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Dear Readers:

Writer’s block is a nasty beast. It periodically leaves me incapacitated, as is the case lately.

As I’d like to retain the few of you I have left, I present to you a personal essay from the past that has never seen publication. It’s a seven-part series, so I’m set for a while. (Me = drunk on content!)

Warning: The series is likely to offend anyone and everyone.

Enjoy!
Beth

City Hall, Garden City, Georgia

Sentenced to Church, Part I

Police laser guns are not infallible and neither are their operators. This is what I tell the Garden City, Georgia, judge when I dispute my ticket for going 41 in a 35-mile-per-hour school zone. It is possible the officer tracked another car, but blamed me, I said. Plus, the school zone ended at 8:30, which is the time I was pulled over.

My argument sounded lame, even to me, but it was all I had. The judge took pity and dismissed the ticket on the condition that I complete a certain task: I must attend six church services over the next six weeks and bring proof of my attendance in the form of bulletins.*

Um. What? Isn’t there supposed to be a separation of church and state? And what does speeding have to do with religion anyway? In a small town in Georgia, I guess anything goes.

Though friends and relatives advised me to contact the American Civil Liberties Union, I was just happy to have avoided the $114 fine and the blot on my perfect driving record.

I decided to look at the sentence as an anthropological assignment. I chose to attend six different churches to contrast and compare.

 

Up next: “Señor Jesus, muévame!”

 

* True story. I promise.

How healthy are you? How willing are you to do the things you need to do to be healthy? Let’s find out!

You are diabetic. It’s time for lunch. What do you eat?
a. A healthy meal featuring protein, fruits and vegetables.
b. Ice cream, baby!

But wait, you have a sore on your toe that won’t heal. The diabetes is obviously affecting your circulation. Now what do you eat for lunch?
a. A healthy meal featuring protein, fruits and vegetables, and then go for a brisk walk around the block.
b. Still ice cream. And also onion rings. (Get off your back!)

You go to the doctor for a routine visit, and he tells you that you are now permanently blind in your left eye. You are:
a. Dismayed. You just thought it was a side effect of one of your many medications.
b. Surprised. You had no idea you couldn’t see out of your left eye.

You have to go to the bathroom. You just had a mini stroke, so you need a little help. What do you do?
a. Wait until someone brings the pee jug to you.
b. Open up your gown and let it go like you are Manneken-Pis.

You are (clearly) having issues with your bladder. The doctor installs a catheter. When do you ask for it to be removed?
a. As soon as possible because CATHETER!
b. Never. It just makes peeing easier.

Your leg is wet. Your catheter tube has come unattached. Do you notice?
a. Yes. Um … pee!
b. No.

Despite physical therapy at the nursing home after your mini stroke, you can’t walk without assistance. To be honest, you have trouble doing anything without help. When do you ask to be released from the nursing home?
a. Not until you can walk and manage tasks on your own.
b. Immediately. Watching TV all day is better from the lift chair. Who cares about the risk of falling?

Once home, your physical therapist tells you not to use the lift chair to help sit and stand. You need to build strength in your legs. What do you do?
a. Listen to her. She knows what she is doing.
b. Tell everyone that she changed her mind. The lift chair is totally fine.

Scoring:
Mostly or all As: Congratulations! You are doing what you need to do to be as healthy as possible. Your family must be so happy!
Mostly Bs: You need to take better care of yourself. Think about how your health issues are affecting your family.
All Bs: Dad?

 

 

Dear Family:

Many have asked how my father is doing after his recent “mini” stroke that necessitated a trip to the hospital and then a care facility. Many of you also have asked how I’m doing, as it’s no secret my relationship with my incredibly stubborn father has been strained over the past couple of years. Usually, I’m good with words. When it comes to him, though, words fail me.

Hence, I will describe what has happened/is happening using photos of bad taxidermy.

We visit Dad for Christmas. He says he wants me to look into assisted living places near us (as opposed to where he is, which is four hours away).

We visit Dad for Christmas. He says he wants me to look into assisted-living places near us (as opposed to where he is, which is four hours away).

 

After I took a day off of work to take tours of assisted living places, Dad calls to tell me, "Nevermind." He has decided to stay in his house with my stepmother.

After I took a day off of work to take tours of assisted-living places, Dad calls to tell me, “Nevermind.” He has decided to stay in his house with Kat (his wife).

 

Dad called. He had what he thinks is a stroke.

A few days later, Dad calls. He had what he thinks is a stroke.

 

We visit. He's fine. He will remain in the hospital for a while and receive physical therapy. He needs physical therapy. Everyone is happy.

We visit. He’s fine. He will remain in the hospital for a while and receive physical therapy. He needs physical therapy. Everyone is happy.

 

He tells us he is fine. He says we should start cleaning out his garage as he may have to sell the house to pay for full-time care.

He tells us he is doing great but that we should start cleaning out his garage as he may have to sell the house to pay for full-time care.

 

We spend an entire day cleaning out 1/3 of his garage. We took two truckloads of crap to the dump and three truckloads of stuff to the Salvation Army.

We spend an entire day cleaning out 1/3 of his garage. We took two truckloads of crap to the dump and three truckloads of stuff to the Salvation Army.

 

A couple of weeks later, I go back up to visit him in the nursing facility to have a chat with him and the therapist about next steps. Kat yells at me for cleaning out Dad's garage when I should have been sitting vigil next to him the entire weekend we spent doing what he told us to do.

A couple of weeks later, I go back up to the nursing facility to have a chat with him and the therapist about next steps. Kat yells at me for cleaning out Dad’s garage when I should have been sitting vigil next to him the entire weekend we spent doing what he told us to do.

 

According to Dad's legal papers, I share power of attorney with Kat. We have to agree on any decisions regarding his care. We do not agree.

According to Dad’s legal papers, I share power of attorney with Kat. We have to agree on any decisions regarding his care. We do not agree.

 

Dad is supposed to be released this week. There is no plan for in-home care. Kat is not speaking to me. Dad rotates among three main states: confused, angry, depressed. Only once in a while is he the dad I remember.

Dad is supposed to be released this week. There is no plan for in-home care. Kat is not speaking to me. Dad rotates among three main states: confused, angry and depressed. Only once in a while is he the person I remember.

 

I do not know what will happen next.

I do not know what will happen next.

If you are praying people, pray for him. Pray for me. Like the taxidermy pictured above, it’s not good.

Stay tuned,
Beth

trumpbot-128663

Dear (M)all of ‘Murica:

I’m writing to request information regarding your return/exchange policy on The Donald that we received Nov. 8 as an early Christmas gift.

Some background: We tried to order The Hillary, but were told there was a problem with the email server.

It appears, however, that The Donald has this same glitch, among other problems.

Voice command override:
We tried to program it numerous times with numerous voice samples, but it refuses to respond.

False warning signals:
This model tends to beep for no reason beginning around 3 a.m. We are hard-working Americans who want to get some sleep. We can’t have The Donald bleating codes such as “MERYL” and “NYT” over and over.

Security issues:
The Donald was billed as a unit that would keep us safe. However, I’m more worried about break-ins than ever before. The unit is inside barking, “Come at me, Bro!” and “Cash me outside; how bow dah!,” which I think is egging on those with bad intentions. Plus, it won’t let in the people we invited.

Failure to work with existing systems:
Almost immediately upon arrival, The Donald refused to work with other units already in place. It overrode the sensors on various technology and tried to shut them down. Some systems are back up and running on alternative power, but others still are refusing to connect.

Low energy efficiency:
The Donald was billed as a unit that that would increase energy efficiency and protect the environment. However, the model has two pipes that could start leaking oil at any moment.

These are just five of the many problems with this model. We would like to return The Donald as it clearly is as defective as we had heard prior to receiving it. The limited warranty expired Jan. 20.

Line 25 of your operating manual gives some guidance on your return/exchange policy, but I’d like more details, a timeline and information about a replacement.

I know you have The Pence in stock, but I’m not interested in that model because its features are limited. The Ryan has numerous reported defects. I’ve heard The Sanders is on back order and The Kasich is out of stock indefinitely. What other options do you have? Do I have to wait for The Libtard 2020 or The Snowflake 2024?

Please respond at your earliest convenience. We are losing long-time friends because of The Donald, and it is scaring the children.

Eagerly awaiting a resolution,
Beth (and 65+ million others)

Dear Legislators Hell-bent on Defunding Any Programs Dealing with Lady Bits:

The tweet above is funny (albeit hyperbolic). The executive order it deals with is not so funny.

Listen, no federal money supports abortions. That’s the deal already. What federal money supports is family planning and reproductive health. Can’t we agree that’s a good thing? More education, planning and birth control REDUCES the number of abortions. Isn’t that the goal? (Note that the Guttmacher Institute just released a report that U.S. abortion rates dropped to a record low, falling below the 1973 level  — the year Roe vs. Wade made abortion legal.)

If you defund all these programs, what are people going to do? If you state that life begins at fertilization and make abortion illegal, that is not going to stop abortions from happening (see prohibition, the “war on drugs“).

Why is this a women’s issue? Who is making people pregnant?

Yeah, that’s right.

But the burden is on the woman whether it is consensual or not (for birth control too). And the embryo seems to be more important than the woman herself. Why is that? If the woman has the child and struggles financially because the man is nowhere to be found, then she is a “freeloader.”

That’s just great.

There’s also the fact that there are about 540,000 children in foster care or waiting to be adopted, according to the Administration for Children and Families.

Want to ban abortions and birth control? Go ahead and ban sex.

You go first.

Constituently yours,
Beth

mitch_mcconnell2Dear Mitch McConnell:

I hate you with a white-hot rage. I hate you like Kanye hates a drama-free life. I hate you more than I hate people who drive slow in the passing lane.

Why am I foaming at the mouth? Why do I hate you so much?

Here’s your latest comment in reference to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer saying he will block any Trump Supreme Court nominee:

Apparently there’s yet a new standard now, which is to not confirm a Supreme Court nominee at all.

Sweet baby Jesus, man — you set the new crazy standard when you blocked the moderate nominee Merrick Garland for 11 months! He was a choice people on both sides seemed to like. And you did it just to spite Obama.

And now you have the audacity to be upset that someone might try to block you?

headexplodeThat’s me, Mitch. My head is exploding, Mitch.

Politicians like you are the reason Congress needs term limits.

From 2008 through 2010, you “orchestrated the delivery of nearly half a billion dollars in federal funds, with a pronounced emphasis on projects in [your] home state” of Kentucky, according to a long-form journalism piece on you in Huffington Post.

Yet you haven’t managed to help the people of Kentucky very much. According to that same article, “More than 17 percent of its citizens go without health insurance of any kind, even as the state’s high poverty rate results in more than 880,000 Medicaid patients.” That’s government assistance, Mitch! Aren’t you, as a GOP leader, supposed to be against government handouts?

More of your greatest hits:

You complain about Washington gridlock, but you are the leading cause of that gridlock.

You filibustered your hateful ass off as Senate minority leader, forcing more than a quarter of all cloture votes in the history of the Senate.

You’ve even filibustered your own proposal. What the heck, dude?!

You shot down all of the following:

You are against anything having to do with support for women, such as:

You are against this legislation because you think, incorrectly, that gender discrimination in the workplace is a thing of the past. “I could be wrong, but most of the barriers have been lowered,” you said in 2014. You’re wrong, Mitch. So wrong. But as a rich, white guy, you don’t understand, and — worse — you don’t care.

Speaking of being rich, your personal wealth increased 786 percent from 2004 to 2010. How is that possible, Mitch? Yet more than 19 percent of the people in your state live below the poverty line. That makes Kentucky 47th in the nation in terms of wealth. We only have 50 states, Mitch!

Congratulations.

More than 30 years in the Senate — a CAREER POLITICIAN (and people seem to hate that) — and what do you have to show for yourself?

Very little but hatred. Yet you were reelected in 2014, which means we all have to look at your evil, smug face for four more years. You’ve even said you relish the villain role. Delightful!

I beg your constituents to hear my plea to boot you on your money-padded posterior in 2020.

Supremely vexed,
Beth

Police line; do not cross

police-line-do-not-cross-tape-at-crime-scene-1-2000x1349-1

Dear Facebook Friends:

Happy new year! I appreciate that your posts have been filled with love and light for the holidays.

In just a little over two weeks, though, we will inaugurate a new president. And I’m sure that’s going to bring back all the nasty political posts.

This is how I feel about that:

181

Let’s start off on the right foot for 2017 by making Facebook a palatable place again. And by that, I mean I need you to stop writing the following:

You say: “I’m tired of being politically correct.”
I hear: “I want to be able to say the same horrible stuff I’ve always said without someone calling me out.”
The truth: You have freedom of speech, but that does not mean you have freedom from consequences. If you want to say, “That’s so gay,” like you did in the ’80s, I’m going to have to chastise you or delete you. Your choice.

You say: “I like Trump because he speaks his mind.”
I hear: “He is saying the horrible stuff I want to say but I can’t because I have to be politically correct (see above).”
The truth (as I see it): Despite his assertions that he has a very good brain, his mind is full of cobwebs, tumbleweeds and pictures of naked ladies. He’s gross. Sorry, not sorry.

You say: “Trump is surrounding himself with good people.”
I hear: “I don’t really like him, but I voted for him and now I have to double down on that decision. I’m going to be optimistic despite all evidence to the contrary. Gingrich, Giuliani and Christie — the Larry, Darryl and Darryl of the campaign — didn’t worry me enough. Oh look over there — a squirrel!”
The truth: So much for draining the swamp. I can’t even with this.

You say: “I’m so glad Clinton didn’t win. Clinton is corrupt.” Also, “she is a career politician.”
I hear that you don’t like her. I get it. But …
The truth: If you really cared about corruption, you wouldn’t have voted for Trump. He’s got a list of shady maneuvers longer than Santa’s naughty list. As for the other, I’m still pissed that her ambition is seen as a bad thing. Clinton worked her whole life toward one goal and she loses to a dude (of course) who seemingly ran on a whim.

You say: “Suck it up. Get over it. He won. Now you know how I felt when Obama won twice.”
I hear: “Nyah, nyah” and “neener, neener.”
The truth: Obama and Trump are very different people and very different politicians. Both wins reflected a desire for change from the prior administration. I’m better off now than I was eight years ago and so are most people I know. I guess you aren’t. Either that, or you are voting against your own best interests.

You say: “There is a war on Christianity.”
I hear: “I’m pissed that everyone doesn’t believe what I believe.”
The truth: Not everyone is a Christian. We have separation of church and state for a reason.

You say anything nasty regarding the mainstream media.
I hear you attacking my integrity as I have spent my life working in and researching local news.
The truth: Without the mainstream media, we would have no reliable information about what is happening in our communities, our nation, our world. The fourth estate is crucial for an informed citizenry. Also,

3263bf1d489d35c7211d182c39fcdfbb1e

As you should know, I am not a straight-ticket kind of person. I would love to hear your point of view. But I want to hear it in person over coffee. I’m not interested in the talking points or meme you got from some fake news site run by a bored teen in Macedonia. Fair warning: This is the year that I stop being polite and start getting real. (More so than usual.) 

We are all human here. Let’s try to make the world a better place. We can disagree about how we are going to do that, but let’s schedule a play date to discuss.

Love and kisses in 2017!
Beth