Reality Check, Reality Grip in the Age of You Know Who

It’s logical for journalists, foreign leaders, our military and even us regular citizens to intellectually analyze Trump’s actions, particularly when someone so erratic has so much impact on the world. However, that is the very thing one must resist in order to understand or interact with him. To never normalize Trump must be your premise. I am not suggesting this from a mere partisan position. This is sound advice to understand and operate.

Trump is a two-dimensional, reality show figure. His image as president only exists for him if he’s in front of a camera or he’s watching people talk about him on TV. He is an empty suit that was made in China and sports a Trump label. He did not come to the political scene with any experience or depth in global or domestic matters. He is not reading in-depth reports about foreign or domestic issues or meeting with cabinet members to strategies and analyze intelligence and world affairs. He’s just a lazy, old guy who eats in front of the TV for hours a day, scanning channels for stuff about himself, who also happens to have the power to destroy the planet.

Coupled with his cartoon character depth is his malignant narcissism, and as such, he lacks any loyalty to or compassion for others unless it directly enriches himself. You can’t take the same approach you would with any previous president. To do so is not just incongruous, it isn’t useful and will only scramble your brain.

So he’s shallow, self-absorbed and wholly unfit mentally. Any attempt to normalize his words or deeds is a danger. It is like a board of professors and academics pouring over the process of a preschooler navigating a playroom of toys to determine whether the child left the tricycle for the building blocks because he is prioritizing infrastructure now.

Therefore, the role of journalists is more sobering than it has ever been in our history, and not just because they treated him like a serious politician during his campaign, but because now by simply asking the president a regular, ordinary question they would structure for Obama or even W, they may be steering his mind to take an unintended action. (If his family were reading this, they would be nodding their heads.) Reporters, he hasn’t formed a position about the subject of the question you are asking. And last week was a prime example of what I believe caused Trump to send tomahawk missiles to Syria. During the joint press conference with Egypt’s president Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and on the heels of stating only days before he supported Bashar Hafez alAssad’s remaining Syria’s president (a position he likely took through Putin’s direction), PBS NewsHour’s John Yang asked him if al-Assad’s gas attack on his own people drew for him a red line similar to the line Obama said would be crossed in this incident. Trump responded without hesitation, with his usual, limited vocabulary with it “crossed a lot of lines for me.” Now no one asked a follow-up like, “Could you define a couple of those lines?” which might have either provided context or made it clear he just said it because it seemed like a good ad lib for his improv act.

I saw his face when he said it and thought, “Look out, he just got an idea that will make his junk look bigger than Obama’s.” I can’t be the only one who saw it like that, but I haven’t seen it mentioned. Trump made the decision to bomb Syria because Yang mentioned Obama and Trump had to look tougher. Forget the consequences of what he said about al-Assad being safe to stay or the fallout yet to come, this toddler maniac has the power to blow up stuff. Cool, huh? So he ordered the attack and then a juicy steak, rare. Or vice versa. 

Now the media is doing in-depth analysis of what was clearly a stunt and a failed military action. “Why the pivot on al-Assad?” “Did Ivanka’s plea for the children soften his heart?” “What does this mean concerning the allegations he colluded with Russia during his campaign and beyond?” What? No. None of this. He’s a shallow, two-dimensional, mentally unfit buffoon with a distorted ego. Hillary Clinton was right (about everything but) when she said, “There is no other Trump!” He is Being There’s Chance, the gardener.

What he does must not be mistaken as policy or strategy or even a tactic. This being doesn’t know what he is doing. He’s still in private business, sending Uday and Qusay Trump, along with many of his rich, Cabinet member friends, to make deals to enrich themselves, all expenses paid by you and me. He’s a lazy, rich guy who sits around all day, eating and watching Fox so-called news surfing for talk about himself. Then he plays golf. He lacks intellectual curiosity at best, and, at worst, is functionally illiterate; hence the SNL stories that he couldn’t grasp the scripts in their show reads, or reports that he requires no more than a page, heavy with bullets and pictures, in his daily briefings and the video of him in a deposition struggling to read and comprehend a contract he’d signed.

And now he’s sabre rattling with North Korea, a leader we can all agree is erratic and a bubble off the level. Trump is literally threatening a nuclear attack on North Korea. Attention everyone: Do not put ideas in his head! He likes the attention and the ratings’ grab. You can’t approach him like he’s clear headed or fully sane! If he sees his approvals go up as he surfs for his daily “me” news, who knows what he will do for an encore, because he only wants to be famous and have good approval ratings!

Our Constitution defines the role of the free press as the 4th Estate. It’s part of the First Amendment! No wonder this Administration’s ilk wants to attack it. There is a no more imperative than for every real news outlet to stop normalizing his actions, stop having thoughtful round tables on the Sunday shows that apply the president’s personality as a backdrop to anything other than padded walls with a foreground of professionals in white garb amply stocked with horse sedatives. He’s not intellectually fit for the job but what’s worse is he is not mentally well. That’s your premise. Don’t forget. Please. I don’t want these words to be the epitaph for life on the planet.

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Voter Restrictions, Election Fraud, MSM, Russian Tampering: Hard to Prioritize

The first thing I thought the evening of November 8, 2016 was the 2010 gerrymandering, voter suppression hijinks and election tampering in Republican states worked as intended. They cheat. Ever since Nixon, Republicans will go so far as committing treason to win. I was aware of Trump’s cozy relationship with Vladimir Putin, and the ongoing, bizarre number of connections his family and campaign workers have had with Russia. I knew that had an impact but believed it was the GOP’s calculated maneuvers in those red states that stole the election, coupled with the ever-helpful mainstream media, giving Trump a billion in free media. And in spite of all that, Hillary Clinton won by about 3 million votes, with a mere 77,000 votes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania – states where hundreds of thousands of votes were not even counted – tossing the Electoral College to Trump.

I stand by all those statements because I think there is enough of a history with those Republican governors to indicate election fraud, particularly since the 2013 Shelby V Holder Supreme Court decision that gutted voting rights and triggered southern states to adopt new Jim Crow obstacles literally the next day.. And there is no arguing national media treated Trump like a sitting president during the campaign, if not a bleeding rock star. But since December, it’s Russia. This is no longer a minor issue and to dismiss it could destroy our democracy and life as we know it.

This is hair-on-fire serious. More serious than Watergate. If Watergate was a president’s cover-up of a couple hacks breaking into an opponent’s campaign office, Russiagate is a bloodless coup by a criminal organization. Oh yea, because it is!

It’s tricky because the Intelligence community can’t inform the Administration, some members of Congress or the Cabinet because they’re among those being investigated. Plus Putin has many convenient ways of eliminating his enemies. Then add the ridiculous number of coincidental connections with Russia and Trump, his family, close advisors and campaign members. Tom Clancy would laugh if you pitched him this story. But I’ll bet Oliver Stone is storyboarding it already.

There are billions in financial ties between Trump and his ilk and Russia, one Republican policy accommodation after another that benefits Russia and a president who defends Putin at the expense of his own country’s character and standing! As Malcolm Nance, former U.S. Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer working in counter-terrorism and intelligence, says, it takes a whole lot of work for this many coincidences. (By the way, Nance wrote a book “The Plot to Hack America: How Putin’s Cyberspies and WikiLeaks Tried to Steal the 2016 Election.” last July and it came out in October.)I’ve lost count the number of mysterious accidents and deaths of informants associated with Intelligence gather.ing around Russia. The list of Trump’s posse having to resign, be fired or flipping because of it is also getting tough to keep up. Then Trump had A.G. Sessions, who also committed perjury and has to recuse himself from this whole matter, fire 46 U.S, attorneys including, conveniently, Preet Bharara who was conducting his own investigation into Trump and Russia. (Not so ironically, his informant fell from a fourth-floor window a couple weeks ago. So many unfortunate accidents.)

Nance really helps bring together the pile of bits in this crisis with how the Intelligence community works. For instance, he said Trump’s tweets about Obama wiretapping him is what they call in the Intelligence world getting “buggy,” meaning signs a guilty person acting paranoid, trying to find out who’s leaking. I would suspect he’d also see Trump’s daughter-wife Ivanka getting daily briefings and an office adjacent to his in the White House as another sign of forming a fortress, drawing nearer his most intimate (pun intended) confidants because he’s getting buggy. Plus she knows how to speak toddler maniac.

The GOP may be saying publicly that this is a nothing burger but I am confident that’s not what’s in their thought bubbles, fevered dreams or their conversations on burner phones. Rep. Devin Nunes(R) could not look more guilty of collusion when he jogged over to inform Speaker Paul Ryan and Trump on the Intelligence in this matter, learned by very House Intelligence Committee he chairs!

Putin is as mob boss. He plays by those rules. Trump is mob-adjacent, has been for decades in New York. Trump robs people, cheats them out of contracted deals, operates scams on every level. Maybe that’s just “business.” I think is criminal and immoral but now i’m just being redundant. In the 1990s when he’d burned every bridge with U.S. lenders, Russia made a deal. Big, dirty loans come with big favors. Crooks like little Donnie are used to squirming out of corruption with a flock of good attorneys and a checkbook. Well, the government doesn’t work that way. Might be a good lesson for the GOP voters who think a government should be run like a business. They are entirely different institutions.

We have never been here before, where a foreign country affected our presidential election. For those in our Federal government, elected or employees, who still believe in ethics and serving their public – a.k.a their bosses – their time is now to be on the right side of history.

Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is set to meet with the House Intelligence Committee. Apparently he is already under investigation by the IRS for his big money from Russia, among other things, like the fact that he “left” the campaign for being too close to Russia, then went back to his home in Trump Tower! But pay attention if and when we hear the NSA is conducting their own financial investigation into someone. Yes, they have their own department to sniff into people’s financial affairs. Nance says once that happens, it is over. That the last nail in the coffin for those under investigation. It’s indictment time.

When will we get the facts? Will this take down the Trump administration, including Trump? How will our government correct itself? Will there be a new election? Will, as one anonymous Intelligence officer said several weeks ago, Trump die in jail? No really, I ask because I don’t know. There are a lot of players in the FBI, Congress and the Cabinet I don’t trust and for good reason. But this can not stand. I hold out hope that no one is truly loyal to Trump because malignant narcissists don’t have human bonds. If Stave Bannon bolts, I am counting the days before the ship sinks without a lot of the rats.

I have to believe in our agencies doing what is right for country. And make no mistake, Congress knows a whole lot more than any of us do. This isn’t going away soon but after last week, things may be coming to a head a lot sooner than any of us thought, where no one, not even the Republicans in Congress, want to touch Trump with a ten-foot solid-gold pole. It sure seems to be heading that way. We are in peril. Time is of the essence.

To DIY or Not to DIY

My name is Debra, which is Hebrew for the bee. I am a worker bee.

Confucius said, “If you want a job done right, do it yourself.” Experience has taught me this is true. I’m kind of a Jacqueline of all trades so I usually am the one to “do the job.” I’ve seen more instances where people spend more time looking for someone to do a job or waiting for someone else to do a job, rather than just doing it themselves. Trust me, we have a virtual neighborhood forum and I read copious threads from people needing someone to hem pants, fix a faucet leak or pull weeds in the time it took me to do all three backwards and in heels. I’ve built about 95% of two house additions myself, do my own house repairs, landscaping, upholstery, minor auto care, cooking and cleaning. Am I foolish? Perhaps I am the one whose approach is flawed or so I have been told.

I had lunch with a group a while back and when I said I was tearing out old flooring and prepping the floors for new surfaces, one of them said, “That’s what I pay people to do,” and changed the subject. I had another husband of a friend of mine say my DIY approach is obsolete and of no value because we all specialize now in society. Of course, his husband called me when they had a mechanical breakdown on their furnace! But in both cases, no one had any interest in my work. I don’t want to think people I know socially look down on my work or those who work with their hands, but I kind of felt that way.

The do-it-yourself aspect of my character spills over in the workplace, too, for better or worse. This won’t make me sound like much of a team player but time and again, I am either let down by a colleague who drops the ball or my work is stolen for which another takes the credit. Trusting others are doing their jobs is often a disappointment and surprise. But employers love me because I will get the job done.

I was raise in a household where there was no discussion about who to get to do a job. It never occurred to me people did that. Truly. Dad had an I.Q. of 169 and really could do anything, effortlessly. Mom, too. I’ve never known a better painter, tiler, decorator or landscaper, for example. I learned from them and found the fewer hands involved, the better. Now, having someone working and bossing me around in my own house makes me uneasy. And there are some tender egos in the trades who can make your life miserable if you try to be boss.

I know not everyone is like my family or me. And I understand why those who have the money but lack the time, interest or abilities in touching anything mechanical. But does my approach really have little to no value? I have saved tens of thousands of dollars, if not more, and added immense equity to my property. I can’t even imagine what I’ve saved on my own appliance and mechanical repairs. I also think of my house as my canvass for my creative palette, with its recreated spaces. If not everyone appreciates my abilities or my house or believes I am foolish or out of step, I can feel accomplished everywhere I look. At least I have that.

I don’t understand anyone thinking people working with their hands is beneath them. I have a Masters degree and am a professional and I don’t think being mechanically capable is a weakness. In fact, I think it is quite the contrary. I wouldn’t like to think the one who dismissed my accomplishments may resent my abilities because I don’t want to appear arrogant or judgmental.

Well, back to my tiling project now that this blog post and the yard work is done. Silly me.

 

 

Memory: It’s a Blessing and a Curse

Part of my profile description on social media includes, “Sick memory for movie, TV lines and what you said.” This is not an exaggeration. I even remember what employers said from the last century, first date dialogues, song lyrics and useless stuff I hear from passersby. Movie and TV lines are my constant, mental accompaniment.

Recently, I was plagued with my inability to identify the source of a TV line that kept popping into my head. I knew it was from a well-written sitcom because those are the lines that linger. I knew the character was slightly frightened and slightly defensive when he or she said it but I just couldn’t put my finger on the character or the show. The line was, “Sure, Mac, sure, sure.” Now if you’re not like me and you don’t suffer from tens of thousands of lines and phrases freely floating through your mind, at the ready with any association with the present moment – or not – you might not understand. If I’d had anyone around me when this, “Sure, Mac, sure, sure,” wafted to the top of my inner circle of thought and I’d ask, “What’s that from?” And most would reply, “I don’t know,” and move on. Noooooo! I can’t. I mean, I don’t stop everything and obsess about it, other than a quick internet (- as of June 1, AP Style book announced the word “internet” is now lowercase -) search to see if it will appear, but my brain will keep retrieving it for days, if necessary, until the puzzle is solved. And yes, I am single.

A lot of times, those memorable lines are from “I Love Lucy,” if it’s a sitcom. That show has been on every day of everyone’s lifetime and is so much a part of our culture that, “Lucy, you’ve got some ‘splaining’ to do,” is part of our vernacular. But I tried plugging in that line to Lucy and nothing surfaced. Any show with tight, clean, smart dialogue was a contender so it could have been from “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “M.A.S.H.” :Frasier,” or “Seinfeld.” “It’s nice to be nice to the nice,” I just heard Steven Tyler say on “Ellen” the other day. It’s from Frank Burns on “M.A.S.H.” Out of the blue, Charlie Pierce contributor to “Esquire Magazine” said in an interview, “Happy and peppy and bursting with love,” which is from the original sitcom “The Odd Couple.” Neither had to attribute the lines for me nor did they. But I knew. For people like us, its like a secret language. And now I have two more fellow dialogue-memory, freak friends. It’s not surprising we all work with words in one form or another.

But I do the same thing they do. I interject lines from these shows, as well as movies, on a daily basis. I don’t need anyone to get the reference. But what a delight when someone does. So off the top of my cluttered head, here are some of my favorites. If you know the show, jot me a line below:

[In response to a sneeze] “You’re so good looking.” No? Sadly, that never caught on. How about, “These pretzels are making me thirsty.” Or “Ahh, Bach!” “Citizen’s arrest, citizen’s arrest.” “We are psychiatristsnot pugilists!” (That’s a gimme.) “But you are, Blanche, you are in a chair!” “Oh, no, it’s completely baked.” “Fasten your safety belts; it’s going to be a bumpy night.” “Keep going, teacher lady.” “I’m not going to be ignored!” “Tick tock, Arnie.” “You mean it’s in the house!?” “Grey Flannel… I don’t know why!” [Sobbing] “She came all the way from O-HI-O!” I will offer extra credit for the other lines I’ve peppered into this post and in the title.

But back to the ear worm that prompted this writing, the line that bugged me for days. Eureka! I was just getting into bed the other night experiencing that mental transition between tasks and shutting down the mind for sleep, perchance to dream, when it suddenly came to me! It was Barney Fife! You, know, Don Knotts’ character from the 1960s’ “Andy Griffith Show.” That’s a show more seamless in plot, character and dialogue than most to have followed the fifty years since it aired. Barney said the line in “Barney and the Governor,” where the governor plans to congratulate Deputy Fife in person for the nerve to issue the governor’s car a parking ticket. But poor Barney becomes an inadvertent drunk, victim of town drunk Otis who disposed his remaining moonshine in the jail’s water crock.

https://www.vibby.com/v/m11t0GuAW

Exactly like it was looping inside my head. Relief at last.

 

 

 

Gaslighting

Gaslighting or gas-lighting is a form of mental abuse in which a victim is manipulated into doubting his or her own memory, perception and sanity. It’s even a term used in psychology. It’s origins are from the 1938 play and subsequent films, “Gaslight.” There are two versions of the film, one from 1940 and the second from 1944. I am a fan of the 1944 version with Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer.  Many may find it hard to pinpoint being “gaslighted” because of its very nature of leaving you to question your own reality. (If you’ve ever dealt with a loved one who is an addict, you have been gaslighted.) That is why the film (or play) is such a valuable tool.

SPOILER ALERT: If you haven’t seen the movie and don’t want to know anything beforehand, please stop at the end of this paragraph. I don’t think what I share really spoils the film. In fact, knowing ahead of time what is going on will help you see how insidious and evil this tortuous game really is. But I will leave that decision up to you.

In “Gaslight,” Paula’s (Bergman) husband, Gregory, (Boyer) is a con and needs to eliminate Paula in order to fulfill his evil plan. Through a combination of independent observations and intentional deception, Paula begins to question her own sanity. Her paranoia and insecurities become a weakness Gregory exploits by validating her confusion, entirely brought on my him! He moves pictures and accuses her of doing so, hides a broach of hers in order to imply she is becoming forgetful and when she sees the (Victorian era) gas lights dim whenever Gregory is out of the house, she has no one to validate what she sees, making her doubt herself even more.

I started this post well over a week ago because I was recently gaslighted, but gave my airing this incident second thoughts. But as noted before, I believe in recognizing serendipity, the seemingly unrelated coincidences, and gaslighting keeps showing up in social media lately. So it must be germane – not just to me – but others out there..

In everyday life, gaslighting comes in the form of someone making such emphatic yet contradictory statements to your beliefs and experience, that it makes you question not just your own thoughts and reality but your own sanity. It comes from a person in authority to you or someone you consider close. Gaslighting always contains a undertone of sympathy, as if telling you this complete garbage is meant to help you in your lesser state. But don’t be fooled; the gaslighter is never, ever sympathetic. Those words of “help” are meant to hurt you deeply. “I’m not being patronizing, I’m being condescending!” The person gaslighting you doesn’t have to be psychotic, an addict or socially depraved in some way. In fact the more ordinary and seemingly normal she appears, the more unexpected, insidious, diabolical and damaging she can be.  But it is always intended to minimize and hurt.

It happened to me out of the blue a few days ago. Now, I’ve been gaslighted before by the aforementioned addicts I’ve known and loved so I only needed it to happen once to know to burn that bridge for good. But when it was happening, I was deeply hurt. Then I was stunned, which quickly turned to mental confusion. I walked away almost numb. Why would a supposed friend be doing this?

I don’t know. And I do not care one tiny bit. There are countless people out there willing to be victims but I am not one of them. I hope none of you reading this succumb to such cruelty. Just remember, you are entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

 

Reflections 2016 #atozchallenge

Year two under my belt feels good. Congratulations to the geniuses who first thought up this April Blog a Day concept. And thank you to all who visited and who are now following.

The Internet allows us to connect with the world. The April A to Z Blog Challenge helps refine that to dedicated writers and creatives. I hope I can be a part of this community next year and years from now.

If you wonder about trying it yourself, I can recommend going for it. I advise that you write ahead of time so your posts don’t get backed up and you become frustrated, or give up. Personally, I will never start the challenge without completing it because that’s my nature. Having survived two of these now, I believe it gets a bit easier each time. I suppose it’s a lot about writing muscle memory.

See you our there!

Say, “Yes” #AtoZChallenge

Y: Today’s Deb-Blog Has Been Brought to You by the Letter D for Definitively So and the Letter Y for Say, “Yes”

The late, great Beatle John Lennon told the story of meeting Yoko Ono at her art exhibit. He climbed a ladder and at the top was a magnifying glass to use to read the tiny message on the ceiling that simply read, “Yes.” That positive message made him want to know her better.

It’s good to say, “Yes.” Yes means you are willing to take the chance on that new job, with a new mate, an unknown adventure, to affirm a friend or yourself. Of course, saying no is a great answer, too, especially when something is dangerous. And I would hope you would listen to your instincts when something tempting is really a bad idea. But taking a risk, being open, being willing has a wider, open road for the future.

We should always be open to yes. Yes implies something new, growth, tomorrow.

There’s a great scene at the end of “Bus Stop” with Marilyn Monroe and Don Murray (underrated, great actor). It is a great example of saying yes to the unknown. I just have this sick memory for movie and TV lines that run through my head in a nearly constant loop. If only I had my own YouTube site so I could share the scene I am hearing. This might be my favorite Monroe film. It’s the final scene of the movie, after Beau has been driving poor Cherry crazy, sexually harassing and stalking her by today’s standards. But she finds her heart in his and says in her whispery, throaty and a bit ditzy southern drawl, “Why I’d go anywhere with you Beau, anywhere at all!” She said yes. Here is a quick, silent clip of her enigmatic self between scenes from the film, anyway.

Recording Devices #atozchallenge

R: Today’s Deb-Blog Has Been Brought to You by the Letter D for Devices That Record and the Letter R for Recording Devices 

There’s a common saying that just before death, our lives flash before our eyes. I can’t confirm from experience but I have a very good memory so, chances are, if you said something to me, I remember. I have so many lines and words streaming through my brain, if anyone were to plug in to listen, it would sound like white noise. I like it that way. For some of you who enjoy metaphysical ponderances, who’s to say we aren’t all living the flashback of life that has already happened, anyway? Maybe what we think is reality is just each of our lives flashing before our eyes. If we’re in that experience or not, how would we know?

But I digress fR June Cleaverar too far to make a simple point about being able to hear and see what was said and done with recording devices, and its great value. Thank goodness we have them or no one would believe how life used to be. Yes, old TV shows were depicting the fact that families lived comfortably with one person earning money and one staying home.

Cheesy, but it was true. We had a thriving middle class and people didn’t have to work their butts off to have it.

Joseph McCarthy R McCarthyreally did try to stir up hate for Democrats or those on the political left by branding them Communists, which fueled the Cold War.  We have that excellent, exasperated remark on recording devices from Joseph Welch, US Army’s chief counsel who finally spoke up to this jerk:

Thank goodness we have that entire debacle on tape. Same goes for prohibition. Whew, glad I didn’t live through that time – but I know about it.

And the Founding Fathers wrote down their philosophies and ideas for our government, although I wish they hadn’t been so clunky with the Second Amendment. But to expound on that would mean another digression.

The country didn’t used to have freeways from coast to coast or even phone service, plumbing and electricity in rural areas. It took work and laws and government jobs. Thank goodness we have written and filmed proof because I swear many people alive today seem truly oblivious to how we got the society we have. We worked together. Our government was our partner. We paid for it with muscle and capital.

All of this is important. I wrote over a year ago a blog I titled “Born Contempt,” (https://debrastrege.com/2015/01/24/born-contempt/ ) because I was hearing too many millennials saying too often about far too many important issues, “I wasn’t born yet,” as if to dismiss the importance of knowing something or a dismissal to its relevance. And now we have a kind of rhetoric in the presidential race discourse that Germany heard in the 1930s. You bet history is important to remind us to keep vigilant.

R Doomed quote

 

I Wish Quarreling Were More Fun #atozchallenge

Q: Today’s Deb-Blog Has Been Brought to You by the Letter D for Debating and the Letter Q for I Wish Quarreling Were More Fun

No one believes me but my mom and dad never fought. I was there. Both independently would confirm that. That impacts a person. Oh sure, as a child I encountered playground conflicts, but it was always the other person reacting in anger for some petty reason, as kids will do. And I had my share of tantrums and “growing pains” with Mom and Dad, but they never fought back. They let me act up and then made smart, decisive responses. No drama, my daddy and mama.

“The Andy Griffith Show” demonstrates the calm parenting of my mom and dad. This clip is a bit longer than I’d like but it gives that perfect example of how to react to childish tantrums. The additional segments are about a spoiled, rich kid who has influenced Opie and who reminds me of how George W. Bush probably behaved so I love that the “Richie Rich” kid gets his comeuppance.

Now, if you just want to see the 21 second outtake of a proper reaction to a kid’s tantrum, click here: 

http://swf.tubechop.com/tubechop.swf?vurl=72w-W6t-MYo&start=1099&end=1118&cid=7736552

Opie looks so self-conscious after his dad ignores him. I, too, have grown to live without drama or bickering. As an only child, I never learned how to spar with siblings. To this day, I avoid conflict whenever possible. I am self-aware and strong but find little use for most disagreements. I just don’t look for a battle. All my life I play ahead ten steps and make the smart decisions that will avoid conflict. 

But a good quarrel about something meaningful is wonderful! And it’s rare. Today many discussions are via social media. But I find it a waste of precious time to engage with anyone who disagrees with me about the Democratic primary candidates because we tend to live in echo chambers, or at least those impassioned folks on the Internet. But a good discourse with an equal about important topics is truly a joy. It’s a debate, more than a quarrel. Heck, I’ve even read otherwise smart people arguing about the bias on the following GIF as it pertained to the intelligence of the two cartoon characters. Cartoon characters, people!

Quarrel gif

I imagine a good quarrel in a relationship but I have never had one. You know, a deep “I know this person and this is getting to something deep and good” sort ot quarrel, like in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?”

If I ever did have a good quarrel that would really get the two of us to a better, deeper place, I think I’d like to hear this song. There was a time I searched all of Banff just to hear this to heal my heart from an unproductive quarrel:

 

Juggling Pros and Cons, Untying Bonds, the Path I’m On #atozchallenge

J: Today’s Deb-Blog Has Been Brought to You by the Letter D for Deciding and the Letter J for Juggling Pros and Cons, Untying Bonds, the Path I’m On

Many years ago, I read or heard this somewhere: “We are not doers, but we are deciders. Once our decision is clear, the doing becomes effortless.” I hold fast to this phrase and believe it to be true. I am well known for having commitment issues (which may be why I am often compared to the character “Sam” from “Sex In the City”). But the fact is I simply take my decisions seriously and like to consider the scenarios and weigh the possible consequences before making a big or even medium-sized decision. But once I decide, I am fully committed. Take my decision not to have kinds as an example, something I have mentioned more than once (https://debrastrege.com/2016/04/04/children-being-child-free-is-the-best-decision-of-my-life/). I have never looked back or second guessed that choice. Of course, I feel the same way about not buying a car on credit or taking up smoking.

Life is one big juggling act, if you ask me. I’ve been doing it my entire life. I really don’t need as much internal dialogue as I once did and I try to let my intuition work for me. I think I am being smart by avoiding unpleasant results by weighing the pros and cons. For example, if I buy something expensive and extravagant, will it be worth the sacrifices and loss of comforts elsewhere in my life? Or will I feel enslaved to a job I hate because I over-spent? If I let passion or desire lead to to a relationship I know to be a dead-end, will the fun be worth it? If I speed to make up time, will I get pulled over or have a wreck? Decisions have consequences. I often wonder when I watch those true crime shows about the person who kills her spouse usually for money. Really? Is all the work of planning the kill, disposing of the body, cleaning the evidence, securing an alibi really worth the money or life in prison? I know, a cop once told me they don’t catch the smart ones and I am certain there has to be something mentally wrong with anyone who kills but I can’t fathom how that logic works. If I am that miserable, I leave – long before I consider murder.

Perhaps because of my commitment issues, I find myself with more freedom that many and I’m unencumbered by some of thoJuggling3se permanent sorts of decisions many regret, like an unfulfilling marriage, children (yup, some people regret having kids) or debt that enslaves one to a soul-sucking job. But there are always two sides to every coin. I may be unencumbered by a spouse or child but I’d better take care of my health, my house and my finances because it’s just me. It is as freeing to have the luxury to juggle new challenges as it is restricting to know I only have myself to rely upon.

I’ve dropped a few pins in the juggling game of life. But they didn’t make me stop or regret much. And who knows? Pins have been known to get picked up and returned to the circle game.