The dinosaur days of summer

8 Jun

In the 14 days since the school year officially ended, vast modifications have already taken place in the Beam household to combat the restlessness of summer break. Some of which have been good, some bad, and some downright ugly. But, like the Uruguay rugby team stranded after their plane crashed in the Andes, we do what we must to survive.

Already, the kids have switched to their summer sleep schedule. The aforementioned schedule being that there really isn’t a schedule, more of a window of bedtime opportunities as varied as their never ending excuses to stay up late. But since we’d rather watch the NBA playoffs than the early morning Today Show, my husband and I submit.

Each night, we pray the late night hours will erase the kids’ learned routine of waking at 6:30 A.M. during the school year, when they’d grumble and cry about getting out of bed so early. In the winter, a promise of perennial presents underneath the evergreens couldn’t arouse these hibernating cubs. But now, like a rooster or a guy who makes donuts, they wake at the crack of dawn; eager for a day where we have nowhere to go and nothing to do. How to reverse this seasonal situation is one of the great mysteries of the parenting world.

Likewise, the boys already have been sent to their respective timeout corners on numerous occasions, their brawls quite reminiscent of the “Thrilla in Manila” except I’m the one throwing in a chlorinated beach towel after round 14. At least 500 sentences have been written ranging from “I will not eat hand sanitizer when someone dares me” to “I’ll never again get my brother in a submission hold called The Walls of Jericho. “War and Peace” will have fewer pages than the collected summer sentence archives of the brothers Beam.

In an effort to stop this rough housing, I’ve tried introducing my two oldest to stories of siblings throughout history who have worked together and achieved great things, like Orville and Wilber Wright or the Kennedy brothers without the girlfriend sharing. Somehow, the kids have decided the Marx brothers should be their role models. I obviously play the straight man to their vaudeville-like behavior. So long as they don’t discover the story of Romulus and Remus, I think we’ll endure until August.

Giving them some much needed time apart from each other, and from me, I’ve enrolled all three in summer camps. The amount and types of programs amaze me. Parents may pick from camps specializing in nature, Taekwondo, ballet, science, Legos, music, drama, art and every sport imaginable. We’ve stayed away from fencing, archery and certain science labs for obvious reasons, as if my children need any incentive to turn our backyard into the fourth installment of The Hunger Games. These skills could tip the odds forever in their sibling rivalry favor, a chance I’m not willing to take.

Survival of the fittest has been proven this summer. Now if Darwin could have advocated a theory of poolside parenting, my world would be a much more relaxing place.

A requiem for a waiting room

3 May

Sitting in a doctor’s waiting room sometimes hurts more than the injury that brought you to the dreaded hell hole in the first place.

Currently, I’m in such painful doldrums. My left knee decided to go out while I was in the middle of running a half marathon last Saturday. Despite my constant prodding and pushing, it refuses to track back in and answers back to my remedy with a POP POP POP. Obviously, it holds grudges when provoked. Now, I’ve been forced by this uncooperative joint to hobble on over to my orthopedist and get it checked out.

Which is why I’m in this God-forsaken waiting room with nothing to do. I can’t get enough reception to play with my iPhone. I forgot a book. And I don’t feel like talking to the gaggle of ladies in wheelchairs encircling me.

Why exactly are they surrounding me? I look to the nurses, who have the protection of a sliding glass window, bullet proof no doubt. How long have these ladies been waiting here? The look in their bifocal covered eyes tells me they’ve grown tired as well. They, too, are aware of the lawless situation.  I feel slightly like a “Lord of the Flies” scenario may shortly occur. They have canes and steel wheels. I have a bum knee and a sharp mouth. Thank goodness I have little meat on my bones to eat, and hopefully will be spared. I slather on some Vick’s vapor rub and hope the smell of death wards them off for a few seconds longer.

A voice disturbs my anarchical delusions. A nurse sweetly calls out a name. Not mine, of course. She calls again, and this time a man jolts awake mid snore. His hips creak, stiff from remaining in the same chair from a two hour wait as he enters through another door. The exit is elsewhere, which worries me since you never see people leave. All we need is Wes Craven to roll some film, and I’m sure something sinister would occur. Is that a saw I hear? Hopefully to split open a cast and not that gentleman’s balding head.

After a half an hour, my mind starts to create its own games. It produces elaborate stories for each of the patients waiting with me. The frat boy with the neck brace obviously drank a little too much Jungle Juice, tried to make the moves on a blonde leaning on a balcony and took a header off a second floor. He catches me staring at him and gives me a WTF glare.

A young child with a broken arm smiles tenderly at me. She really didn’t break her wrist. She fibbed and said she fell of the bed to get sympathy after a fight with her brother. Hairline fracture, my butt.

And, the middle-aged woman gimping around with the screwed up looking knee cap obviously ran without training. Ok, this one I know is true. But I’ll tell the doc I received the injury from chasing a bank robber down a flight of steps. He shot at me, like all country thieves do, and while dodging bullets like Neo, my knee popped and I went down. I’ll be presented with a police medal next week.

Finally, I win the lottery. The nurse calls my name. I’m not sure if Saint Peter’s voice will sound just as sweet. I might not ever get the chance to find out, so I relish in this moment a while longer. As I flop toward the bright light behind the door, I feel the piercing stares of those who arrived after me, and two that appeared before. Their minds click away like an old fashioned calculator, trying to determine how many more people will be summoned before it’s their turn.

I smile to myself. Until I realize that all the doors throughout the hallway remain closed, excluding one. My wait is not over. It’s only just begun. And I don’t even have a fellow survivors of the ordeal to help me bide my time. Wait, are those plastic gloves in that box?

Coked-out cookies and the Rise of the Girl Scouts

15 Mar

Several weeks back, Indiana State Representative Bob Morris faced ridicule from around the nation for inflammatory statements he made regarding the Girl Scouts of America. According to news sources, such as MSNBC, Morris stated in a letter that he believes the organization aids in “the destruction of traditional American family values.”

Finally, someone has had the courage to stand up to those pesky cookie-selling criminals! But Morris still doesn’t see the whole picture. Rotting away the moral fabric of America is only the beginning to what these heartless little hoodlums have planned. If you examine their rituals and training closely, you will see that, like North Korea and the Kardashian sisters, their ultimate goal is to take over the known universe.

Yes. All the conspiracy theorists that have blamed secret organizations, such as The Bilderberg Group and The Illuminati, for wanting to control all of mankind have been wrong. Do those secret groups teach young women how to shoot a bow or live off the land? No. Do they educate and empower half of our civilization? Negative. Do they dress in paramilitary colors of brown and green, wear membership stars, and don Army Ranger berets? Nah. Do they control most of the world currency and capital? Well, yes, but not for long. Not if the Brownie Brigade and their minions have their way.

How can an organization of sweet, innocent little girls ever hope to achieve world domination? Why, one small badge at a time, of course. Let’s review some of the titles of these insane insignia.

*Power of Team Award.

(Indoctrination into a group-think setting, more like it.)

*Reach Out.

(And conquer Canada.)

*Citizen- Inside Government.

(How many subversives have already infiltrated the upper echelon of the military, judiciary and executive branches? Being only 16.8 percent female, at least we know the legislature is safe.)

*Camper.

(How was the American Revolution won? Guerilla warfare, or as I like to say, naturalists that wear combat boots instead of Birkenstocks.)

*Medal of Honor.

(Grandpa Joe received one of these for fighting in WW II. Enough said.)

*World Thinking Day.

(Learning is half the battle, according to GI Joe. For Girl Scouts, it’s thinking about how to take over foreign lands.)

Not enough proof? Let’s look at the most condemning piece of evidence… those delectable cookies. Most people find it hard to resist the yummy morsels. News flash. It’s the trace amounts of cocaine baked inside. Yes, the Girl Scouts also have a working relationship with South American drug cartels. Remember Evita? Immoral women have no allegiances.

Through a growing dependence on the coked-out cookies, the organization hopes to enslave the American public. If for some reason the addiction doesn’t weaken our citizenry, the increased caloric intake into our daily diet will. Dastardly.

So thank you, Representative Morris. Like the cat bearing your name, you’ve represented America well. Through your Internet research, you’ve exposed the inner workings of the foremost all-female secret society. Some might call you crazy, idiotic or even an extremist male chauvinist pig. But I call you a hero. Oh wait, they also called you an uneducated nut job with too much time on your hands. Forgot that one. Anyway, so onward toward the renunciation of other brazenly belligerent female militias like the League of Women Voters, the Daughters of the American Revolution and the collective castoffs of the “The Bachelor” series. As the Girl Scouts say, be prepared. Indeed. 

All we need is love

6 Mar

Below you’ll find my column this week from newsandtribune.com. With the devastating tornados that ripped through Southern Indiana last Friday, I wanted to share so of their stories. Please, if you could, give to our local Clark County Chapter of the American Red Cross.

 

Sometimes, life isn’t fair. In fact, at times, it’s downright horrific. That’s the only answer I had for the horrendous damage caused by the tornados that rumbled across rural communities in Southern Indiana last week.

On Sunday, I drove into Henryville to cover the devastation of the twisters and tell the stories of the families affected by their haphazard path. The photos do not convey the destruction. Debris fields everywhere you turn. Children’s dolls maimed, covered in mud. Random pieces of indiscernible cloth billowing like a flag in the breeze. Old photos of loved ones encrusted in a dirt frame. And then, there was all the rubble where sturdy houses and barns and buildings once stood. So much rubble that only a short time a go was another Hoosier’s life.

These were only the material things. But their broken images stung. The stories of the survivor’s heartbreak stung more.

How many people lost everything they owned? Tales of sacrifice and pain and destruction filled the Internet. When I interviewed people for the stories, my eyes watered. I’m no grand journalist. Most reporters don’t choke up on the news when they talk to the victims. I did.

Yet somehow, throughout all the stories, a sense of awe arose. Not of the damage caused by the cyclone, but of the resilience and kindness of all those affected. In almost interview, the disaster survivors and their families smiled. Most even laughed. One man searching through the rubble of his cousin’s farm told me how his wife had found some old Maxim magazines. When he thought about saving them for resale, she responded that the paper would make better use as kindle for the fire burning outside their tent at night. Especially the issue with the saucy cover photo of Danica Patrick. He chuckled.

Another young boy helping with a different search in a leveled house shouted up to the homeowner that a piano mostly under debris still played amongst the ruin. The man smiled and asked him to play him a tune. Shortly thereafter, a friend handed the man an intact beer that came from a buried fridge. Even with many of his possessions gone, his lips managed to curl upwards once more.

On more than one occasion, family members offered me a drink, even a bite to eat. One sweet woman tried to insist that I take one of their warm hats. The pastor of Mount Moriah, his church crumbled before us, worried about my thin jacket. He tried to give me hand warmers as we talked. After all the devastation, amazing generosity still prevailed.

Time after time, I started to see a pattern. Something connected each story that emerged from those debris fields. Something that almost every human shares. Love. A mother sacrificing her own body to protect her beloved children. A neighbor risking his life to bring the family next door into his better protected home. A husband holding his wife as their home swirls around them during the wind and hail. A community who reaches out with food and money and time to help people they do not know.

To me, all these things are based on love. Call me naïve, but if anything, that’s what this disaster has taught me. Yes, sometimes life isn’t fair. Sometimes it’s even horrific. But in the end, if you look hard enough underneath the rubble, you can discover love in almost everything. And if you find that love, you can find that life, even in a terrible tragedy, might not always be so horrific after all.

In defense of the nightmare sports parent, aka me.

23 Feb

Having kids in sports is rough. So harsh apparently, a guy named Steve Henson wrote an article for thepostgame.com that educates moms and dads on how to become a great sports parent. Although I disagree with some of his assumptions, most of the article addresses some pretty basic, common sense rules for dealing with athletic kids.

Until I saw it. The it being a statement that made the back of my neck burn yeast infection red. In the piece, Henson mentions that most parents aren’t “stereotypical horrendous sports parents, (like) the ones who scream at referees.” Holy cow. To this guy, I’m beyond a nightmare sports parent. I’m a stereotype.

Let me set the record straight. Generally speaking, I’m quite well behaved at my kids’ games. I don’t know enough about soccer to garner an opinion. And normally I could care less about gymnastics or dance. As long as my daughter doesn’t use any of the skills learned on a floor-to-ceiling pole, or worse yet, on a teenage boy, we’re cool.

Now basketball tends to get me in trouble. I know enough about hoops to see right and wrong. So when I witness a foul or other infraction that the other team commits, I tend to blurt it out. Loud. So loud the ref can hear me. Ok, sometimes you could say I shout at the refs. But really? If you witnessed a bank robbery and observed a masked culprit escaping with a sizable stash, wouldn’t you holler for the police to get involved too?

Anyway, I’m bad. I know it. I didn’t go against any of Henson’s other little litmus test rules. But it doesn’t matter. Due to my harassment of those supposed humans in stripes, I must be the ultra nightmare sports parent. I always pictured myself as a bad-dream-after-Chinese-food type of villain instead.

Rather than be a hypocrite and act pristine and pure and deny my true ruthless nature, I’ve decided to embrace my new title. So therefore, I’ve listed several of my own Dos and Don’ts for crazed moms and dads like me who have little room- or hope- in the traditional framework of strong moral athletic role models such as Tiger Woods, Michael Vick and Ben Roethlisberger. Oh, our heroes.

FIVE WAYS TO BECOME THE MOST HELLISH SPORTS PARENT EVER

*Learn all the officials’ names, addresses, family information and car makes and types. Then, bring that Sicilian exchange student named Vinnie to all your games and gently remind the refs you have this material, along with several interesting photos involving fishnet stockings and bats from the changing room. Calls will magically start going your way 90 percent of the time. Rarely are broken kneecaps required.

*Teach your kids about the 1919 World Series, and how sometimes balls shouldn’t be caught if your mom has a Benjamin on a five-run spread.

*Locate all the dealers of human growth hormone and anabolic steroids in your city. You never know if your child may need to kick-start a growth spurt. Normally, the best place to find these people is around major league ballparks, but somehow business has dropped off recently. Congress and their inquisitions, hmph. Until then, prick your son with a toothpick daily to toughen up the skin around the future injection site. Also, give him or her hourly doses of Five-Hour energy and send him to the neighbors to practice his mad endurance skills.

*Make friends with all the other players on the team. Then, when tournament time rolls around, feed several of the better players Ex-lax-infused brownies. Playing time is playing time no matter how you may get it.

*Drink, curse and yell around your children. Many great athletes had horrible parents. Ever heard of a guy named Babe Ruth? Do you think his greatness was incidental? No. Obviously, his bad father drove him to do better. Or maybe he had so much all-consuming rage, the only way to cope was to take a bat to something. Either way, it works. Trust me, your kids will be thanking you later after they make it big, write a tell-all best seller and sue you for those well deserved extra percentages you took while you were their agent.

So, go forth, my minions. May we conquer the stands with our newfound power. And remember, no matter how terrible we become, we still have one thing going for us. We’re not parents of kids in the arts. Costumes? Solos? Marching in unison? Now talk about some nightmare issues…

The case of the love struck school board

14 Feb

Cupid’s arrows struck early yesterday at the New Albany Floyd County School Board Meeting. That little naked cherub is good. The sharp projectiles incapacitated five of the seven board members and made them fall undyingly in love with our superintendent, Dr. Bruce Hibbard. In their adoration, the members voted to give Hibbard a $28,500 raise in his new contract as well as a one time $10,000 bonus. That brings Hibbard total salary to $170,500 effective immediately. Happy Valentine’s Day, indeed.

Not all of us are love struck. Our school corp currently is projecting a deficit of $2.8 million dollars for the 2012-13 school year. Many hard decisions have been made including a pay freeze for all support staff and other administrative positions, school closures, teacher layoffs and benefit reductions. Ends had to meet. And so tough choices were made.

Until now.

I’m not here to argue the effectiveness of Hibbard’s reign as head honcho. He’s done a good job and his accomplishments should be applauded. I like the guy.

However, the hypocrisy of a raise when so many others have sacrificed for the good of our school community is unreal. More cuts need to be made. And now his raise will be prioritized before our children’s other needs. Although $28,500 to some is small money, to our schools it could mean a full-time assistant principal, or several new aides, not to mention that the teachers’ contracts expire this summer. During the new negotiations, things will become a whole lot harder when teachers use this raise as justification for not wanting benefit cuts of their own. And I can’t say I’ll blame them.

My biggest question is how did common sense fail in this situation? All of us know that when you don’t have money in your wallet, you can’t afford certain things.

But the school board decided to take out a line of credit in our children’s names and support this salary increase. School board member Mark Boone and others have said in newspapers that they were afraid Hibbard would leave. In the News and Tribune article, Hibbard even hints that if he didn’t receive the raise, his departure was a distinct possibility. Last year alone, he applied to several open superintendent positions at schools throughout the country.

Seeing this tactic work so wonderfully for the school board, I decided to try it on my husband. I told him that I demanded a yearly increase of $25,000. Obviously our children have improved their reading and math skills under my tenure as their mother. Yes, they go to school six hours a day, but my leadership of getting them to that school daily is the deciding factor in their success.

I also told him that getting rid of me and hiring a new wife would be less cost effective then just giving me the raise. Half of his property is more than $25,000. He needed to act quick, too, because I had numerous other men already making offers as having me for their own. So do we have an agreement?

My back still aches from sleeping on the bumpy old leather couch.

Our school community is much like a marriage. You must give and take and share in the good times and the bad. You also must have trust, honesty and good communication. Somehow I think the school board and our community needs marriage counseling. The fundamentals are just not there.

As for Dr. Hibbard, I do hope he sends flowers on this Valentine’s Day to his love struck friends on the school board. Whaley, Anderson, Boone, Smith and Hines need wine, chocolates and roses, because the community will hold them accountable to this vote. And I’m pretty sure cupid doesn’t have enough arrows in his quiver to hit all those disgruntled voters.

The rise of the modern day snob

7 Feb

Let’s face it. The world is full of snobs. Rich snobs. Intellectual snobs. Religious snobs. Moral snobs. Unconventional snobs. Beautiful snobs. Even I’m-weirder-than-you snobs. For one reason or the other, most humans in their lifetimes have felt superior to a fellow earth dweller. It’s a condition of humanity itself. I think; therefore, I know I’m better than you.

And with social networks parading our peers and every detail of their lives in front of us 24-7, the trend of silent self-importance seems to be growing. Just look at all the candid shots of teenage girls pouting in short shorts in front of their bathroom mirrors. Proof enough, don’t you say?

Science actually has a nice name for misplaced snobbery: illusory superiority. According to Wikipedia, this bias “causes people to overestimate their positive qualities and abilities and to underestimate their negative qualities, relative to others.” In other words, most people think they are better than what they really are. American Idol contestants are one of the first examples to come to mind.

Making matters worse, studies show the more removed people are from live subjects, the greater the effect of illusory superiority. It’s difficult to think you’re better than someone that you have live contact with everyday. It’s much easier to have disdain toward someone on television or in the news that you’ll never meet. Now you know why all those Bachelorettes have so many haters.

Sometimes snootiness is justified. It’s evident that Einstein had a higher I.Q. than Jessica Simpson. So if he stuck his nose high in the air and shunned her at a hypothetical dinner party, no one would mind. It’s good to have a little swag.

The problem occurs when the aloofness isn’t warranted. We’ve all seen people acting better than their true station in life. Of course, one could argue that I’m being a snob for judging what I perceive their true station in life to be. Am I myself using illusory superiority? Or am I a realist with a healthy level of self-esteem who knows my place in society?

Enough of this. My mind hurts. I need to feel better about myself. The T.V. downstairs is blaring The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills Reunion Show throughout my house. It summons me. At least I know that I’m smarter than half the chicks on there. See, we all can be snobs. I just like to call it positive self-worth.

Lego-ing of gender stereotypes

24 Jan

Sexism comes in many forms. I hadn’t realized tiny pieces of plastic that hurt like unanesthetized bone grafts when you step on them might be one. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, critics have been blasting the Lego’s Friends line for girls as being sexist and reinforcing gender stereotypes.  One opponent even goes so far to say that the slim shape of the figurines will promote “body dissatisfaction” in our young ladies.

Would someone please tell me why no one complains about traditional toys for boys doing the same?

Take for instance, the male Lego figurines. Each little nugget has a block chest with a monotonous, unchanging expression. Must our boys mimic those little characters in their emotional impassiveness? Society does force men to be stoic. Plus, have you ever seen a fat Lego? Our boys must be suffering from inner turmoil when they piece together the chesty hunk that looks nothing like their beer drinking, couch potato daddy. Perhaps Lego should construct, sell and interpret a Rorschach test building set to verify the harm they’ve inflicted on our youth. I’m sure most every building would either look like a giant penis or their mother’s barren womb.

Likewise, other action figures promote male body discontent. All GI Joes are hot and hunky. Except maybe Snake Eyes and Cobra, but only because you can’t see their faces due to the masks. But still, every last one has big bulging muscles hugged by tight military fatigues. After raiding Destro’s command center, my boys stopped playing and also attacked the food pantry. Those toys must be sending out subliminal messages that force them to crave protein and steroids. My seven-year-old was dead lifting a case of Coke cans the other day. Obviously, he wasn’t trying to hide them upstairs under his bed for a late night caffeine binge. He needed to bulk up. If knowing is half the battle, we’ve already conquered your sinister plan of body stereotyping, Mattel. Yo Joe, indeed.

Et tu, Star Wars? Sure, the franchise enlists numerous not-so-attractive characters. But does Yoda or any of the other strange creatures get the girl? Go there, they do not. A hot Jedi brother gets more action with his princess sister than poor Jabba receives from his entire slave harem. I bet if the Hutt had been 6’5”, blonde and built, Leah might have used those chains around his neck in a different manner.

Even Disney characters add to the gender conundrum. Look at the Toy Story character Woody. First, his name is Woody. What is that teaching our impressionable youth? The only other Woody I know ended up yippie ki yaying his own adopted daughter. Ride ‘em cowboy takes on a whole new meaning. Sexualization at its finest, Mr. Mouse! Also, check our Woody’s skinny arms and sinewy legs. I’m not throwing stones at porcelain toilet bowls, but I think he might have a problem. Thank goodness that Mr. Potato Head and Hamm the Piggy Bank have supporting leads in the film. Otherwise, our boys would be headed toward a place only wrestlers trying to reach a lower weight class have dared tread before.

Finally, I saved the worst offender for last. Video game characters raise the standard to high for our sons. Look at Mario. Sure, he’s short and pudgy. But have you seen his moustache. Only porn stars and convicted sex offenders have facial hair like that. Our nation is one step away from having a gaggle of sex-crazed teens on the loose. And all because John “Mario” Holmes and his younger brother Luigi have to “rescue” the juicy Princess Peach. I’ll let you determine the significance of that royal name for yourselves.

So critics, I hope you turn your attention to all the negative stereotypes surrounding boys in our society today as well. Let this be a lesson to you that not only girls face body image concerns. Boys do as well. Now, I’m off to watch Real Housewives of Beverly Hills with my daughter. If Lego can’t portray women in a realistic fashion, certainly popular media will.

 

Drowning in the pool of pre-presidents

18 Jan

Is anyone else completely baffled with the field of presidential candidates that Americans must choose from this year? I truly do not know which politician I’ll vote for in the Republican primary, let alone in the general. At present, I don’t have a donkey or an elephant in the fight. Why must I vote for the candidate rather than the party? Blind indoctrination and voting straight ticket certainly have their benefits, as does living under a despotic tyrant. Double drats that I can do neither.

Now I’ve thought about ways to pick my candidate, at least among the Republicans. My husband pooh-poohed the idea of pasting all of the contenders’ photos on a corkboard and tossing needle sharp darts at them blindfolded until I punctured one, preferably in the mouth. He feared that might attract unwanted attention from the Secret Service. Likewise on taking a blank ballot to the local gun range for a one shot voter’s volley with the old Glock. No worrying about hanging chads with that one.

Since deadly weapons are out of the question, I decided to pray to God for an answer. The Man Upstairs informed evangelist Pat Robertson who will prevail, but then instructed him not to release the info. Witnessing how the Almighty turned Lot’s wife into a pillar of salt just for wanting to catch a glimpse of the coolest firework show ever, I wouldn’t mess around with his instructions either. If it worked for Robertson, certainly it would work for me. So I knelt down before my inaugural portrait of Ronald Reagan and asked God which unheavenly host should receive my vote. Nothing. You could hear an angel wing beating in the wind. I guess J.C. knew I’d open my big mouth and repeat every word he told me. Due to my bitterness, I wouldn’t taste very good on the side of a margarita glass.

Ok. The days tick by and I still do not have a clear favorite. I liked Huntsman but he did the honorable thing and just bowed out of the race after receiving less votes than Alex P. Keaton would have amassed. I suppose now I’ll have to commit the most un-American act known to a voter. No, I’m not talking about blatant fraud or taking money from foreign entities for my vote. Well, not unless they pay over 6,316 Yuan. I’m talking about researching candidates. It’s simply not the American way.

So what have I learned in my studies?

Newt has lied to his wives more times than I’ve fibbed about my weight. (No really, I weigh 110 pounds.)

Paul’s supporters scare me in their dedication as much as Ron’s foreign policy positions frighten me for its insanity. (Isolationism worked great during the post WW I years. Just ask Germany.)

Romney looks like a Ken doll. Likewise, it seems his plastic life also mimics that of Ken as well. (Just one bad word and my vote will belong to you, Mitt. FYI, flip-flopper isn’t considered a swear to me.)

Perry reminds me so much of George W. Bush. (And there lies the problem.)

Santorum I did not research. Every time I pulled up his name on Google I was sent to a sight that spoke of things I’ve only heard of through whispers… and perhaps beheld for a dollar in Bangkok. I gave up on finding out anything more for fear my husband would view the previous history on this computer.

All kidding aside, I am informed on the political positions and social ideology of each of these guys. Yet none of the candidates, including President Obama, have wet my whistle. Which presidential hopeful can get the skyrocketing debt under control while producing jobs and a more educated workforce? Who is willing to address major issues like the growing insolvency of Medicare and Social Security without abandoning the most vulnerable members of our society? Which contender will reach out across party lines and work with one another towards a better tomorrow with integrity and respect to all? And who will ultimately give my sons and daughter and the rest of our nation’s children the best chance of success and upward mobility throughout their lives? I truly do not know these answers.

So I beseech you, good readers, to give me rationale and suggestions on which candidate you are voting for in the upcoming elections? Otherwise, I’ll be forced to cast a protest vote. Although I do think Snookie would make a fine President, don’t you?

Running down a dream… or a college student.

3 Jan

Thud a donk. Crink cre crink.

“What was that?” I screamed to my two passengers after the right side of my windshield splintered outward from a strange impact point. I assumed my car had hit a mailbox. I’m quite skilled at unintentionally playing mailbox baseball using only a side view mirror rather than a boring old bat.

“A guy, and he’s slouched over on the side of the street,” my college roommate stuttered as her gaze scrutinized the damning evidence behind us.

Screetch.

Some sounds you can never purge from your memory. The noise of a human rolling on the top of your hood and crashing into glass is one such sound.

Not too many people can say that they’ve hit a pedestrian. I can. I consider it street cred, quite literally.

The day started out innocently enough. A sophomore in college, I drove my friends to class from our apartment when the weather turned miserable. That day was such a day. As usual, I was running late. Frost covered the windshield to my car. Being someone who does the absolute minimum requirements to anything, I opted to only scrape off a wee bit of ice. A frying pan sized circle should have been enough, well at least in my mind. Motorcyclists see the road from a tiny visor. No grinding ice away for them. Shouldn’t I be afforded the same luxury?

Back to the guy grimacing in pain on the side of the frost covered road…

We stopped immediately. Actually, I threw the car in reverse. Not the smartest thing to do when you have a man lying down on the pavement directly behind you. Luckily I braked in time to not hit the man twice. That might have been construed as intentional and I’m no serial striker.

Of course, I asked if the kid was ok and if he needed to go to the hospital. By this point, he had clamored to his feet. He acknowledged that he was indeed fine. Since he didn’t need emergency medical attention, I did the only thing I thought would help the poor soul.

“Would you like a ride to class?” I inquired still feeling the rush of adrenaline through my veins. Because all victims of a hit-and-stop would willingly ride with the person who just crashed into them with the side of their car.

“Yeah, that would be great,” he said. Obviously he saw the two attractive girls in my vehicle. I thought about mentioning that the short one was single, but didn’t want a prostitution rap to go along with the reckless driving charge.

So with a deer-in-headlights gaze, my victim stumbled into the back seat. For some reason, we didn’t think about having him ride shotgun. Looking back, that was the least we could do. An awkward conversation ensued until we dropped our new friend off at his morning class. Maybe he had made a love connection with my friend in the back, but I doubted it. Cool boys didn’t wear NFL Starter jackets.

You would think that was the end of my brush with the wild side, but no. The following day was Valentine’s Day. My boyfriend, who worked at a pet store, sucked squirrel tail and never bought me any presents except cheap booze and an iguana. So when the doorbell rang, I expected it to be Bill with a case of Natural Light and a heat rock. Instead, a policeman stood in front of me.

Let’s make this clear. According to the officer, I had done nothing illegal. You can hit a pedestrian, it seems, as long as you stop and check on them. Mr. Policeman said I had gone beyond the call of duty by taking the kid to class. But now the big bug on my windshield wanted some money. Seems I ruined his jacket and suddenly he needed to visit the doctor. All the remained of the wreck was a bruise on his leg.

Could this be a shakedown? Perhaps the boy wandered in front of my car on purpose. They do that sort of thing in big cities and in funny movies.

Needless to say, the cop gave the living speed bump my information. I met old boy and paid him off with a new jacket and $200 in cash. I also forced him to sign a document I drew up that said after this payment he would relinquish all further claims against me due to the accident. To seal the deal, I invited him to a kegger my roommate and I were having that weekend. I’m certain Al Capone finished his negotiations in the same way.

So the moral of the story is always fully defrost your windshield, unless you have two hot roommates in the car. Then all you need to remember is just stop, bop and flirt.

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