Sunday, September 08, 2013


There's a rather unfortunate blurb going around the internet aimed at people born after 1977. It's one of those rants each of us will at some point fall victim to -- either as audience or as the one spouting the "in my day ..." cliches. You know, "you kids don't know how good you have it!"

What makes this one disturbing is that point #3 is, "Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our ass. Nowhere was safe!"

I was born way, way before 1977, and when I was a kid, CPS most definitely did care if our parents "beat us." I remember one summer, when I was about 8, my parents had taken me to the ER twice in two months. First I fell off a lifeguard's chair and hurt my ankle, then I had been jumping on my bed and missed -- don't ask -- and cracked my head on my dresser. It was during the second, especially bloody visit that a very nice nurse took me aside and asked me to tell her "what really happened" and kept assuring me my dad couldn't hear my answers. The ER staff was very ready to call CPS if my responses had aroused their suspicions. (Which, of course, they didn't. They were satisfied that the only reason why my dad was covered with my blood was that he tried to stop the bleeding on his own before taking me to the hospital.)

And it was most definitely not acceptable in our whitebread, Leave It to Beaver suburb for the parents of our friends to "beat us." There was definitely a greater community vibe than I sense now. It was very, "It takes a village to raise a child." My mother had at the very least a conversation, if not an ongoing relationship, with the moms of all my friends. The parents were like a network and they reinforced one another's rules of behavior. If I was naughty, I knew my mom would find out about it -- probably before I even got home. But I cannot imagine what it would be like to have the mother or father of a friend lay a hand on me. Under any circumstances.

It's not funny to joke about adults beating children. Kids and critters are the most vulnerable among us -- like corks on the water, they can't chart their own courses and go only where life takes them. It's the responsibility of all adults everywhere to exercise restraint with the children in their care, and to report abuse when they see it. We're supposed to protect children from the behavior this silly piece seems to celebrate.

Abuse is, unfortunately, cyclical. It's not corny, it's not silly, it's not overprotective to care that no one lays a hand on a child. If you grew up in a world where you were always at risk of having your "ass beaten" by an adult, where "nowhere was safe," then I'm sorry but your "good old days" weren't very good ... and I hope that you at least learned not to treat others as badly as you were.

Perhaps I'm completely humorless. But I hope I never get to the point where it amuses me that "nowhere is safe" from beatings.

Sunday Stealing

The MORE Meme (Part 2)

What would you choose to be famous for? I do not want to be famous. I don't want people watching me and commenting on me and taking unflattering photos and posting them. Sounds like too much work.

If you have a webcam, are you ever paranoid people can see you? Maybe I would be paranoid if I was famous.

Do you find it difficult to sleep at night? Any reason(s) why? Sometimes. I often have struggle to -- as John Lennon sang -- turn off my mind, relax and float downstream.

If you had to go on a game show, which would you choose? Cash Cab! I love Cash Cab. I could ride
around Manhattan making money.

What about if you had to go on a reality show? I'd rather not. But thank you for asking.

Which would you choose then? See above. I'm not trying to be difficult. I just really don't think I'd enjoy it.

Tell me about your favorite TV show: NCIS. A team of Naval crime investigators stationed in Washington, DC. Led by my TV boyfriend, Leroy Jethro Gibbs. My Cousin Rose is hooked on it now, too, and we discuss it rather obsessively in our letters. One of the main characters is being written out during the first two episodes of Season 12. She and I have many ideas for how this should be accomplished! Alas, CBS has not contacted us.

Why were you last irritated? At the UPS Store Saturday morning. I'm always irritated at the US Post Office. Now the UPS Store has annoyed me. I'm left with no one to turn to but Fed Ex!

What time did you get up this morning? About 6:00. My cat Reynaldo deemed it so.

The last city you were in: Where was it and do you like it there? I'm in Chicago every Mon.-Fri. I love it. I can see The Lake from my desk and every now and again, a lonely post-Labor Day sailboat floats by and I get hypnotized watching it.

Do you like the countryside? Not really. I'm a City Mouse.

If you see someone yawn, do you often yawn as well? Usually.

Recommend me a good movie: The Way Way Back. It's a little indie movie starring Steve Carrell and Sam Rockwell. It has some really lovely moments in it. It might be hard to find -- I don't think it's in wide release -- but if you come across it, definitely give it a try.

Do you think you’d make a good model? HA!

Would you ever want to be one? No, really.

How often do you change your hairstyle? Not often. Color, yes. Style, no.

What does it look like now? Short with a sweep of bangs across my forehead.

Do you have a favorite day of the week? Which is it? Friday.

Are you alone? Yes.

When is the last time you were on the phone after 2 am? Now that we text and email, my friends and I don't tend to sit on the phone all night anymore.