Monthly Archives: February 2013

People Kill People. With Guns.

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Guns, Guns, Guns

I’m sick to death of hearing about guns. I’d say I’m sick of hearing about gun violence, but let’s be honest – if it’s in the news, and it’s about guns, then the “violence” part can pretty much be assumed.

I grew up in a house with guns. Hunting rifles. Shotguns. Handguns. My dad was a hunter. He made and sold gun stocks. At any given time, there was a gun sitting in the dining room or the kitchen table (unleaded, of course). He worked in a pretty dangerous area, so he had a permit to carry a handgun for protection. Once, when I was going on my honeymoon, I borrowed a carry-on from my parents and discovered (not a minute too soon) a gun in the side pocket. I like to go shooting – sporting clays, targets, etc. I will eat what my dad (and now my son) hunts, although I wouldn’t feel comfortable shooting a living thing myself. The point I am making here is that I am not anti-gun. But I am anti-gun violence.

Despite having been around guns all my life and shooting them myself, they have always made me a little uncomfortable. It’s hard not to be a little afraid of something that you know can take the life of a human being. Or 20 human beings. Or a million human beings, as long as the bullets don’t run out.

Before Christmas – before the tragedy in Connecticut – I read a story about an employee at an Autozone, who was fired after he thwarted a robbery. I was all set to write about it, then flu and work and holidays got in the way and I put it off. Then the Sandy Hook shooting happened and the topic seemed far more daunting. But the more stories I hear about guns (violence), the more I have to say.

Anyway, back in the fall, a man was working at Autozone when another man came in and tried to rob the store with a gun. At this point, the employee went out to his car, got his own gun, and stopped the robber. The company fired him for violating their rules about weapons in the workplace. And then the outrage started: It’s not fair, they said. He did a good thing, they cried. He’s a hero, they screamed. I’m sorry, but I just can’t quite get on board with the outrage.  First off – the company had a rule and he knew about it. He broke that rule. Sure – he stopped a robbery but the ends don’t justify the means. Sure he’s a “hero”, but he’s one twitch away from being a dead hero. Or a dead guy who caused a bunch of innocent bystanders to be shot by an enraged robber, who  – if he hadn’t had a vigilante in his face – might have simply left with some of Autozone’s money.  Most retail employment training involves telling new hires that they should never try and stop a robbery. That they should give up the money and call the police as soon as they can. These rules are in place to protect them, the other employees, customers and anyone else in the area. This man violated those rules & endangered a bunch of people. But hey – Autozone didn’t lose any money or merchandise, so al is OK. Give me a break.

Then the tragedy happened at Sandy Hook Elementary.  The whole world watched and cried over those tiny lost lives. Then, as the shock wore off the “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” nonsense started. Sure – people kill people: PEOPLE WITH GUNS! The NRA started in with their usual crap. The second amendment folks started chiming in. Holy shitballs am I ever sick of hearing about THAT. Yes – we have a right to bear arms, but I am pretty sure that our forefathers who came up with that idea had no idea that one day, we’d be able to shoot hundreds of rounds in the time it took them to load one musket ball. I don’t think assault weapons were what they were thinking about. And even if they were – I’m not sure I trust their judgment – I mean – they also thought that owning another human being was OK, too.

And the NRA can kiss my ass. They like to cry second amendment only when it’s convenient to them. Like when it involves conservative white guys. You didn’t hear much about the second amendment when the Black Panthers were carrying guns. And when faced with tragedy, such as the killing of children? Their answer? MORE GUNS! Yes! That’s exactly what we should do. So now, instead of dodging one gunman, our kids can spend their time between recess and art class dodging bullets from multiple gunmen. Great idea, NRA! And while you’re at it, be sure to tell all the gun owners out there that we bleeding heart liberals are trying to ban ALL guns – that we want to take all your (second amendment) rightful weapons away, rather than the truth – which is that there is no reason for my average Joe neighbors to have assault weapons. That a couple of days waiting period is no big deal. That background checks won’t keep a hunting rifle out of the hands of a true, responsible sportsman. No, instead, start a crazy rumor, pour gasoline on it, light a match and stand back and fan the flames. Then go get more guns.

What prompted this rant of mine, you ask? Or maybe you didn’t ask, but I am going to tell you anyway. Tonight, my husband, daughter and I decided to have dinner at Eat n Park while my son was at band practice. While we were there, I saw my husband glance at the entrance, then do a double-take. It turns out that a man came into the restaurant carrying a gun in a hip holster. And it scared the living shit out of me.

I know what the response from the gun nuts would be to this  – the same as when the idiot in Utah waltzed around JC Penney’s with his (legally licensed) guns – that he has a license, that it’s his right to carry it wherever he pleases (assuming he does, in fact, have a license).

If I were to ask what I the blue fuck anyone needs a gun in Eat n Park for, their answer would be that we need more “good guys” carrying guns. That if one of said “good guys” had been carrying a gun at (insert mass shooting episode here – take your pick – Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook, and so, SO many more), that the tragedy could have been stopped.

But here’s the thing. This guy tonight might have been a good guy who would never hurt a soul. Or he may have been Adam Lanza. Or James Holmes. Or Eric Harris. I can’t say for sure. And that is why I spent the last 10 minutes in Eat n Park not enjoying a piece of pie (which I really wanted, dammit), but instead, planning on how I could get Emily under the table and get on top of her if the shooting started. Instead of calculating a tip, I was calculating whether we could make it to the emergency exit before he made it to us. It may sound melodramatic, but it’s true. I was honestly planning on how I would protect my child from a gunman. If you’ve never done this before, I can tell you that it’s not fun. I was scared. My husband was scared. My 9 year old daughter sensed our worry and started worrying herself. The point is – regardless of whether he was a “good guy,” we felt threatened.

So I really don’t care if he was a “good guy.” I don’t care if he had a license to carry. I don’t give a RAT’S FAT, FLYING ASS about his second amendment rights. I care about my right to not have to wonder if my body can stop a bullet before it hits my child, so you know what? Fuck the NRA.

Top Ten Best Love Songs of All Time? I beg to differ.

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This week, a local radio station was talking about Valentine’s Day and mentioned a new poll about the Top 10 best love songs of all time.  Let’s discuss, shall we?

The top 10 love songs of all time were:

10. Let’s Get It On, by Marvin Gaye.  Don’t get me wrong – Marvin Gaye is the man. And this is a great song. But it is not a song about romance. It’s about sex. Romance is about the warm fuzzies, and I’m sorry, but having a man say to me, “Let’s get it on” to me does not make me feel warm and fuzzy.

9. Everything I Do by Bryan Adams. It’s a nice song. But the top ten ever? I don’t know about that.

8. I Wanna Know What Love Is by Foreigner. This song came out in 1984. I was 16 in 1984, so it pretty much goes without saying that I love this big haired power ballad. But somehow I see it as a love song, but not necessarily and romantic song (don’t ask me to explain that distinction because I can’t. Just accept that I’m a little crazy). And like the last song, I don’t know that it fits in the top 10 of all time.

7. Crazy by Patsy Cline. I love this song. I am a big fan of old country. I’m OK with this one being on the list. It’s a simple, lovely, romantic song, without the need for overblown lyrics & an overpowering band. And it was written by Willie Nelson, so thumbs up!

6. I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing by Aerosmith. I like this song well enough, but Steven Tyler makes me throw up in my mouth a little. Also, it makes me think of that movie and I hate end-of-the-world movies, so no. I know this is my problem, but this is also my blog, so I’m taking it off the list, dammit!

5. How Deep Is Your Love by the Bee Gees. OK, I am starting to wonder who the hell is voting on this list. Because disco? There is disco on this list? And I will readily admit that I grew up in this era, loved this song, loved the Bee Gees, and most definitely loved me some Barry Gibb. But, come on! This song has no business on the top love songs of all time.

4. You Are So Beautiful by Joe Cocker. This one stays.

3. When A Man Loves A Woman by Percy Sledge. So does this one.

2. Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers. And this – we’re on a roll now.

And the number one romantic song of all time is…

1. I Will Always Love You by Whitney Houston. I have to say, when they asked what we thought the number one song would be, this was my first guess. I personally prefer the original Dolly Parton version, but I like this one too and I definitely think it belongs on the list.

But there were quite a few songs that weren’t on the list that I would have put there. Like Endless Love. I mean, MY GOD –who didn’t weep all over Jordache jeans over this song (and movie)? Just us overly dramatic junior high girls who spent hours on end listening to it and practicing every harmony? OK, then. Alright, how about He Stopped Loving Her Today? This song never fails to bring a tear to my eye. What? Yeah, I know he’s dead, but HE DIED STILL LOVING HER, DAMMIT! He had underlined in red, every single I love you, for God’s sake! OK, fine, whatever. And what about Shameless by Garth Brooks (yes, I know it’s originally Billy Joel, but I like Garth’s version better. Of course, it was my wedding song, so maybe I’m biased. But here are a few more that I would put on there: Up Where We Belong, You’re the First, My Last, My Everything, If, Tupelo Honey, Longer, Love Me Tender, Here and Now, Just Like Starting Over, You Send Me, Unbreak My Heart, Me and Bobby McGee, Annie’s Song, Wonderful Tonight, Just the Way You Are, The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face, Your Song (Also a wedding song).

As I was looking for links to these songs, I came across another list of the top love songs, and it included Escape (The Pina Colada Song). WTF? It’s a song about cheating! I mean, sure – he ends up with his “own lovely lady” in the end, but only because she was planning on cheating, too! Ahhh…romance. Of course, this same list also included Brand New Key, so who the hell knows what the list-writer was thinking

What do YOU think the best love song of all time is? Did it make this list?

10 reasons you should be glad I didn’t blog in my teens

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This post is part of Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. His week’s prompts were :

1.) When you were in high school what was your favorite song? What did it mean to you then and what does it mean to you now?
2.) 10 reasons you should be glad I didn’t blog in my 20′s. (Inspired by Wendy Aarons and friends)
3.) If you had to select a color to pick your personality what would it be? (inspired by Jamie Miles)
4.) Inspired by Pinterest.
5.) Share how you came up with your kids names!

And I chose “10 reasons you should be glad I didn’t blog in my 20’s”. But instead I changed it to “10 reasons you should be glad I didn’t blog in my teens,” since – let’s face it – “teens” is more hilarious.

Anyway – I don’t really have to tell you reasons – I can show you.

In my junior year, my English teacher, who I loved dearly, gave us the best assignment ever. Keep a journal for the last two quarters. We didn’t have to write in it every day, just once or twice a week. She wouldn’t grade us on content. She would make no judgments about what she read. She just wanted us to be able to express ourselves uninhibitedly and using proper grammar and spelling. Most of the class groaned when they heard it. They didn’t want to write in a journal and they certainly didn’t want her reading it. But me? I was elated. I couldn’t wait to write in it. I could keep it out of the hands of my mother by keeping it in the locker. And when I did take it home to write, she never bothered to look at it – it was a composition notebook. She wasn’t interested in that academic nonsense (except in the A-minus? Why a minus? sense).

And an added bonus of this assignment? Finally, an audience for my angst! Someone – a grown-up – would finally see my suffering and realize what a terrible life I led. She would tell the other teachers and they would all sit together in the teachers’ lounge saying things like, “Poor Gina, she deserves so much more in life.” And “Poor Gina, no one has ever felt pain like her before.” And “Poor Gina, she should be prom queen, she is so much nicer than the other girls. A beautiful person, inside and out.” “Poor Gina, why can’t everyone see how wonderful she is?” “Poor Gina, she is so under-appreciated.” And “Poor Gina, let’s just give her straight A’s because she’s obviously a suffering genius.”

Best. Assignment. Ever.

So now, I am going to share some excerpts as my 10 reasons, despite the risk of humiliation. Because I’m a giver. A beautiful person inside and out

Picture it…small town PA, 1985:

1. I hate boys. (I didn’t) I do. (didn’t) I really do! (really. I didn’t) Especially the ones that can’t make up their minds!! This is the THIRD time in the past three months that this has happened to me – a boy likes you, you like him, then “poof” he’s gone. (are you feeling bad for me yet?) I’m SICK of it!! I take everyone’s crap all the time and I’m tired of it! (no, seriously, aren’t you feeling bad for me yet?)

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2. BA makes me want to puke!! (clearly, I loved me some exclamation points!!) I really thought he liked me but then he says he also likes NG, cause he can have “fun” with her (get it?). (yeah, GET IT?? NG is a slut and I am not. Yet. He obviously missed the boat on that one. Also – I have no recollection of any sort of relationship/fling/crush/whatever with Mr. BA)

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3. I can’t believe TA & SN are mad at me. I don’t know what I did to them! Nothing! They just wake up one day and decide, let’s be mad at Gina and see how many other people we can get to join in. Screw them! (I was so badass, wasn’t?) I hate them anyway and don’t even WANT them as friends! (until tomorrow when they com to me and say they’re mad at DD and I’m just glad it’s not me anymore. God, I wish I had had more of a spine back then!)

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4. …and then to make matters worse, BT does the SAME THING!! He pretends to like me and when I like him he says, “Gee, Gina, I wish I could get into going with people, cause it would be you. BUT I DON’T.” And then he doesn’t talk to me anymore!!! (This not-talking thing didn’t last very long. There are many, many entries about this guy. We never had a real relationship, but we had a series of “interludes” that went on well into my college years. Because I was stupid enough to be taken in by his foxiness – that was my number one adjective in those days when describing boys – foxy – even though he treated me like ass)

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5. RD came up to me in the hall & sang I feel for you in my ear and then grabbed my crotch! I can’t believe he did that! I am SO embarrassed (False – Upperlass boy noticing me, and setting off  my fucked up teen girl self esteem issues while validating that I am, in fact, desirable? I think we all know I was eating that shit up. That is fucked up teen girl OXYGEN!)

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6. Well fine!! (not) I hate them all!!! (not) (And also – enough with the exclamation points, already. Although, I really had no choice. If this grownup person reading my journal was ever going to understand how mistreated and misunderstood and very, very deep I was, I needed to make my POINT!!!!!!)

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7. Oh my GOD, BT is SUCH a FOX!!!!!! (See – I told you about the fox thing)

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8. I think they are all taking lessons from TM, the champion heartbreaker!!! Lord knows he proved it with me. I hate him, too!!! (Very much not. He was my first love. My first lover. I obsessed over him for years. He really did break my heart, so I’ll give myself a pass on this one) I hope he flunks out of school. (because then maybe he’d be back here with me) He doesn’t belong at college anyway. He belongs in a juvenile home!!

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9. I just wish I could find someone who was nice and considerate. (And who could only see how wonderful and meaningful and deep and beautiful I was) but it seems like every time I do I ruin it – DB (no – never would have worked. But he was my fallback guy – the guy that was so sweet and I loved so much, but not “that way”), TT (No fucking idea. Seriously, I have no idea who this is. I don’t recall ever dating a TT. I asked Hedge and she doesn’t either. I mean, how great could he have been if I don’t remember him AT ALL?), J (OK, I am not positive, but I MIGHT be talking about Hedge’s husband here. Sorry, Hedge – you caught me – I’m still pining for him 25 years later), CT (dear lord – the teacher? The one reading this journal? This was her SON! Man, I was laying it on thick)!!! Well, maybe I’ll get lucky and someone nice like KW will ask me out – that would be the day! (Actually, this guy DID ask me out a short time later and it was the most boring date ever. We never went out again.)

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10. TK took my favorite record & broke it. I’ll forgive him because it’s the last day of school and he is SUCH A FOX! (Again with the foxes. Also? RECORD! HA!).

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So there you have it. Now do you see and understand my suffering? No one suffered like me back then. And that is why you should be glad I wasn’t blogging in those days. Because my pain was clearly too great for the average person to understand.

Someday She’ll Appreciate Sleeping In

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I am a morning person. Sort of. Actually, sometimes I think I am a night person and sometimes a morning person. I think it’s actually that I am a “solitude person,” meaning it’s not that being up late or being up early are what I enjoy – it’s that late nights and early mornings are often the times when I am the only one up, and I can read, or watch TV, or work, or simply think in relative peace.

The problem with being both a night and a morning person is that I rarely get enough sleep. I go to bed too late and get to bed too early, so what sleep I get I am very protective of. Unfortunately, being a mom, I have “mom ears,” which means I am constantly waking up because someone or something is making a noise in the house. Snoring, cat scratching at the door, someone rolling over – it all wakes me up. But the worst offender? Everyone else’s alarm.

See, my family likes to set alarms. Seems responsible, right? WRONG! Because none of them actually hear the alarm when it goes off. You know who does hear the alarm, though? You guessed it. Even all the way on the other side of the house, I can hear them.

Usually my husband’s is the worst. He has an alarm that sounds exactly like SpongeBob’s alarm. I shit you not. And that is not a pleasant sound to greet you in the morning when you are in a dead sleep. It’s even less pleasant 3 minutes later when it’s STILL GOING OFF. I have been known to run through the dark house like a psychopath, intent on KILLING THE NOISE!

But lately, it’s Emily who is killing my sleep. See – she has a thing about waking up early. Or rather, wanting to wake up early. She doesn’t necessarily actually get up then. No – instead she whines & rolls over and refuses to budge. And then when she does get up an hour later, she’s pissed because you didn’t wake her up.

This is my life. She likes to beg you to wake her up when you get up, even if you have to be up at 5:30 and she doesn’t have to get up until 7:00. And if you fail to do as she asks, the drama makes it clear that she will be scarred for life. Seriously –not waking her up as requested at JesusIt’sEarly O’ Clock will show up on her list of reasons she gives me when she drops me off at the home someday – somewhere between “Pees self” and “Calls everyone fucker.”

So most days, I just prolong my own whine-fueled misery and let her sleep & just tell her that I tried to wake her, but she refused (since: a. that is what will happen, and b. I like my aforementioned morning peace). Sadly, she has now caught on to this little ruse, and is combatting it by setting an alarm of her own. Which she – like her father – doesn’t hear when it goes off.  And this alarm can only be described as “Deranged Techno Rooster.”  And don’t tell me there is no such thing as a deranged techno rooster until you’ve heard the ear-splitting “beep-a-doodle-scereeeeeeaaaaam” for yourselves.

To make matters worse, she likes to check out MY alarm to see what time it is set for, then set HER alarm to go off  5 or 10 minutes earlier. I don’t know why she does this, but I can only assume it’s because she’s an evil genius and she’s slowly driving me insane so she can have my shoes.