Tuesday, May 23, 2017

A Perfect Girlhood

Is there such a thing as a perfect girlhood? For my sake, I hope there is. For yours, I know that's impossible, and that disappointment is good, necessary, and inevitable. 

Yet . . . I still want a track record of 100% perfect happiness for you. Is that too much to ask?

Of course it is. I know that, even if you don't. You're almost 10 and approaching the second half of your girlhood. That most vulnerable part. The part where the instincts of confidence and self-preservation that have defined you up until now subjected to the slings and arrows of The World.


Not "The World," capital T, capital W. Anything but that. I want to SAVE you from The World. MAYDAY! SOS! Here comes the fucking WORLD.

I want to vacuum seal your healthy self esteem in a jar, and put it on a shelf forever with one of those airline "FRAGILE" stickers on it. I've worked too hard to help you cultivate its contents for the better part of a decade, and I want that jar to be shatterproof. 

I want to place it far out of reach of mean boys who would call you fat or ugly or violate you or mistreat you emotionally or physically. 

I want to hide it away from academic and athletic rejection and failure. 

I want to shelter it from other girls who would cannibalize your spirit and chip away at your sense of self. But remember--and this is important: they are fragile and vulnerable, too. They are your sisters on this journey. Do not forget that.


I wish you could skip that whole part. The part that's barreling down on you like a freight train right now. The part of girlhood where the gathering storm of adolescence and young womanhood thrashes your soul against a jagged reef.

No one gets out of The World alive, we all know that. Even you. But in the meantime, will you be able to do the things you set out to do and embrace setbacks as new challenges and opportunities?

Only you can decide that. 

I can't give you a perfect girlhood, even though I wish I could. All I can do is act as a counterweight against The World; give you safe harbor; whisper in your ear to be confident, fearless, to love yourself first. And, if you want to, become a rocket scientist or go to culinary school like you told me the other day you wanted to do.

I can't give you a perfect girlhood, and maybe that's a good thing. All I can do is try to give you the tools to make a happy girlhood for yourself.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Is This Really Necessary? No, Really, Honestly. Is It?

This is a serious question, because I'm legitimately fascinated by the mentality of someone who puts the stars and bars on the front grill of their truck in Juneau, Alaska (or really anywhere), in 2017. 

Let's unpack this a bit without judgment, because it's actually pretty interesting, at least to me. 

First, a few neutral (if vastly over-simplified) important historical facts:

1. This flag is one of several official flags of the Confederate States of America.

2. The Confederacy existed from 1861-1865.

3. The Confederacy was a self-proclaimed nation of 11 secessionist slave-holding states that relied on a labor economy of black slaves. The Union considered the Confederacy illegitimate.

4. The Civil War began on April 12, 1861 with the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in South Carolina.

5. The Confederacy fought the Civil War because it wanted to maintain a system of slavery, primarily for agricultural economic reasons.

6. The Confederacy lost the Civil War in 1865, and slavery was abolished and made unconstitutional that same year.

7. Today, all the previously Confederate states are part of the Union and there is no legal or constitutional difference between them and the rest of the United States.

So that's the historical backdrop. 

As I see it, there are a few options--none of them mutually exclusive--for why you would choose to fly a confederate flag in 2017, ranging from innocently ignorant to intentionally bigoted:

1. You're just a big Dukes of Hazard fan and one hundred percent ignorant of history.

2. You're from the south and consider the confederate flag part of your "heritage" and feel entitled to "honor" it, regardless of its connotations, implications, or impact on others.

3. You lack empathy for victims of slavery and/or like to provoke anger and controversy.

4. You think slavery was a good thing and should never have been abolished.

5. You don't realize that the south lost the Civil War and that the Confederacy were traitors to the country in the most literal sense of the word.

6. You're a big macho "patriot" and don't think people should be slaves, but yet you also don't think it's a problem to display a symbol of treason, losing traitors, and slavery, all of which could not be less patriotic.

7. You fail to see the logical fallacy in #6.

8. You just think it looks cool and badass and don't know, think, and/or care about the rest.

9. You don't know, think, or care about any of those negative historical connotations, so that means no one else will (or should) either.

10. You lack intellectual curiosity and empathy (in general).

11. You're legally entitled to/can do something, so that means you should, no matter what.

This is all I can come up with. But the one unifying feature is this: if you feel the need to display a confederate flag in public in 2017, you have a lot of critical thinking and self-examination to do.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

If You Thought Your Marriage or Divorce Was Bad . . .

Then this is the post for you. I guarantee you that as acrimonious and miserable as your marriage or divorce is or was, you probably never divvied up Beanie Babies in open court, under the eagle-eyed supervision of a judge.

Recently my dad suggested I was "unambitious" for having zero interest in ever becoming a judge. I explained to him that I didn't want to work alone in a windowless room, listening to grown adults fight over who gets to keep a set of power tools, and then promptly sent him this picture.

Real life courtroom drama is, sadly, less Law and Order and more Honey Boo-Boo.

Chances are this photo will make you feel better about yourself, regardless of the state of your union. Even if you're happily married, you're still likely fighting about the same three things every day: (1) who works harder/does more; (2) who gets less sleep; and (3) where the fuck all your money goes each month. If you're unhappily married, you're probably fighting about the exact same three things, except ten times as often and with more yelling and even less sex, if that's possible.

If you're divorced, you're probably just relieved you don't have to see your ex's dirty socks or listen to their snoring anymore. You'd likely let them have every Beanie Baby ever manufactured if it meant you only had to speak to them when absolutely necessary for co-parenting reasons, and then only after three glasses of wine or several beers so you don't say something you later regret and that can be used against you in a court of law.

Awkward Family Photos is a highly recommended follow on Insta. It's like a daily affirmation that as lame and stupid as you are or feel, someone out there is even lamer and stupider than you.

Certainly, by the time you're consuming judicial resources to help you DIVIDE FUCKING BEANIE BABIES, it's game over. At that point, once you finish separating Ariel the Bear from Dippy the Bunny (yes, those are real Beanie Babies, look it up), you should walk into a lake with stones in your pockets ala Virginia Woolf.  

But you have never needed judicial intervention for Beanie Babies, and you never would, which is why you feel really good about yourself right now.

You're welcome. 

P.S. On the remote chance that you have needed judicial intervention for Beanie Baby division, I'm sorry. "People Who Fought in Open Court Over Beanie Babies" will just have to join the looooong list of people I have offended with this blog.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Easy Decisions

I can be indecisive about a lot of things, but some decisions--particularly parenting decisions--are easy. 

For instance:  This morning's decision to delete the app "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" (and all of its data), whatever that consists of. Through the ether of cloud computing, Kim Kardashian ended up on my iPhone, courtesy of Paige downloading her million dollar bootie on a linked device. 

Don't ask me how Paige found "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" or what the app is or does. I don't want to know. I just want to pretend it never happened. But not before I confronted Paige about it, and she insisted it was "like a girl dress-up game." "I don't like that," I scowled. "It sends a bad message."

That's how I feel about sharting. Sharting sends a bad message too, and you want to pretend it never happened.

Both my kids went to a Montessori toddler preschool that I loved because it emphasized independence in everything, including toileting. That part I didn't love. The staff of this school was not just willing--but quite insistent--on doing something I refused to do myself: put my kids in cult-issue tighty whities and let them piss and shit themselves until they magically figured out how to control their excretory functions. 

It doesn't sound like fun, does it? It wasn't.  

Not surprisingly, every kid participating in this grand pedagogical experiment shat their undies on the reg, and the undies would come home in a little tied-up plastic bag to be washed. 

The shit-bag would stare out at me from Paige or Isaac's hook, silently reporting on my child's toileting progress while daring me to touch the results. I wouldn't. I couldn't. I would take that bag, underwear and all, and stick it right into the giant dumpster in my garage. 

I know it sucked for the planet and I'm not the least bit proud of myself, but I simply was not fucking around with scrubbing shit out of underwear. This would have to be my ecological sin, and I would pay my penance to save the planet. But I was not putting any elbow grease into saving those undies.

Fortunately, when you're older and (hopefully) toilet trained, you hardly ever shit in your undies unless you make a really bad call on a fart. Like you're at that moment of "what's gonna happen here," and decide to roll the dice and BAM. Shart. That's an easy decision that quickly turns into a terrible decision. I did this when I was checking my bar exam results to see if I passed. Twice. You'd think after New York, I would've learned to evacuate my bowels before checking bar exam results, yet I didn't fare any better with Alaska.

This was my long-winded way of saying: "Kim Kardashian: Hollywood" is the shart of apps, and deleting it from my phone after lecturing Paige about internalized misogyny was pretty satisfying. 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Trump Impeachment Erotica

She woke up that morning not knowing if it was real--only hoping against hope that it was, wondering if it was a dream. A wistful, fading dream of a long-ago time when the so-called leader of the free world didn't demonstrably lie about the weather and misspell the word "tap" on Twitter with impunity.

As she rolled over in bed, she looked longingly at her phone charging on the beside table, and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. Since she was in a time zone four hours behind many of her friends and family, it wasn't unusual to wake up to texts or messages, but this seemed like more than usual.

"OMG, have you heard?" said one. "TRUMP IS GETTING IMPEACHED!" said another. Suddenly she was wide awake. 

Every fiber of her being tingled with anticipation and the electric possibility of the shittiest president and most mediocre human being ever to trod the global stage going down in a humiliating hurricane of corruption, scandal, incompetence, and stupidity of his own making.

"It can't be real . . . " she whispered softly as she opened Twitter and scrolled down ever so gently with her right thumb to see the top trending topics. As her gaze fell to the list, she bit her lower lip and pumped her left fist in the air:

1.  #45Impeachement 
2.  #JaredKushnerArrested 
3.  #MikePenceBustedInFBISting 
4.  #JulianAssangeGetsJobatWendys 
5.  #RichardSpencersDickFellOff
6. #BillOReillyCaughtonTapeSexuallyHarrassingEveryone
7. #Election2016DoOver
8. #IvankaShoeFactoryFire
9. #MikeFlynnTurnsStateEvidence
10. #TrumpTookDumpOnHisDesk 
11. #ThePizzaDiet

Her relief for the country and searing schadenfreude over the downfall of The Worst Humans Ever were too gloriously overwhelming. She had to stop at trending topic 11 and couldn't even make it to 12, which turned out to be #ClimateChangeSolved.

OH MY GOD, she moaned, exactly like Meg Ryan in the diner scene in When Harry Met Sally, except for real. MMM. Oh yeah. That's what I'm talking about. Right there. 


Donald Trump Writes Home

Thursday, May 18, 2017

I Need a New Duffel Bag so I Guess I Should Join the NRA Now

This ad popped up while I was reading Talking Points Memo, which means the NRA doesn't really know its own target demographic. But they scored with me, because it just so happens that I need a new duffel bag, and joining the NRA for $30 in order to get one is an offer I cannot refuse.

Holdup. Maybe I can.

They don't say what comes IN the duffel bag. I feel like this offer would be more enticing if there was like, a prize inside. Remember when you could get prizes out of a cereal box? Or mail box tops to some random P.O. Box in Kentucky and receive a so-called prize 32 weeks later? 

I think that's how I ended up with the Snoopy Sno-Cone Maker. A close cousin of the E-Z Bake Oven, this "machine" was a suuuuuuper ghetto way to make shave ice. You stuck ice cubes down the plastic chimney of Snoopy's dog house, and ground them up using with a manual hand-crank until you developed blisters on your fingers. By the time you made enough ice shavings for a tiny Dixie cup-sized sno cone, the whole fucking thing was water.

But I digress.

The point is, I think the NRA would have more takers on this if it offered several prizes INSIDE the duffel bag, particularly to readers of Talking Points Memo. For example, I would be MUCH more likely to snap this up if the NRA was offering to send me:
  • A Wayne LaPierre pillow pet.
  • Guns, guns, and more guns!
  • A Unabomber style getaway-survival-in-the-woods-militia-prepper kit.
  • A 12-pack of urinal cakes with Alex Jones' face on them.
Come on, NRA. Make me a serious offer here. My luggage needs can't go unfulfilled forever.