Sunday, February 24, 2013

We need a New Rule and a New Theory

Sometimes there are just SOOOOOO many questions, and almost never enough answers. Here are a few of the things that have puzzled me recently.

I have lost a large chunk of weight in the last year or so, and now am needing to buy some new bras. I know I am not, and never have been a great shopper, and I don't particularly enjoy shopping. This may be leftover from my long years as a fat chick, but store mirrors never, ever make anyone look good in anything. Not being a recreational shopper may be part of the problem with my not understanding the true cost of anything. But last week I was checking a mid-price catalog for bras, and they cost anywhere from $35 to $78 dollars!!!!!!! Okay-two breast shaped cups with some thin straps cost nearly $100? Can someone make sense of that for me?

I've been hearing many, many people talking lately about pennies not being cost effective anymore, suggesting getting rid of them. Canada just decided to do exactly that. My question is this: if it doesn't make cost sense to make pennies anymore, stop making them. Aren't there enough around to make change with so that the cost of everything doesn't go up to the next nickel? It might make people stop hording them in coin jars thinking they will someday add up to something. Just a suggestion.

I love the moon. I have had a moon phase app on every smart phone I've owned, in case I haven't seen it for awhile. But I usually see the moon every evening, and almost always know what phase it is in, though I'm not exactly sure what "waxing gibbous" means. Moon phases, especially the full moon, have been blamed for many things through history, and emergency room workers still insist they see more patients when the moon is full, and that there is more violence at that time. We know that our tidal changes are related to the gravitational pull of full and new moons. I have become convinced that weird behavior and excess stupidity are related to the gravity between those two in which the pull of the tide going out-low tide. In other words, my new theory is that it isn't the full or new moon, but the other phases, that pull tides back into the oceans that pull all the common sense and decent behaviors out into the depths of the sea with them.

I also hate rules. So many of them seem so silly and arbitrary, and don't really benefit anyone that I can think of. So I'm going to propose only one change. Being from the south, most of the ladies I know repeat every spring, whether they believe and/or follow it or not, the antiquated rule about "No white shoes after Labor Day or before Easter." There may have been some days before global warming in which those periods of time represented the advent of fall and spring. . We can look at the last twenty-five years and see that those seasonal movements have no meaning anymore. It is rare in North Central Texas NOT to have some days near 80 f in January. The sun shines most of the time. There is no need for silly rules regarding apparel. I've seen people wear jeans to the opera who would never wear white shoes after Labor Day. How silly is that? If we have to make rules about when we can pull out the white shoes and put away the boots, let's make it Mardi Gras?

I'm not a doctor. Of any kind. Nor do I play one on TV. But I've read a lot of stuff about psychological disorders, and I can hold a reasonable conversation with my sister in law, who DOES hold a doctorate in psychology, and even with some guys who used to be my shrinks. So, just as the DSM V is about to be released, I would like to introduce another disorder. There is a physical problem called "male pattern baldness." And a friend of mine has recently gone through a very hard relationship with a man who is not single (has a girlfriend) but sees no problem whatsoever with having a physical relationship with my friend. He has been confronted several times about this, and says outright that he sees nothing "wrong" with it. This has been very painful for someone I care about, and I'm guessing that if his girlfriend figured it out, she too would be extremely hurt. This guy is not the first I've known who held this delusion. I'm not calling "rule violation!" here. I think something is wrong when, A) One thinks it should be hidden. If you don't want it to be known, then it is wrong in some way. B) If any person involved is hurt, then it is bad and wrong. It's the old saw that it's okay if no one gets hurt. That aside, I would like to assign this disorder "Male Pattern Dissociative Disorder," because to hold this inhumane view of another person's feelings must mean that one is dissociating his/her behavior from the realities of the human heart. It is not okay, and perhaps there is treatment available. Diagnose yourself if you have ever engaged in this sort of behavior, and either stop it, or seek help.

Another state, North Dakota, is trying to make it next to impossible for a woman to end a pregnancy. This is happening all over the so-called "Red States," even though every single red state politician claims that their goal is more freedom for people. I've always said that they only really mean more freedom for white males, and I can back it up, but that's not why I bring this up today. As I listened to this story on the NPR it took me back to a conversation a few years ago with a former friend who is a proud fundamentalist tea-party republican. She was upset about a baby being left at a safe baby site, and I tried to diplomatically point out that this was a child that was not aborted. It is possible that this mother, in a very, very red state, would have ended her pregnancy before this child was a baby with a need for bonding and care, but the government in her state had already gone about making that nearly impossible. The conversation with my friend didn't say if the baby was white, if the mother was poor, or anything else about the situation. It is possible that these details are unknowable, but they don't really matter. If a person is fiercely anti-abortion, that person cannot be angry when a baby is left somewhere that it will have someone who will see to it that the baby is found a safe place to be raised. If people of the right continue to be rabidly anti-poor, they cannot continue to say that these families can have neither medical care for their children, aid to feed their children, or jobs that provide a living wage and child care that allows working to be viable, nor have the choice not to bring a child into that world. I am pro-choice, people of the red state, and it's time for you to make a smart one. Denying reproductive choice and services for the poor is not a smart choice.

Speaking, of the poor leads me to a question of immigration and unemployment, particularly long-term unemployment. The long term unemployed are a huge problem in this country right now. These people are least likely to be hired by anyone. In fact, there have been stories about employers saying out loud and advertising that they are not interested in hiring anyone who has been unemployed for a long period of time. Some of these people are so disheartened that they give up looking for jobs, and they actually fall off the unemployment radar. There have also been stories about how the jobs shortage has lead to a decrease in illegal immigration. I've heard some farmers tell reporters that they have fruit rotting because the immigrants who normally pick it have stopped coming. I see a cupid fix up possibility here. Someone who has been unemployed for so long that his/her degree no longer counts for anything cannot whine that they can't find work, and claim they are willing to "do anything" if they have not approached a farmer and applied to harvest his crops. It might be low pay, it might be temporary. But it is dignified, honest work. If these unemployed people DO this work, since it is low in pay and has no benefits, the government cannot deny these people aid, but it must allow them the dignity of doing real work that benefits everyone in this country. If food is rotting on the vine, prices go up for all of us. So this is a win/win/win/win. Surely I'm not the only one who has thought of it? Mr. President? You are also the president for the farm states, including Illinois and Hawaii.

Lastly, when one gets to be the age that I am, fifty-five (and a half) we can almost all say that cancer has touched our lives in some way. I've had family members who died, and more who survived cancer. I've had friends who have been stricken by cancer. Some of my friends seem to be cancer's punching bag, they keep getting hit. This happened recently to a friend who was diagnosed for her second time. Her husband has also fought a battle with cancer, and she has lost family members to cancer. This is not a question about cancer. This question is about prayer. This friend is a religious person, and when she got her most recent diagnosis, she asked for prayers. When she began her chemotherapy treatment, she mentioned that the drug they were using for her treatment really made her sick. One of her friends posted, "We'll pray harder." It is an open fact that I do not believe in God, but there are times that I think that there is a real energy expended in "prayer" that can be helpful to people. But for someone who is religious, who claims that God loves us all and responds to prayer to suggest that "praying harder" will help just hit me the wrong way, indeed! If God responds to the prayers of his followers, if prayer has any effect at all, this woman would not have been stricken with cancer a second time to begin with. It is still beyond me why Christians (the religion I'm most familiar with) still find this to be "okay."  If there is no love, no healing, no tangible benefit to these prayers, then what will "praying harder" do? What exactly does "praying harder" entail? Fasting? Snake handling? I'm pretty sure that my friend's genetic makeup can explain why her family is particularly disposed to cancer. And she will survive this bout because of the medical advances to which she has access. But praying harder? I'm just not seeing it.