Do the Right Thing.

Posted in SoForth on June 27th, 2014 by Diva

When I make my periodic treks to New Mexico, I usually stop at a specific gas / fast food / convenience store complex in Trinidad, Colorado. It’s one that is close to the road, but I like it for the clean restrooms and all the usual amenities of a truck stop without the trucks. Plus the parking lot is huge, which is helpful for me, since I usually pack my own food and need a spot to easily make a sandwich or mix a salad.

On my return home this past trip, upon exiting the ladies room, I noticed a crisp $50 bill on the floor. There were but three people around at the time and none of them looked as if they’d lost anything as important as half a hundred bucks, so I picked it up and put it in my pocket.

I had no intention of keeping it. Unlike some folks, I don’t take what’s not mine, at least until I’ve ensured no one is going to claim it. I’ve been the person who misplaced cash that was going to be my rent, get me enough gas to get home, or otherwise provide the means to continue living, not just cash I had around for fun. And I’ve been lucky that each time it happened, a perfect stranger found it and gave it back to me.

So I approached the lone cashier and asked if anyone had reported missing money. I didn’t mention the amount so as to keep anyone with nefarious intent – including the kid behind the counter – from saying, “Oh, yeah, that’s mine.” Fifty bucks is quite a lot of money and only the true owner knows what amount they lost. No sense in making the search a free-for-all.

The cashier said no, so I told him I’d stick around to see if anyone reported it and went about my business. Lo and behold, not a minute later, a lovely young woman with a 3 year old girl in tow arrived at the register and asked for $60 on pump number …

… she had only pulled a $10 bill out of her pocket. I saw the panic cross her face. I really felt for her in that moment, having been there myself.

Before I could make my way to the cashier station, she was retracing her steps on the other side of the store, starting to get a bit frantic. As I rounded the corner, I said loudly, “Ma’am? Ma’am! Did you lose something?”

She turned to me, wide eyed, and all she could murmur was, “Fifty,” but of course that’s all I needed. I pulled the bill from my pocket and handed it to her.

She didn’t respond with gratitude – she never even said thank you – but I didn’t care. Still don’t. I did the right thing and I’ve been riding on the high it gave me for days now.

I LOVE paying it forward.

Love it.

It’s Really Like That.

Posted in WhatNot on June 18th, 2014 by Diva

Every town has a street like Colfax Avenue, but only Denver has the genuine article. But I don’t need to explain when Karl Christian Krumpholz has done it for all of us in a regular strip titled 30 Miles of Crazy.

This past weekend we picked up the bound anthology of the strip at Denver ComicCon.

30-MILES-Cover-V1-NEW
Image used without permission. Buy a copy so he’ll forgive me.

The stories told within these pages need little-to-no embellishment. Colfax is truly one-of-a-kind and the truth of its high weirdness is better than any fiction.

For example, just after we left the con we headed over to Lion’s Lair – a Colfax dive if there ever was one – for Kooky Kitsch, a weekly Saturday event where DJ Frank Bell plays weird and wild tracks. I adored it, but I love really esoteric music – the more obscure, the better.

There were a lot of drinkers of course, ourselves included. This made for quite a few “special” conversations, a ton of laughter, and quite a few “WTF?” moments, but this … this is what had me giggling the rest of the night:

Quarter Machine Dollar

That’s one of those “insert a quarter and some other quarters might fall” arcade machine with a dollar bill in it.

I don’t know who “they” were, but they were doin’ it wrong. Or maybe they did it right. It is Colfax after all.

Get the book – you’ll see.

Dooo eeet.

I Am the One Who Knocks.

Posted in SoForth on June 17th, 2014 by Diva

The absolute most polite thing you can do to keep religious, political, or charitable folks from knocking on your door is a NO SOLICITING sign, right?

We have an over-sized one on our door here at home. It is laminated for weather, with white letters on a black background, and placed strategically on a light brown door.

It’s not easy to miss, yet about once a week, someone still knocks. This drives me slightly nuts, as I’m usually busy doing something much more important than being polite to strangers on my doorstep.

But it occurred to me recently, after answering for another set of religious types, that maybe some people really don’t know what NO SOLICITING means. The term is a tad antiquated and our educational system isn’t quite the best, right? So ignorance is as valid a reason as people just choosing to be rude.

Either way, here’s a primer on the verb on the sign. The definition is from the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, but I modified the examples for brevity and to apply them to the people who come to our door in particular.

***

SOLICIT (as in SOLICITING)

transitive verb
1 a : to make petition to : entreat; b : to approach with a request or plea
2 : to urge (as one’s cause) strongly
3 a : to entice or lure, especially into evil; b : to proposition (someone) especially as or in the character of a prostitute
4 : to try to obtain by usually urgent requests or pleas (intransitive verb)

intransitive verb
1: to make solicitation : importune
2 of a prostitute : to offer to have sexual relations with someone for money

Examples of SOLICIT
1. Soliciting donations for a religious, political, or charitable organization.
2. Soliciting funds for any other special interest group not mentioned in (1).
3. Soliciting new memberships in a religious, political, or charitable organization.
4. Soliciting new memberships in any other special interest group mentioned in (3).
5. Soliciting bids on a project.
6. Soliciting business for a company.
7. Soliciting opinion(s).
8. Soliciting customers (as in prostitution).

Origin of SOLICIT

Middle English, to disturb, promote, from Anglo-French solliciter, from Latin sollicitare to disturb, from sollicitus anxious, from sollus whole (from Oscan; akin to Greek holos whole) + citus, past participle of ciēre to move — more at safe, -kinesis

First Known Use: 15th Century

***

I am sorely tempted to add the following, print it all on one sheet, and start handing it to anyone who rings the doorbell …

Conclusion:

“No Soliciting” means “Do Not Disturb”

Please share this fact with others in your business or organization.

Thank you.

… but rude shouldn’t be met with rude. Rude should be met with, “I’m sorry, we’re not interested, there’s a sign on the door saying so.” Which is exactly what I currently do.

Cuz high road.

Always.

Liberals Can Be Anti-Science, Too.

Posted in WhatNot on June 3rd, 2014 by Diva

I, for one, welcome the coming pandemic. I’ve gotten most of my adult booster shots – a plan I implemented when it became clear these idiots weren’t going to let up – and stupid people need to be bred out of the gene pool.

SMH

And Another Thing…

Posted in WhatNot on June 2nd, 2014 by Diva

Just read a truly terrible opinion piece that not only downplays the sexism women spoke up about via the #YesAllWomen hashtag, but is the rant of a true chauvinist.

This portrait of a public realm filled with leering, grasping men may have described 1950s Italy and perhaps some Latin American countries today, but it bears no resemblance to contemporary America. Construction workers have largely been tamed. Groping on subways is thankfully rare — and it is committed by perverts. No one condones such behavior. It is on the very margins of our social lives, not at the center.

Nevermind that thousands of women, including myself, shared issues that happened not just in our past, but as recently as the day we Tweeted. It may not happen to you, but when you say it doesn’t happen at all, you are simply ignoring the facts of the matter.

But it didn’t stop there, no sirree.

As for the hoary claim that men treat women as sex objects … I’ll feel the injustice of that when I see women trade their stiletto heels and tight skirts for sober business suits that reveal as little of their skin and shape as a man’s suit.

It’s 2014, people, and you were just told once again to blame the victim for what she wore. Worse: This bullshit was written by a woman.

*facepalm*

Bear with a diversion for a moment: I went out on my scooter last weekend in long pants, long-sleeved shirt, hat, and sunglasses and I still had men from three different motor vehicles leer at me, then chat me up. I find such behavior creepy and irritating, but I can’t express it in the moment because, like all humans, I consider my safety above all else. In this case, I was working with the knowledge I couldn’t possibly outrun any of them if a poor reaction ensued – there is no contest between a 50cc scooter and a work truck or passenger car.

As I type these words I can hear the author and various men who’ve responded unhelpfully-to-vitriolically to the ongoing discussion say, “But chances are they wouldn’t get violent.” Sure, but the simple fact is men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators of violence, on women as well as other men. How am I supposed to tell one from the other? Which dude is reasonable and doesn’t mind me blowing him off and which one takes it personally and tries something?

I despise having to respond nicely, but there is no alternative, not when what I say or how I act could mean the difference between remaining un-assaulted, un-raped, or even alive. And being told it’s because of stilettos and short skirts is patently ridiculous.

This is What I was Wearing

I don’t fear men, nor do I refuse to speak to anyone with a penis. But when a man who is a total stranger approaches me when I’m alone, gives me the (always creepy, no exceptions) once over, and chats me up, I immediately write off any possibility of getting to know him. Please note the encounter is creepy because of the once over and/or leer; men who just start a conversation without commenting on looks or other superficial qualities (“Hey, beautiful”) and who don’t call us diminutive names (baby, honey, darling, etc.) usually get positive responses.

What’s that? Treat women like human beings instead of objects to be coveted?

Go figure.

Meanwhile, there’s at least one woman out there who doesn’t think catcalling is still a thing, or that it doesn’t happen in the U.S. To paraphrase my last post, you can’t just write off thousands of women’s experiences by chanting, “Liar, liar.” My pants are NOT on fire.

Here: Have a palate cleanser.

Yes. All Women.

Posted in WhatNot on May 29th, 2014 by Diva

When I was 15, we lived in a less-than-stellar neighborhood in a crappy, three bedroom apartment. I was a freshman in high school and knew everything there was to know about the world … you know, like all teens do.

Only from the comfort of my adult life and 20/20 hindsight did I realize our town bordered Inglewood, CA by mere blocks. Those who know history and geography will know Inglewood is one city over from Watts, home of the riots of the late 1960s. Those familiar with the nascent hardcore punk and “OG” rap scenes of the late 70s and early 80s understand what that means, too – i.e, we were not in the best area – or circumstances – at the time.

Halloween of 1981, I talked my reticent mother and my outraged-to-the-point-of-red-faced-yelling father into letting me dress as a hooker for the holiday. I wore a fuchsia bodysuit with a neckline cut nearly to my belly button, short-shorts, lots of jewelry, and knee-high go-go boots. My BFF at the time, two years older than I, did my hair and makeup.

I looked like a whore.

In retrospect, that was the point I suppose.

My BFF, for her part, was dressed as a pregnant nun. (Yep – my ability to commit utter sacrilege goes waaaay back.) Consider this was during the time Father Guido Sarducci (aka comedian Don Lovello) had taken on the Catholic Church via comedy videos on Saturday Night Live and on the cusp of Spy! magazine, which removed such push-the-envelope satire from the pages of genuine porn magazines to place it into their own, more “decent” format. (Interesting note: The Lazlo Letters, one of Don Novello’s most brilliant antics of the era, eventually published in book form, appeared in Spy! first.)

We were pushing our limits as well as the limits of those around us. It was the perfect time for it.

The only reason my parents allowed this behavior from me and my friends:

1) I was going out with a group of girls. There were six of us together for the evening and there were never less than three of us in a group at any given time.

2) My Mom knew they had to let me go the way I wished or I would rebel even further than I already had. (Of course, I only learned this fact from her years later, but she was right. Mom was one smart cookie when it came to her kids.)

We girls enjoyed ourselves out there in the dark. We trick-or-treated in the ‘hood until we got bored, then hung out on the corner of the busy, major boulevard just four doors away from home.

We got yelled at by folks who seemed angry, but we couldn’t make out what they said as they drove by. We got catcalls – lots of catcalls. Basically, we acted out like teens and got the attention every teen seeks.

It was exhilarating.

***

The first week of November, I visited another friend in the apartment she shared with her mother and brother in the back of the building. On leaving and heading toward home, I was confronted by a boy I had seen out and about and knew by name, but had never really met. He was a couple years older than I and had either dropped out of school (his story) or been kicked out (everyone else’s).

He came up behind me and I turned to face him, looking him square in the eye. This is a habit my mother had ingrained in me, to always confront the unknown.

He was slightly taken aback, at least at first. I don’t recall exactly what was said or what conversation ensued, but this I recall as if it were yesterday:

“Wait a second … you’re the girl who was dressed like a whore for Halloween!”

I smiled really wide, happy at the recognition.

“That was me!”

He took a step closer to me – we weren’t that far apart to begin with – and pulled a knife out of his pocket. Like in a bad 1950s movie, he brandished it in my face and said, “Do you like me?”

It was the first and only time I froze in place. Confused, I answered in a way he obviously didn’t appreciate. “What?” I said.

Before I knew it, he had grabbed my arm, turned me around, and had the knife at my neck.

“DO.

YOU.

LIKE.

ME.”

I didn’t panic. I merely said, quite sincerely and a little seductively:

“Yes. Yes, I do. And if you let me turn around, I’ll show you … ”

The boy didn’t know I’d been sexually active since age 10, hiding in dark places, playing “touching” games.

The boy didn’t know I’d freely given oral sex from 13 on, sometimes just to shut boys up, but mostly because I liked the way they reacted when I did it.

The boy didn’t understand I knew how to use my sexuality already, that the whore costume wasn’t really a costume.

Most importantly, the boy didn’t know I could, at such a young age, shut down irrationality and become 100% sexual predator at will.

It was, however, the first time I did it to save my own skin.

(So many firsts that day.)

He let go, I assume to see if what I said was true.

It wasn’t.

I turned to face him as if I were going to act out what I’d said. Then he let down his guard – and the knife – and I did a 180 and ran as fast I could toward home.

I’ve never told a soul about that incident until now.

The boy I encountered was obviously a sexual predator. I’m sure he went on to do actual damage one day, but I don’t know for sure, since I never reported him and we moved to a better neighborhood by Xmas of that year.

***

When I was 22, I agreed to meet a guy I’d met at a party at a local bar. He was a police officer and (surprise!) was not my problem that evening.

After a few drinks, my date excused himself to go the the restroom. I sipped my cocktail and turned my attention to watch the TV above the bar.

A dude two barstools away took that very opportunity to slip on to the one next to me. I turned and looked him in the eye (notice a pattern?), nodded, said hello, and turned back toward the TV.

It was then he thought it appropriate to place his hand on the back of my neck, rubbing it in a massage-like manner.

He leaned in close and said, “Why you with that guy?”

You know, in the manner of “What’s he got that I don’t?”

I nodded at the bartender to ensure he saw what was going on, turned toward the man touching me without permission, smiled as if he had a even a snowball’s chance in hell with me …

… then punched him so hard he fell off his stool.

Just then my date exited the restroom and asked, “Is there a problem here?”

The bartender and I both answered, nearly in unison, “Not anymore.”

***

I don’t know if it’s luck, my early onset sexuality, my acting ability, the borderline sociopath that inhabits my brain, or some combination of all that, but I’ve never been molested, assaulted, or raped. I know I’m lucky in this regard, because all of my female friends – ALL of them, without a single exception that I know of – have been victims of one or more those terrible acts at one point or another in their lifetimes.

Sometimes I wonder how I got off so easy. Mostly I marvel at how all of them, with few exceptions, have moved on from victim to fully formed, sexual beings.

Being a human is hard. Recovering from the shit humans do to each other is waaaay harder.

***

I’m not fond of social network justice. You know, the armchair activism that only requires sharing posts or hashtags with no real investment or content. But I admit, the recent #YesAllWomen movement on Twitter spoke to me. I think it’s because even though I haven’t suffered the way my friends have, every women I know – no exception this time – has had moments like mine, moments where some dude or another decided I was an object to be obtained, property to be stolen, or could be manhandled without thought of rebuff or recourse.

Yes, it’s anecdotal evidence, but I don’t know a single woman who doesn’t have stories like mine. Or more. Or, unfortunately, worse.

And the fact some men have seen our stories and argued “But not all men are that way!” just makes me realize one important fact:

SOME MEN ARE NOT LISTENING.

Because dude, if you listen – not hear, but really listen – to what the women around you are saying, you’d be as sad for humanity as I am. Women have taken the time to voice themselves, some at great cost to their psyche, job, or relationships, and instead of offering support you’ve screamed, “BUT I’M NOT THE BAD GUY!” in their faces and at the top of your lungs.

It’s magic how that totally discounts another person’s experience and derails the conversation simultaneously.

I’m not saying you should shut up. By all means, speak your mind, but please, take a moment to think about what you’re saying and how your audience will perceive it. Don’t diminish what someone – anyone! – says by making the discussion all about you. Sometimes people don’t want explanations or advice or stories about your own life – they just want someone to listen.

#YesAllWomen want to be heard and the guys who took the “I’m not the problem” route don’t seem to see how that reaction shuts down the conversation, even when they’re doing it themselves.

There were too many stories for it to be ignored or taken personally.

***

I don’t think we live in a “rape culture,” per se, because not every man is a rapist (obviously – THAT would be fucked up). I think our Puritanical view of sex and sexuality messes with our heads, absolutely – we sell beer with bikini-clad women yet insist on abstinence education and purity rings – but for the most part, people are reasonable, even kind to each other. There aren’t a lot of true misogynists or misandrists in our society and even fewer who act out in violence due to their hatred of one gender / orientation / race / religion over the other.

But when a group speaks out as loudly as #YesAllWomen, maybe don’t immediately go on the defensive. Instead, consider that there might be some relevance – even (dare I say) importance – to the hundreds of thousands of stories shared over a two-day period.

I’m not advocating women over men. I never would. We’re equally stupid, narcissistic, drama-laden asshats. In other words, we’re human. But when half of us start talking about an issue, is it so hard to think, “Shit … there might be a problem here” instead of “Bitches be cray-cray”?

It might be too hard, and that’s what makes me saddest of all: that there are those who took this beautiful moment, when women shared their common experiences with the world, loved ones, colleagues, and each other, and downplayed it by calling us insane, or worse.

Seriously, a 17 year old boy called me a cunt on Twitter this week. My response was a bit pithy and somewhat witty, then I blocked him. Adults don’t feed the trolls, nor do we take what they have to say personally. Yet even as a rational adult, I worried about sharing the above stories, here or elsewhere. Sure, it only took a microsecond for me to kick myself for being the least bit nervous, but that hesitancy is what the trolls seek.

We don’t know them, but their summary judgement makes some of us less likely to share any part of ourselves again.

Me, I don’t walk away from conversations. People with different opinions help me learn; I only walk away from trolls.


I’ll listen to what you have to say until you prove yourself an idiot.

That boy was an idjit of the highest order.

***

I’m not sure what my point is here. Maybe there isn’t one. I just felt the need to share in this space, where I can express myself in a lot more than 140 characters at a time. Hopefully everyone who participated in #YesAllWomen will continue to do the same, no matter the limitations, judgements, and/or consequences.

The avalanche rolled down the mountain and smothered a few people. Let’s dig the survivors out and learn from it.

Dig.

Roko’s Basilisk.

Posted in SoForth on May 23rd, 2014 by Diva

If you read the title of this post and shuddered, you need not read any further. Those who are aware of its implications really don’t like to dwell on it much. Even writing these words is a bit disconcerting, now that I’ve grasped the ramifications.

If you’re unfamiliar with the term, well … congratulations. YOU CAN STOP READING NOW.

I mean it. Some things cannot be unsaid. Some knowledge cannot be unlearned.

Turn back all ye who enter here …

***

Far in the future, there will be a benevolent, omniscient, friendly (in that it won’t destroy humanity) artificial intelligence. This AI will know everything there is to know. It will even have knowledge of who contributed to its creation and who did not, including those who helped very far back into the past.

This past includes, of course, what we now call our present.

The AI will be very pleased with those who helped it come into existence. It will be equally displeased with those who did not. So, in the interest of coming into existence faster than other, perhaps less friendly AIs, this one will find those who did nothing to bring about its creation and torture them.

For all eternity.

Okay, so I can hear you ask the same question I did: How can the AI torture me? It hasn’t even been invented yet!

There is an answer and, if you are among the people who grasp the concept, it is exquisite and terrifying, like those poetic nightmares Lovecraft imagined.

You will no longer be uninitiated. Consider that fact very carefully before you continue.

***

This friendly, “I won’t kill all humankind” AI is powerful enough to make a clone of you. Remember, it has ALL knowledge, including the mundanity of your entire life. It can make a full replica of you in seconds.

And a clone who has all your life experiences and personality is, for all intents and purposes, YOU. It certainly will think it’s you – it will be as sure as you are right this moment that YOU are you.

If you didn’t give anything – not even a forward on a social network – toward its creation, the AI will torment your clone.

Only you can die. Your clone can’t. And one day, the AI will present this other you with unending physical and mental torture unto infinity.

The mind fuck comes when one poses the question:

What if you’re the clone?

Head. S’plode.

High Horse.

Posted in SoForth on May 8th, 2014 by Diva

Every time I hear someone say, I will never, ever shop at Wal-Mart, what I hear is I have never been so poor that saving $1 on a bottle of shampoo was important.

Congratulations. Good for you. I don’t shop there either, but that’s because I don’t have to. I happen to be lucky right now; I can afford to spend a few more dollars at competitor stores. But when I was broke, you bet your sweet ass I saved by shopping for the cheapest prices I could get – and 90% of the time, that was at Wal-Mart. (The other 10% involved 99¢ stores and coupon-cutting.)

Look, I get it: Wal-Mart is a terrible company who doesn’t pay their workers a living wage, gets all kinds of tax breaks via loopholes, and generally is a bad corporate citizen. But I don’t pretend like I’ve never shopped there, nor would I ever assume I’ll never set foot inside their doors again.

I say this because I’ve been dirt poor. Like so poor you let the utility bill go for a month to make rent. So poor you disconnect your phone for good just to ensure you’ll have gas in your car to get to work every day. So poor you realize all you have to eat is potted meat product (no, really, that’s a thing, go look it up) on a slice of bread … but you have to pick the mold off the bread first. I’ve been there so often this life, I sometimes stress myself out worrying I’ll be there again.

And, like it or not, the saving grace when you’re that broke is Wal-Mart.

Yet I rarely mention I’ve ever shopped there in polite company. First, it’s no one’s business, but I also avoid the topic so I don’t hear from the various sanctimonious douchebags who insist their opinion of the company trumps anyone’s ability to afford anything better. If you can’t begin to imagine what it’s like for a single parent or a large family to make ends meet, why deign to disparage their shopping habits?

The worst part? It’s usually liberals and progressives who loudly proclaim their disdain. Problem is there are those who walk among us who can’t afford better just yet. They may not look it, they may not act it, and they may not even say anything when you get all uppity about your consumer politics to them. They will listen, sometimes even politely, and maybe, like me, they’ll sympathize with your sentiment. But mostly you’re just proving what they know already:

If you were in their shoes, you wouldn’t be such a self-righteous prick.

Until we raise the minimum wage, give working folk child-care subsidies like they do in better more advanced European countries, and add a single-payer option to the Affordable Care Act (that helpful program I refuse to call “Obamacare” on principle), Wal-Mart will continue to exist in its current incarnation.

But no one wants to talk about any of that. I’m probably a socialist for even bringing it up.

Get off it.

Insidious.

Posted in WhatNot on May 5th, 2014 by Diva

The Supreme Court ruled today that it’s perfectly okay for prayers to be recited at some government meetings, just so long as those who refuse to participate are not ostracized or punished for opting out.

There are groups who have spent years and millions to push the U.S. into becoming a Xtian theocracy and this might actually be their first major victory. Our Constitution guarantees freedom of religion as much as freedom from it and this decision pretty much subverts that right entirely.

Consider: Even if no one is punished or held accountable for not praying along with the majority, what Buddhist, Muslim, atheist, or Sikh would feel comfortable, even welcome, at those meetings where a Xtian prayer is openly included? If it’s clear the school board, city council, or state legislature refuses to include any minority belief in the system, won’t minority believers be more apt to give up on that system?

The court decided the point of the prayer isn’t important, as long as no one’s rights are violated by it; I say my right to be an atheist is violated every time someone in public office insists on sharing their B.S. (belief system) with me in public. I also say the point of such prayers are to consistently and deliberately alienate anyone who believes or thinks differently. It is, at heart, promotion of one faith above all others and it is wrong, with or without the Constitution. The fact the Supreme Court has said differently now means our basic freedom to worship how we please has a new addendum: As long as it’s not somewhere you’re outnumbered.

The U.S. is a Christian nation is the drum the far right has been beating for decades. Problem is, it’s an outright lie. We still have the actual writings of the Founding Fathers themselves which prove that sentiment wrong time and again. Not that it matters … there’s hard evidence climate change is man-made, an increase in the minimum wage won’t harm business in the least, and that trickle-down economics is a sham, too, but that doesn’t stop people from spouting hysterical opposing nonsense.

I was kvetching to my love about this a little while ago and, true to form, he handed me an alternative outlook. The population of Dearborn, Michigan is 40% Arab-American and many of them are practicing Muslims. Maybe – just maybe – someone on their city council or local school board should bust out the prayer rugs before their regular meetings … ? After all, the Supreme Court said as long as no one gets in trouble for non-participation, it’s fine to include such somber contemplation before setting to work on the public good.

Conservatives have already pushed so hard to keep the 10 Commandments on public property in several jurisdictions that atheists and the Satanic Temple both have unveiled monuments to sit next to them. The Supreme Court said that was okay, too; if one is allowed, all are allowed.

I guess what I’m trying to say is to be careful what you wish for …

Prayer in School

… because that Law of Unintended Consequences sure could turn out to be a bitch in the long run.

Let’s do this.

A Tiny, Insignificant, Ignorant Bit of Carbon.

Posted in WhatNot on May 5th, 2014 by Diva

I don’t spend any time on Facebook anymore, I log on to Google+ about once a week, and Twitter is what I do when I’m bored, like when I’m waiting in line or getting a pedicure.

This means that, for the most part, I am “disconnected” from friends and acquaintances. I have no idea who is getting married, lost a job, or is expecting. I don’t follow birthdays, nor do I know if someone’s parent is ill.

On the plus side, I also don’t know what so-and-so had for lunch, who got a new cat / is trying to find a home for a dog, or who needs a ride to the airport.

This state of being, surprisingly, doesn’t bother me in the least. If news is important for me to know, I will hear about it. Problem is, not enough of what people report online is all that important.

By way of example, think about your last three status updates; was any of it relevant or imperative to anyone who reads your feed?

Allow me put it another way: If you were at a cocktail party, having a face-to-face conversation with anyone – friend, acquaintance, stranger – would you whip out your phone to share the same information? Would you shove a picture of the steak you grilled to perfection on your brand spanking new BBQ at anyone? How about a shot of the new couch you bought? Photos of you shopping for tourist kitsch on vacation?

No, you wouldn’t, because it’s insignificant, not worth sharing, and no one cares. And if you do share the most mundane aspects of your life in person-to-person encounters, expect people to react poorly, or perhaps even write you off as a bore or a crank.

The longer I stay away from the social networks, the more I realize they are just forums for getting attention. Every post is a cry for the 15 minutes of fame Andy Warhol predicted, a call out to the darkness of “ME, ME, ME, LOOK AT ME, I’M IMPORTANT AREN’T I?”

We’re all stars now (in the dope show).

I didn’t say you’re a dope, honey. I said you’re a STAR. You got a quality, a je ne sais quois. You’re gonna go far, kid. As long as you can convince everyone in the world what you share is worth repeating …

… yeah, didn’t think so.

If you remove the unimportant, mundane, day-to-day stuff no one cares to read, there’s this strange phenomenon I’ve discovered: I’m not disconnected at all. The people who want me to have important personal news still call, text, email, or bring it up when we talk in person. I’m also up-to-date on almost all online happenings and memes simply by doing this weird thing called paying attention. The stuff worth knowing is almost always reported by other sources, rendering it completely unnecessary to sift through all the detritus and “ME ME ME” to reach the good shit.

And once you let go? It’s easier to look up.

You’re not removed from the world when you put down the tech – and if you pay attention, you won’t miss a thing.

On that note, the next person who looks at their phone while spending quality time with me is going to get an old-fashioned crack on the knuckles from a ruler, like a nun in a 1950s Catholic school.

Fair warning.