One word out of my mouth is a dead give-away that I am not from wherever it is that I happen to be. Surprisingly even here in Texas my accent is the “something special” that people notice about me. When people ask where I’m from, the question that usually follows is where I met my husband, since he’s a Yankee, and that story is usually good for a laugh.
It goes something like this:
There was this leadership school instructor teaching a module on communication styles, who told this cockamamie story about two rednecks he had overheard talking while he was in Montgomery, Alabama and he held up cards with the alleged conversation for someone to read aloud:
Well, of course, the student didn’t read the ridiculousness correctly, and the instructor, thinking he was sooooo funny, told him that no, the two men were not Mr. Ducks and Mr. Knot, nor was there any such word as ossmer, but that these two rednecks were having an argument about the identity of some birds in the middle of a pond and that what they said was this:
First redneck: “’Them are ducks.”
Second redneck: “Them are not.”
First redneck: “Oh yes them are, see them wings?”
Second redneck: “Well, I’ll be, them are ducks.”
After class I didn’t let the instructor get two steps from the door before I said, “Sergeant, I am from Alabama and we DO NOT talk like that!” (twangy indignation implied) He smiled and walked away. A few days later, we had a uniform inspection. The same instructor went down the line…inspecting. He stopped in front of me, checked, checked, wrote something down and said, “Demerit, name tag,” and moved on.
This did more than ruffle my feathers. I’m certain there was smoke coming from my ears.
I adjusted my name tag the one 1 millionth of a millimeter by which this oh so smart, Staff Sergeant seemed to think it was crooked, and was hot on his heels to have the demerit removed from my record. Standing there, pissed, and never thinking for a single second that twenty-one years later I would be telling the story of how I met my Yankee husband, I said, “Sergeant Briggs, I’m ready to be re-inspected.”
The rest is history. Since then, we’ve laughed, learned, celebrated, relocated, endured hardship and watched our children become adults. Sometimes people make assumptions based on a single piece of information. They may think you’ve had no exposure to the world outside the pigeon-hole where they want to put you. Sometimes, I’ve learned, they may be genuinely interested in getting to know you.
Stereotypes are funny. Knowing the boundaries comes easier to some than others. There are ignorant people everywhere and when they cross our paths, we don’t have to be offended by them. There are more important things to concern ourselves with, and that my friends, is the best I can do today to practice tolerance for bird brains.
Oh, and to be funny.
Words sometimes pour into my head and flood my heart. Today the words were more like a storm front. It seems sadness, atrocity, and crisis are constantly on the radar. I’m reminded of the words of Thomas Paine, who wrote, “These are the times that try men’s souls.” His words were written in a time of revolution and rebellion against oppressors with far-reaching, seemingly unstoppable power. Yet history recorded that the will of the human spirit to be free and the passion of people dedicated to a common cause were victorious. What a hollow victory if nothing is sacred, if no cruelty is left unmastered, if no fear is left unwittnessed, if no lesson keeps us from ripping each other to pieces.
When a thick fog rolls into our lives or darkness grips us, even scholars are at a loss to make sense of it. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy,” said Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
We search for solace, hope, faith, and through faith, we find our way to love. The Apostle Paul wrote about the excellence of love (charity) saying, But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love. Martin Luther King, Jr. said of love, “Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it.
“Words can be like X-rays if you use them properly – they’ll go through anything. You read and you’re pierced.” -Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World.
Today, mostly cloudy, with a chance for peace.
Okay really, the risk assessment team (me) thinks it’s safe to say, people who know me have told me that I am the first person they want on their side and the last person they want to piss off. Of course, this is their way of letting me know they think I’m
fierce a smart ass, but that they love me anyway because I’m loyal, (like a Labrador) brave, (like a carrier pigeon) and determined, (like a carpenter ant).
Writing, I’ve recently been told, is tricky. Not being a paid professional trained to be objective, credible, informative and entertaining makes me just another blogger. (Blogger is the new “B Word”)
Reading blogs can make us googley-eyed. Consuming data, instructions, jokes, and standard operating procedures for everything from how to blog to how to live our lives is mind numbing to the point of, well, not realizing your head has fallen off your shoulders.
Poetry, philosophy, legal opinion, recipes, sports stats – okay just NY Yankees stats – lyrics to classic country songs (that I would prefer to forget) numeration of everything from love languages, habits, and deadly sins, to the names of dwarfs, reindeer and the anatomy of creatures great and small, but wait there’s more – rules of civility, rules of engagement, commandments, chapter and verse written by, for, or about people and places I’ve never seen, examples of leadership from highly effective to piss poor, and other assorted fodder can cause the cervical spine to bulge from the weight of all the stuff we stuff into our heads. (I’m seeing a doctor for it.)
Recently two blogs caught my attention because the topic of the counted, coveted, and most recently, contrived “like” was weighing on my mind. Both were well written, straight forward and funny.
The first post, as it turns out, I liked but didn’t stick it with a click. However, I did comment, because I am a constant commenter. Yeah, I’m one of those, but only if I believe I have something worthwhile to add to the conversation or if I’m trying to be funny or supportive. I save the venting and ranting for my own blog. The second post, I also genuinely liked, and its author too. I felt compelled to comment (one of a BAZILLION, btw) by sharing a comment I had left on the “about” page of a compulsive “liker.”
Here’s my comment:
Well said. I’d like to share with you a comment I made on the “about” page of a compulsive “liker” who not only plastered their gravitar on my blog, but as I read many others on the same morning I noticed it was on them all. How odd I thought. I check out every single person who claims to like my posts. I want very much for what I have to say to actually be meaningful. So, if people say they like something I write, I want to make the connection and believe I haven’t been just lying to myself about my writing.
Their blog, a re-sale blog like an ebay knock-off, meaningful communication wasn’t the reason they chose to “like” my post which I assure you had nothing at all to do with auctioning off your shit to strangers.
Here was the comment I left: (Which did not receive a reply and was not posted on their
“While I can appreciate your using this platform to promote your new venture, I really can, I don’t appreciate compulsive “likers” and as I made my way around the blogosphere this morning I noticed not only did you curiously “like” a post of mine, but many others. This is not a condemnation of your blog; on the contrary, I found an amazingly talented photographer, whose comment is above, and chose to follow his blog. So I thank you for that. I also kindly thank you not to use my blog to place your gravitar in the hopes of attracting customers for your business. Any thoughtful comments you wish to make regarding topics of posts on my blog are welcome. It is my hope that my writing is worthy to be liked, as in appreciated, not merely “liked.” Please don’t use me. I’ve been used enough for several lifetimes. Thanks.”
The prompt for today’s post came to me when I…Oh wait, if your blog is for the sole purpose of selling used crap or marketing a business that I do not do business with you don’t get free advertising here.
STOP TRYING TO NERD JACK OUR BLOGS. (Google it.)
Sally Ride was a true pioneer. Her life was dedicated to exploration and the education of future generations. Her legacy hopefully will be that we continue to see more young people interested in science. I encourage you to watch the video on the NASA site to hear what space exploration meant to her.
In 1983, as a high school student, it was thrilling to see not only the first American woman blast off on a journey of great historical significance for women, but also to witness the beginnings of the technological advances that today give us images of our planet that can help us understand how to better use its resources and appreciate its beauty.
I was a jet propulsion specialist, one of only a few women in that career field, and I admired Sally Ride. She was a source of great encouragement to me that I could do anything. Women of character who build bridges and break boundaries are more than a footnote in history, they are the future.
Sally Ride passed away yesterday at the age of 61 after battling pancreatic cancer. She was a great mind and a graceful soul.