Category Archives: A little serious

The Unmaking of a Shallow Person – Part 2

Cute kittens

Very cute kittens

Over the past couple of weeks I have come to realize that this “unmaking” of mine is more of a process than a transformation. Perhaps it will take a little longer than I anticipated. Perhaps more effort. It seems to me that I am now in what some might call “limbo”. Others purgatory. Whatever the moniker I am now betwixt and between. Sitting on that proverbial fence. Too far over to turn back but not far enough to seriously consider doing so. I seem to be treading water, but not quite in the deep end.

It’s like this. I’m still glued to the “fake” news channels, to witness first hand “45” blame just about everyone for the apparent mess “his” country is in while at the same time taking credit for anything positive that has happened since Eve took a bite of that apple. And I stay tuned to listen to the reasoned analysis of those who can’t seem to wake up from the nightmare they only wish they were having. At the same time, if truth be told, I am anxiously looking forward to the return of The Voice and I simply can’t wait to find out if the Survivor “game changers” are still willing to change the game. So you get what I’m saying. Seems like this whole thing has left me in a mess. And I’ve gotta tell you, it’s making me feel a tad out of sorts (as my Mother would say) and flailing a little with how to reconcile these very divergent perspectives. So forgive me if my posts appear to go this way and that because these days it’s hard to know which way to turn..

Here’s how I see it. There are a lot of creepy things going on in this neck of the woods. So many people are hating so many other people. Clearly there has been a resurgence of anti-semitism, not only in this country but pretty much everywhere. There are those who would like to blame the Muslims for, well everything, and if it’s not the Muslims it’s the Mexicans and if it’s not the Mexicans it’s immigrants from pretty much anywhere. The top guns think that telling the culprits to “stop it” will do the trick while they continue to embrace the very people (and some of them are those people) who have overtly espoused these sentiments in their rather sordid pasts. Meanwhile long time undocumented immigrants who are contributing members of society, who work hard and pay their taxes, are being rounded up and sent away, separated from their families by a wall, or maybe a fence. Whatever it is, it’s simply not right.

And it doesn’t stop there. Marginalized people of all sorts are being left to fend for themselves as those in the government decide to sit back and see what happens. School children who are already struggling with their identity will now, in many States, not be able to use the bathroom in which they feel most comfortable. Coal miners who could possibly get back to work, may find themselves without the health care they will surely need when they suffer the inevitable consequence of the work that they now might get. Maybe. Because the people in control seem to know how to “repeal” but not how to “replace”. Given this hands-off approach, I suppose it’s not surprising that the country has been relieved of regulations designed to protect investors, the climate, and endangered species. And yet, in the midst of all of this deregulation these men (and yes they are) have the audacity to regulate a woman’s right to choose. All of this is going on while we are being told that the “real” enemy of the people is the free press, or to be more accurate, the ones who don’t say nice things about 45. 

Yet, in the midst of this debacle there is a bright light. There has been a resurgence of interest in the political process and an understanding of the power of protest. And that makes sense. Many of our young people know that there is no place in their world for intolerance and hatred based on race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any other defining human characteristic. They refuse to stand silent about what is happening now. But it’s not just the young. There are many of us who remember what it was like to march against the war in Vietnam, who railed and fought (literally) against the racial inequalities so prevalent during the 1960s. We lived through the feminist movement and lauded those who stood at the forefront, the ones whose tremendous strides paved a path for the rest of us. And sadly, there are still many whose parents and grandparents endured the horrors of the concentration camps, not only overseas but in our own countries, and to whom “never again” has the most profound meaning. These people know that the time has come for them to stand together and let their voices be heard once again. They bring with them not just the hope that what is happening is an anomaly but the understanding that a just and sustainable future depends on what they do now.  So you can see how all of this has made me reconsider my dedication to being shallow and, as result, to repurpose this blog and pontificate a little on what I think about the current events.

I’m guessing at this point you’re saying, perhaps not out loud but at least to yourself “what’s she talking about? Seems to me her transformation is pretty complete!”  And right about then you notice the pic of the very cute kittens at the top of the screen and wonder what they have to do with this post. Let me explain. I have it on the highest authority (thanks again Wader) that cute kittens are a surefire way to make a blog go viral. I figure anything is worth a shot at this point so what the heck?.  And hey! You can’t say I didn’t tell you this was a process.

Tagged , , , ,

The Unmaking of a Shallow Person

take-the-high-roadHonestly, I never thought it would come to this. If there was anything I was ever committed to, it was my commitment to being shallow. Flashback five years ago. Way back then I prided myself on having spent one whole week writing this blog. One. Whole. Week. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would still be here five years later. Five. Years. Later. (I’ve never truly understood why people do that but what the heck.) I know. You’re going to remind me that paying my 24 buckaroonies every year around this time was at least half the reason I stuck around. Perhaps. But I truly believe it was more than that. I had a mission. I wanted to share with people what it was like to live life as a shallow person. I wanted them to know that it was ok. That one could live a rewarding and meaningful shallow life. I went so far as to let people know that it was possible to be shallow and sad, shallow and irritated and even shallow and a little scared. It was this dedication, this steadfast belief, that kept me going, posting each and every week, and then each and every other week and finally each and every month. What I didn’t anticipate those five years ago, was that it is not possible to be shallow and angry. And that’s what I am now. Angry.

Some of you are going to say “I told you so”. You’re going to confront me with some alternate facts. Facts that you think are definitive proof that I was never really all that shallow in the first place. You’ll label me a “so called” shallow person. You’ll tell me that the very act of writing this blog, of being as introspective as I have been about my shallowness, is testament to your point. That my deep thoughts about being shallow are the very antithesis of what I have professed to be over all of these many years. To you I say balderdash! Because whether you think I’m shallow or not is entirely beside the point. If I think I’m shallow then I am shallow. Sure, you might have evidence to the contrary. So what? I have better evidence that I am, or at least that I have been, shallow for the better part of my life. And I know this to be true. I mean would a person who is not shallow admit to having watched almost every reality TV show (and let me tell you that’s a very big number)  that has ever been foisted on the viewing public? Including “The Apprentice”. Before Arnold. Face it. I saw Omarosa get fired not once, but twice and even though I may have missed that lucky third time, I do believe that I have made my case. And now I expect you to think so too. And anyone who tells you different, well they’re just wrong. Probably getting some fake news from some fake person from somewhere fake.

Sorry folks. That last paragraph was just too easy. Perhaps even a little self-indulgent. It’s just this. From where I sit (literally) it is very clear that these are troubling times. The fellow that’s now calling the shots (or should I say fellas) seems to be more than a little problematic. He’s caused me and a whole whack of other people reason for concern. On very many levels. From this vantage point I would have to say we are in a kind of  time machine heading at warp speed towards the 1930s, to a place on this planet that many of us are not going to enjoy very much.  This is a guy who doesn’t trust the mainstream media, doesn’t trust the “negative” polls (which at this point would be most of them), doesn’t trust a majority of the people who live on this earth of ours, certainly doesn’t trust his political opponents, and really doesn’t trust those who have been entrusted to uphold the laws of this land of the free and home of the brave. On the flip side he does seem to trust the guy who thinks he has disguised the white supremacist movement by renaming it the “alt-right” (does he think we don’t read?) as well as the current leader of Russia who I understand might not be as trustworthy as our fella seems to believe. And here’s the thing. It’s really, really hard to be shallow when the guy at the helm who trusts almost no one can’t be trusted to do, well pretty much anything we might actually want to have done.

Perhaps not surprisingly, all of this has made me angry. And, I have to be honest with you, a little less shallow. I have abandoned “Survivor” for CNN. “The Voice” for MSNBC. I feel as though if I ran into Anderson Cooper on the street we would be on a first name basis. Rachel Maddow might as well just move in. In the past 3 weeks I’ve learned more about the U.S. Constitution than I ever expected to know and I think, if given the chance, I could probably take a reasonable stab at arguing the “merits of the case” with regard to the recent stay on the Muslim ban. (Did I say “ban”?). Quite frankly, this whole thing has pretty much turned my life upside down.

All of this, as you can plainly see, has led me to the crossroad on which I now stand. How do I continue to write about being shallow in a world that deserves some very serious attention? How do I ignore the alternate facts, the discrimination and loathing that I now see every day? And that’s when it occurred to me. This is my blog and I can write what I want to. If I want to write about being shallow, I can. But if, as has happened today, I’m feeling a little less shallow and I want to write about that, I can. I’ve written about non-shallow things before and it hasn’t worked out all that bad. As a matter of fact, people seem to like my non-shallow posts. I know that’s true because I see the numbers. And let me tell you, they’re fantastic.  Huge. Really huge. But you’ll just have to trust me on that.

Tagged , , , , ,

Shallow and a “Little” Scared

prairie-roads-1220316Well enough time has passed and I think I can talk about it. You know by now that, come January, we gravitate to more moderate climes. In past years we have done so using the most efficient if not, admittedly, the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation and it takes about 5 hours, give or take an additional hour or two in some airport lounge along the way. Flying may not be my favourite activity but barring extended and extensive periods of turbulence (in which case all bets are off), deep in my heart I’m pretty sure that when I board that airliner I’m going to debark safely at my intended destination. But that was not the case this year. This year one of us said to the other “so how about we drive down south?” to which the “other” foolishly responded “good idea”. Because while this “other” doesn’t mind hitting the road, especially since we are doing so in the cutest little buggy ever, she (that’s me) really only likes to drive the blacktop when the sun is shining and the roads are clear and dry. And believe me, that was not the case on any of the seemingly many days we spent making our way down to where the turf meets the surf. Which, and this is not an “alternative fact”,  made me just a little scared mostly because I happen to like being on this side of that pearly gate.

Now people are going to tell me there are lots of things to be scared of that are much worse than driving in the rain, ice and snow in a tiny little car. Like spiders. Lots of people seem to be afraid of spiders. I’m not sure why. To me spiders are just little creatures, with lots of legs, who make quite lovely and intricate homes for themselves. Ok, I suppose they do use those homes to catch unsuspecting other bugs who unwittingly venture into their webs and, I imagine, quite unceremoniously become delectable morsels to be enjoyed for a late night repast. But unless you’re my friend Wade who has chosen to live among some of the more treacherous members of the species, you’re probably not going to suffer any harm from an encounter with that Daddy Long Legs who decided to take up residence in your basement. Certainly (and this is from my perspective) it’s not worth stomping out his rather precarious life when we know full well that doing so will no doubt result in the proverbial downpour I’ve mentioned above. At least you won’t find me making that trade-off any time soon.

Then there are clowns. I’ve mentioned this in the past but that’s no reason not to include them here. Some people are afraid of clowns. So much so that there’s even a name for it. Coulrophobia. You can look it up. This fear I kind of get. Let’s face it. There have been some pretty scary clown like figures around in our time. Like the Joker. Not the nicest guy and unless you are a superhero of some sort, probably not one you want to bump into when taking the garbage out at night. And more recently, those people who for some unknown reason decided it would be a hoot to dress up as creepy clowns and scare the bejeezus out of little children.  But let’s put those aside for a moment. Most of us encounter clowns under happier circumstances. Like at a birthday party, or the circus, or even at the rodeo, which, if you ask me, has much scarier things going on than clowns. These are happy clowns. They do tricks, hand out balloon animals and generally do their best to make people laugh. Given the choice, I’d rather watch a clown slip on a banana peel than find myself sliding my way through a sea of black ice.

Ok, I know. There are plenty of people in this part of the country who will tell you there are way scarier things than spiders or clowns or even driving in the rain. The fellow who has taken hold of the reigns in this neck of the woods seems to have sparked a whole new level of fear amongst the people. In many cases they are scared because they don’t really know what he will do. Then there are those who are scared because they do know what he will do. Certainly women are scared they will lose control their bodies. Immigrants are scared they will have to leave the country they love and call home. The LGBTQQIP2SAA (I do my best ot be inclusive) are scared of losing the rights they fought so hard to obtain. Some people will tell you they are scared that they will no longer get the facts but rather something called the “alternative facts”. Others think the “real” facts will be scary enough. Everyone is scared about how the world will react to the policies that are designed to keep America great again. You don’t have to hit me over the head. Millions of people right across this world of ours are marching in the streets to let us know just how scared they are. I can honestly say that, even though I’m a shallow person, it has become quite clear to me that at this moment in time there is no shortage of things to be scared about. 

With that said, I’m starting to think that maybe driving in the rain and snow isn’t so scary.  I’m also starting to think that perhaps I should be more than just a “little” scared.

Tagged , , , , , ,

This is not a shallow blog

letterNo, I’m afraid this is not a shallow blog. Some of you may be a little surprised. You may even think it’s a little sappy. But it’s not. Although fortunately it is uncharacteristically brief. It’s an open letter to my Sons, from a very proud Mother. And I’m posting it on this little soapbox of mine for all to see.  

Dear Sons (sappy or not, I never name names in my blog). You are grown up now. That happened much more quickly than I ever would have imagined. Mostly you managed to do this on your own but I like to think we helped you a little along the way. It’s true. There were times that we yelled when even we knew we shouldn’t have. Hovered when we should have walked away. Walked away when we should have stayed. But there were also times when we got it right. Like sharing with you the importance of accepting others no matter where they come from, the colour of their skin, who they worship or whether they worship at all, or who they love to love. That each person’s history is a part of them that deserves respect. That life is not always fair but you have to do your best to try to make it that way. And that sometimes you have to stand up not only for yourself, but for others too. Even when it’s easier not to. We let you know there are never any guarantees and one never knows what life will bring but sometimes things work out pretty well. Like the two of you. And the proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

Because both of you have turned out to be the best sons any two parents could hope for. Both of you have faced challenges from which others would have walked away. Quickly. As a matter of fact, there were times that others thought that was exactly what you should do. But you didn’t even though it would have been easier. Much easier. You stood tall when others thought you should kneel. For one of you, the challenge came early on. Wise beyond your years, you stood your ground when others tried to pull it out from under you. For the other the bump came a little further down the road but you managed to navigate your way through it. In both cases you stood up not only for yourselves but for others because you truly believed that what you were fighting for would make their lives better too. Even though you knew the consequences. And there are always consequences because, it seems, in this world of ours we blame the victim to save ourselves. Which makes standing your ground so much more difficult than walking away. Turning the other cheek. Letting bygones be bygones. We all know that to be true. It’s just that so few of us have the courage to do our best to make things right. Like you do.

So this is just to let you know how proud we are of you. That we will never stand behind you. Rather we will be with you, up front and centre. Always. And forever.

Tagged , ,

I’ll Settle for a Million or Two

sale-tag-1205009By now there are two things about me I am certain you know. The first, that I am shallow and proud of it is, I would think, fairly obvious. After all, it is rather unlikely that I would have spent the past four years writing this blog if that wasn’t the case. The second thing to which I am pretty sure you would agree, is that I have some experience being associated with a person who is much more famous than I. And let me tell you, four years puts that phenomenon to shame. I mean who would have thought that 45 years ago, give or take a few, when one of my classmates joined me in the school elevator singing “People” in a way that made it clear he had discovered some kind of connection between me and that particular ditty, it would be a precursor of what was to come? Since that first “sighting” of course,  I have become accustomed to the various rudimentary impressions of such favs as “Memories” and “Don’t Rain on My Parade” (honestly, who could?), in the same way that over the past four years I have become quite comfortable in my role as the “shallow gal”.  At least I was until a couple of weeks ago when something quite unexpected happened. And it was right out of the blue.

I suppose one should always be cautious about becoming too comfortable in life. We see it all the time in the movies. Or the soaps. You know how it goes. Your favourite character has an unfortunate accident while on her way to find her long, lost brother. Left with amnesia, she spends the next year working as a store clerk in a town not so far from her own until one day, finally, that brother, who by the way has been happily living in her house for the past year (well why not, it was empty after all) walks in and, although he hasn’t seen his sister in forever really, sees himself in the store clerk’s face. He hesitates for a moment, decides it can’t be true but nonetheless, returns the next day. Realizing he might just as well be looking in a mirror he knows, in his heart of hearts, that it simply must be her. It takes a few days of sharing stories from their checkered (to put it mildly) childhood but after much convincing, he finally gets her home, gets her better (not such an easy feat) and life is good for them both. They spend the next three years bonding, remembering the good times forgetting the bad, making up for time lost. Life is comfortable but you have that nagging feeling that when things get too comfortable, something not so great is bound to come along to stir that pot of theirs and inevitably it does.

(My husband some times tells me that these treatises of mine sometimes get a little derailed. I never said this train ran on a track in the first place. Trust me. Eventually this is all going to make sense.)

My guess is that by this time most, if not all of you have heard something about Mr. Donald Trump. Clearly we all know that he is interested in becoming the President of those United States of America, but it wasn’t always so because Mr. Trump, or perhaps I’ll call him “The Donald”, has done many things in his life to date. Most recently we learned that “The Donald” gained some notoriety from starring in a TV show where teams of celebrities compete in a series of rather inane tasks for which they are mostly ill prepared, culminating in one or more of them being “fired”.  From what we are not really sure as most of them are not actually gainfully employed anyway, which possibly is the most reasonable explanation for why they agreed to go on the show in the first place. And I don’t suppose I have to tell you that before all of this hoopla, “The Donald” built many an empire. Like you, I knew all of this but never really thought much about it, or him, until recently when a dear friend of mine brought the following quote to my attention:

“Whenever I’m making a creative choice, I try to step back and remember my first shallow reaction. The day I realized it can be smart to be shallow was for me a deep experience.” (D. Trump, 2004). 

Hmmm…so now it’s me and Mr. Trump. As you might well expect, this revelation jolted me right the heck out of that comfort zone of mine. I mean, it’s one thing to consistently come up with witty retorts to that age old “do you know who you look like” question but quite another to find yourself sitting in the same haystack as “Mr. T”.  Let’s face it. At best it’s a rather dubious distinction. Somewhat perplexed by the whole thing, I was left wondering what to do next and that’s when it happened.  The idea just popped into this little head of mine. As distressed as I was about my new celebrity association, I got to thinking. Mr. Trump has a lot of money. At least much more than I have and one day he’s bound to realize what a good idea it would be to have a website in which he could wax eloquently about the creative benefits of being shallow. He’s going to need a catchy name for the site. I’ve got what he needs. So Mr. Trump, give me a dingle and we can negotiate. I won’t be greedy. I’ll settle for just a million or two. And make no mistake. I will be really comfortable with that.

Tagged , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: