I often say, "They walk among us." I don't think, not even once, I've ever meant that as a good thing.
That phrase can pull down all sorts of duty. From time to time its been employed to describe a wide range of people from those too stupid to be alive to those who steal anything that isn't nailed down and everyone in between.
Both politics & current events make my brain hurt a little this morning. Therefore, I will post a picture of an Aye-Aye holding a lollipop for absolutely no reason. Enjoy.
I am nearing the end of my term of milk bank donation and wanted to give another shout out to the wonderful, caring, professional folks at The Austin Mother’s Milk Bank. They have been an absolute delight to deal with, and it goes without saying that they are doing great work. If you or anyone you know is breastfeeding and has a reserve store of milk you are not using, please check their out their website or contact them. If you are not currently nursing but want to help out, they also take monetary donations. The Austin Milk Bank is a non-profit organization. They do not sell the milk they receive, and are not affiliated with any agencies that do. They provide much needed milk to premature and ill newborn infants in area hospitals, including some in my own state (important to me since I was a N.I.C.U. nurse for 15 years.)
When I was very young indeed, I watched Bill Cosby perform his comedy concert “Bill Cosby – Himself” on Home Box Office with my parents. It made quite an impression on me. The next several weeks at school my friends and I kept doing bits for each other, aided by a cassette recording of the show I had been thoughtful enough to make while it was on. Yes, I am that old, folks. Once upon a time, we had LP recordings of movies, tv shows, and stand-up comedy routines. Some of the really cool ones came with booklets and fold-outs containing pictures of the act or show in question. When those weren’t available, the only way we had to listen to them was to tape them. At this point I would like to offer my sincere opinion that any of you not old enough to have owned a 33 or 45 of “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” or “Disney’s Enchanted Tiki Room” just simply missed out. Listening to those recordings forced us to use our imaginations and engage with the story almost as much as books. I almost miss it.
Okay, rambling again…….
Back to Bill.
In 1983, at the age of 10, I was floored by his thoughts on visiting the dentist. That, I could relate to. I slayed ‘em in the school yard with my own performance of the art of conversation with half my face sliding off my skull. Oh, sure, I could tell the rest of it must have been funny as well, because my mother cackled all the way through it. My grandmother got practically hysterical during the monologue about children, but it was mostly lost on me.
Flash forward about 4-5 years to 1988-89. Flipping channels, I stumbled upon Cosby’s special again. The dentist was as funny as ever, but suddenly the segment about drinking and drugs resonated with me. Not necessarily because of life experience so much as the fact that I was finally old enough to grasp the concept of what he was saying. I still remember laughing so hard that I ended up wheezing after he thanked the toilet bowl for being cool on the side.
1992 rolled around. My daughter was about 12 months old. This time I found a VHS on my dad’s movie shelf and decided to kill an afternoon with it. As before, what had been funny remained just as fresh and hilarious as I remembered it. Now, however, the funniest bits were his commentary on the ability of small children to seek out and discover cookies and junk food anywhere in the house, and little Jeffery. I laughed about Jeffery’s mother punching his father in the face for at least a couple of days after that.
The summer of 2000 I noticed “Himself” on the program guide and set it up to record. Later that night I re-watched it yet again. Lo and behold, now the best part was Cosby’s description of the change in his wife during the course of the marriage and after the children came. The conniption hit almost too close to home for me. I confess, my own skull has been known to split and let out a green glow………….sigh. Aw, c’mon, admit it. It’s funny because it’s true, you know. I can still hear that stressed, shrill, frazzled voice…..”WHERE did they get the chocolate cake from?” and the stereotypical response, “They ASKED for it.” Then, of course, Bill’s admission — We are dumb, but we are not so dumb. I always suspected that was true, you know.
Now here we are, 2012. None of it is any less funny, but now that I have 2 small kiddos whooping through my house, I find that Cosby’s observation about multiple children being a different level of parenting from having one child to be my favorite part. I laugh every bit as much when I run across it as I ever did, but I do find that the bits about the stories told by his father really make me laugh the hardest. “Uphill. Both ways. In 5 feet of snow.” Bah-hah-hah!
The older we get, the more life experience we gain, the more layers of understanding we have and thereby the more humor we are able to enjoy. I love that a special I first watched with my parents still makes me laugh until I cry. It is a remarkably cool thing that I can still enjoy it with my folks, and see them laughing at things I haven’t even picked up on yet. I look at my kids laughing and see where I have been. Then I look at my parents and see where I am going. Thanks, Bill.
For some reason I cannot fathom, I have had a peculiar little monologue in the back of my head all day today. A pushy and persistent voice has been cataloging this silly bucket list and for want of a better term……anti-bucket list. Perhaps if I share, it’ll go and leave me in peace.
Do this. Seriously, do it at least once, just so you can say you did.
(1) Drink your coffee outside and listen to the birds waking up the day.
(2) Sing Opera in the car.
(3) Use a foreign accent for an entire day.
(4) Smell a flower. Inhale deeply.
(5) Read something by Terry Pratchett. You’ll thank me later for this one.
(6) Open up Wikipedia. Type in any search term you choose, then follow the first highlighted link in the article. Repeat 7 times. Read whatever has popped up on your screen.
(7) Go to the nearest decent-sized strip mall. Spend the afternoon ducking in and out of random stores pretending you are James Bond being pursued by enemy agents.
(8) Go on a scavenger hunt in a nearby park. Search for unusual items, and instead of collecting and disturbing them, snap pictures of them.
(9) For at least one hour, read articles by those whose viewpoints oppose your own. Really think about what they say and why they say it. Perspective is a cool thing.
(10) Cook something you have never made before, that you would never ordinarily eat. The farther out of your comfort zone you get, the more bonus points you get on this one.
Don’t do this. These things fulfill no-one and provide no joy. Plus, some of them are just rude. And stupid.
(1) Finish other people’s sentences for them.
(2) Give any credence at all to beauty/fashion magazines. Baz Luhrmann said it best. “Do not read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.”
(3) Speed up or slow down just to annoy another driver. Yes, even that guy over there. If he’s that douchey, someone else will cut him off for you. Maybe karma will let you watch.
(4) Leave lights or appliances on when you go to bed. Seriously, if you are unconcerned about environmental impact, think of the money you’ll eventually save by shutting things down at night.
(5) Engage in the seat up or seat down argument. You have eyes. Use them. Seriously.
(6) Borrow a vehicle, change settings and adjust mirrors and seat. Return vehicle without replacing things as they were.
(7) Utter the phrase “There ought to be a law” without thinking long and hard about whether you want the same phrase turned on yourself.
(8) Complain about government without voting or actively working for change.
(9) Judge. Ever.
(10) Forget to do calf pumping exercises when seated for long periods of time. DVTs and clots are no laughing matter.
I admit it. I spent half an afternoon not long ago at the local mall pretending I was on the run from the agents of CHAOS. Am I embarrassed? Nope. If you devote one afternoon a week to doing something silly, or out of your comfort zone, you will be a much happier person. Breaking out of a rut by doing something completely out of character is the best gift you can give yourself. Even if it means asking random sales clerks where Waldo is.
I think a great many women of all ages, not just teens, could benefit from this advice. Very well put, Kate.
Have fun and be safe everybody.
Before I worked as a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse, I worked for some time as a Long Term Care nurse at a local nursing home. I also did some in home hospice nursing privately. I bonded with so many patients and families, and my heart was broken a little each time I saw the eyes of sons, daughters, husbands, wives, and all the others as they left their visits. Someone special, ever-present, eternal in your life slips away a little at a time. Sometimes it is a quiet thing. Other times it is sudden and shocking.
I am not sure why it is that we never see the inevitable need to care for our parent coming. You would certainly think it would be obvious to us. We watched our mothers and fathers struggle with what to do for their own parents; somehow we remain disassociated from it though, as if it were simply a channel we passed while surfing late night television. Every so often are given a glimpse into our future and handed a second chance to really evaluate what is important to us.
If you are ever that fortunate, do not waste the opportunity. Remember every day to love your family. Love your friends. Love your life. It is a precious thing. The clarity that come to us when we grieve a loss is a beautiful and rare gift if given to us while our loved ones remain with us.
To my family : I love you. Every one of you. Yes, even you, my antisocial cousin whom I haven’t seen in umpteen years. Even you, my reclusive aunt who moved house and forgot to let any of us know. You people live in my heart, even when we don’t speak or see each other for what seems like eons. We share blood, and history, and who each of us is today is affected at least in part by all of the rest of us. I am going to make it a priority and a personal mission to tell each and every one of you in the next year that I love you, appreciate you in my life, and find out how you are doing.