baby), and make as few mistakes as possible.  (Apparently, spelling and grammatical errors can get you run out of blogosphere town on a rail.)

Soon people (usually ones that I wished had passed me by) started finding my blog through search lines in Google that were beyond bizarre.  Some of them (they show up in the daily data script of the blog) I could read and laugh about, but some of them were just sick.  (I’ve often wondered what I could have written that would link my blog to the sicko searches that show up in my stats until another blogger who just posts gorgeous pictures of flowers once wrote a blog on the perverse search lines that bring people to her artistic site.)  Here are some of the searches that led people to my blog over the last year:

Tea Party fishing hats

Fat-ass chicks in flesh colored tights

WHEN DID THAT BITCH ELEANOR TOMCZYK LEAVE MY CHURCH?!

Little Ni**er Babies

Axolotls

Ms piggy

Brother’s keeper tattoos designs

Rihanna hands

Who the fuck is Eleanor Tomczyk?

Amy farrah fowler

How the hell did steven

Fat girl on a zipline

Katie Holmes journey

(PLUS, UNMENTIONABLE GOOGLE SEARCHES THAT ARE NOT WORTHY OF REPRINTING—JUST KNOW THAT THEY WERE HORRIBLE AND DESPICABLE—I NEEDED SOAP TO WASH OUT MY BRAIN!)

blog misspelling shoeboxblog dot com

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I am discovering that blogging has strengthened my relationship with my family (my kids discovered I was cool and smart because their friends read my blog and like it), and it’s given me something I never expected:  community.   As my writing has more clearly defined who I really am—as I have become freer to be me—it has not been without consequences here and there in relationships that I thought would go the distance.   My blog became a winnowing rod.  People who thought they knew me, didn’t, and people who should have known me and journeyed with me in my growth, refused, even though I had walked similar journeys with them.  But as some people from my past peeled away (“c’est la vie”), almost seamlessly, a community of amazing people wandered in from various walks of life (thanks Sondra, Maxine, Greg, Joanne, WW (my editor and husband), CDT and KLT and their multitudinous co-workers and friends, Kirsten, Deb, Peter, Sarah, Patty, Jean, Pam, Kathy, Lakeisha, Jeffrey, Susannah and a host of fans that I left behind at work) and the blogosphere.  They all liked the “me” they saw, and stayed to lend encouragement and support.

I am also discovering that the bloggers who encouraged me are people I’d love to gather together for wine and cheese on my deck on any given Sunday afternoon and celebrate their generosity to me.  I would keep my mouth shut and just listen to them talk amongst themselves as they spoke about what they most eloquently blog about—living, loving, beauty, and grace.  I love their writings, photos, and music, and they have given me constant encouragement to keep on keepin’ on with my journey as a writer.  I owe the following bloggers a great debt of gratitude for following, reading, linking to me, and in many cases listing me as one of their favorite blogs.  The fact that they return week after week and leave such delicious comments is sweetness personified.  Here’s a shout-out to some of the best bloggers in the sphere:  TDashfield at http://imagesbytdashfield.wordpress.com/ , Elyse at http://fiftyfourandahalf.com/,  Frank at http://afrankangle.wordpress.com/, Lynn Purse at http://composerinthegarden.com/ , Dawn G at http://talesfromthemotherland.me/ , Momsheib at http://momshieb.wordpress.com/ , Val at http://valentinelogar.com/ , Nonnie 9999 at http://mikk2.wordpress.com/ , Hudson Howl at www.beyondplumcreek.com, Karyn at http://anobservantmind.com/ , Miss Vixiev at http://eurobrat.wordpress.com/ , Tina at http://daysift.com/, Ronnie at http://morristownmemos.wordpress.com/ , Heather D at http://becomingcliche.wordpress.com/ , Nancy at http://notquiteold.wordpress.com/, George at http://georgefloreswrite.com/ , and Lindy Lee at http://poeticlicensee.wordpress.com/.  Thank you, all!  (If I forgot anyone, please don’t hate me—my brain is not what it used to be!)

blog vs newspapers Horsey

“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 you’re going to fall out of love with public approval, something interesting will happen: people will be deeply attracted to your work.”― Jeff Goins

 “I finished the [blog] post reflecting on the fact that, despite all the changes in my life, maybe I wasn’t so different after all. If I typed it, maybe I could believe it, too.”― Stephanie Nielson

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.

 
32 Comments

Posted by on April 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Who Cares What You Think

Do you know what I’ve discovered?   Everybody has a freakin’ opinion about everything in America, and for some reason they all think I really give a shit about what they think.  During the election season, I refrained from posting my opinions on anybody’s Facebook page or blog whose thoughts were antithetical to mine because what was the point?  I knew that nothing I could say would change their narrow minds, so why did they think trying to publicly chastise my opinion on my Facebook page or my blog would change what I assume they thought was my misguided mindset.  Well, “oh snap, biotches—my opinions didn’t change one iota, but your asses got blocked—so there!”

Facebook Friend disagrees with you meme

Southpark Facebook block meme

The irony that I have a blog when I have such a visceral response to other people’sopinions” might seem ludicrous.  But I never wanted to be a blogger and came to the medium kicking and screaming for the reason stated above—who the fuck cares about my opinion?  I didn’t even have a Facebook page because I
thought (and still do) that it was a giant waste of time.   I figured if you were my friend and cared about what I thought, you could ask me in person, and we could have a face-to-face intelligent dialogue about the subject at hand.  All this angst over to-blog-or-not-to-blog happened in the midst of me finishing the manuscript of my first book.

Blog notice

Google Image

But I was hopelessly naïve.  I thought I could write my book, send out the finished product to hundreds of literary agents and one “very interested publisher,” and they would flock to my door in a bidding war over the right to publish my gem of a memoir.   FALSE!

(NOTE FROM LITERARY AGENT #235 AND MIDWEST SMALL-PRINT PUBLISHER REGARDING THEIR OPINIONS ABOUT MY DESIRE TO BE A PAID AUTHOR OF MY (IN MY OPINION) AMAZING MEMOIR:   “Ms. Tomczyk, let’s get real here:  Your writing is good; you have a unique voice in the public square, and I personally find it intriguing, but unless you have a sex tape, a platform of 1M Twitter followers, and ½ million followers for a blog and Facebook page (by the way: why don’t you have a blog and FP page—are you meshugganah?),  no one is interested in what you have to say.  Justin Bieber or Kim Kardashian you’re not.  So far you’ve submitted a ‘nobody memoir’ to the publishing world and who would want to read the opinions of a “nobody.”   Take our advice and don’t hold your breath and, for God’s sake, don’t quit your day job.”)

Snoopy Rejection letter Charles Schulz Cartoon

Charles Schulz Cartoon|Google Image

My husband WW (“White and Wonderful”) is even more antagonistic about people’s  opinions than I am.  He’s the kind of person who believes in the mantra:  “just the facts ma’am—just give me the facts, and I’ll figure out the truth!”  When we first met some 40 years ago, if I threw out an opinion that was not factually based, WW’s only response would be a Sheldon-type (from The Big Bang Theory) full-throated response of one word:  “FALSE!”  There would be nothing else—no follow-up and no argument.  At first it royally pissed me off, then it made me laugh, and finally it gave me an appreciation of my husband’s genius, because he knew something that Einstein had once said that I didn’t’ know:  “Few people are capable of expressing with equanimity opinions that differ from the prejudices of their social environment.  Most people are even incapable of forming such opinions.

birthers forgot racism

Carlson Cartoon|image from Universal Press

I noticed WW’s Tourette’s-like “False!” responses were becoming more and more “de rigueur” as we visited churches in our area to find a place of worship where we didn’t feel worse coming out than we did going in.   (DISCLAIMER:  I do not have such an idiotic opinion about post-modern Christianity that I don’t realize that there are some wonderful and awesome churches in America and many of them some of my readers attend.  However, please note that IMHO none of these delightful churches exist in my area which is why I stopped pretending that going to church on Sunday did anything for me except bore me to tears.)

The end of church attendance for the time being all came to a head when WW and I visited a church we were invited to by my supervisor at work.   This woman fancied herself to be a top-notch, first-class Christian from deep in the heart of Texas, and she felt it her duty to make sure everyone around her in the workplace “loved the Lord” or she’d make their lives a living hell (can you say:  send in Human Resources, pronto please!).   I was new to this particular job and because of the seniority Texas-belle had over me at the time and the power she wielded with the head of the company, when she asked me to visit her church (trying to ascertain if I were a “true Christian,” I now know), politics dictated that I say yes.  I thought:  “Oh what the Hell; how awful can this be?  WW and I are looking for a church anyway, and if I accompany this woman this one time, she’ll leave me alone and show me kindness and favor at my new job.”

When WW and I first arrived at the church of approximately 1,200 people, nothing seemed unusual or out of the ordinary except that all the people were white (I was the only person of color), but I’ve traveled extensively around the world and I am easily culturally adaptable, and I’ve come to realize the sad truth that the 11:00 church hour in America is the most segregated hour of the week.  But it didn’t take long for me to start noticing the anomalies.

ME:        Psst . . . Honey.  Did you notice that all the women are wearing really baggy jumpers with large bows in their hair and not one of them has a stitch of make-up on?

WW:     Now that you mention it, yes.  I’ve also noticed how all the women have 6 – 12 children in tow and the men who are bookending them in the pews look absolutely miserable for people who are having that much sex.

ME:        Psst . . .Honey, the women keep staring at me when they think I’m not looking.  What the hell are they staring at?

WW:     Probably gawking at your Mae West eyelashes and blinged-out Dolly Parton figure—it’s a little hard to miss, especially amongst these women who seem to make looking plain an art form.  But I love it and that’s all that matters.

ME:        Oh, for God’s sake—they’re giving me the creeps.   You’d think people had never seen huge tits and a bootylicious ass before.

WW:     Don’t worry, it will all be over soon and remember, I love your tits and ass!  Just try to ignore them.  Besides, maybe those women are an anomaly; the preacher just said how this church’s mission statement is that they are a “haven for all those who want to belong and all are welcome no matter who you are or what size your ass is.”

ME:        Thanks, funny man.  Did you also notice how the men won’t speak to me directly or look at me.  They only talk to you?  They act as if I’m a nuisance or should be in a burqa.  They almost sound “irritated” when they are forced to acknowledge me.

(At that moment, apropos to nothing, the preacher who was droning along in his speech, said, “apples, apples, apples, gay marriage is wrong and they’re all going to Hell and I believe it’s a sin for a woman to work outside the home when she has children and the Bible says a man is in sin unless he has a quiver full of children, and I don’t care who says differently; apples, apples, apples, and welcome to our church community where all who enter are welcome and will find a loving home no matter what stage of life they are in or what race they are.”)

ME:        Huh?!

WW:     (In a mellifluous bass voice that sounds like what you’d think the voice of God sounds like, I heard WW’s one-syllable judgment against the preacher-man’s diatribe.)  FALSE! FALSE! FALSE!

group think

Before we could close our mouths and wipe the perplexity off our faces, WW and I started preparing to sneak out of the service when said preacher-man suddenly announced that we all line up at the back of the church for the closing prayer.  Simply wanting to make a quick exit, WW and I did as we were told, and bowed our heads for the benediction as I caught a glimpse of my supervisor looking on with a disapproving eye.  I don’t know what I noticed first, the loud thump a surprised WW made when he fell to the floor or the preacher-man praying over me in tongues and pushing against my forehead with all his might to make me fall so that it looked as if I had been “slain in the spirit—touched by the anointing” (a Pentecostal religious experience [much more
rare than most Pentecostals would like to admit] that is supposed to happen under the influence of the power of God but not because of the bitch-slap of a psycho preacher).  I guess preacher-man had determined that my over-the-top hussified persona looked too much like Mary Magdalene so I was going to need his special anointing of a “smack down” to get the Holy Ghost into my sinful body.  There I stood—preacher man pushing with all his might against my forehead and me pushing back like a ram against his hand as my fiery eyes said,
“Oh Hell to the no, preacher-man, HE—LL to the no!”    But as I glanced down to see if WW was okay,
I lost my footing in my five-inch heels and hit the floor like a bag of 160 pounds of potatoes that had been tossed from a vegetable cart on its way to market.   Fuming, not wanting to make a scene, and knowing that my job would be toast if I tackled the preacher around his legs and opened up a can of whup-ass on him, I lay back on the floor and waited for him to move on down the receiving line while I pretended to be “slain in the spirit”—a moment I am not proud of.

I don’t know who started giggling first, me or WW, and I don’t know how we gracefully got up from the floor and out of that place, but I do know that that was the end of our church visits.  I was mortified that I had let myself be compromised for job security (I should have gone off on that duplicitous preacher and brought the house down with Ms. Supervisor looking on in horror because she got pushed out of her job shortly after that debacle anyway).  After that horrifying incident, I decided that Jesus and I would hook up in my breakfast nook or on the deck over mimosas and the Bible and I’d let him judge whether that was good enough to get me into Heaven or not.  I decided to start a blog that not only addressed my “platform” need to get published but would also send a message to those who used to know me and who thought I held the same opinions as they did that the old Eleanor had changed many aspects of her ideology and was turning around on the road of life to find her way home to the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

******

I am discovering that “group think” is a bitch.  Merriam-Webster says group think is “The practice of thinking or making decisions as a group in a way that discourages creativity or individual responsibility.”   The other day Glenn Beck, the self-proclaimed “savior of the real America” urged his listeners to stockpile guns, and ammunition, and to purchase farmland for end time survival after the president’s reelection while he dunked a plastic Obama doll into a jar of fake pee (claimed it was free speech).   As he laughs all the way to the bank having signed a $100M contract with Clear Channel radio, I know people who I used to love and adore who cling to Beck’s every word and hail him as a visionary and an idol on their Facebook page while they pledge to fight the good fight as a “patriot.” They also claim Beck’s ideology and hatred of our black president does not make him a racist.  Well, this black person screams a resounding:   FALSE!

The Washington Post just released a book review by Jonathan Yardley on A Small Town Near Auschwitz; Ordinary Nazis and the Holocaust by Mary Fulbrook that underscores the fact that the full scale Nazi annihilation of the Jews would have been virtually impossible without the “attitudes, mentalities, and actions” of ordinary citizens coming into play—and I might add, many of them good Lutheran Christians.  Yardley says that many Germans, after the war, “would successfully cast themselves in the role of innocent ‘bystanders,’ even claiming they ‘had never known anything about’ the Holocaust.”   And come that great judgment day, I am of the humble opinion that God will simply pronounce judgment on all those “innocent German bystanders” by simply declaring:  FALSE!

wrong road

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition.”—Steve Jobs

 “For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged, by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions, even on important subjects, which I once thought right but found to be otherwise.”—Benjamin Franklin

“The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.”—Leonardo da Vinci

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Posted by on December 2, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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