Category Archives: Not Always Funny

Election 2016: I’m with . . .

My opinion doesn’t matter. You’ve already dug in your heels, put up your blinders, and decided that, no matter what, you will not be swayed –  not by facts, not by conjecture, not by emotion. So my opinion doesn’t matter. But my vote does.

My vote matters, and almost more importantly, I’m not voting against someone. I’m not between a rock and a hard place. I’m proudly and firmly voting for a candidate.

While it’s unlikely I’ll have children, I have plenty of bountifully fertile friends. I have a nephew on the way. And I want to be able to look at those children – those perfect little humans, untainted by the prejudices, fears, and judgments of adulthood – and tell them that I voted with my heart, for them.

By the time they’re old enough, I hope they’ll be voting in a third- or fourth-party system, with a Congress that acts to benefit society because each senator and representative, finally subject to term limits, craves a better world to which they’ll return once their service is complete.

But more than that, I want them to be in a world where there is objective accountability for our police force, where all lives finally do matter and those important distinctions no longer need to be made. Where people can be intimate and share their lives with whomever they please without judgment and belittlement. Where religion isn’t used to divide, but to bring together.

This new world is going to have a scary transition period. There are so many white men who are terrified of losing their place of power and privilege and will do literally anything they can to keep a fingerhold on the edge of superiority. But eventually, one by one, they’ll fall, and an era of gender and racial equality will arrive.  The rest of us will know that there was never anything to be scared of at all.

Your children deserve a world where each person is valued the same. Notice I didn’t say a country. A world. We’re humans. Citizens of Earth. Homo Sapiens. We live in a global society, and we should embrace the move to globalization as a species. The only downside will be those who cling to nationalism in lieu of depth, or a personality, and in the long run, they’ll be just fine.

In this world that I can almost see, squinting my eyes against the dark, terrible sides and focusing on the bright, beautiful potential, we won’t assign more rights to a piece of barely viable tissue than a black adult man or someone from a religion different than yours. We’ll use the scientific tools and massive advancements at our disposal to better our society as a whole, not profit off of the weak and needy, building a home for all of us, where science, discovery, exploration, and expanding knowledge trumps superstition, fear, and ignorance.

As your children grow older, they’ll strive for greatness, getting the quality education they deserve without the yoke of student loans beating them into an early grave. And when they get sick, your children and their children can see a doctor without having to prioritize their health over groceries.

This future will still have the right to bear arms, but with some long overdue reasonability and understanding. Just like our First Amendment right to free speech, limited by being in a private home or workplace, by being obscene, by yelling fire in a crowded theater, by creating a clear and present danger, the Second Amendment needs some perspective. Bear your arms, but with limits, if only to prevent the deaths of children at the expense of those who misguidedly grasp at liberty.

Your children will be in a world where those who make the most money and who have benefited the most from the benefits and strengths of capitalization also contribute the most in taxes and support for others. Where nobody is afraid to report a sexual assault, where punishment is representative of the crime, and where we’ve decriminalized the drugs that do less harm than the pharmaceutical industry. Where our veterans get the medical treatment they deserve, educators get paid as they should, and the people have the power, not the corporations and sinking captains of industry.

I will be able to look your children in the eyes and say that I voted with my conscience and my heart for the betterment of humanity, not with my wallet. Not with the shadow of fear and hatred that can be dispersed with knowledge and research. I voted with an eye to the future, not a desperate need to return to the rose-tinted memory of an awful past. I voted for equality, acceptance, love, and generations to come, not for posturing and fearmongering, pride in belittling others, and a lack of accountability.

I have already cast my vote, and I sleep soundly at night with the confidence that when my candidate wins, our era of progress and achievement will continue, not have its flow staunched by ignorance and unintelligence.

I’m with her. I hope you will be too.

Not for yourself. For your children. For everyone.

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I’m aware this may end up getting some controversial responses, but keep it civil. Any hateful speech will result in deletion and/or blocking, at my own discretion. Be the reasonable adult I know you can be.

 

 

Your birthday.

Stacy, I don’t remember exactly when or why you and I became friends.

We weren’t, then we were.

There was no gradual easing into that hot tub, testing the waters, seeing if we recoiled as our knees touched, feeling out the awkwardness and tension until we were comfortable baring it all. We just dove in, our naked souls jockeying for the best seat, immediately basking in the essence that was us. Two teabags in a cup of instant friendship. Not steeped and cured until finally ready to sip. Lipton friends. Delicious friends, with sweetness and tartness and ready for the world.

We weren’t, then we were.

There was no series of meetings or conversations during which you and I slowly realized that there was this spark and we clicked. We didn’t meet by sharing a casual laugh over a funny situation or the mutual derision of a snack food. There was no oh-you-like-this-movie-too or i-love-this-song moment. In fact, we didn’t even have the same taste in movies or music or books or art. We appreciated each other’s appreciation for different things, but our interests didn’t bring us together. Your love for the hardcore, my passion for pop; your interest in absurdity, mine in romantic optimism – we were polar opposites in many ways. But despite those divergences, friendship rocketed forward, light speed, throttles to full.

We weren’t, then we were.

What we were was more than friends. Soulfriends. Soulmates. It’s a weird phrase, but it suited us. Our first conversation was as self-referential and fulfilling as each subsequent one. Our talks were deep yet easy, hovering on the precipice of being pretentious and overthought, fascinating and too big, spanning entire universes of ideas and concepts. We were always soulmates. The world just hadn’t lined us up yet so that we could meet. Before we knew, our souls did.

We weren’t, then we were.

Today would have been your 39th birthday. We had big plans for our inevitable he laughs cynically at the concept of inevitability now fortieth birthdays. Big, grandiose, ridiculous, if we were both single at forty we would get married and build a commune of thinkers and creators and writers and artists types of plans. And you know what? It would have fucking happened. When we got together, tremendous things occurred. Mountains shifted, gods bowed on bended knees, and the unlikely became SOP. Our friendship had always been like that. That intensity – that force of nature – that Wonder Twins form of water and form of animal – it had been there from that first nanosecond.

We weren’t, then we were.

Your voodoo dolls hang in my office. Our photo hangs prominently on my wall. That smile – your smile, dives into your eyes and takes over. It’s beautiful. Everywhere I look, I see memories of you and me. The weird. The random. The non-sequiturs that made us laugh. We were always in on The Joke. But then you had to know the punchline before the rest of us.

We weren’t, then we were. 

But now, when I’m foraging for humanity in the wilds of the world, and I see the odd, fucked-up absurdities that were our cornerstones, my heart hurts. No longer can I share those with you. My soul sister – the one who would appreciate them, no matter how dark, how inappropriate or how too-soon. You were the only one with whom I could share that. That was our friendship.

We weren’t, then we were. 

Anastacia Campbell

But that’s not true anymore. There are others now. When I lost you, your other soulmates  – these tendrils you connected to each of us – found me. And I found them. They’re in my life now, and we carry you in our hearts. In our thoughts. In the twisted laughs and fucked-up memes we share. Stephanie. Tom. Krystyna. Racheal. And so many more.

Stacy, it’s our commune! Of a sort. It’s the best kinds of people joined together. By you. And I will always remember exactly when and why all of us became friends.

You were, then you weren’t.

Happy birthday, Stacy. I love you.

Rules of Yes and Rules of No: The Dangerous Game of Sex

I went on a date the other night, and she paid for everything – drinks, dinner, and the bar tab we ran up until two in the morning. A few days later, I was telling a friend about my weekend, and she jokingly asked if I put out that night. I replied, “Well, yeah, I had to, after she spent so much money, right?” We laughed. Yes, we laughed because it was ridiculous to think that I had any obligation to have sex with my date simply because she paid for the evening’s activities. It was laughable. Ludicrous. Inconceivable. And yet, how many men out there think that the money they spend on a date entitles them to something in return?

As a child, I learned about chastity and abstinence, and then I read books too adult for my young eyes for my real sex education. I would play on the playground with my friends, and we would separate into girls vs. boys. We would pull hair. We would snap bra straps. We would tease and mock and pick on the girls who inhabited our nightly dreams. And they would giggle or get mad and tell us to stop, and we learned that was called flirting. We would hear and see and learn that when she says no, it means you work harder so you can show her you’re worthy of a yes. We would go to the movies and watch it in action. Every movie hero wanted the girl who said no, because it meant he finally had to put some effort into the chase. Why are we so surprised, then, when our society continues to churn out men who don’t recognize the word “No”? They don’t see rejection as a chance to look inward and improve oneself; rather, it’s something to be challenged at best, and ignored at worst.

The rules are simple; yet, they’re not. Women are told they should play hard to get, and men are told those are the women worth having. Nobody learns to say yes when they mean yes and no when they mean no, but we’re supposed to navigate those dangerous waters or we’re told that we’ll die sad and alone. But until we reach the point that we’ve moved past these misogynistic mating rituals where acts of aggression and dominance are rewarded by society at large, here are some rules of yes and rules of no:

  • Am I entitled to sex if I paid for dinner? No.
  • What if I spent over $100? No.
  • Am I entitled to sex if we’ve been on three dates? No.
  • Four? No.
  • Six? No.
  • A hundred dates. C’mon, a hundred? No.
  • What if she’s agreed to be my girlfriend? No.
  • We made it Facebook official? No.
  • We’ve had sex already on previous nights? No.
  • We had sex already that day? No.
  • Am I entitled to sex once I’m engaged? No.
  • What about once I’m married? No.
  • But what if it’s been a while? No.
  • I pay all the bills and she stays at home and we haven’t had sex in a month? No.
  • What if we’re the last two people on Earth and I just saved her life from a cyborg dinosaur with laser eyes? No.
  • If she said we could have sex the next time we went out, and this is that time, even if she hasn’t said anything about it? No.
  • What if she gets really drunk so she forgot to say okay? No.
  • If I’m really drunk too? No.
  • We’re both equally drunk? No.
  • What if she’s been ignoring me and finally smiled at me? No.
  • If she fell asleep or passed out and left her door open? No.
  • If she told her friend that she wanted to have sex with me, and her friend told me? No.
  • What if she says no, but she smiles? No.
  • What if it’s Opposite Day? No.
  • If she invites me over? No.
  • But if she’s wearing something sexy?  No.
  • And then we make out? No.
  • And we get naked? No.
  • And we’re about to have sex, but she has second thoughts? No.
  • If she doesn’t explicitly say no? No.
  • What if I’m really horny? No.
  • Really, really horny? No.
  • What if she drinks so much she passes out? No.
  • If she told me yes before she passed out? No.
  • I deserve sex if she’s just a tease, right? No.
  • But what if she’s just been leading me on? No.
  • If she laughs about it? No.
  • Am I entitled to sex if everyone else has had sex with her? No.
  • But that must mean that clearly, she’s easy, and doesn’t care who she sleeps with? No.
  • If she tells me she’s interested in me? No.
  • What if she says she usually has sex on the first date? No.
  • If I beg her until she says okay? No.
  • If she initiates sex and then changes her mind? No.
  • So, when am I entitled to sex? Never.

And, finally:

If she initiates sex, or I initiate sex and she consents, and at no time does she change her mind, offer resistance, or in any way demonstrate that she’s unwilling to proceed, through body language, verbal cues, or a combination of both, or incapable of proceeding/providing consent due to intoxication, then can I have sex? Yes. But you’re still not entitled to it. Appreciate it. Enjoy it. Have fun with it. Love it. But don’t expect it. Don’t demand it. And don’t you dare ever, ever think you deserve it.

 

To the mothers

To the mothers and moms,
to mommies and mamas,
the maters, the mammies,
to the madres and mas.

To the sisters who stepped up,
the dads on their own,
the aunts and the nanas,
who gave us a home.

To the ad hoc physician,
the maid and the chef,
the folder and sorter,
the boss and the ref.

To the moms of adults,
who have some kids of their own,
to the new moms, waiting,
to meet the child they’ve grown.

To each of you who have
a bond stronger than blood,
to unconditional love
through the bad and the good.

You take charge, you take lead,
you’re queen of the mount,
and today, dog and cat moms,
pets don’t fucking count.

Happy Mother’s Day!

I’m so angry.

The thing is, I don’t let myself get angry anymore.

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I haven’t lost my temper in years. Literal decades.

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I trained myself in college to count to three, take a breath, and reassess the world. Was it really worth losing my temper? The answer was always no.

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But this week? My safeguards have said “fuck it, we’re on vacation until people stop dying.” Grief and sadness have worn me down until I can’t feel anything except this constant buzzing. I wear it like a second skin, arcing and sparking off me, just waiting. For one last person to show a disregard for humanity, a contempt for civility, a lack of respect for me or someone I care about. That’s all it would take.

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I realized exactly how angry I was on Thursday night, after a show, when a drunken idiot, sporting a mid-90s MTV VJ hair style and a pin-striped shirt indicating he knew how to fix air conditioners, took offense that we didn’t care for the awful joke he needed to share with us and decided to hurl invective at us. It wasn’t anything special or anything we hadn’t heard before, but I started to get mad. And when I closed my eyes for a second to count to three, instead I saw myself putting my right hand on his neck and throwing him to the ground, kneeling on his chest and driving my fists into his face until he was a sopping, bloody mess, with swollen eyes, a broken nose, a gaping open toothless maw for a mouth. I opened my eyes and dared him to say one more fucking word, which, as you’ve guessed, he didn’t.

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I’ve been walking that edge for the last three days now. Normally, a buzzing like this precipitates an anxiety attack, and some deep breathing and mental acknowledgement of my inability to control my life will alleviate it; or, in extreme cases, I’ll just take a Klonopin and a nap. But this is different. Deep breathing just accelerates my adrenaline, and the rush of blood in my ears brings a smile to my face. I don’t even want to write about it – I want to walk around until I see someone who deserves to be hurt and I want to hurt them and just keep hurting them because it isn’t fucking fair that we’ve lost good people who should still be around and all of the shitty fucking assholes are still oozing around and i just want to feel something right now because i haven’t cried yet and i’m so fucking goddamn angry at the world and i can’t breathe because fuck you for still being here when they’re not and i know it can’t bring anyone back to smash my fist into some idiot’s face but it might bring me back to the place i need to be because i’ve lost my center.

Fuck.

I’m so angry right now.