We don’t have to agree, but we do need to talk

I had begun a blog this week on a fabulous Geico TV commercial featuring the rarely-acknowledged triangle soloist.

And it would have been good, but my heart wasn’t in it.

The commercial features a concert with a triangle soloist putting his heart and soul into his moment in the spotlight.

Granted, it’s a commercial selling insurance, but in my humble opinion, triangle guy should be nominated for an Emmy for his acting, a Grammy for the musical performance and whatever award exists for the comedic value – it’s the trifecta that made for one of the best commercials I may ever see in my life.

Then Las Vegas happened. Another mass shooting in our country, and I could not concentrate any longer on triangle guy.

As a nation, we can and must do better. It is well past time to talk about it and find solutions.

Call me naive, but I’m sure an answer exists that will be suitable to most everyone, and more importantly, save lives.

I alone don’t have those answers, and neither do you. But together … it’s possible.

I want to be very clear: I have been a gun owner since I was 18 years old. I am, I humbly offer, a really good shot. Further, I have had two members of my family murdered with guns. I get both sides of the issue better than most.

But fundamental human rights will always win with me.

My grandson is two years and four months old. In his short life, the United States has seen 19 mass shootings with the first one of his life happening in his home state of South Carolina. four days after he was born.

Killed in these mass shootings have been 194 of our neighbors, with several hundred more injured.

I recognize I’m not in a good geographical location for this conversation, but a conversation needs to be had. This isn’t about politics, it is about human lives, the safety of which should be our utmost priority.

Like everyone else, I don’t have the answers, but I have ideas.

Some things I think are worth looking at include requiring liability insurance for gun owners; requiring the buyer’s medical information bureau file before selling a gun; banning the sale of an apparatus that can turn a semi-automatic weapon into a fully-automatic one. Those are just a few.

There are those who would say these things infringe upon their constitutional rights, but I can’t think of a greater infringment of my rights than laying on the ground with a bullet in me.

I’ve heard great ideas from many people who are looking for solutions, and who are not bolted into their way of thinking no matter what. It’s going to take a lot of compromise to get this done, but now is the time to start.

To fix this, everyone is going to have to give up something, but it is doable.

I’m sure discussions about how to prevent this from happening again have been had all over the United States this week, just like in our office.

We don’t necessarily agree on all of the solutions, but each of us brought some good ones to the table. It was a starting point, and if we can do it in our office, it can be done on a national scale.

More than 10 years ago, one person – ONE – tried to get on a plane with a bomb in their shoe. Thankfully, they were unsuccessful. Because of that, today we all have to take our shoes off to get on a plane.

Nobody says that is an infringement on our civil rights because it worked.

Do not let the bad guys win. Do good because it’s good. Act out of love, not fear. Be kind.

We all want the same thing, really, and as my favorite poet Maya Angelou said, “We are more alike, my friend, than we are unalike.”

Show up at the table with that in mind. Show up on Facebook and Twitter with that in mind.

So do your good because you know it’s good. Don’t grab the bait on social media that encourages hatefulness and discourse among the people you live among. It’s not worth it.

I want to find answers because I think life shouldn’t look like this for my grandson. So, do it for your grandchild, your grandparents or your third cousin, twice-removed. But, please, let’s talk and stop this madness.

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Don’t feel guilty about your pleasures

I am the unofficial queen of guilty pleasures.

Unofficial because while I have the guilty pleasure thing down pat, I’ve never seen hard numbers on how others waste their days.

I have so many, it’s a wonder I find time to do anything. I like to think that since I consider much of my day full of guilty pleasures, I must have a pretty good life.

One of mine is Super Soul Sunday on the Oprah channel. A lot of people I know hate on people who watch that show. Those episodes are as essential to me as westerns are to my husband. We ignore that about each other, or at least one of us does.

Others  I claim include singing and dancing in my car (carcerts, y’all), the movie Congo, fountain Cokes so large I would be considered three people in New York City, and naps, so many naps – these are my guilty pleasures, at least the ones I will admit to.

Even though my recent discovery of Destination Unknown with Josh Gates reminds me that live local music has been replaced by the Travel Channel on Friday nights, I’m strangely content and not the least bit guilty.

But the very definition of guilty pleasure says it is something that other people judge you for doing, not the guilt you have for actually doing it:

guilt·y pleas·ure

noun

Something, such as a movie, television program, or piece of music, that one enjoys despite feeling that it is not generally held in high regard.

example: “everybody has a guilty pleasure—for me, it has to be mid 70s disco”

I copied and pasted this off some website and for full disclosure, the comment about disco is not my own.  Not publicly and not privately.

We all have guilty pleasures. Some we talk about, and some we don’t, both for wildly different reasons. We each have our shame.

Guilty pleasures are important, I think, because they allow us to relax, even for a few minutes, into what we really want to be doing without regard for someone else’s opinion.

In guilty pleasures lie our personal power, at least in some ways. It’s not impulse control issues, it is actually saying ‘yes’ to what makes you happy.

And if we really think about it much of our days are spent in obligation, which isn’t a bad thing but a fact of life.

I’m not ashamed to say, this girls needs breaks. I take naps when I want to and can on the weekends, without apology or shame. This might be one of my favorite guilty pleasures, mostly because I am unconscious for the judgement.

I’m addicted to the movie Congo and a few others. If that movie comes on any time of the day or night, I’m your huckleberry. I can’t not watch it.

Congo, I believe, has a whole one-star rating, and is about gorillas. I would tell you the setting, but you’ll have to watch it. This is maybe my most true guilty pleasure because I do feel kind of guilty about it, like I could be writing, doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom, sleeping, or spraying organic pesticide on the tomato plants I don’t have.

Actually, I only feel guilty about one of those things, which is why we’re here today.

I polled some friends on Facebook (yet another guilty pleasure) and found that we are more alike, than we are unalike.

My friends gladly shared their guilty pleasures publicly on my Facebook wall, and most centered around food, television and movies, music and pastimes.

Sherree’ and Gaye admit they read bodice-rippers, or what well-heeled people call historical romantic novels, as a palate cleanser between ‘respectable books.’

Gina likes drinking Diet Coke while eating Melano cookies, and also is a fan of Abba.

My friends are addicted to chocolate, peanut butter and fish sandwiches, entire boxes of cookies, Barry Manilow, Nickelback, singing in the car,  YouTube, fishing and provoking people on social media for their own entertainment.

It was like group therapy on a page and nobody cried.

I personally know people who watch Dr. Pimple Popper on YouTube more often than they floss their teeth.

People judge you for all of these things, and yet they have a guilty pleasure somebody else (who also has a guilty pleasure, by the way) is judging them for having. It is a vicious circle.

Embrace your guilty pleasure. Unless it’s bad for you or others, it is part of what makes you wholly human. Admitting those is essential in connecting because it’s a boon to the soul to say, “you, too?”

Like Maya Angelou so beautifully said in her poem Human Family, “We are more alike, my friends, than we are unalike.”

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My first poem

In this fifth decade of my life, I had it as a plan to expand my horizons. Learn new things. Be a better person.

As such, I have recently ordered everything I need to do “Zentangle”, or what is known as meditative doodling. I’m doing this because I suck at drawing and anything with the word ‘zen’ in it connotates no judgement. I’ll keep you posted.

Also, I have been curious about poetry for a while, mostly because I suck at it, too. I’m a true “Roses are Red” type poet, somebody that would be like nails on a chalkboard to those who favor Maya Angelou. I am seeking to change that as well.

I’ve heard it said that traumatic events have the ability to precipit*ate great change. I don’t know about that, but I do know about this:

Last week a man came into my office and as I was greeting him, he said, “You’re looking pretty old these days.” Followed by a laugh and, “Nah, I’m just kidding. You look pretty good for your age.”

That exchange inspired my first poem, which I dedicate to this man with a full heart.

 

My poem

Kiss my ass.

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*Correction:  It was brought to my attention that I am entering my sixth decade, not my fifth as I originally reported. Technically I am entering the sixth decade and I sort of thank a dedicated reader for setting me straight. And making me feel older. I feel another poem coming on.

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