My oldest loves watching Glee and now that Netflix has season two, that's what we end up doing most of time when she's at my house. Watching Glee is a mixed bag for me. Yes, I enjoy watching Glee, but there's also a part of me that grieves and says, "That could have been me."
Something about "show choir" just appeals to me. I shouldn't be surprised much. I'm sure I've mentioned before that as a child the person I wanted to grow up to be was Dick Van Dyke. I loved the production numbers in Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. I distinctly remember watching "Me 'Ol Bamboo" and "Step In Time" and thinking, "I want to do that."
I'm not really sure where I got off track. Probably when we moved when I was in Jr. High and went from a place where it was no big deal if a guy was in the choir to a place where it was about as uncool and you could get. In my new school, I was the male in a choir of at least 50. And I was harassed for it, like Kurt in Glee. I didn't have to wear anything "fabulous." It was enough that I was in the choir. Unlike Kurt, I learned very quickly to keep a low profile and not draw attention to myself.
I tend to think it wasn't just the harassment that derailed my aspirations. I think there were a lot of factors at play, not the least of which is my Mormon upbringing where conformity is the sine qua non of existence and where I was taught to doubt my own inner voice in favor of the dictates of old men in dark suits. It certainly began a pattern of laying low and not drawing attention to myself.
Recently Facebook has reconnected me to some of the guys I danced with while at BYU. I had joined the folk dance team and even made it onto the touring team. Turns out one of the guys I thought didn't like me—always having been stand-offish and distant—had a huge crush on me. One of the first things he said to me was, "You were so quiet!" "I was scared," was my reply. "I was afraid if I said too much people would figure it out." Dancing with the folk dancers was bitter sweet. I loved being on stage and dancing, but there was always a part of me that felt guilty for doing something that served no purpose beyond making me happy. I danced for a few years before I quit the team to get married and get on with my "purpose in life" of starting a family and fathering children.
Playing the "What might have been?" game is generally not very useful. The past is done. We don't get do-overs. You end up stuck, wishing for things that cannot ever happen. There are no guarantees your life would have played out how you imagine, even if you did get your wish. Dick Van Dyke certainly hasn't life a fairy tale life.
So what to do then? If I had a client struggling with these kinds of things, I would probably challenge him or her to find ways to pursue that dream now. For now, that means I've stopped listening to NPR on the drive home and have begun singing along with show tunes again...something I haven't done in years. I usually end up getting home in a better mood now as well. Go figure.
Got a phone call this morning by which I learned a co-worker from my time at the adolescent day-treament program has died. He had lots of health issues, but from what little I know it doesn't sound like that's what got him in the end. Right now, it sounds like he decided to check out early.
Interesting, isn't it, how many euphemisms we have for death: "passed away", "passed on", "in a better place", "no longer with us." Maybe it's because "is dead" sounds so blunt, so heartless, so final. Then there's suicide. I don't understand how suicide got to be a moral issue. I mean, religion is largely about control right? Keep the elite in power. Create the illusion of eternal rewards for the masses if they endure "their lot in life" now. So far, I just can't see the angle on suicide. Maybe it was simply that life was hard and mortality around every corner a few centuries ago. Death was common enough without people going there on purpose.
I don't know which upsets me more: that he is gone or that he was hurting that much. Hindsight is 20/20 and there are things that he did that now seem like they should have been a red flag. But then as a therapist, you have to be careful about where you focus that attention. Ethical issues of therapizing friends, family and co-workers aside, you'd go bonkers if you didn't. Maybe that wasn't it at all. Maybe he was just tired of dealing with all his medical issues. I don't think anyone really knows, or if they do it hasn't come back to me.
The jury's still out on whether he's in a better place or not. One thing is for sure, whatever pain he was in he's not anymore. Rest in peace, J.
So after posting my little rant this morning and talking about my frustration with apparently lack of a Democratic response, I stumbled onto "What Progressives Don't Understand About Obama" by Ishmael Reed (NY Times).
One progressive commentator played an excerpt from a Harry Truman speech during which Truman screamed about the Republican Party to great applause. He recommended this style to Mr. Obama. If President Obama behaved that way, he’d be dismissed as an angry black militant with a deep hatred of white people. His grade would go from a B- to a D.
What the progressives forget is that black intellectuals have been called “paranoid,” “bitter,” “rowdy,” “angry,” “bullies,” and accused of tirades and diatribes for more than 100 years.
I'd like to think we're beyond such things, but I know we're not. We like to think that because Jim Crow and miscegenation laws are off the books, we are living in a post-racist society. We're not. Racism is not dead, it's just had a facelift. We utter a collective gasp when we hear of Holocaust deniers, but what about U.S. conservatives trying to sanitize our own deplorable history of slavery and prejudice?
He makes a valid point that the color of Obama's skin makes for a more complicated scenario than white minds are generally capable of conceiving.
And now they are whispering about a primary challenge against the president. Brilliant! The kind of suicidal gesture that destroyed Jimmy Carter — and a way to lose the black vote forever.
Something to think about.
Got a call from a headhunter the other day. He said he was looking to fill a position that is offering 20K more than I'm currently making. That's more of a commentary on how much I'm not making than how much this company is offering. Of course, my knees went all wobbly at that figure. My oldest has decided that she wants to go to college after all. Nothing like working fast-food to make one think, "I can do better than this."
Of course the problem is: How is she going to pay for it? College is getting more and more expensive and the government is helping out less and less. (Which is an entirely different rant I might get around to posting one of these days.) My current salary isn't really enough to pay my own bills. Thank goodness D can pick up the slack, but I hate that he has to. I'm not the kind of person who is okay not pulling his own weight. This means I really don't have anything I can contribute to her education at the moment. Four months of unemployment last year destroyed what savings I had. Not really happy about that either.
So anyway, the headhunter sent over a job description for me to review. Sounded like a pretty good fit. I called him back to talk more about the company hiring. Deseret Digital Media. A Deseret Media Company. A holding/management company for LDS, Inc. assets. Figures.
I'm sorry, L. Maybe one of these days I'll be making enough to help out, but I'm not willing to work a job I will most likely hate. I'm angry/depressed enough as it is. I guess we'll just have to hope I'm solvent enough in a couple of years to help you pay off your student loans.
That phrase always struck me as odd when I was a kid. Seems rather contradictory on the surface of it. It wasn't until I was older and saw the phrase acted out in a movie that I understood what it meant. In the movie a crowd learns their king has died in battle. His successor, who had delivered the news, is immediately proclaimed king with this statement.
This statement demonstrates two things to my mind. First, it's not about the individual who is the king, who is ultimately expendable. It's about the office of king. Second, it demonstrates the fickle nature of those who are accustomed to being led. The successor turned out to be a despot and a tyrant, but no one was asking for character references or a job history before pronouncing him king.
Some of you may already see where this is going. Osama bin Laden is dead. I thought I would feel more about this news than I do. I mean, hasn't that been the goal all along? How many times has a sentence been ended with, "...but we still haven't caught bin Laden?" So we caught him, and what, exactly, has changed? Not one damn thing. In fact, some whackadoodle is likely to feel honor bound to avenge this death, and so the cycle starts all over again.
I'm sure those who lost family and friends on 9/11 and those living in New York may feel some sort of recompense at the news, but the celebrations I've been hearing about seem wrong somehow. One man was killed, but his office, his ideas, his ideology lives on. I'm just having a hard time getting worked up about this.
Here are a few more random thoughts on the subject.
- It doesn't surprise me that he was discovered in a multi-million dollar compound and not holed up in some mountain cave. Asceticism is reserved for monks, prophets (who are usually reviled) and the mentally deranged. Men who stand at the head of religious movements rarely see asceticism as a requirement of their office. In fact they usually point to their vast fortunes as signs of God's favor. Convenient that. While some my try and draw the distinction that it is not their personal fortune, it certainly doesn't stop them from rivaling the ridiculously wealthy in their way of life. Can you say Prada? I'd be surprised if Thomas Monson (or any one else in the upper echelons of the LDS church) goes to Mr. Mac for his suits.
- On the news they said Osama was buried at sea to avoid the creation of a shrine for his followers. Probably not a bad idea, but 1. you don't need a shrine to have a martyr and 2. the devout will find a way to honor his resting place regardless. Watch for vigils on ocean shores the world over.
- Osama wasn't an idiot, nor was he a spring chicken. He had to know his days were numbered, whether it was the US or Father Time who eventually brought the curtains down. It's very likely he had already primed his organization to accept a successor in the event of his demise.
- If you think this means we're pulling out of Afghanistan, think again.
Earlier this year, my youngest daughter lost a good friend to leukemia.
Last night the bus she was riding in, on her way home from a marching band competition, crashed when the driver "passed out." I put that in quotes, because those are my daughter's words. I haven't heard any official news as to what happened to the driver. But given that it was only around 8:00pm, that they had been on the road less than 30 minutes and that my daughter said the driver seemed fine when they left, it does seem unlikely at this point that the driver fell asleep.
One of the staff tried to regain control of the bus . . . and was the only person to lose her life in the crash. According to the evening news, no one else's injuries were serious enough to require they stay overnight in the hospital. My daughter is shaken up and has a severely bruised leg that will require she be on crutches for a few days while it heals. All things considered, relatively unscathed.
We may never know how much of a difference the staff member's efforts made, if any. There is a very real possibility things could have been much worse had she not been trying to help. So my heartfelt condolences to her family for their loss, and my heartfelt gratitude for the life and health of my little girl.
Update: The Trib is reporting today that three students were admitted overnight, and they are calling the situation with the driver a "medical episode."
There is no gender identity behind the expressions of gender… identity is performatively constituted by the very ‘expressions’ that are said to be its results.
No idea where this comes from. Found it on a boy blog I follow. I suspect it's not original to the author of the blog. I see sentences constructed like this and know they are inaccessible to a large segment of the population. It's not that they couldn't understand it, but a first parsing doesn't bear fruit so they just check out. In the past I've found it necessary to translate statements in Ivory Tower Speak to be more accessible to my clients.
On the other hand, I think of right-wing buffoons like Beck and Limbaugh and have guilty fantasies of an aneurysm cause by intellectual overload to their atrophied and addlepated brains.
"You evil capitalist; making wealth for other people."
I heard that sarcastic comment the other day walking down the halls of the building where I rent office space. It never ceases to amaze me how willingly delusional some people are.
First off, let's establish that wealth is a relative term. Compared to most of the world's population, I'm sure that I appear as stupidly wealthy as Bill Gates appears to me. When someone makes such a ludicrous statement, it makes me wonder what their definition of wealth is.
Can we agree that giving someone a job is not the same as creating wealth? I've heard the same fellow is planning on hiring three people to man phones and make cold calls to pitch whatever product he has to sell. Is he really thinking about creating wealth for his employees? Is going to split the profits equally four ways? I kinda doubt it. He undoubtedly plans to keep most of the profits and pay is employees a meager wage for growing his business.
I've always understood capitalism to be about one thing: making money for #1. If capitalism is about creating wealth for others, how do you explain that 80% of the wealth in the U.S. is held by 20% of the population? (sociology.ucsc.edu) Have you ever pondered the term “trickle down economics?” Why not “downpour economics?” Or even “stream down economics?” Because capitalism and trickle down economics work just like a dam on a river. Sure, some of the water continues to flow down stream, but most of it stays behind the dam.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not really opposed to capitalism. I don't even disparage the ridiculously wealthy—at least not very often. I just think you should call it what it is. If you want to adhere to capitalistic principles and state that capitalism allows all people the same theoretical opportunity to amass wealth, fine. But don't for a minute delude yourself into believing that makes you a philanthropist.
You remember that guy who created a beefcake calendar of Mormon missionaries and who was subsequently excommunicated from the Mormon church because of it? Turns out he's a friend of mine. In fact, when I felt like I couldn't take care of my dog Ranger any more, Chad was the one who gave Ranger a new home. In my defense I've found at least one article that called him Chris Hardy, so I'm going to blame my knowledge gap on that article. When I first heard about the calendar, I went to buy one. Not because I particularly wanted a calendar of hunky, young men, but because I wanted to support the fellow (Chris, remember?) in his endeavor. There was so much press at the time that the web site was swamped. I tried a couple of times to complete a purchase, but it eventually fell off my radar as the semester wrapped up and I was feverishly finishing my research assignments.
The saga didn't end there for Chad. Maybe some of you are more up to date on this sequence of events (wouldn't take much), but even though BYU cleared him for graduation and let him walk (post ex-communication), they subsequently decided to withhold his diploma. Chad has decided he needs to stand up for himself and is filing suit against BYU. As you might imagine, that is no small undertaking and it doesn't come cheap. You can read his story and donate to his legal fund on his web site: chadhardy.com.
Oh, and buy a calendar while you're at it: mormonsexposed.com. You're not only getting a calendar with hunky, young men and helping Chad with his revenue stream. A portion of every sale is donated to charity.