family, funny stories, humor, language, memories

The unusual glory of being a “cusser”…

I’m ashamed to say this, but swearing is one of my many shortcomings as a human.  I cuss like a sailor.  Always have, and probably always will, although I’ve mellowed somewhat in my old age.  Although deep down, I am a lady, to most people, I come off as crusty as a crab cake.  I don’t even like crab cakes. 

Despite my cranky, bitter, and petty demeanor, I still have quite a few true friends who have known me for many years.  I made a lot of those friends in my freewheeling college days.  College was a pretty good time for me, although I spent those years fairly hampered by social anxiety and depression.  I still managed to have a great time at Longwood, despite those handicaps.  I left that school with lifelong friends and mostly good memories.  It was a really nice place to go to school.

One of my friends is a woman I met during the very first week of our freshman year.  In those days, Longwood College (as it was then called), had its bookstore in the basement of the much venerated Ruffner building.  The bookstore wasn’t that big, so one often had to stand in line to get in there at the beginning of each semester.  It was a chore that could take awhile.

I was standing in line, waiting for my turn to load up on overpriced textbooks, and somehow struck up a conversation with the striking redhead standing next to me.  She was a fellow freshman, dressed in denim shorts, a t-shirt, and a beautiful cardigan, which was very stylish in 1990, although curiously, I would imagine it would have been hot as hell to wear that during a typical Virginia August.  It’s also possible that my memory of what she was wearing isn’t quite accurate, although I do know she loved colorful cardigans and pearl necklaces.  What I do remember very clearly is that I noticed the redhead’s well-coordinated, stylish outfit and her brilliant red hair.  She was friendly, confident, and funny.  Her name was– and still is– Donna, a fitting name for her that means “lady”.  Donna is very ladylike and hilarious, to boot. 

We stayed friends throughout college and shared a suite during my traumatic sophomore year of school.  We were both English majors; she also majored in Spanish.  She joined Sigma Alpha Iota, the honorary music fraternity, and I was her big sister.  We were both members of Camerata Singers, which was Longwood’s auditioned choir that included a lot of liturgical, classical, and Broadway music. 

I lost touch with my friend after we graduated.  Then, one day in 2006, I got an email from her.  It was out of the blue.  She had included an adorable picture of her then three year old daughter, who was pretty much her clone.  Donna’s daughter has the same flaming red hair her mother has.  Not long after that, Facebook became a thing, and we reconnected that way.

This morning, as I looked at Facebook memories, I was reminded of something really funny that happened eleven years ago. My old college friend, Donna, was having dinner with her super bright and funny daughter. They had the following conversation:

Tonight over dinner, [her daughter] C says, “Your friend Jenny is a cusser!”

Me: “What are you talking about?”

C: “Your friend Jenny on Facebook. She’s a cusser.”

Me: “Why are you saying this?”

C: “Because every time I get on the computer, your Facebook page is up & she posts pictures that have the F-word by them. She’s a cusser.”

My friend continued…

Okay, so I just scoured your wall & I only saw one picture with the “f-word” near it & it was posted by [our mutual friend] Chris. HE’S the cusser! LOL!

It really is sad how she ended up a crack-baby & all. Especially since I never did any crack.

Donna is a dear friend, and we’ve known each other since 1990. Her daughter, C, is now a student at our alma mater, Longwood University. I’m sure she’s making her own hilarious memories at our school. Every year, on November 7, I see that funny post from 2012 and have a good laugh. What’s even funnier is that as of 2012, C hadn’t yet met me in person.

In 2014, just a few months after we moved to German, Bill and I flew home for my family’s annual Thanksgiving reunion. We were there to memorialize my father, who had passed away in July of that year. The memorial service was held in November so more people could attend. That’s also why I got married in November, although it turned out we couldn’t get married over Thanksgiving weekend. We probably should have done the deed in October. The weather would have been nicer.

Anyway, on that trip to Virginia, we met up with my college friends, Joann, Donna, Donna’s husband, and their hilarious eleven year old daughter, C, who had correctly identified me as a “cusser”. She was just as cute as she could be!  I thoroughly enjoyed meeting her.  As we were about to finish our visit, I said “Do you really think I’m a cusser?”

I treasure my true friends, and their clever offspring…

The girl blushed scarlet and hung her head in shame.  I laughed and asked for a hug, which she willingly gave me.  That day was probably my favorite of the whole visit, since it had been so long since I’d last seen Donna and Joann, and it was the first time I got to meet Donna’s husband and daughter and they got to meet Bill.  Sometimes I think if I lived in Virginia again, I might even have some semblance of a normal social life.  On the other hand, maybe I wouldn’t, because I’m kind of a recluse most of the time.

It’s getting close to Thanksgiving again.  I recently got an email from my aunt announcing the annual shindig, which she blasts to everyone in our humongous family every year.  Although I complain a lot about my family, they’re mostly very good people.  I don’t agree with most of them politically– quite a lot of them are diehard Trump fans and conservative Christians.  But they’re fun to see when there’s a wedding, reunion, or funeral.  Despite being a huge family, we’re somewhat close, thanks to the annual reunion at Thanksgiving.  Some family members are closer than others.  

Lately, I’ve felt like an outcast, but then I live pretty far away now, and have altered my views on religion and politics.  I no longer have the patience for long-winded arguments that I used to have, particularly with southern white men who are convinced that liberal politics are the pathway to Soviet Union style communism.  I might have agreed with them if I hadn’t spent so many years in Europe, which does have some socialist policies that work pretty well and doesn’t resemble the former Soviet Union in the slightest.  Having lived in the former Soviet Union just a couple of years after it fell apart, I feel as though I can speak with some authority about what it was like there.  Europe is not like that at all.  Since we are related, we all seem to have inherited a penchant for arguing to the death.  And some are more insistent about it than others.

In just a few days, I’ll be visiting Armenia, a former Soviet territory, for the first time since 1997. When I arrived there in 1995, it was still pretty Soviet in most things. Today, it’s a lot less like that. Every year, there are fewer people who remember what the place was like when it was a Soviet country. I wasn’t there when it was part of the Soviet Union, but I did go there less than five years after it became independent. And I can tell people I know– especially my conservative Christian southern relatives– that I have yet to see any place like that in my travels, even in countries that have “socialist” leanings. But they don’t listen to me either, because I’m not very religious; I don’t worship Donald Trump; and I am a CUSSER. Somehow, it seems like my love of swearing is the worst of my sins.

Many of my relatives who would argue with me about this are people who have not been outside of the southern United States, let alone “across the pond”.  They don’t respect my experiences or education, and stubbornly insist that they’re exactly right, no matter what, refusing to even acknowledge a perspective that differs from their own.  They don’t seem to understand that even though I’m a woman who is a bit younger than they are, I’m not stupid, inexperienced, uneducated, or in need of “special help”.  I simply have a different viewpoint based on actual things I’ve seen and done.  

I find it frustrating to engage in conversations with a lot of my family members, so I keep my distance. And they avoid me because I curse a lot.  But that doesn’t mean I’m not fond of most of my family members.  I wish them well and would happily break bread with them, if I was in a place where that was easy to do.  Maybe there will come a time when that’s the case again.

Once again, I feel compelled to share this classic song by Paul Thorn, who expertly sums up how I feel about some people who are my kin…

In July 2014, I discovered Paul Thorn’s hilarious song, ” I Don’t Like Half the Folks I Love”, as my dad was dying.  It’s a really perfect description of how I think of some of my family members.   I do love them, but I can’t spend a lot of time with them… and yet, I’d like to see them for an evening, maybe… as long as we don’t talk politics and/or religion.  Ah– never mind.  It won’t happen.  But I still wish them well. And I actually do love most of my friends– the ones who know me well, and accept me for exactly who I am.

Anyway… it might be worth it to go home to Virginia again, if only to see a few friends and eat some genuine American style junk food.  Seriously… I was looking at the menus of some of my favorite crappy chain restaurants in the States… places where there’s nothing at all healthy on the menu.  I certainly don’t need to be eating any of that stuff, but I still kind of miss it sometimes.  

November always makes me think of being home in Virginia.  I do sometimes miss being “home”.  I haven’t seen most of my friends and loved ones in years.  I think it’s having an effect on me.  I also miss really good southern fried food that will send me into a diabetic coma.  *Sigh*…  guess I’ll have to settle for Armenian food this weekend.  I’d probably rather have fried chicken, American style pizza, or ribs.  It’s probably just the hormones talking, though… which will later be silenced by my cranky digestive system. Isn’t it fun getting older? 😉 I think I’ll cuss about it some more.  

Incidentally, today is Election Day in the USA… so please go out and vote, if you can.

LDS, lessons learned, mental health, music

Turn it off!

Yesterday, after I finished my hated vacuuming chore, it was time for lunch. Bill had dressed for work, as he spent the morning teleworking and planned to go into the office for a few hours. We often have lunch together before he goes, and he was making me a sandwich. Just as he was about to bring it to me, he dropped some of it on the floor, which I had just dry vacuumed with the Dyson and cleaned with the Tineco wet/dry vacuum (a new toy I just bought).

“FUCK!” Bill yelled in a very annoyed tone of voice. “Goddammit! You just cleaned the floor! Shit!”

I don’t know why, but that little explosion of profanity just struck my funny bone so hard and I started laughing hysterically. Arran came up and cleaned the floor for me. He did a good job, too. You’d think I would have been upset about the mess and the cursing, but I actually think it’s hilarious when Bill swears. When I met him, he was a Mormon. Now he’s a heathen like me.

I asked Bill if his still devout Mormon daughter ever swears. He said no, when she feels like cussing, she starts thinking of Jesus or humming Mormon hymns. I remember hearing this the one time I met the girls. They said that whenever they have any “bad” thoughts, they sing a hymn. That supposedly squelches the “bad” impulse to use a word that some people had declared “naughty”. That brings to mind a song from The Book of Mormon, which rather brilliantly sums up how members of the LDS church “turn off” inappropriate or “bad” thoughts or impulses.

This song is so perfect… and so accurate.

Funny… I just watched the above performance of “Turn It Off” by this very talented group of young men. The song is often hilarious, yet it’s also so poignant on many levels. As they finished their number, I sat here with real tears in my eyes. I can just tell that a lot went into making this performance what it is– everything from the little movements as if they were “turning off” switches to the show stopping dance moves and solos. But the lyrics to this song are so very true for so many of us, but particularly those who are dealing with very difficult life situations that might cripple anyone else.

I remember years ago, reading a book about the late Karen Carpenter, who famously grew up in very close-knit and controlling circumstances. In every book or documentary I’ve seen about the Carpenters, I’ve heard that she had a very overbearing mother who was involved in everything Karen did. And one person who knew Karen had said that if she’d just let loose with a good “fuck you!”, maybe she wouldn’t have gotten so sick with anorexia nervosa, which ultimately led to her premature death at age 32.

Hell, I remember reading in that same book about how, after Karen made a self-titled solo album in 1979, she asked if she was allowed to swear. When she was granted permission, Karen reportedly gleefully said to the producer, Phil Ramone, “That album is fucking great!” Karen’s solo album had a disco song on it called “My Body Keeps Changing My Mind”, which is supposedly a big hit at gay bars. People go fucking nuts when it comes on. Why? Because Karen Carpenter, who was a study in putting out heartfelt, deeply emotional, very serious, and even sad songs was having fun. She was letting loose with something kind of ridiculous, and it was obviously something she enjoyed doing.

Someone cleverly set Karen’s song to clips of her when she was alive.

Unfortunately, Karen’s album never saw the light of day until 1996, when it was finally made available for sale. That was 13 years after her death. Her brother, Richard Carpenter, had been in rehab at The Menninger Clinic in Topeka, Kansas (it’s since moved to Houston, Texas) for Quaalude abuse, while Karen was making her album. Richard had asked Karen not to do disco. He and the rest of the Carpenters’ handlers hadn’t liked Karen’s album, so they scrapped production of it. Maybe if they had let Karen spread her wings a bit– utter a few swear words and cut loose– she might not have become so ill. Or maybe she still would have. Unfortunately, the world will never know what might have happened. Still, I don’t think a hearty “fuck you” from Karen, particularly toward those who tried to squelch her authentic voice and control her, would have done her any harm.

Famed German psychiatrist, Hilde Bruch, wrote a book about anorexia nervosa called The Golden Cage. I think the idea of a “golden cage” is an excellent description of what it’s like to be oppressed, yet living in comfortable circumstances. The cage might be beautiful and comfortable– comprised of a mother’s love, an audience’s respect, or lots of money, but when it comes down to it, it’s still a cage. And while being physically comfortable is a very important part of enjoying life, being able to be one’s true self and cut loose a bit, without being pressured to “turn it off” and pretend, is a major stepping stone to true happiness. It takes a lot less effort to simply relax and be oneself, than be fake and constrained by convention, only doing what is socially acceptable and “correct”. But being too “free” can lead to some consequences, as well as lots of pressure to conform to the status quo.

I read Dr. Bruch’s book, The Golden Cage, many years ago. I wasn’t that impressed with the book, even at a time when I was fascinated by eating disorders. I found it a dull read, at best. However, I do think the title is excellent. It’s probably the best thing about the book, and I think it describes a lot of people who are kept from living their best lives because they are afraid to give up comfort and safety. The mortifying idea of upsetting the apple cart, or doing something embarrassing, “inappropriate”, or “offensive to God” keeps a lot of people from experiencing all they could… or should. Imagine what would happen if people simply allowed themselves to feel the bad things instead of crushing them down or numbing them with drugs, alcohol, or bullshit speak. I think we might have a lot more mentally healthy people and even more happiness.

In any case, I did laugh heartily at Bill’s profane outburst yesterday. I don’t always like it when he cuts loose with cursing. That will surprise some people, since I cuss like a sailor. But in my case, I don’t think it’s the cursing that bothers me as much as hearing him being angry. It reminds me of my dad.

I had a dream about my dad this morning… I dreamt I had decided to go to a nice hotel in my hometown (which probably doesn’t actually exist), sit in the bar, and drink. Then, I decided to stay the night. But I remembered thinking that I should call my dad to tell him and maybe even ask permission! Even in my dream, I knew that I shouldn’t have to ask permission. I remembered thinking to myself that I was a 48 year old woman, and if I wanted to stay the night, I could… and I didn’t have to have anyone’s approval. I even remember thinking that they were going to charge me for the room, anyway, so I didn’t have to go home (my parents’ home that I grew up in). My thrifty dad wouldn’t have wanted me to waste the money, either. Still, I was hesitant, even though the hotel was an oasis of mask free people enjoying life.

When I woke up, I realized that my dad is dead and I was in my own bed, and, when my dad was alive, I had actually said the word “fuck” in front of him. He almost knocked me into the next week when I did so, but that was also the time in which I told him that if he ever laid a finger on me again, I’d have him arrested. And I realized that I became a lot more contented when I started realizing that not being liked by everyone isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s freeing as hell not to have to worry about what other people think of me, even if I do sometimes fall back into that habit. I figure, if people don’t like me for who I am, they won’t like the fake version of me, either. And really, it’s not my problem if they don’t like me. It’s more their loss than mine… or, if you prefer, “it’s not me; it’s them.” As long as a person isn’t trying to be cruel or hateful or doing something obviously harmful to others, I think they should be allowed to be who they are, even if they cuss in the process. Being authentic is what makes people unique and interesting… and free.

Bill is one of the kindest, gentlest, most genuinely decent people I’ve ever known. He’s always a gentleman, and would never intentionally hurt anyone, unless it was a matter of life and death for himself or someone he loved. But even he sometimes has to go off with a little cussing spree. I’m glad that no one was ever able to turn him into someone who feels compelled to “turn it off” like a light switch. Or, if he ever did feel that way, he’s learned to break the switch.

complaints, condescending twatbags, family, rants

Why don’t you drive your own car, and let me drive mine?

When you have to tell someone to STFU…

Yesterday, Bill had to take me to Clay Kaserne so I could turn in a passport renewal application. Because we live in Germany under special circumstances, we have to renew our passports through the Army instead of the usual way. I will get my tourist passport updated, and then it will get a new “SOFA” stamp, which is basically like a residential permit for people affiliated with the U.S. government.

As we were coming back from turning in my passport application, we were on the Autobahn, and Bill was trying to negotiate as a trucker cut him off in traffic. A woman driving behind Bill obviously thought she knew how he should be driving. She wanted him to get into another lane or move faster, and indicated her preferences rather colorfully in her car. She didn’t see that there was a vehicle in front of Bill preventing him from doing her bidding, but he could see her shaking her head at him and giving him a disapproving look (many Germans are world class at the art of the disapproving look).

As Bill expressed frustration at the meddlesome driver who couldn’t see what he did, I quipped, “Why doesn’t she drive her own car, and let you drive yours?” I’m reminded of that as I write today’s post. Sometimes, we need to remind people to “drive their own cars” instead of driving yours. In other words, you live your life, and I’ll live mine.

My relatives seem to experience different versions of our family, all based on which branch of the family they’re in. I have a bunch of cousins in Georgia and Texas– descendants of one of my dad’s sisters and one of his brothers– who are all pretty close. Or so it seems. My immediate family is not now, nor has it ever been, close-knit. My three sisters and I are scattered and we don’t typically spend a lot of time together. I suspect that when my mom dies, we may even lose touch entirely with each other. I grew up mostly fending for myself, even as people were telling me what to do. I realize that doesn’t make sense. It does make sense if you observe my family. We’re not particularly close, but some people within it have no trouble giving you unsolicited opinions or orders about what you should or should not be doing.

Three years ago today, I had an online altercation with my aunt’s brother. This aunt, who was once one of my favorite people in the world, was married to my dad’s brother, who died of a stroke last year. My dad’s brother and I were pretty close… or as close as one can get in my version of the family.

As I was looking at my social media memories, I ran across the altercation I had with my aunt’s brother. I once had a lot of respect for him. He’s a retired Virginia state trooper, a retired soldier, and has worked with Bill and a bunch of his former Army colleagues. In fact, this guy met Bill in person before I did, and made sure to tell me that Bill isn’t a psychopath. He may be a major reason why Bill and I met and got married. But that doesn’t mean that sometimes he doesn’t deserve to be told to “stifle it”.

My aunt’s brother– I’ll call him Roscoe– used to be a social media contact. He had a bad habit of chastising me for swearing on my Facebook page. He’d leave comments like “quit it” when I’d use the f-bomb or a similarly taboo word. He’d remind me that swearing isn’t “ladylike”. I usually ignored him or left him a gentle rebuke. But three years ago, I finally had enough. When he, yet again, gave me a hard time for using the word “fuck” on my page, I wrote this response:

If it bothers you, you can always hit the fucking unfriend button. Spare yourself and me a lot of fucking grief. I am 45 years old and I will cuss if I fucking want to. Got it? 

A lot of people thought that was a funny comment. I suppose it was pretty funny. But I was being deadly serious when I wrote it. At some point, it’s got to be okay to be who you are. I spent most of my youth feeling like who I was wasn’t okay. It was a message I got from supposed “loved ones” and “friends” who weren’t really friends. I spent a lot of time in therapy and on antidepressants, and I experienced an awakening in my late 20s, realizing that despite using the occasional curse word, I’m really not a bad person. That was a freeing realization, even though a lot of people have missed the memo.

In 2017, I wrote about this incident on my original blog. My original post was pretty good, and explains some of the context of how it happened that I finally needed to explicitly tell my aunt’s brother to STFU.

What happened was, the day prior, Bill and I had a minor argument. It was triggered by an insult I had received on Facebook from a man. I teased Bill for not fighting for my honor. I truly was teasing him. Bill is a bit of a white knight, and I thought it was funny that he wasn’t sticking up for me. It was a joke– because as we both know, in most situations, I don’t need anyone to fight my battles for me. Certainly not on Facebook.

But that gently ribbing comment triggered Bill, whose ex wife used to torment him by telling him about how he didn’t measure up and never “fought” for her. She even went to the point of ruining songs and children’s books by using them as object lessons as to how Bill should behave. It was very insulting to him, especially since he was not the one who was abusive in their relationship.

He got really upset with me. I could see it on his face. For an instant, he looked angry enough to lash out physically, although he didn’t. We had a serious discussion, then made up. Then, the next day, we went to a nude spa and hung out with a bunch of Germans who were also naked. I was relaxed and happy and posted about how being nude with Germans put me in a good frame of mind.

The same guy who had insulted me the day prior and triggered the fight between Bill and me, came back and insulted me again. That time, I posted this:

“What the hell is wrong with you?  Why are you picking on me?  Kindly fuck the hell off, if you can’t be nice.”

The insulter then deleted his comment, but not before the language cop, my aunt’s brother, saw it. He decided to give me some shit for swearing.

Bad words are a dead end. No place on FB.

There I was… in a pretty good mood and posting about it. For that, I first get insulted by a “friend”; then when I confront said friend, I get chastised by a “loved one” for cussing. And I’m in my mid 40s (circa 2017– I’m even OLDER now)! At what point is it okay for me to decide for myself how I will communicate? At what point do people recognize that I can make these kinds of choices and deal with the consequences for myself? I mean, I haven’t lived with my family of origin in decades, but some of them act as if I still need parental guidance.

That’s why I decided to tell “Roscoe” to pound sand. However, I still felt a bit guilty about it. I was raised not to swear, so I feel funny about doing it, even though I do it all the time. I guess it’s a form of rebellion for me. This was his unedited follow up comment:

Why cuss words? A valid issue or concern can do without. Get mad, threatek NJ mm w u atbis by th r poin5 Il)

“Roscoe” responded in a disappointing way. He was very patronizing and non-sensical. So I left another response:

I don’t know what the hell you’re trying to say here, but I would appreciate it if you would let me be me. I’m not a bad person, nor am I stupid or in need of special guidance from my elders. I promise you that when I need to be articulate, I can be articulate. I don’t even have to use what you refer to as “bad words”. But I choose to swear sometimes and that is my right as a grown ass American. If it offends you, there are steps you can take to spare yourself the injury. I, for one, will fucking cuss as much and whenever I want to… especially on Facebook. Good night.

It wasn’t long after that incident that I kicked “Roscoe” off of my page for the same kind of behavior. On more than one occasion, he lectured me about everything from the language I used to my political leanings. “Roscoe” is a devoted Trump supporter and I, of course, am not. And he wasn’t even really my relative– except by marriage. After that, I started kicking other supposed loved ones off of my page. Although it’s sad to me that I don’t have many relatives who are “friends”, I have found that I am a lot happier when I communicate with people who realize that I’m an adult who doesn’t need anyone lecturing or shaming me about the language I use or most anything else.

Not everyone likes me, but one thing I have heard from more than one person is that I am not “fake”. What you see is mainly what you get. For most of my life, I’ve gotten the message from people close to me that who I am is not okay. Now that I’m older, I realize that’s simply not true. And anyone who tries to shame me, when I know for a fact that their shaming isn’t valid, can just fuck off. If the worst you can say about me is that I use “bad words”, I figure I’m doing alright.

One complaint some people have had about me is that sometimes I vent in my blog. Sometimes people read what I write in my blog and feel that I’m “unfair”. Sometimes, people read rants I’ve written about them or someone they know and then try to shame me into shutting up. It’s really simple, though. If you don’t want that kind of feedback from me, you can simply treat me with basic respect or just leave me alone. I’ll do the same, and you won’t be on the receiving end of a rant. With the exception of certain politicians or celebrities, I don’t write these things unless I am provoked.

Don’t treat middle aged people like children. Don’t tell them they don’t have the right to their thoughts, feelings, experiences, or freedom of expression. Don’t be disrespectful to people if you don’t want them to be disrespectful to you. Don’t read things you don’t want to read. Don’t blame other people for things that are your responsibility. As I wrote in 2017,

I have learned that I am who I am, and it’s a lot easier to be that person than to try to be someone I’m not.  I will never be the genteel, sweet, refined Southern lady my dad apparently hoped I would be.  I will never be tiny, demure, super feminine or ladylike.  There was a time when I really suffered because I wanted to be those things… I was pressured to be those things by my father and, to a lesser extent, my mother.  To her credit, my mom has mellowed out a lot.  I think it helps that she’s seen that Bill and I are happy and being who I am hasn’t hurt me.  In fact, a lot of people seem to enjoy who I am.  The ones who don’t probably aren’t worth the effort anyway. 

Trying to be someone I’m not eventually led to depression and anxiety, along with years of flirtation with eating disorders.  It took years for me to move beyond those crippling and very damaging feelings of low self-worth.  I don’t want to go back to those days.  In fact, I refuse to do it. 

I’m 45 (now 48) years old and and I am who I am.  Who I am is not a bad person.  Take it or leave it.  And if you don’t like my use of the occasional four letter word, kindly fuck off and leave me alone. 

I’m sorry for yet another rerun, but I think this is a message that bears repeating. Some people out there in Internetland need to read it, either because people are discounting and disapproving of them, or they are doing the discounting and disapproving.

It’s just so easy. Above all, you live your life. I’ll live mine. You drive your car. I’ll drive mine. Simple… and if I want to curse, Goddammit, I’m going to curse.

And I don’t need protection from “bad words”, either.

complaints, condescending twatbags, dogs

I can cuss on Facebook if I want to…

This morning on Facebook, I was reminded of a silly discussion that erupted on my page two years ago. It involved my late Uncle Brownlee’s brother-in-law, Ralph. Ralph used to be a Facebook friend, but I deleted him at some point. It probably had a lot to do with the post from two years ago. I do remember writing about this in 2017, but my old blog is no longer available to the uninvited. I think this is a topic worth revisiting, and I can’t think of another right now. So here goes…

Two years ago, I told someone to “fuck off” because he insulted me. He deleted his post, but Ralph decided to chastise me for using the f-word, anyway. This is what Ralph wrote.

Bad words are a dead end. No place on FB.

I was irritated by this comment because it wasn’t the first time he chastised me publicly for cursing on my Facebook page. So I responded thusly:

If it bothers you, you can always hit the fucking unfriend button. Spare yourself and me a lot of fucking grief. I am 45 years old and I will cuss if I fucking want to. Got it?

I actually felt kind of guilty for responding this way, mainly because I was raised not to swear. But I do swear. I swear a whole fucking lot. Some people hate that about me, but others think it’s great. I can’t please everyone. Besides, if the worst you can say about me is that I swear too much, I figure I’m doing alright. Of course, many people can think of worse things about me. Most folks seem to have an issue with the fact that I express myself too much and say or write things they don’t want to hear or read.

Ralph responded with this:

Why cuss words? A valid issue or concern can do without. Get mad, threatek NJ mm w u atbis by th r poin5 Il)

I was confused by this comment, so I wrote:

Why not cuss words? I am a grown woman and I can cuss if I want to. Besides, I don’t believe in bad words. The concept of a word being good or bad is ridiculous. Words are neutral. The word “fucking”, for instance, is only bad because English speakers say it is. There is a community in Austria called Fucking. Do you think they chastise people for swearing when someone speaks of their town?

Instead of having a constructive dialog, though, Ralph stooped to condescension. That’s probably why I kicked him off my page. Actually, before he condescended to me, he insulted Bill for “double dipping”. Ralph has a lot of nerve making that comment, since he’s the king of double dipping. He draws retirement pay from the Army and the Virginia State Police. Even if Bill does “double dip” by earning a salary and retirement pay, what the hell has that got to do with anything? And why is it anyone’s business? There’s no shame in “double dipping”, especially in Europe. It beats being poor.

Deep thought 
All generated by use of bad words 
Holy smoke. Wish that was a ll I had to deal with life right now÷

Huh? Here was my response.

I don’t know what the hell you’re trying to say here, but I would appreciate it if you would let me be me. I’m not a bad person, nor am I stupid or in need of special guidance from my elders. I promise you that when I need to be articulate, I can be articulate. I don’t even have to use what you refer to as “bad words”. But I choose to swear sometimes and that is my right as a grown ass American. If it offends you, there are steps you can take to spare yourself the injury. I, for one, will fucking cuss as much and whenever I want to… especially on Facebook. Good night.

Unfortunately, like most of my relatives and their associates, Ralph was dismissive.

You go girl. Get it all out.

I was a tad more respectful in my response than I probably should have been.

You know I will. And I know you have heard worse than I’ll ever say.

In retrospect, I probably should have just told him to go fuck himself. It would have had the same effect. I don’t know why I bother trying to have a civilized conversation with some people. The older I get, the less I’m inclined to keep trying to talk to them. I guess this is my baggage… growing up in a family where most people didn’t take me seriously and discounted most everything I had to say. I’ll admit that I don’t always say smart or interesting things, but I’m not dumb, nor am I in need of special help from my elders. I’m long beyond having been raised. Take it or leave it. And let me cuss if I want to. I’m allowed. If you don’t like it, you know what you can do… and where you can go.

In other news… my sweet Zane has swollen submandibular lymph nodes. Naturally, I am concerned about cancer– namely lymphoma. However, I have some hope that the swelling is related to a dental problem, since the nodes aren’t huge and one side is bigger than the other is. His teeth and gums are pretty nasty and he’s due for a dental cleaning. However, he’s also covered with lumps and has had mast cell tumors. He’s also got a bit of a potbelly, which concerns me a little bit.

On the positive side, Zane is still bright, pooping and peeing, wants to eat soft stuff, and still loves to take walks. Really, he wants to eat everything, but I suspect dry food might hurt to eat. We’re going to get him to the vet. Hopefully, at the very least, they can give him something that makes him feel better. And if it’s just his teeth, we can get that sorted out.

true crime, Uncategorized

There is NO EXCUSE for this…

This morning, I became aware of a scary situation that occurred in Phoenix, Arizona on May 29, 2019. Dravon Aames, and his pregnant fiancee, Iesha Harper, visited a Family Dollar store with their children, London, 1, and Island, 4. Without their knowledge, Island took a doll from the store. The police followed the family to their babysitter’s apartment complex, where they intended to drop off the children.

A police officer approached their vehicle, gun drawn, and opened the door. He screamed and cursed at the family. Although the police officers were not wearing the body cameras required by the police department, passersby filmed the incident and it’s now all over the Internet. And… while I do have empathy for officers of the law, who don’t know what or whom they will face on a given day, there is NO WAY their conduct here is acceptable. Take a look.

The vile language alone should get them fired.

It’s easy to hear the officers threatening to shoot the family, swearing at them, and screaming at them. And while I don’t know what prompted them to react in this extreme manner, it really looks bad for the Phoenix police department. There’s no reason to use words like “fuck” and “shit” in front of citizens, especially when there are small children around. Those kids were probably terrified, especially Island, who at age four will likely be able to remember this incident. The child is reportedly wetting the bed and having nightmares, now.

Once they had Aames cuffed and put in the back seat of a patrol car, the police zeroed in on Harper, who was holding her baby. The police officer grabbed her around the neck, then demanded that she put her baby on the hot pavement. London doesn’t yet walk, so her mother was unwilling to do as the police officer demanded. Harper eventually passed the child to a passerby; then the cop pushed her head first into the patrol car and cuffed her.

This extreme response was all over an alleged shoplifting perpetrated by a four year old child. Bystanders have claimed that Aames stole underwear and threw it out of the vehicle, refusing to stop when commanded to, and driving on a suspended license. However, the store manager declined to press shoplifting charges and, though the couple was detained, they were neither ticketed nor arrested. The car was impounded, though, and Aames, who is now limping due to being injured during this incident, has to walk to work.

Naturally, the couple has a lawyer and, frankly, I hope they sue the hell out of the city and win big. They have made a claim of $10 million. I doubt they’ll get that much, but they have every right to sue and, I hope, prevail in their lawsuit. This was a case of extreme overkill, unprofessionalism, and straight up terrorism. It looks like these officers have lost their damned minds! To their individual credits, Mayor Kate Gallego and Police Chief Jeri Williams are “disturbed” by the videos that have surfaced regarding this situation. The officers involved are now on desk duty while an investigation is conducted. Frankly, I think the cops involved in this should be fired and face some legal action. They exhibited the lowest degree of professionalism and provided an excellent example of why people now fear the police so much.

I do understand that today’s police officers, especially in the United States, have a very difficult job to do. The work is stressful, and there’s no way to know what or whom cops will face on any given shift. However, I would expect the police to be in control of themselves, first and foremost, before they attempt to take control of a situation. Yes, they need to take charge, and that means being intimidating, but there’s a difference between confidence and assertiveness and plain old aggressive thuggery. These cops are no better than criminals themselves, based on their behavior.

The police officers who wrote up this report left out a lot of key details, which were all caught on film. For instance, they failed to mention that they swept Aames’ leg, resulting in an injury.

It’s really disheartening to read and/or see videos of American police officers acting this way… or, in the case of Scot Peterson, former resource officer at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, not at all. We’ve got to do better than this. Hell, in 2015, four off-duty unarmed Swedish police officers visiting New York City were able to break up a fight without acting like psychopaths.

American cops should take a lesson.

I feel horrible for Aames and Harper and, especially, the two children who witnessed this. I hope they at least get their car back and some compensation for what they’ve endured. Unfortunately, their four year old may have permanent psychic scars because of these rogue cops.