Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Beat the Drum Slowly, and Play the Fife Lowly

The topic: guns.  How many, what kind, where are they? All wrapped up in an American flag with apple pie on the side.

I don't really have a problem with the concept of guns.  Even as a vegetarian, I know that many people enjoy eating meat and find pleasure in hunting.  I can even appreciate that hunting is necessary - although it breaks my heart - but when I see deer carcasses along the highway each winter, it becomes obvious that hunting helps save human lives.  I don't like it, but I am a realist in that regard.  In my city of Raleigh, I have been reading internet news describing an increase in petty crimes and small burglaries.  Then, because I haven't yet embraced stabbing out my own eyes, I read the comments.  There is always one (or a thousand) that says, "Everyone needs to get a gun right now."  And seventy-eight "likes" for that comment.

The message here is, "my life is more important than yours." So much more important, in fact, that I will kill you and not be bothered by it for one second.  Am I talking about the burglar, or am I talking about the homeowner?  You really can't tell, can you?  People will often point the finger of blame toward criminals for a sincere lack of respect for human life in our country.  In my opinion, it goes much deeper than that, and it goes both ways.  It also stems from the "good guys" saying, "gimme a reason."

So people want to open carry in Target these days.  Why?  To deter crime?  No.  People want to open carry in Target for the same reason a person wants to walk around patting their fist into their other hand. "Gimme a reason."  And what is that reason, exactly?  Another gunman?  Someone stepping on your daughter's foot?  Having twelve items in the express lane?

Even more sad to me are the people who say, "go ahead and break into my house... you'll get it."  They seem to relish in the very thought of taking another person's life.  Being the "homeowner defends her property" or "mother defends her children" on the Saturday news.  By shooting someone else dead.  By taking another person's life.  No matter the justification, it seems to me they have no problem with the idea of killing another person.

I do know a few gun owners who would explain their reason for owning a weapon as "I hope having a gun would be enough to scare someone away.  I don't even want to imagine what it would be like to take someone's life.  I would only do this in an extreme situation and it would be the most awful day of my life if it came to this."  Etc.  But on-line, I often read "boom, great job," in the comments when someone kills an intruder.

So, we keep talking about this mysterious disregard for human life and of course the blame is placed on criminals.  I would argue the disregard is much bigger than this and we are playing a dangerous game of who is worthy and who is not.  *THIS* is the real problem.

Something has to give.   No one is without fault.

"We beat the drum slowly and played the fife lowly,
And bitterly wept as we bore him along.
For we loved our comrade, so brave, young and handsome,
We all loved our comrade, although he'd done wrong."

Thursday, September 11, 2014

But What About Your Birthday?

Looking back at my blogs over the last ten years certainly tells a tale. Mostly it shows that I always have a lot to say, even if I don't say it out loud. So why not start a new blog again...

Derek, my husband of six years and the father of our two children, and I were discussing our winter holiday plans.  (For the Christian readers:  Christmas vacation).  I suggested that perhaps this year we drive back to Indiana for Thanksgiving, where both our families live, and stay home for Christmas in our own house in North Carolina.  I started to elaborate that we could find a nice Thanksgiving buffet restaurant in Indy, invite my folks downtown - and then Derek interrupted me.

"But what about your birthday?"

I stared at him.  Looked down.  Sighed.  Responded with a dismissive wave of my hand, "eh, what about it."

I turn forty-years-old on November 25.  I never really knew what to expect about turning 40.  I do recall missing my 10-year high school reunion because I didn't feel great about my place in life at the time, and also the fact that none of my other friends were going.  A friend and I vowed to attend our 20th reunion because we would be fabulous and have had plastic surgery.  Then it was time for our 20th.  I felt neither fabulous nor had I completed any type of plastic surgery.  Perhaps something I will someday regret, but still haven't, I skipped out on that reunion, too. 

So, what about my birthday.  At first I envisioned a solo trip to Las Vegas, where I would blow through cash playing craps (badly), blackjack (it's blackjack) and poker (I don't totally suck).  I would excessively drink free rum and cokes (which I only drink in Vegas) and smoke cigarettes (even though it's been years since I've smoked).  It would be great.  Alone time in a city I never minded being alone.  Then I realized how depressing that sounded and thought, perhaps I should invite people and try to do something fun. Several months ago, a few Facebook friends replied, "I would love to go to Vegas!"  after I mentioned via Status Update that I might want a Vegas trip for my 40th birthday.  However, only one friend asked me about it recently, and we ultimately decided that perhaps a girls trip to Asheville next year would be more reasonable.

So, what about my birthday? Nothing. I am an almost-40-year-old woman who is introverted, liberal (and growing more so), has two really young children, a college education and experience in music education, knows nothing about fashion, has dabbled in triathlon for the better part of a year but doesn't look like it, can't stop sharing Gin & Tacos via Facebook (thus pissing off people), has wrinkles and a poofed-out belly, can't hold a live conversation for more than three and a half minutes without unintentionally saying something cringe-worthy, loves beer and hates meat. Pretty much your textbook definition of "the person no one wants to talk to."  I don't really have a lot of friends, not surprising.  I'm kind of an ass.

Honestly?  I'm not going to Vegas, we can't afford it with our other trips.  There won't be a party, no one would come to it - everyone has kids, naps, bedtimes, travels, serious family stuff or is tired.  Turning 40 will be like any other day.  I'm super glad to be alive and to have the chance to live to be better.  That's kind of it.  That's kind of enough.  Right?

In a weird way, I was really pissed at my husband for even asking "but what about your birthday?"  But it isn't his fault my own neurosis analyzed my entire existence in a millisecond before I waved that dismissive hand and muttered the "eh..."  It was nice of him to think about it.  *insert happy-face emojii here*