Monthly Archives: August 2013

White lettering on a black t-shirt: “Dead Women Are Easy.”  The guy wearing it puffed on his cigarette and walked back and forth in front of the cafe where I sat.  He walked a dog that would make a gerbil look robust.  Yes, of course I was offended, of course I was angered. But I was also bemused.  Why would someone want to put that out into the world?  Why would he want anyone to think, upon seeing him, “Now there goes a guy who is so driven by sexual impulses he’d rather practice necrophilia than be with a real, live, thinking woman,” or “There goes a guy so repellent the only woman he could hope to have sex with is a dead one?”

I’m not writing this to take pot shots at him.  I am writing to pose that question in a larger way:  Why do we put messages out into the world that are thoughtless, aggressive and offensive?  Or maybe a better question is, Why do we not think more about what we put out into the world?  I don’t mean for these questions to be  rhetorical.

The flip side of this question is a rant my kids are familiar with: take care what you allow into your mind.  If you watch a show where a zombie eats off the face of someone else, that now resides in your brain somewhere.  We don’t always have control over what we take in (witness the above t-shirt), so when we do have control, use it wisely.  But of course these ideas are connected.  If I am not in the habit of protecting my own mind from things that might harm me, I am also unlikely to attend to the idea that what I do might affect another.  (I want to add here – because I am channeling my stepson, Chris, at the moment – that I also recognize we are all different.  Something that might be deeply troubling to one person could be no big deal to someone else.)

By way of denouement, I offer this quote from Stephen Jenkinson: “Creation longs to be seen, through the singing and response, or the gesture that you make, or your willingness to dress in your finest so that there’s no such thing as work clothes anymore.”  Here’s to humanity singing, and gesturing, and clothing itself more intentionally; here’s to humanity figuratively wearing its finest more, so that what we see when we look in the mirror – and what others see when they pass us on the street – is our intention to make the world a finer place.

Hi, all.  My friend, Karen, wrote a great comment in response to my post a couple weeks back (entitled “You aren’t anybody if you’re not on Facebook”).  I have her permission to share it with all of you.  I want to, in part, because I felt uneasy with something about that post ever since I hit the Publish button.  Her comment gives me a chance to revise my stance and revisit her always-insightful thoughts.

“I have no such feelings about Facebook or Instagram, though I use them both. However, what you’ve described is one of the main reasons I stopped blogging, actually. I would feel this small surge of relief when I was doing or experiencing something blog-worthy. I’d start mentally phrasing out how I would present this or that event while I was experiencing it, and like you said, it took me away from the experience and into the framing of it. Sort of like when everyone used to videotape the kid birthday parties rather than participating in them.

“On a related note, I also felt something like this way back when I was in therapy. After the first couple of months, when all the veins of my childhood were unmined, when I was suffering through a terrible divorce, I just went in there and let loose. Then came the times when a little something would happen and I would think, ‘Oh, good, I can talk about this in therapy this week.’ Soon after that, I graduated with my therapist’s good wishes.”

Oh, yeah, that’s right: we’re all different.  So, it’s not that Facebook or blogging or whatever takes us out of the moment.  It’s that we humans take ourselves out of our present moments sometimes, and when we are determined to do so, we each have our favorite ways of doing that.  At least, that’s where I go after considering Karen’s response to my post.  My aforementioned uneasiness, I think, originated because my post had a hint of judgmental-ness to it: I don’t do Facebook, and see how these people who do get pulled out of being in the moments they’re in.  As if, as a non-Facebook user, I was immune to this effect.

But wait, it gets better: I plan to start using Facebook for work purposes soon.  How’s that for irony?