Friday, November 25, 2011

I wished the movers would go “smoke.”

They started the day chipper, almost gleeful.  They had the abundant energy and lousy skin that are a signpost of meth use.  For the first four hours of the day, they were like the 7 Dwarfs, with their joyful “Hi-ho, hi-ho.”  They hauled everything we pointed out to them with a spring in their step that was almost manic, and cooed friendly baby talk at my daughter on my hip as they wheeled heavy dressers full of heavy clothes up and down the stairs.

Sometime in the early afternoon, however, their moods took a sudden dip.  Almost instantly, they had freakish dark circles under their eyes and every question or comment was greeted with growls and scorn.  I can’t disparage their labor; they eventually accomplished everything we had outlined for them to do.  They did not, however, seem nearly as pleased or motivated to do it as they had before their buzz wore off.  Over the course of a 10 hour move, they only took two fifteen minute breaks and never even ate, only smoked cigarettes.  After all the barking and groaning, however, I mentioned to my husband that I wished they would take a little longer and track down what they were really craving, because I didn’t think the second half of our move was the right time for them to start de-tox.

Toward the end of the incredibly long day, I made a sandwich run and brought them back some subs and soda pops.  They seemed really thankful, but still didn’t stop to eat them until after the move was complete.  They had worked unbelievably hard all day, so we couldn’t imagine sending them away without a tip, but we had mixed feelings about it as we handed them each their wad of cash.  I can’t imagine working that kind of job every day.  I can imagine how tempting it would be to enhance my energy with illicit substances before showing up to haul people’s stuff for them.  I wonder about my complicity in their demise; because I own more stuff than I can carry from house to house on my own; because I have the affluence to hire people to carry my stuff when I can’t or would rather not; because I saw the situation and still preferred them high; because I handed them enough cash to go do the same thing tomorrow.

A lot of people I know say they can’t tell if someone uses.  I wonder if they can’t or just choose not to, because I’d rather choose not to, too.

Drug yourselves so you feel nothing. Blind yourselves so you see nothing. Get drunk, but not on wine. Black out, but not from whiskey. For God has rocked you into a deep, deep sleep, put the discerning prophets to sleep, put the farsighted seers to sleep. Isaiah 29:9-10 (MSG)

Friday, November 18, 2011

I'm passing on Twilight.

I know I’m going to tread on some toes here, and there is not much I can say about the series that hasn’t already been said, but it seems to me that anyone over 25 who is fawning over these movies needs an express ticket to Cougartown.

When the mania began, and the facebook posting about glittery suitors became overwhelming, my husband and I figured we should check it out and rented the first movie.  We didn’t hate the movie, but we also weren’t overwhelmed by the drama, the characters, or the acting.  Mostly we thought it was weird that a 100 year old guy would find a teenage girl remotely captivating.  As for Bella – you have some serious father-figure issues if you are trapped in a love triangle with a vampire and a werewolf.  Anyone with any sense would pass on both.  As a parent, I find myself rooting for her to find a guy who’s too old for her, rides a motorcycle, has gages, tattoos and a chain wallet, and chews tobacco.  It would be safer and show better judgment.

I get more annoyed with the series every time another fang-inspired romance crops up and panders to my youthgroup and kids.  Girls, you should never consider a relationship with someone who assaults you, demeans you, or might eat you.  Even if you see the characters on the Disney Channel doing it.

But, who knows?  I did only watch the first movie.  Star Wars didn’t hit their stride until Empire Strikes Back.  Now there’s a series worth a midnight premier!

I think I know where this whole vampire thing got started, though.  There is someone whose blood holds the hope of eternal life.  Maybe it is all just a misunderstanding…

But if you do eat my flesh and drink my blood, you will have eternal life, and I will raise you to life on the last day. John 6:54

Friday, November 11, 2011

I believe in fighting back.

She was pointing her finger at me and laughing at my socks.  Somehow she had noticed that I was wearing the same pair two days in a row and decided that everyone in the room should be alerted to my lack of hygiene.  My face flushed and I struggled to answer her claim.  You’re probably wondering why I didn’t just claim clearly and confidently that I had two pairs of the same socks; after all, most people do, and often they wear them on subsequent days, right?  But I completely lacked the confidence to speak up on my own behalf.  Plus she was right, and I was tongue tied by that knowledge.  I pray my own kids find lying as difficult as I did back then.

This occasion is memorable to me because a girl named Caryn swooped in to my rescue.  She had noticed that my accuser was wearing the same pair of BLUE JEANS she had worn the day before.  It was obvious, because she had acted so cool when she’d written her name on the leg in pen, in front of us all, the day before.  Needless to say, as soon as Caryn mentioned the jeans, she dropped her suit against me for my socks.
I was so grateful to Caryn.  I wondered why people were scouring my wardrobe for mistakes, but she never seemed to draw any fire.  Of course, there’s the obvious – the coolness I so notably lack and she so effortlessly emanated.  Possibly, she never wore similar looking socks on subsequent days?  No.  It was more than her fashion choices.  There have been long articles and mini-specials offered on how to avoid or deal with bullies, but the answer I eventually noticed and practiced is so obvious it’s ridiculous.  Bullies backed off and left me alone, just about for good, when I started doing what Caryn did.  I started standing up, not just for myself, but for others.

It’s one thing to put together some good one-liners, to change your route or routine to avoid problems, or to carry extra lunch money.  Those are all actions that will help with self-preservation.  But nothing seems to intimidate an intimidator more than speaking up on behalf of others.  All it takes is doing so once or twice to discover that you have all the confidence and courage you need to make a difference for yourself and others.
There are so many broken people in this broken world who exploit the vulnerable to fill their own needs, from sixth grade bullies, to bosses on a power trip, to harassers and abusers.  If you don’t want yourself or your loved ones to be a victim, then don’t let someone else be a victim.  When you know something is wrong, say so.  You aren’t just rescuing that victim, you are protecting yourself.

And if that fails, a solid punch to the stomach should buy you enough time to get away.  Jesus may have suffered in silence, but God’s going to have to call my kids with that message directly, because I’m not going to teach them to let themselves be victims.  As Michael Landon’s angel on Highway to Heaven said after taking a second punch, “Now don’t say I didn’t turn the other cheek.”  Then he kicked tail.
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Isaiah 1:17

Friday, November 4, 2011

I could never be as tough as Chuck or Betty.

I love the Chuck Norris jokes, but I realized the other night that I really think Betty White is tougher.  I was contemplating what it is about her that makes her so exceptional and made a list of reasons.  Eat your heart out, Chuck.

10 Things you should know about Betty White:

1.       She has shark teeth for dentures.

2.       Her Aquanet helmet scrambles Satellites.

3.       She drives slow to thwart her CIA surveillance.

4.       She smells like Bengay because she uses it to lubricate her power tools.

5.       She eats oak trees for her fiber supplement.

6.       Her support hose will hold up buildings.

7.       She carries big purses, because they fit her machete.

8.       Her hearing aids play Korn and Slipknot.

9.       She can’t play shuffleboard, because she doesn’t shuffle.

10.   She wears Granny-panties, because she doesn’t need UnderArmor.
There are certain things that seems to go with the territory of aging, but I will always admire the people, like my grandparents, Clint Eastwood, Betty White, and many others, especially the ladies, who defy those stereotypes and remind me that the road ahead of me can be exciting and vibrant through retirement and beyond.
Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come. Psalm 71:18