Wednesday, August 26, 2015

~ The Importance of 'Being Who You Is' (aka: The John Daly Theory)

My friend (& mother of my godkidz) and her sister have a sayin';  "Be who you is".  Grammatically sketchy, yet supremely sage advice.   

Be who you is, is not to be confused with the more English teacher approved commonplace trope of 'be yourself'.  Be yourself almost comes with a wink intonating that said sentiment only applies to the good parts of yourself-ness.  While be who you is demands that you own your badness too.

The difference between the two is both as narrow and as wide as the chasm betwixt mother fuckin' cocksucker and cocksuckin' mother fucker.  Upon first inspection negligible, upon second enormous.

Between being yourself and being who you is, bein' who you is infinitely the better option. 

How do I know?

Answer:  The John Daly Theory

I have a theory.  Fine I have many of them.  (None of the conspiratorial variety)  This one I call the John Daly Theory (JDT).   JDT is applicable to all of our everyday lives, but numerous public scandals bear out its veracity in more splashy ways.  The scandal du jour is a perfect example--  coinkidinkily matching monogrammed Josh Duggar. 

The admitted child diddler and famous infamous evangelical Christian big ass family scion finds himself publicly exposed as bein' a pumpkin' eater (aka: a cheater-cheater), among apparently (ahem) other things after being caught up in the Ashley Madison hack/details dump.

He's the latest in the long ass list of people who would benefit from understanding the JDT.

Now I'm a golf watching enthusiast from way back.  (It's not important that you be a fan of the sticks to grasp the theory.  Trust me.  You already know enough to keep up.)  Contrary to popular belief My favorite golfer is NOT Tiger Woods* Peter Jacobsen.  And Jim Furyk.  And the aforementioned, John Daly.   Yes.  I have three favorite golfers.  I'm a girl.  It has it's privileges.  (Not many, but at least this.)  Suck it.     

* Oh?  A brown girl likes golf?  She must follow Tiger. 
...That's how the train of thought goes before I hear
something along the lines of, 'is Tiger your guy?' 
And that is what's called a microaggression.  
Seriously, y'all; STOP THAT SHIT.

If you're unfamiliar here's a wee primer on John Daly.  This is John Daly:
Circa: A long ass time ago.

These are things John Daly has said:

"My wife tried to stab me."
"I believe nicotine plus caffeine equals protein."

“I tried but every time I worked out I threw up, and I thought to myself that you can get drunk and throw up, so it's just not for me."

The two time major winner makes some badass golf pants

(...Now that everyone's up to speed on John Daly...) 

I discovered the JDT when Tiger Woods was in the midst of his skanky sex scandal several years ago.  As the list of floozy's lined up for a whirl at their fifteen minutes grew longer so did Tiger's fall from grace.  Prior to his proclivities bein' public fodder he'd been (to most) considered a consummate golden boy.   (Sidebar:  Once upon a time I knew someone on the periphery of Tiger's sphere, subsequently I never thought he was as squeaky clean cut as his image was being crafted.  To say I had specific knowledge of cheater would be a lie, but as the gilding fell the fuck off the lily story unfolded I didn't think it much of a surprise.  It seemed in line with the impression of him that I'd gathered via hearsay.) 

The backbone of the JDT is that when one cultivates an image of being X, people fuckin' expect ya to be, in fact, X.  Not to besmirch the esteemed Mr. Daly, but had the headlines instead screamed; 'Daly's Decadent Dalliances' the public reaction would have been less severe.  Why?  Well.  Even if you didn't have a clue that a John Daly existed until now, based on the 3 things you've just found out about him--  would doin' every Waffle House waitress on the eastern seaboard come as an astounding surprise?  Nope.  You'd shrug such a finding off with something along the lines of, yeah that seems right.  (Seriously, John Daly I mean no offense.  Sincerely.)  When the golden boy showed his ass it was mayhem because it was in such opposition to what he (Tiger) had portrayed himself to be.  John Daly who practically leads with the more sketchy aspects of his nature, effectively renders himself immune to misunderstandings, or disappointments of his character.  Simply put?  John Daly, due to his choice to live a life of bein' who he is would have to be pulled over while high on khat drivin' nakid with a whores body in his trunk before he'd experience the scope of public wrath that Tiger did over infidelity.  He's found the catbird seat y'all. 

Had Josh Duggar possessed the inner fortitude to be forthright with the world about who he is, as opposed to polishing up his image as an example of the modern day Christian soldier  standard bearer he wouldn't have to be apologizing for (in his words) being the "biggest hypocrite ever".  

JDT offers the perfect example of the benefits setting the expectation.  The importance of bein' who you is draws hefty dividends when one doesn't have to embark on an apology tour over livin' their authentic life.  It's a lesson most of us would be better for by embracing.   

cc:  America's favorite Puddin' Pop quaalude pushin' tv dad (Bill Cosby), Rachel Dolezal, Lance Armstrong...

A Guide To Being Who You Is:
  • Don't use bein' who you is as an excuse to be a dick.  Nobody likes a straight up jerk.  Nobody.
  • Do recognize the difference between who you'd like to be and who the fuck you are.
  • Act accordingly.  Don't lead people to believe you are significantly better than you are. 
  • You don't have to wear a sandwich board chronicling your top 10 shittiest traits but...
  • Ya do have to drop enough bread crumbs about the authentic you so that others aren't blindsided by the results of you being the authentic you.  

Related:  What Did You Expect? It Makes A Difference (New York Times) -- the science of setting expectations;  "The downside is that when our expectations are not met our negative feelings are much stronger"  ...A surprise to Josh Duggar.  Not a surprise to John Daly.  Or, now, you.  (Your welcome.)


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

~ We Need More Grief Words

The other night I was talking with a friend who is getting ready to lose a parent after a long battle against Alzheimer's.  She's been my friend since we were 6th graders so I desperately wanted to say the right thing.  But if, "you know this is your condolence card, right?" whilst hugging another long time friend at her mother's funeral has taught me anything, it's that doing so (saying the right thing) takes more than my internal desire. 

I scanned my mind for the word appropriate for the conditions. 

...And there was nothing. 

I wanted a word like schadenfreude or han, something that would encompass a concept, a word to convey the feeling of; I'm tremendously saddened and sorry this is getting ready to happen, and yet I'm also grateful.  Grateful that your loved one won't be having this awful reality, and neither will your family, that this has been so hard on for so long.  But less clunky such a phrase seems to be non-existent.  There's no corresponding cliché.  Nothing that expresses the combination of the hashtag-y equivalent of #Sorry #NotSorry sorrow and relief.  

That seems a shame for a feeling fairly often applicable when it comes to death.  We'd all like to (and have our loved ones) peacefully slip away in our (their) sleep, replete with cartoon birdies chirping and fluttering around as we make the transition but more often than not the end rarely wraps itself up in such a Very Special After School Special-y kinda way.  Nope.  Most of us will experience this aforementioned non-existent-word-y feeling.  

Mine came in the middle of the night five years ago.  Before that night I had never wanted anything more than for my Papa, who had recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, to be with me as long as he could.  But then I heard Papa shriek in pain as the hospice nurse attempted a procedure.  I remember sitting at the dining room table as it rang out through the house (a sound I'll apparently never be able to unhear) and immediately changing my want to Papa going right that instant.  As much as I loved and wanted him with me always, I wanted him not to have this as his reality more.  I didn't wish for him to die, but I stopped wishing for him to stay.  My prayers were exclusively for comfort and an easy passing.  I held his hand as he took his last breath.  I was beyond heartbroken.  But I was also relieved. 

Unfortunately, long is the list of diseases and medical conditions that at the end devolve to a tipping point where death (Understatement Alert: as incredibly shitty as it is) is no longer the worst thing to happen.  To say it's a 'blessing' feels wrong (Universal Truth:  nobody thinks never being able to spend time with their loved one is a blessing...) and callous.  But more honest than pretending it's the same kinda (exclusively sad) passing, grief and sadness as losing someone suddenly, at the height of their health and quality of life where there isn't that sense of, again, for a complete lack of a better word, relief.  (I'm not implying one is better/worse than the other, [there is no grief award] only that depending on circumstances at hand there is an amount of suffering that changes the dynamic of the how one views a life ending.  ...See.  Wouldn't it be handy to have a phrase for that?

Grief is a topic that has popped up several times in my circle 'o friends lately.  (Mainly, folks bein' awful at it, if I'm bein' honest.  Not that I'm the Grief Whisper.)  I can't help but think perhaps people would do a lil' better with it if it was discussed a lil' more freely.  ...And perhaps we'd be better at doin' that if we had the actual fuckin' words to describe it.

We Need More Grief Words - Exhibit B: 

Later in the week I was hanging out with a few other friends when my friend (code name) Arrowsmith and I were discussing her late son.  Over an order of remembrance-y shots I asked how old her son would have been?  (Although he left as a toddler he would have been 15 now.)  As we talked about him she off-handedly mentioned how tricky it is now when strangers ask how many kids she has.  (She and her hubby are knee deep in raising two beautiful pre-schoolers [1 girl/1 boy].)   A perfectly normal question people ask other people, but when your answer is a story and not a concise number, and your story is every parent's nightmare scenario, it's a somewhat stressful query.   Not to mention, this is often some random ass stranger you'll never cross paths with again  --of course ya don't wanna lie, but who wants to detail your life story to a stranger?  I'd imagine most parents who have lost a child (of which when I look around at my circle of peeps, there are far too many) have found themselves struggling for the least explain-y explanation possible.  Arrowsmith then, super astutely, went on to say, "when you lose your husband or wife you're a widower/widow, but there isn't a word for when your child dies."  Slightly tipsy.  Mind.  Blown.

As I like to be 'part of the solution' I offer, Kidower.

  • kid·ow·er   /ˈkidō(ə)r/   (noun)  a parent who has lost a child to death

It's telling about our collective relationship with death that we have more words for cell phone picture takin' (selfie, delfie, ussie [yes.  I am embarrassed to know those words exist.] et al) than we have grief phrasing.   We're so uninterested in dealing with death we refuse to create the vernacular for it.  (Stomps stubborn foot)   It's no wonder so many get so mired down in its aftermath.  

Greif is dicey enough to navigate.  (Both on the first-hand-going-through-it and the trying-to-support-someone-going-through-it side.)   The lack of language we have for it doesn't lend itself to making it any easier.  Or saying the right thing.  

"Everybody knows how to talk ya through working a smartphone.  Nobody knows how to discuss death.  Oh.  Ok."


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

~ Things That Aren't For $800 (Accidental Shootings)

When two vehicles collide it's called a crash.  It used to be called an accident.  Obviously, 'accident' denotes something unexpected or unavoidable.  ...Which is exactly why law enforcement is now classifying automotive crash-boom-bangs as accurately crashes.  Most collisions are avoidable by, ya know, paying fucking attention and following rules of the road.  Hence, not accidents.

The usage of the word accident is disingenuous in a scenario where, for instance, if a driver had kept assured clear distance a crash could have been avoided.  Equally as disingenuous is when 'accident' is used to describe tragic child involved shootings...

I'm sure there are accidental shootings.

I can't recall the last time I heard of one. 

But people attributing accidental to situations that Stevie Wonder coulda seen comin'?  Well, that happens alllllllll the damn time... 

HAYDEN, Idaho—A toddler shot and killed a Walmart shopper Tuesday morning in what deputies described as an "accident."

3 year old accidently shoots, kills mother the headline reads.  Fact:  Just because ya say something doesn't make it so.

Cameron, WV  - A 19-year old is dead and a 14-year old is hospitalized after an accidental shooting in Marshall County.
Frankfort, KY -  Officials say an accidental shooting on Christmas night has killed a 16-year-old in Frankfort.  And most recently...
Cleveland, OH - Cleveland baby dies in accidental shooting.

We've managed to be truthful about crashes.  Callin' shit what it is, not what we want it to be.  It's time to be as earnest about shootings.  I don't know what the new term should be?  Gun-ragedy?  I'm open to what it could be.  But it can't continue to be accident.  In none of these instances is 'accident' the appropriate phrasing.  Every one of 'em when you read the  details they show a situation that one can very easily anticipate an outcome that would/could end in a horrific manner.  I don't mean to sound like I'm victim shaming, but kids + unsecured guns = terribleness.  Yes, not always.  But clearly often enough.  (For the Official Record, I'm not anti-gun.  With parents as Police Officers I grew up in a household with guns, and I am a gun owner.  [...Which honestly I'm not sure why I have to declare that?  'Reason' should be reasonable whether or not one owns a gun, but I can only take care of so much 'bidness in one day...])   

What is an 'accidental' shooting?
The usage of accident sets the false expectation that these are fluke-y events which could not have been foreseen, let alone avoided, which is predicated on a lie.  Most gun-ragedies (but especially those involving children) are avoidable.  Checking to see if a firearm is unloaded instead of assuming it's unloaded is, by everyone's estimation, pretty fuckin' avoidable.  Two steps:  1) Remember like your life depended on it to check.  B) Actually check.  Not giving a toddler an opportunity to actually kill someone with curiosity?  Avoidable.  These are tremendous tragedies.  But tragedies created by poor decision making skills.  But not accidents.  I'm not sayin' a person (or loved one) ought to die from a poor decision.  If that were the criteria for which side of the grass I'm on I'd have been 6' under a looooooong ass time ago.  However, all decisions have ramifications and consequences, and while this is a super shitty one that I would wish on no one, it's an outcome of a purposeful action (to not secure your weapon). 

If I cut my finger in the kitchen I don't tell people I 'accidently' cut my finger.  I tell 'em I wasn't holding the food-y item right, or wasn't paying attention and dumbassidly cut my finger.      ~ BBG 

...Keeping things real only requires keepin' it real.

Today a local 4 year old shot a 3 year old in the neck.  Which we all know wasn't an accident.  Ya know, if we're keepin' it real.

Related Posts:
I'll Take Things That Aren't For $1000 (Outdoor Cats)

Coming Soonish Sometime, Other Things That Aren't: 
  • Reverse Racism

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