Monday, December 31, 2018

The Externality Trap

I'm not sure if this will be my last blog post of 2018 or my first of 2019, but either way, it's a new beginning for me in terms of my outlook on the future. In 2019 (barring some intervening catastrophe, which I always secretly feel is around the corner) I'll be looking for kindness, reason, and allies in the repudiation of silence. I'll be looking to feel useful, safe, and valued in my work. And I'll be fighting for human rights and our constitutional norms while cursing about boob hairs and Twinkies on my blog. But mostly, I will be looking within myself for guidance on what to do (or not do) next. 

My mom texted me this:
Being resilient means using adversity to gain strength. That’s what you can do now. I know I’m right about this. Don’t let yourself feel defeated. That’s a form of surrendering to the enemy. Life has some nasty unfair turns. Don’t let external events define your sense of who you are.  
Sadly the world is fairly corrupt. The longer you live the more you learn from experience that this is true. And under Trump we are fighting to maintain even the most basic democratic norms, ones that we thought we could take for granted. This is a dark time and unfortunately you are directly experiencing the consequences of it. But you will overcome this adversity—you have what it takes to do that. So fight the thought that you are defeated.
Separately, she wrote that whatever successes I've had in my life have been because of who I am, and not any job I've had. She pointed out that just because someone else does something to me doesn't mean that anything about me has changed; and that's because a person's talents and motives reside within them.

That's the part that really stood out to me: The idea that we let external events define our sense of who we are, and we do it a lot. At least I do. Most of us seek some form of external validation driven by ego. Does this person find me attractive or want to date me? Will I receive this award or that? Will I get the credit I deserve? Will I win some contest or race? Will this person be mad at me if I say/don't say/do/don't do something?

And on and on, ad infinitum.

What my mom said resonated with me so much because I realize that I do a lot of this and it's unhealthy. I've done it with men and I've done it with work and I've done it with blog traffic and I've done it with activism. It's the idea that we are somehow reliant on an external force of some kind to determine our own happiness, and this traps us into ceding control of our self worth to another person or circumstance.

It's a more grownup version of a sign hanging in my son's second grade classroom that reads, "Rule #1: You are Responsible for Your Own Happiness." It's a great first rule of life in general.

I'm not too into New Year's resolutions. I think they're kind of corny and basic so I don't like to admit that I make them to myself every once in awhile. But I guess this is the year I am resolving to climb out of the externality trap and take responsibility for my own happiness once and for all.




Thursday, December 27, 2018

The ‘I Have Been to Alaska a Lot’ Bro

Scene: Locker room area of Snowbowl Ski Area in Missoula or literally any public location West of the Mississippi when I'm wearing Xtra-Tufs.

I’ve Been to Alaska a Lot Bro: Hey I recognize those boots! You must be from Alaska!

Me: Yeah, I live in Ju—

IBTAALB: Ya know, I’ve been to Alaska before I worked on a fishing boat out of Nikiski for 16 consecutive seasons also my friend in Haines owns a heli-ski company do you know him?


Me: Well, probably n--

IBTAALB: His name is Hal Haines Hal that’s what they call him he's been there for like three decades also I was in Kenai I worked on another fishing boat it was the F/V Maria Jane have you heard of it?

Me: Huh not sure, that’s super int—

IBTAALB: So this friend of mine? We worked on a cabin one summer out of McCarthy and then I was a fishing guide on the Yentna do you know that river?

Me: Actually I had a-- 

IBTAALB: My friend was a bush pilot in the Brooks Range and was a caribou hunting guide you know that's what they call reindeer up there

Me: Wow, yeah, I mean you're literally Alaska Mansplaining the place where my kids were born but I meeean

IBTALLB: I actually was briefly in a degree program at UAF and then--


Me: *Walks away*

IBTALLB: *Still talking and trying to establish Alaska cred for literally no apparent reason whatsoever somehow?*








Sunday, December 23, 2018

Putting My Life Back Together

Wow you guys. Wowowowowowowow.

Not gonna lie, this was pretty much the shittiest three weeks of my life to date, which I guess all things considered is a good thing, as I have lots to be grateful for. Chief among them: healthy kids and spouse, family and friends who love me, and skills that I know will be well-used in new and nobler pursuits.

Still, being unceremoniously and illegally booted from an institution I've served with unblemished distinction for over a decade felt like an enormous betrayal and a loss, and it was. I lost my work family. I lost my community. I lost my sense of daily purpose and my intellectual outlet. I lost faith in the people and the institutions that I was naive enough to believe would protect me. I lost them at the hands of people who don't know me for reasons that have nothing to do with my work. And I'm not sure any of it will ever be repaired, and I know I will never be the same.

I've had moments this week when I expressed to friends that I wished I was dead. This is not to be confused with being suicidal. I would never in a million years commit suicide, because I would never do that to my kids. Also, I have way too much left to live for and to do on this earth. 

But I think it's important to be open and authentic and real about how upset I am, how wronged I feel, and how profoundly I am grieving. That is what my readers expect of me, and that is simply an honest reckoning. Feeling robbed of a part of your existence does make you want to die, because part of you has, in fact, been killed. I think it's okay to say that, even to the trolls who keep sending me links to unemployment insurance and the vindictive sadists who targeted me.

At the end of the day, though, my mom said it best. The real successes I have had are because of who I am, not because of a job. And I can't make everyone happy, but I know what's right and wrong, and I'm not afraid to say it, with four letter words or otherwise, because this is America and we have freedom of speech and the press for a reason. So I am putting this long chapter of my life in the rear view mirror and focusing on three things: (1) using my voice and my time in ways that feel authentic and meaningful to me; (2) moving on with my life and my career; and (3) making sure that what happened to me never happens to anyone else ever again.

You can stay tuned for all of that right here, because I'm not going anywhere.




Thursday, December 20, 2018

How Was This Normal?!

Ever since Trump was elected, I’ve had to ask myself almost every day whether “this” (whatever “this” happens to be that day is “normal”). For example:
  • Is it normal that the President is *actually* a white collar felon? Like for real? 
  • Is it normal that our government is warehousing teargassed children in cages and writing numbers on their arms to keep track of them? 
  • Is it normal that government actors across the country are emboldened to willingly violate the First Amendment with impunity like Kremlin goons? 
  • Is it normal for the President to be confused by an umbrella?
I guess so. I guess that’s what they call The New Normal™️ But say what you will about the new normal, the "old normal" was just as bad. Take the game "hangman" for example, the children's spelling game. Now it's "draw the cat" or something, but when I was a kid I didn't think twice about using a stick figure drawing of a public hanging to learn how to spell.

Remember this game? Here are the instructions, still available online.
One player chooses a secret word and the others try to guess it. Whenever the players guess a letter that is not in the secret word they get a strike that brings them closer to losing. To show this, the host draws a simple stick figure of a man being hung, adding a new part to the drawing with every wrong answer . . . The classic order is:
  • First wrong answer: Draw an upside-down "L." This is the post the man hangs from.
  • Second: Draw a small circle for the "head" underneath the horizontal line of the "L."
  • Third: Draw a line down from the bottom of the head for the "body."
  • Fourth: Draw one arm out from the middle of his body for the "arm."
  • Fifth: Draw the other arm.
  • Sixth: Draw one diagonal line from the bottom of the body for the first "leg."
  • Seventh: Draw the other leg.
  • Eighth: Connect the head to the post with a "noose." Once you draw the noose the players have lost the game.
"ONCE YOU DRAW THE NOOSE THE PLAYERS HAVE LOST THE GAME," YOU GUYS. Like this game was TOTALLY FUCKING NORMAL WHEN I WAS A KID. HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!?! Like a children's game about capital punishment was considered HO HUM?! I'm pretty sure I had a pack of candy gum cigarettes that I chain-smoked whenever I won a game of hangman.

Man, those were the days.




Friday, December 14, 2018

Love Knows No Borders

Let's talk about empathy. Empathy, of course, is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another person. Sadly, empathy has been in very short supply in our national discourse at a time when we're being forced to ask ourselves what it really means to be an American in the first place.

Who are we, really, as a nation? At our core, we're a Republic founded by white slave-holding men on stolen indigenous land. That is a legacy we all live with, and that continues to reverberate today. But in the short 242 years of our nation's history, many of us have worked tirelessly to mold our country into something better and more perfect that that.

One manifestation of a more perfect union is America-made-refuge to people fleeing persecution and violence in other parts of the world. These are basic human rights: to live in safety, peace, and dignity. And to migrate elsewhere if those things cannot be achieved at home.

Every non-indigenous person in this country is an immigrant here. Every one of us has reaped the rewards of American constitutional democracy. The fact that the fabric of that democracy is being stretched thinner than ever is all the more reason to double-down on speaking up for what's right.

Like so many issues of our time, this is not a political issue. It's a human rights issue. The people of the migrant caravan are human beings who deserve a chance to knock at the door of this nation without being caged, tear-gassed, raped, or killed by the State, without having their children snatched from their arms, and without being vilified or dehumanized for political gain.

Our elected officials need to respond to this crisis in a humanitarian way. One that reflects empathy and honors human rights. They must acknowledge that the men, women, and children of the migrant caravan are human beings who are entitled to seek refuge here. They must end the militarization of our border and the detention and deportation of immigrants. They must end state-sanctioned violence against asylum-seekers. We have to start investing in our communities by keeping families together and holding them in hearts full of empathy. 

To do otherwise is to lose our humanity. 




Monday, December 10, 2018

You Have Permission to Sweat Woke Ammon Bundy

If we needed any more proof that we’re living in the Upside Down (hint: we don't), Woke Ammon Bundy™️ should shift that needle to “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

‘Member Ammon Bundy? It seems like so long ago now. Like a dream from another era. 

Cast your minds back to that one time a rag-tag posse of plaid-clad militia wingnuts rumbled up to a USFS cabin in rural Oregon, where they sat for three weeks, making tearful video testimonials about the Big Mean Gov’mint and ordering coffee and Little Debbie Snack Cakes from their adoring mouth-breathing acolytes. Eventually, the martyrs got bored and climbed back in their pickup trucks and drove home. And then some of them got arrested and almost went to prison. Or did go to prison. Or went to prison and had their conviction overturned. I don’t fucking know. I don't even care enough to Google it.

Point is, the Mick Jagger of the Redneck Rolling Stones was this hot AF bae named Ammon Bundy. He might even have been called "Militia Bae," for all I know, 'cause Ammon looks like the offspring of Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal in Brokeback Mountain 2: Return to the Mountain. (True story: I went to summer camp with Jake for three years and wrote about that shit here HELLO BRUSH WITH FAME AND GREATNESS)

Even Ammon Bundy's name sounds like a character from a $7.00 bodice ripper: "Her full lips fell open as she watched Ammon Bundy's rippling chest muscles flex in the sun. As he rode his stallion bareback into the sunset, she wondered if she would ever see Ammon again, or cry out his name in a moment of ecstasy . . . "

Well now Ammon suddenly got woke! He "broke up" with Trump because of "anti-immigrant rhetoric." I guess Ammon realized that all his compatriots in the War Against Not Easily Available Doritos actually didn't care if brown toddlers got tear-gassed and locked up in cages indefinitely for seeking asylum in the "land of the free." He decided, I guess, that it was worth the loss of love he would suffer from "warmongers" to take the side of some families fleeing violence.

So this is my gift to you, my babes and dudes. I bring to you the tidings of joy of the season, which is permission to, at long last, put Ammon Bundy in your wank tank free of guilt. As POTUS would say:

ENJOY!




Sunday, December 9, 2018

Permission to Scroll?

It's like "Permission to Engage" in the military. These are the three simple words that you need to ask before anyone hands you their phone to look at a particular picture. Folks of older generations, especially, are prone to the misconception that "here look at this photo of a barfing Jack-O-Lantern hahahahaha" is broad consent to begin scrolling with abandon through another person's camera roll until you randomly get to "27 year-old's rock hard abs and baby arm dick."

Like in this day and age, you can never be too careful. You could have a photo of "Individual-1" (a.k.a. single thick black cleavage hair") and its "Un-indicted Co-Conspirator" nipple hairs. You could have a picture of an ingrown toenail. Or your kid's tonsils or something. You really need to know AHEAD of time, before a bell is rung that can't be un-rung.

It all comes down to consent and permission. Like the Venn diagram of people who get "Me-Too'd" and people who scroll through people's camera rolls is one giant black circle. If a person lets you kiss them, that doesn't mean you automatically get to bang them. And if a person hands you their phone open to a photo of their toddler playing in the sand on Cape Cod, that doesn't mean you get to do a tour through the rest of their . . . um . . . MATERIAL.

So for fuck's sake. Next time you find yourself with another person's phone in your hands, remember those three little words: "Permission to Scroll."




Sunday, December 2, 2018

The Oyster Evangelist

I took a break from a semi social-media hiatus to tweet about the Oyster Evangelist earlier, but I feel like this topic deserves a longer treatment, which I now have the time and inclination to give it.

There’s something about oysters (as a cuisine) that inspires intense feelings of love or disgust. And many (if not most) people who love oysters—Oyster Evangelists I call them—are deeply invested in converting repulsed defectors like me. I was thinking about this while in Seattle, where oysters are pushed aggressively on everyone; almost as aggressively as the Seahawks, but with less garish colors and noise.

Like people who love oysters really, REALLY love oysters. But that’s not good enough, you see. Oyster Evangelists are committed to making YOU love oysters too, and when you refuse, to low-key shame you for being unsophisticated enough to be revolted by oysters, and then to rinse and repeat this process of oyster proselytizing at every opportunity. 

It’s like a First World foodie version of Green Eggs and Ham: Would you could you with a lemon? I would not could not with a lemon. Would you could you baked or fried? I would not could not baked or fried. Would you could you with Tobasco? I would not could not with Tobasco. In Seattle? Not in Seattle. In Japan? Not in Japan. 

And so on.

Eating something that (arguably/at least to me) kind of looks, feels, tastes, and smells like part of the female anatomy served in its own exoskeleton when that is not my personal flavor/mouth feel preference is just ... a bit much? I don’t care if it’s fanned out on a bed of ice and came from a special rock or if Jacques Cousteau himself plucked it off that special rock. I don’t want to eat a slimy sea booger swimming in its own salty fish juice, m’kay? 

The only oyster cult I’m joining is Blue Oyster Cult, and let’s be honest they’re not even that great of a band.






Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Trump on Romaine Lettuce: A Disaster!

Some Romaine lettuce is OK to eat, OK? Or at least according to the Failing Fake News Media it is. Many people are saying this. I can’t tell you who, but many, MANY important people—terrific, absolutely terrific scientists—have called my office to tell me this. Even low-energy, low-ratings Fake News CNN reported these facts, by the way. I have a natural instinct for science, so I know.

The worst Romaine is from California. It’s the worst there, because California is a DISASTER. Everyone knows that. Look at what happened with the poor management of the gardens and farms in California. If the California farmers gardened like Norway, this wouldn’t have happened. I was golfing with the King of Norway last week, and he told me himself that their Romaine is clean because they scrape it with tiny little rakes that collect the germs.

The U.S. could do the same thing. We could have the cleanest lettuce. But Little Adam Schitt and Goofy Nancy Pelosi want you to sit on a toilet for 7 hours a day and bleed through your colon before they’d ever roll back their job-killing, germ-spreading regulations!

They’re saying lettuce from other parts of the U.S. and Mexico is safe to eat. That I can’t tell you. But I CAN tell you that Mexico is NOT sending its best lettuce. They’re sending Romaine full of E.Coli. They’re sending diseases. And some, I assume, is perfectly fine iceberg that tastes delicious shredded as a garnish in a Trump Grill Taco Bowl.

But we can’t be too careful. Lettuce is a very dangerous vegetable, and California has been a sanctuary state for lettuce for far too long. Maybe if the 17 Angry Democrats and Highly Conflicted Bob Mueller spent less time on the Phony Witch Hunt Collusion Hoax and more time getting to the bottom of this Very Dangerous Lettuce Situation, America could have great salad again.

I appreciate the congrats of the American people about my strong action against bacteria known to have infiltrated our borders. We may never know how many of them are here killing our jobs and our micro-biota. It’s horrible, absolutely terrible. It’s vicious and horribly unfair how long California has allowed this TREMENDOUS VEGETABLE DISASTER to continue within its borders. NOT NICE. Tell Congress to FUND THE TRELLIS NOW!

Listen to local authorities and avoid all forms of romaine lettuce, including romaine heads, hearts, and salad mixes. Rome was a very important empire and look how easily it fell. Caesar and Caligula were both terrific guys who we keep hearing more and more about and who had excellent ratings and still, look at what happened there. When is the so-called and Very Biased Centers for “Disease Control” going to actually control this disaster?

Something has to be done. Romaine is a very dangerous lettuce! Iceberg First! GET SMART, people. Make Salad Great Again!

By the way will be interviewed tonight about the Lettuce Crisis on @Foxandfriends. ENJOY!





Monday, November 26, 2018

Limericks About Obscure Presidents

There once was a POTUS named Fillmore
He was the last Whig (there were no more)
His first name was Millard
That rhyme is just filler
Cuz the dude was just kind of a chill bore

There once was a POTUS named Taylor
His term was a bit of a failure
He was preserving the Union
Raw fruit was his ruin
He died well before he could save Her.

There was once a POTUS named Tyler
Not elected (nor much of a smiler)
Destiny manifest
He practiced with zest
But old Zach could’ve used a good styler

There once was a POTUS named Pierce
The critique heaped upon him was fierce
Weak and forgettable
His service regrettable
And they say he drank too many beers.

There once was a POTUS named Hayes
With a long beard that went on for days
A staunch abolitionist
And stern prohibitionist 
For corruption he hadn’t much praise 

There once was a POTUS named Polk
No one would say he was woke
He stole Native lands
And kept slaves at his hands
But his suits were most surely bespoke 





Sunday, November 25, 2018

That Jewish Stuff

"That Jewish Stuff." That's what my mom calls it. 

I hadn't heard her call it that before. Not in those words. Keep in mind that my mom is a big fan and also a practitioner of therapy. She's always telling me to "get some therapy" and that my kids should have therapy. When she saw some signs of anxiety in Paige, she told me I should nip it in the bud and "get her some therapy."

"I wish I'd gotten you some therapy when you were younger," she said, referring to my bouts with eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. "This is just in our DNA. It's that Jewish stuff." She was referring, of course, to the genetically-encoded hereditary disposition to anxiety and depression that Jews typically experience. Epigenetic trauma is not a well-studied science, and what studies have been done cast doubt on the concept of trauma—which Jews have had a bunch of—as printable on DNA.

But it's as much a cultural thing as a DNA thing. My generation of Jewish children was only one generation removed from the Holocaust. We grew up hearing horror stories and could trace immediate family members to concentration camps. We were taught to bristle at the sound of the German language and to fear German Shepherds and boycot German products. We were always on some sort of high alert. We were communicated this idea that the Holocaust was around every corner and we should have our passports ready to flee.

It wasn't a constant onslaught of this message. It happened in hushed tones and whispers almost absorbed through the ether. I was raised by a Romanian Holocaust survivor who had fled to Israel and then America, and she wasn't shy about sharing her experiences, no matter how terrified or young I was. It was communicated that you don't reveal you are Jewish in mixed company unless you have to, but among Jews you code-switch and pepper your speech with Yiddish.

It was like living with the idea that the Bogeyman is real.
And I think all of this fear, be it inherited or learned, just has a psychological impact. My generation of Jewish children also grew up during a sort of halcyon time that allowed us to assimilate and take full advantage of the privileges of white skin. The period of domestic prosperity and tranquility between Vietnam and 9/11 was the exception, not the rule. And so sliding into darker times feels like The Moment™ is Here. At all times, we are ready to fight or flee in The Moment.

We are especially on guard about Trump and rising anti-Semitism, or most of us are. Many of us hustle hard for broad social justice because we know what happens when people don’t. We are primed to fear persecution for our intellectual work, abilities, or incomes. We have had property stolen from us and we are scared. 

And though I can’t speak for them, I imagine it's the same for ancestors of colonized and enslaved POC. I think people who have been colonized, persecuted, or enslaved simply experience persecution and threats differently. We feel them differently, more viscerally. And it makes it hard to stay sane, make good decisions, or maintain objectivity or hope.

But still you have to, because what else can you do?




Friday, November 16, 2018

OMG, Sophie Scholl is My New Shero

Full confession. 

I had no idea who Sophie Scholl was until this week, when a friend messaged me this photo from somewhere in cyberspace. I think she sent it to me because I often fume that too few people in positions of power and privilege are willing to take the personal risks necessary to advance social justice and advocate for real change in the world. 

Sophie Scholl’s very last words reflect the same sentiment, so I immediately went down an internet rabbit hole to read about her life, and to say this woman (a girl, really) was a bad bitch is the understatement of the century.

She’s been on my mind ever since.

You can go on Wikipedia yourself for her whole life story, but the gist is she was a Lutheran white girl in Nazi Germany who was having less than none of the Third Reich’s efforts to Hitler Youth-ify her. She spent the formative years of her very short life non-violently and intellectually resisting dictatorship as part of the White Rose Society. She was ultimately arrested for distributing anti-Nazi literature, convicted in a show trial, and executed a mere hours later by guilliotine.

Seriously you guys. Nazis chopped off a 21 year-old girl’s head for passing out written opposition to their genocidal bullshit. And by all accounts, Sophie sauntered off
 to the gallows with her soon-to-be-decapitated head held high and these words on her lips:
How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?
Sophie Scholl was walking the walk of righteous wokeness before it was cool, and she walked it straight to her own execution like it was NOTHING. 

Unlike me, who pretends to be badass AF for getting called a cunt on the internet sometimes and enduring the occasional empty threat to my body and livelihood from wannabe Nazis, Sophie proudly marched to her death in an enormous fuck you to *actual* Nazis!

The thing that amazes me most is that she didn’t have to do any of this. She could have just been a Nazi. She wasn’t Jewish and she wasn’t at risk of being persecuted herself. She was simply a member of the dominant Aryan culture who recognized that what was happening around her was unbelievably fucked up, and she decided it was worth resisting and dying to show the whole world how fucked up it really was. 

Talk about next-level allyship.

The very least I can do is read her Wikipedia page and put her on blast as my new number one shero. Sophie Scholl is #ResistanceGoals.




Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Alaska Fugitive Starter Kit

Just look at these four “good country people,” as their pastor called them. Don’t their mugshots make you want them for your neighbors? Not so much? 

Welp, turns out these wholesome Ohioans allegedly massacred 8 people (including their daughter/grandchild’s mother) execution-style over a custody dispute and went on the lam to the place where all such citizens go when they’re fugitives from the law: 

Alaska!

If you’ve lived here for any amount of time, you know that there are four main types of Alaska transplants: (1) people who follow peen/poon here; (2) people who follow a job here; (3) people who vacation or work here in the summer and decide to move here in the winter for some stupid reason; and (4) criminal fugitives trying to escape the long arm of the Lower-48 law.

I’m in categories (2) and (3) myself. Turns out Billy and Angela Wagner and their kids Jake and George fall into categories (3) and (4), so I guess we have at least one thing in common. As the ADN reports, the Wagners first visited Seward and then decided to make Kenai their permanent home when they needed to shake the heat they were getting for murdering an entire family on a farm in their sleep like a fucking Truman Capote book.

Which is no surprise, because all category (4) transplants have what I call the Alaska Fugutive Starter Kit, and in addition to an arrest warrant (obvi) here’s what’s in it:

1. Zero knowledge of Alaska: Alaska fugitives have a vague fantasy that Alaska is Mars; that there’s no such thing as the internet or law enforcement. They just know that there are bears and moose and snowflakes and lots of woods to hide in and it’s very far away from whatever meth hole they came from. Good enough!

2. Vague ties to a fringe church: Invariably, Alaska fugitives are members of some questionable church you’ve never heard of, whose central tenets are memorizing obscure scripture to overcompensate for and/or justify the commission of felonies.

3. Plaid: You need plaid. If you don’t own plaid, go on the lam to Hawaii!

4. A face that looks like it just met the business end of a 5 iron: See these faces? Especially the dad. You need a face like that to be a legit Alaska fugitive.

5. A janky truck: You can’t head up the Al-Can without a trusty rig! It’s simply not fugitive style to fly here. Plus, there’s TSA to worry about. So natch, the Wagners sold their farm, put all their shit in a flatbed and horse trailer and “drove north.”

Those are the key elements of the Alaska Fugitive Starter Kit. Pro tip: don’t go on the lam without ‘em!




Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Pushing the Limits

I know a lot of people who do extreme sports and activities. This is Alaska, after all. Paragliding, big backcountry skiing and snowboarding, ice climbing. I don't do any of that shit. I hike and I ski and I love being outside, but I'm way too much of a wimp to get my pilot's license or take an avalanche class or jump off Mt. Roberts on a piece of canvas.

I'm fascinated, though, by all my friends who do this stuff. It seems SO SCARY to me. And the most interesting thing is that they all describe the exact same feeling: the adrenaline rush, the adventure, the sense of pushing a boundary. The focus it takes to get wherever they are trying to go. The ever-present specter of consequences.

That's sort of how I feel about writing and speaking my mind and "living my truth" or whatever. It's like I've new-agedly "set an intention" to be unapologetically and very publicly myself in the hopes that I reach people and open new perspectives for myself and others. You can call it over-sharing, but I just call it my hobby and overall it's very rewarding.

I understand that this particular hobby comes with risks. In the four years I've been writing O.H.M., many people--mostly men and older women--have given me a ton of unsolicited advice about what I should do and say on here. It's all cloaked in benevolent concern, but it feels like repression and accusation to me--with the implicit/explicit message that I should be embarrassed and afraid.

I should curse less. I should have ads. I shouldn't talk about vibrators. I shouldn't have my face in my profile. I should worry about being too frank. I should worry about my kids (I don't write about my kids as much anymore, and never without their permission). I should worry about my job. I should change this or do that or the other thing. And it's all sort of in service of this vaguely patriarchal concept that overall I should be less. I should chill, because I am "too much," and "too much" is dangerous. That I should say less and say it more quietly and safely, and be less salty and aggressive or something, and I guess I just don't want to do that.

My poor mom. 

I let her come to her grandkids' parent-teacher conferences when she was visiting last week and she was amazed. "I never got a good report like that about you," she said. "I dreaded parent-teacher conferences. Elizabeth went to the principal's office. Elizabeth fell out of her chair again. Elizabeth talked in class. Elizabeth spoke out of turn. Elizabeth is distracting the other students. Elizabeth fell out of her chair again."

She said the chair thing twice, because I guess I fell out of my chair a lot. And someone was always telling me to get back in it. And I guess now that I'm an adult, I'm just gonna sit back and fall over in my chair every day on the internet, because I fucking feel like it and no one can stop me. 




Monday, November 12, 2018

Four Great Pieces of Advice for All Adult Human Interactions

Here are four great pieces of advice my mom, a psychiatrist, gave me. Whether it's a personal or professional relationship with an adult, it helps to frame your interactions this way:


1. IT'S NOT WHAT HAPPENS, IT'S HOW YOU REMEMBER IT. It's not that what happens to you doesn't matter. It matters. But for most things, what matters most--what is most impactful--is how you remember them, and not the details of what occurred at the time. Everyone remembers the same event differently. This is called the Roshomon Effect. For example, my mom worked full time when I was young, but she made a real effort to come home every evening and not travel for work. However, what I remember is that she worked a lot. I don't remember all of the efforts she made to spend with me. That's a bummer for her, of course. But at least in terms of my own psyche, my perception is bigger than the reality. The way we perceive the past, in other words, is just as significant if not more so than what the past actually was.

2. IT'S NEVER ABOUT WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE ABOUT. By the time you become an adult, you've become sensitized to react to different things in particular ways. Everyone has different sensitivities that make them react--their "triggers." A casual interaction can be experienced as rejection or offense, for example, because you are primed to see it that way. You are primed to interpret things in the slanted way you've learned to in your childhood. And the more trivial the encounter, the more skeptical you should be about your reaction. This allows you to stay calm. It helps you understand that if someone is being infantile or unreasonable, for example, you didn't make them infantile or unreasonable. People behave the way they've learned to behave long before they ever met you. Acknowledging this allows you to assess human interactions more objectively. 


3. IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU. Ninety percent of a person's behavior has nothing to do with you. When you're a kid, you don't see that, because children are narcissists and believe they cause everything around them. As an adult, you can work to overcome the narcissism of childhood and acquire the ability to see that this isn't the case. Most human behavior is driven by pre-existing bias, prejudice, character, and coping mechanisms. When you understand that negative behavior directed at you isn't really about you, you have the chance to examine a more useful question: what someone else's behavior tells you about who they are. 

4. YOU CAN'T UNDO YOUR CHILDHOOD INJURIES THROUGH EXTERNAL SOLUTIONS. Children adopt coping mechanisms to deal with their powerlessness, and adults often try to deploy those same mechanisms in adulthood. They fail, though, because you can't fix what's already happened. In other words, you can't change the past. This is what Freud called the "repetition compulsion." The wish that things hadn't happened the way they did, and an attempt to "undo" adverse childhood occurrences by manipulating external circumstances in adulthood. All you can do is understand the impact of the past, and, critically, the fact that you have agency to move in another direction. You need an adult approach to leave childhood baggage behind. You're never going to relive your childhood in a way that reconciles and fixes things. You can't make it a goal to undo it. A new external experience won't change what happened a long time ago. In other words, the repetition compulsion is the opposite of choice. But as an adult you have agency, and you can choose another path.




Thursday, November 8, 2018

A Government of Laws, and Not of Men

Are we a government of laws, or of men? That’s the central question famously posed by Special Prosecutor Archibald Cox in 1973, and raised anew by Trump’s firing of Jeff Sessions this week. 

Our modern-day Watergate moment is here. 

Robert Mueller’s sprawling investigation into possible collusion between the President’s 2016 campaign and the Russian government has quietly shadowed American democracy for the past two years. Never in my lifetime has the fabric of our Constitution, our values, our collective conscience, and our humanity been placed under the kind of relentless stress we have seen since Trump assumed office. 

Each day seems to bring a new outrage and affront to our ideals. Children in cages. Doctored propaganda from the White House. Mail bombs to political opponents. Media banned from accessing the government and called the people’s enemy. Dictatorial rallies. White supremacist dog whistles. Brainwashed friends and family. Lie upon lie upon provable lie. And if we are paying even the slightest bit of attention at all, we are overwhelmed, disoriented, despairing and more divided than ever.

But we as a nation have to keep our eye on the ball. We must use our time and our voices to assert that we are Americans who care about and will insist upon application of the rule of law. 

As Trump replaces Sessions—perhaps unconstitutionally—with a loyalist who like the President has called Mueller’s investigation a “witch hunt,” we must again return to that central question of the Watergate era. People in power come and go but we remain Americans regardless. Are we a nation of laws, or of people?

The answer to that question is the true test of our patriotism.




Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Only My Giant Pores Can Make Me Sad!

Despair. That’s the only word I have. It’s only been 24 hours since the election, but whatevs. WHAT. EVS! Forget about the election. This is about my pores. Specifically, my enlarged nose and cheek pores.

I’m happy to report that only my ginormous nose and cheek pores can make me sad right now. That’s why I keep a 10x magnifying mirror and a tweezer in my purse at all times—so that I can pluck any stray hairs on my face and examine the circumference of my gargantuan nose and cheek pores in order to properly gauge my despair.

Yes, I take 20 mg of Prozac every morning and get heartburn if I don’t swallow it with water—which can you believe it? I sometimes do not! Because I am so lazy I can’t even be bothered to open a tap after I’ve opened a pill bottle. I can only open so much shit per day, and I have to save some of my opening energy for bills and car doors.

Yes, I am addicted to M&Ms and Mike & Ikes which are also the size and color of pills and just as terrible for you. Big Sugar and Big Pharma are in cahoots. Yes, I am a Jewess (is that even a thing anymore, or did that word die with Shakespeare?) in a gerrymandered white supremacist Potemkin village sham democracy with no change in sight. Yes, half my fellow citizens probably secretly/openly want to turn me into a bar of Ivory soap after they loot my house of all of its ill-begotten Jew goods.

Yes, I live in a melting resource colony and crypto-kleptocracy owned lock, stock, and barrel by Big Oil C-suite cowboy doofuses in bolo ties. Yes, the best STEM education my fifth grade daughter and budding petro-chemist received this year came with a T-shirt and swag from Exxon.

Yes, I feel temporarily better about all of the above when I can stand out in the sideways rain screaming into the void about toddlers trying to escape cages via a release form signed in Crayola and women who have been forcibly suffocated by Supreme Court justices as teenagers. 

And now an astrophysicist at Harvard thinks a “mysterious cigar-shaped object spotted tumbling through our solar system last year” is a sign that aliens are finally—FINALLY—making contact with our broiling little rock!

But it’s the pores—not the poors—that really move my needle of despair in one direction or another.

For the sake of one’s sanity, it’s important to be circumspect about the sources of despair we can control and those we cannot. And keeping my entire face from turning into one supernova size- black hole of a pore via the use of toners, serums, face masks, and other anti-aging snake oil is one of them. I don’t mean to be daft, but really it’s all about the pores.

Give me your wrinkles, your pores
Your tiny blackheads yearning to pop free
That wretched face of forty years or more
Send these, your hard-earned bucks to me!
With two day shipping youth can now be yours!




Tuesday, November 6, 2018

An Alaskan Witch Spell

WITCH 1: Thrice the Taku Winds hath blown!
WITCH 2: Thrice and once, the marmot whined!
WITCH 3: One Hot Mess cries:—it is time!

WITCH 1: Round about the cauldron go;
In the bear potato throw—
Slug, that under frozen rime
Days and nights has forty-nine;
Sticky duct tape, trawler’s knot
Boil thou first in a crab pot!

ALL: Double, double toil and trouble; 
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

WITCH 2: Fillet of a sockeye steak,
In the cauldron boil and bake;
Eye of moose, and tooth of whale,
Wool of muskox, garden snail
Puffin’s beak, mosquito’s sting,
Dall sheep’s horn and eagle's wing,—
For a charm of powerful trouble,
Like a home-brew boil and bubble.

ALL: Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

WITCH 3: Shell of spot-prawn; tooth of wolf;
Six pound sculpin from the Gulf
Beard of raven, salmon shark;
Root of spruce digg'd in the dark;
Liver of a grizzly bear
Palin’s glasses, snowshoe hare
Snared beneath the Northern Lights
Tail of lynx, and Husky bite
Cloven hoof of caribou
Dragged ashore from ‘neath a slough
Add thereto some North Slope oil
Before we bring it to a boil

ALL: Double, double toil and trouble;
Fire burn, and cauldron bubble.

WITCH 2: Cool it with some glacial ice
Then the charm is firm and nice.




Sunday, November 4, 2018

I Feel Daunted by the Enormity of the Worlds Grief

I think that's really what's going on with me today. I simply feel daunted by the enormity of the world's grief, although the Talmud says not to be.

I've been thinking about the Talmud, and the Jewish concept of Tikun Olam. Tikun Olam is "a Jewish concept defined by acts of kindness performed to perfect or repair the world. The phrase is found in the Mishnah, a body of classical rabbinic teachings. It is often used when discussing issues of social policy, insuring a safeguard to those who may be at a disadvantage."

I didn't grow up with religion and I don't believe in God. But I've always identified as Jewish, of course. Both my parents are Jewish and their parents were and their parents and theirs forever and ever. I wasn't surprised to find that my 23&Me came back as 95% Ashkenazi Jewish, with the remaining 5% North African and Middle Eastern. And I know that means I am not fully safe in this world and never will be. I am fully aware that my white skin gives me the advantage of passing as part of white America but that I am not really of their world.

So what is bothering me today, exactly? Both nothing, and everything.

It's not the veiled (or not so veiled) anti-Semitic red and black Nazi-colored campaign literature that found its way into the mailboxes of my neighbors this week, bearing the name of a prominent Jewish candidate for public office and depicting a man shoving wads of cash in his jacket pocket, an ancient stereotype of Jews as usurers and thieves, borne of their being confined to financial professions by persecution and law.

It's not the response of the women responsible for this advertisement, their eye-rolling, bullshitty form email implying that our offense and outrage, and that of our allies, was "liberal intolerance." It wasn't even learning that people (women!) who for years have tried to use my constitutionally-protected opinions and speech to try to ruin my real life are at it yet again. It wasn’t my parents visiting, them getting older and leaving tomorrow after a long and wonderful visit.

It wasn't any of these things that even felt personal to me. It was simply the enormity of the world's grief. 

The families of every child shot in a preventable mass shooting. Or every worshipper in a church or a synagogue or mosque. LGBTQ youth who are beaten or driven from their homes and unable to live their lives openly. Families who are fleeing gang warfare only to arrive in the United States and have their children locked in cages. Indigenous peoples whose stolen lands I am living on. The constant micro-aggressions that people not in white skin live with daily. The hopeless feeling that the deck is stacked against all of us. That not even voting will help, because of how hard voting is made to be, and how intractable the greed-fueled power structure feels.

I was at Isaac's 8th birthday party today, trying to be cheerful as I stood in an elementary school gymnasium with little boys running around my feet. But I started crying talking to one of the moms about all of this. Another had just finished canvassing for a candidate and I teared up about that. Another told me she worked as a special education teacher and I cried and thanked her for doing that. 

Because whatever I do, it never feels like enough. Thanking these people for their work doesn't feel like enough.

It doesn't feel like enough to defend myself and my career against slander. It doesn't feel like enough to spend thousands of dollars of my own money (yes, my own money, not the ACLU's) to travel to DC to advocate for sexual assault victims, or to do data entry for an immigration justice project or to plan a trip to Texas. It doesn't feel like enough to sit on boards here in Juneau and phone bank and write my blog. 

And so I come back to the Talumd:

Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. 
Do justly, now. 
Love mercy, now. 
Walk humbly now. 
You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it.

It doesn't feel like enough to do justly, love mercy, and walk humbly now, knowing I will never complete this work and feeling so much pushback while trying all the same.




Saturday, November 3, 2018

Lose Weight Off Your Conscience FAST With This One Weird Trick!

If you’ve tried to lose weight off your conscience in the past, you probably struggled with guilt, low energy, and mediocre results that just didn’t stick. Voting* was designed to help people just like you lose weight off your conscience quickly, keep it off, and feel good while you do it!

Ready to Lose Weight Off Your Conscience?

If you want to learn more or are ready to start feeling better than you ever thought possible, then make the effort to vote THIS TUESDAY!

How Does Voting Work?

Our program--also called "DEMOCRACY"--is simple and easy to follow. You’ll register to vote and then do ten minutes of internet research to learn about the candidates who are running, their positions on various policies, and any ballot initiatives that may appear on the ballot. You'll then go to your assigned polling place, wait in line (this might be a little inconvenient but it's worth it) and fill in a few little bubbles 
for the people and issues best customized to your body and goals.The food recommended with voting is tasty and satisfying and with the supplements that go along with voting you won’t feel hunger or cravings because voting has nothing to do with that exactly. Just bring a bag of Cheetos with you in case you have to wait awhile and get hungry.

Tired of Results that Don't Last?

Where many other conscience weight loss programs go wrong is that the results simply don’t last. That’s why with voting, you have access to a polling place to help build healthy, sustainable democratic forms of government that will last you and your children a lifetime. Did we mention that there is no exercise required to lose weight off your conscience with voting? Although exercise is important for overall health, the old saying “you can't complain if you don't vote” reflects the millions of Americans who fail to see the condition of our democracy improve, because they haven’t changed their voting habits. With voting, instead of spending hours every week in the gym, a quick trip to the ballot box keeps you on track, motivated, and makes an even bigger impact on your health and well-being.
What Is Unique About Voting?

Voting isn’t just the same old conscience weight loss program you’ve tried before, so if you've struggled with other plans or diets, don’t worry. What makes voting special is the regularly occurring elections our constitution prescribes make conscience weight loss fast and easy. 

Voting helps your body turn apathy into action. This means that your body will be burning with productive outrage and civic conviction like it's supposed to, rather than making you feel sad or enable fascism and indifference when you are watching TV instead. And even better, voting also helps keep your body from burning time complaining on Facebook, something that often happens on other conscience weight loss diets.
Can I Use My Insurance?

Your insurance may be affected by voting, but voting is free and many states even give time off for voting! Regardless of your insurance coverage, and even though some people want to suppress the shit out of your vote, say FUCK YOU to those people by making the effort to support democracy!
How Do I Sign Up for Voting?

To sign up, simply go to this page.

*Amount of conscience weight loss results vary based on program adherence, engagement with civic life, a sense of needing to uphold the social compact, and other possible mental conditions.






Thursday, November 1, 2018

Halloween Candy Pairings for the Trump Era

Sugar is the new tobacco, and nothing (except sugar) feels as good as a long drag off a cigarette that also hopefully contains weed. 

But when you can’t get that, you can easily access three straight months of sugar starting sometime in early October and going through Thanksgiving, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter. Wai wai wait. That's actually SIX straight months of insulin shock!

During this time, we will ostensibly continue to live under the tiny thumb of our Sentient Cheeto Overlord, so it’s helpful to know what Halloween candy goes best with his lying tweets and outrageous policies.

Racism/Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups: The undisputed most delicious Halloween candy—the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup—should be reserved for Trump’s most dominant personality trait: his white creamsicle (?) supremacy! From stoking the Birther movement to calling Nazis very fine people to declaring Mexicans rapists and murderers to concocting nonexistent caravans of middle eastern terrorists to putting Honduran babies in cages while threatening to shoot their parents and making them sign away their legal rights in crayon, the smooth, rich taste of real milk chocolate and peanut butter helps that hard-core racism go down smooth.

Flat-Eartherism/Nerds: These tiny, tangy colorful candy pebbles are an aptly named compliment to Trump’s self-proclaimed “natural instinct” for science. An instinct that has led him to posit that vaccines cause autism, that global warming is a Chinese Hoax, that the climate is actually “fabulous,” and that he has the “cleanest air” and also the most corrupt and underfunded EPA in the history of the country!

Misogyny/Snickers: Snickers satisfies you and so does grabbing women by the pussy, jamming an intemperate sexual assailant onto the United States Supreme Court, and calling your former mistress—a porn star with whom you cheated on your supermodel wife while she was home nursing your infant son—“horseface.” The triple threat of peanuts, caramel, and chocolate pair wonderfully with telling the First Lady of France that she’s in “good shape,” molesting teenaged beauty pageant contestants, and joking about dating your own daughter.

Corruption/Milky Way: Creamy nougat and chewy caramel go great with reading about Trump’s latest family member to gain state security clearance for no reason, or the newest pay-to-play real estate deal his lawyers and relatives have orchestrated with shady overseas banks in exchange for sweetheart government contracts, or the daily raid on the treasury effectuated by Trump’s seven zillionth day of golfing on his own golf courses.

Attacks on Free Press/Sour Patch Kids: These tart, flavorful fruity gummies pair beautifully with the 15th tinpot dictator campaign rally this week in which Trump calls the press the enemy of the people, tweets an all-caps 180-character screed about FAKE NEWS at 3:16 a.m., or commits stochastic terrorism by inciting one of his cult members to send pipe bombs to CNN.

Treason/M&Ms: Whether he’s yelling about a WITCH HUNT, maligning the FBI and his own Department of Justice, or obstructing justice with impulsive firings, the milk chocolate candy that melts in your mouth and not in your hand tastes pretty good when you’re sitting there reading irrefutable evidence of Russian meddling in American elections at Trump’s behest or benefit and wondering if Robert Mueller will ever turn the President from an “unindicted co-conspirator” to an indicted one.

Senile Inept Illiteracy/Tootsie Roll Pops: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll pop? Good question! At least as many as there are embarrassing and bizarre moments for any sane adult human, much less the leader of the free world. Using scotch tape as a tie clip, being incapable of closing an umbrella, boarding Air Force One with toilet paper on your shoe, misspelling “hereby” and “counsel” almost every time you type the words, and screaming playground insults at your political foes before threatening to jail them as you continue to use the Constitution for toilet paper all taste amazing with these flavorful little suckers.




Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Apollo 11 Landing of Self-Owns

I wish I’d come up with the title of this blog post myself, but that honor belongs to one of my readers from Cardiff, Wales named Phil Dore (YES, O.H.M. is WORLDWIDE, BITCHES!) And it could not be more perfect, because who Jacob Wohl is, what Jacob Wohl did, and how spectacularly Jacob Wohl failed at doing it is a feat of rocket science that only NASA could actualize.

Obviously, I spend entirely too much time trolling the President of the United States on Twitter (oh hi, 2018!), so I knew who Jacob Wohl was and hated his smarmy ass long before last week when he flew, Icarus-like, too close to the cyber-sun and melted his little alt-right wings trying to take down Robert Mueller. And how did he do that? Welp, by allegedly paying women to make false allegations of sexual assault against Mueller via a website linked to . . . wait for it . . . . HIS ACTUAL MOM’S PHONE NUMBER.

This is what passes for good news these days, Fam.

A 20 year-old Alex P. Keaton-meets-Logan Paul-meets your-straight-out-of-central-casting-young-federalist-MAGA-troll-dickweed trying to--and ACTUALLY BELIEVING--that he can frame one of the most experienced, serious, respected, ethical, and talented prosecutors in America with bullshit pussy blackmail traceable to his fucking MOM.

Madeleine Aggeler over at The Cut has a good breakdown of the entire sad, sordid story of the baby-faced hedge fund wunderkind whose main talent and raison d'etre is groveling at Trump on Twitter, self-promotion, and falling ass-backwards into a federal criminal investigation because YA DONE FUCKED UP THIS TIME, SON!

One of the things I find most amazing about wee little MAGAs like Jacob Wohl--whose most difficult life experience is a tie between losing Call of Duty to a girl and a dropped WiFi connection in his aforementioned mom’s basement—is how little they actually know compared to how much they THINK they know. 

Whether you’re talking about science, economics, elections, or blackmailing one of the smartest men in America with a slug of Trumpian lies generated in a dark web test tube with a half liter of Mountain Dew by your side, the gulf between those two metrics is wider than the distance between planet earth and the titular moon landing of this blog post.

Indeed, the moon is about 238,900 miles from the broiling little rock we call home. Coincidentally, this is the same distance between the IQ and competency of Jacob Wohl and that of Robert Mueller and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to which Jacob Wohl’s seventh grade-level prank has now been referred. 

An alternate headline for this scandal is “Bitch Who Thinks He’s Playing Three-Dimensional Chess is Actually Playing Candy Land and Just Got Sent Back to Start.”

This stunt is legitimately one step above a kid I knew back in the day who slashed the tires of a school bus and thought he wouldn’t get caught, because . . . No school bus, no school! GENIUS, RIGHT?! Same deal. Mueller grabs pussy during the MeToo era, Trump stays out of trouble! Like that’s the basic logic-level of the jackass we are dealing with here.

So when you look at the moon rise over the horizon tonight, I implore you to gaze up at it and smile as you remember the biggest, roundest, brightest self-own of the week.








Monday, October 29, 2018

Safety First! Checking Your Privilege

Check your privilege. BLAH BLAH BLAH. That’s all anyone ever says anymore! We’ve gotten so politically correct in this country that you can’t do anything without offending someone! Too many people are told to “check their privilege." That's why I put together this little safety/privilege check to see if you might be someone who needs to do that:

1. When you leave work to walk to your car in an empty parking garage at night alone you:

a. Carry your keys in your hand for use as a weapon
b. Keep your head down and walk as quickly as possible
c. Go into fight or flight mode when you hear footsteps behind you
d. What are you talking about I’m listening to music and texting my girlfriend.

2. When you’re driving down the highway and you hear a police car pull up behind you, you:

a. Question whether you will emerge from this transaction with a bullet in your head
b. Quickly try to determine what broken headlight or expired tag has led to this moment
c. Hope that dude's body cam is working and put that cell phone on video just in case
d. Wonder if the cop is your kid’s soccer coach and plan how to small talk your way out of a speeding ticket.

3. When you wave to your neighbors in the morning you:

a. Wonder if they would hide you in a barn or loot your house and make a lamp from your dead body
b. Wonder if they think you killed Jesus
c. Contemplate whether they believe that maybe you have horns
d. Forgot that you told them you’d get their mail while they were out of town.

4. At Halloween, you like to:

a. Wear blackface because you love Michael Jackson
b. Dress up like a Geisha because you love Japanese culture
c. Dress up like an Injun because you loved cowboys and Injuns when you were a lad!
d. All of the above, why the fuck is everyone so sensitive now?!

5. At work, you don’t get a promotion and are convinced it’s because:

a. Reverse sexism
b. Reverse racism
c. You weren’t qualified
d. Both a and b.

6. When you’re shopping and you hear someone behind you, you automatically assume:

a. You’re about to be accused of stealing
b. You’re about to be called a racial slur
c. Someone complained about the sound of your voice and/or called store security on you
d. A helpful sales clerk is about to ask if you’ve found everything okay.

7. When someone tells you they’ve been sexually harassed or assaulted you:

a. Instantly believe them.
b. Offer words of support
c. Give them information for a Rape Crisis hotline
d. Lecture them on the burden of proof, the rules of evidence in a criminal trial, and tell them to chill the fuck out.

8. Every July 4, you:

a. Google various immigration processes so you know where you can maybe go the shit goes down
b. Realize it doesn’t matter because the world is so globalized now
c. Feel like you’re thisclose to having your citizenship revoked
d. Deck out your pickup truck with bald eagles and flags and scream WHOO HOO AMERICA FUCK YEAH!

9. When you go to a restaurant with your partner you:

a. Wonder if you’re going to be called a homophobic slur
b. Make a calculated decision about what bathroom to use for fear of harassment
c. Take a careful account of your surroundings before holding hands
d. Order the chicken Ceasar salad because that’s what you always get here.

Hint: if you answered (d) to any of these questions, you passed the safety test and must check your privilege on the remainder!