Yesterday was quite a day. It wasn’t a bad day, per se. We had beautiful weather, and I was productive, with new posts on this blog and the travel blog. I also made a new music video, which was very suddenly inspired after lunch, as I was listening to my HomePod. The Cox Family’s beautiful version of “I Am Weary, (Let Me Rest)” came on. I like to sing that song and realized that I hadn’t recorded it yet. I also realized that there were three chords in the song and I could play it on my guitar. So that’s what I did…
Originally, I tried to make a live video to go with this. I even put on makeup! But after four takes, I just couldn’t get the video to look right. I get pained looks on my face when I sing, and I just felt too unattractive and self-conscious. So I used photos of the Rhein River and my dogs who were… resting.
I didn’t share this video far and wide, nor did I really promote it. I did share it on the Recovery from Mormonism board, because there are people there who seem to enjoy my videos. It was kind of disheartening that the first comment was from someone who wasn’t logged in, and they decided to provide links to the original song. I thought about asking the person what they thought of the video I made, since that was the topic I started. Then I realized asking what they thought of the topic at hand would make me sound egotistical and entitled, so I ignored the person’s comment. There was one other comment. It was from the resident legal all knower, who enjoys arguing with people and telling them they’re “wrong”, even on matters of opinion. Her comment was about the Cox Family, too. I kind of wish I could just delete the thread, now. I guess I won’t share links on RfM anymore.
Well, at least Bill liked the video. He was visibly excited when I was done recording. No, he wasn’t “excited” in that way. 😉 The below post from Facebook gave me a good chuckle. I don’t think Planet Earth is where this fellow lives. Why is he so obsessed with looking at other men’s junk?
A couple of days ago, Bill and I attended a little fest in Hofheim, which I included in my post about it on the travel blog. As I heard about the shootings at the Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois, it occurred to me how fortunate we’ve been, living in a country where most people aren’t armed. At that little fest we attended, people were singing and dancing to live music, arm in arm. They weren’t hurling insults at each other, based on their religion or political beliefs. And I never once worried that someone might get shot. In fact, I felt very safe, as the fire brigade was there, showing off their fire engines. We also ran into a very charming gentleman with an organ grinder, playing and singing music to kids and making balloon animals. It used to be that way in the United States. Unfortunately, it’s not like that now.
As the day wore on, I found myself drawn into Twitter again, reading irrational comments from abusive people who compared anyone pro-choice to people like Jeffrey Dahmer and Adolf Hitler. I don’t understand why these folks don’t have an issue with gun toting nuts roaming the streets who open fire on innocent bystanders at parades, but they can’t abide a woman having an early abortion of an embryo, which isn’t yet sentient and has no concept of life, death, pain, or terror. But these folks aren’t known for their brain power or reasoning skills, are they?
I ended up waking up at 3:15 am to go to the bathroom, and when I noticed I had a shit ton of notifications from strangers on Twitter, I decided to delete the app. I’m going to have to make a conscious decision not to visit Twitter often, because it’s far too toxic and abusive, and I have to safeguard my mental health. That’s also where Ex lurks, and while her tweets are good fodder for my blog, they aren’t very good for my mental health, either.
Speaking of Ex… or not really speaking of her, but her granddaughter… The little girl turned 3 yesterday. Younger daughter sent us a video, showing off one of the gifts Bill sent. It was a little pink princess tent, which they had already put up for her. I was the one who suggested the tent. I figured she’s the only girl now, and she might like to have a little tent as she gets a bit older. It will make a place for her to play with her toys, take naps, and read books, if she likes reading. Apparently, the tent was a big hit with big brother, too. He got on the camera and showed off a new toy he got. Bill also bought his granddaughter a little STEM garden toy, that teaches kids about how to garden. It might be a little advanced for her now, but she’ll probably love it when she’s a bit older.
Bill’s birthday is also coming up. I bought him a pair of Keen sandals. He’d asked for them, having worn Keen shoes for years. The Keen shoes are very comfortable, but they don’t breathe. The sandals don’t have that problem. I have worn Keens for over ten years now. They are my favorite summer shoes. I can’t wear their other shoes, though. In the winter, I wear Danskos. So much for stylin’, although neither of these shoes are inexpensive brands. They just aren’t particularly sexy. I dress for comfort.
Anyway… I don’t have it in me to write a screed today. I need a break from the usual topics. I found myself, once again, getting very angry about the lunacy coming from the United States. Sometimes, living over here makes me feel a strange sort of “survivor’s guilt”. I’m really feeling a lot of disdain for the United States now. It’s gotten absolutely crazy.
Another July 4th is down the tubes. July historically sucks for us, so hopefully this isn’t a sign of things to come in 2022.
It’s a beautiful spring day here in lovely Wiesbaden, Germany. The sun is shining and the air is fresh, crisp, and cool. I can see my neighbors’ trees heavy with flowers. Later, when I walk my dogs, I expect to see plenty of beautiful blooms in well-tended gardens. I probably should enjoy being outside more, especially since the weather in this part of the world isn’t always as nice as it is right now. It’s always so nice to see spring arrive in Germany, since the earliest months of the year are usually pretty crappy, when it comes to the weather. Making things even nicer is that on April 2, 2022, Germany finally lifted face mask requirements and vaccine checks in many venues, although they remain on public transportation.
Because masks are still required in airports and on public transportation in Germany, Bill and I will be driving to Italy next week. Actually, we might have decided to do that anyway, since we will probably be buying wine, cheese, and other groceries and it’s easier to transport that stuff in a car than on a plane. I like road trips, as a general rule. In my opinion, one of the best things about living in Europe is having the option to drive to so many beautiful places.
My countrymen aren’t so fortunate when it comes to traveling abroad. A person in the United States can’t drive to Europe, Africa, Australia, or Asia. In fact, it’s not so easy to get from coast to coast in the United States by car. It takes awhile to drive from, say, Virginia to California, and a lot of Americans prefer to fly, because vacation days are precious in the US and flying takes less time. So yesterday’s ruling, made with a stroke from federal Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle’s pen, has caused a big ruckus among Americans. Public reaction to her decision has been decisively split. Judge Mizelle’s ruling makes it okay to forgo face masks on domestic flights, although it’s my understanding that they are still required on planes that are flying to places where the masks are still required.
Many people are hailing Judge Mizelle for setting them free from face masks on public transportation. Others are cursing her and calling her “incompetent” for allowing people to suddenly take off their masks mid flight yesterday. The facts that she’s from Florida, is somewhat young and attractive, and was appointed by Donald Trump, don’t help some people’s negative impressions of her worthiness as a judge. Some public health and medical experts are very concerned about this restoration of facial freedom the judge has bestowed upon the public. And some people are feeling more emboldened than ever to shoot the finger at people they regard as sanctimonious virtue signalers.
If you read this blog regularly, you know that I’m liberal about a lot of things. But you may also know that I’m not a fan of face masks, even though I am a master’s level graduate of an accredited school of public health. I was never really in favor of them, even at the beginning of the pandemic. I don’t think a lot of people wear the masks properly. Here in Germany, we’ve been forced to wear heavy FFP2 masks (like N95s), but the infections continue, probably because no one is forced to cover their eyes. And so, I conclude that a lot of the masking is basically theater, although I can certainly understand why they are important in certain medical settings.
Two years ago, before we had vaccines and most people had zero immunity to the virus, I could see why they were initially necessary, even though the masks most people wore at the beginning of the pandemic were pretty useless. As the variants have become milder, and fewer people seem to be getting quite so sick and dying, I can see why the masks are being phased out. For the most part, I think it’s time. It’s been two years, and while I’m sure there are some people who would love to see everyone masked forever, that’s not a very realistic goal.
Many people legitimately hate the masks because they can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. They do cause legitimate problems for some people, particularly those who suffer from anxiety, are hard of hearing, or have sensory processing disorders. They aren’t a good long time solution, in my opinion, because they are so polarizing, and because they hinder communication. Even if face masks were the best idea ever, it would take some time for people to accept them as normal. I am old enough to remember when a lot of Americans didn’t voluntarily wear seatbelts in their cars. It wasn’t until I was a young adult that they became normal for most people. At least that was how it was in the United States. In most countries in Europe, mandatory use of seatbelts for all passengers has been the rule for a lot longer, and fines are pretty stiff for non-compliance. But even a lot of Europeans are over the masks.
I still live in Germany, where public health ministers are still wanting to limit freedoms and impose COVID restrictions. A lot of Germans seem to be fed up with the rules, too, although they do seem to be a lot more willing to submit to them than Americans are. What I like about Germany, though, is that people seem to be somewhat less insulting, whichever side of the mask debate they’re on. And Germans, as a rule, are more community minded about most things. Many people here are still wearing masks, even though they are no longer legally required to wear them. Those who don’t wear masks mostly don’t get harassed for not wearing them. Maybe they get the side eye from one or two people, but no one is getting belligerent or aggressive about it, and there’s a lot less violence all around. I doubt if the mask rules were relaxed in the middle of a Lufthansa flight, that people would be whooping and hollering like they reportedly were on US flights yesterday. But yes, there would probably be people gratefully removing them.
As usual, I took a look at the comments on the news articles. It didn’t surprise me that a lot of people were whining about their fears regarding this decision, while others were being really offensively belligerent about their “freedoms”. I suspect that if the mask mandates are reinstated in the United States, there will be even more of an uproar and possibly, more violence. I have noticed, as many have, that since the mask mandates were in place, the behavior of people on planes was more violent and unruly than it’s ever been. After all, flights in economy class are uncomfortable enough as it is. The masks made them even less pleasant for a large number of people, even though some people don’t mind the masks and never found wearing them “onerous”.
One thing that I’ve noticed and don’t really like from either side of this issue, is that people aren’t willing to compromise or concede. Why can’t the pro-maskers, for instance, understand why people hate wearing masks? Why do they feel it necessary to insult, belittle, and berate people for their valid opinions? Being nasty and sanctimonious to people does not inspire their cooperation. Moreover, I don’t find it very convincing when a person in a mask brags about “caring for other people” as they verbally abuse those who don’t share their opinions and dare to express themselves. I’ve seen more than one comment by a supposed “concerned mask wearing humanitarian” indicating that they think anyone who disagrees with them deserves to die. That’s not a very caring and kind attitude, in my opinion, and it doesn’t necessarily make me want to wear a mask for the sake of others. In fact, I think it’s the height of hypocrisy.
Conversely, I also think it’s awful that there are so many anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers out there who feel the need to laugh, gloat, and insult people who are genuinely afraid of getting very sick from the virus. I happen to agree that masking should be a choice, even though given a choice, many people won’t choose to wear a mask. Having the right to choose is part of living in a free society. But I also empathize with people who are afraid of COVID, or are concerned that they will spread it to vulnerable loved ones. Unfortunately, this was a problem even before COVID, and it will continue to be a problem. Forced mask wearing is not going to make the basic challenges faced by immunocompromised people go away, even if they appear to make things safer. I do agree, however, that we could all stand to be kinder and more considerate about this problem.
I read an op-ed on the Washington Post this morning about the relaxed rules. Robin Givhan, who wrote the opinion piece, demonstrated the attitude that, personally, I’ve found very off-putting throughout the pandemic. Her piece, titled “Whoops of selfish delight”, lamented that people were cheering about the suddenly dropped mask mandates. The mood of her opinion was that people were behaving badly for being visibly happy to be rid of the masks. This was Givhan’s sarcastic comment about the midflight announcement:
“They reveled in the knowledge that while they might be required to buckle their seat belt, turn off their cellphone, put their seat backs in the upright position and refrain from smoking on their grueling one-hour-and-20-minute flight, the one thing they would not have to do was wear a mask. The long, torturous nightmare of government overreach, which is how so many aggrieved passengers viewed the mandate effecting public transportation, has come to an end.”
I just want to ask her what the hell she was expecting. Of course people in their tight airplane seats with no leg room, strapped in and masked up, while their neighbors eye them suspiciously and with hostility, are going to be delighted with the prospect of being free to breathe unmasked. A lot of people– and I’m sure many in the travel industry, especially– are thrilled not to have to wear masks or enforce the wearing of masks, temporary as it may end up being.
Now, maybe it was rude to “whoop” about it, if only because yelling can spread viruses faster, and there are people who are legitimately terrified of being around maskless people. But I don’t think people are being selfish when they’re happy to be allowed to unmask. It’s perfectly natural, especially after two years of this weird, dystopian, plague we’ve been enduring. And if the mask mandates are reimposed, be prepared for backlash. I suspect it could be even worse after people have gotten a taste of freedom. No amount of shaming, virtue signaling, and berating is going to cow certain people into compliance. I just hope there won’t be more violence.
Anyway… count me among those who are for putting away the face masks, although I probably won’t be flying or taking transportation anytime soon. I never liked the masks, and I’m not going to submit to peer pressure to be a cheerleader for them. I’ll wear a mask if I’m asked to, but I certainly don’t want to do it. Not wearing a mask doesn’t make me a shitty person, especially since I don’t hang around people much, anyway. I also don’t care if other people wear masks. They can wear as many as they want to. It’s their choice, and I respect that. It would be nice if we could respect each other’s choices, since we all have to breathe. When it comes down to it, COVID is just another one of the many, many risks we face on a daily basis. Over the past two years, I’ve lost several people in my life, all of whom died years before perhaps they should have. Not a single one of them died of COVID… most of them had cancer or another chronic disease that might not have been adequately addressed, partly thanks to this virus. One died of suicide, and another was killed in a hit and run. I think that’s something to consider.
In other news…
I got another “restriction” from Facebook yesterday. They claimed I posted “hate speech” for referring to “dumb Americans”. My “punishment” is having my group posts filtered to the bottom for a month. I’m annoyed by this new ding, but I guess I should have expected it. Facebook must have a quota of sanctioning people for posting “offensive” content. What I find especially stupid is that people can and do post all sorts of offensive stuff toward strangers, but I refer to Americans as “dumb” because they won’t allow a children’s author to read his book about unicorns, and I get accused of posting “hate speech”.
Just as I would like to ditch masks, I would also really like to ditch Facebook. I may end up doing that at some point, although it’s the best and easiest way to stay in touch with people. But I resent their stupid bots making false accusations about my posts that are taken out of context. The other day, someone referred to me as a “baby killer”, complete with vomiting emojis because I support the rights of people to get abortions. But that’s apparently okay– to call an individual stranger a “baby killer” as you react with puke emojis. Call Americans “dumb”, and your account gets restricted. It’s very aggravating. But, based on the comments from friends, at least I am in good company with these inane “punishments”. And at least this time, my offensive post was only a few days old, instead of four years old, as it was the last time I got slapped on the wrist. And this time, Facebook said I could appeal their decision. I don’t care enough about this particular issue to do that, though. I’ll just put up with another month of wearing a red badge of shame.
I don’t follow awards shows at all, and haven’t even been to the movies since 2018. Nevertheless, I woke up this morning to the news about how actor Will Smith smacked comedian Chris Rock at the Academy Awards last night. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard the story, here’s what happened. Chris Rock was hosting the Oscars show, and he made a tasteless joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, Will’s wife. Jada Pinkett Smith has a condition called alopecia areata, which causes patches of hair loss. Consequently, she’s almost bald.
Chris Rock made a crack about the alopecia, making reference to the film G.I. Jane, which starred Demi Moore, who was sporting a very short haircut. He says he expects to see Jada in G.I. Jane II. Jada Pinkett Smith’s response was simply to roll her eyes, but Will Smith went a whole lot further when he marched up on the stage, hauled off, and slapped Rock across the face.
I’m sure Chris Rock felt his teeth rattle after that blow to the face. I have to give him props for shaking it off and carrying on. Especially as Will Smith then tells Chris Rock to keep his wife’s name out of his “fuckin’ mouth”.
I’ve seen a number of reactions to this incident, and I’ve gotta say, I’m kind of shocked by how many people think it’s okay that Will Smith reacted with violence to Chris Rock’s crappy joke. I certainly agree that the joke was in very poor taste, and it definitely wasn’t funny at all. However, while I can understand Will Smith’s impulse to strike Chris Rock in the face for publicly insulting his wife, I don’t think it was the right thing to do. Smith committed a crime when he hit Rock, and there are literally millions of witnesses to what happened. Moreover, it just isn’t civilized behavior to give in to violent impulses, particularly in a setting like the Oscars. It was supposed to be a dignified occasion, not the fucking Friday night fights. These two men turned what was supposed to be an honorable and dignified occasion into something that was decidedly not family friendly.
If Smith had just kept his cool, Rock would have looked like an asshole. We probably would even be talking about what a lame, mean-spirited joke Rock made at Jada Pinkett Smith’s expense. Instead, we’re all talking about Will Smith’s thuggery, perhaps even taking a side as to which man behaved worse. And then, Smith wins an award and gets up to talk about “what God wants him to do” and “protecting” his family. He blames his violent actions on “the devil”, which I think was quite a cop out.
There are times when a violent reaction to an action is completely justifiable. For instance, if Chris Rock was physically attacking Jada, I could understand Will Smith smacking Rock in the face… or Jada herself decking him. But Chris Rock is a comedian, and it’s his job to make people laugh. Sometimes, comedians go for cheap laughs by making demeaning comments and insults about other people. I’m not saying it’s right, but I do think it often comes with the territory of being a comedian. I mean, even Spongebob Squarepants once got laughs by insulting Sandy Squirrel, right?
I just rewatched this clip from Spongebob Squarepants and, seriously… it really is quite a lot like what happened, except Spongebob didn’t get his beating in public like Rock did. And Rock, astonishingly, somehow managed to keep his composure and the show apparently went on. But a better comedian can make jokes without hitting below the belt with comments about things other people can’t help. It’s not cool to make fun of another person’s body. So I think Will Smith should have just let Rock’s joke stand for the poor comedy it was, and kept his hands to himself. Or, if he really wanted to hit him, he should have done it at a time and place where the world wasn’t watching.
Chris Rock could press charges against Mr. Smith, and it’s pretty likely that the law would be on Rock’s side. I’m sure a lot of judges would have some sympathy for Smith, but it would be wrong to condone violence. I mean, we learn in kindergarten not to go around hitting each other, right? It’s one of the first lessons children learn in school.
We had a really nice weekend. The weather was perfect, and we got out a couple of times. And on Friday, I ordered new sheets for our bed… first ones since 2015, when I bought Comphy microfiber spa sheets. I remember writing about that purchase on my original blog. Those sheets have started developing a hole, so Friday, I decided to get new ones. I love Comphy sheets. They are my favorites.
Comphy doesn’t ship to APO addresses, so I originally wanted to purchase them and have them sent to my mother-in-law. I was able to do that in 2015. This time, I couldn’t do it, so I had to have them shipped directly to me. I ordered Friday morning and they have already gotten here! The credit card charge hasn’t even posted yet!
Granted, I paid a lot for the sheets. I bought an extra set of pillow cases, and a throw, so that all amounted to a pretty big bill. Customs and shipping were also pricey. BUT… they really are the best sheets I’ve had. They’re super soft and comfortable; they don’t wrinkle or pill; and they are very durable through hundreds of washings. So I don’t mind that they cost more than a month’s rent in my apartment in grad school.
I’m now giving them a preliminary wash and I heard the chime go off, so In an hour or so, I will be putting them on the bed… and I suspect, thanks to DST taking effect yesterday, in about three hours, I’ll be napping on them.
The featured photo is of the Friedrichsbad, perhaps Germany’s most famous nude spa… where everyone is naked.They do have days when the genders divide by sides, as well as co-ed days, when people can go through the spa on either side.Bill and I went on a co-ed day, and had a blast. No one bothered us.
One of the things Bill and I have come to enjoy, since we’ve been living in Germany, is the availability of nude spas. I will admit that it took us a long time before we got brave enough to try them. We never tried them when we were here the first time, and it took us almost three years to go naked once we moved back here. Once we finally did the deed, there was no turning back. Now, being nude at a spa is just not a big deal anymore. Not all spas in Germany are nude, but quite a number of them do have nude areas. Saunas and steam rooms all require patrons to be nude, and there are a lot of wonderful spa facilities here where bathing suits aren’t allowed at all.
I guess, in this way, Bill and I have kind of gone “native”. I don’t think we’d mind a nude beach. I know I wouldn’t. I don’t worry about perverts. Here, I’ve seen many people– especially men– urinating in public, although it’s technically illegal. But get caught in a Stau on the Autobahn, and if it’s bad enough, you can count on seeing someone pissing on the side of the road. They just don’t care. I’ve seen a lot of public urination at rest stops, too, whether or not facilities are available. Many of the rest stops over here require payment. Some people don’t want to pay, so they don’t.
I’ve also seen women openly breastfeeding. I’ve seen children change clothes or simply undress in the open air at Freibads. I’ve even seen kids in the nude spa areas, which personally I don’t agree with, because people go to spas to relax. Almost nobody cares. Maybe my ex landlady would. I don’t know. I would think she’d be smart enough not to go to a spa where there might be nudity if it bothered her.
To date, I’ve been to eight different spas in Germany, most of which had optional nude areas in them. Three of the spas were completely nude, meaning no bathing suits were allowed there at all. People carry towels and robes for sitting on things. Most of the dressing rooms at the spas are also unisex. They do have cubicles that allow people to change in private, but the lockers are all in one big room accommodating everyone. And in the nude spas, once you go to where the pools are, everyone’s nude, except for the people who are working there. And nobody cares.
There are people of all shapes, sizes, ages, genders, and persuasions running around at German spas. You are liable to see people sucking face in the pools. They’re mostly young people– teens or young adults– who can’t keep their hands off of each other. But I promise, the spas are mainly for health and relaxation purposes. It’s not a place where perverts hang out. If they are there, they’re below the radar.
Americans, as a whole, are very prudish about nudity. They aren’t the only ones. Brits are pretty shy about baring all, as are Swedes… or, at least the spa we went to in Sweden was very much bathing attire required. But here in Germany, I’ve seen signs with bathing suits and red lines crossed through them… and I’ve also seen signs that say “proper bathing attire required.”
Today, I read an article in the Washington Post about a customer at the Wi Spa, a facility in Koreatown in Los Angeles, who was “traumatized” when a trans woman changed in the women’s dressing room. The trans woman evidently still had male equipment, and the sight of it really upset another customer and her daughter. She confronted the spa staff about the intrusion. The spa manager asked the client if the trans woman had done anything specifically inappropriate. The client responded that the person’s genitalia was displayed, and that was “traumatizing”. This, in a spa where the “lack of modesty” is disclosed ahead of time. I wonder what the hell the upset client was doing checking out other people’s junk, anyway?
For some reason, many Americans seem to equate nudity with perversion. There’s this pervasive fear that child molesters and creeps are lurking at spas, just waiting to rape someone. Those who subscribe to this fear especially seem to believe that perverts are wanting to pose as transgender people so they can prey on women and girls.
I can’t pretend to be an expert on transgender people or sex offenders. But from what I do know, trans people aren’t necessarily sexual deviants, just as cisgender people are not necessarily sexual deviants. And I don’t think that hanging out in bathrooms or spas and pretending to be transgender is a reasonable MO for a person who is sexually deviant. I really don’t think a trans person in the locker room is the issue, anyway. I think it’s the attitude among many Americans that there’s no such thing as transgender people.
In any case, I haven’t seen or heard of a lot of people being victimized at German spas, where modesty is not the word of the day. I just don’t think transgender people are out there attacking people. They simply want to change clothes or do their business in rooms where they feel safest. I don’t believe most men are rapists. I think even fewer people of the transgender persuasion are sexually deviant. And I cringe when I read the many frightened and angry comments by ignorant people who seem to think that people who are different than they are are somehow dangerous.
The woman who caused this ruckus made an Instagram video and said she wouldn’t be at the protest, because she’d heard Antifa would be there and she worried about her safety. Um… Antifa isn’t a group. It’s a movement. It’s an idea. This lady is grossly misinformed.
It would be one thing if someone actually saw another person doing sexually inappropriate things at the spa. It’s quite another if someone is just minding their own business, changing their clothes or using the toilet. Every single one of us has sex parts. The presence of those parts aren’t what make someone a deviant. Germans have figured this out. Why can’t we figure it out in America, the land of the free and the home of the brave? Grow up. And stop looking at other people’s private parts. Frankly, I think the woman who complained is the pervert in this case.
There has been quite an interesting array of news stories lately. Last night, I read a truly heartwarming story about a young man in Alabama who showed up to work the morning shift at a Waffle House on his graduation day. He’d had the day scheduled off, but his mom had to work and couldn’t take him to the ceremony, and he is not in touch with his dad. So he went to work, instead.
The 18 year old, whose name is Timothy Harrison, wanted to walk across the stage to get that diploma he’d worked so hard to earn. But since there was no way to make it happen, he resigned himself to going to work and making some money, instead. Timothy’s boss, Cedric Hampton, wasn’t having it. He and the assistant manager, as well as other co-workers and a couple of customers banded together to see to it that Timothy could have that rite of passage experience that is so important for so many.
By the time I’d finished reading this uplifting story, I had tears welling in my eyes. I was truly moved to read this story about good people doing great things. Americans love to help an underdog, and they are capable of great support and largesse for people who have a good story. Timothy Harrison’s story was so good that he also got a full scholarship from Lawson State Community College, whose faculty members got wind of his work ethic. Now, instead of following his plan continuing to wait tables at the Waffle House and, perhaps, later joining the military (which isn’t actually a bad plan for many people), Harrison will be going to college to study business and computer science.
As you know, I have nothing against people who join the military. It’s a great career for plenty of folks, my husband included. BUT– it’s not for everyone… and thanks to the kindness of Timothy Harrison’s “Waffle House work family”, Harrison will have another choice that could potentially change his life’s course forever. And that change could have significant ripple effects for other people in Timothy’s life. Thinking about that made me feel great and hopeful for the future.
Although a lot of people are ditching the masks as COVID-19 infections are waning among the vaccinated, not all areas are yet finished with the mask requirements. Such is the case in Decatur, Georgia, where Victor Lee Tucker, age 30, had stopped to pick up groceries at a Big Bear Supermarket. Mr. Tucker was not properly wearing a mask when he approached the cashier (now identified by police as Laquitta Willis, 41) to pay for his items. Tucker and the cashier got into an argument about how he was wearing his mask (according to the Washington Post, Tucker was wearing a mask, but not correctly). He got pissed off and left without buying the items. But then he immediately came back and shot the cashier, killing her.
Tucker also shot 54 year old Danny Jordan, the off duty police officer who was moonlighting as a security guard at the store. Fortunately, Jordan was wearing a bulletproof vest, which probably saved his life. Another cashier was slightly wounded by a bullet that grazed her. She was treated at the scene, while the cashier and Tucker, who was shot by the guard, were taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. Tucker is listed in stable condition. Deputy Jordan, who was shot twice, went to Atlanta Medical Center, where he is also listed in stable condition.
I have not made it a secret that I despise the face masks. I think that while they are helpful in preventing the spread of virus particles, they also cause a lot of problems for many people. For that reason, it’s my hope that they go away soon. Too many people are being inconvenienced by the masks, but more troublingly, people are also DYING over enforcing their use. Imagine trying to avoid getting COVID-19 and dying anyway because you asked someone to wear a mask properly and they shot you! Edited to add, June 16th– the indoor mask mandate was in effect in Decatur, Georgia on Monday, when Willis was killed. It’s due to expire next week.
But people definitely shouldn’t be killing and dying over the face mask issue. Of course Tucker was absolutely wrong to kill the cashier over something so utterly stupid. He probably shot her because he felt the need to “protect his freedoms”. Maybe he felt like the mask was oppressive and was finally fed up with being “oppressed”. Maybe that was why he felt justified in killing an innocent person. But that was an erroneous notion on his part. And now, he will lose his freedom and be forced to wear a prison uniform and, it’s very likely, a face mask, along with all the other stuff prisoners are forced to wear.
In all seriousness, it does make me sad to think about Tucker going to prison over this. He’s a 30 year old man, who had his whole life ahead of him. I don’t know what kind of a person he is when he isn’t losing his cool and blowing hourly wage earning cashiers away over face mask rage. I’d like to hope he’s not all bad, as I don’t think most people are all bad. But it’s hard to understand why someone would be so unhinged that he’d just callously snuff out some innocent lady’s life because of a face mask. It’s tragic and ridiculous on so many levels.
Personally, I think if I were in the States, I wouldn’t confront anyone over the masks. It’s just not worth it. Our culture is so strange– people are encouraged to be “nice”, and we hate confrontations and conflict. And yet, so many of us are carrying weapons! And so many are apparently on the edge of insanity! Would Tucker have killed anyone two years ago, before COVID-19 face mask requirements was a thing? I honestly think that the risk of getting the virus may be lower than the risk of being shot in some parts of the USA. There have been so many stories about people killing and dying over face masks! It’s crazy! It baffles me that so many Americans seem to enjoy busting people over the masks. The New York Times called it a “new American pastime.” I think I’d be too scared to say anything to someone about the masks. I’d rather just get away from them.
I don’t know if the cashier was required to enforce the mask policy or she just decided to on her own. I would certainly never say that she shouldn’t feel free to enforce the mask requirements in a private business. BUT… there is a real danger in doing so, as her story, as well as so many others, have shown. I hope there will come a day soon when the mask requirements go away so this particular issue won’t be something people continue to die over.
And that makes me think of something else… does it seem to you like America has gotten way more extreme? It seems like fewer people are moderate nowadays. I feel like I run into more extremely “woke” people and extremely conservative people than I used to. I still tend to be pretty middle of the road– leaning a bit more left lately, but not extremely so. But the past five years, which I have not spent in the States, make me a little scared to go back home. I feel like today’s America is not the America I knew.
According to the Washington Post, 2020 was the deadliest year for shootings and, so far, 2021 is even worse. Within the first five months of 2021, 8100 people in the United States lost their lives to gun violence. Much of the violence seems to come from frustration and anger over the pandemic situation and all of the problems that are affiliated with it. The Washington Post reports that the violence started to edge upwards from April 2020, when the virus started to become a real problem. I don’t know if we’ll ever get back to “normal”… but it sure is sad to me that a deadly virus killed so many people and so many citizens are also dying because of gun violence… or they’re being hit and run, like my old friend Matt was last month. The week Matt died, another person was also killed in a hit and run in the same area. It’s also a problem on the rise, perhaps caused by very angry people who have no regard for other people.
Well… at least I was able to start this post with a feel good story. I wish Timothy Harrison much luck as he embarks on what could be a very bright future. I hope he avoids gun violence and the virus. I hope he goes to school and sets the world on fire as he puts his promising work ethic to the test in a tough world. I, for one, would not want to be young again for anything! But I have high hopes for Harrison and his Waffle House family. His story, coupled with the cashier’s story, really show how awesome and awful Americans can be.
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