Archive for the ‘Rants’ Category

But I Was Too Busy Trying to Have my Own

Source: Arctic Fox, on Pinterest

Some of the most unpleasant people I’ve know had over-achievers as parents. I was fortunate enough not to have had that additional problem in my life, but I did have one that’s just as toxic as it is well-intentioned.

My parents had dreams for me.

I’m sure you know the kind of dreams I mean: a college degree, a house in the suburbs surrounded by a white picket fence, a two-car garage, a successful career, and 2.5 children.

Honestly, did that dream ever exist anywhere but on Leave It To Beaver, The Donna Reed Show, or even Bonanza?

And the dreams were only implied, not explicitly stated. My whole life was guided by them. In school, I didn’t even realize that there were art and music classes beyond second grade. In junior and senior high school I wasn’t allowed to take shop classes, because “those classes are for the dummies. You’re too smart for that — you’re going to COLLEGE!” (Cue the angelic trumpets.)

Last time I was in San Francisco I saw a beautiful hand-crafted wooden jewelry box that one of those dummies had made: the price tag said $2850.00 — and that was over 25 years ago.

And if my faucet leaks, I have to call another dummy who’ll charge me $75 an hour to fix it.

So who’s the real dummy now?

My Spectacular Failure at Education

After high school, it was taken as a given that I was going to go to college. I had no say in the matter. It was another of my parents’ dream for me.

At the wise old age of 18, I didn’t know if I even wanted to grow up, much less what I wanted to be if it ever happened.

In 1968, college was a place where you studied things to help you decide what you wanted to be doing for the rest of your life.

In 2019, college is a place to go to earn the credentials you need for the job you’ve already chosen.

I say — and neuroscience backs me up on this — the 18-year-old brain has developed sufficiently to be making such life-determining changes.

My education might have been more effective had I gone to a better college, but my grades, our family’s economic situation, and our physical location meant the sole criterion that went into the choice was the fact that as a Lutheran minister, my father could get a discount on my tuition and fees if I went to this particular college. A college I flunked out of at the end of my freshman year.

College, Take 2

I was simply too immature for and too uninterested in going to college. So I put off my plans for a higher education for two decades. Even then, I only went because my wife decided to pursue her degree, and I was worried about being left behind.

It went better this time. I was more motivated, and by then I had learned the fine art of academic philosophy, aka Intellectual Bullshit. I breezed through a semester of Selected Masterpieces of American Literature and got an A on it without once reading anything on the syllabus.

And I took several art classes, discovering that I could draw after all and that I was good at etching and engraving. I even sold some of my silkscreens and linoleum block prints.

But here’s the thing: after getting my AA degree and being one semester from my Bachelor of Arts, I was informed that I would not be allowed to count my 12 semester hours of computer classes towards my degree.

It seems one of the faculty review team said that computers have no bearing on liberal arts. This, after I designed and administered the first-ever study of if and how personal computers — then in their infancy — affected the process of writing.

So the University of Alaska, in its infinite wisdom, decided that I needed another 12 hours — a full semester — of math and natural science — -neither of which have any bearing on the liberal arts.

Had I taken the 12 hours and added 3 more, I would have been able to graduate with both a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Science.

Admittedly, the University of Alaska (Southeast) is nowhere as prestigious as its big sister in Fairbanks, but a double major is still a double major. And two degrees for the price of one….

Or three, if you count the Associate of Arts degree.

Livin’ La Vida Loca

So now it’s 2019. It’s been 51 years since I finished high school. I’m retired and living on Social Security. I’m not rich, but I get by — without complaint, thank you very much.

But since 2012, when I retired, I have finally been able to live my dreams. And the biggest lesson I’ve learned — and fulfilled — was to let my daughters dream their own dreams, and to support them in making those dreams come true.

Stay safe, my friends.

No, Seriously. I Really Do!

Evgeny Gromov/Getty Images

Somewhere I once read this pithy bit of Internet Truth: “Horoscopes work, whether you believe in them or not.”

Well, I don’t believe in them, or in any other self-fulfilling system of prophecies — especially when so many folks who make their claims only do so after the event they supposedly “foretold.”

Just for a laugh, I’ve spent the past 2 years reading my daily horoscope and recording it in a journal. At the same time, I’ve done the same thing with 4 other randomly-selected other Zodiac signs.

What I’ve discovered is that over that 2 year period, everything that was predicted for me eventually showed up in the other signs as well — with the exact same wording!

I know enough about database creation and data normalization to make this claim: most horoscopes are generated by database queries operating on necessarily-limited data points, resulting in inevitable duplicate prognostications which are then claimed to be accurate forecasts.

(This is where I stopped to take a breath.)

My horoscope for today included this gem of wisdom: “If you had changed one thing you did yesterday, today might be different in some way.”

Duh. That can’t possibly be unique to my sign (Gemini). Hell, even legitimate scientists know that, and even have a term for it: the Butterfly Effect. It’s at the heart of chaos theory.

At the risk of starting a flame war (oh, wait…that won’t happen. This is Medium, not Facebook), I view astrology in the same light as Biblical prophecy: if God indeed has a plan, it’s indistinguishable from someone who has no plan at all.

And to all you “prophets” out there, make your prophecies public before they happen, not after.

Daily horoscopes aren’t worth the newsprint they’re published on.

 

That’s Me in the Corner

Posted: 19 December, 2018 in Atheism, Gender, Rants, Religion
Tags:
That’s Me, Losing My Religion

Or to be more accurate, I didn’t lose my religion: it lost me.

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

Growing up as a PK (Preacher’s Kid) had is advantages and its drawbacks. On the negative side, I was always in the eyes of the community — especially a problem when the community is so small that when you sneeze at the east side of town, somebody on the west side says, “Bless you!”

I couldn’t get away with anything.

But there was also a positive side,which became quite useful when I hit high school. That was back in the day when parents wanted to know everything there was to know about the young man who wanted to date their Mary Lou.

But being a PK, I was spared the third degree simply because of what that label implied: a safe, high-minded, perfectly-behaved young man. Emphasis on safe.

Silly parents! If any one of the girls I dated had told their parents just a fraction of what went on in the back seat of my daddy’s car on those dates, I wouldn’t be here to write this today.

Leaving Lutherism

Just as my father rejected his parents’ Anglican (Church of England) heritage in order to become a Lutheran minister, so I moved on from mystery father’s faith into Hinduism, Buddhism, the Baha’i’ Faith,finally arriving where I am today: perhaps not quite an atheist, but definitely an agnostic: I don’t know, and neither do you.

The problem I have with most religions — or to look at it more honestly — they have with me, revolves around a basic point: who I am.

I am a 68-year-old transgender bisexual woman. It’s more complicated than that, but I’d like to keep things uncluttered.

As such, while many Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam, etc.) may accept my existence, they still won’t extend to me or “my kind” the same benefits and acceptance they do for their heterosexual members.

Yes, I’m referring to sex.

I am forbidden from physically expressing my love for another person except by a hug or a handshake.

The reason? Sex is only for procreation. Therefore, same-sex or same-gender relations are forbidden. Sexual acts that are not done with the intention of producing offspring are prohibited…

…unless you’re a married couple who don’t want kids. Or you’re too old. Or maybe you already have as many as you want. Or one or both of you is sterile.

In that case, by all means, fuck away!

But if you’re gay, bi, trans, or anything other than straight, you’re fucked.

How I long to belong to a spiritual, non-denominational community where I can be free to worship my creator — however I may conceive her — as I see fit. Where I am accepted, rather than merely tolerated.

I am a human being, not a fart in a crowded elevator: I deserve more than merely being tolerated.

Conversing via Texting Sucks

Posted: 17 December, 2018 in Rants, Writing
Tags: ,

Why I Hate it

My ex communicates with me mostly by text. Her daughter is the same. I remember sitting across from them in a restaurant while they texted back and forth. To each other. Sitting side by side.

It used to drive me crazy. Well, crazier than I already was.

Communication is so much more than just words. It is facial expressions, tone of voice. Visual and audible cues mean so much more than mere words can express.
Those cues, those subtleties, are lost when texting. Even the ability to write a decent letter can convey more emotional content than can a text message.

Face-to-face conversations are rich with content, both spoken and unspoken. The smile that comes to your face when I say something that amuses you, or the arching of your eyebrows when I ask a probing question.

All of that is lost in texting.

Texting definitely is a great tool. It has its place. It’s perfect for reminding your spouse to pick up a dozen eggs on the way home from work. Asking Nana what time she’ll be arriving to visit the kids this Saturday morning.

And yes, there are grandparents who are technologically hip; I’m one of them.
But when it comes to meaningful communication, call me. After all, that’s why mobile phones were created in the first place.

Better yet, stop by for a cup of tea and a long conversation.

Photo by Aliis Sinisalu on Unsplash 

I’ll even spring for the cookies!

And here’s why: https://bit.ly/2S9lXwW

Donald Trump, in his eternal ass-licking of the fascist Evangelical Christian movement, seeks to deny my existence. Not content with stripping minorities of their civil rights, he is now attempting to define me out of existence.

What next? Is he going to round us up and put us in ghettoes, as the Nazis did in the 1930s and ‘40s? Or maybe the same detention facilities concentration camps he’s using to house immigrant children?

People have been saying for years that “it can’t happen here.” But it is happening here, and has been, ever since the Great Pumpkin (aka Trumplethinskin) and his cronies stole the election with the help of Russia.

Trump wasn’t elected: he was Putin office.

Who’s next? Atheists? Gays and lesbians? Minority races? And even “minority races” is a joke, since collectively they outnumber the so-called White majority.

I’m so angry right now that I have to save this as a draft and walk away until I can think more clearly.


Much Later

The news keeps getting worse. With the Rethuglican party firmly in control of the Senate, it’s probably going to sanction these new policies. And since they’ve managed to stack the deck in their favor on the Supreme Court, any legal challenges to these unconstitutional policies will also be denied, even the the Constitution plainly states in Article 14:

All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

I’m pretty sure that denying people their civil rights by executive dictatorial decree does not constitute “due process,” but I could be wrong. After all, I’m no lawyer: my parents preferred that I pursue an honest career instead.

But it Ain’t Over ‘til it’s Over

As a wise man once said. Perhaps this latest indignity will wake up the sleeping masses and fire them with sufficient zeal to overturn this dictatorship.

But I doubt it. Most likely they’ll just go back to Netflix & Chill.