Friday, March 7, 2014

That's So Offensive

Hi, I have something to say (I know that won’t shock you).  It’s something serious and it’s something I’ve been stewing over for a long time.  But I’m finally going to write it down and get it out there in the open.  Ready?  Here it is:


Whew.  Glad I got that off my chest.  Now, if we could all just agree to do that the world would be a way cooler place.

Our society is so incredibly, stupidly obsessed with being offended.  It needs to stop. 

Ok, I’m not saying let’s all go out and say the most insensitive thing we can think of to the first person we see.  Because KNOWINGLY saying something rude to someone is one thing.  But inadvertently saying something that could possibly in some small way EVER be taking offensively by even ONE person is another thing. 

People are being overly conditioned to not offend one another.  But maybe the real problem is people are too easily offended. 

And bloggers need to cut the shit with the lists of “10 Things Not to Say to a….” 

Fill in the blank: Single mother, mother of twins, parents of boys, grandmas who cross stitch, havers of mopeds, people with hernias…

Its’ getting so ridiculous.  Everyone is going to start carrying lists around of what they can and cannot say to certain groups of people.  And when they go to start conversations they’ll have to pull out their piece of paper and ask:

Are you married?  Not married?  Not ever going to get married?  Do you have kids?  One kid?  More than one kid?  Do you like cats?  Do you own a guinea pig?  What are your general feelings about ice cubes? 

Ok, let me look at my list of things not to say to a married, childless, cat owning, guinea pig hating, ice cube fan…


The other thing that bothers me about these “5 Things Not to Say to a…” articles is that no two people who happen to live on a farm, drive a stick shift or have gotten a hair cut in the past week have had the same experience.

For example, I recently read an article called "5 Things Not To Say to a Person who's had a C-section".  I had two C-sections and if anyone said any of the things on that list to me I would not care one bit.  Because I had a different experience than the woman who wrote it.  Because, and look at me when I say this so it really sinks in...EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT!

I think we as people generally know what comments are offensive. Most of us, even me sometimes, can control ourselves enough to not be blatantly and intentionally rude.  And if we’re ever greeted with a comment that rubs us the wrong way there are two options:

Option 1 – If it’s someone who we are close to and value we should say “Hey, I didn’t really love that comment, please don’t say it again”.

A friend of mine once said to me “I think it’s cute how stay at home moms call what they do ‘work’.”
That comment pissed me off. A lot. So I just told him that I thought his comment was offensive and could he please not be an idiot like that in the future.  Only I said fuck a lot.  And we are still friends.   Dealt with and done.

Option 2 – If it’s someone who we just met on the street we should walk the hell away and be glad that person isn’t in our life.

When Grant was little he was literally bleach blond.  And he has light blue eyes.  Once at Target a lady behind me in line asked me if he was adopted.  It was a brainless comment.  But I don’t think the woman meant to be offensive.  I just said no. 
And guess what?  I have literally not thought of this story again until right this second.  The exchange didn’t affect my life at all because her comment didn’t really matter to me...because SHE didn't really matter to me.  I did not run right home and compose a rant about things not to say to mothers with dark hair who have light haired offspring.

Not everything has to be taken the wrong way.  Not everything needs to be made into a big deal.  I don’t think people intend to be hurtful…I just think people are stupid a lot. 

I don’t want to spend my time having to say things like “Sorry I made an insensitive comment about Panda Bears with neck tattoos.  I didn’t know you really loved Panda Bears with neck tattoos.”

Chill the hell out people!

So absolutely defend yourself, your family and your beliefs if you feel incredibly threatened or violated.  But otherwise, let it slide.  Let things roll off your back.  Mutter “moron” under your breath as you walk away.  But don’t let it stay with you; don’t assume that every little comment is deliberately intended to hurt your feelings.  Have a little bit of a thicker skin. 

The new standard by which we should all live is “Try not to be an asshole”. If everyone could just agree to this then I think the world would be a much happier less asshole-ish place.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Worst Book

I love reading books to my kids.  I love snuggling up and getting their undivided attention for a little bit.  I love reading my childhood favorites to them and seeing their reaction.  I really do enjoy reading with my kids.

Except when the book sucks.

And sometimes books just suck.  Sometimes the story is ridiculous or the illustrations are crappy.  Whatever the reason, I’m sure all parents have at one time or another come across a book they simply cannot stand.

Today I happened to stumble across just such a book.

We got the book from the library this week.  As usual when I’m exploring new children’s books I thumbed through the first couple of pages to see if it was something we’d be interested in.  It was a story about a knight and a dragon and it was by an author who I knew and liked.  But oh, man, am I pissed at that guy now!

You see, only the first few pages had words on them.  The rest of the pages were pictures…just pictures.  I’m sorry, did you take a nap in the middle of writing this book?  Go on vacation?  Have a nervous breakdown?  Where are the words?  I want the words.

I got the book home and started "reading" it (and I use that term loosely) to the kids.  I was already into it by the time I realized my mistake.  What the fuuuuuuuck is going on here?  Where are the words? I started to panic.

That doesn’t sound so horrible, you may say.  But let’s remember when there are only pictures in a book the pictures need to be explained.  And trying to explain the pictures is work.  And know what I don’t need in my life right now?  More work.

Like, Hello! Mr. Author Guy…you only did HALF YOUR JOB! If I wanted to be responsible for coming up with an engaging story to accompany of bunch of pictures I would have BECOME AN AUTHOR MYSELF!

Some parents may not mind picture books.  And that’s a personal choice.  In fact, when kids are really little a book with just pictures is great for going ‘Oh, look! A moon! A block! A martini!’  (What? An upside down triangle doesn’t look like a martini to you? I digress…)

When your kids get older they expect you to explain the pictures. In detail. I couldn’t believe I got sucked into a book with only, like,three pages of words. And two of the word pages were only one sentence! That’s how they get ya.  Then after they get ya you turn the page and see this…

Soooo…ummm…they’re training to fight each other but apparently they both kind of suck at it? And, like, the dragon is all ‘I’m gonna breathe some nasty fire at you’ and the knight says ‘Whateva! I’m gonna run you through with this long stick thing’ (which probably has a name but I don’t know what it is).

And as you’re looking at the picture you think the next page will definitely have words on it cause who the hell cops out of a story line three pages in!

Oh. This guy.  This guy does that.


And so they’re going to fight each other.  And they’re running towards each other.  The dragon has his fire breath and the knight has his stick thing, which I hope he got a little more practice with cause damn he was bad at that before! And pretty much this is the most boring picture I've ever seen.  Literally nothing is happening. 

Honestly…the actual story written by the actual author comes back at some point, right?



Well, looks like that didn’t go so well.  I don’t know why they thought it would.  Neither of those assholes was very good at his job.  You’re an f’ing DRAGON!  You’re sole responsibility in life is to breathe fire on things and you F’ed it up? Worthless.  And hey, knight? You really shoulda called in sick this day.  Also WTF is that princess doing in the background?  Does she have a purpose in this story?

Oh, she does have a purpose.  Her purpose is to be the typical nagging woman telling those dumb asses ‘I told you so!’ The moral of the story is Bitches be right pretty much all the time.
The other moral of the story is that I'm really, really shitty at making up stories...


And all of a sudden everyone is happy and eating hamburgers.  But since the Dragon and the Knight were such failures in life their food was contaminated, the whole town got Mad Cow Disease and everyone died…The End!

See, Author Man? See what happens when you take the lazy route?  Where was your editor during the writing process?  You could have written like ten more sentences and I wouldn’t have to hate you this much. 

Enough with this half ass ‘let the kids use their imaginations’ bullshit because really it’s the parents who then have to use their imaginations.  And in my imagination there is a widespread disease outbreak in the kingdom.  And the fact that I even had to come up with that ending is entirely your fault.  How do you feel now? 

In the future it’d be nice if you could finish your books.  Thanks.