Hurry up and wait….


Minor emergencies do not cause harm to large groups of people, property or finances. They do cause enough harm to individuals to interfere with general health and daily productivity. Apparently, the general health and productivity of an individual is not serious enough of an emergency in medical or financial terms to warrant the immediate assistance of doctors, financial institutions or government programs.

Over the years, I have had multiple small emergencies, or what I deemed emergencies, that I felt justified in asking for help. This includes long-term unemployment, homelessness, mental & emotional distress, medical need and, most recently, dental anguish. At no time has the bureaucracy of the town or city that I was living in moved faster than the proverbial snail’s pace. The idea that an individual of society needs this assistance within the week or even within the same day is anathema to bureaucrats.

When you go to the emergency room, this usually indicates that something is bad enough that you are not able to wait for your regular doctor. What happens? You have to stop and fill out so many forms that it takes more time to complete them than it does for the doctor to actually examine you. After you have filled out the forms, you wait. It doesn’t matter that you are in agony, or are spilling your guts every few minutes. Since you aren’t bleeding copiously, you can wait.   And wait, and wait. Do they give you a cover for your mouth if you came in sick? No, because you are still up walking around, therefore you must not be too bad off. Never mind that what you have is usually contagious and you have now infected everyone else in the waiting room. If you are in severe pain, they ask you to rate it on a scale of one to ten. Then they take your answer with a grain of salt, because “everyone rates their pain higher than it is”. After the nurse takes your blood pressure, oxygen level and heart rate, you are politely asked to wait in the waiting room for a doctor to become available. This can take only a few minutes or as long as several hours. By this time, whatever your reason for coming in to the emergency room, you are becoming emotional distressed as well. Hence, tempers begin to flare and words begin to be spoken in a loud and obnoxious manner. Why do the staff always look and act so surprised?

Suppose you have reached a point in your life that your mental and/or emotional limits have not only been reached, but shattered beyond your personal capabilities to put them back together again. Your work doesn’t pay enough to go to a shrink, so you try the local clinic. Once again, they hand you a stack of papers, with requisite documentation and set an appointment that is so far down the road that you will most likely be in jail from assaulting the next moron that pushed your button. You are now stretched to the point that your work is suffering so bad your boss is breathing down your neck, which adds to the stress levels. You are beginning to worry that you won’t have a job within 24 hours let alone by the time your appointment comes around. This makes you even pissier at home, which ticks everyone else off, leading to a lovely little cycle of repeating and escalating emotional upheaval. You then bring all that built up stress back to work and start the cycle all over again. This cycle generally leads to unemployment. Your temper flares and you begin to say words in a loud and obnoxious manner. Why do people always look and act so surprised?

Should you be unemployed for more than a few weeks, you begin to feel stress, worry and panic. How am I going to make the rent? How will I pay the bills? How will I get food? Why won’t anyone hire me??? So you finally break down and go to the local Family Services to ask for help. They calmly hand you a stack of papers, usually 10 pages or more, explain what all documentation you will need; rental agreement, last 3 bank statements (explain any “unusual” spending. Never mind that you bought unnecessary stuff because you weren’t expecting to be unemployed), last 3 check stubs with YTD, all currently unpaid bills, Kelly Blue Book value of your vehicle(s), as well as the same information for every adult in your home (even though you are not related and/or they are not benefiting from the program) and have you set up an appointment. Then you read the date on the appointment and realize that it is the middle of the next month. Since you are low on money, you won’t be able to pay the rent. You are so panicky that you will be homeless by the time of your appointment that you begin to lose your temper and words are spoken in a loud and obnoxious manner. Why do the staff always look and act so surprised?

If you have been unemployed long enough and delayed asking for help, then there is a strong chance that you have become homeless. Depending on where you live and how helpful your friends & family are, this is not quite as devastating as it could be. If you don’t have the friends/family option, then you need to find a shelter. Once you have located the shelter, you stand in line and wait. If you didn’t get there early enough in the morning, then you will most likely be sleeping on the sidewalk that night. But don’t think you can sleep in front of the shelter…that is not allowed. If you were lucky enough to actually get signed up, then they hand you a stack of papers to fill out, detailing pretty much the same as family services. The only difference is that they don’t expect the documentation to go along with the forms. Then you wait some more. You wait for the shower, you wait in line for minimal amounts of food, you wait for the laundry room…..you wait for someone to rob you. During all of this waiting, you have to figure out how to look your best so that you can look for work. By now you are so desperate that you are willing to take anything as work. And I do mean ANYTHING. As a man, this isn’t quite so dangerous. As a female, all that I can say is good luck. You are also under a time limit on how long you can be in the shelter. No options by the time that limit is reached(?), then you are back on the streets. Since employers won’t hire someone without a permanent residence, you haven’t been given any call backs, because they have nowhere to call. Your temper flares and words are spoken in a loud and obnoxious manner. Why do the staff always look and act so surprised?

In my current situation, I am unemployed, have massive amounts of bills to pay, have both mental & emotional disabilities (which my state doesn’t accept for their programs) and am in need of having my teeth pulled. First, I went to seek help from a program I have worked with before, but they weren’t open that day. Just my luck. Then I contacted Family services for help. They don’t have dental assistance for adults over 18. But, they gave me the number for the county free clinic. It is not free and they only do dental one day a week. Won’t be able to get me in till the 3rd week of November. Finally broke down and went to the emergency room. Followed the procedure that I laid out in the e-room paragraph, only to be asked, asked! Mind you, “Do you think the pain is being caused by the bad tooth?” In order to get something for the pain and infection, I tearily agreed without saying a word (not trusting myself to be civil). I was then given an antibiotic and some “strong” painkillers to use until the infection was brought under control. I was finally able to get a hold of the program director that I have worked with before, and have been given permission to seek out a dentist. So I called the last dentist I used, explained to the chirpy receptionist what was going on and was given an appointment on the 9th of October. For a consultation. Not for any actual work to be done. Just x-rays and an explanation of what the dentist thinks I should do. Then the next available opening is not until the 24th of November. And that is only if the dentist is willing to do what I want. If I am lucky, I will be toothless by the end of the month. If not, then I will be at least minus a partial tooth and trying to figure out how to get the rest of them removed against dental advice. If you have ever felt this amount of tooth pain, then you know that I may end up making the staff practice their surprised looks and act sometime in the near future.

For now I hurry up and wait.

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Prejudice is idiotic.


The word prejudice (or foredeeming) is most often used to refer to preconceived, usually unfavorable, judgments toward people or a person because of gender, social class, age, disability, religion, sexuality, race/ethnicity, nationality or other personal characteristics. It can also refer to unfounded beliefs[1] and may include “any unreasonable attitude that is unusually resistant to rational influence.”[2] Gordon Allport defined prejudice as a “feeling, favorable or unfavorable, toward a person or thing, prior to, or not based on, actual experience.”[citation needed] via Wikipedia. 

In the above definition, Gordon Allport stated that prejudice can be both favorable and unfavorable. This has been proven time after time in human history. You can see this at the familial level (i.e. most/least favored child, sibling, parent, aunt, uncle, cousin or grandparent), at the neighborhood level (i.e. worst/nicest house, lawn, pets, children or car), at the township level (i.e. most/least prosperous business, best/worst school, etc.) and on up through all the levels of society including governmental prejudice (i.e. best/worst politician, congressman, president, law, program, country, etc.).

Similarity builds and confirms our societal identity as a whole. Generation after generation throughout human history we have learned that those similar to us are more likely to band together with us. Banding together helps with survival of our selves, our children and our ideals. Unfortunately, the idea of similarity has become so ingrained that most humans no longer accept that different is not wrong.

Different is someone whose skin color is other than ours. Different is someone whose eye shape is other than ours. Different is someone whose language is other than ours. Different is someone whose sexual organs are other than ours. Different is someone whose feelings & opinions are other than ours. Different is someone whose ideas and thoughts are other than ours. Different is not same. Different is not us. Different is other.

The idea that someone can enjoy friendship and love with someone else of the same gender is not considered wrong.  Men love their sons, have male friends and can even have an emotional connection with other men in general. The same goes for women and their daughters, female friends and emotional connections with other women. This is considered normal. As long as the other person looks, sounds, thinks and has feelings similar to us.

The idea that someone can enjoy friendship, love and sex with someone of the opposite gender is not considered wrong. Men and women getting together over the past generations is obviously what has kept the human race around. We start out with friendship, usually move on to sex and occasionally end up with love. These physical & emotional attachments, united in the family unit, are the foundation to human society. In the past, this basic unit (father, mother and child/children, as well as the extended unit of grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins) is considered normal in most peoples’ minds.

What has changed is that some of today’s families are not what’s considered normal. Single parent families, as well as multi-color (national, religious, etc.) families, were considered shameful at one point, but are now accepted as a fact of life. There are other families, though, that are looked upon with disgust. Some families have two fathers and no mothers, two mothers and no father, one father and multiple mothers or one mother and multiple fathers. These are the families that are currently debated about in loud voices as each individual of the “normal” units try to impose their own views about such behavior.

I have yet to understand what is so wrong about these family units. Here is just some of the BS that has been spouted.

  1. I have heard flagrant lies stating that someone who is homosexual is automatically a moral deviant. That they will “turn” a child of the same sex into a homosexual. That they will sexually assault the child/children in their care. If this is true, then why is it that most of the people in jail for sexual assault on a minor are not homosexuals? I have not heard of any child of homosexual parents being forced or “turned” into a homosexual. If the child is gay, then it was gay from the get go. Homosexuality is not some form of contagious disease. Most persons that are homosexual are no different from any of the rest of us in their beliefs. Many are firm believers in a personal deity, have strong moral beliefs, have very set ideas about politics and feel that children should be raised in a caring and loving environment. The fact that they enjoy sexual relations with someone of their own gender has nothing to do with any of these other factors. It is an irrational belief because they are different.
  2. I have heard that multi-color families breed children that are confused and lash out at society. If this is true, then why is it that most of the lashing out is done by children and adults of single color families? Not once have I come across a child of multi-color parents that has lashed out at others strictly because of being of multi-colors. Usually, they are lashing out at those around them who have caused them pain and suffering first. This is not confusion on the child, but a defense against the poor treatment by the society around them. These children have the same dreams for the future that single color children have. They want the same clothes, cars, jobs and lives that any other child wants. Their coloring has nothing to do with any of these other factors. It is an irrational belief because they are different.
  3.  I have heard that families with unusual combinations of parents cause misguided beliefs in their children about relationships in general. If this is true, then why is it that children & adults of typical parentage are the ones with the highest percentage of divorce and abuse within their relationships? I have yet to hear of very many families of this rare type that have been broken apart due to cheating, abuse of a co-parent or child, lack of money or caused confusion due to non-typical parental roles in the home. These families generally have more opportunities for individual quality time for each child, which generally leads to a happier childhood. They also tend to learn that different ideas and feelings are ok. This leads to less prejudices and greater tolerance in society as a whole. In this case, the type of family unit is a direct cause of these factors and I really don’t see anything misguided about any of it. It is an irrational belief because they are different.

These are just three of the many prejudices floating around out there about different types of family units. I have also added just one of the many questions that each statement brings up. Additionally, I have listed a few of my own personal opinions about why these prejudices are so ignorant. Why are people so afraid of something or someone who doesn’t fit the status quo? In what way is their choice of lifestyle, life partner(s) and family unit going to affect your life? The answer is: it doesn’t! You don’t like it for yourself, therefore, it must be wrong for everyone else.

We, as a society, spout platitudes about how it is ok to be different and unique, that it is ok to have differences of opinions, that it is ok for some to like pink and others to like blue, but in the end different & unique are only ok on the small things. It is only ok to have a difference of opinion about minor topics. It is only ok if girls like pink and boys like blue. Heaven forbid we talk to each other, learn about the individuals in different family units, and accept that their differences will not change who we are deep inside. The only thing that different can change about us is the amount & type of knowledge that we have. On occasion, it can even change our opinions. But it won’t change us as a person. Only we can change who or what we are.

I have to admit that I am just as prejudiced about certain topics as the next person, but I feel that I at least try to keep them away from other peoples’ personal issues. Sadly, I am not perfect and have run smack into my prejudices on a regular basis. I do try to admit when I am being irrational, if only to myself, but, again, I am not perfect. I am quite sure that at any given time in the future you could go through my blogs and find me spouting irrational opinions that wholly contradict opinions that I blogged about before. So be it. I’m human.

My biggest prejudice is against stupidity, aka lack of common sense. This has gone beyond a simple pet peeve. I have yet to understand why someone else being gay is going to destroy society. At what point in history has this ever proven true? Conversely, people who waste large amounts of time & money in our courts suing because they spilled the hot coffee they just ordered on themselves affect everyone’s lives. It is now more expensive for that cup of hot coffee because the manufacturer has to add “warning: coffee is hot” to the cups. If you order hot coffee, then expect it to be hot!

There are entirely too many forms of this type of stupidity to list, but I am sure you all know what I am talking about.

As you can see from my ramblings above, another of my prejudices is prejudice itself. I realize that this doesn’t really make sense, but I can’t abide people who rant & rave about something for the simple fact that it is different. Just because something or someone is physically different, thinks differently or has different feelings does not automatically make them wrong or a target.  You do not need to make every effort to change that thing or person into something like yourself. Stop trying to force them into specific categories and boxes that they don’t fit into. I aim this paragraph at politicians, statisticians, assistance programs and religious groups. Every  one of these special interest groups try to force others into their own special pigeon-hole and wonder why people get angry with them for it.

I like differences that don’t involve injury to another person or group of people. It doesn’t matter if it is a physical type of harm or if it is mental, emotional, religious or financial harm. Harm is harm. Being different is not a license to be damaged. Being different does not make a person or thing inferior to others.  It just means different. Period. End of story.

Being different as a child is not fun, most especially when it is a difference that you cannot change. Who your family is, what you look like (although this is becoming a fluid situation at ever younger ages), what your family’s financial status is, what your name is (again, this is becoming a fluid situation), what kind of car your parents have, etc., etc. As you get older, some of these differences can be changed, if you are still worried about it. But not everything is changeable. Your family is still your family. The only way to get away from this is to move to another part of the world and never let anyone else know where you came from. Good luck with that in this age of the internet.

In the end, the only thing I can add is to learn to accept yourself and those around you as you & they are. If someone is going to harm you & yours, it is because that single, individual person wants to harm others. Not because they are gay, colored, Republican, Democratic, religious or any other irrational reason that someone has tossed into the fray as an excuse to cause hate so they can hide their own inadequacies. It is easier to throw rocks than it is to dodge them.

So sorry…..


I will be unable to post for a few days, as I am in massive pain due to some infected teeth. I am on a medication regimen, one of which is a very strong pain killer, and will be a little loopy for a while.

Please forgive me for my absentee-ism. Be sure that I will blog about this when I am a bit more coherent.

Hugs to all.

Pray for me.

Bullying – lived with it all my life. So what?


Bullying – The activity of repeated, aggressive behavior intended to hurt another person, physically or mentally. [It] is characterized by an individual behaving a certain way to gain power over another person. (15) via Wikipedia/definitions.

 

Echo Marie Grotz.

If you have a name like mine, then you know that I have had a very intimate relationship from day one with bullying. Not only in school, but in my life in general. As a child, prior to school, I was always told by adults that I had such a pretty name, and I was stupid enough to believe them. Then I started school and spent most of my recesses in the corner, crying because I hurt from what felt like a betrayal of my beliefs. As I got older, adults would still tell me that I had a pretty name, but I didn’t believe them anymore, thanks to bullying. I lost a lot of self-esteem which set me up for even more bullying. More years passed, and the bullying continued to grow more petty. My family was too poor, my clothes were cheap, my hair was to thin & flat, I had acne, my teeth were crooked, I wore braces, I wore a bra earlier than others, I had hips too early, I started my period too early, my nose was crooked, blah, blah, blah.

Finally, graduation put an end to all of the snarky little comments I had been hearing most of my life. Or so I thought. No longer did adults tell me how pretty my name was. Now the adults were the same age as me and still teasing me about it. Not only that, but people 5 or more years older than me teased me about my name. No matter where I moved to, or what job I had, teens and adults of all ages bullied me about my name. Even in the military, on my very first day, my drill sergeants bullied me over my name. It didn’t help that the 5th letter in the military phonetic alphabet is the same as my name. Many a time I thought about suicide. Many a time I thought about running away and disappearing into the wilderness, living away from “civilization”.

But you know what, I chose to stand my ground and make people accept that my name, family, etc. were facts of my life that I could not change or control. I let them know in no uncertain terms that all of their petty B.S. would no longer hurt my feelings just because they didn’t like something about me. I learned that by trying to change something about myself that others’ didn’t like just made things worse. For example, from 7th grade up to the beginning of my senior year in high school, I went by my middle name and my stepfather’s last name. Do you think that changed anything? No. It just made things worse. Even the teachers and other faculty made unsolicited comments, sometimes causing the bullies to expand their taunts as though they had permission via example.

I sit here, now in my 40’s, and watch as more and more kids, teens and college students, all across the world, either commit suicide or become local domestic terrorists because someone or a group of peers teased them or bullied them and I wonder what is happening in our society.  Is this some kind of societal implosion? Or, is it just the result of multiple factors showing that humans in general are not ready for the type of society that we have been trying to build over all of these years.

Here is how I see things.

1. There are just too damned many humans on the face of the world.

Now, having said that, I do not believe in killing a bunch of us off or implementing excessive birth control laws that only allow a small number of children to be born per couple. I do think that the day of overly large families is no longer necessary, and there should be some kind of common sense about how many children a couple should bring into this overcrowded world. And, I don’t think that religion has anything to do with it. Depending on what your religion is, your “maker” gave you the intelligence to know when too much is just too much. Be fruitful and multiply was ok thousands of years ago, but having more than 3 or 4 children is just flat out asinine in this day and age.

2. Lack of resources, jobs, & “adventure” for those already born.

Basically, this means that my 1st point has reduced the amount of food, housing, land, etc. available for each person. It has also reduced the amount of work available due to a reduction of funds available for education & training programs. As for the “adventure”, what I am talking about is the lack of an outlet for those of us that don’t want to or aren’t able to follow “normal” societal mores. These are the people who left the tribes and traveled hundreds and thousands of miles to set up their own societies. They are the people who enjoyed being the “1st” to set foot in a new place. They are the oddballs that usually are the ones that suffered from being bullied back in their old society. Humans are now spread out all across the globe. The few places that aren’t full of people can be seen and studied by modern technology. There are no more “new” places to see, unless you have mondo amounts of money and can fund undersea research or go into space. Not your typical option to the average person.

3. There are too many laws & restrictions on self-expression.

  1. “That dress is too short.”
  2. “Your pants hang too far down your butt.”
  3. “Don’t dye your hair such weird colors.”
  4. “Tattoos are for criminals.”
  5. “You’re not old enough for facial hair.”
  6. “Piercings are dangerous.”
  7. “Too much black clothing/makeup is a sign of depression (rebellion, devil worship, anarchy, etc.)”
  8. “Don’t show so much cleavage.”
  9. “Don’t wear too much make up.”

I am sure that there are many more where these came from, but you get my drift. These statements are made by parents, teachers, religious leaders, peers, fashion gurus and even governmental officials. All they are is another attempt at forcing people to conform to their idea of how we should live our lives. Which leads to our future generations learning that to be “different” is wrong. I personally feel that this is actually the foundation of bullying.

4. There are too many laws & restriction on behavior.

I don’t mean that we should let every jerk out there with a gun or knife go around killing or harming others. That is not conducive to a harmonious society. But, telling the parents of children that sometimes have difficulties sitting still in class that their child needs Ritalin, or some other mind killing or personality dulling drug, is just pure laziness. Doctors, teachers and modern parents just need to accept that children are children. None of us liked sitting still day in and day out in a dreary classroom being told what to do and how to do it for 13 years of our lives. We did not volunteer for that kind of treatment and were resentful of the loss of our childhood freedom. Think about it.

There were very few rules in your life before school. You were either with mom, dad or the babysitter each day and could go outside and play (in the summer) or run around the house (in winter), got to go for a ride when they did errands, went visiting family and friends on occasion, could change your mind about what you wanted to do and actually go do something else right then & there. All of that changed when you started school.

Granted, there are a lot of children that are capable of reigning in their impulses, mostly because they were trained at an early age the difference between yes/no and right/wrong. From what I am seeing nowadays, being able to train your under 6-year-old is no longer permitted, which is causing a lot of the behavioral problems right from the get go. (Discipline vs. Punishment Blog to come later.) Having a teacher that spends most of the time telling a few children to stop, pay attention, etc., takes away time from the other children. This can lead to more resentment and the belief that they can treat those particular children the same as the teacher. This also goes for families with multiple children and how the parents treat each child on an individual and group basis.

Other behaviors that we have a tendency to restrict are such things as the type of books our kids read, what kind of music they should listen to, what religion they should follow, what politics they should be into, what sports they play, what subjects they should study and above all else, how they fit in at school.

Being shy or quiet in group situations is not what I would consider abnormal behavior. What is abnormal is the treatment that kids like this get from those around them. Either they are completely ignored (peers and faculty) and made to feel that they are not wanted or they are told to suck it up and join the activities (parents, peers & faculty). It is not acceptable that some just want to observe those around them. As adults, we call this people watching and think that it is just fine. In teens and children we call it aberrant behavior. It is also not acceptable that these are most likely the kids that have been teased and embarrassed too much already and don’t feel welcome in group situations. Without some severe intervention on both sides of this equation, these children will have very difficult lives ahead of them. Still, very few will end up on a tower somewhere with a hunting rifle or will walk into a building full of people with a machine gun or bomb.

So (parents, teachers and so-called experts) get over it already. Learn what the child is like, accept them for who they are and let them live their lives with minimum harping.

The above 4 points that I have made are mostly about what I feel are some of the causes of bullying. The next group of points are what I feel might help to remedy bullying already in progress.

1. Accept that bullying happens. This does not make it right. I do NOT advocate it. I just accept that some people are bullies and some are victims of bullying. Once we accept that it happens, and that our precious baby is a bully or victim, then we can begin to do something about it. 

2. Grow a thick skin – metaphorically. Everyone is different. Everyone has things about themselves that they cannot change. Everyone is unique and needs to learn to accept that uniqueness for what it is. We need to accept the differences that we see in others. We also need to accept that it is ok for others to look, smell, sound, walk and think differently than we do. Most likely, the human race would die out if we were all the same out of sheer boredom and stagnation. No one would have traveled farther from the tribe than it took to get food. No one would have explored new territories. No one would have learned how to treat injuries or illnesses. No one would have done anything different from the previous generations. 

3. As scary as it is when you are the victim, stand up for yourself. Make a scene. Let everyone know that you are being harassed. Talk loudly about how sad it is that the only attention the person bullying you can get is fear. Fear does not equate respect. The bully needs to learn this. They should also learn that fear pushed too far can get them killed, along with those around them. 

4. When you see bullying in progress, grow a spine and stand up with the victim. If everyone in the area did this, then it wouldn’t just be you as a focus for the anger that prevention would cause in a bully. It would also let the bully know that their behavior is considered wrong by their peer group. We have all seen how peer pressure can lead to someone becoming a bully, usually against their better judgment, but very few kids and teens realize that peer pressure can make a bully change their own behavior. If you show that you don’t accept their behavior when they bully someone, but that you do accept their behavior when they are nice, the bully has a tendency to realize what will get him/her the real attention they were wanting. Sadly, this doesn’t always work due to other factors that may be involved. 

5. Stop trying to make multitudes of NEW laws to stop bullying. As with our gun laws, we have enough as it is. We just need to start enforcing them. We also need to increase the discipline end of our laws. As with the previous point, peer pressure and embarrassment works if done promptly, without malice and without leniency. Too many of our bullies grow up to be criminals that don’t worry about our justice system because they already know that it doesn’t work. Use such things as: so many swats on the butt in public, unpleasant public chores like cleaning up the sides of the roads, scrubbing dirty garbage dumpsters, shoveling snow, mowing public lawns, etc. on a long-term basis that takes up all of their spare time (but leaves them time for their schoolwork), wearing specific clothes marked appropriately during their entire term of discipline, have their crime and form of discipline announced on the radio, in the newspaper, posted in the school public areas, posted in public areas in town, posted on the internet and on television. No more of this crap that minors should be kept anonymous when they screw up. Since they are old enough to know right from wrong when they started school at the age of 5 or 6, then they are old enough to know better as they get older. Actions beget consequences. It is best to learn this at the earliest age possible. 

6. In the event of Cyber Bullying, have the authorities begin a reverse campaign about the bully’s activities on the internet and send it out to everyone that joined in. This is not necessarily a case of 2 wrongs making a right, but more along the lines of turning the tables. Let them know that the authorities know who they are. Advise them that doing this on the internet does not allow them to hide who they are. It is actually just the opposite. It makes it easier to document who they are, what they said and when they said it. It also does not make it ok just because it is not face to face. 

7. Don’t ignore a child that is claiming they were bullied or teased. Even worse, don’t mouth platitudes that do nothing but make the victim feel as though they are a weakling or incapable of determining their own feelings.  The worst thing ever said to me when I complained about being teased about my name was “You think you have it bad, you should have put up with what I went through when I was growing up.” All this did was make me feel that I was whining over nothing and that my problems weren’t worthy of complaint. Even if you had a hard life prior to the child’s situation, keep in mind that everyone is different and react differently to each situation. What might not be a big thing to you could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back to them.  Platitudes also have a tendency to show a form of hypocrisy that can cause the victim to lose their trust in the person or group they confided in. Investigate every incident brought to your attention. Determine who the bully is, who else knew about it (peers, friends, teachers, faculty, neighbors, siblings and others in the town), and what the parents of the victim & bully know about the situation. Make this information public along with the announcement of crime and discipline, and make those people work alongside the bully, as well. By forcing those around the bully to share in his/her embarrassment, you are telling them that allowing it to happen is not acceptable. In cases where parents truly did not have a clue (because they worked too many hours, the child behaved differently at home, or those in the know failed to bring it to their attention) of what was going on, the knowledge that this behavior was publicized should be discipline enough. Those parents that knew about or suspected, and chose to turn a blind eye to, their child’s behavior should also have to share in the child’s discipline. 

8. EDUCATE children & adults about what bullying is, how it causes problems in both short-term & long-term scenarios, how it affects not just the victim but also the bully and those in the community  that they live in. Educate early and often. Show them that hurting someone else’s feelings are just as bad as hurting them physically. Teach the adults that bullying can be a sign of an abusive personality that can escalate as the bully gets older. Teach everyone in the community what the signs of a bully and a victim are. There are very distinct differences between a bully and just an alpha personality. The bully usually isn’t very good at leadership qualities, being in charge of their group only because they refuse to allow anyone else to think for themselves, they tend to demand what they want instead of asking for it, they are bossy at home, pushy in public places and can get aggressive when driving. They also have a tendency to lose their cool if they are denied anything that they deem should be theirs. Victims lose interest in going to public places such as school, work, the store, the park or local hangouts. They have a tendency to retreat from everyone around them in such a manner that it is noticeably different from those who are just shy. They no longer enjoy talking about their day or what their weekend plans may be. They tend to get upset easily when asked to do something that is mildly unpleasant, such as taking out the garbage or doing the dishes, especially if you have to tell them multiple times and get frustrated with their lack of response and enthusiasm. They are very sensitive to changes in tone of voice. Even when it is only a perceived change.

Some of the above possibilities have a very good chance of being implemented. But I don’t think that they will be enforced in such a way as to actually do anything about bullying except to salve the minds of those in charge. They will do just enough to let them feel that they are actually making a difference even though nothing ever truly gets done. It will also let them justify to their constituents “that they are on the job and took a stand”. Whoopty doo da day! Goody for them.

In the meantime, please keep in mind that bullying happens every day. It is not just a school problem. It can happen in neighborhoods, at the store, on the roadways, at daycare centers, in the military, on the job and sadly enough in the local church. Yes, even religious persons can descend into bullying those around them. Taken far enough, bullying can become classified as extremist  or even terrorist behavior.

Thank you for allowing me to rant. I will step down off my soapbox now. Until the next time…heehee.

Our Government & Politics – just a hint of irony.


In response to the fact that it is once again coming up on election time, I decided to do a little research of my own.  My decision to do this research was based upon a mild curiosity as to what certain terms, that we all take for granted, actually meant.

Here is what I found:

     Politics – (From Greek politikos “of, for or relating to citizens’) as a term it is generally applied to the art or science of running governmental or state affairs, including behavior within civil government, but also applies to institutions, fields and special interest groups such as the corporate, academic & religious segments of society.

     It consists of “social relations involving authority or power” and to the methods and tactics used to formulate & apply policy. (1)

     Modern political discourse focuses on democracy & the relationship between people &politics. It is thought of as the way we “choose government officials & make decisions about public policy”. (2)

The above explanation can be found via Wikipedia.

The definitions below can be found via The Free Dictionary by Farlex.

     Citizen:

  1. A person owing loyalty to & entitled by birth, or naturalization, to the protection of a state or nation.
  2. A resident of a city or town, especially one entitled to vote and enjoy privileges there.
  3. A civilian.
  4. A native, inhabitant or denizen of a particular place.

     Politic:

  1. Artful or shrewd ingenious.
  2. Crafty or unscrupulous, cunning.
  3. Sagacious, wise, prudent, especially in statesmanship.
  4. An archaic word for political.

     Democratic:

  1. Of, characterized by or advocating democracy.
  2. Of or for the people in general; popular.
  3. Blieving in or practicing social equality.
  4. Democratic: of, relating to or characteristic of the Democratic Party.

     Democracy:

  1. Government by the people or their elected representatives.
  2. A political or social unit governed ultimately by all its members.
  3. The practice or spirit of social equality
  4. A social condition of classlessness & equality.
  5. The common people, especially as a political force.

 

     Republic:

  1. A political order whose head of state is not a monarch and in modern times is usually a president.
  2. A nation that has such a political order.
  3. A political order in which the supreme power lies in a body of citizens who are entitled to vote for officers and representatives responsible to them.
  4. Often Republic. A specific republican government of a nation.
  5. An autonomous or partially autonomous political & territorial unit belonging to a sovereign federation.
  6. A group of people working as equals in the same sphere or field.

     Representative:

  1. One that serves as an example or type for others of the same classification.
  2. One that serves as a delegate or agent for another.
  3. A member of a governmental body, usually legislative, chosen by popular vote.
  4. A member of the U.S. House of Representatives or of the lower house of a state legislature.
  5. Representing, depicting or portraying or able to do so.
  6. Authorized to act as an official delegate or agent.
  7. Of or characteristic of government by representation.
  8. Like or typical of others of the same class.

     Senate:

  1. An assembly or a council of citizens having the highest deliberative and legislative functions in a government specifically.
  2. The upper house of the U.S. Congress, to which two members are elected from each state by popular vote for a six-year term.
  3. The upper house in the bicameral legislature of many states in the U.S.
  4. The upper legislative house in Canada, France, and some other countries.
  5. The supreme council of state of the ancient Roman Republic and later of the Roman Empire.
  6. The building or hall in which such a council or assembly meets.
  7. A governing, advisory or disciplinary body of some colleges and universities composed of faculty members and sometimes student representatives.

     Congress:

  1. A formal assembly of representatives, as of various nations, to discuss problems.
  2. The national legislative body of a nation, especially a republic.
  3. The national legislative body of the U.S. consisting of the Senate & the House of Representatives.
  4. The two-year session of this legislature between elections of the House of Representatives.
  5. The act of coming together or meeting.
  6. A single meeting, as of a political party or other group.
  7. Sexual intercourse.

I have pointed out some of the more ironic definitions of each aspect of our lovely nation. I have to admit that my all time favorite, for many unsavory reasons, is #7 under Congress. Yes, I went there. And so did you when you read it.

Oh! The irony!

So you’re lookin’ for a job?


What to do, what to do? Hmmmm. Let’s see,

  • Can you type 60 + words a minute without errors?
  • Do you have an average of 8,000 keystrokes per hour on 10-key without errors? 
  • Do you have 2+ years experience in your chosen field?
  • Do you have a degree from college (preferable a BA or higher)?
  • Can you perform 3 or more tasks at the same time, for multiple supervisors, without errors and with an extremely short deadline for each task?
  • Can you handle high stress situations that would put a Psychiatrist/Psychologist in the Looney Bin?
  • Do you have special training as a typist, data entry specialist, proofreader/editor or audio medical/legal transcriptionist?
  • Is your credit score over 500 no matter what the job is?
  • Are you willing to work extremely long hours for extremely low pay?
  • Are you willing to do everyone else’s job on top of yours?
  • Are you able to perform customer service with a smile even when you want to choke the living crap out of the customer?
  • Are you able to take the blame for everything that has gone wrong since the beginning of the human genome?

If you can say yes to most of these questions, and many others, then you should have no problems in the job market.

For the rest of us trying to break into a new job market, or make enough money to pay the bills, here are a few nasty realizations.

Most companies nowadays are looking for that one person who can do it all, is already trained, has mondo amounts of experience and is willing to take a beating day in & day out for the next 30 + years. They are looking for people who don’t question their procedures, policies and changes in the job description. If I remember my history class, they were called slaves.  In sci-fi and entomology, they are called drones.

Companies are no longer willing to hire someone they have to spend the time and money on to train in their procedures. Apparently all companies have identical ways of doing things. Therefore all the other companies should have already trained you. Never mind that all the companies feel the exact same way. Or that this would be your first job, if someone would actually hire you.

Companies also don’t want to hire anyone fresh out of high school or still in college. Lack of an actual degree coupled with extreme youth tells them that all you want to do is drink, do drugs and have sex. Therefore, you would not be willing to work 12 to 14 hours a day with the lowest salary legally allowed. They also feel that you would not be willing to work only a few hours a week with minimum wage (or less if they can get around the law) per hour. I’m pretty sure that there is also a small degree of jealousy involved, as well.

If you are of a higher age group, don’t get your hopes up. Companies don’t want you either. You might actually have a family. This means that you also don’t want to work 12 to 14 hours/day for excessively low wages. First, you want to spend time with your children and your spouse. Second, you might have to take time off because your child/spouse is sick or because the school has such unreasonable requirements like going to parent/teacher conferences and other icky things like that. You might even want to have holidays off! How irresponsible you are! Third, you might actually want to be paid enough so that you can cover all you bills. Not to mention feed your family. Very anti-company.

Then there are the companies that don’t want someone with multiple jobs during their life in the workforce. Too many jobs that are less than 1 or more years shows that you are not loyal, have ADHD, are a dreamer or just plain don’t want to work. It also shows that you don’t play well with others. Job seekers are not allowed to be human, have feelings, opinions or to expect loyalty from their employers. Never mind that you might have been involved in the Military (parent(s) or spouse), was offered better paying positions in another city, county, state, etc. Or that you had to move due to lower costs of living. If you have stayed in the same town/city, then woe betide your chances of finding work outside of day laborer.

So, what can you do?

Well, if you can hack the pimply faced, pants around the hips, greasy haired, self-centered, all around “why me” laziness of the younger generations and have wonderful customer service skills, then fast food might be just what you’re looking for. No more is this a job that high school kids take for some extra cash on the weekends or during summer. No! Now you have to compete against college graduates (from an AA up to and including doctorates), 20 + year workforce veterans and other average adults that can no longer afford to work in that nice cushy office job that only pays $8 – $10 dollars an hour and is part-time on top of that. McDonald’s is offering $12 an hour in small towns such as Lander, WY. I am sure it is even higher in the big cities around the nation.

Gas stations in the bigger cities have also joined in with fast food chains when it comes to the wage train, but us small town folks still have to suffer with minimum wage. Of course, the same cons apply as you saw in the previous paragraph.

Or, if you don’t mind answering questions day in and day out, you can be a Customer Service Representative. As long as you are willing to suck up all of the complaints, whining and threats from both directions with a smile. And no passing the customer on to the next level up.  That is not allowed. The supervisor’s only job is to make sure you don’t actually kill anyone and get your job done.  Heaven forbid that they actually step in and deflect an angry customer from destroying any self-confidence you might once have had. If you decide that you want to work as a CSR from your own home, be prepared to work for multiple companies that use the call center you work for. Also, you will have to lay out the money for the accepted type of computer, amount of RAM/ROM, special software, high-speed internet access and headset required by the company. Be aware that they rarely reimburse you for this. There is also a training period that usually requires you to spend 6+ weeks at their main headquarters. Most of the time this is paid, but training done online usually isn’t.

Let me see. What else is available?

There are a multitude of other types of jobs available online. If you have a degree (BA or higher), have a high credit score, are willing to relocate, will work for low wages (some microjobs will only pay you 1 cent for 1 hour of work), or you don’t mind working for some company in India, Australia, or anywhere else outside of the U.S. Most of the “online” jobs that I personally have looked into are based out of India and do not bother to show their pay scale in USD. Since I don’t know what the legalities are of working from your home for a foreign company, I have yet to apply for any of these jobs. I do know that very few foreign countries have the same copywrite (copyright?) laws that the US has, so I worry about job offers that want you to retype a book from a PDF file into MS Word or other format for ebooks. They usually require a high rate of typing, also.

Another problem with working from your home is all of the scams and MLM companies out there. If they ask you to buy something from them upfront, it’s a scam. If you are required to buy only their products (on a weekly/bi-weekly or monthly basis), and are willing to recruit your friends & family, it’s usually an MLM. Either way, you are being asked to pay to work. Sadly, there are many job offers out there that wind up in one of these categories. Then there are the “Temp Agencies” for online workers. It is amazing how many of these get away with charging the employee a fee. Most likely, they are also charging the company a fee. How are any of these three types of “employers” staying in business? Obviously, the US government doesn’t care that its citizens are being ripped off, just as long as they get their taxes.

Also, if you work from home, you will need to have a PayPal type of account. Or, be willing to hand out your bank account number to every Tom, Dick & Harry on the internet. Occasionally, there are companies that will pay you by check, but only if your account with them has a minimum amount & you remembered to ask for your pay on time. These are usually the companies that you see offering work for severely low amounts for a large amount of time. You will rarely be paid more of than once a month and that is only if they are happy with your work. If you have an error or it took you more time than was allotted, then you’re screwed.

I have since found that the majority of US companies outsource most of their typing/data entry jobs to foreign companies. Because it’s cheaper.  God forbid that they should outsource to US citizens and make sure that we can afford to buy their services or products.  If it is cheaper for them, why do they charge more?

Just something for you to think about.

Are you ready for some football???


Every year we celebrate the children returning to school. No more High C Soprano screams in the neighborhood.  No more loud cars and stereos vibrating their way past your house all day long. You can justify keeping that irritating bumper rider at a sedate 20 mph for the next 4 or 5 blocks.

Then you come home, turn on the TV, and BLAM!, the first game of the season smacks you in the face.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for sports.  They help keep people active, healthy and outdoors.  They allow college scholarships for high school athletes, create an incredible amount of job opportunities from grade school scrambles on up to professional teams, and give the financially disadvantaged child the knowledge that they can make their dreams happen. They also keep the older crowds’ metabolism up with all of the jumping, yelling, finger-pointing, bleacher coaching and couch crunching going on each year.

So, there you are, staring in dread at the screen. Your brain shuts down for just the tiniest moment before going in to football overdrive.  How many games will I have to host?  Who all will be coming? Will it be for the kids or the adults?  How many snack foods will be needed?  Has the carpet shampooer been serviced? Who was that party planner I met the other day (now I know why she was smirking)? Where did I put her card? Will the dog get over-excited  and make a mess on the neighbors lap? Will I survive till March?

As these questions, and many others, run through your mind, you take a deep breath and let it out. You take another deep, deep breath and slowly let it out. You stand up and find yourself vowing to the Lord (and any other deities that might exist) that you will not allow yourself to be stranded in the kitchen this year because you don’t know anything about football. You are going to learn everything there is to know about things like “offense”, “defense”, “special teams” and the different positions in each one. You will learn what the actual rules are, because you will be a member of the group. No more asking “what does that mean?” or “why do they do that?” and “when will the game be over?”

Then we realize that we left it too long. Our day-to-day routines have left little time to sit down and decipher the foreign language of “rules & regulations”, “playbooks” and intra-team lingo. We slowly lower our fist, let our shoulders droop and shuffle into the kitchen to begin making dinner.  As we sit down to an indifferently cooked meal, we listen to the excited chatter from around the table. Football…..football…..football……………

Isn’t it just ducky?

Hi. My name is Echo & I am a football widow. 

The man I love has suddenly become the world’s greatest coach. Everything his chosen team, the opposing team and the referees do is wrong. The refs will make all the wrong calls at all the worst possible moments. Defense will not sack the quarterback, tackle the running back or wide receiver, pick up the fumble or block the field goal. Yet again, the offense will fail to block the defense, drop the ball, throw for negative yards or step out-of-bounds at the wrong time.  My personal favorite is when they throw the short pass to the side and get tackled behind the line of scrimmage.  Oh, how he starts to bounce in his chair, as though he was Skip from ESPN’s First Take, which is pretty impressive since he is in a wheelchair.  Every year I wonder if we will have to replace it after each game. Luckily, they make them very sturdy these days.

As football widows, we get to sit and listen (during the game) to how that play should have been done, why that ref is blind, where that particular WR should be sent (because he is so slow, clumsy, fast, etc.) and whether or not the QB should be benched for such poor decisions. After the game, we get to listen to a play by play breakdown between him and his friends. Each play is dissected down to its individual foot movement, arm movement and body position. Friends that were unable to be here are called and the whole game rehashed over the phone. The debates go on and on. Usually, they last longer than the game did. You hear it at the office, in the parking lot and in the grocery stores. Finally, we only hear only the occasional comment. That is, until the next game (usually the next day, or on the next channel, depending on your cable package).

Whatever happened to football on Sundays and holidays? When did it become a daily ritual to go through the TV guide searching for each & every game time?  How did my home become the coaches’ box multiple times a day? How did we get transported continuously to exotic places like Denver, Indianapolis and other states? Who realized that college football would be as addictive as the NFL?

For almost every day of the week, for the rest of the year, we will be watching & listening. Trying to learn & understand what it is we are hearing. As we listen, we think that we are actually learning something about that game called “Football”. That all-encompassing, illusive sport that sucks our men’s attention away from “normal” life. We think to ourselves “I am really going to be able to join the group this year.”

It never occurs to us that we think the exact same thought every year. And every year, we go through the same process. From preseason to post season, we hold tight to that vow we made. The refrain “Never Again” echoes through the minds of football widows across the world. Never admitting to ourselves that when post season is over we will go back to the mundane routine that interfered with learning about football in the first place.

Football widows are so naïve…………….

……..My dog is in here cowering. I think she is of the opinion that “daddy” is mad at her.  If she could just figure out how to get into that little box, onto the field and chase those “idiots” in the right direction then “daddy” would stop yelling.  She is such a sweet, loyal, misguided, naïve little puppy.  You would think that she would have learned, after 8 ½ years, that this happens every year.

She is a football widow also.