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Dear @adampocalypse,

I’m very sorry my public reply to your public question to AITA on Twitter upset you so much that you blocked me.

I’ve never been blocked before — not to my knowledge, anyway.

Maybe you block people regularly, so you don’t remember our exchange.

(And if you do block people regularly, perhaps you should stay off Twitter. Or stop commenting on tweets from popular accounts.)

To remind you, @AITA_reddit posted a selection involving a grown woman whose teenaged boys were mortified by her One Direction decor in one of the bathrooms.

As a mother of teenaged boys, and as someone who loves One Direction, I was interested in the post and fully on her side (as most people were).

But there’s always one person who wants to make it awkward.

That person was you.

It seemed like quite a leap from liking a band to being a pedophile. I’m shocked 584 people implied they agreed with you.

I was compelled to respond. (Because of course I was.) But I wasn’t the only one.

1. Target sold these candles.
2. I guarantee you that most moms of teenaged boys are not into thinking sexually about teenaged boys. They are gross.
3. Yes, I know some women do. That’s gross too. And, thankfully, not that common.

I think you are too sensitive to be on a public forum. You also seem to be projecting.

I am a middle-aged woman who thinks Harry Styles is very cute. He does not meet the age requirement (half my age plus seven) for naughtiness, and also, HE’S A CELEBRITY I’LL NEVER MEET.

Harry IS dating an older woman in the age-gap allowance (Olivia Wilde), so good for her.

(Side note on the age thing: I’m very excited to know that I can date all those hot middle-aged men when I’m 80. Cougaring FTW!)

When my aforementioned teenaged boys were young, they liked to watch iCarly. So I watched too. I thought Freddie Benson was adorable, but I did not want to sleep with him.

Now?

Hello, Freddie!

But no. Still not in the acceptable range. (Also, I’m married. Hi, Eddie!)

My point?

You can think someone is cute and not want to groom them for sex.

Just because a grown woman likes a boy band does not mean she is a pedophile.

I’m sorry if that’s hard for you to believe. And that, sadly, says more about your life.

I’m sorry my response upset you enough for you to block me. You didn’t need to worry, though: I had not planned on having any subsequent interaction with you.

May your future responses to @AITA_reddit bring you more peace, joy and solidarity than this one.

Sincerely,
@BethCon5

*I’m apparently a mean girl, so this works.

Dear Dr. K,

Thank you for slicing open my son’s mouth and removing his wisdom teeth.

[Insert joke about a teenaged boy not having wisdom.]

I wish he could be smart enough to be a good patient. Sadly, he takes after his father there, not his rule-following, advice-following mother.

Put an ice pack on each side for 20 minutes the first day to reduce swelling?

No.

Take antibiotics three times a day?

Nope.

Brush teeth at least two times a day as usual?

Are you kidding? (Teenaged boys are gross.)

This is not the first time his teeth have caused me distress.

Luckily, I had the traditional loopy-after-surgery video to amuse me.

Note that he ASKED me to take this video so he could share it around.

Anyway, I’m sure he will be fine.

If not, we’ll be seeing you again very soon.

Best wishes,
Dominic’s mom/insurance holder/guarantor

 

 

 

Rage against the Machine #gapol

This guy. Rep. Barry Fleming. UGH. He’s from the Georgia city that has the Laurel & Hardy Museum. His efforts would be a comedy if his fellow Republicans weren’t serious.

Dear Georgia GOP,

Hey, y’all! Georgia voter here. What you are doing with your omnibus elections bill is ridiculous. I know you are upset that President Biden won the state in November and Senators Ossoff/Warnock won their seats in January, but you can’t just change the rules because you lost.

Except you can, because that’s what you do (*cough* gerrymandering *cough*).

There was no voter fraud. That’s been proven over and over.

Stop being sore losers. Just mobilize your base and register new voters. You know, like Stacey Abrams did.

I’ve voted in every election. I voted absentee in November because, you know, PANDEMIC. I took a picture of myself at the ballot dropbox because I know how y’all like to pretend ballots are being returned by others. 🙄

Forcing a voter to make a copy of his/ her/their ID or get a witness for a signature IS NOT GOING TO STOP FRAUD.

Reducing early voting IS NOT GOING TO STOP FRAUD.

Eliminating no-excuse absentee voting IS NOT GOING TO STOP FRAUD.

It just makes voting a hassle for everyone.

Even the Georgia Secretary of State — a man in YOUR PARTY — says y’all lost because of unfounded conspiracy theories, not because of fraud.

Stop making it harder for people to vote. You should be reducing barriers. But I guess you aren’t interested in a fair fight. You want to rig the system.

Huh.

That’s funny.

That sounds like someone I’m glad is gone.

Do a better job of promoting yourselves and your platforms. Then more people might vote for you.

It’s not likely to be me, though, because you waste time on stupid stuff like this.

Be best.
(🙄)
Beth

Dear Former Students,

You have no idea the joy I feel when one of you contacts me to tell me something I said or did had an impact on you. This is why I started teaching in the first place: to make a difference.

I flourished under professors like Dr. Brightman and Dr. Taylor. I wanted to be the same kind of advocate for learning and growth.

Or even just make you question the existence of certain words.

Susan, you made my day by sending me this:

I still hate those words (and others). If anyone catches me using them, that person should take me to the hospital as I’ve clearly had a stroke.

Ken recently told me that he never closes with “Best” in an email because of me. What’s my problem with “Best?” It can be used as an adjective or an adverb, but it has to modify something. So I always think to myself, “Best what? Best regards? Best wishes? Best in show?”

So thank you for taking my classes and letting me mold you into critical duplicates.

And keep sending me little anecdotes of my permeating influence (or put them in the comments below). It fills me with glee.

Best in show,
Dr. Beth

*”We don’t need no education,” interestingly enough, is a double negative. So what Pink Floyd actually said was that we need education. So Pink Floyd was right.

 

Dear “Br” and Mariah,

Congratulations!

You win the award for Biggest Kitchen Disaster.

We’ve hosted loads of people in the condo we list on Airbnb. There have been many messy guests.

You take the cake.

Except you didn’t. You left it behind along with other half-eaten food, a sink full of dirty, greasy dishes, and a bag of liquid.

Seriously.

What’s in that bag? Shudder.

It’s like you deliberately used every dish, pot, pan, glass and utensil in the place. And went through three rolls of paper towels.

You were there for less than 36 hours!

It took me an hour to wash everything — a fact I won’t soon forget.

I hope you enjoyed your Valentine’s Day. I can guarantee it will be the only one you spend in our place.

Host you again? HELL NO.

Sincerely,
Beth

Dear Jhamna**,

You are an absolute bitch, and I hate your guts.

But I mean that in the nicest way.

Thanks to my last post, I now know of many people who have experienced frozen shoulder. All of them said that physical therapy is the only thing that expedites healing.

So I know you are doing your job, but you are so MEAN. So mean.

Within 10 minutes of meeting you, you pulled my arm way above my head, and counted to 10. Twice. Despite me squirming in pain.

I wanted to yell:

My arm doesn’t bend that way right now, lady. Stop trying to wrench it off!

But instead, I wept quietly.

You said:

I should give you to Michelle (the other therapist). She doesn’t care about tears. I’m the nice one.

You are the nice one? Shudder.

To be honest, the physical therapist I had before my insurance changed (join me for a future TED Talk on that nightmare) was too nice. I didn’t see any improvement in range of motion. But I chalked that up to being in the “freezing” stage.

I do see an improvement in just a couple of days with you. Part of it could be that I’m religiously doing the exercises because I am scared of you.

I know you’ve seen your share of people with my condition.
I know you know what you are doing.
I know this is what I need.

I also know that I don’t want to ever see you again.

But I’ll see you Monday.

Your terrified victim respectful client,
Beth

*If you don’t immediately start singing “Jump Around,” something is wrong with you.

**This is her name. She’s Brazilian. She is merciless.

Dear Body,

I don’t know what your problem is, but I wish you would pull yourself together.

You worked fine up until 2020. Then you had two broken bones at the same time (toe and ankle) after never having a broken bone before.

And now you have the nerve to show up with “adhesive capsulitis,” otherwise known as Frozen Shoulder.

That’s fun.

And why?

Usually the causes are a shoulder injury, diabetes, thyroid issues or a stroke.

No, no, no and no.

You know what I am that is apparently an even bigger marker for it?

A white woman over 40.

That’s it.

Delightful.

Apparently, there are three stages, each of which can last several months: freezing, frozen and thawing.

I’ve been in the freezing stage since October.

That stage features excruciating pain and limited range of motion.

That’s it. That’s as high as my left arm goes at the moment.

This whole thing could last one to three years.

ONE TO THREE YEARS.

Body, please don’t play the long game here.

Give me back my range of motion!

Kthxbye,
Beth

* Thanks, John.

(Continued from Feb. 1 post)

So. The towing museum — er — International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum. Let me resolve the cliffhanger.

I don’t know about you, but I never think about tow trucks until I need them, and I can count the number of times I have needed one on one hand.

But there are many, many people who do think about tow trucks on the reg. Enough that there is a thriving towing museum with promotion on the highway.

And when I say “thriving,” I’m not kidding.

When I checked in on Swarm, the tip that popped up made my eyes widen. I had to read it to Dominic.

High praise, indeed.

Also, Hall of Fame?!

Oh, wow.

We went in, alive with anticipation.

This is Dominic excited.

We paid the entrance fee** ($10, budget accordingly). The cashier said he had just started the movie (!). As it only lasts seven minutes, he told us to hang out in the gift shop, and he’d holler when he was about to start it again.

What a gift shop it was.

Only about half was tow-related merch.

A LIBRARY?!?

The rest featured Tennessee-made products. I bought hot sauce. (Sadly, it didn’t come in pocket size.)

And yes, I also bought a T-shirt. Because of course I did.

Dominic messed around with “Tater Tot.”

Then it was show time.

Did you know that the tow truck was born in Chattanooga? Neither did I.

In 1916, a mechanic named Ernest Holmes had the idea after he helped a friend get his car out of a creek bed. It took eight hours. Holmes modified a 1913 Cadillac with an elaborate crane and pulley system, then filed for a patent on the contraption in 1917.

Did you know that the fatality rate in the towing industry is more than 15 times the rate of deaths for other private industries combined? Neither did I.

But the towing museum has a Wall of the Fallen to help people remember.

Did you know that there’s a World’s Fastest Wrecker? Neither did I.

The Chevy tow truck set its speed record of 109.33 (average speed) at Talladega Motor Speedway in 1979. The truck’s tires actually started to melt during stock-car-driver Eddie Martin’s trial run.

After the movie was over, another museum guest said, “That was the BEST!”

Dominic and I looked at each other with surprised eyes above our masks.

The vintage trucks were actually very cool.

There was a whole wall of towing-themed toys.

We moved on to the Hall of Fame.

HALL OF FAME, y’all!

Apparently, these are people who “have made substantial contributions to the towing and recovery industry.”

Santa?!?

Olin looks as perplexed as we did.

After the Hall of Fame finale (coup de grâce?), we were fed back into the gift shop.

Me: Well. That was exciting.
Dominic: Never a dull moment.

No. Never dull indeed.

Happy recovery, and remember to slow down and move over!
Beth

*Apologies to Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam.

**Tickets are available in advance if you are worried about there being a rush. I did not buy tickets in advance because I thought it would be hilarious if it sold out for the day we went. This is how my mind works.

 

Dear Parents of Teenagers,

Is it normal for them to want to spend time with you?

Dominic got jealous of my trips with Gideon, so he asked if we could go somewhere together.

My head immediately exploded.

I’m not complaining. I just don’t remember even wanting to admit I had parents, let alone be seen with them.

When I asked him where he wanted to go, he had no suggestions.

Me: I know you don’t want to go hiking in a state park like Gideon and I do.
Him: No.
Me: What about a city like Chicago or Philadelphia for the weekend?
Him: I have a gamer friend in Chicago.
Me: I’m not going to go all the way there and hang out with you and some gamer person you barely know.
Him: What about a road trip?
Me: Sure, but no more than four hours. I can’t do a car trip longer than that.
Him: I’ve got it!
Me: What?
Him: The towing museum!
Me: 💀

Back story:
When we all went to Chattanooga after Thanksgiving, we kept passing the International Towing Museum on our way to other, better known, sites such as Ruby Falls and Rock City. It became a joke:

One of us: Will we have time to go to the towing museum?
Another: After all, it’s the reason we are here isn’t it?

Like that. A joke. Because a TOWING MUSEUM?!

Dominic is CLEARLY my son, with a well-developed appreciation of the absurd.

So we went to Chattanooga last weekend.

I let him drive.

I let him pick a place to eat.

I let him pick the movie. (General Grievous is my favorite Star Wars character outside of the Han/Chewy duo [bromance].)

I let him sleep in.

I didn’t comment on the fact that he changed under the covers instead of in the bathroom like a normal person.

I did choose one activity: The incline railway. As many times as I’ve been to Chattanooga, I had never ridden it.

We were very interested in the Centennial Exhibits …

… until we realized it was just a few photographs along the hallway to the bathrooms.

After the railway, it was time for the main attraction: the towing museum.

The majestic quality of this museum necessitates its own post.

To be continued …

Dear Family,

Thanks for one particular Christmas gift:

I’ve never had a Chia Pet (though I always wanted one).

I love that my first one is a Chia Child.

But actually, as we know, his name really is Grogu Craig.**

Despite the fact that I read and followed the instructions — and even bought a plant mister — I could not get the damn seeds to sprout and keep growing.

I tried and failed twice.

I was determined that the third time would be the charm, so I soaked Craig a little longer — much to your dismay.

Look. Listen. It had to be done.

And you know what? It worked.

I’m disappointed that the seeds I put on his head didn’t sprout.

So y’all can get off my back.

I did what needed to be done. If you don’t have the stomach for it, look away.

But seriously, thanks for the gift that keeps on giving.

Love,
The Gardener

*Remember this commercial?

**We thought it would be hilarious if the Star Wars folks would have named him a regular dude name like Kevin. Or Craig.