“Day Care’s Note to Parents to ‘Get off Your Phone’ Goes Viral.” Sanctimonious Moms Everywhere Rejoice.

COME ON YOU GUYS.

I was on Facebook yesterday, and I saw an article shared by Parents magazine, both in the newsfeed and the stories (so you know this is – like – a real clickbait one for them). It read:

“Day Care’s Note to Parents to ‘Get off Your Phone’ Goes Viral.”

In my head, I immediately thought the follow up sentence: “Sanctimonious parents everywhere rejoice.”

Now, in spite of the fact that the article was originally posted on Parents, and then picked up by its syndicates, back in January of 2017 – over two years ago, making it not exactly “news” – it seems that the sanctimonious parents of the Internet were just waiting on bated breath for something like this to enrage and empower them all over again.

Which they did. Comment after comment, and share after share among my personal Facebook “friends” list, proved exactly what I said about you fucking people years ago: ya’ll are overly critical assholes lacking the most basic of understanding and compassion.

Honestly! When are you people going to learn?!

This all started years ago, when some bullshit open letter went viral, titled something along the lines of “Dear Mom at the Park on her iPhone” (I will not do it justice by searching it out now for the exact title, again). It was a long, judgment-laden diddy about how the mom at the park on her iPhone was ignoring the most precious stages of childhood. That the mom’s daughter wanted nothing but for Mommy to watch her go down the slide, or to push her on the swing, and this mother, this terrible being, was sitting on her phone instead. Horror! Shame! Shock! “Why even have kids if you…?!:”

[Long, audible groan]

This note to parents at the daycare pick up is just more of the same. Your precious little gems are waiting, big eyed and excited, for you to pick them up from childcare, like puppies. And you have the nerve to be looking at your phone, instead of their precious and adoring faces?! Well this is clearly the way you manage literally every other minute of interaction with your kids. “It is appalling.”

Okay, Debra. Would you like to know what I think is appalling?

I think judging a book by its cover is incredibly appalling.

Judging a parent by a 2 minute interaction with them is worse.

I think that assuming a parent’s career or job, that pays for that expensive daycare whose drop off and pick up hours are probably completely unreasonable as compared to a world that no longer has the basic 9-5 day job, is appalling.

I think that assuming a parent can just leave work in 2019 to conform to those daycare hours, assuming that those parents don’t have remaining calls or emails to attend to that allow them to maintain that job and pay those daycare costs is appalling.

I mean, the note even makes that claim: “when work is completed.” Again, Debra: get the fuck off your high horse. This isn’t 1950. Very few employees anywhere will tell you that when they leave the office, the work is done.

I think it is appalling to be so ignorant so as to assume all parents stare at their phones instead of their kids for an insidious or irrelevant reason. There are a ton of reasons why a parent may choose to look at their phone over their kid(s).

Maybe they have social anxiety and are trying to not spread it to their kids with nervous and socially awkward behavior.

Maybe they recently lost a loved one, and are trying to hold it together in the face of their children.

Maybe their phone is down literally every other minute of every day, and that is actually the only time they take a break.

Fuck if I know why a parent chooses a cellphone over greeting their child at the daycare, or watching little Susie go down the slide at the public park for the 5,985th time this week…I just think it’s appalling to tell other people that they are wrong for not running their parenting show the way that they want to.

I get it: technology addiction is a real problem. I’m pretty certain my husband is addicted to his technology. He spends upwards of 8-12 hours on weekend days sitting on his cellphone. I know there are a lot of parents out there just staring at social media or mindless articles about Kylie Jenner’s latest perfume line. I get it.

But that isn’t to say that everyone looking at their phones isn’t working their own shit out in their own way. Mom at the park could also be Mom sitting in on a conference call. At least she got the kid to the park, even if she had to work while sitting there – right? Parent at the daycare pick up is always on his phone, but couldn’t he feasibly also have some similarly justifiable reason to be on his phone?

And I’m a Stay At Home Mom. If anyone should be enraged by parent at the daycare on their cellphone, it’s me – right?

I don’t know, it just really annoys me that really stupid, divisive, and judgmental things make the rounds on the Internet and daily conversation; when other, amazing and cool things go largely unnoticed. Artwork, poetry, amazing essays, all ignored for the latest viral post going further viral by way of an article announcing its status as such.

In the comments section of that Parent’s article, someone said “it’s a refreshing reminder,” and I think I agree, though probably not in the way the commenter meant. The article may be two years old, but it is a reminder that we still live in a time in which everyone is ready and waiting to criticize others for the way they live their lives, including and especially how they parent.

Honestly.


An Open Letter To My Family, Friends, and Casual Acquaintances

Today marks four weeks since my husband started his new job. Our lives kind of-sort of revolve around his work schedule – well that, homeschooling, tennis, and you know…daily life.

But everything is sort of geared around his very hectic, often unpredictable schedule; if it didn’t, our idea of being a family would be waving casually to each other in passing.

If there is one thing I absolutely, and without a doubt, refuse to turn into, it’s one of those families.

So he started this new job, and today is the end of the fourth week. It’s a night job, which has changed things for all of us – more than we could ever have imagined. He leaves at around 4 o’clock in the afternoon, and gets home sometime before he has to leave the next day. Last night he got home around 1 in the morning, and was wide awake so he and I watched a movie. Other times, he gets home when we’re leaving for tennis at 9:30 in the morning.

We’re all sleeping in later most days now, which is fine because we homeschool. In fact, we’re all sleeping better now (which makes little sense to me). And we’re all better off for him being home during the day. He’s a part of tennis, a part of homeschooling, he helps with the chores now, and he can even attend things like – gasp – doctor’s appointments and annual visits to the optometrist.

But it hasn’t come free of struggles. Because of our strange schedule, which works for our family but would not work for all, we have had to go through a longer-than-expected period of adjustment. Not only that, but because some days he’s gone for 14-16 hours of a 24 hour period (which, I have quickly learned, has a whole-house domino effect for the days that follow), we just really cannot commit to do much more than our own stuff.

This is why I decided it’s finally time to pen a little letter; an open letter to my family, friends, and casual acquaintances.

Dear Family, Dear Friends, Dear Casual Acquaintances –

It’s not you. It’s us.

We’re sleeping strangely and eating all the time. Dinner, for us, is now at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Lunch is at 7:30 at night. If you ask us to have a big meal after 5 pm, we’re all going to screw up our new sleep patterns and get sick. Our bodies are used to this now. We’ve adjusted. In fact, we like that we can eat dinner together, even though it’s in the afternoon after we’ve only started to get the day going. Until he took this job, we only had dinner together as a family on weekends. Sometimes.

As a result, any further dinner invitations will be declined. Unless they’re for mid-afternoon.

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It’s not you. It’s us.

I want to attend your candle party and your make up event. I really do. I want to meet up with you all at craft group. I really want to get my reading on with my book nerd friends, and paint like a professional at my art class. I’d love to go out for a girls night out. But babysitters are expensive, and what we have in terms of a regular sitter is for me to have time to clean the house, get the grocery shopping done, and to keep my garden alive.

As a result, it is unlikely I will attend much, if anything, in the evening any more. Unless everything else is already done, the babysitter hasn’t called in sick, and I happen to not be too exhausted. (So don’t count on it.)

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It’s not you. It’s us.

Yes, we get it that we still have weekends. And that weekends are for family and you are all our family, blood or otherwise.

But keeping in mind that some nights my husband gets a whopping 1&1/2 hours of sleep during the work week, with me never sleeping well when he’s gone, and all of us trying to tip-toe around the house during the day while he gets the few hours he does – the weekends have become the most critical time for us to decompress, catch up on ZZZZs, and – frankly put – get shit done.

As a result, it is unlikely we will be available for many weekend events either.

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It’s not you. It’s us.

We have lives besides my husband’s job.

We homeschool. Every single day of the year, and this is important to us – not only because we have little lives hanging in the balance of our very adult-like decisions, but because education is a value that is paramount in our household.

We play tennis. Every single day of the week, and this is important to us too. What comes with tennis is not only practice and lessons, but tournaments. So now we’re trying to juggle daily life, homeschooling, my husband’s insane and unpredictable work hours, and tennis too.

As a result, we’ll see you the next time someone gets married, graduates, or dies.

I wish I were kidding.

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It’s not you. It’s us.

At some point, we started talking about the impact this was having on us and our health. Trying to please everyone and everything under normal circumstances is a tenuous proposition. And there is nothing normal about this new lifestyle we have.

When things are tenuous under normal circumstances, and who knows what under abnormal circumstances, you eventually realize that you just can’t spend all your time trying to take care of everyone else and not yourselves.

We’ll be around when we can, and it’s not impacting our health and stress level too much. And we’re sorry, for what it’s worth.

So, dear friends, dear family, and dear casual acquaintances, if I’ve learned one thing in these first four weeks of my husband working his new, exciting, fun-filled, and yet incredibly exhausting and insanely unpredictable job, it’s that taking a step back from all the busyness and the chaos and the weekly parties and the nightly commitments is diluting our experience as a family unit.

Perhaps this was going on all along, and it was only through a drastic life change that we were finally able to see the truth.

 

My Husband’s Movie Lover Mannerisms

So living and being married to someone that works in the film industry is …an interesting place to be. There are all these subtle nuances I am supposed to adhere to. To respect.

In other words: to tolerate.

I can appreciate that my husband is proud of the work he does. And I can appreciate being a lover of an aesthetic art such as film. I myself swoon often over the philosophical writings of the greats I adored in graduate school. And I do love the acquisition of a new book. I get it – he takes pride in his interests.

I think my husband goes way over the line sometimes to a point that is just absurd, though.

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#1 Film Narration

The first movie I went to see with my husband was The Reader. Great film, and based on one of my all-time favorite works of fiction. While we were there, I bought myself a Diet Coke. A typical purchase for a movie outing, yes; what wasn’t typical was that Nick whisper-yelled at me during the movie because my straw squeaked when I took a sip of my soda.

Are you all with me on this? My straw made the slightest squeak – of all the noises in the movie theater outside of the film, itself – and I got whisper-yelled at.

Watching movies at home is an entirely different ballgame, though. That’s my husband’s time to shine, and by that I mean talk through the entire goddamned thing. I get narration: “deep in the forest lived a town of little blue men.” I get commentary: “you know what’s missing here is the backstory to that photograph…” I get voiceover: “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” And I constantly get the story about the guy that knew the guy that worked with the girl that was friends with the friend of my husband’s boss, who knew a guy that worked on that film. It never ends. Ever.

As with all things, love is a two-way engagement. If I’m going to listen to my husband’s incessant talking about all this film stuff, he should be willing to listen to me talk about a book I read, or engage in – gasp – an actual conversation with me about it. That’s sadly not the case, though. I think we’re too busy watching crap movies, which leads me to #2.

#2 A Lot of Crap Movies

We have a lot of movies and of those movies, I think close to half are total crap. I cannot tell you all how many times my husband has said a movie is “good” just because it grossed a lot of money or was popular with a lot of people. Even having not seen it. Even not really liking it himself.

So we own a lot of crap movies. Some of them my husband has never even watched – that’s how much they are crap. When I ask why he bought it he says “it did really well in theaters, seemed like it was a good movie to own.” Huh? And I cannot even count at this point how many movies are such garbage that he bought them, watched them once, then never watched them again knowing they are crap, but still argued they are good because of the fanfare they received. He calls those ones “an acquired taste.”

Acquired taste, my ass.

Sure, I have a very picky taste in movies. I don’t enjoy a lot that truly are good. I’m not talking about those here, though – I’m talking about movies that objectively speaking belong in the trash can.

We have seen a lot of bad movies in the theaters and on Netflix too, simply because someone at my husband’s work said we just had to see it. One I can think of off the top of my head was The Trip. It was about two and a half hours of listening to these two guys’ supposedly-witty back-patting, while they shoved food down their throats, that was no more funny than it was insightful. You just have to watch it, it’s brilliant. Similarly, there have been countless times that we have planned on going to see a movie and never gone because my husband heard or read that it wasn’t good. But it isn’t just taking people’s advice, it’s that he actually takes the position that the movie wasn’t good. “That’s a bad movie” he’ll say, and then something I’ve been waiting to see for months is off the list for date night. How the fuck do you know it’s a good or bad movie if you don’t watch it yourself?

#3 A Completely Illogical Rating System

I get really upset when I see that my husband has rated something on Netflix way lower than he should have. The only thing that is worse than that (which he does as well) is after I rate a movie, he’ll go in later and re-rate it to what he thinks it should be rated at.

So the way I see it: a five star rating system is across the board for movies, music, hotels, restaurants, and so on. That’s why one-stop-shop sites like Yelp exist to begin with – so you can rate everything in one place, and know what the ratings mean. How can a person be expected to know that a a certain star is acceptable for movies, but not hotels? And definitely not restaurants, but it’s OK with music. That doesn’t make any sense at all – a star is a star and it means the same thing across the board. Not for my husband, though. He will really enjoy a movie and still give it only three stars. He does it all the time – he gave Sleepless in Seattle (an all-time classic film) only three stars and then argued that this was a great movie, deserved of only three stars. Huh? Would you eat at a restaurant that gets only three stars on Yelp? Would you stay at a hotel that has only three stars on Hotels.com? Would you buy a motherfucking book that you were unsure of that only gets three stars on Amazon? No. No you wouldn’t.

#4 Movie Organization

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As with any avid movie collectors, we have a lot of movies. I’d say we’re getting close to about 600, but if you take out all the crap movies maybe it’s closer to 300 or 400 quality films. We have them in a DVD organizer – it’s a spinning thing that sits in our living room as the biggest and most ugly eyesore you could imagine.

My husband was tasked with organizing the movies and rather than ask me what would be easy for me – I being a novice to all-things-film – he just assumed that his psychotic organization from his single days would be best. You’re probably thinking to yourselves alphabetic or by genre for sure, as if organizing 600 DVDs by genre isn’t abnormal of its own right. (If it were just me, we’d just throw them all in there in no particular order.) This is coming from the guy who saw I added a lot of films to the Instant Que on Netflix over the weekend, though; so promptly spent his day yesterday reorganizing the list by genre on our Netflix account. Anyone who organized their Netflix account by genre is not going to merely put their own DVD collection by something logically simple, such as that.

Nope. They are organized by production studio. As in, the company that made the film. The number of hours I have spent looking for a particular movie because I couldn’t simply go to the section for movies that start with an A is staggering.

So what started as a hobby has turned into a profession, sure. Do what you love, and all that crap. But some of this extra-curricular shit has got to be a little out there. When I was in high school I worked at Wendy’s, and when I got home the Burger Bitch didn’t hang up her apron. I told stories from work. I gave anecdotes from the burger station. I made complaints about the customers. It’s all I ever talked about, until eventually no one wanted to talk to me anymore. You’ve got to have a separation between your job and your home life. If movies are your passion, fine; but at least take a break from the ins-and-outs of the industry long enough to just enjoy life once in a while too. Even if enjoying life is just watching a movie without all the back story and the strict organization and the attention to reviews. Just watching.

Destroying Your Carpool: A Tutorial

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Be it a carpool for work, extra-curriculars with the kids, vacations, school – you name it, there are a lot of reasons people carpool. If everyone in the carpool is on the same page, it’s great. But for every carpooling success story out there on the Internet, there are about ten times that in horror stories. It’s as if these people are actually hellbent on destroying their carpool from the start; or, they just don’t care about anyone but themselves.

I’ve mentioned a few times, both in recent blog posts and on my blog’s Facebook page, that my husband has been in a carpool from hell for a little over a month now. What made the situation that much worse was that my husband just thought it was the next best thing to my vagina and a bowl of pistachio-flavored ice cream. The woman he was carpooling with was in the exact, same sector of the film industry as him, so he just lapped that shit up like a lost puppy dog wandering the streets in search of anything. I imagine that every day they sat there and just blew their editorial, industry bullshit up each other’s assholes the whole way to and from work (well, that is when they actually carpooled on the days they were supposed to carpool). I fully believe at this point that were that woman single, I would have had something to worry about. Maybe I still did (or do). That is the depth to which Poor Nick seemed to be taking this relationship, and what he was willing to sacrifice to maintain it. In the end, the carpool is no more, though. Too many things stacked up against their woe-begotten arrangement, which has led me to throw together this little tutorial on how to destroy your own carpool.

Because that bitch didn’t just destroy their carpool. She dropped a fucking nuclear bomb on it.

Let’s go step by step on how you – too – can lay waste to your own carpools. We’ll use film industry ass can lady as our tutor.

Always Show Up Late In the First Leg Of Your Carpool

Doesn’t matter what you are carpooling to, if you want to fuck your carpool up worse than you fucked up your marriage, just always show up late in the first leg of your carpool. By “first leg,” I mean the “to” part; so if you are driving to work (for example), I mean driving there.

Never let the other person or people know you are running late either. When you get there twenty minutes late, act as if there is nothing wrong with you being late.

Film industry ass can lady was the best at doing this. Once I had to use my husband’s car when mine was in the shop and she knew we would be sitting there waiting – half asleep and waiting to go back home – and that bitch showed up twenty-five fucking minutes late. To make matters worse, she was disheveled and her kid was in the car with her. Which leads me to our next lesson in destroying your carpool …

Expect Your Carpool Mates To Run Your Personal Errands

I always thought that no matter what a carpool was for, it was totally tacky to run errands and shit while your carpool mates are in the car. Say you are carpooling a group of kids and their moms to a soccer game. Would you stop at Ralphs and pick up some bread on your way there, then pick up your dry cleaning too (I mean, it is on the way..)? Fuck no, you wouldn’t run your bullshit errands while you are carpooling. It’s rude and reeks of the notion that others have nothing better to do with their time but sit in the fucking car for no reason.

So film industry ass can cunt lady would sometimes have my husband go along with to drop her kid off at school. Happy fucking family that they were: dropping the daughter off to preschool and waving good-bye on their way to pursue their illustrious careers in film industry ass can cunting. I asked my husband where the fuck this lady’s husband was, to which I got no response.

Indeed. Run your fucking errands into the motherfucking ground if you want to destroy your carpool.

Never Do What You Say You Are Going To Do

This must be a film industry thing, because my husband often does not do what he says he is going to do either. I mean with regards to me.

They agreed to meet at the carpool point near her home on days that she drove, and at the carpool point near our home on the days that he drove. He drove a lot of fucking times. I mean a lot. She met at the carpool point near our home once. He went to her every other fucking time.

If you want to bury your carpool, never do what you say you’re going to do. If you say you are going to meet in one place, meet in another. If you say you are going to leave earlier, leave later. Always expect others to cater to you when you don’t do what you said you would do too.

End the Carpool Day By Expecting Everyone To Wait For You

At the end of a long day, I think the last thing I ever want to do is sit around and wait for people. At the end of a long vacation, the last thing I want to do is be delayed in getting back to my regular routine too. I could go on with every scenario in which one might carpool; you faithful blog followers get the point. The real surefire way to destroy your carpool like film industry ass can bitch cunt lady did is to always make people wait for you at the end of the day.

This bitch was so ballsy about it. She’d just show up forty-five minutes after they were supposed to leave, and act like there was nothing wrong with it. Once it was an hour and a half. The worst was when she kept telling my husband to wait for her until it ended up being two hours after the work day ended. He got home that night at 10:15. Family? Household responsibilities? No such thing can exist or be considered for anyone in the carpool, if you want to destroy your carpool.

In the end, the real kicker was that driving to and from this woman’s work in city traffic from my husband’s work, as well as to and from her home since she could never make it down fairly for him, added our gas bill up to such a point that he spent more money on gas in the month he carpooled than in the months he drove himself. Between the extra driving, and the many times she just never showed up, this was the end of this cuntly behavior affecting our lives.

He has yet to tell her she destroyed the carpool. They are off carpool this week and he is probably coming up with ways to justify continuing to do the carpool anyway. I’m sure he’ll blame me, like he always does. Not to emasculate my husband, but he doesn’t really seem to even want to have the cajones to be honest with anyone. But me, of course. If it were me he would have told me I was a film industry ass can bitch cunt face and that the carpool was off on the second day (which is another blog post altogether).

If you want to destroy your carpool, I highly suggest you follow that broad’s behavior, with her nappy ass hair and her disrespect for anyone’s priorities other than hers.

Good riddance, carpool!

Conversations With Nick, Episode 3: Anyone In There?

It’s been a while since we’ve had an episode of Conversations With Nick, although it’s also been a while since my husband (Poor Nick) talked about putting his penis through a donut hole; or since I had a dream that he was having an affair with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich cut out to look like Cher.

So pretty much all the time, my husband’s job goes through either really really busy periods or really really dead periods. There is no in-between it seems. He manages a small company in Los Angeles that does post production work. Typically I tell people they did Delivery Me for Discovery Health and still do the Behind the Musics for VH1 and everyone gets it. During these periods (remember, all the time), there is nonstop complaining – every day in the afternoon I get a phone call and Nick sighs repeatedly during it until I ask “what’s wrong?” and he either bitches about how slow it is or whines about how much running around he’s had to do.

The other thing that happens during the really really busy periods is Nick is completely in another world. Remember, he’s a misogynist so it makes things a little annoying, to say the least. In the last few weeks alone, he has just altogether stopped paying any attention to me when I talk. I can take being treated like a slave. I can take never being treated like a woman. I can’t take that ignoring me shit, though. I told him my CD player will break if he turns the radio on in my car (there is some short in the switches) and he turned it to AM anyway when he went to pick up Thai the other night. I asked him to take the box of unused Halloween decorations out to my car so I could take them back to my dad and he just walked away, ignoring me. The list goes on, and I won’t bore you all with it; but the coup de grâce of it all was last night. I was in the middle of my fucking sentence and my dill hole husband stood up and walked away to call work.

I don’t think so, asshat.

So today I sent him a barrage of emails. I figured he can’t ignore those, right?

Conversations With Nick:

Balls – Anyone In There?

I started with an eCard. I don’t often make eCards; although, am realizing that I should get more into this. It’s fun and a socially acceptable place to let out the thoughts that run through my whacked-out mind on the regular.

I thought I’d start with it to soften the blows that would follow.

How terribly, terribly true that statement is.

Conversations With Nick:

Anniversary – Anyone In There?

The next email was about celebrating our anniversary.

My husband and I have many anniversaries. There is the one of when we met. The one of when we got engaged. The wedding anniversary. And the anniversary of our Catholic co-validation (basically a second wedding). We only celebrate them all once, and it’s around this general time of year.

It would have been nice, though, if Poor Nick weren’t too busy with work to remember just to wish me a “happy anniversary” on each of those days. The anniversary of our Catholic co-validation was last week and the day came and went without a mention. To make matters worse, we went to a family party that weekend and they were celebrating two birthdays and two anniversaries (one wedding, one college graduation); but not a one acknowledged the anniversary of the thing we did (and money we spent) because those very people wanted it.

So I decided I want to celebrate our anniversary this weekend, and the next email I sent him was about just that. I want to dress up. I want to be told I’m pretty. I want my present. I want my dinner. I want to drink my bottles of anniversary wine.

That’s all I want, though.

Conversations With Nick:

Brain – Anyone In There?

The real kicker for the barrage of emails I sent this morning to get my husband’s attention was in my new rule: no technology hour. People have suggested this before, and a friend commented about it just this morning again. I see no good reason at all why we can’t shut everything off for one hour every night.

Some of you may think I was a little harsh. Well, I’m sure your husband doesn’t regularly get up and walk away when you are in the middle of your sentence as often as mine does. And anyway, I’m sure my email was ignored.

The real point is that I feel like I have to knock on my husband and ask “is anybody in there?” sometimes.

One of the wisest things ever said to me was by my manager at Wendy’s, where I worked as a drive-thru bitch in high school. He told me that every day when he got home from work, he’d change his clothes in the laundry room, just inside the side door. He said that for one, he didn’t want the house smelling like french fries and grease fat. But more importantly, it was his physical reminder that he needed to leave work at work, and enjoy the evenings with his wife and kids. Life is not worth living if 100% of it is focused on places other than where you are.

In a dog eat dog world, which one are you?

In 2007, I finished college (for the first time) with a bachelor degree in Political Science.  Being idealistic and young, I immediately signed up for the first job I could close to the heartbeat of local politics.  Working as a community organizer for a local non-profit, I soon found myself in the midst of all-things political, especially the corruption within.  I drew the line with that first job when I realized that I was fighting for healthcare when I, myself, was not being covered for health benefits under my current position.  I thought this seemed wrong and unfair, so I left that job feeling glad that the seedy dark side of local politics had not corrupted the moral character I knew I had.  But I was still naive and excited to be in the middle of (what seemed to be) the powers that wielded our lives, so I moved on to contract as a political consultant for a political action committee who shall remain nameless (not only because I know those bitches would sue me, but because they also don’t exist anymore so the name is moot).  While at that political action committee, though, my naive idealism finally took the dark turn to jaded cynicism.  To say I witnessed the ugly parts of local politics would be an understatement – some of the nastiest, most unethical things went on in front of me on a daily basis.  And worse, those bitches (as I will heretofore refer to them) took credit for every single thing I did.

It was towards the end of my tenure at those bitches’ political action committee that I realized they were doing this.  They had hired me to do all manner of tasks – from statistical analysis to planning fund raising events to voter education programming, to even building their website from the ground up.  But then one day I was at an event (that I had single-handedly orchestrated) and I noticed that not once was I acknowledged for my hard work in putting the event together.  As the days wore on, this incident began to bother me so I started to pay more attention when my bosses and I were with other politicos.  To my dismay, I realized that they were not only failing to acknowledge my hard work, but they were taking the full credit for every bit of it.  Telling one outright lie after another, I soon worried how I would even explain things because I had no idea what – exactly – I was to admit having done anymore when we were at public events – they took the credit for just that much.

When I mentioned this to my family and friends, I was confronted with a “everyone knows it’s a dog eat dog world” and “that’s the way it is in the working world, Heather”-attitude, and now (years later) I realize that it really, and truly, is.  In the adult/working world in which we all reside at some level, it all really boils down to whether or not you are one of two people:  the thankless worker or the do-nothing thief.  Even in local church communities, there seems to always be someone right around the corner just waiting to steal the credit or the work itself that you have done; that has already begun saying they did all the work before you have even finished it.  Worse yet, the Internet and computer technology has made it all the easier – for no longer is the old “I gotta’ have time to copy it in my own handwriting, McFly”-matter an issue.  Literally within minutes – seconds even – someone can steal your work and all the credit for it with ease of a simple “click” and “send.”

So it seems that the only way to overcome this is to become a credit-taker – a work-stealer – yourself.  I, myself, do not plan on doing this; but I know that I will probably always be stuck having others take credit for the hard work that I do – even in the most unprofessional, volunteer situations.  So the question that remains is simply:  why do it?  If there is always someone that will be standing around the corner just waiting to take the credit for the things you do – like those bitches at that political action committee – why do them?  I can see in a work environment, where your time and effort equals money which pays the bills, doing the bare minimum is an absolute requirement.  But why go above and beyond the call of duty if you are not going to take the credit for the work that others do, thereby leaving yourself open to be the thankless worker?  Why stay that extra hour or put in that extra pizazz in your quarterly presentation if it is going to be credited to someone else and get you absolutely nothing?

The days of workers in this country taking pride in their work are over.  With a destroyed economy, political unrest, and problems across the board with jobs, unemployment, social security, and health care, the notion of a loyal company that gives back to its loyal employees is gone.  Anyone who thinks that they are allowing themselves to be pushed around and taken advantage of as a thankless worker simply because they “take pride in their work” … well, they are nothing more than a complete and utter moron.  We all know at least one of those idiots, and we all know that they probably deserve to be pushed around for being so ridiculously stupid.  So unless you are going to be a complete douche rag and steal the work and the credit from others, all you are doing by going that extra mile is setting yourself up for unlimited frustration and/or ultimate stupidity as the thankless worker.  Nothing will come of it but stress and upsettedness.  Nothing will result but frustration.

So why bother?  I can think of a myriad of other more rewarding things we could all be doing with our time.  Like reading a book, or going to a movie.  At least there no one can take the credit for the happiness such recreation can bring.  In a dog eat dog world, maybe in the end the best thing to do is just be a cat.

Pop Quiz: Do I Need Anger Management?

The other day, while waiting in line at the Disney store to make a gift purchase, I realized that for about ten minutes I had been quietly planning in my head every snarky response I would offer to the prescripted questions the cashier had for me.  I was purchasing only a $4.50 toy cell phone, so the possibilities were going to be great.  When she asked how I was doing, I would say “great now that I’m out of that twenty minute line.  Geez, I felt like I was at Disneyland.”  When she asked if I wanted to buy a reusable beach bag, I would respond “for a cell phone?”  And when she asked if I wanted to open an a credit account, I would reply sneeringly “I don’t typically shop here.”  It would be a series of ultimate burns, in my book at least.  And while I genuinely did not plan on saying any of those things to the poor cashier, who was nothing more than a victim of bad corporate policies to suggestively sell and be as annoyingly perky as possible, I nonetheless amused myself while standing in line between a family of four obnoxious children and a man who had clearly eaten one too many dishes smothered in garlic.

While I would not consider my misanthropic tendencies to be in need of anger management, others might view my tendencies to bite with words – even when I don’t actually do it – to be suspect.  Thus, to resolve this issue, I went in search of a online quiz.  You know those quizzes:  anyone that has ever read just about any magazine in popular culture, be it Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, Maxim, or US, knows that the best part is always the quiz.  The “Does [He/She] Like Me?” quiz gives us hope.  The “Would I Look Good With Short Hair?” quiz gives us ideas.  The “Am I In The Right Career?” quiz gives us ideas.  Quizzes are not only fun, but give us an outsider’s view on things in our lives that we might otherwise not be able to get an objective take on.

I did find a few quizzes on anger management, but they weren’t of your garden-variety Vogue magazine-type quizzes.  They were on websites of psychologists, and some court-related sites.  In other words, they were professionals who want to diagnose and alleviate anger issues, rather than justify them.  Snooze.

So, my lovely blog followers, I have designed this quiz to help us all distinguish whether we are quiet misanthropes or menaces to society.  Enjoy!

Do I Need Anger Management?

And if the response is “yes,” I will reply with my fist served neatly between two pieces of bread, with a smackeral of mustard.

Answer the following five questions and award yourself the number of points next to each, given answer.  At the end of the quiz, tally your points and proceed to your professional diagnosis.  Please note, while this quiz is in no way a reflection of an actual, professional opinion, your result should be taken as absolute authority.

Oh, and if the Disney chick could stop saying “I know, right?” to every polite customer comment at the cash register, this could all have been avoided.  Just saying.

(1) When you wake up in the morning, do you typically:

  • (0 points) Shower, sing “It’s a Beautiful Morning,” have a well-rounded breakfast, then stop on your way to work to pick up coffee for your co-workers because your in a great mood!
  • (5 points) Hit the snooze alarm once or twice before showering and getting ready for work.  On the way, you grab a bagel and because they messed up your order you got some free food, which you’ll give to your co-workers because you’re full.
  • (10 points) When your alarm rings, you throw it across the room and sleep for an extra hour.  You skip a shower and breakfast, but still arrive late to work muttering “they’re lucky I showed up anyway.  I am SO not paid enough to deal with this shit.”  Around break time, you steal someone’s lunch from the breakroom – HELLO!  you didn’t have time for breakfast.

(2) You stop at the grocery store to pick up a Lean Cuisine for dinner.  Compared to your one item, an elderly woman with a basket full of enough groceries for two weeks cuts in front of you in line.  You:

  • (0 points) Smile and say “go ahead, ma’am.”  After a moment of watching her struggle to get the items onto the conveyer belt, you offer to help.
  • (5 points) Sigh, mutter loud enough for the woman to hear something about how rude people are these days, and head to the self-check out aisle, even though you can never seem to figure out how to use it.
  • (10 points) Push your way in front of the woman and say “hey lady!  clearly your age has affected your eyesight because I was here first!”

(3) Apologies are for:

  • (0 points) Acknowledging that you are human and mending relationships.
  • (5 points) Making a situation better, even when you know you were in the right.
  • (10 points) Pansies.

(4) Have you ever punched another person?

  • (0 points) No.  I believe violence is not the healthiest way to resolve conflict.
  • (5 points) Yeah, I got in a few fist fights in high school, but I’m over that now.
  • (10 points) I punch people regularly.  And when I don’t, I’m punching my fist through a wall and pretending its someone’s face.

(5)  At Thanksgiving dinner, your immediate and extended family typically gets together at your parent’s home to have dinner, watch football, and catch up on family goings-on.  This year, for whatever reason, it is being held at your Aunt Hilda’s home, instead, and you were not invited.  You:

  • (0 points) Figure that Aunt Hilda probably just thought you had other plans and hope that sometime in the future you will be able to reconnect with family members you don’t see often.
  • (5 points) Express your disappointment to your immediate family (maybe your parents, or your siblings), but in the end you weren’t going to go anyway because Aunt Hilda lives in 500 miles away.
  • (10 points) Show up at the dinner anyway, slightly intoxicated, and tell everyone in your immediate and extended family just what you really think of them.  When they ask you to leave, you hit your brother and get in your car to drive over Aunt Hilda’s prize begonias.

Results

0 – 15 points Could you be any more of a push-over?  Grow a pair and start standing up for yourself, for God’s sakes!  Chances are you’re repressing a lot of anger that will come out in an unhealthy way later on down the line anyway.  There is a huge difference between being tolerant and being a complete push-over, and you my friend are a push-over.

16 – 32 points You are more of a realist, but also prefer not to get into too much conflict.  You voice your opinion, but then avoid the consequences.  While this can be a good thing in the sense that it keeps you out of trouble, it can be a bad thing because it will set you up for an avoidance complex.  Next time Aunt Hilda doesn’t invite you to Thanksgiving dinner, you should consider calling her and asking why.

33 – 50 points You definitely need anger management.   You don’t take anyone’s crap and while you wish the world (and the people in it) were a better place, you know it’s really not.  You are a realist who prefers to keep the wool off his eyes.  Rock on!

Now, here’s the caveat:  hitting people, being verbally abrasive, and driving over your Aunt’s begonias may be cathartic, but it is also not the healthiest way to function in society.  A lot of it will get you fired, arrested, or sent to a mental institution.  But to repress your true feelings is also probably one of the most unhealthy habits we carry around with us today.  Remember that episode of The Simpsons where the family went to therapy and everyone hit each other with soft bats?  That kind of therapy exists, because anger repression is just as damaging as anger actuation.

But you’re in luck:  for the low price of having made it this far through the posting, I offer you the cheapest (free) and best (seriously) anger management advice you will ever get:  do what I do.  Amuse yourself with the thoughts of all the wonderfully angry things you could do in whatever situation makes you angry.  Hell, you could even write a self-purported witty blog about it.  The key, though, is to not actually do it.  When the Disney employee annoys you beyond all belief with her happy comments, stupid questions, and dancing to “The Circle of Life” playing over the intercom, imagine smashing her face into the cash register and yelling “you are what is wrong with our society!”  But after chuckling to yourself about this thing you will never do, pay and be on your way conflict-free.  And just because you are managing your outbursts doesn’t mean you have to respond to the canned good-bye with a reciprocal “have a nice day!”