THE SOCIALISTA
OPINION. STRAIGHT WITH A TWIST OF GOSSIP
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A Weiner and Beyond.

Anthony Weiner and his eraser-sized manhood have come up again in the news. He and his wife, Huma Abedin, recently sat down with People magazine to talk about how great Huma is for sticking by her husband and how he’s such a great guy who did a stupid thing. She may be a pretty intelligent girl when it comes to her job but in her personal life, she’s an idiot. Remember Tiger Wood’s wife, Elin? Now there’s a smart woman. She divorced his cheating behind and took him to the cleaners several times over. She's a role model. Enough of this boo-hoo, my hubby loves me but he had a momentary lapse of judgment crap. If your husband publically humiliates himself like this and makes a complete fool of you and your marriage, you ought to put your big-girl panties on and hit the road. This isn’t the 1900s. There is absolutely no need to stand by your cheating, philandering, adulterous man. 

While I’m at it, I wish people would stop making a big deal about Kate Middleton wearing a $78k necklace to some Olympics event. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a million times: she’s a princess. If she wants to wallpaper her outhouse with $100 bills or shred $50s to make some papier mache Trojan horse, she can. Don’t we have more important things to worry about?

Certainly Fred Willard engaging in lewd acts of self-love at an adult theater is far more entertaining, wouldn’t you say? The 78 year old actor, of movies such as Anchorman, Best in Show, American Wedding and the television show Everybody Loves Raymond was found pleasuring his septuagenarian genitals at the screening of an x-rated movie around 8pm last night. Police arrested the actor but ultimately released him on his own recognizance. It’s been reported that he’s already been fired from PBS because of the ‘uprising’. 

Finally, I wish people would keep their marital problems to themselves. I’m thinking of Bethenny Frankel who recently discussed that she almost got divorced with her hubby and baby-daddy. She talked about the “strain” and “pressures” on her marriage and how now all she wants to do is be a “housewife.” Gee, I wonder what her husband feels about her talking like this. If my other half decided to publicly broadcast the play by play of our past fights, he would be making fast friends with the couch—permanently. Keep your marital drama to yourself people. This includes random posts on Facebook by friends who break-up, make-up and even fight through a divorce, all online. I can’t take it anymore. Everyone has problems in life. Not everyone wants to read the subtitles of your life in live feed. 

Some Businesses Should FAIL.

Our economy is in the crapper due in large part to business owners just not knowing how to run their businesses. Maybe this survival of the fittest process is actually a blessing in disguise. If you’re rude, stubborn and have the opinion that “business owner’s always right,” then you’re doomed to fail and what’s more—you deserve to fail. 

A friend of mine called a certain wine shop looking for a $150 bottle of wine to pick up for a special occasion. The wine shop had the wine, except that it decided to charge $190 for it. Because of the convenience of the store, my friend still wanted the wine and simply asked, “It is $150 at other stores, could you give me a little bit of discount for it?” Said friend would have paid a bit more for it, maybe even the full, sought after price. Instead of saying something like, ‘look, we’re a mom and pop store, we can’t offer that price’ or ‘we can give you 2-3% off,’ the Owner screamed: “Then go elsewhere” and hung up the phone.

This ego-driven stupidity should slowly kill off the piranhas who are desperately trying to eke out every single penny and nickel and dime without caring about their product or service.

A certain bloggess’ 30th birthday is today. Said writer’s hubby sought to warm her heart at work and called a florist near her Gold Coast office. Arrangement sought: traditional roses with orchids—favorites of his main squeeze. To be delivered with some pomp and circumstance, namely, some flower “dressings” of greens and maybe a ribbon or two, preferably in the pink colors. What came to the office was a dying, miserly arrangement of three ‘garden’ roses and some green sea-urchin type sprigs in a tiny vase. All this was no more than 6 inches in height and 4 inches wide. It was shorter in height than a stapler.  Of course photos were immediately sent over to the hubby. With his blood boiling over the amount of money spent on such a let-down, he sought to discuss the issue with the florist. The frigid, obdurate brown thumb was unrelenting:

Florist:        It’s a standard desk arrangement. It’s is very popular and everyone loves it and it’s just better than sliced bread.

Hubby:        Right, ok. But it’s nothing that was discussed and it’s like 6 inches tall …oh, and it’s dying.

Florist:          It’s great. It smells nice. Everyone loves it.

Hubby:        It’s not what we discussed. There are no orchids in there. There are no traditional roses. It’s not worth $x.

Florist:          It’s got three garden roses. It’s beautiful.

Hubby:         I am very disappointed in it because it’s absolutely not what I ordered or what is appropriate for my wife’s 30th birthday, as we discussed and it’s not what I paid for…

Florist:          Well, we’re out the money for it. It’s great.  We love it. Click.

Yep, this is precisely the way in which you get a customer, alienate him and in the process damage your business. There’s a reason flower shops go belly up QUICKLY: they are a dime a dozen; you can get what you need at any of them; and if you don’t build a client basis, you will perish. Alienating customers in this way will do nothing for you—especially customers who take to Yelp immediately and give a scathing, one-star review and who dispute the charge on their credit cards. I’m certain we’ll be saying good riddens to that floral shop in a few months. 

Laxatives for Relationships

How long does it take for someone to realize that they’re with the wrong person? One day? Two years? Three decades? I had a seven year mistake. Seven LONG YEARS filled with what ifs, no ways and who am I kiddings. If I could only get back those seven years. Clearly, I’m fixated on that number. It was long, much too long to wallow in a stagnant and unsatisfying relationship. When the end came, I wasn’t sad or droopy or mopey or any of those things that boys think girls go through when they pull the plug. Nay, in my case, I felt like that now 200-pound cross was finally heaved off my aching shoulders. I was relieved to have purged that load. Someone should invent a Miralax for relationships—now that’s a money maker. 

It only took Katie Holmes seven years to discover that prince Tom Cruise was nothing more than a nasty toad. From jumping up and down on couches to his active membership in the Scientologist cult to his vice grip on Katie’s entire life, she finally wizened up to the fact that Cruise is about as likeable and loveable as a nuclear weapon. Poor Katie. She had so many signs that he was a quack and instead she walked around completely blind and dumb. For example, Cruise once told an interviewer with All Headline News that Katie will now go by the name “Kate.” He reasoned that “Katie is a young girl’s name. Her name is Kate now – she’s a child-bearing woman.” She was never to be called “Katie” again. Further, when Katie and Tom started dating, Cruz insisted that she sign a non-disclosure agreement as to their relationship. She apparently signed it, excitedly. Are you kidding me? 

I can’t help but wonder why it took me and Katie and probably millions of others years to realize that there’s no sense beating the long-dead, now fossilized horse. One explanation could be that the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t. Cliché, yes, but think about it. A relationship and a bad one at that is a bit habit forming. There’s a reason girls go for the bad guy types. They know what to expect. When it’s good, it’s really fun and when it’s bad, well, at least you know what to expect. There’s a familiarity in the pattern that breeds comfort. This along with a fear of change makes for a decidedly lethal combination that one can get hooked on quite quickly. Detox from this might mean the use of that aforementioned laxative for relationships. Another reason is the dreaded practicality. The everyday routine gets comforting. Everything down to the predictability of finances, insurance, jobs, chores around the house—anything really—it’s just reassuring to get up in the morning and not worry about where you’ll be going to sleep that night. But, does this monotony, sorry—routine—really justify suffering in a doldrums relationship?

There are plenty of other plausible reasons people dilly dally in cutting off those dangling ties. One thing is for certain, though: if your partner starts jumping up and down on couches and telling newspapers that you will be known by a different name because you are no long a young girl—RUN.

 

Some people shouldn't be parents. Period.

Across the aisle sat a four hundred pound blob of flesh. At sometime in the past, this “thing” was most certainly a person. Now, there were no noticeable signs of humanity in him—no bones to shape his human identity, no form to make him recognizable as the alpha male he so desperately tried to be. Directly across from him sat his counterpart, his Eve. She was in similar state, or, shall I say—mal-shape. Both were tragically over the edge. Morbid obesity had set in and despite this, they were dreadfully content in their downward spiral toward death’s door. The mounds of flesh were seemingly permanently suction cupped to their bodies. Each labored movement of the arms, arduously yet fervently, shoveled fatty, greasy, heaping mounds of rice and beans onto their forks and somehow found the way into their mouths. Between forkfuls of that unholy union, each took greedy and gluttonous bites of the grease-filled burritos. What a ghastly site. To see such disdain for one’s own body and to permit ones’ self to stoop to such a level that one’s own arms and hands are hindered in reaching the mouth because of mountains of fat rolls is simply sinful. Gluttony, after all, is a deadly sin. So too should be the state of being grotesquely and intentionally fat.  

These two behemoths were somehow charged with the responsibility of being parents. Their little angel was like a sacrificial lamb brought to the slaughter. They looked upon this child as if it was the rotisserie for the evening meal. Except that this little helpless being was overly tired and probably hungry—after all, no one paid any mind to her needs because, who had the time? Between meals and meals and meals, there is undoubtedly no free time. Flailing her arms and self, in a desperate attempt to gain some attention, this tiny dancer flung herself into the wooden legs of a chair. Of course, in pain, she began to wail. Instead of comforting the wounded fledgling, the glutton himself managed to raise his colossal body, pick up the child as if she was a rag doll, and place her with such force and command that the high chair nearly bounced off of the tiled floor. No mind the sizeable tears flowing down her porcelain face or the near foaming  of the mouth, undoubtedly from pain, she was charged to placate herself with some handheld game console as these “parents” continued to feed their insatiable appetites.

Unequivocally, some people should not be parents. Period. My better half literally had to restrain me or else I would have gone over to their table and given them a piece of my firecracker mind. I sat quietly—ok, well, as quietly as I could—and I observed. I couldn’t help but to remember: in my past there was a boy whose mother was a short and stout little thing –a real life rolly-polly—who, despite being morbidly obese and virtually on death’s door, would awake at 3 a.m. every single night and have a couple of smokes and a jumbo frozen snickers bar. This was the example she set for her kids. Healthy living, healthy eating and a general sense of wellness were the last things on her mind; the same with these gluttons  over at the next table at tonight’s dinner. This has to stop. This epidemic of food-induced suicide and the mal-example being set for children is preposterous. In my mind, if you’re morbidly obese of your own making, you ought not to be a parent. Your parental rights should be stripped. Certainly, there are others out there who can better parent your child than you and your piggish ways.

Power's Bad Side

Power can be an evil, dangerous tool.

It comes in many different shades and versions. Depending on in whom it rests, it can find itself having or creating some terrible results.

First, there's the seemingly innocuous, toothless tiger of power that some people think they possess. It causes them to be completely oblivious of people around them. They're often insensitive, rash and callous as they bumble their way through their empty, vacuous lives thinking that they are so much better than everyone else because they're in some way powerful. This is often inextricably and dangerously linked to the person's ego. To some, if they pout and scream loud enough, someone will surely acquiesce. I admit, sometimes this works. But on other instances, the person looks like a maniacal nitwit having a hissy-fit. Rod Blagojevich ring a bell? Upon encountering such an occasion, it's often best to just walk.... away.... slowly. 

Next, there's this phenomena of power in numbers. The thinking here appears to be that because you have others that share your very thoughts, if you band together there's strength in a large number. A good example of how this sort of thing can result in sheer and utter nonsense is the Occupy Wall Street protesters ganging together to shut down three west coast ports last night. The ports of Oakland, California, Portland, Oregon and Longview, Washington all suffered attack by these occupiers in the exercise of their ill-gotten power. News flash, occupiers: if you stop the import and export of goods into the United States, you're inextricably affecting commerce and the economy, intentionally regressing us into a more dire, depressed state. The concept of logic clearly fails to come into consideration in such acts. After all, it appears that the occupiers are creating more of the same problem that they are protesting against. Brilliant use of the brain cells there, wouldn't you say? 

In my profession, the discussions of power often focus on its abuse. Admittedly, many lawyers have power derived by virtue of their position. For example, Jerry Sandusky's lawyer, Joseph Amendola, had the power to waive the pretrial hearing this morning for his client. This waiver, probably came after much discussion between Amendola and his client. Too bad for Sandusky, though, that his lawyer is an idiot. Accepting such a direction from his client to waive the hearing is bad enough, but my suspicion is that a typical client like Sandusky doesn't know that this hearing was waivable and it's most likely that Amendola himself encouraged and urged Sandusky to undertake such an action. This power inherent in knowing the law and its strictures and advising a client on how to plead or act in a criminal case can literally be deadly if left unchecked. Here, it appears to be a thick nail in the Sandusky coffin. This prelim hearing was one of the only ways that the accused could have beaten the charges; it was the only opportunity available to him to test the truth and veracity of the alleged victims prior to trial. At the very least, it stood as a plausible and sensible way to poke holes in many of the allegations including why it took so long for the alleged victims to come forward. With a swift use of the fleeting yet dangerous power he has, Amendola basically sealed Sandusky's doomed fate. 

In addition to the power of defense attorneys is, of course, that of prosecutors. Many of them go rogue and betray not only the oath of their office but the entire purpose of their power. Take for example Lake County, Illinois prosecutor Michael Mermel. He insisted that Juan Rivera broke into 11-year-old Holly Staker's home in 1992 and raped and murdered her. According to Mermel, Rivera confessed and three juries found him guilty. The only problem was that the semen found in the victim's body was not Rivera's. The prosecutor explains that the 11-year-old must have been sexually active. Jerry Hobbs, much like Rivera, had to deal with the powerful intentions and actions of Prosecutor Mermel. According to Mermel, Hobbs confessed to killing his own eight-year-old daughter and her nine-year-old friend. That confession got him the death penalty. Slight problem, though, because DNA tests entirely excluded Hobbs and implicated another man (with a lengthy criminal past). Regardless, Mermel would hear nothing of it. He believed that the DNA evidence came from the girls playing in hot spot for lovers near the crime scene. Asked why he spews this drivel-laden theories, Mermel told the Chicago Tribune that he's paid to get convictions. Um, not so fast. In fact, just last week, the Illinois Supreme Court attempted to curb Mermel and other like prosecutors' powers. It held that one of the special responsibilities of prosecutors is "to seek justice" and not "merely to convict." In the same breath, the Court tossed out the guilty verdict in Rivera's case. They chastised Mermel's use of power and with a swift stroke of the pen, released Rivera from the 19 years of wrongful imprisonment. Hobbs was released late last year. 

 

Sandusky's Sins

Being eight months pregnant really can make a woman more...oh what's the word....ah yes, sensitive. But that's not sensitive in a good, calm, understanding, empathetic way. No, that's sensitive as in I want to rip people's heads' off most of the time. I have less than zero (yes, I know I'm married to a mathematician and no, I don't know whether that's even a valid number) tolerance for people's garbage and their soapbox drivel. For the most part, everything seems to rile me up. For example, when our downstairs yenta, busy-body of a neighbor decided to take offense to my incessant vacuuming and had the nerve to email me to limit such activities between certain hours, I responded with an unequivocal "bite me." Coincidentally, she still hasn't responded to me. And, to compound matters, I've now taken to engaging in such loud cleaning activities well outside her proscribed "holy" hours, just to prove my point. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, didn't you know? 

This heightened state of sensitivity has gotten me absolutely apoplectic over many things including the recent Penn State scandal. Jerry Sandusky, a.k.a. child molester, ought to be flogged in the main campus hall and then permanently institutionalized far away from even the slightest warmth from the light of day. How the university could permit such acts to be taking place for such a long period of time, with notice and knowledge of the possibility of such acts, is beyond comprehension. To say that a huge civil lawsuit is forthcoming against the university and its agents is an understatement. I sure hope they have good insurance policies in place that cover both litigation and judgment/settlement costs with umbrella coverage for willful and wanton conduct. Joe Paterno's probably squirming in his sweatpants just thinking about his liability. Maybe that's why the once-famed coach transferred full ownership of his home to his wife just this past July. Guilt conscience much? Clearly, isolating and insulating assets. Poor guy doesn't know that such transfers can ultimately be probed for fraud. Paterno knew what was going on. He heard about it directly from eye witness accounts. Perhaps he even may have had personal suspicions that he ought to have investigated. If someone came to me and told me that they witnessed a specific act of abuse on a child by someone under my direction, I would immediately investigate the matter and err on the side of caution. There hasn't even been a single mention of any affirmative exculpatory acts taken by the coach. If you ask me, he was wise to lawyer up so quickly.

As to lawyers, Sandusky's own lawyer ought to be disbarred. Unless he's setting up for an appeal for his client post conviction on grounds of ineffective assistance of counsel, Joe Amendola, has some explaining to do as to why he ever thought it was a good idea to unleash his client, all on his own, to the media. The one interview that I heard made me absolutely nauseous. Instead of offering a resolute denial of any of the charges and allegations, maniacal Sandusky thought it best to try to explain the circumstances of the situation, including some laughable defense of "horsing around" in the shower and the like. There's no explanation in the world that would justify his actions. There's been far too many separate and distinct allegations that all bear the same modus operandi to suggest that what's been charged did indeed happen. Amendola should have told Sandusky to go lock himself in his basement and never come out unless there's a court date. He should have absolutely no contact with the media or anyone else for that matter. What is this clown of a lawyer thinking? But then again, Amendola himself is not beyond reproach. In fact, he violated all sorts of juicy and non-negotiable code of ethics when he got one of his 16-year-old clients pregnant. Although he later went on to marry her, such an act doesn't eliminate the harm and wrong he caused. Maybe that's the glue between these two of society's bottom feeders. 

I've never actually said this before but in Sandusky's case it seems fitting: lock him up and throw away the key.

To Err and To Forgive

Someone great once said that "to err is human." But, what does that really mean? Do we mere mortals even pay attention to all the errors and the "humanity" of those around us, especially those whom we elevate to some unreachable God-like status? I'm thinking today about Steve Jobs. In my blissful ignorance, I too thought that the man was some sort of enlightened creature, a technological and business-savvy idol that could serve as a penultimate role model. Those feelings notwithstanding, as I've been learning more and more about him, the image of Steve Jobs' is slowly coming down to earth for me and I'm recognizing that this idol might have had feet of clay.

Why such bitterness or even whiplash towards the now deceased great? Am I even justified in poking holes in his grandeur when he's gone? Probably not, but, as I've come to learn about myself, one of my many flaws is that much like a runaway train, once I get going, I can't be stopped.

Steve Job's relationship with his "real" father could generally be summed up with the use of the term "sperm donor." When his "real mother" learned that she was pregnant with Abdulfattah "John" Jandali's baby, the image of a perfect, cohesive familial unit shattered quicker than it could ever set. It was determined that the baby would be put up for adoption and in the meantime, John decided to take a hiatus from his newly-impregnated girlfriend because, I suspect, he just buckled under the pressure. And so Steve Jobs found his way somehow into the home of his adopted parents. 

In a story eerily similar to his own father's, Steve Jobs played hard and fast with procreative activities and fathered a daughter, Lisa Brennan-Jobs, with his long time girlfriend. In good keeping with his "sperm donor" father's game, Steve decided to up the ante and went so far as to not only deny his role in making his daughter, but he poignantly accused his girlfriend of sleeping around, made sworn and verified court statements that he resolutely could not be the father as he was infertile, and compounded that legal nightmare by dragging both mother and daughter through forced paternity testing all to determine that little Lisa was, indeed, his. After this painful and traumatic process in his daughter's life, somehow, Jobs' decided that perhaps he ought to have a role in his daughter's life. This all came, of course, after Lisa's mother struggled through welfare and constant relocation to try to find jobs, scraping up enough money to feed, clothe and school Lisa well into her teen years.

Some eight years into her life, Jobs finally made motions towards Lisa, albeit in what she called an "awkward" way. It took years for them to have any relationship, and much of that came only after Lisa's valiant effort to forge some bond with her father.

Steve and his father, John, never got so close, in fact, they never spoke other than a word or two through email. Despite the overtures put out by John towards Steve, no relationship was ever forged. He, much unlike his daughter, did not have an open heart. Perhaps Steve turned a blind eye to the hypocrisy of his own actions as they related to Lisa? Perhaps he should not have just ignored John? Perhaps it's all a bit too late now to recognize that dreadful double standard and what would have happened if Lisa decided to act like her own father.

What is abundantly clear is the lesson that sometimes, realizing someone's humanity prevents us from thinking we're so much different and better than everyone else. It seems to me that as we mourn the passing of Jobs, a good lesson to remember is that the other half of the opening saying is that "to forgive, is divine." 

Better to say nothing at all.

There are some people out there who would do well for themselves to just speak less or not at all.

I'm sure we've all encountered that special someone who has the unique ability to posit a statement so bombastically inappropriate that it just makes our skin crawl when we hear it. When Eva Longoria recently proclaimed that she thought "divorce agrees with" her, I thought that this was a classic example of where foot in mouth disease might want to strike. Or maybe it ought to infect Brad Pitt. Though he can be inexplicably sexy in some instances (I'm thinking about the peanut butter eating scene in Meet Joe Black, for example), sometimes he's just so out to lunch that you wonder how he can manage to put one foot in front of the other. Recently he proclaimed that he announces to his brood of little ankle biters that "Mom and Dad are going off to kiss" when they're about to conjugate their non-existent marriage. I mean come on. Can't you wait 'til they tucker out at say 9pm before you start that kinky stuff? What do they know about kissing and that 'other' stuff anyway? 

Madonna might just be the one to take the cake in this  moronic statements category when she literally threw a hissy fit over the fact that a fan presented her with a hydrangea flower. He obviously didn't know that her royal skeletor highness "absolutely hates hydrangeas." I wouldn't give that woman two cents of my thoughts let alone go to see her at an event and spend time and money and effort getting her a flower. Grow your own garden, you nutjob! 

More recently I've been really disturbed by some comments spewing forth from the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star, Taylor Armstrong's, horse mouth regarding purported abuse inflicted upon her by her now deceased husband, Russell Armstrong. Not even cold in the grave following his suicide, Taylor has wasted no time in monopolizing and profiting from the entire horrid ordeal of his death. She's handsomely netted herself a seven-figure book deal and has been racking in the big bucks from talking to gossip shows such as Entertainment Tonight about how Russell allegedly violently abused her. She spares no detail when she goes on about how he grabbed her by the neck and threw her up against the wall saying that "if you ever make my children a pizza without a vegetable again, I'll kill you." She continues: "He would grab me by one side of the hair on my head and bang the other side of my head against the car. He mentioned he was afraid he might kill me, and I think he meant in an almost accidental way, that he would get so angry at me at some time that he would hit me, and I would hit something, or he would grab me by the neck and something would go wrong." There's plenty more where that came from, but I'll reserve the blogosphere space for others who'd like to print it.

What's troubling to me is that Russell committed suicide and that's final--he will never return. There's no one to defend him or his memory. He is gone and that chapter in Taylor's life is over. Why is she making such luridly detailed statements in the media at such a raw point in time? Has she even considered the impact of those statements on those who loved Russell, including his little daughter, Kennedy? Certainly Kennedy will one day come to read all these particulars and will have to deal not only with his tragic suicide, but with the realities of her own father as recalled by her mother. That's inviting absolutely unnecessary permanent mental anguish to the daughter's life.

I don't extend much sympathy to Taylor. She has effectively prostituted herself on the show and monopolized from the publicity stemming from it. She's doing the same with Russell's death. In fact, when she and another friend discovered Russell's body hanging in his home, the friend had the wherewithall to call the police while Taylor is heard on the 911 call screaming that she needed her therapist. Such a response is disturbing, to say the least. What's more, Taylor has demanded that she have an equal division of Russell's cremated remains, to be immediately sent to her from his parents in Texas. All this, of course, has been done under the careful watch of a television camera.

The macabre and the gruesomeness of his death and her statements really make me think that it would have been wiser of her to say nothing at all.

Never Start a Fight You Can't Win.

I love a good verbal clash. There's nothing like a sparing of the minds with some clever linguistic acrobatics to challenge another's deeply flawed opinion. But, sometimes, on rare occasions, I simply have no strength to play tiger anymore. (Maybe that's my body's way of trying to tell me to disengage?)

This past Friday night was indeed such a moment. Having come off of work, followed by a strenuous workout and battling traffic for about an hour, I retreated to my mecca that is the Northbrook shopping area to find some retail therapy. My bargain basement hunting feast at the Nordstrom Rack and Filene's with a sprinkling of some Marshall's flavor was to be my escape into sanity. After spending far more money than I had, I meandered into the World Market store to get some odds and ends snacks and treats.  At this point, my proverbial dogs were barking and so I smartly decided to grab a shopping cart and store my bags in it instead of ambulating around the store like a pack mule, trying not to break, spill or fall. 

Approaching the register with about 6 items or so in my overly full cart, I realized that I'd be there for a while because the two ladies in front of me had accumulated quite a lot of merchandise to "redecorate their new home," or so I overheard. No bother, I thought, I'd pull out my Iphone and get some good emailing, texting and snooping on while I wait. All of a sudden I get shaken into reality by this obnoxious voice -- think Fran Drescher in "The Nanny" or Teresa Giudice from the Real Housewives of New Jersey. This high-pitched squeaky thing was hollering: "Scoooz me. Scoooz me!" I only have TREE small cups, I go first" all the while flailing her limbs with the cups in hand. Note the bad accent. French, I presumed. At this point, I was quiet. My husband who'd just arrived in the store spotted me in line and asked why I was grimacing. I didn't answer. Again she starts up: "I go first, okay? I just have TREE." By now, the store clerk had already told her that she'd called for backup so the lines would go faster. Paying no mind to that, the French lady tried to get my attention because I was next in line. Now, if she was less obstreperous and a little less nasal, I might have considered her request reasonable and let her cut in front of me. That not being the case, though, I barked out, "No, you can't. I have ONLY six items and I've all been waiting in line for a while."  The French beast didn't like that. She began her dramatic cacophony about how she has to go first and how "dis not right" and "dis" is not how it's done in "California" or "France."    

Feeling the radiating pain in my legs (that at this very moment were channeling tree trunks) along with some major hormonal attitude boiling up, I loudly told her "So, go back. We don't want you here." That really did it. My poor husband had to get between me and the beast because he actually thought we'd get into a physical altercation. She raved on and on about how there's "nothing for nothing" and how it's only in "Illinoizzzz" that this happens and this "not good" and people are "terrIBLE" here. Her bad English was only punctuated by her ravings in French, which my husband confirmed were illogical and equally irritating as well. I must have spent 10 minute arguing with her back and forth, trying to convince her that it's only fair to wait your turn and we've all been waiting for a while and learn to be civil. I could have easily told her to shove her "tree glasses" where the sun doesn't shine. Alas, I didn't. 

Even as I was leaving the store, I heard the French lunatic still causing a ruckus, this time yelling at the clerk for permitting this "nonsense" and further badgering him as to why he asked her if she wanted a "frequent buyer card." The rule here, I do believe, is that sometimes, you may over-estimate your opponent and then you end up looking silly for even starting. 

 

 

Internet Etiquette and Pesky Comments

I can't help but feel like that old 12-year-old version of me: a chubby, over-grown ginger who didn't have a single friend in class, let alone one to sit with her during grade school lunch sessions. It was during those thirty minute hellish intervals that I oft retreated to the confines of the bathroom because somehow there was quiet and peace there, despite all its other odoriferous and visual downfalls. That same feeling came over me today as I searched for solace on my Facebook page following a not-so-pleasant experience I had just had with a certain retailer. 

I had hoped to get some sort of sympathy from these friends of mine, some sort of support and encouragement as I undertook to set the matter right and straight. Unfortunately, only a few friends had my proverbial back in this instance. Instead of getting that which I sought, I received a strict tongue thrashing as to the lunacy of my purchase at the heart of this debacle and how, if I would have been more prudent about my money and my buy, I might be better off at this moment. With my friends having entirely missed the point of my status update, I retreated to fight my battle on my own, sans the fire in my belly that usually gets lit by some early morning interaction with these friends. 

The grand lesson learned today was that some my internet friends, those who I feel I have a relationship with, may exist in reality only in picture and text form on the screen before my face and who, despite that fact, nonetheless can still be rather hurtful. I wax philosophically then whether or not the internet has somehow bombastically injected people with an overly-zealous sense of chutzpah to say things they would never dare say to someone's face--especially in light of that someone's concern or sadness over an issue. Really, what happens when you hide people behind a virtually impassable veil of secrecy and arm them with the ability to vent their opinions, their frustrations and the like onto unsuspecting readers and friends? 

I believe the media has a term for this sort of thing: cyber-bullying. Though I wouldn't dare equate the concerns/lessons/suggestions of my friends imparted onto me this morning as rising to that level, I would say though that it's quite foretelling of a cultural phenomenon that's occurring right before our eyes and one that we're likely permitting to happen. We seem to have done away with the philosophy that "if you have nothing nice to say, don't say anything at all," or better yet, "do unto others as you'd have done to you." These great old mantras don't seem to translate very well into the virtual world of the internet. Online, somehow, it becomes acceptable to get a little bit more mouthy, more edgy, more inappropriate. At what cost, though? What about the victims of cyber-bullying who have taken their own lives? An extreme suggestion, yes, but to some, a harsh reality. 

Perhaps we all, I included, should have a bit of empathy and compassion to those who we write our thoughts and opinions to online. A little internet etiquette (aka "netiquette") might go a long way. There are, believe it or not, actual people reading our words.