Monday, December 26, 2011

God and Santa Claus

Is it just me, or do a lot of people confuse God and Santa? Of course we did as children, big fat guy with white curly hair and a big beard, who wanted us to be good little girls and boys. He dressed up for Christmas, but he was the same guy.

Early on I learned that no matter how good I was, I would get a ratty little mesh stocking full of stale candy, a wooden paddle with a ball attached with a rubber band that broke right away, maybe a kazoo. My friend who always told fibs, sassed the teacher and said bad words, got beautiful dolls, skates, more and better stuff. I learned that life was simpler if I was good, and people were nicer to me. It just wasn't working to make God or Santa happy. God wouldn't stop at cheap presents, he would kill off your relatives. Whether they were good or not.

Now that I'm fairly well as grown up as it gets, I'm still uncomfortable at too much "Keeping Christ in Christmas." Keep Santa at the mall, keep Christ and his Dad in church. I'll be good if I feel like it, and give myself a nice piece of expensive chocolate, and play some soft carols, and hug friends and family. Because I want to. Not in hope of a reward.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Facts or Factoids

We all know that our fears do not match our facts. Many people fear flying, but I never heard of anyone afraid of a cheeseburger. I never heard of anyone afraid to drive to the cheeseburger store (leaving aside the mentally ill who can't leave their house) but we all know that most auto accidents happen less than a mile from home. Moving doesn't help, either. The facts follow you.
What's got me worried now is neither irrational fears nor scary facts. It's scary non-facts, or factoids, as I call them. Factoids sound like facts, but they're not. We read that Social security is out of money. Factoid. Taxes are higher than ever, and are going up every year. Factoid. The USA is turning into a Socialist country. Factoid. Politicians tell the truth. Factoid. These should frighten us, but they don't.
That's what frightens me. 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Little Old Man

Now that we have reached "a certain age' some of our friends and relatives are facing serious physical and mental health issues. We are fortunate to live in a time when many of these are treatable, and for that we are grateful. Still, we know that no one gets out of this world alive. 
For most of our lives, we had never heard the word "Alzheimer's", and today it pops up almost daily. It's used as a catchall phrase for what we used to call "senility." Senility is a much gentler term. 

One morning, about 7:00 AM, I came home from walking the dog. An elderly man was sitting in my chair in the living room, watching TV, in his stocking feet.. He smiled and waved at me. I went through to the bedroom and asked my husband who he was. I thought maybe he was waiting for him. He assured me that he had no idea, and began to get dressed. I called 911 and waited outside. The yard man came, and he sat on the steps with me to wait for help. Just then we heard a lot of shouting, and l we could see husband and stranger tussling. My husband uses a cane to walk, which must have seemed threatening. The stranger yelled “Don’t hit me with that stick!” The yard man and I went in and broke it up before the emergency crew got there. When they did, they called him by name, and led him to the police car for a ride home. He was an Alzheimer’s patient who lived a few blocks away, and they had taken him home before. He told the police that he came over every day to rock in one of the porch chairs. He really didn’t want to go home.

When they left, I found the man's little shoes on the back porch. It made me cry.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

fibbers unite!

What do we do when an internet nut keeps sending us big fibs? If we ignore them, will the sender think we agree, making us complicit in the lie? There are several choices.
One, we can blast them to hell, with great gusto. Call them out, make fun of them, cast big aspersions on their character.Two, ignore them, but privately send them a link to Snopes or Politifact, or another site that shows they are damn fools.
Well, whatever you do you are not going to change their mind. Nor is it your job. Changing minds is a lot harder than changing your underwear, and not nearly as sarisfying. How about changing other people's bad habits? I yell at rude drivers, but with the windows up. I speak to line-breakers at the grocery, quietly but firmly. "I was here first." How about other rude behoavior?
If someone is talking while chewing at the next table, I try to avert my eyes. If someone is ignoring a shrill, screeching child, I try to ignore it. I want to give them advice on this child thing, but I don't. If this person in my view is reaching inside his pants to scratch his butt, or picking his nose or teeth, I have a solution
Take a picture. Show it to him/ her. Or don't. Whip out that little phone, snap, your're , done. No encounter, no road rage, just smugness. Show it, or not.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Fibber's Festival

The more a lie is repeated, and the more adamant are those spreading it that it is truth...the more likely is it to be accepted as the truth. This statement is of uncertain origins, but it needs to be in our minds when we read the paper, watch news or opinions on TV, and especially when internet “factoids” come our way.
We are heading into a fibber’s festival as the presidential primaries begin next month. What is the source for the statement that the wealthy are the job creators? We have a huge number of wealthy individuals right now, so we should have a huge number of jobs being created. Right? 
Another favorite fib right now is that illegal immigrants pay no taxes, but draw Social Security. Today’s paper tells us that most of our illegal immigrants have been in this country for 10 years or more. That’s plenty of time for someone to notice that their employers aren’t withholding taxes and Social Security from their paychecks. Do you know anyone who receives Social Security that hasn’t paid into it? 
It’s not just the politicians who are spreading these fibs. Every time I get an e-mail that repeats them, the sender loses credibility on everything he says. If you can’t verify, don’t spread.