Here are some things to know before you read said exchange:
Last night in my dream, we were at a conference, and you ditched me, and when I went to find you, you were watching documentaries and smoking pot in your room with someone I know here in Minneapolis, and I felt so left out. Thanks a lot Dream Deborah!
I didn’t ditch you! I was hiding from all the Trump supporters who want to kill all the Jews. Your friend in Minneapolis was hiding me in a safe space and helping me to relax. Where were you in my time of need, Dream Vikki?
I came to find you, Deborah! You didn’t invite me in!
Was that you knocking? All I heard was “….Reich…” and I hid under the bed.
I know. Even I hate my name right now. It’s bad : (
Except that I imagined you replying with, “You pronounce it RICH, Deborah. You should have opened the door!” I should have. I’m sorry I didn’t let you in.
You were probably right to keep me out.
I was foolish. You could’ve been my Gentile beard!
I could have, but I probably used my resources and connections to flee to another conference…maybe in Sweden.
But you’d take my children with you and tell them about me…in Swedish.
Of course. I’d act out your life story using balloon animals.
“This pink poodle represents your mother…”
I can’t think of a better representation.
“This wolf is me, but I’m a good wolf. Wolf, not Rolf.”
We both agreed that this would have made a good blog post back in the day when we both blogged all the time and when we didn’t feel like the world was caving in around us. Yet, what better time to share a bit of fun? I’d rather be laughing with my friends than crying because of my foes. So, this post is dedicated to my Blog Wife and Bestie, Vikki, who keeps me laughing during the bleakest times. I promise to always open the door for you, Vikki!!!]]>
Thanks to Studio B and the magnificent and talented storytellers who moved me to tears and laughter and personify the power of words.
THIS IS WHAT A STORY SLAM LOOKS LIKE! ….. (now you)
Some people thought we were brave to bring our 10 and 13-year old sons to the Women’s March in DC…to take them on a bus, for 4 hours, at 4:30 in the morning…. without phone chargers! And, I’ll admit, we had doubts. Would they be miserable at the march? Would they make us miserable? Would we have to throw ourselves in between our defenseless children and some inbred sociopath and a can of pepper spray?
We prepared ourselves for the worst, and I looked forward to the best possible outcome… material for their college application essays.
We also had to prepare the children for what they might see there. The night before the march, I explained to them why their mother, and thousands of women and men, would transform into pussies with knit hats. It would be the first of many teachable moments throughout the march.
We all survived the bus ride and walked from the buses to the march. We strolled through a welcoming neighborhood where we knew we were among friends. We passed a lovely townhouse with 2 men and their one, small child on their impeccably manicured lawn. They waved to us next to their lawn sign with a meaningful quote from Martin Luther King Jr.
We also survived the very long rally, inspirational to many but torturous for boys who had to stand for hours – and a bit cruel for their mothers teased by the wafting scent of weed in the air.
Finally – we marched! The boys rallied, energized by the cheering masses, and I identified new opportunities for those teachable moments as we read sign after sign.
I found myself repeating things like, “Yes, that’s a mean-spirited but totally accurate thing to say about our president.” “No, that’s not a word you can use at school.” “Yes, that woman is carrying an enormous knitted replica of a uterus and fallopian tubes … that is not an elephant.”
We stood in front of the Trump Hotel as everyone shouted SHAME, SHAME – while the gender non-conforming youth skipped behind us shouting SHADE, SHADE! Oh, to be young again, when you could skip without worrying about wetting yourself.
In the 80s, in my youth, I marched a lot. I marched against apartheid. I marched for reproductive rights. I marched for gay rights. One of my best friends in college, Susan, and I marched together throughout our college days – on campus, in New York City and DC. We were outraged and angry, and we wore lots of buttons all over our jean jackets! That’s how angry we were.
I recalled those days while I stood shaming the patrons and owner of that hotel. And that’s when I saw her out of the corner of my eye. I couldn’t believe that in all of these hundreds of thousands of people, I would find her – my marching sister Susan. I gently pushed my way to her…‘cause everyone was super polite at the Women’s March.
“Excuse me…pardon me…so sorry.” I tapped her on the shoulder. She turned to look and we stared at each other in disbelief and utter joy as if to say, “How could this be?” and “This is so right!”
And right there in the middle of skipping, chanting marchers, we embraced. And laughed and cried and held each other some more. What were the odds that we would find each other and march together again in solidarity?
The boys caught up to me and looked on with fascination. “We used to march together all the time!” I said. “We are sisters in struggle!” They smiled politely.
We all marched together for a while; my family, Susan and her family, and eventually we broke off so we could head back to the buses – but not before ducking into a restaurant for a Bloody Mary. It felt the appropriate drink to have during a women’s march.
It was a glorious, empowering day – – for me, anyway. I did wonder how it was for the boys.
What would their memories be?
How would this day transform them?
Would they understand the power and importance of protest?
Would they recognize the necessity of the privileged to fight for the oppressed?
Would they learn to pack supplies in a transparent bag, practically yet efficiently?
Or was the day for them only about power bars and pussy talk?
I can’t say that I know what they got out of it, exactly, but I hope that at the very least they’ll look back and say, “I was there – with my two moms, and it made me the intersectional feminist man that I am today.”
That’ll be the first line of the college essay, anyway.
Another factor in determining what form of exercise I pursue is cost. We are a one income family and that one income, while respectable, is not the sort of cash that will allow for a swanky gym membership and an access to an encouraging but ass-kicking personal trainer. You should try those online fitness classes, you say because you are not my friend. My friend would know that I do not receive unsolicited advice graciously. Did you hear me ask your opinion? I didn’t think so.
So there is running. I did that. It’s a seasonal thing unless I become one of those hard core runners who invests in winter wear like the high-collar, thumb-hole sleeved top, and the insulated vest, and the thermos-regulating tights, and the heat-generating gloves, and let’s face it, running in winter in New Jersey is still going to be cold, and I am not a fan of cold. In the ever-popular game my kids play of Would You Rather, if my choice is between running in winter and getting a tooth pulled or eating a cricket or never playing Minecraft again (because these are my kids’ choices), I would definitely choose not running in winter…unless the cricket were alive in which case I’d have to stipulate that I’ve been medicated legally or otherwise before eating an insect.
And another thing. My almost 50-year-old knees say, NO FUCKING WAY to running! Children! Yes, you there with your 30-something year-old body complaining that you’re old and life is passing you by. You are young. No one can tell you you’re wrong. But, let me tell you that aging is a bitch, and when you carry loads of laundry down the stairs into the basement and wonder if each trip will be your last because your knees may give out any moment and no one will discover your broken body laying lifeless on the unfinished, cement floor until they run out of underwear, that’s when you know that you will not be running…and you should also start looking for a ranch house with no stairs or an apartment building with a doorman because it will be Frank the doorman who finds you passed out on the floor, not your friends on old-people cruises to the Caribbean or the Norwegian fjords or wherever the fuck they go to avoid sitting at home waiting to die or your family who comes around the minimal times required to secure a place in your will.
There is one more requirement for my pursuit of exercise regime. Anonymity. Here in the suburbs, I’ve taken a Marlin Perkins Mutual of Omaha Wild Kingdom approach to my studies. I have followed the exercise habits of the suburban stay at home mothers and fathers in the Mid-Atlantic regions and find that they tend to travel in packs. Once a scout identifies a new craze be it Zumba or CrossFit or the Stiletto Workout, the scout recruits friends who want to wear spandex together and sweat profusely under-boob and throughout loinage with each other creating a bond essential to suburban living that says, “I’ve seen you at your worst, so don’t ever fuck with me.”
The last anonymity requirement being the most important to me, I started taking a cardio kickboxing class where my kids take Tae Kwon Do – NOT because it’s free cause it’s not – NOT because it’s appropriate for the decaying senescent such as myself cause I ache – but because I sweat and pant and care not of my Lycra accentuated camel toe for I am unknown to the rest of my sweating, panting, classmates – and when each class starts with a series of cardio jumpy exercises that remind me that after giving birth twice, my pelvic floor muscles are as flabby as the rest of me, I think nothing of the leakage. Well, I think a little bit about the leakage because I would like to know how many Kegels it takes to sort that shit out.
Children! You there with your 30-something year old pelvic floor muscles. Do your Kegels. Or take up swimming and hope no one notices that you are able to heat the water around you and only you.
At least if my knees give way, I’ll be in a studio where someone can call for help. But, if you haven’t heard from me in a month, assume I am lying prostrate on my basement floor and my family is going commando.]]>
“’He is risen’,” I told him, “is the King James’s version of the present perfect tense. It means that Jesus has risen and remains arisen having had reached arisen-ness. It’s old-school grammar that we don’t use anymore – like ‘The Lord is come,’ which means that the Lord has come and is still coming. Anyway, when it comes to grammar in the bible, we let go of our modern day rules.
“Let go, let God” is clearly a divine command to embrace whatever kind of funky language they used in archaic, biblical times.
Levi stared blankly at me wishing I had actually answered his question in a way he could understand. Parenting can be especially difficult when your kid wants to talk about Jesus rising, and you want to talk about grammar. “Where did he rise from?” he asked.
“So,” I said. “Some people believe that Jesus died and then he came back to life because he was no ordinary man. He was … is…the son of God … and the son of God can come back to life after he dies.”
This was a fascinating concept to him, the idea that someone could come back from the dead, and he wanted to know more about this “death loophole.” He gave it some thought and asked, “Do you have to be related to God to come back from the dead?” I told him that I thought it definitely helped.
He sat with that for a second as if he was trying to trace his lineage back to God somehow. I mean, it’s possible. According to a recent study, Jews are all 30th cousins, which means the chances are pretty high that we’re all a little bit related to Jesus, but probably not related enough to transcend from the general status of “We’re all God’s Children” to the death loophole status of “eligible to be risen.” To be honest, as 30th cousins, we probably wouldn’t even have made the invite list to Jesus’s Bar Mitzvah. I mean, beyond being very distantly related, Mary & Joseph did not have the cash to host a big party. They couldn’t even afford a crib for a bed let alone an event venue.
I could see that the finality of death was weighing heavily on his mind, so I decided to offer a bit of hope as an alternative.
“In some religions,” I said, “people believe in reincarnation – that we die and then we are reborn as another person or animal and in each life you correct the mistakes you made in the past or learn lessons about life that you didn’t learn the last time. And then life never really ends.”
Even though I don’t believe in reincarnation, I’ve often considered my possible previous lives and whether or not this life is a punishment or reward for my past. If this is a step up, for example, I may have once been an awful man who treated women like objects and had a foul mouth and a juvenile sense of humor. And he was definitely homophobic even though he had experimented with anal in college.
And just as it seemed that he would never be anything more than a useless douchebag, he did something really selfless like sacrificing his life to push a small child out of the way of an oncoming bus. And right after that bus flattened him into the pavement, he was reborn as a lesbian – a foul-mouthed, dirty-joke telling lesbian who occasionally pawed at women without repercussions and who could experiment with anal without being hypocritical – if she wanted.
Levi embraced this happy philosophy that he would keep coming back to life and he thought about who he might be next time around. “Maybe,” he said, “I’ll be a dog who gets to go out on walks and play in the dirt all the time and pee on trees.”
“Well,” I said, “if that sounds like a better life than this one, I hope you come back as a dog, too.”
And then he added, “And we’d all be a happy dog family together!” What I realized at that moment was that death is difficult to accept not only because of its finality but because it’s devastating to imagine leaving all the people you love behind. No matter what kind of crap is going on in the world or how much you may have lost your faith in humanity; there is nothing more gratifying and life affirming than the power of love. A force from above, if you will.
“Yes,” I said, “we will all be a happy dog family together.”
I left it there. I didn’t need to tell him that even if we are reincarnated, the chances were slim that we’d be reincarnated into the same animal family – especially when I am not as keen to come back as a puppy when I much prefer the company of pussies. That said, if I could live another lifetime with my family, I’d be a dog.
Cause when I die, and they lay me to rest, I’m gonna go to the place that’s the best, and if that place is with my reincarnated dog family, so be it.
I have been coloring my hair since my early 30s. Months before my wedding day, Reuben, my stylist, suggested I might want to do something about those grays at my temples. “Sister, you are serving some Bride of Frankenstein realness.”
“I don’t know,” I hesitated. “Do I really need to do that now?”
He put one hand on his hip and with his other hand waved his index finger at me. “Do you need to color your hair?” he asked back at me. “Well, do you need to wear control-tops under your cocktail dress? (These were the dark ages before Spanx®.) Do you need to wax your upper lip? Do you need to wear a bra?”
Still not convinced, I followed up with “Won’t I get cancer from the dye seeping into my brain?”
“Sure,” he said “but by then you won’t have enough working brain cells left to care.” Ask a stupid question…
I started coloring my hair and never looked back.
Gabriella, on the other hand, was never so inclined. Her grays grew in slowly and evenly and were hardly noticeable, until they were. It seemed as if overnight her hair became more salt than pepper. Those salty grays are practically neon when you have to start interviewing for jobs, and they all scream from the roots, “I’M AS OLD AS DIRT!” So she booked an appointment to color her hair.
Did you ever see that Twilight Zone episode, “Number 12 Looks Just Like You?” In the future, 18 year olds willingly and happily go through The Transformation. They select a new body and face from a catalog of models. Ultimately, everyone looks the same, wearing nametags to distinguish themselves from each other. They are all ageless and conventionally attractive and happy because all the ugly has been eradicated from the world.
One brave girl named Marilyn resists The Transformation. She stands up for difference, however ugly it may be, but in the end she succumbs to all the pressure and transforms, body and mind. She chooses Number 8, and she could not be happier to look like everyone else and spend the rest of her days walking around in a leotard and tights – hopefully with a snap-flap somewhere so they don’t have to completely disrobe just to pee!
I first saw that episode when I was a kid, and it freaked me out. And now, we don’t have to look very far to see that The Transformation is real. Hollywood, South Korea, Brazil – we’ll do anything to look younger and prettier so that we feel better about ourselves and so others feel better about us, too.
When I pulled up in front of the salon to collect my violated spouse, she was sipping the last drops of the red wine they provided, anesthesia necessary for The Transformation. She gave the colorist a full-bodied hug, almost forgetting to give her the check made out for Too Many Dollars. She practically skipped to the car while I sat fuming in my seat because Rod Serling knew that the world was whack and getting whacker by the minute.
“You’re hooked now, aren’t you?” I asked her as she admired her very brown hair in the mirror.
“Not at those prices!” she assured me. “I’m done after I get a job,” she said. “But it looks good, right?”
“Yes, but you were hot even before The Transformation.”
We shall see if the dye has taken hold of her senses by the time the grays return. Perhaps, she will resist the power of The Transformation and perhaps we can both avoid a leotarded future.]]>
Local non-profit North Jersey Pride hosted the screening after the sad passing of David Bowie and served up some 80s realness with a side of vampire immortality and soupçon of girl-on-girl action. I braced myself for 96 minutes of torture that I hoped would at least be comical after all this time and considering how far queer film had come. Yet, I actually appreciated the slow-paced, stylized fantasy world that Scott created and the walk down 80s lane. But more than anything, watching “The Hunger” reminded me of my budding lesbionic self.
I had not seen the film in 1983 when it first came out. In 1983, I was 15 (yeah I’m old, whut?), and I wasn’t even loving ladies then, or gentlemen, or scoundrels for that matter. I did feel a fond affection for a special pillow during those sad and lonely days before I left my parents’ house. It was the best I could do.
When I finally did discover more reciprocally satisfying bedfellows, I saw “The Hunger” a few years later, and it was a revelation. Sexual fluidity, boobs, A-list straight celebrities playing gay, more boobs, and hot women making the love – but not in the spray-tanned, impossibly long nailed, drugged up porn way produced for straight men. To be fair, the sex scenes were unsurprisingly tame, the bloody vampire feedings far more graphic than the sex scenes, but that didn’t stop me from swearing off pillows once and for all – I mean except for the memory foam pillow that provides me with exceptional neck support.
The lesbian required viewing in the ‘80s were films like “Lianna,” “Personal Best,” and “Desert Hearts.” These were the cream of the crop, but they were creamy crops in a very small field. I couldn’t help but feel super old considering how much things had changed. The field is so much bigger and, indeed, so much creamier. That’s right, queer film is a veritable field of creams.
After the film, a bunch of us gathered to debrief. Those who had never seen the film before that night were not impressed. There was too much blood, not enough sex, and some raised questions about the ethical treatment of animals after a few scenes with irate monkeys. I had to agree that the monkey scenes were disturbing but only because I had been traumatized after watching “The Wizard of Oz” and had nightmares about long-fanged flying monkeys imprisoning me in a box – before being held in a box was a happy thing.
I realized then that I will always love “The Hunger” and all those queer movies of yesteryear in a way that ‘kids today’ will not. Those films of olden days may have been low-rent or poorly acted or depressing stories of love that could never be or blood-sucking vampire fantasies, but I can’t help but love them because they were the films of my baby-dykehood. I love them because I can relive those years of awakening without all the fear and crap that came along with them. And, I love them because they remind me that we have, indeed, come a long way.
What resources did a homemaker have at her disposal in the 1930s and 40s before the Internet could provide endless collections of helpful hints and life hacks? How was she to know that if she failed to clean the rubber seal around the door of her refrigerator properly, she slowly poison her family with exponentially reproducing mold spores?
Or that one could revive old and tired skin with lotions made with radium?
Or that if you are choking on a fish bone, it is, contrary to previous notions, perfectly acceptable to leave the table in order not to disturb dinner guests?
During those dark days, well before the Internet could inform the clueless housewife of her hygienic, aesthetic, and culinary obligations, booklets were published to help America’s homemakers from their linoleum tiled kitchen to their dusty rose colored bedrooms.
One such booklet contained a handy questionnaire for housewives to answer entitled: What Kind of a Husband Have YOU? which read as follows:
Answer Yes or No to the following questions to determine your husband’s character:
If the answers to most of these questions are NO, you are married to a calm, reserved, rather phlegmatic person. If most of your answers are YES, your husband is the energetic “racehorse” type. Like the racehorse, he is quick, high-strung eager to win. Like the racehorse, he is excitable, nervous, sensitive. One thing may stand in the way of his success – his nerves.
The homemaker of the 1950s may not have concerned herself with the fact that these questions reveal more about the kind of provider a husband might be than the kind of partner. There are no questions that have to do with listening skills, supportiveness, and whether or not he likes anal.
Today, there are plenty of questionnaires we can find in magazines and online to tell wives about the mysterious men they’ve married. That doesn’t entirely negate the scientific method used in this 6-question checklist, however.
In fact, an updated version was recently discovered, which had been published in 1986. The questions remained the same but the analysts, Professors Mary Jane Dank and Dr. Rock Gank, had revised the conclusions based on research they were conducting at the time. Dank and Gank’s notes read as follows:
If you mostly answered YES to the above questions, and your husband thinks fast, can’t sleep, and is constantly on the go, he’s probably doing a lot of cocaine.
Should your husband be bumping snow, he’s most likely bumping beavers due to an increase in sexual desire, and you should get him checked for STDs. That said, while he may be banging box, the chances of procreating are low as cocaine often impairs ejaculation. Furthermore, his constant chatter about himself followed by increased hostility will prevent any love interest from pursuing a long-term relationship with him.
The upside of his cocaine use is the fact that he is eager to get ahead in order to support his coke habit, but that’s only going to benefit you in the end. Your husband’s career advancement will allow you to stay home or find a part-time job with Avon or Amway or the like until he has a heart attack, and if you’re lucky, experience that heart attack on top of one the whores he’s fucking.
If, on the other hand, your husband is of the phlegmatic variety, it is likely that he prefers weed to cocaine. Your pot-smoking husband may or may not experience sexual arousal from cannabis as results differ between husbands and between strains of marijuana.
A stoned spouse is less likely to engage in extramarital affairs not due to lack of interest, but because he will rarely find the motivation to leave the house, nor will he be able to locate his car keys. Should he make it out the door, however, be aware that doing the doobie does reduce inhibitions, which can lead to irresponsible behavior, and you should have him checked for STDs. If you suspect that your husband may be considering putting that pipe where it doesn’t belong, try spreading some Duncan Hines chocolate frosting on your lady parts, and you’ll make for an irresistible treat that is also naturally gluten free.
A reprinted edition of the questionnaire was published in 2011 but spoke not of Dank nor Gank. There is, however, a curiously unreferenced footnote that simply reads:
If you do need to answer six YES/NO questions to figure out who the man is sleeping in your bed, perhaps you should begin by examining your own character, and regardless of your answers, and do clean out your refrigerator thoroughly.]]>
8:53 AM: Sit down at table and discover that the tabletop is wobbly. I Google “Why are café tables always wobbly?” and discover a solution from “Scientific American.” The secret is turning the table. I turn the table on myself and feel slightly sad that there’s no one there who can share in the irony.
9:16 AM: Ear buds wedged in ears with the help of three-day old wax build up listening to ambient coffee house noise on coffitivity.com to drown out the sound of actual coffee house noise which tends towards an unreliable cacophony, an acquaintance approaches my table to chat. She places her large mug of cappuccino down on the corner of my wobbly table at which point I discover that Scientific American is not so scientific, and then I question its patriotism as I spend the next 8 minutes cleaning up spilled coffee foam and praying my keyboard still operates. Acquaintance leaves for a manicure. I consider my excoriated cuticles and berate myself for not chewing gum even though I can’t help cracking it constantly when I do and I also tend to chew so hard and fast that the inevitable ache in my jaw reminds me of one of the many reasons I do not care for blowjobs.
9:42 AM: Put coat on after the front door of the café is mysteriously stuck wide open and no one else seems to notice or care. I put my hands around my hot cup of Pepper Detergent Tea and discover that the porcelain mug is colder than my hands. I Google “office space to rent within 5 mile radius,” and then I close the tab when I find the rental fees.
10:09 AM: Friend in Freelance joins me as we have at our keyboards, grateful for the company and motivated to out-tap the other, as opposed to tap the other, which I would do because my Friends in Freelance ooze creative hotness.
10:22 AM: Friends of friends arrive. They assume that my Friend in Freelance and I are socializing because all people who wear ear buds, stare at screens, type furiously, and make no eye contact with each other are clearly up for a chat. They approach and initiate conversation. We do our best to politely explain that we are working and they pretend to understand our words. “You mean you just get together and write things?” Yes, we explain. The café is our remote office. “And you don’t talk to each other and you work on different things … together? How adorable!” We stare at them speechless.
10:38 AM: The friends of friends have finally gone, but I am still fuming from the “How adorable” comment, grateful that I did not try to stab anyone in the throat with my pen because I would have probably knocked the table with just enough force that it would have wobbled my Pepper Detergent Tea all over my computer. My Friend in Freelance and I agree that people should simply respect the invisible walls that go up when ear buds are in position.
11:05 AM: I gather my things to go so that I can get some grocery shopping in and grab a bite before the kids get home. I try to feel good about what I was able to accomplish all things considered.
Photo credit: Canadian Business]]>
When I was growing up, I watched football with my father. I was not a fan then, either. But Dad always had the chips and salsa. If I wanted chips and salsa before he polished them off, I had to eat my share while watching football with him. I am a fan of chips and salsa.
Our children have never been into team sports. Asher attempted Kiddie Soccer when he was in preschool, which was disastrous. I had to bribe him with treats to get him on the field at all, and I had absolutely no expectations for his performance once he got there. Since then, the boys have opted for individualized sports like swimming, Tae Kwon Do, and fencing. I am a fan of indoor sports that do not require sitting outdoors in inclement weather, and I am especially a fan of not having to buy special chairs to sit on the sidelines in inclement weather.
It is admittedly easy for me to turn my nose up at American football because my children have no interest in it. It used to be even easier because my wife never seemed to have any interest in it, either. But something happened after over 20 years together for which I have no explanation. She now watches Sunday Night Football. I am not a fan of this new development.
I think I’ve become more sensitive to it as our nation becomes more numb to violence. The increase numbers of shootings has ripped off a scab that never healed since Newtown. I am not trying to make any kind of attenuated connections between shootings and football. Honestly. I’m saying that violence in this country and the world has made me question how evolved humans really are. Football is a violent sport. It just is. And people love to watch the violence. People love watching a game that is all about hitting hard, tackling, sustaining blows, and doing serious damage to each other – like brain damage kind of damage. I am not a fan.
We need less violence in the world right about now. I am not a fan of gladiator sports that expose our bloodlust rather than celebrate athleticism. Once I became a mother, it became even more difficult for me to understand how parents justify putting their kids in harm’s way. Dr. Omalu said in a recent New York Times article said we have a responsibility to keep children out of high-impact sports while their brains are still developing.
If a child who plays football is subjected to advanced radiological and neurocognitive studies during the season and several months after the season, there can be evidence of brain damage at the cellular level of brain functioning, even if there were no documented concussions or reported symptoms. If that child continues to play over many seasons, these cellular injuries accumulate to cause irreversible brain damage, which we know now by the name Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or C.T.E., a disease that I first diagnosed in 2002.
Depending on the severity of the condition, the child now has a risk of manifesting symptoms of C.T.E. like major depression, memory loss, suicidal thought and actions, loss of intelligence as well as dementia later in life. C.T.E. has also been linked to drug and alcohol abuse as the child enters his 20s, 30s and 40s.
Dr. Bennet Omalu
Dave Meggyesy played for Syracuse and then for the Cardinals for 7 years. Here he is on the Dick Cavett show talking about how football (“Middle America’s theater”) glorifies violence. “The raison d’etre of football is violence.” Check out Gentle Giant Dave talking to Dick Cavett and Janis Joplin about football.
Here are some fun interviews where Malcolm Gladwell says the NFL is socializing young men into a culture of violence and that football is a moral abomination. Moral abomination? That’s pretty hard-hitting there, Mr. Gladwell! Then he compares American football to dogfighting, where vulnerable animals attack each other in the name of loyalty to their owners. Charming.
Here is the Dr. Bennet Omalu interview on Frontline. He believed that the truth will set you free. Apparently, the NFL doesn’t want to set anyone free because no one wanted Dr. Omalu to mess with America’s national pastime. Whistle blowers are just not the heroes that addle-brained sports figures with early onset dementia are.
From the Frontline Interview:
From your analysis, from what you’ve seen, what would your estimate be of how many NFL players that are playing the game right now probably have CTE?
OK. Based on my experience, there has not been any NFL player I’ve examined that did not have CTE.
Now, the degrees of advancement of the disease will be different, and they have different types. So my opinion is, based on my experience, is all of them.
Did you say all of them?
All of them. All the NFL players I have examined pathologically, I have not seen one that did not have changes in their brain system with brain damage.
And now for something completely, but not entirely, different for those of you who would rather have a laugh before Sunday’s game:
Gabriella and I have had more than a few conversations about whether or not I should tolerate American football in our house. I have not yet succeeded in outlawing it completely. But while someone was watching game was on last week, I did find the time to compose this post. And this afternoon, someone is watching football – as in soccer. Baby steps…with helmets fastened tightly.]]>
Traveling over every inch of stage and weaving in between aisles and making eye contact with audience members, Staceyann Chin will take you with her on a journey from menarche to motherhood in her autobiographical show MotherStruck! at The Lynn Redgrave Theater. You’ll bear witness to all the hardships and obstacles that she, a single, Caribbean, Asian, lesbian, poet faces along the way to motherhood in New York City.
Directed by Cynthia Nixon (Sex & the City), MotherStruck! is Staceyann Chin’s ode to women who want to be mothers but discover how difficult it is when your healthcare system and your wallet and your body conspire against you.
Author of the memoir, The Other Side of Paradise, Chin is no newcomer to the stage. Upon moving from Jamaica to New York City, she quickly found her place at open mic night at the Nuyorican Poet’s Cafe. She co-wrote and performed on Broadway in Russell Simmons Def Poetry Jam and performed in three one-woman shows before creating MotherStruck! It is no surprise that Cynthia Nixon chose to work with her on this most recent project.
She is leading a remarkable life that is fascinating to hear about because of the many seemingly insurmountable obstacles she has overcome, but it is also fascinating because of the way in which she chooses to tell you about it – the humor, the drama, the poetry, the political backdrop, the jaw-dropping specificity – that compels you to listen as long as she is speaking.Cynthia Nixon
Staceyann Chin’s experiences and observations about pregnancy and motherhood expose a society that smiles upon the young and wealthy, hetero-married while making motherhood painfully difficult for those who do not have both womb and sperm or cash to cover the cost of fertility treatments.
From insemination to pregnancy to birth, we are a part of Chin’s journey, experiencing the frustrations, disappointments, and triumphs in every scene. We hold our breath until she gets pregnant, exhaling to laugh at the absurd and comical-grateful for the humor embedded even in the most stressful situations. Some of my favorite scenes combine vivid imagery with acrobat-like physical comedy as she moves and contorts her body so that we can fully appreciate each message and every emotion.
You’ll most likely connect to a number of Staceyann’s experiences as a woman on a mission to mother, and you’ll certainly understand the reality that sets in for all mothers after a baby is born. “Now what?” she asks after she realizes that the real work begins when we take responsibility for another life. Are we good enough? Will we make the same mistakes that our mothers made? Do we have to sacrifice all that we are for all we want for our children?
A scene that speaks to the priorities that change once we have children is the gentrification reality check. Chin describes what happens when wealthy, white people move to “up and coming” neighborhoods. She tells us how they inflate rents and force the less affluent, brown people out, and the audience bristles with disgust. And then she tilts the prism to reveal another reality. Gentrification brings a variety of shops and restaurants, sure, but it also brings cops who actually protect the neighborhood, making it easier to be a dyke and safer for dykes to raise children, even though all of the children are white. What’s a cash-poor, lesbian of color with a child supposed to do?
We feel the power of MotherStruck! when we connect to Chin’s truth and to each other in the process. Publishing VillageQ has always been about connecting a community that so often feels disconnected. VillageQ provides an online space where we can share our queer stories, validate our experiences, and inspire conversation. I am grateful for Staceyann Chin who shares her story with fierce, unapologetic words. I hope that the VillageQ community and Peaches & Coconuts readers are able to check out MotherStruck! and further connect with each other as well as support a talented poet mama!!
CLICK HERE FOR DISCOUNTED TICKETS!
Opening Night is Monday, December 14 at The Lynn Redgrave Theater, 45 Bleecker Street (at Lafayette), New York City.
In the meantime, treat yourself to LivingRoomProtests featuring Staceyann and spectacular daughter Zuri! Here’s the first installment:
I participated in the MotherStruck! blog program and received compensation but all opinions are my own.]]>