In Times Of Trouble

Can we talk about the Westboro Baptist Church for a minute… and then never talk about them again?  Because that is about how much of our time they deserve, and that is being generous. If you have recently discovered the internet and do not know who these folks are, don’t bother looking them up. Just know that they are not Baptists, at least not like any Baptist I have ever known, and they are using the word church pretty loosely, too. They may legitimately be from Westboro, but I’m not going to give them the satisfaction of getting Googled. For the sake of this blog I will refer to them now as “the hate group”, because they are, in fact, the very description of a hate group. From Wikipedia (not a source I normally quote, but they include their own sources here):

hate group is an organized group or movement that advocates and practices hatredhostility, or violence towards members of a race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation or other designated sector of society. According to the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), hate groups’ “primary purpose is to promote animosity, hostility, and malice against persons belonging to a race, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or ethnicity/national origin which differs from that of the members of the organization.”[1] The Southern Poverty Law Center‘s (SPLC) definition of a “hate group” includes those having beliefs or practices that attack or malign an entire class of people, typically for their immutable characteristics.

The hate group wasted no time this week letting America know that they would be picketing the funerals of the victims of the bombings in Boston. Of course. We all saw that coming, right? Not because it was a particularly heathen event rampant with homosexuals and pagans, but because it is a tragedy and where there is tragedy there is shock and outrage and emotional response. That is all they want from us. Our attention and our money. You know how they get their money? Lawsuits. Because death, especially death amidst tragedy, brings our emotions to the surface and pushes our self control down where we usually keep our ugly feelings. I’m a decent person and I rarely wish harm on others and I would still like to see the piss beaten right out of one of their leaders. Literally, just gut punch the guy until he pees. I can’t even imagine how the bereaved present at picketed funerals control themselves. Thank goodness for the peaceful “anti-protesters” that have come forward to help the families at these times. Several motorcycle groups, plain clothes first responders and other citizens create a human blockade to keep the hate group out of funerals. It is proof that Patton Oswalt is right.

Patton Oswalt from Twitter

Patton Oswalt from Twitter

 

We know now that where there is tragedy there will also be hate. The hate group will announce there plans within hours of every tragedy. It will be tweeted and shared and posted on Facebook and shared some more and the anger will grow. I’m asking you to stop. Do not share the angry updates, only share the plans to protest their protests. Consider the hate group a moment. Their every day is filled with hate for humankind and hopeful anticipation of the next tragedy. They don’t deserve our attention, they deserve nothing more than our pity. Moving on…

I had just logged on to Facebook Monday when Wil Wheaton posted, “This is just horrifying.”  I refreshed my newsfeed, waiting for the news and there it was, several accounts of what had just happened in Boston, followed by a few more posts speculating about why it happened.  The ground in Boston was still shaking and the internet was already formulating theories. At that point, for all we knew, it could have been an accident. We had NO knowledge, and yet the keyboard ninjas were already busy making memes to remind us, in case you don’t have any pompous, hip, “non-conformist” friends to tell you already, that the mainstream news only covers sensational news stories and they often do so to cover up things the government doesn’t want us to know about. I believe our media outlets have gone astray, they don’t report news so much as sensational entertainment pieces, but I don’t think they’re out to get us. They’re just bad at their jobs.

Luckily, with a houseful of kids I have a good excuse not to follow the news all day. Fear mongering, random public figures and even more random bystanders speculating with little to no evidence followed by politicians pointing fingers and more fear mongering does not fit into my schedule. I do however check Facebook for updates from time to time and the amount of speculation and photoshopped bullshit is enough to send anyone to a padded room to fingerpaint kittens and rainbows. My friend Jeff posted something on Facebook today that needs to be shared. Tell your mom. Tell your friend that keeps posting that stupid video. Tell your kids if they’re old enough to be online.

“Seriously. Not everything is some big fucking false flag conspiracy with planted victims, subterfuge, and public manipulation via media. It astounds me that some people believe every photoshopped falsely captioned image that’s passed around on Facebook, every batshit crazy talk radio DJ vying for ratings to keep those sponsor dollars coming in, and every slanted “news” outlet that tells them what they want to hear – which is that their paranoia is justified and that makes them some kind of independent-thinking iconoclast that sees through the lies and fights for truth and justice instead of some poor misinformed soul that’s completely full of shit. We all make our own truths sometimes but, for fuck’s sake, there are observable intrinsic truths of the world. Two of them being: Most things are EXACTLY what they seem, and people for the most part are inherently good. Even people in the government, believe it or not. Don’t tell me to “wake up” when you’re the one fucking dreaming. Of course we should question everything. Especially those who tell you to question everything.” -Jeff Stone

Do a favor to the family and friends of the victims and stop belittling their tragedy by saying it wasn’t real. These are real people, really hurting, with real funerals to attend or real medical bills to pay and real injuries to live with. And I have to wonder, if no one is really dying in these tragedies. whose funerals are the hate group protesting?

Just… give it a rest. Wait for more facts to come in. Let the shock wear off. Let the families heal. Let the nation breathe. Let it be.

 

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Have A Nice Day

Happy April Fool’s Day to me!

I stayed up late last night watching the season finale of the Walking Dead and the bizarre episode of Talking Dead that followed. We never watch anything when it’s on. I haven’t seen a commercial since Little S was born. We DVR every episode of every show we enjoy and watch it after we put the boys to bed and straighten up and unwind. So, we stay up late.  I may have stayed up a little later than usual last night, assuming today I would get to sleep in. The Barkeep was taking the girls to school so he could buy supplies for the bar on that side of town, my early daycare arrival was coming late and the other one generally shows up about the same time the boys wake up. After 8:00.  I’m not going to lie. I intended to stay in bed until 10 minutes before I expected anyone, get dressed, brush my teeth and answer the door like I had been up all morning, showering and doing other normal mom things.

First though, I had to argue with Beauty, via Goldy, via text, about getting out of bed. Too much to follow? I knew Goldy would be up by 5:30 so I asked her via middle-of-the-night-text to please wake Beauty up at 6:30. She texted me back at 6:35 to let me know it wasn’t happening. I should have just got up at that point and accepted the direction my day was going to go. Instead, I continued texting Goldy different threats to use on her sister and wasted a lot of precious sleeping in time. Amazingly, I heard them leave at 7 o’clock on the dot, which never happens, especially when Beauty sleeps in. I flipped my fancy new “side sleeper” pillow over and pulled up the covers. We sleep downstairs. The boys sleep upstairs. So we have a monitor still.  Usually I fall asleep to the delightful sounds of Rockabye Baby, Lullabye Renditions Of Kiss. I wake up to it. I dream about it. But today at 7:01 I heard another song, the lovely sound of Sharkboy singing, soon followed by Little S. Then silence. Again, I should have just got up, but no, I held on to hope. The brief silence was followed by the sound of a herd of hungry cats headed in my direction, meaning a human was also headed that way. A light footed human, moving quickly and quietly across the house. A few seconds later two cats joined me, followed by Sharkboy’s smiling face and another cat. Still determined to rest a while longer I invited them all into my nest.

Have you ever attempted to rest with a three year old boy and three hungry cats? You’re laughing at me, aren’t you? Cats are jerks. Bartleby sticks his wet nose on my face, Loki chases my feet around over the covers like mice, and Delilah stares at me, judging.  There was more wrestling than snuggling so I gave up and took them all upstairs for breakfast. In my mind we had a long time before daycare friends would show up and I planned to use that time to make the boys leftover ham and eggs and sit at my computer laughing at memes. As soon as we hit the upstairs landing Little S perked back up so I got him up, got dressed and made breakfast… just in time for the doorbell to ring.

It could be worse. It could be a lot worse. Like, it could be snowing.

The rest of the morning was a typical Monday, table time, water our class clovers, play in the box castle, stories, prep for lunch. I can’t complain. Well, I can, and sometimes I do, at length, but again, it could be worse. One of my friends threw up all week last week after taking care of two sick babies the week before that. I had to get out of bed earlier than expected and spend the day doing exactly what I want to be doing. I should probably shut up now. Or not.

The Barkeep came home earlier than usual and spent a little time in his other world, World Of Warcraft. In my mind WoW is a lot like *Dungeons And Dragons meets Super Mario Brothers on steroids, minus clocks. There are no clocks in this world. Not even a sun dial.  So, “just a minute” takes on a whole new meaning, anywhere from 60 normal world seconds to several hours later, depending on what one is doing when you say, “Hey, I’d like to use the desktop computer for my super important tasks** that can only be completed on a real computer and not my phone.”  (*That is not an accurate description of WoW, but I never claimed to be right all the time, or fair. The part about the clocks is, however, accurate and fair.) (**My super important tasks may include my own virtual world on SimCity Social, but my world has clocks.) My point though, besides The Barkeep and I both being dorks, is that we also both want on the desktop computer around the same time most days. Once the kids go down for nap I don’t really drink, I eat lunch, I clean and spend a lot of time online collecting money in my virtual city and laughing at memes. Today I conceded that he deserved the time more than I did because he would be working all night and anyway, he was “in a dungeon” which is code for “can see no clocks.”

I started laundry, ran to the store, twiddled my thumbs… finally it was my turn!  Of course as soon as I sat down Sharkboy woke up. No big deal. I turned on Octonauts, a show on Disney Junior about land animals and vegetables that are undersea medics. Again, I don’t actually drink at naptime. This is a real show. I turned on his show, kissed The Barkeep goodbye, wished him a nice night at work and sat back down at the computer. No sooner had I logged on to Facebook than Little S began to fuss. Then cry. Then wail. Which woke his daycare friend, sleeping in the same room. I went into his room and it took me a moment to process everything I saw. So. Much. Dirt. Only no, that was not dirt. Poop. Everywhere. Little balls of poop scattered on the floor, a pile of poop in the middle of the crib, poop on his fingertips, a smear of poop on his face. And Little S in the middle of it all, traumatized and pantsless.

Of course he wanted held, ya know, he was sleepy and upset and… covered in feces. You can’t hold a screaming baby at arm’s length. Luckily the poop on him was mostly dry, which I don’t understand because he hadn’t been crying for more than a few minutes. I took him straight to the shower, which he hated, so we switched to standing in the tub getting doused with warm water, which he still hated, and I decided he would hate puppies and rainbows at that moment, too. He was now not only sleepy and covered in poop, but wet and cold. Nothing a warm towel and some cold milk couldn’t fix, which is exactly what he got while I cleaned the tub. Then clean clothes and another TV show while I cleaned the bedroom and myself.

I’d say the rest of the day went downhill, but I don’t think you can get much farther down the hill than “covered in poop” unless you also add tired, grouchy kids to the mix and a cross city commute. Oh, and wrestling everyone’s car seats into the van while they ran around the yard. But first I had to turn the van into a passenger van by un-stowing the stow and go seats that “someone” left stowed for their own convenience, not considering how difficult it is to transform a vehicle by myself when I am handily outnumbered by children under four, with no regard for the anxiety they cause me just by glancing at the street. Once you’re having a bad day it tends to snowball so that every little things seems worse than normal. Like lids left on milk cartons at the bottom of a pile of recycling you just dumped in the bin. I stared at that lid for a long time, trying to decide how much I really cared about the Earth.  Enough? I guess so, I dug through and took it off. Recycling isn’t as gross as garbage. Or a baby covered in poop.

It’s all about perception. I’ve had worse days that I breezed through without a thought because my expectations were a lot lower. At some point I decided I was having a bad day and so I noticed each bad thing. I know this but sometimes I still give in to it. And now I’m sharing it with you because maybe you had a rotten day, too, and you read this and realized, “At least I didn’t get someone else’s poop on me today,” and your perception changed and you are now having a better day.

I’m having a better day just imagining you laughing at me. Bitch.