TRUE SELF

TRUE SELF

How often do you feel that a friend, colleague, or a spouse reveals their true self to you?  The real person?  Maybe you get glimpses at times when you think someone’s actions represent who they actually are. I wager that you have lots of beliefs about yourself and other people. You use these beliefs to indicate why people act in a certain way. If someone yells at you, you may forgive them because you know their life isn’t going so well. Or, you mistrust them because you feel they are angry about something you have done. Or, you might even think that their true self reflects their anger about everything, and you should have no contact with them. Accordingly, there are times when you believe that a person’s actions reflect the situation they are in or their current mental state.

I have trouble discerning the true self of others.  This is an area that is part of the “I don’t know” category for me most of the time.  There are plenty of times when I first meet someone that I decide we don’t connect, we are not on the same page, and I don’t spot anything about them that I like.  There are times when I decide to dislike someone before I meet them.  Then after a time, I grow to like them. I need the willingness to give them and me a period of adjustment, a pause if you will.

Human beings possess a host of qualities that are similar, but it is their unique combination that creates the individual and their singular true self.  Mystics are not the only ones that can be in touch with their true self. Most believe that the true self is moral and good. It is the notion that everyone is born with instincts that differentiate the good from the evil. So, when people make changes in their behavior, we are more inclined to believe it reflects their true self when they change from doing something bad to something good than vice versa. When someone has been self-serving for a long period, but realizes that serving others is the better course, we believe they have gotten in touch with their true self.

We all have gifts that guide the true self: a zest for life; a rational way of thinking; a certain amount of creativity; freedom from the bonds of self; gut feelings that are based on proper discernment of right and wrong; a spiritual path; and the ability to love and be loved. Our nature is determined by our usage of these gifts. Your choice and my choice can be to allow these gifts to grow and prosper; to engage in actions that feed, protect and care for them. Or, we can allow them to lie fallow.  It is amazing that these qualities often remain dormant and we function below our potential as a human being. But our gifts remain, simply waiting for an awakening.

Do I want a life filled with meaningful opportunities or do I want to be left with an unfulfilled yearning for something better?  The choice seems obvious, so why do so many choose the latter path?

I once was a partner in a firm that was incredibly profitable and prosperous.  We didn’t know why that was the case.  Some believed we had the uncanny ability to find good people in all the towns and cities where we had offices.  Some thought it was the vibrant southeastern marketplace which was our home. Others of our more egocentric brethren wondered if our abilities might be greater that we assumed.  Many believed in luck—we were just uncommonly lucky.  Once or twice, it was suggested that we do a thorough review of our business to find the elements of our success.  Our executive committee, of which I was part, voted 5-0 in the negative. We were afraid of what me might find or we would change our luck if that turned out to be the reason.

Why do folks allow their gifts to remain hidden and unused? FEAR most of the time. We are afraid of what we might find. Fear is a dominant emotion for a good may folks. Other common emotions include surprise, happiness, joy, sadness and anger. Do you feel open and willing to express all of your emotions with zeal during your daily activities? Or do you fear what others might think of you? What if I told you that other’s thoughts about you are none of your business?

I wanted to know how my emotions were dominating my life and how the chaos (my executive committee–squirrels) going on in my head was ruining my life.  I read about Thomas Merton and his struggles to find his true self. I wondered if a true self existed for me. I talked to priests and ministers, psychologists, smart women, smart men, and I read Emmett Fox, Carl Jung, William James, and the COURSE in Miracles. Finally, I looked at me. I could not go forward without knowing who I was and what I was.  I had to look at people who angered or damaged me, at businesses and relationships that had deprived me of my just rewards, and at what scared me.

As you probably surmise, this accounting did not go in my favor. I had harmed far more people than had harmed me, mostly those for whom I expressed love and affection. The failure of my business and the anticipated membership on the New York Exchange (life-long dream) was of my own making. And fears centered on my inability to acknowledge mistakes and learn from failure. My outsized ego and my sense of self importance created anger that would not go away.  It blocked joy and happiness and my relationship with God.

Luckily my way of thinking began to change.  My understanding of life and progress through it were inhibited by my usage of certain emotions and my blockage of others.  I could easily access fear, anger, and sadness in the extreme. But happiness and joy were absent. And I hated to be surprised. I had to make different choices and I needed help to do it.

I realized that I wasn’t connected to the Source. I wanted the power to transform my life and found that empowerment by connecting to God via a spiritual path. Centering prayer, solitude and silence were critical. I made a pilgrimage to the Abbey of Gethsemane, was silent for five days, went to services three times a day, and walked in Merton’s shoes.  I reshaped myself and my life. I began to take risks and embrace new possibilities.  I was generating happiness and joy from within rather than accepting external formulations of it. I freed my self from my self and made my relationship with God central to my life.

Things occur in life over which we have no control.  Many will attribute these things to fate, randomness, nature, physical reality, or coincidence. There are no coincidences. It is the Spirit that provides the answers for us in all things.  We find the Spirit when we discover and actively engage our True Self.

Love is the highest human function and where we put our True Self to its greatest use. St Francis tells us that it is better to love than be loved    That would deny the intrinsic social nature that humans have to be loved and love another. By trusting another to know one’s own self through their eyes, we free our self to union–to love and be loved.  Loving connections convey the ultimate expression of our True self.

It’s OKAY to Be Me!

It’s Okay to be ME!

More often than I’d like to admit, something seemingly inconsequential will lead to a feeling of deep frustration, even shame. This is often accompanied by occasional voices like “How stupid!” and “You should have known better”.  I was recently planting a tomato and I broke the main stem of this beautiful plant.  I used the very words, “HOW STUPID, YOU CAN’T EVEN PLANT A TOMATO!”  UH, I had already planted two. That’s the thing about perfectionism. It takes no prisoners.  I’ve struggled with perfectionism and I’m far from alone. The tendency starts young – and it’s becoming more common.

The rise in perfectionism doesn’t mean each generation is becoming more accomplished. It means we’re getting sicker, sadder and even undermining our own potential. And we don’t know the joy of imperfection.

Perfectionism, after all, is an ultimately self-defeating way to move through the world. It is built on an excruciating irony: making, and admitting mistakes is a necessary part of growing and learning and being human. It also makes you better at your career, relationships, and life in general. By avoiding mistakes at any cost, a perfectionist can make it harder to reach their own lofty goals.

But the drawback of perfectionism isn’t just that it holds you back from being your most successful, productive self. Perfectionistic tendencies have been linked to a laundrylist of clinical issues: depression and anxiety,  self-harm, binge-eating, anorexiabulimia, and other eating disorderspost-traumatic stress disorder insomniahoarding, , chronic headaches, and, even early death and suicide.

Culturally, we often see perfectionism as a positive. Even saying you have perfectionistic tendencies can come off as a coy compliment to yourself.

Can a person have high standards, motivation and discipline without being a perfectionist?  The answer is yes, unless your best never seems good enough and not meeting goals frustrates you. Doing your level best and knowing it, is good enough. Why should you beat yourself up for mistakes or feel like you can’t meet expectations? 

Striving for excellence, isn’t actually being a perfectionist.  I can have high standards, integrity, and clear goals without being a perfectionist. Perfectionism enters when that   little voice surfaces, “you are not good enough.”  That inner voice criticizes different things for different people – work, relationships, tidiness, fitness. Perfectionists can make smooth sailing into a storm, a brief ill wind into a category-five hurricane. And, because the ironies never end, the behaviors perfectionists adapt make them more likely to fail.

The trouble is that, for perfectionists, performance is intertwined with their sense of self. When they don’t succeed, they don’t just feel disappointment about how they did. They feel shame about who they are. Ironically, perfectionism then becomes a defense tactic to keep shame at bay: if you’re perfect, you never fail, and if you never fail, there’s no shame.

Where is this increase in perfectionism coming from? When you keep in mind the idea that perfectionism stems from marrying your identity with your achievements, the question might become: where isn’t it coming from? After all, when you meet someone, the first question you ask is what they do for a living. Often our accomplishments or our job correlate to our ability to pay rent or put food on the table.  Where we then signal our access to those resources with our appearance – these shoes, that physique – and other people weigh that, in turn, to see if we’re the right person for a job interview or dinner invitation, we just might set ourselves up for disappointment.  Often this happens without any real knowledge of the true self emerging. And as a perfectionist, the main focus is on achievement and appearance.

What makes perfectionism so toxic is that while those in its grip desire success, they are most focused on avoiding failure, so theirs is a negative orientation. Perfection is an abstraction, an impossibility in reality, and often it leads to procrastination. There is a difference between striving for excellence and demanding perfection. Aretha Franklin is my favorite female singer, but does that mean I can’t enjoy Barbara Streisand?

So, celebrate your imperfection.  Look at yourself with a view of learning who and what you are.  Then honestly accept what you find. You no longer need to be smartest or the dumbest or any other “est.”  Its okay to be you. The perfect human being is so because of their imperfections.

Imperfection

ImperFectioN

ImperFectioN

There is comfort when we deal in absolutes and certainties. We seekers often think we must be certain about things. But our reality suggests that we are not certain at all and this becomes the beginning of the loss of faith!  It has happened to me.   To assist us the Church feels its job is to make absolute truth claims and feels very fragile when it cannot. So, faith and our religious organizations are crumbling beneath this impossible and false goal, it seems to me. What if the church is imperfect—there is nothing wrong with “not knowing” as Richard Rohr says—there is beauty and faith in imperfection.

I understand the need for clarity, some basic order, and identity but absolutes don’t work in God’s creation as I see it. The Church then needs to abandon this need to be perfect—but from the inside by using internal resources (leaders and parishioners) to self-correct. A beginner’s mind filled with humble, patient, wordless unknowing, combined with sincere curiosity, is how I have learned to restart my life. Only then was I truly teachable. Otherwise, we only hear whatever confirms our present understanding.  I have had to become teachable in my own life to begin my quest to be the much better version of myself. A human being that I can love.  From the bottom of a deep hole, I had to stop digging, become a beginner in life, and learn how to live at the age of 62.  The Church is not too old to adopt a beginner’s mind. In fact, many spiritual thinkers are giving new meaning to the Christ and I am hopeful that unlocking the door will allow this message to enter.

Without much humility, religion has cried “wolf” too many times in history and later been proven wrong.  These mistakes could have been avoided if the requirement for perfection had been abandoned. Twisting one line of Scripture to prove a point was an unjust usage of the word. The biblical text was not allowed to change us as much as many Christians would have preferred but was used to exclude and judge other people. A new way of thinking is required. I want to be part of the whole.

I choose to believe what Richard Rohr says: “God’s presence was poured into a single human being, so that humanity and divinity could be seen, then and now, to be operating as one in him—and therefore in us! But instead of saying that God came into the world through Jesus, maybe it would be better to say that Jesus came out of an already Christ-soaked world. The second Incarnation flowed out of the first, out of God’s loving union with physical creation.”  He loves me and He loves you and He loves all of creation.”

When I realized that God loved me and I was like everyone else in the Spirit, I was united with everyone and everything, even a blade of grass and it was okay not to know, I began to see myself and the world differently. I was loved and I could love even with all the imperfections that abound. I see that it truly is as St. Francis said about loving: “It is better to love than to be loved.”

I want to be loved but loving someone else and that blade of grass is much better. And all love is unconditional. At one point in my life I detested the phrase “I don’t know.”  But not knowing is preferable and my burgeoning faith keeps me in love with God and Christine and the blade of grass.

NUTTY BUDDY

NUTTY BUDDY

Nutty Buddy is an ice cream cone topped with vanilla ice cream, chocolate, and peanuts.

The “Nutty Buddy” was originally created and produced by the Seymour Ice Cream Company, located in the Port Norfolk section of Dorchester, Massachusetts and named after its owner, Buddy Seymourian. Seymour Ice Cream ceased operations in the 1980s.

The official Nutty Buddy is no longer produced commercially in large numbers across the United States. Its former manufacturer was the Sweetheart Cup Company, which was also the manufacturer of the machines that produced the cones; Sweetheart went out of business in 1998. One of the last manufacturers of the Nutty Buddy is Purity Dairies in Nashville, Tennessee.

Purity Dairies is a dairy company and ice cream manufacturer that provides products throughout Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky, and Virginia. The company is owned by and operates as a subsidiary of Dean Foods and their products include milk, cultures, ice cream, orange juice, lemonade, tea and water, and it is one of the last distributors of the Nutty Buddy ice cream cone.

Please do not confuse the Nutty Buddy ice cream with nut butter.  Nutty Buddy Nut Butters are artisanal nut butter that is always gluten-free, vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, and free of refined sugars! Organic coconut sugar, which is unrefined and has a lower glycemic index than traditional refined sweeteners, is used to sweeten the butter. Nuts are dry roasted to emphasize their naturally sweet aroma and maintain the mineral-rich nutrients your body needs. No palm oil or artificial additives are used at all- it’s just naturally delicious!

My favorite way to enjoy nut butter is spreading it on toast with banana & cinnamon or just eating it straight out of the jar! There are endless options when it comes to nut butter: make a nut butter & jam sandwich, savory pasta, sweet cookies, and more. Anyone can make a nut butter if you can grind the nuts. I love Almond Butter and you can grind your own at the Roanoke Co-op or Fresh Market.

Nutty Buddy is also the name of a well-known athletic cup that was invented and patented by Mark Littell after he learned that nearly 50% of his athletes refused to wear athletic cups because they said that the only available cups were uncomfortable and restrictive. He created a premier athletic cup with a patented design that is anatomically shaped to conform to the male body providing unprecedented levels of comfort and protection. After all, the most important thing is to “protect the boys”. The patented Nutty Buddy has won multiple awards for its comfort, design, and protection and has become a staple for athletes all over the world. Nutty Buddy’s safety gear protects the boys while playing baseball, softball, ice hockey, field hockey, lacrosse, football, martial arts, paintball or other contact sports. Nutty Buddy is now expanding their market into the law enforcement and military fields by creating the world’s first ballistic cup!

The patented Nutty Buddy Ballistic Cup is essential protective equipment that is required when entering a hostile environment. It is designed to protect the groin against bullets, fragments, and other impacts. The Nutty Buddy Ballistic cup follows the same anatomical design as the original Nutty Buddy. This design allows the cup to shape to the body to deliver comfort, and in addition, there is a “tail” that resides between the legs to center the cup during activity and provide protection under the groin area.

I bring this to your attention for several reasons. I find it fascinating that there is such a vast array of items that use the name, Nutty Buddy.  But there should be no confusion about the product that our community is fearful is going to be rationed.

Several ladies were talking in our Grille (at my senior residential community) about the lack of Nutty Buddys in the display freezer.

Alice was sitting in her motorized chair talking to Eloise.  “I have seven of them in my basket. I’m going to put them in my freezer.”

Eloise replies, “We won’t have to use them until next week. I have five in my freezer. That’s one for you, one for Maggie, one for Janet and a fifth one if Joycelyn shows up.”

“Great! We can use mine next week on Friday.”

“Don’t give up. I was told that another box was found in the central freezer.  Since I have the last seven in the cooler, they’ll probably bring out more. We’ll need to check tomorrow and the next day.”

“Let’s just get five at a time. We don’t want to create suspicion.”

Alice gets this devious smile on her face and says, “maybe we can corner the market and have a Nutty Buddy auction.”

They smiled and departed. 

This truly happened!!

Or maybe I just imagined it!! Nope! You can’t make this stuff up.

THE VALUE OF A BUSINESS

I am part of a microcosm that supports big business. I utilize Facebook as a convenient communication apparatus to keep up with friends and family both near and in distant places. Amazon is for stuff ranging from cat food to books and is a source of entertainment with the Fire Stick and Alexa. I have an iPhone, although it is a 5s.  I use Netflix for TV watching and Google plus Google Chrome for surfing the net.  I feel I should be using local businesses and I truly felt good about buying Virginia Diner peanuts at Northwest Hardware. BUT when the guy behind me got upset because the cashier was taking too long, I insisted he go ahead of me.  He was a bit embarrassed but moved ahead of me anyway. It was aggravating. This doesn’t happen at Amazon.

Which takes me to Christmas and the Hallmark Channel.  The town of Hollyvale, North Dakota is very typical of a Hallmark location and the Christmas Spirit in the digital age is a moving topic. What strikes me about this program and others is how business-centric they seem to be.  Though there are other types of plots, a common theme is that there is some business, or a town filled with businesses that revolves around Christmas and is enjoyable for the townsfolk but relatively unprofitable.  The characters have to find a way to make the business viable, in this case by helping Kate Harper, a national news reporter, find her Christmas spirit and draw people to the town. You can’t turn this plotline over to a soulless corporate operator who will lay everyone off and destroy the essential character of the town.  Typically, this involves teaching someone the true meaning of Christmas and the special value added to a company by longtime employees who put their hearts into their work.

A FAANG company would maximize profits by automating the bakery and relocating production to a central facility in Illinois. The ski lodge would be renovated, and new management would be brought in.  Of course, the toy store would close.

But the characters in this movie find a way to generate some minimum profit that’s enough to keep things running while providing steady jobs for devoted employees and special memories for customers. Plus, they find the Christmas Spirit for Kate Harper by reuniting her with Jack Brewster, her special friend, and her estranged father.  And that’s the happy ending. I cried a little.

The goal is to create a sustainable business that meets the needs of the various constituents without making anyone wealthy, just happy.  Too me, this is a noble goal.

I asked myself a question—what does this storyline mean? One possibility is that the Hallmark movies are a “true” reflection of our culture and of natural human values. We know that capitalism drives resources to their best use and this does not benefit everyone. Is Shareholder driven capitalism bad for people, even unnatural.? The role of business schools, as well as CPA, CFA and CFP training programs, are to indoctrinate young people in this unnatural value system just as the role of military boot camp is to get young people to overcome their natural instincts and run toward the fighting.

I suppose another possibility is that there are many folks who think about shareholder-value capitalism as synonymous with democracy and do not worry about the discriminatory aspect. I have come to believe that the role of Hallmark movies is to indoctrinate people in the unnatural part of the capitalist system. I like the idea of a small town filled with people who have a common purpose such as finding the Christmas Spirit or peace on earth or love for each other.

GRIPS, GAFFERS, &; Best BOYS

GRIP, GAFFERS, & BEST BOYS

I love movies. My beloved and I watch at least two movies a week.  We recently watched The Kominsky Method and Mr.Roberts, a movie starring Kevin Kostner playing Kevin Kostner, but using the surname Roberts.  As always, I waited for the credits to see the names of the Key Grip, the Gaffer, and the best boy.  Christine asked what these folks did on a movie set and I could not give her a coherent answer.  This happens a lot when I don’t know what I’m talking about but should.

Grips are technicians critical to the making of a film. They have two primary functions.  They support the camera department, particularly if the camera is mounted to a dolly, a crane, or assumes an unusual position such as hanging from a helicopter on one of those James Bond sequences.  A dolly grip specializes in operating camera dollies or camera cranes so that mobility is enhanced. Grips work closely with the electrical department to create lighting set-ups for a shot or sequence under the leadership of the Director of Photography.

The key grip is the leader of the grip gang. He supervises the building and maintenance of all the equipment that supports cameras.  This includes tripods, dollies, tracks, jibs (a boom type device), cranes, and static rigs. This equipment uses heavy duty parts but is quite delicate. It requires a high level of experience to operate and move.  The assemblage of the equipment is based on meticulous specifications for virtually every scene in a movie.  These guys push, pull, mount or hang cameras and equipment from a variety of settings including a basic tripod or the mounting of a camera on a 100ft. crane.

Where did the use of the term grip come from?  In the 30s-40s, the slang for a tool bag was a grip. But the explanation I like the best is the notion that during the days of the hand-cranked camera, several guys had to hold onto the legs of the tripod to keep the camera steady. The director always wanted the fellows with the “good grip” and it stuck.

A gaffer is the head electrician on a film set. If it has to do with lighting, the gaffer oversees it. The term originally related to the movement of overhead equipment controlling lighting with a gaff, a long pole with a hook on the end. Deep-sea fishermen also use gaffs.

The gaffer must have a mastery over the vast array of lights, lighting equipment and lighting techniques required for a particular film.  In turn, this demands a knowledge of the set, script, and the inclinations of the director.  The gaffer has the responsibility for making certain that all lighting workers are up to speed on all the changes being made and are working well with other members of the crew. The lighting crew has to be constantly available even if that means working 18-hour days. The gaffer has to make sure the team meshes well by avoiding accidents and short tempers.

Best boys are responsible for the day-to-day operations of the lighting department. Their many responsibilities include the hiring, scheduling, and management of the crew; renting equipment; workplace safety and maintaining discipline within their department; completing time cards and other paperwork; planning and implementing the lighting or rigging of locations, and coordinating with the photography unit. He is the second-in-command to the key grip.  On large film crews, the gaffer also has a best boy.

The term “best boy” most likely originated as a term for a master craftsman’s most able apprentice.

The next time you are watching a movie look for the name of the key grip, the gaffer, and best boy. These are the guys that make it happen.  It will mollify your need to be totally satisfied with the two hours spent gazing at a screen. Kevin Coster just plays Kevin Costner.

THE OXFORD COMMA

OXFORD COMMA DEBATE

comma

The Oxford (or serial) comma is the final comma in a list of things. For example, I would love to have a pear, a knife, and a napkin. The Oxford comma comes right after knife.

Use of the Oxford comma is stylistic, meaning that some style guides demand its use while others don’t. AP Style—the style guide that newspaper reporters adhere to—does not require the use of the Oxford comma. Unless you’re writing for a publication or drafting an essay for school, the use of the Oxford comma is generally up to you. However, omitting it can sometimes cause some strange misunderstandings. I love my girlfriend, Meryl Streep, and Jane Fonda. 

Without the Oxford comma, the sentence above could be interpreted as stating that you love your girlfriend, and they are Meryl Streep and Jane Fonda. Here’s the same sentence with the Oxford comma: I love my girlfriend, Meryl Streep, and Jane Fonda. Those who oppose the Oxford comma argue that rephrasing an already unclear sentence can solve the same problems that using the Oxford comma does. For example, I love Meryl Streep, Jane Fonda and my girlfriend.

Opinions among writers and editors differ on whether to use the Oxford comma, and usage also differs somewhat between regional varieties of English. A majority of American style guides mandate the use of the Oxford comma, including APA Style, The Chicago Manual of Style, The MLA Style Manual, Strunk and White’s Style Manual, and the Government Printing Office Manual. In contrast, the Associated Press Style Book advises against it. In Canada, the stylebook published by Canadian Press advises against it. It is used less often in England, but a few British style guides require it, notably The Oxford Style Manual. According to The Oxford Companion to the English Language, “Commas are used to separate items in a list or sequence … Usage varies as to the inclusion of a comma before and in the last item … This practice is controversial and is known as the Oxford comma because it is part of the house style of Oxford University Press.

WAIT A MINUTE—A CASE AT LAW OVER A COMMA?

The Maine dairy story is a convoluted story, as most law-related stories are. Here are the basics:

  • In 2014, three truck drivers sued Oakhurst Dairy for what they said was four years’ worth of overtime pay owed to them for deliveries they’d made.
  • Oakhurst Dairy said NOPE, citing a law that lists distribution of dairy products as one of the activities ineligible for overtime pay.
  • Maine state law at the time stated that workers are not entitled to overtime pay for: “The canning, processing, preserving, freezing, drying, marketing, storing, packing for shipment or distribution of: (1) Agricultural produce; (2) Meat and fish products; and (3) Perishable foods.”
  • Aha…!the lawyer for the truck drivers said.
  • Without a comma after “shipment,” it’s the packing “for shipment or distribution” that’s not eligible for overtime—not the distribution itself. Only with a comma would “distribution” have been included as one of the series of activities ineligible for overtime.
  • So: the law does not apply to the deliveries the drivers made. Pay up, Oakhurst.
  • The court (the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit) agreed—and took 29 pages to say as much. Oxford comma enthusiasts high-fived!
  • Oakhurst Dairy settled, agreeing to pay $5 million to the drivers.

This case was a David-and-Goliath showdown between the little guys and the corporate overlord. And it has guys driving around in trucks with copies of Strunk & White in the glove box.

Why does something as pedantic and ordinary as grammar ignite raging debate—both in Maine and in the rest of world? Even when there isn’t actual money at stake? And more broadly: Why do some of us love to correct the grammar of others? Love to sharpen our grammar chops on the soft underbelly of those unfortunates who might use literally to mean figuratively? Who misspell lose as loose?

Maybe it has something to do with that word “rules” when it’s paired with “grammar”: Grammar rules seem strict, impenetrable, and unyielding.  Some grammar rules are more like laws or statutes—breaking them quickly creates anarchy. But others are more open to interpretation: Splitting infinitives (to boldly go is a famous one). Ending a sentence with a preposition. Using “they” as a singular pronoun. And the Oxford comma.

ARE ALL GRAMMARIANS JUDGY AND HUMORLESS?
The type to correct you silently at a lunch counter when you’re ordering a sandwich.

Well, most grammar sticklers I know come at it less based in judgment than in something more generous: They want us all to be understood! “Grammar rules” stirs up in the righteous a feeling of right and wrong, of needing to put a stake in the ground, to polarize language: Black and white. Off and on. Yes and no. Smart and stupid. Occasionally it really matters (overtime or no overtime). But often it just doesn’t.

RUDE

RUDE

Bad behaviour

We find ourselves living at a time of incredible rudeness. Everyone needs to have an opinion, on everything, at all times, and this opinion must be delivered forcefully. We have been taught to celebrate meanness. In our country, the rise of a very rude man to a most powerful position has brought into sharp and terrifying focus just how dangerous one moment of rudeness might prove: it might lead us to nuclear apocalypse.

So, what does one do when confronted with rude behavior? Well, we can have the guts to call it out. It’s our duty. The only way to end rudeness is to make a conscious decision to do so. We should not have to put up with rude behavior.

The rage, injustice, and hurt we feel at the inexplicably rude behavior of someone leads us in directions that are uncomfortable and often wrong. For me, the trick to handling rudeness is to pause, take a breath, and ever so gently deliver a sentence as simple as “Just stop.” We can do it with grace. We can handle it well, by handling it without a trace of aggression and without being rude ourselves. Because once a rude person has had the looking glass held up to them and can see their actions through the eyes of others, they are far more likely to end that behavior themselves. This can be done by you, by me, by everyone. You and I choose to be civilized so we can expect others to be civil.

 

LYNYRD

IMG_0356LYNYRD’S WORLD

I like Lynyrd Skynyrd so

I named my cat Lynyrd

He likes to climb

Upon my desk

The right foot comes up

Then a

 big push of the back

On to the sill, he goes

Touching the window with his nose

To see the outer world

Still filled with many woes

He stretched and yawned

Then prepared for the leap

On to the bed for sleep

The spot he found

On a pillow that’s round

Was for Lynyrd quite fine

His world’s better than mine.