Wednesday, January 15, 2014

hard headed

let me preface the following by saying that i understand the futility in arguing with close-minded people. i understand what a closed mind is. it's not called "closed" because it has the promise of opening during business hours. it is closed. for good. out of business. bankrupt. defeated. no chance of entertaining shifting its business model and re-opening. and the longer it is out of business, its ideas, values, and original thoughts become sediment and over time consolidate into rock. once a mind turns to rock, it's pointless to try and return it to the traveling, free flowing matter it once was.

in other words, this is not an attempt to try and persuade or change any one's thinking. it's just a meager attempt to give progressive, compassionate, intelligent people an example of why it's incredibly important to teach our future generations the importance of equality, civil rights, and acceptance. it is only in the present and the future that we can create a shift. let's not spend our time trying to take jack hammers to minds made of rock.

first of all, i encourage everyone to watch the following quick presentation, especially those who have friends who still use the phrase, "That's so gay." i then encourage everyone to show it to their teenagers or young adults.

there are two main reasons this is timely for me. and i am going to make it personal.

first, the spotlight is on Utah after a federal judge in Utah ruled the state's ban on same-sex marriages was unconstitutional under the 14th Amendment. without a stay pending an appeal, over 900 couples rushed to get married. then the stay was put in place, the Governor said the marriages would not be recognized, and it created all kinds of chaos and stupidity. the upside? the Utah ruling has sparked states like Oklahoma to follow its lead and (although handled considerably better) while stays have been put in place, a higher court will be called on to make a final ruling. my point? this is an exciting time for the people in Utah to be on the right side of history. the prominent church in the state has become more accepting and has chosen not to be involved or comment publicly on the topic. it is just a few really scared people, who have the brains that have turned into rocks, that are acting hateful and crazy. live and let live. be open, talk to your family about the issue, encourage acceptance, and don't use the phrase "that's so gay" or "what a fag" or "gay" or "fag" in your homes.

it is my belief and hope that this phrase and the use of the word "gay" as a pejorative will one day be eradicated. that our children will look back at those people in their lives who use it as uneducated and ignoramuses.

[Edited 1/15]
second, i went to out of town over the weekend. i heard from a friend about a conversation at a local bar when one dude used the word gay and someone told him it wasn't cool. after some back and forth conversation including the arrogant argument, "i have lots of gay friends and they don't care when i use it", the party was over. as the person who disagreed with the use of the word went to leave, the small town (and small-minded local) physically assaulted him outside. he shoved him down on the concrete, pulled his hoodie over his head, and caused serious physical harm to him. douche move. i don't think the person who used the word hates gays. i understand he is very open and does indeed have gay friends whom he loves and supports; he is just ignorant.

the problem with the situation is this: first, i don't care if his very select group of gay friends are okay with his use of the word. if they say it's cool, there are still thousands of others who are not okay with it. and maybe his gay friends aren't okay with it, but tolerate it because he's so gangster he might put a cap in their skulls. they probably don't dare speak up because he'll physically assault them. either way, this guy is a total tool and a perfect example of what NOT to be. a small town joke. bad ass, bro. totally. had he caught himself and brushed it off, that would be fine. but the physical assault on the person who was trying to do the right thing bothers me tremendously.

my girls don't use the words "gay" or "fag". my youngest doesn't even know what it means. she still sees all human beings as equal. she views everyone the same. she sees all colors the same. she sees love between two people the same. my oldest catches heat at school all the time for asking people not to say "fag" or "gay". she is mocked and harassed constantly for it. she tells me her friends use it and her friends' parents use it. it's time to make a shift. 

i went to a Utah State vs. U of U game last season. after the two 50-year-olds behind us continued to use the word "faggot" over and over again, i made it personal and told them that it is not okay to talk like that. in my yelling voice. in one of their faces. Ute fans thanked me after the game, yet it was still a shock that no one has said anything to them before. after my friends pulled me away from the guy, his cowardly friend told me to leave if i didn't like the language. i told them i had no plans to leave but would post their pictures on the front page of the Salt Lake Tribune.

of course i didn't do that, but i will post them here. classy, eh? see if you can find the two incredible serious bigots.

refraining from using the words in a negative way doesn't mean you have to support gay rights. it just means you respect human beings. letting your household know it stops with your generation and it is hate speech doesn't mean you can't support traditional marriage, it just means you are educated. i implore you, stop the hate and educate. we can make a change.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Truth of the Tooth

the story i am about to tell you is true.

i have been unable to sleep peacefully for several weeks and haven't slept at all for the past two nights. i have had a playful migraine since Thanksgiving. i spent the last eight hours laying in bed, pining about what to do, who to call, where to go. only creating an incredibly "real" feeling of contemplating the contemplation of alternatives. so that was a waste of at least six hours.

after compulsively checking my email and eating two king-sized Butterfingers in the darkness, i decided perhaps a good purging may start the flow of some 2014 binging.

once upon a time during November, upon returning from a trip to Boston, i stopped working. i haven't worked a day since mid-November. at least not for money. why? a single parent of two with exorbitant lifestyle choices ... whiskey tango foxtrot!

you see, just over a year ago i signed a 2-year non-compete agreement. we all do, right? unfortunately i resigned from the company in May and decided to go back to consulting and freelance writing. my particular non-compete has been interpreted to be inclusive of the consulting i was doing, where i was doing it, etc etc intelligo nare. in summation, my previous employer decided to possibly maybe enforce my non-compete contract, and attorneys met and were spoken to and of, and names were named, calls were made, avenues explored, and my source of income was suddenly halted. like a car coming to a screeching halt. like teenagers getting busted by Mom during a makeout sesh in the backseat. like a heart attack. like, f*ck. that just really happened?

of course i wasn't prepared financially. however, if you can ever be incredibly unprepared, i can check a big fat HELLLLLYES! in that box on the bucket list of life events. the week before Thanksgiving? fourth quarter? holidays? probably the worst time to be looking for a job. financially, i had just spent my savings on the aforementioned trip to Boston, bought The Teenager a brand new car, planned a trip to Las Vegas for The Teenager's December birthday, and was settling in for a rockin' Christmas followed by sweet Jameson to ring in 2014. so there was that.

the trip was canceled, there was some pretty rockin' Christmas Fireball to burn holes in the lining of my stomach, and Cooks was just fine as i rolled over to my side of the bed and into a new year.

fast forward to today. rent has not been paid. two car payments are now late. car insurance is not going to go through. the checking account is overdrawn threatening legitimate closure of my account. and here i sit drinking a cup of coffee made by a $200 Keurig® Platinum Plus Brewing System (to be fair, it was a Christmas gift) and admire my Christmas decorations (tree included) that are still up.

i am horrified about the call i have to put in to my landlord and praying to God that this city bill is somehow a practical joke for the holidays:

did you know peptic ulcers cause muscle spasms in your belly? they do. it's the closest thing to contractions during child birth i have ever felt. soda pop causes them sometimes. if you have IBS or Crohns', i think they are deadly.

it was just last night i discovered The Teenager's magnification mirror. sweet mary mother of jehovah! in the process of carving a small hole in my cheek to remove what appeared to be a ginormous whitehead (and yet invisible to the naked eye), i discovered that all those hits to the jaw i have been taking did indeed crack a tooth.

to be precise: "you sheared the distal cusp right off and could lose the tooth if you don't get it checked real soon. why have you been hit in the jaw so much?"

i am terrified of the dentist. i don't have insurance. did i mention the incredible fear i have of going to the dentist? muscle spasms starting ... now. my teeth are all i have left! and even though i still ate those damn Butterfingers with a shattering distal cusp, the teeth are the final straw. like the hand of God ripping me out of bed and shoving me out the door into the cold streets, i have got to find a source of income. today. or a loan. or a free dentist. it's about to get real in here. i am going to start by selling our family's third car, Beatrice, the minivan. i am ashamed of myself for being such a taker. i've read "Ishmael." 125,000 gallons of water? what in the hell is wrong with us? and what have i given?

that's right. the hero's dramatic conclusion is such:

1. i baked. i only bake when i am unemployed. i made real homemade sugar cookies from scratch, delicious homemade rolls, butterscotch cookies from scratch, and homemade alfredo. for other people, too.

2. i cleaned the downstairs office so that the house was more livable. friendly. warm.

3. i have been able to watch some amazing football. college football at its finest. getting caught up on all my sports. laying in bed watching game after game. smelling march madness. thus supporting a big segment of the future of tomorrow: student athletes.

4. i have spent hours with the girls. hours and hours. and i adore them and will never wish i didn't have that. oh! we finally had family pictures taken.

5. the kitchen is really organized and i can make any cup of coffee i want in 30 seconds.

i already started taking halfway through the list. to be honest, i almost forgot how small my problems are. i have options. any complaints are ugly truths you should quickly disbelieve. i am off to find things to do while i am in the belly of this whale.

from my glorious horoscope this week by the brilliant Rob Brezsny, my goal this week is to take advice from Dan Albergotti's poetry: "Organize your calendar. Dream of the beach. Review each of your life's ten million choices. Find the evience of those before you. Listen for the sound of your heart. Be thankful that you are here, swallowed with all hope, where you can rest and wait."

and breathe. it has been tragically magical to not be on any type of retainer or regimen, but it's time to move on.