Archive for the ‘It Could Be Worse…’ Category

Conversations With Social Workers

August 2, 2019

EOB: How are you?

ID: I’m bored.  You?

EOB: I was super bored but then today I did an appropriate adult job (no idea if they have those in the US, basically it’s someone who sits in police interviews for people who are considered vulnerable to make sure the police don’t beat confessions out of them or anything) for a girl who attacked an A&E nurse then threw her shoe at the police during the interview so they took her back to the cell so she flooded the cell and shit on the floor.

EOB: I was no longer bored.

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This Image from the Movie…

June 30, 2019

Midsommar is exactly what I envision goes on in women-only co-working spaces…

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Let it out, girlfriend

Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell, Trans-Asians (Alternative Title: Ugh)

March 26, 2019

This just strikes me as the most entitled white male writer shit ever.  A TIBET OF THE MIND?!  If these guys were alive and tweeting in 2019 they’d be flayed alive.

“Thinking to have a horoscope of Durrell drawn up, [Miller] asked for details of his birth.  Told that he had lived on the borders of Tibet, close to the Forbidden Land, he was thrilled, he said, because he himself was a Chinese at heart.  Miller‘s interest soon took Durrell back to his childhood in Darjeeling, and, soon after, he discovered My Journey to Lhasa by Alexandra David-Neal, who had gone on foot to Lhasa in 1923.  It confirmed his Tibetan ‘ancestry’ and he began to cultivate his ‘Tibetan’ side, claiming he lived in a sort of Tibet of the mind.  If Miller was a Chinaman, then he himself was a Tibetan.”

Through the Dark Labyrinth: A Biography of Lawrence Durrell, Gordon Bowers

Privilege-O-Meter

March 7, 2019

I’m having one of those days when I’m obsessing over the fact that everyone seems so careless and self-centered––and I have those days a lot, which says more about me than it does about people––so I keep trying to do the whole “this is water” thing.  You know, the David Foster Wallace speech?  Where he talks about how you shouldn’t assume people acting like dicks are dicks because they could be dealing with something way worse than you are?  Herewith, a (long) bit of the stuff I’m talking about:

The thing is that, of course, there are totally different ways to think about these kinds of situations. In this traffic, all these vehicles stopped and idling in my way, it’s not impossible that some of these people in SUV’s have been in horrible auto accidents in the past, and now find driving so terrifying that their therapist has all but ordered them to get a huge, heavy SUV so they can feel safe enough to drive. Or that the Hummer that just cut me off is maybe being driven by a father whose little child is hurt or sick in the seat next to him, and he’s trying to get this kid to the hospital, and he’s in a bigger, more legitimate hurry than I am: it is actually I who am in HIS way.

Or I can choose to force myself to consider the likelihood that everyone else in the supermarket’s checkout line is just as bored and frustrated as I am, and that some of these people probably have harder, more tedious and painful lives than I do.

Again, please don’t think that I’m giving you moral advice, or that I’m saying you are supposed to think this way, or that anyone expects you to just automatically do it. Because it’s hard. It takes will and effort, and if you are like me, some days you won’t be able to do it, or you just flat out won’t want to.

But most days, if you’re aware enough to give yourself a choice, you can choose to look differently at this fat, dead-eyed, over-made-up lady who just screamed at her kid in the checkout line. Maybe she’s not usually like this. Maybe she’s been up three straight nights holding the hand of a husband who is dying of bone cancer. Or maybe this very lady is the low-wage clerk at the motor vehicle department, who just yesterday helped your spouse resolve a horrific, infuriating, red-tape problem through some small act of bureaucratic kindness. Of course, none of this is likely, but it’s also not impossible. It just depends what you want to consider. If you’re automatically sure that you know what reality is, and you are operating on your default setting, then you, like me, probably won’t consider possibilities that aren’t annoying and miserable. But if you really learn how to pay attention, then you will know there are other options. It will actually be within your power to experience a crowded, hot, slow, consumer-hell type situation as not only meaningful, but sacred, on fire with the same force that made the stars: love, fellowship, the mystical oneness of all things deep down.

So of course, today while I was trying to convince myself not to burn down the whole damn thing and doing my “this is water” TM mantra thing, all of a sudden it occurred to me: what if some of these people really are just dicks?  Or what if they’re not, they’re just normal people, but their lives are actually easier than mine and therefore they should be all “this is water”-ing me?  Am I still supposed to give everyone a pass for not holding the door of the bodega open for me while I try to wheel out my mammoth baby buggy with my toddler yelling inside MOMMY, MELON and my baby strapped to my chest starting to wake up and root around to suction on to me like a hungry barnacle?  Or is that millennial on her iPhone really just a lazy POS who didn’t see me struggling because she was texting about Kylie Kardashian’s lip balm?

I have an idea for the dystopic disruptors out there (I know there are a lot of you!): make some kind of program or app or something, that gives everyone a privilege rating, so that if you come into contact with someone who treats you poorly, you can just look up their number (or see it in your eyeballs or whatever Google is up to these days) and then you’ll know if you should forgive them or street fight them (or, let’s be real, just curse them in your mind).

In the words of Ken Jennings: BOOM, I just made a Black Mirror.

We Are Living in End Times Part a Million

March 3, 2019

This is sadly not fake news:

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And by “this is not fake news,” I mean these are actual things people have published and thought people would care about recently.

Envy

February 15, 2019

I watched this documentary on Netflix the other day about this story––I liked the documentary, but I was so into this story I’d like anything about it, no matter how poorly done.  Anyway, they briefly interview a detective from the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office who was in charge (I think) of the investigation into the deaths (I tried and failed to take a screenshot of him).  He says, AND I QUOTE, “I’d never even heard of the self-help movement.  I didn’t know there was a self-help movement.”  Never in my life have I envied and pitied someone so much in equal measure!  Ross Diskin might be the most accidentally enlightened man in the universe.

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(This post is categorized as “It Could Be Worse…” because of course it could be worse: you could be James Arthur Ray.)

Anonymous Advice

February 6, 2019
My husband and I are on a huge local parenting listserv––thousands of subscribers, thousands of pages and multiple groups and sub-groups, etc.––and we both get a daily dispatch from the Advice section.  Mostly it’s people asking for pediatrician referrals or the name of a good roofing guy, but occasionally someone writes in anonymously because what they need advice on is sensitive.

Early on in the days of this most recent maternity leave, I was super bored, so I read through all the old anonymous posts, and boy was it entertaining.  There were a lot of repeat issues (fertility problems, requests for therapist recs, nannies being assholes) but some really out there ones.  This is probably my favorite:

Hi – I have a situation with my nanny that I can’t wrap my head around.  She is claiming a spell was put on her a long time ago and it is causing her to not sleep, get sick & be all around miserable feeling.  However, she still comes to work and is doing a good job, always has & my daughters adore her.  She is in the midst of trying to get help through spiritual guidance.  To date I have not worried a second about my children.  My perspective is there is some mind over matter going on and maybe some mental issues?  However, this is a perspective that doesn’t believe in spirits & black magic.  Has anyone been through this? How understanding as a employer should I be?  I wouldn’t get fired for seeing a therapist, but after what happened on the UWS I am a bit nervous.  Any advice would be much appreciated.  My nanny is from Trinidad. Thank you! 

Honestly, though, the best part might have been how half the responses were like “These beliefs are part of indigenous Caribbean cultures!” and the other half were like, “I think it’s offensive to assume Caribbean people are unsophisticated and still believe in witchcraft!”

 

Peak Brooklyn

January 24, 2019

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My New Favorite Website

December 23, 2018

Two reasons why I have a new favorite website.

1. In 2012, the high school football team in Gypsum, Colorado, rallied around a young fan suffering from leukemia, who lived nearby in the mountains.  A family friend of the boy, a woman in her twenties named Briana, was the intermediary: telling the football team about him, giving interviews to the press, moderating a Facebook page for him, etc.  When he died, the whole town mourned.  But then––surprise!––it turned out the whole thing was a scam.

This is just one example of “Munchausen by Internet,” but it’s one that’s always stuck with me, for reasons I can’t explain.  If someone gave me a few thousand bucks with the stipulation that I had to use it to satiate some longstanding useless desire, I would hire a private investigator to find Briana and Treva Throneberry and just show up at their homes and be like, “Yo ladies, WTF?”

2. When I’m bored, sometimes I will scroll through GoFundMe and try to do a little hypothetical empathy math.  Who deserves my imaginary extra thousand dollars?  The woman with colon cancer, or the man with the brain tumor?  The family who lost their home in a flood (aha, but did they have insurance), or the couple desperate to raise funds for IVF?  The website’s mere existence basically begs a million ethical questions, and I have considered writing about it at length before, but then someone else got there first, which would have pissed me off if the article wasn’t so damn good.

Anyway!  A few weeks back, a friend of mine and I were talking about illness on the Internet, and she gave me the greatest gift of all, which was a link to website called GoFraudMe: a snarky news site that tells you whenever someone commits fraud via crowdfunding!  It’s hilarious, galling, informative, and thought-provoking all at once!  Wanna hear about the nurse accused of killing his patients who took to GoFundMe to raise money for his legal fees?  Sure!  Did you know that Whitney Houston’s sister tried to raise funds to get people to investigate the “foul play” in Whitney and Bobbi Kristina’s deaths?  I did NOT know that!  What about the woman who not only faked cancer for money but said she was a veteran despite never having served? Sign. me. up!

Point being: this website is a trove of great stories (and as an aside, was a great distraction when I was recently in the hospital).  Unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have been updated since September.  All I want for Christmas is MORE GOFUNDME FRAUD STORIES!

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This is why we can’t have nice things.

The Only Email You Want To Receive When You’re in the Hospital

November 21, 2018

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